Update @ April 2017: This post was originally meant to celebrate my 100th blog post, however after some recent modifications, the number of published posts has decreased. In any case, this article still stands as a 1st-anniversary post!
Today I want to look back on the past one year, three months and two weeks, to see how my blogging journey has defined me and my blog.
I’m not the kind who analyses everything in terms of statistics and success. I have my own purposes and goals. Therefore I will look at those aspects which interest me the most. It will be a list of the good, the not-so-good and the potential of my blog.
So, it is better to state the nature and the aims of my blog again, in case the About page is not enough.
Scrabbled Rambles is not a business, I earn nothing from it. It was set up as a hobby, as a personal need to voice out my opinions on my favourite topics, and as a means of writing practice. Another reason for opening this blog was to test myself, to see if I could become more responsible and if I could keep up with such a responsibility.
My blogging experience feels a lot like an intimate journey. What have I learned on the way?
1. I’ve learned that… I am more organised.
When it comes to management, I’m a paradox. Theoretically, I am an organisation freak; however, I don’t always put my theories into practice in real life situations. So, I often end up having too much on my plate and wade through my semi-organised disorganisation.
Since I started my blog, I discovered the satisfaction of good planning. Jotting down my ideas and planning posts has become my favourite part of the blogging process. It is also fulfilling to follow a schedule, instead of just writing on a whim. My hope is to transfer this organisation to my other spheres of life, such as my studies.
2. I’ve learned that…I am more productive.
Proper organisation leads to more productivity. Following a plan means posting on a regular basis (more or less). Sure, there’s still much room for improvement when it comes to following my weekly schedules, although my first rule with scheduling will always be flexibility. One thing that makes me proud is that when the burden of university studies increased, I did not give up on blogging.
3. I’ve learned that… I can be responsible.
Keeping a blog is like raising a child. You give birth to this beautiful idea, you give all you can to see it grow and, in the end, you’re proud to witness what it has become.
I know too well that if I stop giving my all, even for just a moment, there is a chance that the blog will not survive. That’s the heavy weight of responsibility. It is quite a tough task, but I’m learning that, yes, I can handle responsibility.
4. I’ve learned that… I am getting used to writing and I like it more than ever.
One of my blogging aims was to practice and improve my writing. I am not sure if I have improved. The truth is that I lack confidence, more than ever. However, I am getting used to the writing process. It often comes naturally to me, even though it still takes me hours to finish one post. My enjoyment encourages me and makes me think that, eventually, I will feel more confident.
5. I’ve learned that… I can learn so much more.
My blog is encouraging me to consider the aesthetic point of view. Therefore, it inspires me even more to learn other skills such as Photoshop. I’m attempting to create more cover photos. Even though I still lack the knowledge, I am learning to understand the visuals that I often get in my mind.
6. I’ve learned that… confidence is still an issue.
As I already said, I am not too confident about my writing. In my previous point, I was thinking more about the grammatical aspect of writing. Sometimes, though, I am also unsure about the subject matter of my posts. It always has to be a subject I’m interested in otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to write about it. Yet I’m always torn between what professionals suggest (concerning post length, the range of topics, etc.) and what I want. I want to do it my way.
7. I’ve learned that… gaining a readership is tough.
The first thing that every new blogger should learn is that it takes a long time to get readers. I always knew that, and I never expected miracles. Yet, after all this time, I am still struggling to get people to read me, apart from a couple of friends or individuals who get a direct link from me.
Maybe it’s because I write lengthy posts, perhaps it’s because I’m not exactly ‘niche’. Maybe I don’t promote sufficiently, and I’m not enough SEO-optimised. It could be all of that and more. I know that my promotion and SEO optimisation levels are almost basic. I still have to learn about all those techy stuff, although honestly, I don’t care so much about clicks and all those stats. There is a limit to the number of articles by so-called blogging professionals that I can take, and I exceeded that limit a long time ago. It’s just that business talk bores me to tears and it ruins my passion for blogging. All I want is some genuine feedback.
I’ve learned that I have two other problems. Firstly, my lack of confidence stops me from going all out with promoting myself and my posts. Secondly, I know that I am quite incapable of communicating. I know that I should comment more on the blogs that I like – I am trying to – but it’s not easy when all I want to do is retreat into my shell and just observe others from a distance (anyone, not just other bloggers).
8. I’ve learned that… it’s not always easy, even when I’m full of ideas and inspiration.
Being responsible is a huge achievement for me, but it doesn’t mean that it always keeps me on the go. There are some days in which I wish to take a break. I say to myself, “I’ve been doing so good with posting regularly, can’t I afford a couple of weeks off?” In these instances, I start thinking and overthinking, which affects my already-low confidence and energy. At times, even having a notebook full of ideas seems like a burden. Then, there is also the responsibility of maintenance and of learning how to improve my blog overall.
But after all…
9. I’ve learned… more about myself and my potential.
I started out with the idea of blogging about the subjects that I like, but at first, I was like, “What kind of subjects, exactly?” Taking inspiration from my favourite blogs and webzines, I came to the conclusion that it’s ok to write about the range of topics that I chose. Initially, it seemed like there were only a handful of subjects that I could talk about, but as time went by, I discovered that I could have an opinion on so much more.
I never thought that I had all this in me. I’ve learned not only what I like – what defines me – but also what I know and what I can possibly know in the future.
10. I’ve learned that… I have to – and I want to – continue blogging to become better.
Despite the fears and doubts, I want to keep blogging. It is changing my life for the better. I am changing for the better, by becoming more organised, productive and responsible. It is only if I keep doing it that I will eventually become better at it.
After all, what started as a test to my abilities has turned out better than I ever had expected. There is time for improvement, there always is. There is so much more to learn from blogging, and so I am determined to go ahead, one step at a time.