One year ago today, I hit 'Publish' on the very first blog post for 'Reinventing Rae NYC'. Ever since I moved to New York, my friends had encouraged the idea of me writing a blog. They wanted to be able to hear all the stories of my new life in NYC.
I've been working on writing a book loosely based on my real life and relationships for a few years now. So, it seemed fitting that a blog would be a good way to start sharing my writing and in hopes of gaining a following. So, after a few days of brainstorming with my roommates and several hours of writing down potential blog names, I finally came up with the name ReinventingRaeNYC. The name is significant to me for two reasons.
Rae is my middle name. A name that I actually didn't really like until I was in my twenties, oddly enough. And I rarely ever went by that name until I moved to New York. There is something about going by a "new" name, that gives you a new energy on your life and who you are.
Reinventing came about because I felt it best described my experience here in New York City and the current stage of life I'm in. I'm reinventing myself in so many ways, in my personal life, in my career and even in my everyday life here in New York City.
Blogging is still something that is completely new for me. My blog is far from being perfect or even where I envision it to be. It's a constant work in progress. But everyday I learn something new about the ins and the outs of the blogging world. Which is exciting and encouraging in itself. If I could offer any advice on blogging and what it has taught me in my first year, it would be this.
1. Creative Outlet:
Blogging like most writing is a way to express yourself and share your thoughts, ideas and opinions with others. It has definitely been a creative outlet for me. There is something so fulfilling about sharing your real life stories along with your hopes & dreams and lessons learned to complete strangers. I often joke and say that blogging is kinda like free therapy. I mean we all need a creative outlet, right?
2. Time Consuming:
Full time and even part time blogging can take up a lot of your time in more ways that I ever could have imagined. It's not just about the time that it takes to write about a subject. Which for me, can take hours or sometimes even days to write depending on what I am writing about. Not including the hours spent re-reading it and editing it. Then there are photos that have to correlate to the post, most in which I create myself using several different apps (WordSwag, Pic Collage, Canva) or photos that I've taken with my iPhone.
Then once a post is ready to be published, you have to share, share, share! Sharing a blog post on social media is crucial in order to make it go out to a larger audience. Social media by far is the most time consuming aspect in my opinion. There are days that I spend just working on social media, alone.
3. Start Somewhere:
You won't always know what to say. Often you will find yourself staring a blank page. For me I want to write something authentic and meaningful. I never want to just write a blog post just to get it up on my site. (Hence why there are some gaps in posts) I want my blog to be real so that other's can hopefully relate to what I'm writing about. I find that if I plan out my weekly/monthly content on paper, it helps me to stay motivated and invested in the topics I have chosen. Most importantly, if you have a day lacking in inspiration, just start writing. It will all come together and you may even surprise yourself in the outcome.
There have been many days in which I felt discouraged in the process of blogging. Sometimes you feel like you have nothing worthy of writing about. And there will be days you ask yourself "who is really reading my blog anyways"? All of that plays a factor. Not to mention the times you pour your heart into a blog post and you literally have no comments on it or shares on social media. It can be lonely at times as a blogger, especially when working from home. Struggle is real some days. But that's why there is WINE.
This is one that I've had to learn to not take so personally. The reality of blogging is that not all of your friends and family will support your blog. Many of which won't really understand it at all. The truth is that they often won't even take the time to 'Like' your Facebook page, comment on your blog posts or even read your blog at times. And that's okay. You can't expect all your friends/family to constantly keep up with your blog. But the flip side is when you have unexpected supporters and those who really take an interest in it.
6. Build Your Network:
Because you can't solely depend on friends and family to share in the day to day of of your blog. Building a blogging network is crucial. I am still working on building my own network however, so far it has been a huge factor in my growth as a blogger. Surrounding yourself with other bloggers who get it can certainly empower you on days that you feel like your not progressing. And luckily with social media, this is easy to do. Connecting with other bloggers is a great way to share struggles and successes alike. I have found that participating in Facebook groups like The Blogger Life, Blogging Boost, and Blogging Newbs have been a great way for me to gain knowledge, help with promoting my blog and receive advice when needed.
7. Progress NOT Perfection:
The most important lesson I have learned so far, is that progress is key not perfection. I say this because I think initially with any new project, we ultimately want it to be perfect. As bloggers, we often compare our blog to other blogs and judge our blog's success based on how many followers we have vs. the followers of other bloggers. But in time you realize that it's more important to have progress overall. I still have a ways to go with my blog until I will be 100% content with it. But that's what keeps me excited about blogging on a daily basis. The strive for continuing to make progress with my writing and layout of my blog.
They say the first year of any new endeavor is the hardest. So, I plan to take the lessons learned in my first year of blogging and use them to help me in the coming months. Reminding myself that with hustle and hard work comes success.
THANK YOU to everyone who has shared this experience with me. Whether you read my blog, share it on social media, comment on blog posts, been a listening ear and/or even inspired me on a subject I wrote about. YOU make this blog possible. And I can't thank you enough for supporting me along the way.