It's almost 2018, holy freakin' crap. That means I've been blogging for over a year now say whaaa. Unbelievable. Anyway, I LOVE reading what bloggers learn every year. As it being my first FULL year of blogging, I thought I'd take a stab at this kind of post. Here's 11 things I learned in 2017...
1. Track your progress + goals (in your own way)
THIS IS A MUST. Yes, I know, this is on everyone's list. However, this will make or break your blogging journey. If you gave up on blogging the night before, this habit will get you back out of bed and on your laptop.
Let's talk about style.
2. Experiment with blogger advice
I kid you not, I was pinning 100 pins a day at one point. I saw one blogger do it and was determined to have her kind of following. It got annoying real quick. Today, I pin a minimum of 30 pins a day and have a follower rate I'm proud of.
Try to experiment with other blogger routines and alter them accordingly. Ever wonder why you don't receive the same results with the same techniques as someone else? You either weren't ready for that footstep or your path to growth involves a different kind of process.
Find a blogger whom you trust and believe in. Then, consistently check to see if they are writing posts about blogging tips. Chances are, if you are both working toward similar goals, you will learn something valuable from them. If not, find another blogger.
Looking ahead: For trying new tactics, I plan to give each a week to produce results for my blog. If nothing happens, I will cut it out of my routine.
3. Facebook Groups are ya homies
I think I've joined over 50 Facebook Groups over the last year. I only engage in two everyday. Originally, I was pretty involved with three daily. Then all of them became saturated with every-kind-of-niche bloggers and grew too big to find helpful info. I'm still a part of those groups, but I check in on them on more of a biweekly basis.
The two I engage with daily are Boost Your Blog and Instagram Impact. Both of these groups are run by Helene Sula. (Biggest role model) Helene does a phenomenal job of authentically helping you grow as a blogger. Her thread posts are based on growing a following in an organic way. It's difficult to find groups that care about doing things the right way in the blogging world.
Looking ahead: I plan to find one more group that I can pull new info. from and engage with daily.
4. Compare, but not without research
It's almost impossible to not compare yourself to other bloggers. So I'm not gonna tell you not to. ALTHOUGH, when you're doing it, do it with research. How long have they been in the blogging biz? Is it one person or a whole community maintaining the site? These things matter. Comparison can be done in a healthy way. Bookmark your favorites and use them as role models.
A few of mine are...
5. Let the post evolve itself
Don't plan on visiting a city with the intention of creating a post called, "3 Coffee Shops I Love Here." Because what happens when you only have time for one shop and it serves mediocre coffee, with a side of terrible decorating?
If you've already been there before, go ahead. Plan your lil' heart out. If not, ask this question after your visit. What brought this city to life for me? Let's say you tried some crappy food, but walked into two museums you didn't wanna leave. Write about the museums. Their entrance. Their exhibits. Their café. Their importance. Why did you stay so long? What did you learn there?
Looking ahead: I plan to visit every new place with a list of "blog post ideas" but not a concrete opinion on what I will find.
6. Don't invest in the course, until you trust the blogger
I held off on buying courses/ebooks for the first couple months. I was new to the game. I wasn't following many bloggers in my niche yet and I surely hadn't built trust with anyone.
The first ebook I bought was Taylor Stanford's 30 Day to Blog Success for $35. This ebook helped me increase my Pinterest following from 230 to 1,000+ in the last eight months. When I bought this, she was having a sale, so this ebook is priced at $70 today. You can find the details about this course on her website.
My second purchase was recommended by Helene Sula. She wrote an ebook called Instagram Unlocked, which was included in the Genius Blogger's Toolkit 2017, I bought in October for $97. Best purchase so far. (I plan on writing a post about this toolkit once I've completed a few more of the ebooks/courses.)
Looking ahead: I plan to set aside one day every week to work on the course I've started in the toolkit.
7. You're only as good as the posts you write
Meaning the ones in your head, notebook, and drafts don't count. They can count, but today they don't.
I've started using the "you can always go back" mindset. The funny thing about that too is, I haven't gone back yet. I know I will- anything can be improved. Today though, my priority is to believe in my work and get it out there. My reputation sits on what is published.
Looking ahead: I plan to start publishing only one post per week so I can focus more on its quality and teaching myself the remaining blogging basics I haven't mastered. (Lol this may change tomorrow)
8. Quit and quit again
Great thing about blogging? You can walk out on the job any day and have your job back in the morning. You're your own boss. You can quit. Fire yourself. Complain about unfair conditions. Do what it takes. And if every morning after, you can't imagine doing something else, you're in the right place. So sit back in that desk chair and create something wonderful.
Quit and quit again, until you learn to understand that maintaining a job you love, comes with great difficulty, but also great joy.
9. You may know a lot, but He knows more
I read a lot. I write a lot. I research a lot. I know a lot. Although, despite every determined effort, God will always know more than me. So, I have two options:
Together, with my experience and His wisdom, we can create some wild stuff.
If you are a believer and blogger, do you think God can work through you, using your platform?
10. Pay yourself with love
Some bloggers quit for good. Return to old jobs. Write real books. Chase something more exciting.
It takes a lot to maintain a blog. Pay yourself. You aren't making a dime off your blog yet? Me either, but that's not what I mean.
Pay yourself with love.
By owning a blog you are-
Pay yourself by-
11. Take it day by day
Yes a blog schedule is important, but so is taking care of yourself.
You aren't going to create quality work if you feel like crap. Take a few days off.
You work on the side? Have you been scheduled extra hours this week? Cut back on what you expect of yourself. You would want a boss who is nice to you and flexible. Be this.
Most importantly, take time out of your day to sit in silence and acknowledge all you've accomplished so far with your blog.
Your blog is live, what can you do with it today?
Looking ahead: I plan to be less harsh with myself. I tend to write down five things that need done for the blog each day and worry if I don't accomplish them. However, waitressing + other events don't always allow time for that kind of productivity. So, I hope to be more realistic when it comes to what I expect of myself each day.
It's only been a year and I feel like I've climbed a mountain. Sure, there's plenty more to climb, but I know with a little experience and an inspiring God, I can get anywhere.
*What did you learn in 2017? It can be anything! Faith, travel, or blog related.
*What are your goals for 2018?
This trip started out with some bad Amigos and a murder podcast. What’s your favorite way to pass time? Make sure to let me know below, I looove trying new things!
"Why Oklahoma?" everybody keeps asking. Well dudes I wrote a list of the 20 states I have left to visit and stuck it above my bed. Oklahoma was included in this list and Oklahoma City was a manageable drive for a weekend trip. Yes crazy interesting selection process I know.
Our stay was accompanied by cold and windy weather, so I put together this winter checklist for y’all.
1. Myriad Botanical Gardens
Price: Free / $8
I was super excited to visit this garden, especially because it was INSIDE and WARM. Although, after walking through the entire thing in under fifteen minutes, I felt kinda ripped off. I wouldn't recommend spending the $8 unless you are a crazy plant lover.
I included this in my checklist because the outdoor grounds looked super cool and you don't have to pay to walk the grounds outside. So, garden vibes at no price. Shhh, do not tell me you cannot walk outside during winter. If there’s no wind, you will live, put on your coat.
2. Oklahoma City National Memorial
This place was incredible. I have never been to a memorial that has been so carefully put together. The outdoor architecture is crazy impressive.
Originally, I hadn't planned on venturing inside the museum and paying fifteen dollars. After the visit, I can confidently say if you only have one hour in Oklahoma City, spend it in this museum. This self-guided tour takes you through the chronological order of events on the day of the bombing in 1995. It will challenge you emotionally and help you understand the gravity of hurt in our world. Very well done.
3. Oklahoma City Museum of Art
I've been to a fair share of art museums. My mom is an artist, so I have a vivid memory of jumping from museum to museum with her when I was younger.
I am a budget traveler, but when the weather surprises you, one must improvise. I must say, this museum is worth the $12. It's unique and carries a variety of exhibits. Below is one of my favorite glass exhibits.
This museum also offers a dinner and a movie combo for $29!
4. Bourbon Street Cafe
Price: $10 - $40 // check out their menu!
Explore Bricktown and grab a bite to eat on the riverwalk at Bourbon Street Cafe. The riverwalk was darling, especially because it was decorated for Christmas! At the cafe, ask to sit in the heated indoor patio to have a dining experience next to the water.
I ordered the gulfside tacos with shrimp ($11) and Josh ordered the bacon cheeseburger ($10)! These shrimp were cooked perfectly, I wanted to ask for an extra side of them lol! I also ordered one of their cheapest cocktails, a champagne mimosa. ($6)
5. Lake Hefner
Drive around the lake and find the perfect spot to watch the sunset. By this point, the wind had died down and we were excited to enjoy the outside and not be miserable.
Grab coffee or dinner to go before this and have a picnic on the wall or in one of their shoreline parks. We entered through Stars and Stripes Park.
I seriously felt like I was in a coastal town half of the time we were exploring. OKC you’re so rad. Thanks for the fun this past weekend.
I’m only one person. I know I didn’t cover every winter activity this place has to offer. Let me know in the comments what I should add!
*I didn’t do much shopping or coffee shop hunting. I hope to return sometime! Any fun suggestions?