I’ve been writing here for several years now (Several technically means three or more, so that’s accurate.) and it’s been such a fascinating ride! I’ve grown as a writer, a photographer, a story-teller, and a sharer. I’ve experienced ups and downs, small victories, and a full range of other emotions. I’ve learned how to listen to my own feelings, if for no other reason than to be able to reiterate and clearly communicate them here. At the risk of sounding trite, starting this blog is one of the things that I’m most proud of myself for doing and thankful for. Recently, I’ve realized a few things and I thought I’d take a quick moment to share.
- I feel like I’ve finally come into my own. At first, I worried a lot about what I’d post. Even when there were only a few readers, (Thanks, Mom.) I analyzed every word and was truly concerned about what people would think of me. Don’t get me wrong…I still worry more than I should and often cringe when hitting publish. However, I feel like I’ve hit a groove. I’ve been creating regular content for over a year now and I’ve grown so much more comfortable with my voice.
- I should take myself more seriously. At first, I’d use a poorly lit photo because “it didn’t really matter that much. Only a handful of people would see it anyway.” I excused half-assed work because I didn’t have thousands of eager follows. Lately, I’ve learned that I’m selling myself short with that sort of attitude and that I need to hold myself to the same standard whether I have 10 readers or 10,000. I recently “applied” for a writing position in which the process alone scared the shit out of me. Prepping my application was a big slap in the face in regards to how low of a standard I’ve held myself to. It was a turning point in which I decided I needed to act more legit, no matter how many readers I have.
- I really did become a better writer by churning out regular content. When I first started this little project, my husband told me that my first step should be to write tons of posts. What?! Without a perfectly-designed platform to share them on? Without one million dedicated followers?! It felt like such a waste to write and write without a reason. (And I didn’t follow his precise instructions — who’s surprised?) Nonetheless, he was right. The more I wrote, the more comfortable I became and the more easily I could articulate my thoughts. I’m probably not going to win any literary awards just yet. However, I can say with 100% certainty that I’m a better writer today than I was three years ago. And for that reason, I’ll continue to share here so that I’ll be even better three years from now.
- I love where my audience is right now. I went through a bit of a period where I felt so pressured to do more. I needed more followers, more comments, more repeat readers. I needed more content and more shares. Bullshit. Those things don’t actually matter. It turns out that I’m actually happy with the level that I’m on right now – I’m just not happy with how nonchalantly I’ve approached it. I have enough readers. I have enough comments. What I don’t have enough of is confidence that I’m enough.
It seems silly to think that this little space on the internet could have aided in my personal growth as much as it has. When I first started, I didn’t even quite know why I was doing it. I didn’t have a goal in mind necessarily; I just knew I really, really wanted it. Looking back, I can clearly see that I needed an outlet. I needed a place to spill my thoughts and ideas where I felt like I could possibly use them to encourage or motivate someone else. I needed a place where I was telling my story…both the ups and the downs. Now, over three years later, I can honestly say that I’m a better person and more self-aware than I was because of this blog. I’m a better writer and communicator and I’m definitely more supporting and encouraging of others. Something about putting your life “out there” twice a week will certainly make you more understanding of others!
As I wrap up a year of regular content (I’ve posted every Monday and Thursday for a year now!), I realize just how influential this space has been for me, and I’m thankful that I took the leap. Deciding to post regularly was a huge commitment that felt incredibly regrettable and daunting at times. I’ve felt brave and scared, talented and incapable, strong and weak…and experiencing all of the emotions has made me a better, stronger person. My intentions are to continue this endeavor and in doing so, I can’t wait to see how much I grow over the next year. I can also encourage you with certainty to attempt your big ideas and dreams. Whether you sink or swim, you’ll inevitably learn something and to me, that’s what life is about anyway. 2016 is in full swing. Will it be a year of change and growth? Or will it be another year that slides by without any exciting transitions? You decide.