Over the course of the past 9 years, I’ve created 5 blogs. (This is attests to my obsessive personality…) But Wildflower + Ink is the first blog I created with a true purpose, an intention to build into something more. While personal life has gotten in the way of my blogger ambitions this year, I still hold onto a sliver of hope that I can create something more with my online presence — a brand, a company, an online shop. It’s true that even after a year, I still don’t have a clear direction of where I want to go, just a vision that remains behind fogged lenses.
This past month marked one year since I began blogging about natural living, and shortly Wildflower + Ink will be one year old. I’ve learned so much not just about writing, but social media, online relationships, and my own self. I’ve connected with a variety of creative people through the Instagram account linked with this blog and have even formed a couple of friendships. If nothing else, Wildflower + Ink proved to be a growing experience for me, and I want to share that with you — whether you’re a blogger, a content creator, or simply a friend curious as to what’s been going on behind the scenes of my little blog.
1. It’s Hard When You’re Sick
Let’s start with the most obvious one. Many of you know I have battled with my health and was recently diagnosed with a chronic illness this year. And while staying home in your pajamas and snuggling up in bed with a cup of hot tea sounds like the perfect writing atmosphere, writing when you’re sick is hard.
The times where I sit down and write out a whole blog post in one go are rare. Not only does my brain turn to mush when I’m ill, but coupled with the brain fog I experience the writing mood is easily switched to “off” far too often. I recently went through an entire month where I couldn’t write a single word — not for my blog, in a journal, or in a letter, due to being too sick and depressed.
The one good aspect of this is on the days I can write, I usually experience a surge of creativity that helps to keep things going.
2. It’s a Time Investment
Blogging has a 3-step shell: forming an idea, writing down the words, and publishing. But then there are hundreds of little steps in between formulating an idea to hitting publish.
There’s brainstorming, fleshing out ideas, outlining, organization, the actual writing, editing — so much editing — photography, social networking, and graphic design. Don’t forget the minimum of five disasters during each post — an unsaved draft, glitchy design program, blurry photos, change in topic course… the creation of a blog post, without fail, takes 10 times more work and longer than what is planned.
3. Self-Doubt Will Occasionally Kill Your Vibes
Despite all my interests lying in the creative fields, I’m actually not that creative a person. This contributes to a lack of quality in my content, a struggle to navigate an online presence, and constant comparison to social media role models.
When you lack interaction on top of this, it compounds the self-doubt. My little blog doesn’t reach much of an audience, and I can’t count how many times I’ve slammed my computer shut, cried to my confidants about how it’s all just not working, and said, “I quit.”
In relation to #2, I need to invest more time, energy, and even money into my blog to create a better experience for both myself and others. The reality is also that the vast majority of people just don’t take the time to read blogs anymore. This is why I’ve been seriously considering starting a YouTube channel as another revenue for traffic, but I’m camera shy and haven’t been able to take the plunge yet…
But the biggest thing I need to pay attention to is deciding whether or not what I have or want to say holds any value, and if I believe so, then to just go for it.
4. Quality is Key…and Blogging is Expensive
Quality in presentation, editing, wording, and photography is what gets your content noticed. The latter especially has been on my mind lately.
Blogging and social networking are 100% visual and my current camera and photography knowledge just aren’t cutting it. What I really need is a new camera, a few basic courses in photography, and a computer that won’t go kaput when I load too many pictures onto it. Unfortunately, all three of those things just keep getting more and more expensive.
5. You Have to Have Fun With It
When I first began Wildflower + Ink, I was so focused on the educational side and making everything as “professional” as possible that I forgot to relax. But blogging is a personal endeavor and as such should exude the blogger’s personality. Once I let go of some of my rigid standards and let my own voice speak, writing up posts became fun again, and I learned a lot about my own developing writing style.
6. Your Blog Name is Important
Before this blog’s creation, I intended to spend a good amount of time creating a simple, easily remembered blog name. However, halfway through my idea process, I was presented with the opportunity to have someone transfer my old blog content and design this new blog. This meant what should’ve taken me weeks to create a blog name became a few days.
As such, I’ve come to deeply regret the name Wildflower + Ink.
The name is too long, unmemorable, confusing, and no longer fits with my content. “Ink” was originally meant to tie in my love of writing and books, two things I no longer blog about much. When I tell people the name of my blog, everyone assumes it refers to tattoos. While I still love “wildflower” and may not give that up, a name change is due in the future…but I’m going to think long and hard about it.
7. Blogging is Draining
I’ve discovered something about blogging.
I don’t want to do it for the rest of my life.
Like I stated earlier, I would love to turn this online presence into something like a small online shop if I can ever get my niche figured out. But blogging holds little reward for so much work, and I’m slowly falling out of love with it. I find myself wanting to do more and focus my attention on something productive that holds greater benefit for both myself and others. I suppose I’m still searching for meaning… which can’t be a bad thing.
As you see, I felt compelled to be honest about where I am in my blogging journey. Hopefully in another year or two I can look back and see these negatives, road blocks, and struggles turn into distant memories, replaced by positive change and purpose. I feel as though I am destined to be a forever drifter, never satisfied and always on the hunt to try a new endeavor. There’s nothing I’d like more than to be settled, but hopefully I will learn more and more about contentment along the way.