Sometimes when you start a new journey you need to hit a lot of bumps along the way to make sure you are on the right path for the right reasons. I started sharing my writing on my blog after I had Everly (almost three years ago now!) I had no idea how to do this, where to start and was extremely intimidated by all the other amazing bloggers out there writing and earning an income from their efforts.
I literally sat in front of my computer for hours intending to write but then instead stalking all these other health and wellness bloggers and comparing myself to them. It was common for Aaron to find me sitting on the couch with my laptop (and a huge glass of wine) complaining that I will never be able to create content that was THAT good or get images that were THAT awesome or figure out how to get affiliate links or sponsors or advertisers to be on my site. He would listen patiently… then kindly say “well, of course you won’t if you never even try”… Gosh! That man is soooo right (most of the time). His advice was spot on. I knew it too (deep down) but I was so afraid to start and do something wrong. Or start without the WHOLE plan figured out. Let me tell you this guys, I still don’t have the plan figured out because it is continually evolving along with me. But I’ve realized that progress matters more than perfection (thanks Jade ❤ )
So that’s it… Just start. Put one foot in front of the other and do something.
And that’s what I did. Day by day I slowly started the practice of writing. Getting my thoughts out. Figuring out how to set up a website on wordpress. I figured out how to take better photos… then next I learned how to edit them. I am still learning about SEO and I still haven’t pursued getting paid for my writing (I’m working on it!). My point is- you can’t build something overnight. Of course the successful bloggers I was comparing myself to had gone through their own process and put in the time. They had done the long hours of learning how to run a website and they spent time writing and curating content. I learned the best lessons by starting my blog, struggling through it and learning to trust the process. I’ve distilled some of my key takeaways below to encourage you to DO IT! Just start the cooking blog, share you personal stories, become a health coach, start your personal training website, share your love for travel, inspire others who are going through similar challenges. Because the reason people share things is to CONNECT. To get a little inspiration from someone else’s journey. Human beings are storytellers. We need to share our experience to connect with others, we have been doing it since the beginning of time.
How can I organize my thoughts/ideas/passions- I feel like I have too many!?
Yes. I still have this problem- mostly because I am ENFP and see potential in everyone and everywhere. I would suggest doing some hardcore self reflection. You will need to get really excited about writing (even if your blog is going to be about travel or cooking, you need to write to get your thoughts together). Do a free-write session or create a passion map. Make a list of all the keywords you feel resonate with what you want in life. Make lists of your strengths. Make lists of the things you share freely anyway. What do people come to you for? Are you the wellness person, do you have the best recipes, do you always know fun things to do in town, are you the fashionista, do you have the “intel” on local camping/fishing/hiking spots, are you brimming with home decor/organizing ideas, do you love animals? Just get in touch with you and what really sings to your heart.
Give yourself space to do this reflection. Pour a glass of wine, light a candle, (you know I bust out my essential oils and get grounded) but do what works for you. I wrote about some fun quizzes and tools to help get you started over here.. My friend Jayme- the author of Journeyfoot- also introduced me to the Native Genius concept– what is the thing that comes SO naturally to you that you don’t even think about it, you just do it? My native genius is seeing potential in people and building relationships. Can’t help it. I just do it!
Here are some questions to help you identify your native genius:
- What do you do better than anything else you do?
- What do you do better than the people around you?
- What do you do without effort?
- What do you do without being asked?
- What do you do readily without being paid?
What if no one wants to read what I share?
This one is tough. But the truth is, not everyone will read what you share. In fact, most people may not. But here’s the key- those that do, the people that connect to your story, WILL read it. Those people will benefit from what you share. I think an important thing to ask yourself is not “what do people want to read” but more along the lines of “what is it that I cannot help but talk about, care about, share about?” and go with the latter. It’s no fun to write about things you think you should. Everyone has a purpose. We are all here living on this earth trying to be better. How can you contribute?
How am I going to get started?
Its tough to get started- just like it is hard to make changes to your habits. It starts with the decision to try. You won’t get it perfectly right straight out of the gate. But if you never even start you deny yourself a fair shot. The advice Aaron gave me when I was first trying to write is “just commit to a daily process and don’t worry about your progress.” It’s the same advice I give to my health coaching clients– change doesn’t happen overnight so just commit to trying every day. Same applies to starting your blog- If you have your idea/mission clearly laid out just start by setting your timer everyday to write for 20-30 min. Even if the page stays blank (it won’t), you are developing an important skill in discipline. Before you know it you will have LOTS of content. And guess what- the more you practice writing and reflecting, the better your content will be!
Where can I figure out how to get a website? And how do I get traffic to my site?
There are so many resources for this- I am clearly not the expert (yet) but there are lots of people who offer advice for free. You can check out these inspiring bloggers (xosarah, Kate, the Wellness Mama suggests this article about starting a blog, I loved this article from Jenny at Healthy Crush about getting her blog started I personally use WordPress.com but you can try squarespace.com, wix.com or weebly.com for free platforms to build your blog. Getting traffic to your site is less important than putting out quality content. Don’t add more noise to the inter-web for the love of god! Be a person of value and provide people with something that will help them. That’s how you begin to build a genuine audience. And be patient.
Hope this helps! So go on, pour your wine and set your writing timer… you just need to start!!!!!!