On the weekend I spent two days with 700 people learning about all things blogging. It was awesome, tiring, overwhelming and informative. My head is buzzing with Instagram challenges, story ideas and where I want to go. But last night in between trying to invent the next green smoothie for cats and getting an affiliate sponsorship with fancy feast, I stopped and breathed a little.
Why did I start this journey?
Did I really start it to make money?
Or is it because writing is what lights me up?
Here are five things I learnt.
1. Some people write and some blog
I am in the first category. I write for one simple reason. I love it. I love telling stories. I love connecting with people and sharing. I love thinking. I love communicating and working things out in words. I feel like I need to get stuff out. This is my first and primary reason for blogging. It is opening the creative part of my soul that I shut for too long. I don’t know where it is leading. I have nothing to sell. It just feels like this is what I need to do right now.
2. It is okay to keep your day job, not everyone has to go ‘pro’
I like my day job. I work in mental health policy which is my passion. I write about mental health and how we can do better in Australia. This job is important, I feel like I have a purpose when I go there. I love getting dressed, going to an office, using my brain and having a routine. This is important for my own mental health and wellbeing. I have thought about this long and hard and my goal would be to earn enough from this writing gig to cut down another day a week and work three days. But do I want to quit all together? No sir. I have studied long and hard to get where I am, and I want to stay there.
3. No one can compete with your authentic voice
People come to your blog because they like you. They like your voice. Your ideas. Your opinions. Don’t bottle that shit up because no one else has your voice but you. Don’t try and blog like someone else. There is only one Mrs Woog and only one you.
4. The value of blogging can’t always be seen in dollars
The grand total of my earnings from blogging has not been much. There has been some free travel stuff, cat cafe tickets and a luxury cat bed. Do I care? No. The BEST thing about my blog? The connections I have made. The comments and the shares. The people I have met. The messages telling me people laugh at my cat posts, or that they went to talk to someone about their anxiety because of something I wrote, or that they now want to travel more. You can’t put a price on that.
5. It’s okay to not have a ‘message’
We were asked to analyse our ‘best posts’ and keep doing that, so our message is clear.
After a quick look at my stats today my top posts in the last 12 months consist of;
- A travel post about Boracay
- A post about not having a baby
- A post about depression
- A review of the Sydney Cat Cafe.
As you can see, there is no ‘message’ there – other than I write whatever I want, and it seems to be working out.
What I will take away from Problogger?
The friendships, the organisational tips, a million more blogs to follow and some SEO advice. Oh and the weekend finally gave me the push to get that book that has been in my head on the page.
Will I go again?
Did you go to Problogger?
What will you take away?