Daily Life

Five things I learnt at Problogger

August 17, 2015

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;

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?

Absolutely.

Ashleigh XXX

Did you go to Problogger?

What will you take away?

 

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  • Amy

    Great lessons you learnt there! Especially the bit about it’s ok to keep your day job, not everyone has to go pro. 🙂 I wrote about this a while back explaining why I am not yet a full time blogger. This really resonate with me.

    Also, I think I blog because I just enjoy writing, as you know me, I want to be less of a blogger more of a writer anyway. 🙂 I wish I could attend. No longer in Aust unfortunately!

    • Maybe you can come back for a holiday! I think it actually confirmed to me I want to write, and write my book, rather than come up with a gangbuster eproduct!

  • Simplify.Create

    Sadly no PB for me but love that you have a clear sense of why you blog. Mental health is my background too but I am taking a break from it for now, for a while or forever. Who really knows. Your top posts are a bit like mine.. no clear theme. Mine are pregnancy, freezer cooking and gift ideas at the top. Variety is the spice of life 😉

    • I really needed a break from it! I work in policy now. Face to face got too draining for me. Will check out your blog!

      • Simplify.Create

        Totally get it! After nearly 8 years as a prison psych, a change was needed, and somehow it became blogging & freelancing 😉

        • WOW that would have been super stressful. I worked in social work mental health case management… then went to work with hoarders. SO hard. I actually do not know how I saw that much darkness every day without cracking. Will you go back to it?

          • Simplify.Create

            I’m a hoarder haha no, just a sentimentalist 😉 not that bad! I actually loved my job and rarely got stressed, even as the senior psych & program manager for half that time but it was shitty management that broke me & now I enjoy being home with my girls too much. Really not sure. Hubby says yes. I’m working on my blog income growing so I don’t have to, but I did some contract work in schools before my second Bub. That was in fact way harder than the prison. Who would have thought 😉 I’m also half way through a deferred grad dip in education. I think I had a career crisis last year haha

  • I’ve seen this “some people write and some people blog” trope bandied around a few times recently.

    I have to admit, it makes me feel uncomfortable. It places people into groups, something that always makes my spidey-sense tingle, and not in a good way.

    • I get what you’re saying. I guess at the conference I met two kinds of people, those that ‘blog’ for a business outcome or for numbers and those that blog because they love to write. Neither is bad or better than the other… it is just a different purpose.

      • That I agree with – but I’ve seen it used to mean something different recently…

  • I’m interested in your definition of what a blogger is.
    Loved the conference.

    • I realise my cold and flu statement is confusing! At the conference I met two types of people, writers who fell into blogging as a way of expressing their art and the other is people who started blogging with a clear direction and message to make $$$ (like most of the speakers who were not nessecarily writers to begin with.) I am trying to work out what I am – and maybe it is okay to swing between the two. I loved it too x

  • Love this. We don’t all follow the same formula – nor do we have to!!

  • Hugzilla

    Word! We chatted at great length about all of this stuff and it really is amazing to come out the other end with not just a whole bunch of great ideas, but clarity about where we are at and where we want to go. Can’t wait to see what crazy creative adventures you have in store. One of the best weekends ever!

  • Love this post – you don’t have to have a mission to take over the world to love blogging. I am also in it for the love of words. I adored ProBlogger but would have found a session on actually writing itself – the core thing! – useful. That’s going on my feedback form.

  • Karen Bleakley

    It was great to finally meet you this weekend and hang out. What a fab weekend it was with tonnes of inspiration. I’m working through my epic list of ideas as we speak. Although using a Darren-style Google calendar has already failed as I’m running two hours behind already and it’s not quite lunchtime yet 🙂 Hope to see you there again next year.

    • Yes! Loved hanging out and meeting you as well. I look forward to watching your first travel video! I think we all need a day extra next year to have a massage and brainstorm before going home!

  • I remember after my first ProBlogger (and only so far) feeling that pressure of quitting your day job and going professional. I remember meeting a lot of people who were going to do just that. But like you, I do like my day job (even though currently I feel burnt out). I am leaning towards cutting down my days thanks to your advice and focussing those on writing. The blog gets me some money but it’s a bonus. Like you, I love writing and connecting with people. I do love voicing my opinions so it’s great to have a platform to share that on.

    Glad you had a good time at ProBlogger!

    • I reckon that is the dream for me too Sanch. 3 days in mental health. 2 days creating. The purrfect balance. What is stopping you now for cutting down a day? I think it has been the best decision ever. You will feel like a different person x

      • Kinda looking for new jobs at the moment…if nothing works out by the end of the year, I’m going to talk to my manager and see if I can cut down to 4. Just hoping they will agree to it

  • Love this Ash! I don’t have a message either, directionless bloggers unite!!
    P.S. loved meeting you, you crazy cat lady xx