22nd of November, 2013. This is the day fifteen year old Anne decided to write her first ever blogpost. When I look back at older blogposts, I often cringe at the spelling mistakes or just the way I wrote in general. The language might not be the best, however I do feel like that first ever blogpost I wrote, still very much represents my content and the topics I want to write about. In case you don’t know, my first ever blogpost is called; Being Happy With Yourself. In all honesty, this is still something I struggle with, but I keep trying everyday. The thing I like most about this post is the sentence I ended it with; It’s time to take a risk! I feel like I did. I feel like I took a lot of risks over these past three years. Not all of those risks had such a great ending, but at least I tried and I think by doing just that, I have made fifteen year old me quite proud. (I hope)
Eventhough the whole idea behind my blog, the purpose that I wanted this blog to have, are still the same, I feel like have learned a lot. I have developed myself. I have grown and so has my blog. So to anyone who might be starting a blog, or to anyone who is thinking about starting one. Or even to bloggers who have been doing this for even longer than I have; here are a few things I have learned in three years of blogging.
- First thing I learned; be you. Do not copy others! One of the reasons I started blogging was because I had so much admiration for bloggers like Zoella and Sprinkleofglitter. I used to spent hours on their blogs just looking for things to write about or even trying to mimic their way of writing. At the time I was fifteen years old and had no experience whatsoever with writing. Let alone writing in a foreign language! That is why I do not think it is wrong to look around on the internet, looking for inspiration or simply educating yourself on how to write. But do not copy others!! It is okay to be inspired. It is okay to educate yourself. But you are you and you should not try to be anyone else! Try to find out who you want to be on your blog and be that person.
- Secondly; do not get overexcited when a company reaches out to you. Over the last three years I have had multiple companies reaching out to me, asking me to write a blogpost for them. So far, I have never been paid for this. Everytime I got an email from a company, I felt so honoured that they picked my blog, out of all the blogs they could have picked! But don’t get too excited! Make sure, before sending back your reply; where are my bounderies? To me, it is one of the most important things that my blog stays 100% honest and true to who I am. That is why I always say within the post that I was asked to write it. The latter has given me quite some trouble. Most companies do not want you to adress that they have reached out to you. However, if this is something you want to do, don’t let them tell you you can’t. So before you agree with them on writing the post; tell them where your bounderies are. Be firm, be honest and most of all; dare to say no. If you do not want to collaborate with this company, you don’t have to! Just politely tell them you think your blog does not fit their company but that you are flattered they reached out to you anyway.
- The next thing I have learned is something that I became quite passionate about over the last few months. I often used to read all those blogposts about ‘How To Grow Your Blog!’ or ‘How To Become A Succesful Blogger: Rules of Blogging!’. Now I don’t think there is anything wrong with these posts as really, they could be very helpful. However, I have read plenty of them and one thing I noticed is that there was always one certain ‘rule’ or ‘tip’ they tried to give me: ”pick only one topic to write about and stick with that topic.” I bet this is a great tip. Your readers will know what to expect from you and it is also a lot easier for you. However, to me this tip sounded more like: ”limit yourself to only one topic.” This is something I did not want to do. I wanted my blog to be about everything that popped into my mind. I just do not want to limit myself. ‘They say stay in your lane, boy. But we go where we want to.’ This is a lyric from the song Lane Boy, by Twenty One Pilots and I feel like it fits this situation perfectly. Honestly, if my blog was a tv show, this would probably be our theme song. Yes, I can go limit myself by writing about one topic only. This might give me succes really quickly and easily. However, is that what I want? No. I have a completly different idea for my blog. And even if it is going to take a little longer for me to grow my audience, so be it. At least I stayed true to who I am and who I want to be. That is also where my motto for this blog comes from; let’s change the rules of succesful blogging.
- This brings me to my next point. I just said I wanted to write about everything that popped into my head. However, I do filter it. Mental health is something I often talk about on this blog as it is something that is very prominent in my life. If I were to write down everything that popped into my head; this blog would be more of a ‘rant’ or ‘sob’ blog. Don’t become that blog. Unless a sob blog is what you are going for ofcourse. If so, go ahead. But it is not what I am going for. It is a good thing to share your personal experiences and emotions, but don’t talk about it all the time.
- Put time and effort in your blogposts! I get that you try to post as often as possible. But it is always quality over quantity! If you don’t have a lot of time, don’t post it! Wait until you have some more time on your hands to finish your post. Make sure your post is as good as it possibly can be!
- Almost the last one. I feel like this post is becoming way too long so I am going to keep it short from now on. Post regularly!! I feel like a bit of a hypocrite now, I have to admit. Posting regularly is something I struggle with a lot. This past year especially. A reason for that could be that perhaps emotionally and mentally I have not been doing very well this year. This has been an issue for me for quite some time now, but especially this last year has been tough for no apparent reason. Also with all my exams and schoolwork, it is becoming quite difficult to post as often as I would like to. I am hoping that once I go to uni I have more time and more positive energy to write and post a little more often.
- Lastly; make sure you 100% enjoy what it is you are doing. If you do not enjoy it, then why spend time on it? Blogging is and always will be my hobby. Perhaps one day, if I am lucky, I might be able to earn some money from this. But it will always be something I do because I enjoy it. There is no point in doing something that you do not enjoy.
I feel like this was quite a messy post. I had no plan or structure whatsoever when I started writing this. I truly wanted this to come from my heart as blogging, even after three years, is still something I am incredibly passionate about. I truly hope that it will stay that way for a very long time. I know that I do not have a massive amount of readers, but that’s okay. I know there are people out there who do read and appreciate whatever it is I have to say. To all of those people I would like to say: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am happy and incredibly honoured that I am on this crazy online journey with you. You are very much loved and appreciated. ❤︎❤︎❤︎
My hopes for the future are that I am able to reach even more people with my words. This blog is nothing more than a vessel. Of course I want this blog to be succesful but in the end, what matters most to me is that the message that my blog is carrying is being read, being seen and being used to make the world a kinder, better and more hopeful place. That is all I could ever wish for.
So once again, thank you.
Stay you, stay alive, be kind, be proud. Now repeat and impart.
Wherever you are, whoever you are; let’s go ahead and change the rules of blogging.