So we’ve done it. We have made it a whole year since starting this blog. It has had its ups and downs, it has been fun and it has been incredibly difficult at times. So today, instead of gushing about how grateful I am, I figured I would take the biggest lessons I’ve learned from the last year and share them with you all.
Bear in mind that this list is not exclusively for a blogger, nor will it exclusively be for an indie author. Which actually leads to our first point:
You Are Not Just One Thing
I started this journey by thinking that I would blog as a way to connect with people. I could build a base and then, when I get my book launching, I would have an audience that would be mad for it. I quickly learned that relying just on a book for your income will not work.
In fact, to be successful as a creative, you have to look for multiple streams of income. To live your dream, you have to take on new challenges.
In the last year, I have found that these challenges are things I enjoy just as much as writing: blogging, website design, social media marketing. Am I expert in these? I would say I am definitely getting there.
But I am smiling the whole way.
Work Smart, Not Hard
Throwing in a cliché is always a bit cringe-worthy, but I stand behind this one. When I first started this blog, I was aiming for three blogs a week with potential for a fourth. I can honestly say I’m shocked that lasted so long. I thought that more blogs would mean more visits, more followers, and a strong internet presence.
It was only after I dropped down to two blogs per week and was able to focus on my novel writing that a few things happened. My blog quality improved, my website traffic has jumped, and I have made a lot of progress on my rewrite.
This also extends to other creative ventures. Know where your limits are and focus within them until you are ready to branch out.
Writing is Not a Solitary Profession
Unlike the stereotype of a writer hiding away in their study, usually snubbing their nose at the outside world, writing is not an isolated job anymore. Whether you are a blogger, an author, a poet, or any other kind of wordsmith, the profession is more social than ever.
In fact, your social skills are more important than ever for writers. Building your base and networking with others going down the same journey is not only essential to differentiate yourself, but to make the journey tolerable.
Like I said, there have been some incredibly difficult times on this journey, but they have been overcome through the support of my network and the lessons I have learned from those I have connected with.
We all want to do this professionally, for a full-time living. Who needs the traditional 9-5 day of working for the big corporations. You are a creative, you want to do what you love and nothing else.
In reality, that goal will be a long time in the making. One of the biggest and most important lessons I have learned over the past year is that it takes a lot of time to build a following, to make enough progress to be able to make money from your blog.
During this grind, you should be making sure that you are doing it right. Don’t make the same mistakes as I first did, writing about whatever comes to mind.
Put the time into researching how to do it right, and you can expedite the journey to making money from your blog, book, or other creative project.
This is not the first time I have included this on a list, but you can count on it almost always being there. A lot of the writers and bloggers I have met consider themselves introverts, or have been at some point, but this applies to both introverts and extroverts, and everyone in between.
You will not make your dream a reality by playing it safe. You must try new things, put yourself out there. Don’t think you have enough to say for a blog? Give it a shot. Not a fan of social media? Try building a network anyway. Think you are camera shy? Try making a video. You would be surprised at what might happen.
There you have them, five big lessons from a whole year’s worth of work. They are lessons that I will keep in mind for the next year, and all the ones thereafter.
Were any of these lessons helpful for you? And be sure to share some of the ones that you have learned in your journey, too. And here’s to another year of blogging and writing!