Thursday, October 25, 2012
One Year Later
It's one year later. One year since I hit publish on my very first post. Though it was nothing profound or groundbreaking, perhaps that first one was the hardest. As someone who has always been shy and somewhat self-critical, I tend to get caught up in how others might perceive me. It may seem counterintuitive then for someone like me to put my thoughts, opinions and feelings out into the most public space there is.
But once I did it, I felt a little brave. I've been brave 213 times over the last 12 months.
There have been posts I felt very proud of and others that I've looked back on and wished I had taken more time to write or research or maybe just approach a little differently. I've learned that one mis-used word can derail a post and make some well intended thought or idea come off as trivial or snarky and one year later, I can even tell you that I had seriously underestimated the amount of personal time I would need to invest just to be able to hit that publish button each day.
Nobody tells you that stuff and not many others even realize what is involved. As supportive as I consider my friends and family to be, very few understand this little hobby of mine. Some even wonder if I'm being too open and personal and worry that some weirdo out there is going to take advantage of me because of it or use that information to just plain ol' hurt my feelings.
Twelve months ago, nobody told me that it would take almost as long to even find my rhythm or my voice. I think I'm still developing those. I naively started off with a long list of topics to discuss here on the blog and no one was more surprised than I when I found just how quickly I had burned through them. One year in and I've learned that creating new and fresh content each day can be frustrating, competitive and isolating. Inevitably, the comparison game came into play at one point or ten during my first year and there have been times when I questioned why I was even putting myself through it all. Was I really contributing something meaningful or unique? Was my time better spent doing some of the things I wrote about? Was anybody even reading these posts? I can't tell you how many mornings I have turned on my computer simply to see if anybody had commented on a post yet. As much of a community as it can be, there are times when blogging can also be very lonely.
One year later and I am not a famous blogger. I'm not supporting myself on ad income and neither my home or my words have been published anywhere but on my own blog. I blog because I want to blog. I blog for me. But there is no denying that I want people to read what I take so much time to write about and carry something positive away from it.
But for all its trials, blogging has brought other personal rewards my way and those were the ones I was counting on to begin with. I made that first post happen at a time when I as feeling particularly stuck and frankly, a little lost. To be empowered with a tool that would not only motivate me, but hold me accountable to getting something creative out 4 or 5 times a week- regardless of what other uncontrollable chaos was happening around me, helped me get through an extremely tough period in my life.
Hard work and creativity are the best life preservers. Don't let anybody tell you differently.
The daily task I set before myself feels so good once I've tackled it. Whether I start my day with a post or end it with one, I either wake or fall asleep feeling accomplished. Don't get me wrong. I keep this blog in it's proper context. There are people out there doing truly brave work and accomplishing remarkable things on a much more significant scale. I write about making my house a home, design and party inspiration. I am not saving the world or curing cancer. But as indulgent as this time investment might seem to some, the past year has meant so much to me.
One year later and I've learned so much, mostly about what I can do. I've even learned that I can tackle some of the more intimidating, administrative tasks associated with blogging. Of course, I can't take all the credit. I can't tell you how many times I've searched a help topic only to find the solution to my problem served up nice and tidy by another blogger who had taken the time to write a post about it based on their own trials and tribulations. Which leads me to another important realization one year later...
Knowing what I know now about all the hard work, the time investment, the loneliness and competitiveness and even the burn-out, makes me appreciate all the more the consistently good work posted each day by other bloggers. Some of them sure make it look easy. It's hard not to get sidetracked by fancy layouts or group photos at glamorous launch parties and double digit comment counts and imagine that each blogger was an overnight sensation. Perhaps there were a few. But I'm certain most of them probably sat right here where I am now not so long ago, having wondered the very same kinds of things over their first year or two of blogging. With newfound appreciation, I can tell you that based on my own experience, the blogs I follow read so much differently to me now. The bloggers that take the time to mentor newbies like myself, well I have only the utmost respect for.
One year from now, I still hope to be blogging away at Holtwood Hipster. Maybe I'll even share a little behind the name at some point. It's not as transparent as it sounds. I hope that I will have gained more experience with applications that will improve the quality of my posts and I certainly hope that I will have built a stronger readership in one year's time. Most of all, I plan to write more openly and honestly over the next year like I have in this post, so that others in this community will have a chance to get to know me better. Blogging is only half the fun when played safely as a spectator sport, am I right? This shy girl is going to hold herself accountable to be brave once more.
Posted by Erin | Holtwood Hipster at Thursday, October 25, 2012