1.27.2014

I Used To Be Funny (And Three Blogging Lessons Learned)

top from Sugar Love Boutique (one of my absolute favorite shops) // use code yellow for 40% off

So it occurred to me the other day that this coming Saturday marks three years at this whole blogging gig. It's nothing shy of a miracle if we are being honest. I wasn't even sure if I could stay married for three years, let alone write a blog for that long. That's a joke about the married thing if you are my husband and you happen to be reading. I gave us at least five.

Back to the point at hand though, as this dawned on me I started looking back at what I was writing about three years ago, two years ago, and one year ago. As I was scrolling through it almost felt like I was reading somebody else's blog. The entire time I kept smiling and then frowning, smiling and then frowning. The smiles because I was looking back truly proud of what I had published. I would laugh, I would roll my eyes at my non-sense, and I would smile because I remember the feelings I had when writing those crazy little blog posts. And then a part of my brain started to speak up and ask "why don't you write like that anymore? why don't you come up with clever topics every other day? why don't you just allow yourself to write your stupid, silly little writings on a whim and not think twice about it?" So yeah, basically my brain wouldn't stop asking questions and it was really annoying. But here's the thing, I had to agree with it.

This whole blogging thing is a hard balance. We (or at least some of us, myself included) start out blogging to have fun. And we do have fun, we have a lot of fun. But somewhere along the line we decide that maybe this fun could turn into an income producing hobby, which is a great logical next step in many cases. But here's where it changed for me--within the past few months, this blog turned entirely from a fun side hobby that brings in a nice little income to THIS IS MY JOB. I have to make an income from it, it's no longer an option. And that's where my writing changed. No longer do I aimlessly make my way to the computer in the evenings to see what may come out of my fingers. Now it's planned out that from 1-2 pm I will be writing a blog post because that's what I am supposed to do from 1-2 pm.  And so it's weird. I love that this "fun hobby" is now a job, but it's hard. Not a complaining "this sucks" type of hard, but a "hey, I want to be the fun blogger that I used to be but grow into the professional blogger that I am supposed to be..." hard.

With that being said, there are a few things I have learned throughout the past three years that I need to remind myself of right now that maybe will resonate some with you.  

1. Content is key. Without producing content that people want to keep coming back for, there is no blog. I get so caught up in all of "the other stuff" that accompanies blogging that I often forget to focus on the one thing that got me to this point: content. I don't care where you are at in your blogging career, always keep this front and center. 

2. Do what works for you. I'll be the first to admit that I often start reading other blogs and become easily discouraged. I ask myself why I can't take pictures like they do, come up with interesting topics daily, cook food like her, etc. Along with this, I will look at other bloggers and think "HOW?!" Like how in the world did I just email them asking a question and they responded within seconds. I have learned to set goals for myself everyday of what I know I can actually achieve. More times than not it's "write blog post" and "answer business related emails" meaning a lot of stuff gets left on the table. Determine what your priorities are, and work those priorities. None of us can do it all, regardless of how well we fake it. 

3. Don't get so caught up in reinventing the wheel when what you are already doing works. I am constantly trying to think of the next thing that I can do, when a lot of times I need to spend time looking back on what I have done. Getting back to the basics is where it's at peeps. 

So those three things are what I am trying to drench my brain in right now. 

Anybody feel me on any of this right now? 

ps. THREE YEARS!!!!! A celebration will be had. It will be sure to include lots of confetti, x's and o's, and other dramatic "you are the best readers eveeeeeerrrrr" types of things. 

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40 comments:

  1. I'm coming up on my three years soon too!!! Congrats to you girlie. You put a lot into this space and it shows. Also, I haven't commented on it yet, but the new design is just the bees knees. Love it! Love you!

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  2. I love your space - it makes me happy when I'm sad. It gives me a good night's sleep - not that it's boring but that I usually read your posts right before I go to bed and it gives me a smile. So...thank you for those pointers. Thank you for this blogging community you've created - I've learned a lot from your not-so-little space in BlogLand. I often wonder if my blog is just too deep sometimes or if my "I want to inspire you" posts are annoying. But it's me...so it works. I may never be the next LIY or Little Miss Momma or even Glennon, but being Nay is working out for me just fine.
    So thrilled to be sponsoring you in a couple of days! Woot Woot.

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  3. Congratulations on three years of blogging! You are will funny andddd I love our blog's face lift too!!

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  4. Love your advice! It is SO hard to balance everything and not get discouraged when looking at other blogs. These are great things to keep in mind. Congrats on three years!

    Nikki
    thefashionablewife.com

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  5. Happy three years! This post is totally spot on. However, I think the current version of your blog is hilarious and interesting, so don't be too hard on yourself. But I can relate to looking back at previous posts and thinking things used to come more easily! I think as soon as you (the general "you") start trying too hard in blogging, your posts become less interesting. Genuine content totally shines through.

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  6. Congrats on three years and thank you for the tips on what you've realized got you to where you are. Back to the basics, friend!

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  7. Just so you know, I always come here and think I wish I could be funny like Erin and write about random things that, despite their randomness, make sense. Guess we all have our gifts :) I'm coming up to two years blogging and it has gone so fast! Congrats on three years!!

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  8. I could not agree with you more. I have a very rudimentary personal blog but I struggle with content all the time because some days I force myself when I am just not feeling it. You always make me chuckle though and I truly appreciate your candor.

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  9. Yes to all of it. I just had my "holy shit why am I not doing whatever so and so is doing / why do I feel like I have to do this instead of want to do this / my brain is a god damn train wreck of crazy right now" post last week as well. I'm with ya, just keep doing you!

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  10. Three years - wow. Mine's turning two years old this Saturday (and it's REALLY weird how we talk about em like babies), and I've gone back to treating it as a "just me" thing, which I love. I'm abroad right now and made a promise to myself that for the time I'm here, the blog needs to purely be for me so that I can have untainted, genuine memories when I read back on this time :)

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  11. Funny thing is? You still make me LOL. Love your raw, genuine writing - money maker or not - you've got a good thing going here so cheers to that!

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  12. Your blog is one that I always look forward to reading.
    Happy three years!

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  13. Yay for 3 years! Very excited about all the fun that will be happening around here in celebration! Those are great points to remember for the small and the large bloggers. I do find you hilarious though, business or not! :) Keep it up!

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  14. happy three years. I am in looooooooove with your new layout. it's beautiful!! [& you're still definitely very funny... definitely.]

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  15. Great post (and blog design!) - I don't intend to make money from my blog, but I did get a little caught up in thinking I HAD to try to do giveaways or get sponsors. I don't. I can do what I want!

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  16. Happy three years!!! In my few months of blogging I have found myself looking at other blogs asking myself why I couldn't do those things..def a bad habit I had to break.

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  17. I think "do what works for you" is some of the best blogging advice I've ever heard.

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  18. Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. It's a good reminder of why we all start blogging, what we might hope to achieve, and the struggles we sometimes face to be creative, clever, or intriguing. Your timing is impeccable :)

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  19. Love love loe your honesty here. And thank you for the tips! Also--just for the record...u are definitely still funny. :)

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  20. 3 years is an awesome accomplishment! I've only been at it since this past Oct!

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  21. Great tips!! Content really is key-- what works for you may not work for everybody else!

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  22. Happy dance for making it three years, whoot!!! I also hit my three years mark though lots of breaks from blogging stunted my growth. So, yes to ALL of what you said esp number three. Yikes, so true. xo

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  23. Happy (almost) 3 years! I've been doing this whole blogging thing for only a few months now so 3 years seems super impressive to me right now.

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  24. Congrats for making it three years! I agree that I get discouraged sometimes thinking that my blog is not good enough or I dont have enough followers. Thanks for the great tips! Susan

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  25. We love you sweet Erin, just the way you are!! x

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  26. Congrats on three years! When I get discouraged or overwhelmed with blogging I don't produce good content and find that I try and write what I think others will enjoy. Its the posts that come out of my own ideas and ramblings that I am the most proud of.

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  27. Congrats on 3 years lady!! Just so you know, you are still SO funny and I still think you shine through all of your posts whether some days you feel like you are forcing it. I didnt't want to take custom art orders for a while because I felt like it stressed me out too much to have to force out something when I like the spur of the moment inspiration, but Chris encouraged me to still take orders because it's good practice and a refining of my craft...which applies to you as well blogging now as a business. You are doing great and will get even better! And as much as you might wish sometimes that your blog was like someone else's in certain areas, a crowd of others think of you the same way. It's so true to just be ourselves and write out of who we are, and unfortunately it's easy to get trapped in the comparison game. But what drew this many people to read your blog is because you are you and not anyone else, so keep telling yourself these 3 things (as I will be, too). Thanks for encouraging us all...xo!
    Eva Marie Taylor

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  28. Congrats on the 3 years!!! Truly amazing! And great advice. Simple and to the point. I like that. I am surprised I have made it over a year in blogging and just looking back on that year I realized it took me that long to finally find my "groove"...not to be "like that one blogger" but be "my kind of blogger"

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  29. Congrats on 3 years!!

    I'm about to be a bit honest and I really hope it doesn't hurt your feelings but only gives you a little insight into your own realizations.

    I have stopped following you blog. :( About a year ago actually. I used to love your hilarious posts. Your awkward and awesome posts. Your random antics. Your promise to send cookies to fans for answering some random question. (Those cookies were amazing all the way here in Ontario) But you started accepting sponsors and doing lots of group give aways and I feel like you kind of took a hu leap away from what your blog used to be. I really miss the Living In Yellow blog I loved before it became famous. I guess I'm a bit of a hipter. Still love you! I just miss you. Kinda like that best friend in high school, who went away to a big ivy league school. I know that best friend is mostly the same, but now she has her fancy learnin' and important friends to impress.

    Much love to you, Erin!

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  30. Wow 3 years is awesome!!! Great advice.

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  31. I just stumbled on this blog today so I don't know what the old look was, but I definitely love this one! I'm relatively new to blogging so winning this giveaway would be AH-MAZING!

    ~Sophi @ www.simplysophisticatedblog.wordpress.com~

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    1. And definitely am on the wrong post... sorry! Not sure how I managed that lol

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  32. Love this! I've done the same. I've been blogging for almost 10 years now and I'll go back and read things that I wrote and either laugh at how young and naïve I was or think, "Man, why can't I be that optimistic about life again?" Either way, it does everyone some good to stop and notice the shift. Are you doing it for yourself or are you doing it for everyone else? Great post!

    Kari @ www.karilife.com

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  33. "None of us can do it all, regardless of how well we fake it." <<--- AHH! If only we could remember this in life all the time. Social media is great in some ways, but sure makes faking it much easier! I just went through this same thing, except I still only blog for fun and have a few readers, where I got discouraged at what I'm writing and just feel blocked. But looking back I realized that I was probably there before, even when I read posts that I love reading now, so the most important thing for me to remember is to just do it. Just go write. I rarely, actually never, regret a post that I actually go through with.

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  34. I have been reading your blog for a long time and have thoroughly enjoyed your journey. You still seem funny to me and growth is good - I hope my blog is as organic as yours when it grows up!

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  35. I have been learning that when I feel like I am stuck in a rut, it is good for me to go back and read a few of my favorite posts. It reminds me of what I like to do, and what I am best at. How is it just so easy to forget? That's what I would like to know.

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  36. Congrats Erin! I celebrated 3 years blogging at the beginning of the month and it definitely doesn't feel like it's been that long haha Love your 3 tips too!

    I just have to say that I am seriously loving your new design. Melissa did a fantastic job and I'm a wee bit jealous ;) Planning a redesign of my own and this is definitely going in the inspiration pile!! xo

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  37. I can't believe it's been three years!! You've been kicking butt for all of it! I'm so glad that I can call you a blogging friend and that I can come here every day for a laugh. You always seem to make the business related stuff look super fun!

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  38. You are so funny :) congratulations!! If you get a chance, check out my blog. http://crazybingolife.blogspot.com/

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  39. This is great advice. Thank you for sharing! -Amanda, TheSensibleStyle.com

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I read and appreciate every one of your comments. Thanks for stopping by my space and sharing a piece of yourself on this huge ole internet. I meant that in the least creepy way possible. I'm just good at making everything awkward. Anyhow, thank you for your comments. They make me smile :)