It's been one full year...
On April 4, 2019, I released my first blog post ever on my newly created site. I remember how nervous I felt hitting the 'Publish' button.
What if I was judged by what I wrote? What if this was all a waste of time? Not to mention how amateur my site looked! For those of you who have been a part of my journey from the very beginning, you know what I'm talking about! That ugly salmon color background with my childish fonts lol it's definitely been quite the journey.
I am so proud of how far I have gotten within the past year. I took a chance and did something completely out of my character. I finally pushed myself out of my own comfort zone. Not only does it cause for celebration, it also causes for reflection on the past year. Reflecting on my purpose for this all. How far I have come. The obstacles I have encountered along the way. The accomplishments I have achieved.
I've always been a writer. When I was 11, I was in my 7th grade English class. Mr. Riviezzo, I will never forget his name. He used to make us do writing prompts with background instrumentals. We would have to create a storyline based on the mood of the music, and then change the events of the storyline anytime the mood of the music was changed. It was in this moment I realized I loved writing.
I kept a notebook of poems all throughout middle and high school. During and after college, people would pay me to write their papers in hopes of getting an A. I never disappointed. But yet despite all of this, I never had the confidence to publish my work for the public to see. I never shared any of my writing. It was my secret to cherish. My escape. And most times, my writing was so emotionally fueled. I just wasn't ready to expose those demons.
At the age of 28, I decided to sharpen my skillset. I took writing courses. I practiced daily journaling. I expressed interest in publishing a book. It was becoming more obvious to me that this is what I wanted to do with my life; write and connect with others.
A month after my 29th birthday, my fiancé and I found out that I was pregnant. Hit the panic button! I wasn't ready...like at all. Neither was my fiancé. But after the initial shock wore off, we welcomed the circumstances and began making plans for our future with the benefit of the baby in our minds. God had other plans...
We walked into my first doctor appointment anxious with excitement to see our baby. The excitement didn't last long. What was supposed to be one of the happiest days in my life, turned out to be the most heartbreaking. My baby wasn't going to make it. The pregnancy had been deemed abnormal.
After I lost the baby, I fell into a deep depression. I barricaded myself in the house for 3 weeks, unable to pull myself together to face anyone. I was grieving. I felt ashamed that my body could not do what a woman's body is meant to do. I failed.
My journey for healing became my first priority. I worked avidly at it. I decided I needed to live my life, on my terms. I searched for peace and happiness like a person searches for water in a desert. But above all, I wanted to honor the memory of my baby.
My site was born...
5 weeks after losing my baby, I decided to create a personal blog. I vowed to always express myself honestly and vulnerably. I vowed to write about topics that were raw, no matter how painful and uneasy. I vowed to connect with others on a level that I never thought was imaginable. Something clicked. Feeling that much pain and anguish puts a lot of things into perspective. If I felt like this, how many others felt the same? Do they feel as alone as I felt during that time?
Healing does not need to be lonely. The power of healing can be magnified through the strength in numbers. Through togetherness. Unity.
I've made many mistakes and will continue making them. Learning how to create my site was definitely a challenge. I am not that tech savvy. I had to rehash my Myspace skills after a decade...disastrous. A lot of trial and error. Stumbling along the way, deciphering what is appropriate to promote. What is effective marketing? How can I keep my audience constantly stimulated and interested? But I truly love writing. I love blogging. I love connecting with others on a deeper level. It's enough to keep me motivated and to continue pushing myself towards perfecting my craft.
What I learned this past year-
- Not everyone will support and that's okay! Seriously, it's not personal.
- Don't compare yourself to other bloggers. There is no real timeline and everyone has their own journey.
- Enjoy the process! The ups, the downs, all of it! It's a true learning experience.
- Connecting your site to your social media platforms makes life SO much easier.
- Grow your audience organically. It's a marathon, not a race.
- Stop obsessing over statistics. Horrible for my mental health! I'm too analytical and way too hard on myself.
- Monetize, monetize, monetize.
- Show love to your fellow bloggers! Gain support by giving support.
What I have accomplished this past year-
- Over 400 blog followers
- Created a Twitter account...I never thought I'd see the day.
- Upgraded my site and created a cleaner theme and layout.
- Several guest column articles for a local internet magazine.
- Growing my following on all social media platforms. Key word-ORGANICALLY.
- Flew to France for a company retreat to present one of my articles on stepping out of your comfort zone.
That's a hard question to answer! Definitely focusing on providing more quality content. Looking forward to connecting with more people. Creating more opportunities for exposure. Researching sponsors and collaborations. I am open to any opportunity that might present itself.
advice to people starting a new venture...
Don't overthink it. Don't talk yourself out of it. And don't expect overnight success. Anything worth having takes continuous effort, non stop research, and an abundance of time. Don't allow yourself to be overcritical and just enjoy the journey for what it is- a learning experience. Learning is half the fun. I know that sounds cliché but it's a super fact. But above all, keep going!
thank you <3
From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank my supporters enough. I know I must sound like a broken record at this point but it is only because I truly mean it. Seriously, THANK YOU. I was in a really dark period in my life and all of your support has kept me above the surface. It motivates me to spread awareness on topics that matter. Because of all of you, I continue to push myself to connect with others in the most positive light that I can. You all really keep me going! I enjoy receiving your feedback and reading your comments. Please don't ever stop reaching out to me lol. You are all beyond appreciated and I am eternally grateful. I hope you all continue this journey with me and ride it out until the wheels fall off.