I haven’t jumped in on the threads about gratitude and thankfulness memes, but this time of year definitely gives you pause to consider all the things that you have been blessed with. (And maybe to go “phew” about what is now behind you!) It got me thinking about how thankful I am for the turn my life has taken the last six months — something I’ve blogged about before but this time, I’m focusing more on what blogging has brought me and our family. Some tangible, some not, but all a direction I never thought my life would take and something I’m so excited to be doing.
Blogging takes a lot of work. There’s research, design, monitoring, stats, travel, writing, etc. It’s all the good kind of work, but it’s work nonetheless. The payoff though isn’t just money or something cool — it’s a whole new world of opportunities.
As a blogger, I’m able to visit new places, meet incredible new people and make friends, learn SO much, try out new things, test new products (food, non-food, equipment, books, whatever) and frequently, it’s before the rest of the world sees it. My kids laugh at the number of times the Fedex, UPS and USPS deliveries occur, and we joke that it’s like Christmas every day. There’s something so exciting about getting a new package and seeing what’s inside. (And to be clear, this isn’t “free” stuff — it’s compensation for my writing.) There is also monetary compensation and complimentary services and entry to events.
Then there are the non-tangibles: confidence, skill, exposure, growth…the list goes on.
Six months ago, I wasn’t sure whether I was going to go back to work, and now I have two satisfying careers: social media management and blogging. Don’t be fooled, blogging is a serious business. I call my blog and the related things “my little empire.” (It helps to have a fun reference when you’re up at 11:38 on a Sunday night so you can meet your deadlines and your eyelids are drooping.) Because of my blog, my schedule is jam-packed.
Cheesey alert: I’ve opened the door to a whole new world of coolness.
My choice of places to go, things to write about and always fun, fascinating, learned people to connect with — it still surprises me, like it’s almost not real. I stepped into blogging with a decent amount of HTML and CSS knowledge, but the time I spent stretching my abilities in order to learn WordPress and all the other social media tools has paid off tenfold. Now if I decide I want to change something in my blog, I am pretty sure I can do it, and if not, I know where to learn how or who to ask to help me out. While the skills themselves are excellent to have, the idea that I have them is even better. The feeling of “Wow, I did it!” is amazing. Writing pitch letters that get accepted, or better yet, receiving them unsolicited, gives you validation. Not receiving the ones you want, and seeing others get them or receive invites to the places you want to go can be disappointing, but then I remind myself I’m still relatively new at this and it motivates me to do better next time around. We won’t all get all the perks, because certain companies need certain types of bloggers and we can’t be everything to everyone, but I know flexibility has given me more options. That means I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I don’t know what will show up in my email box or my regular mail box, or who will ping me throughout the day, but I know it’s pretty exciting. I have big dreams and knowing I’ve gotten this far in only about 18 months of blogging encourages me that I can continue to be more than I thought I could be. I know I can meet with people that maybe would have intimidated me before, and I can ask for things that I would have gone without, and I can participate in events that would have, at one point, felt very out of my league. I have every right to those big dreams.
Want to know a secret? Early on in my blogging career, a very experienced blogger told me that I was “too new in social media” so I’d need to push my goals out further. She saw a new blog and assumed I was green to the field entirely. I hadn’t shared that I have more experience in social media than most. (Not all, by any means, but 17+ years does give me an edge that I have earned and doesn’t come cheap.) I could have told her that one doesn’t need to be in social media to have a successful blog, for one thing. Mainly though, I could have been offended at the assumption and subtle put-down, or I could do what I did and take it as motivation. Not taking offense was a mood-booster on its own! It’s very freeing when you get to where you realize that others’ unkind words or actions don’t have to upset you. People who are mean, who lie, who treat you badly — they don’t need to be in your head, and silly as it sounds, the opportunities blogging has given me have made me understand that I have so much more ahead of me. I don’t have to settle or allow a putdown to shape my actions, mood or future. It’s not always easy, but doing things we enjoy and things that we’re good at, and building on that combination, is a life improvement that can’t be measured.
If you’re a blogger, what’s the thing your blog has brought you that you’re the most thankful for?
And be ready for more questions as I start my December series, Christmas Joy.