2021 – you were so good to me! I learned so many blogging lessons this year and I’m here to report that the following 5 things are my biggest takeaways.
The more work I do here, the more my blog grows. There’s nothing more satisfying than working hard and having it pay off – literally and figuratively!
What was different about 2021?
I’ve been blogging here since 2017. The difference between 2017 and 2021 was that I wrote 96 posts in 2021. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and it paid off!
I finally started seeing my first payouts and worked with some amazing, wholesome brands.
1. Writing is a habit
And so it must be practiced consistently!
Last year, I sat down every day and wrote. Whether it was a blog post, a long-term project I’m working on, or just plain personal journaling, I wrote.
I created a habit.
I saw dramatic changes in my speed of writing.
I don’t just mean my typing ability, something that has improved considerably.
The way that my brain connects thoughts and transfers them to the page has quickened.
I took most of December off, so even now, in January, I feel a little “rusty” writing this post. Even if I don’t publish every single day, carving out some time to write has been extremely beneficial for my blog as well as my mental state.
Writing has always been an outlet for me, so putting my thoughts down on (virtual) paper always eases my mind.
2. …and scheduled posts are your friend
If you have any type of blogging schedule or deadlines to hit, scheduled posts are your friend. Having a few posts in my queue that could be posted anytime was a game changer as a busy mom.
I had a goal of hitting “post” every day of the week in October – a goal I happily met!
As much as I wanted to maintain my habit of writing every single day, pumping out a neatly finished blog post with all the fixings wasn’t feasible.
I had to plan ahead. Something I am not known for.
I took some blocks of time here and there to work on evergreen pieces that I could publish on the days when I really needed to be present for my kid or sleep when she was sleeping.
Scheduled posts helped me reach my blogging goals in 2021, which brings me to my next point…
3. Set goals
Setting goals will help you reach your goals.
It sounds idiotically stupid. Because it is.
Setting goals will help you reach your goals.
The caveat is setting attainable goals. Jotting down “write a novel” on your to-do list isn’t helpful. “Write 1,000 words” is.
Bite sized objectives that can be completed in a reasonable (I’ll let you interpret that as you will) amount of time will increase your confidence that you can attain your goals.
I keep a long and short list of goals in the notes section of my phone so they are easy to find.
4. Eliminate what slows you down (interface, distractions, thesaurus)
This one seems obvious, but I found it difficult in 2021 to practice this one.
First off, there’s the big distractions. I waited until my daughter was asleep (parents who get work done while their kids are awake, I praise you). I put my phone on silent. Closed all other tabs.
Then, there are mid-level distractions, like stopping to change a song or check the time. I found long YouTube compilations of classical music and the like so I didn’t have to stop. Setting a timer eliminated the need to constantly check the time.
Lastly, there are pesky little time thieves that are sneaky because they feel productive. My biggest one is the thesaurus. I noticed that I was disrupting my “flow” of writing by needing to find the perfect word. I would simply write a word in ALL CAPS if I didn’t feel like it was the right fit, that way I could clearly tell that it needed to be replaced once I was editing. This made me a faster writer, instantly.
My other tip is to write in Comic Sans in Google Drive document. I saw this on Reddit. I don’t know who thought of this, but it works. It takes the pressure out of it, and I’ve discovered that the Google doc interface is much faster than the WordPress editor – just my two cents!
5. If you’re small, you need to reach out
I wish someone told me this sooner!
There are plenty of brands out there who are looking to work with smaller bloggers.
I had read time and time again that if you’re producing quality content, the brands will just come to you. And maybe that is true.
But, there are a lot of blogs out there. And then there’s Instagram. And TikTok. And YouTube. I felt there was so much competition.
Then, I read about an abundance mindset, something I heard mentioned by Amber Fillerup Clark (check out my post on 10 Mom Influencers to Follow for Inspiration)
There are so many creators and there are SO MANY opportunities out there! More than enough to go around. With the change from a competitive attitude to an abundance mindset, I had a newfound confidence around working with companies.
I reached out to some of my favorite brands, or ones that I hoped to work with. Some said no, some didn’t answer, and some said yes. We were able to work together on content and I felt good about promoting products that I actually used and would recommend anyways.
If you’re small, reach out!
What blogging lessons did you learn in 2021? Do any on this list resonate with you?
Let me know below!