ATTENTION: Celebration is in order. One year ago today, it is written in the annals of history that I published my first blog post!
How in the world has it already been a year??
This time last year, I remember I had been agonizing for months over the decision of whether or not I wanted to start up this blog.
I’m proud to say I finally mustered up the courage and dove in. Just (what seems like) a short twelve months, 86 posts and who in the world knows how many hours spent on this thing and here we are!
It’s been a interesting and wild ride, bringing out all sorts of feelings and emotions along the way.
I thought I’d use this post to let you in on some of my thoughts around this whole thing, and share my plans for the future. Without further ado:
Worst Blogger Award?
There’s a reason this is the first post about blogging that I’ve published yet. The thing is…. I’m not very good at it.
You see, while I’ve read all the posts on how to increase traffic, get your name out there and how to really grow the blog bigger, I haven’t exactly taken the steps to do so nor followed through on many of those actions.
One of the biggest reasons why is that I struggle with self-promotion.
Alas, when you only post one link of your posts to Twitter (and then to my Facebook page when I created it a few months ago), it makes it much harder for people to find the site. I had given Pinterest a shot a while back too, but the medium just wasn’t for me.
There are so many other great, talented writers personal finance writers out there, many of whom have better stories and are simply better writers than I.
I get a real sense of impostor syndrome when sharing my posts on the same medium as those people. Like, who would want to read my posts when there are so many other great ones out there to choose from?
And though it is good for traffic and for people who may have missed your link the first time around, I can’t help but feel I’d be annoying the people who do follow the blog if I started posting multiple links up of the same post just to get more people to visit.
I’ll dive more into my thoughts on social media in the next section, but it’s safe to say I haven’t been doing myself any favors there.
Guest posting is another way of promoting yourself, but as you may I have noticed, I haven’t exactly had one of those either. I fear that should I reach out, I’ll be rejected, they won’t like my writing style, or even worse (in my mind): taken pity on.
I’m a pretty proud individual, and I like to think I can figure things out and do things on my own for the most part.
But much like networking for your job, you need to put yourself out there if you want to succeed in anything, and I’ve done a pretty poor job of that with blogging so far.
Worst blogger award? I think I have made a case for it 🙂
Thoughts On One Year Of Blogging
Writing has never come easy to me, and the thought of voluntarily publishing posts (for free) was something that I can honestly say I never thought I would do until last year.
I won’t lie to you and say blogging has always been fun.
There’s been times when I’ve wanted to walk away. Times when I asked myself what’s the purpose of all this. Times when I’ve been staring at my screen for an hour, exhausted after a 12 hour day at work trying to figure out what word should come out next.
But for all the troubles and difficulties of it, there’s always the underlying reasons that bring me back: the community, and the sense that I have indeed helped some people.
This FIRE community has been so kind and supportive since pretty much my first day. I’ve heard not all blogger communities are like that (as everyone is competing for readers) but I think it’s awesome and it’s really energized me to be part of that.
In addition, when people comment on my posts, or reach out with an email, I get the sense that I’m really helping some people! Or at least showing them something in a different light or perspective. This is what this whole thing is all about, after all, and the feeling that people are taking something from my writings and experiences has been the motivation to keep going.
While I’d love to be more involved with the community, it seems that most of the activity takes place in social media. Unfortunately I’m not as active on social media for several reasons, but it ultimately comes down to the fact I’m more of an old soul.
While I love conversing with people and talking and learning with and from them, I’d just much rather do that in person, face to face. Blogging over the internet doesn’t necessarily lend it to that (except when it leads to meetups 🙂 )!
Prior to starting up the blog, I was never a big texter, and rarely, if ever, posted to social media. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still involved with my friend group chats, and scroll through social media often, but I guess you could just say I’m more of a lurker.
Over social media, it can be tough to tell the tone of a message, and it is way too easy for your words to be misunderstood.
I’ve found even in the FIRE community social media has become highly politicized too, which, I have no problem talking about in person (I even enjoy it actually), but the nature of having a limited amount of characters to talk about something as complex as political issues does not really make sense to me. Thus, I have not joined in as many conversations 🙁
Whew, that was a lot, long story short, though blogging can be really tough at times, the supportive community and sense of helping people has kept me at it!
One Year Of YFK
Well, now that all that ranting about blogging is done, I wanted to share a few highlights from the first year of the blog!
My goal when I started was to publish two posts per week for the first year, then figure out what’s next (since I only signed up for a year of hosting in case I really did not like it).
At 86 posts, I fell well short of that goal (would have been at 104 posts). You know what though? I’m really proud to have hit this mark despite falling short of my goal.
Writing itself is difficult for me, and combine that with a (more than) full time job, vacations, family time, and LIFE, publishing that many seems like a miracle in itself.
In addition, I’ve made approximately $0.00 on the blog (not that I have actually tried to monetize, perhaps a topic for a future post), so this really has been a side hobby you could say.
I’m not going to share my blog stats (believe me they aren’t anything special), but just know I appreciate every one of you who has read my posts! It means more than you know!
The most popular posts, stat wise, were ones that were picked up by other sites (since I do such a poor job of promoting myself – ha).
A few others did very well being featured by a variety of people as well (Physician on FIRE, Four Pillar Freedom, Collecting Wisdom, among others!), but I won’t bore you through listing them again 🙂 most show up in my “Popular Posts” on the sidebar anyways if you are interested.
The post that did the best without being picked up by another site (as far as I know!) was my post on How I Saved $100K by 26, where I came clean about my entire financial picture.
As you could probably tell, I’m all about being transparent with my financial picture, and hopefully this gave everyone a clear picture of how I got where I am today.
Of course I don’t want to forget everyone who has read and shared my posts on Twitter. It means so much and thank you to everyone who has done that!!
What’s Up Next?
So with all that being said, (and in reference to a great new podcast I’m listening to) what’s up next? What are my plans for the future with the blog?
I faced a big decision a few weeks ago with my year of hosting running out. Do I continue with this thing, or close the chapter on it?
During my last net worth update, I had left one (big) Black Friday purchase a mystery. Well, I’m happy to announce that the purchase was to extend hosting for the blog! Even better, it’s not just for one year, but three!
I had been looking around at prices for a bit, and the Black Friday deal was just too good to pass up.
Despite my earlier (valid) complaints about blogging, this is something that I truly, deep down, do enjoy. It’s a challenge for me, and something to keep my mind working in ways my career doesn’t.
Could that passion fade? Absolutely. But I do think that extending into the future I’ll be around in some capacity, maybe changing the amount of time between publishing posts depending on what’s going on with life.
Speaking of which, for the most part, going forwards I’ll most likely be dropping down to one post a week. Consistency was never my thing on here (I think I’ve posted every day of the week other than Sunday), but two posts a week were just getting to be too much.
When I do have time or things to say, I will absolutely post twice a week, but I would expect more of once per week going forwards. In other words, more inconsistency 🙂
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Thanks again to everyone for the support! You all really are the best 🙂