I could not have imagined where I am today with Honoring Our HAIRitage and the lessons I’ve learned so far as a blogger. This year, and the things I’ve accomplished, were a complete surprise and are so amazing! I thought about blogging many times before I took the chance and started Honoring Our HAIRitage. I knew I wanted to add my voice to the natural hair community, but I had no idea the impact it would have or how successful my own blog would be. I also had no idea about the many ways this blog would become such an important part of my life and help me realize my passion.
I’ve learned many things over this past year and have grown tremendously as a writer, natural hair enthusiast, and woman. Yes, this blog has helped me come into my own as a woman, who knows her voice, her skills, and what is most important as a natural hair blogger.
Here are the things I’ve learned as a blogger over this past year:
1. Blogging takes a real commitment – When I first decided I wanted to start blogging it was like an epiphany and ideas about blog topics flowed from my mind so quickly I couldn’t write them down fast enough. The next day (yes, it only took me 1 day) I had over 150 blogging topics (most of them I still haven’t even written about), a focus for my blog, an idea of the interface I wanted, and the name Honoring Our HAIRitage figured out! There was no doubt in my mind that I was meant to start this blog. Once I started, it was the most exciting thing I had done in years. I woke up everyday energized to write, and at one point I was dreaming about blogging topics and ideas.
Six months into blogging, I had the site organized and designed the way I wanted, a good amount of content uploaded, a steady following, and surprisingly, less and less time to blog with each passing day. I hit a plateau. Work and family demands mounted, and I felt like I had less time to really focus on my passion. My motivation was still there, but I hadn’t realized the amount of commitment blogging takes. Since I also have a day job, and no team of assistants, I was overwhelmed. Writing/editing/posting content, responding to comments, networking with other bloggers, and keeping up with social media can be exhausting. I realized I needed to make a schedule and stick to it if I was going to keep up with things.
Now, I have a schedule for how I will commit to my blog for each day of the week and I use social media management tools to help. I try to write a little bit each day and only post once a week so I am not too overwhelmed. Today, I can say that I’m on the right track again. The most important thing I’ve learned from this is that blogging requires dedication, but it gets easier if you create a manageable schedule, and prioritize your own sense of balance.
2. Blog because you love to blog – With so many media images of celebrity life, YouTube sensations, and the glamorization of fame, it can be easy to get caught up in the idea that if you do something it must gain notoriety in order for it to be meaningful. The reality is that true success comes from doing what you love, no matter what the outcome.
Fortunately, I don’t aspire to be the next Curly Nikki of natural hair blogs, so not stressing over getting international recognition for my blog was easy for me. I blog because I love to write, and I feel like I have a unique perspective to bring to the natural hair movement. Don’t get me wrong, I am always grateful and a little surprised every time someone pays attention to my blog through likes, comments, or emails, but even when I get a smaller response, I am still excited.
It is important to figure out why you decided to blog in the first place. It might have been to gain celebrity, display your skills, or make a real impact in the world. Regardless of the motivation, you might not get the recognition you want right away, or even the kind of recognition that you really wanted. Even if you do get wide recognition for your blog, what happens if it goes away or you can’t blog anymore? Will you be lost and feel like you have nothing left to offer? Loving what you do regardless of the recognition you get will be the only thing you can always count on at the end of the day.
3. Appreciate every moment – Just like I said above, no matter what the outcome of your blog, know that you are making a meaningful contribution and (cheese alert!) that your voice matters. Seriously, it is important that we each share our experiences, ideas, and talents. They are valuable and worthy. You didn’t start blogging for no reason, you had a goal in mind and you did it! Be thankful for your accomplishment.
The devotion to blogging is very rewarding. I never imagined some of the things I was able to accomplish this year. Three months after I started Honoring Our HAIRitage, I was approached by Global Couture with the opportunity to write as a contributor. Without so much as a pitch, I was given the chance to connect with a major online site, grow as a writer, and increase my following. Three months after that, I had a featured article in the online magazine HoneyBeNatural. Both opportunities came as a complete surprise! Looking back, I’m so thankful for what I’ve been able to do in 2014 and can’t wait to find out what 2015 has in store for me. I just need to remember to appreciate every moment.
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