What I’ve Learned From Two Years Of Blogging
Last week I published a pretty raw and honest piece about the effect long term travel has had on me. If you’ve not had a chance to read it, perhaps consider giving it a quick glance as what I’m going on to say has a lot to do with those current feelings of… opportunity.
Before I even had a chance to properly think about it, a certain date crept up in my diary. Another year has slipped past in the ochre of an Australian sunset and I suddenly reached a new milestone:
MeanderWithMeg celebrates her second birthday on the 10th June.
I was deliberating over the title of this particular blog post as I wanted to make sure it set the tone correctly. Last year, I named my celebration of my first year of blogging: My First Year Of Blogging: An Annual Review. The easiest thing to do would be to follow the naming convention I’d set myself and inadvertently channel myself down a path that stifles creativity. I could have easily wrote the blog: My Second Year Of Travel Blogging: An Annual Review.
But I chose not to.
Perhaps this is because I am still mulling over how I feel about coming to the end of my time in Australia and travels in general. I’m feeling optimistic about my future. It’s like I’m finally focusing on the power I have in my own hands to shape my life moving forward. No one else can do it for me.
So this time, I chose to look back over the past two years of blogging and think about the ways in which it has enriched my life.
Has Two Years Of Blogging Taught Me Anything?
Looking back over the past two years I feel that I’ve simultaneously come a long way and nowhere at all. I’ve written a lot, spent countless hours at my laptop crafting posts and setting out the site to how I want it to look. But at the same time, there is that never ending feeling of wanting to do more, to better myself and my site. It’s like a thirst that is never really quenched.
How has blogging influenced my life and what am I getting out of it? Here I delve into how I feel about two years of blogging:
Blogging means more to me than I ever thought it would when I first started out. Looking back at my statistics I have published one blog post a week for 104 weeks. That’s a lot of words, a lot of writing and a lot of work to edit, upload and include photos into each post.
If I think about what I have committed to over the past two years, blogging is probably the only thing that has remained consistent. Even when I’ve been at the bottom of gorges in remote national parks in Australia, wild camping in Spain or jungle trekking in Borneo with pygmy elephants, the blog posts are written.
And you only ever commit to doing something consistently if you’re getting something out of it, right? For me, I get a huge sense of satisfaction over seeing something I’ve written sitting there on my own corner of the internet. I also feel hugely blessed when someone writes a beautiful comment on one of my blogs, thanking me for those words. Nothing feels better knowing that someone else out there benefited from something I wrote.
It has taught me that having a creative outlet is good for the soul and should be nurtured. I’m enjoying my travels for longer. I re-live the details when I write about places that I’ve long since left. As I roam, I’m searching for the nuances of each place with a more critical eye because I know that further down the line I will want to write about it.
I’m feeling fulfilled as I craft each blog; sometimes an idea strikes and creativity crackles into life. Other times I take a slower, more research based approach and producing the post takes a lot more work. Being creative is immensely rewarding as you enjoy not only the process but your end result.
I remember sharing with you in last year’s review that I enjoy writing, and this simple statement remains unchanged. However, a whole lot of meaning sits behind those words. The implication of that statement cannot be expressed in this sentence. Rather, every word on my site showcases that joy. Behind every word sits love.
An Online Community
It has allowed me to be a part of an online community that inspires and motivates me. I use Facebook in a completely different way now. My newsfeed is made up of fellow Female Travel Bloggers sharing their recent wins, their struggles, their tips and ideas. I read informative articles about SEO, Pinterest algorithms and affiliate marketing from posts shared in supportive groups that are dedicated to helping each other’s blogs grow.
I feel that “finding your tribe” is bandied around somewhat trivially on social media these days. Now I recognise that it is about connecting with a group of people where you feel that you fit in. I’ve found the places where I can hang out online and be with other bloggers who are all united in a similar passion.
Behind The Scenes
There is a lot more work going on behind the scenes of a blog than I first realised. And I respect that. When I read another blog or access a website these days, I’m always casting an ever-so-slightly critical eye over it. How does it look? How does it function? I appreciate the time and costs involved in creating the page that I am viewing, because I spend that money and those hours on my own.
Find My Own Voice
With hundreds of thousands of blog posts being published on the internet every day, there is some serious competition for views out there. And it doesn’t just stop at the blog post itself; there are Instagram statistics to worry about, re-pins on Pinterest, Tweets, Flips, Stumbles and G+’s. You are vying for traffic, for numbers, for views on just about every platform. Everywhere you turn, a hundred ‘someone elses’ are doing what you do and their blog is shinier, their posts longer and their photos glossier.
I’m not going to lie when I say that self-doubt can creep in. Which is why I vow to not compare myself to others and to keep walking my own path. I will continue to use my voice; to write posts about solo travel and inspiring potential wanderlusters that only I can write.
Grateful For The Opportunity
Above all, writing about my travels makes me appreciate how fortunate I am to even be travelling. I have the love and unwavering support from my family as they cheer me on. I have wonderful friends who accept my nomadic lifestyle and welcome me back like no time has passed. I also have my health and the financial ability to continue to make travel a large factor in my life.
These elements combine to make me incredibly lucky to make the choices that I do; to have control over my life and steer it in the direction (albeit rather vague!) that I want. I am conscious that not everyone has the ability to travel and I try to remain humble on the road and in daily life.
I wonder how I will feel at the end of three years of blogging? I hope you will still be with me to find out. Thank you for being a part of my journey so far and if you’ve ever read, commented or shared a post of mine over the past two years please know that I am eternally grateful for your support.
Over to you. Are you a blogger who is celebrating a recent milestone? Tell me how you feel about it and what you’ve learned from this process.
Not a blogger? Stumbled across this by accident? Thanks for sticking with me to the end. Drop me a line to let me know what you’re thinking. I’d love to hear from you, too.
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