What 6 Months of Blogging Has Taught Me About Perseverance

Having a Happy Moment

I’ve been blogging for a little over six months.  I think it took 2 of those to even understand the purpose of a blog.  I initially started this thing as a progress tracker.  I’d just finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and decided to do my own of sorts.  I became a human guinea pig.  I tried something new each week:  Eliminate television, write a poem, walk for 40 minutes each day, eat in, don’t drink, NaNoWriMo.

What did I learn?  I like audiobooks, and Lorine Niedecker, it’s more fun with company and a dog, cheetos are not a meal, wine counts as alcohol, and NaNoWriMo ain’t for sissies.

My forward movement hit a wall the day I posted about eating bologna with a glass of Chardonnay.

Thankfully, a series of “loving” comments came after that, creeping into future posts so I will never live that down, and taught me the following about blogging, writing, social media, and why my happiness project is all about perseverance.

  1. Blog Regularly.  I admit, I cut it close at times, but I have been consistently blogging 3 times a week.  It’s important because sometimes that’s the only writing I accomplish in the week.  But blogging has become my non-negotiable deadline.  I mean it, I’ve even been given the endearing nickname of Bloggy McBloggerstein from my boyfriend when I’m madly typing or reading blogs instead of hanging out with him.  Posting regularly is my progress tracker.
  2. Readers are the bestest most wonderful thing in the world.  I mean if I named you guys after my favorite things, you’d all be dubbed the Black-and-White-Salt-Rimmed-Cabernet-Page-Turner-Ghost-Hunters of my life!  I wouldn’t be nearly as motivated without you guys checking in AND COMMENTING and showing support and laughter along my journey.  You all rock Cary-Grant-lime-on-the-rocks-wine-charm-Goodreads-spooky-story-style!
  3. Social Media is Attainable When You Know Where To Look.  You should basically go to Kristen Lamb’s blog.  She will teach you everything you need to know about blogging, social media, facebook, and twitter.  And she’s funny, too!
  4. I May Not Move As Fast I Want To, But I Am Moving Forward.  I have a hard time accepting compliments.  So I don’t readily hand them out to myself.  I can focus too much on my laundry list of what I haven’t completed or understood, rather than recognize where I have improved and what I’ve learned.  One thing that has helped me to feel more aware of my progress is an addition I’m making to my journal.  Not only do I write 5 things I’m grateful for each day, but I’ve also started recording what lessons or eye opening moments I’ve had about blogging/writing/publishing each day too.  Then if I feel I’m not moving fast enough, I have a record of just how far I’ve come already.
  5. I Take Better Care of Myself When I Blog.  Reading and writing blogs tells you the truth.  The whole truth, and nothing but the bologna eating truth.  Because of blogging people tell me to take my fish oil (Margaret), how to improve my writing (Kristen), how to stay on top of witty banter (Mark, Gene), hone my storytelling skills (Charles), send twitter helpful emails (Nina), introduce me to cool new people (Clay, Mindi), discuss great literature (Jillian), enjoy the small moments in life (Wendy), and understand my family is normal (Leanne).

What has blogging taught you?

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31 responses

  1. Happy Blogging Half Birthday, Jess! I celebrated mine last September with this post: http://writerwoman61.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/my-blogging-half-birthday/

    You are so good! I was just telling Jim last night how talented you were…I didn’t know you’ve only been blogging for six months!

    Sending you some cyber-cake! Congratulations…looking forward to reading more!

    Wendy

    1. I made the dinner table conversation! You rock, Wendy! Thanks for the cake, how’d you know my grandma taught us to eat dessert first?

  2. I just finished a class with Kristen Lamb and have ordered her two books, so I’m at the cutting edge of the blogosphere and Twittersphere. I cannot figure out what to blog for the life of me and Twitter is still beyond my comprehension, but I’m trying!
    I enjoyed reading your post.
    Patti

    1. Hi Patti, I was in the class with you! Lots of exciting new talent there. I am by no means an expert on content, I go all over the place. Just blog about what excites you and see what your readers enjoy. It’ll come. I’ll be looking forward to your posts!

  3. You’ve inspired me too, Jess. There’s a reason why I’m back on Twitter now and using my real name. And planning on filling a canteen with wine the next time I go hiking. ;)

    And everything you’ve said about blogging applies to me, too! Except the boyfriend, of course.

    1. I can start calling you Blogger Von Bloggenstein. Let me know. I like Mark too.

      P.S. Cabernet at your own risk!

  4. Blogging has taught me that it’s actually really wonderful to be part of a community interested in sharing feedback . . . and its members’ well being! That’s been a hard thing for me to understand about any community: that you get stuff back as well as having to occasionally sacrifice for it.

    1. That’s a great way of putting it. When writing is your job, you do sacrifice for it, but you get a lot back. Thanks Deborah!

  5. I don’t always comment here, but I want you to know what a joy it has been to watch you develop your blogging voice. I started my blogging journey abut the same time you did, so it means a lot to see you reach this milestone. Glad you were able to stick with it.

    1. My very first commenter!!! Thank you Albert. You were the first person to make me want to keep posting. I met a lot of cool people through your blog and I’m equally so excited for you being Freshly Pressed and now PUBLISHED! Kudos, friend! Thank you bunches!

  6. I’m getting close to my one-year mark. It doesn’t seem possible! I enjoy your light-hearted, humorous, happy blog, Jess. Blessings to you…

    1. Thank you for taking time to read, Carol. I really appreciate your kind words and blessings. I’m sending them back to you, can you feel the happy waves? LOL

  7. Cheetos ARE a meal. You have to eat them with chopsticks, though, so you don’t get orange fingers…. Congrats on six months, I reckon you’ll still be blogging in six years, and with a massive following. I love the style and tone of your blog, plus the range of your posts. And you’re reading the Graveyard Book! I loved that. You can find video of Neil reading each chapter on the internet. He has a wonderful voice for reading – I have the audiobook of him reading “Stardust” and it is pure magic.

    Don’t sweat the bologna stuff (Kristen will say “You have to learn how to fall”) you’re doing brilliantly. Looking forward to reading many, many more posts.

    1. He does have an awesome reading voice! I heard other books by him, now I’m definitely looking for the chapters from this one! I really like it so far, probably finish it tomorrow!

      “Don’t sweat the bologna stuff!” Love the catchphrase!

  8. Being that you are one of a small group of bloggers that inspired me to start blogging I must say: Congratulations! Six months is a huge accomplishment and your blog is one of my favorites :)

    That said, I will try to keep you on your toes for the next six months Witkins. Assuming, of course, that your boyfriend is with you when you hike, lol!

    Peace friend, never stop persevering :)

    1. Glad I could inspire! Your blog is off to a great start and there’s lots of us to help steer more traffic your way.

      Bring it on, Lempp!

  9. You make me want to rekindle my blog! Congrats on a successful six months!

    1. Yes do!

  10. Hey, if you think you’re family is normal when you compare yourself to me, does that mean I’m normal? A paradigm shift! Love it. Maybe putting the fun in dysfunctional is normal. Maybe not. But it’s still a bit of a riot.

    Great piece. And readers are the bestest!

    1. Cheers to putting the fun in dysfunctional!

  11. Blogging really is SUCH an awesome experience. As to literature, no one in my “real life” ever wants to talk classics. So, the blog world is like a whole NEW world. And visiting blogs, is like gathering in people’s living rooms. Really cool.

    So glad to have met you. Congrats on six months! :-)

    1. Thanks Jillian, I’m so glad to have met you too. I love how passionate you are about learning and about books. Always a pleasure, Miss Jillian!

  12. Hi, Jess! Started blogging the same time you did, too (maybe a month before). But still, you’ve improved a lot. Definitely enjoyed reading your blog. I enjoyed the journeys you tried to take us to–from your food poisoning fiasco to the books you enjoyed reading to the time you got yourselves lost in the hiking trail, it’s a fun six months. :-)

    1. Thanks Marilag! I never would’ve thought you started around when I did. I thought for sure it’d been much longer, I always saw your comments on all the great blogs! Thanks for showing so much support and kind words over the last months!

  13. Congrats on the milestone. I’ve enjoyed your posts and our cyber-roommate status. :-)

    1. LOL. When are you coming to help me with dishes, they’re taking over my kitchen!

  14. Great post!! Blogging has taught me LOTS in terms of self-discipline, accountability, and networking, as well as lots about people behind computer screens – I’ve learned that they can be the most amazing, there-for-you friends you ever wished for, or the most spiteful haters ever. It’s taught me how much I love writing, and how much I love learning about other people. It’s taught me that the world can be an amazing place full of incredible people, and doesn’t have to be quite so big after all :)

    1. That’s a great observation Emily. You always write such wonderful ideas on your blog, I’m really glad I got to meet you on this journey of blogging. Looking forward to lots more great posts!

  15. One of the things blogging has taught me is that you can’t write for everyone. A writer and an audience somehow find each other; it may take a long time, and in the end, that audience may be an extremely thin slice of the world, but somehow the matches are made. In the ideal situation, you find readers who are also writers, and you fall in love with their work and become part of their audience, too. It’s magical when it happens. In six short months you’ve managed to make it happen over and over — through your wonderful writing skills, your desire to keep improving, and the kindness you always show when responding to people. You’ve found the recipe, Jess. Stay focused, allow those compliments to seep in just enough to help motivate you, and don’t ever give up.

    1. How do you know me so well? I have such a hard time accepting compliments. I always think I have to do better. But this journey has taught me to send out kudos, support, congratulations, and love to my fellow writers, and when I’m lucky, I get it back. And that means the world to me. The advice and feedback from my readers, many of which are fellow writers, is priceless. Thanks for being one of those people, Charles!

  16. [...] Jess Witkins shares her path to blogging fame in What Six Months of Blogging has taught me about Perseverance [...]

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