3 Lessons Learned From 3 Years of Blogging

Last month was my blog anniversary. I started blogging 3 years ago on a dare. I had just finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project. I was talking about it with my boyfriend and how I wanted to start writing again when he dared me to…

“Start a blog.”

I can do that!

So I did.

Here’s what I’ve learned over the years.

1. The Blogosphere Rocks and Comments are Verbal Gold

I am forever grateful to those first few people who started commenting on my blog, and even more so to the ones still around today. I’ve been given amazing opportunity to connect with other bloggers/writers on various projects and it’s always rewarding. Groups like the WANAs, ROW80, and the Life List Club have all helped me push forward with not just my writing goals, but personal goals as well.

Hanging with the WANAs at DFWcon

Hanging with the WANAs at DFWcon

When I made the difficult decision to quit my job, without a back up plan, my blog friends supported me and some even contacted me with potential job leads. They didn’t have to do that, and that’s why it meant the world. When I’ve shared vulnerable posts about writing slumps, not going back to school, and heck – shitting my pants! – you’ve stuck by me and your comments keep me going. Thank you!

2. Trust Your Gut

My blog has transformed many times over the years. And so has my writing. The first book I started, and consequently restarted and rewrote 10+ times, was a paranormal YA!

Noooo, there were not vampires in it. (Although, I think it would be fine if there were!)

I always wanted to write a comical memoir, but I let people or situations get in the way. When I made it a priority to “tell my story” I had the first draft written in 4 months time. I’ve never been as far in the writing process or felt like I was on the right track as I do now.

Life of a Writer

3. Change is inevitable.

Similar to the previous lesson, change is inevitable. If I stopped moving forward just because I worried about how a topic or change on my blog would go over, I probably wouldn’t be celebrating a blog anniversary right now. Allowing my blog to grow with me as I learn and reflect, benefits not just me, but my readers as well.

*****

Thank you everyone for reading!

And for joining me on my journey to make pathetic look cool. πŸ˜€

What’s a life lesson that’s been on your mind lately?

Tune in Monday to join me and my guest, Amber West, discussing cats vs. dogs, parenting advice, what to watch on television, and her thriller with a twist – The Ruth Valley Missing!

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42 responses

  1. Love this Jess! And couldn’t agree more with what you said. Happy Blogiversary!! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you Ingrid! Thanks for being such a champion for me! I’m sending good vibes right back atcha!

  2. Yes, trust your gut!! The blogosphere can be all kinds of awesome, but there’s so much noise out there, sometimes we forget to listen to that all-knowing gut of ours.

    Looking forward to more years – Happy Blogiversary!

    1. Thank you Amber! Looking forward to hosting you at the Happiness Project on Monday!

  3. Happy Blogiversary, Jess!!! πŸ™‚

  4. Lovely! Congratulations! My life lesson is about finishing things. I’m just publishing a book that I started as a short story over a year ago. I even trailed it in a previous collection of short stories, and next week it goes live! In 2014 I am committing to completing projects – instead of starting and abandoning them.

    1. Oooh I’ve had my share of battling commitments like that. Best of luck Damian! Congrats on the publication bragging rights!

  5. Love this post! And happy blog birthday to you!! Three years – that’s some stamina! Congrats!

    1. Thank you Myndi! You’ve been blogging a long time too! How long has it been?

      1. I don’t know exactly – probably three or four years now. πŸ™‚ I’m so bad about keeping track of that kind of stuff.

  6. Happy anniversary to you, girl! What you said here really came along at the right time. I’ve not been blogging a lot the last few months and know a topic/format change is inevitable for various reasons. You’ve encouraged me to put some thought into *what* I now want to blog about and how I want to do it.

    1. If I can share something with you that helps and moves you forward then my heart is whole. You, Marcia, and Pam were so encouraging to me over the Life List Club days when I struggled so much with time and energy. I so appreciated each of you sharing honest advice and practical ideas and also that you’d been there too.

  7. Happy Blogiversary, Jess! Love you, girl! I am so happy we not only met, but have gotten to see each other once a year so far. HUGS. ❀

    1. Me too!! But I don’t know if I’ll return to DFW a third year. Do you know what conferences you want to attend next year?

  8. I think I’ve been reading you nearly that whole time. Happy blogiversary! Keep up the good work. I can totally see you writing a comic memoir…you have so many “this could only happen to Jess” experiences, you could easily fill a book with ’em!

    1. I really hope you see that as a good thing Mark! Lol

      And one of these days Joe and I are going to travel to or move to Portland and we’ll totally have to do dinner with you and Tara! You and I can sit together quoting movie lines the whole time and Joe and Tara can stare from the bar pretending they don’t know us. That sounds about right, doesn’t it? Oh I forgot the part where I get injured and you burst into song!

      1. That sounds perfect, lol! We would love to meet up with you guys sometime. You bring the canteen, I’ll supply the geoduck!

  9. Happy Blogiversary! ❀

    1. Thanks for being my go to twitter word sprint gal! You totally saved me during my unemployment days. Thinking of songs to make you laugh became my summer job. πŸ˜‰

      1. You came up with some great songs, too! I’m always glad to hang out with you. {{{HUGS}}}

  10. Can I “like” this post a few times more?!! I remember sitting in a group of writers, a few of whom were multi-published, and talking about wildly successful author debuts. One of those savvy authors said she hated when an interviewer would say, “This is so-and-so’s FIRST book,” because it very likely wasn’t that debut novelist’s first book; it may have been her third or sixth or tenth book, but it was simply the first one published.

    When I started writing, I don’t think I realized what a learning curve there is, but I also feel better about where I am now than I did a few years back. And blogging has helped me to hone my writing skills and making valuable connections and reach out to potential readers. It’s okay to take this time, too, so that we can give our readers the best book we can write.

    So glad you’ve done the same. (And I’ll room with you anytime you want to go to a conference where I am!) Can’t wait to read your memoir. πŸ™‚

    1. What a great memory! That’s so true. This is the 3rd book I’ve written, and like the 20th if we’re counting drafts. I feel like I’m in a much better place, like you said. I so value and appreciate the friends and connections I’ve made via blogging. Some of whom I haven’t even met and they are the closest to me.

      I’m fortunate to have met you and gotten to be your roomie 2 years in a row! I’d room with you anywhere too, Julie! We need to talk conferences! I have to closely look at my budget, but I’m hoping to get to at least 2 conferences next year.

  11. Happy Blogoversary #3! Jess, you are an example to us all! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you Karen! I would not have made it this far without all the WANA support! Thanks for more comment gold!

  12. I’m SO proud of you!!! (((HUGS))) LOVE your Life of a Writer Pic. You should put your link in the corner and post on the WANA Page :D…

    1. Thanks Kristen! You were definitely a champion for me getting out of retail and always kickstarting my writing regime!

      I’ll try to share my images more. You mean in WANA commons right?

  13. Happy blogoversary, Jess! As for lessons learned that have stuck in my mind? I guess lately it’s been “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” – Babe Ruth. The closer I get to finishing my manuscripts the more I found myself looking for ways to procrastinate and hide. And that’s what it was. It wasn’t until a woman at my writers group read a trilogy of poems she’d written about being a writer and putting it “out there” that I realized the reasons why. There’s a big difference between writing your work and sharing it with a few friends and beta readers/critique partners v. putting it out there for the world to read. Once you pull the trigger on that, there’s no hiding, no taking it back, no safety net. It’s no longer all mine. It’s time for me to let go…

    1. Well best of luck to you Kitt as you let your book babies go out into the world! I couldn’t be happier for you! You’ve got a great support network of writers to see you through the long haul!

      1. I do. I feel very blessed to have found you guys. πŸ™‚

  14. I always enjoy your blog, Jess. Have a great weekend.

  15. *champagne corks popping ~ beer tabs snapping* The party is on! Congratulations, Jess. You have created such an authentic, radiant corner with the aptly-named Happiness Project. No wonder we all want to stop by!

    1. What a delightful compliment. Thank you so much Patricia for your friendship and cheerleading! *clinks glass* Cheers!

  16. HAPPY BLOGIVERSARYJESS! And thank goodness you decided to grit your teeth, dig in & keep on chuckin’ along cuz we luv havin’ ya here with us!! As for your book, we can’t wait to read & will most definitely be the first in line as you know we luv a wicked sense of humor. Once again, have a virtual drink in our hand & are cheering for your milestone in not only your blog but your writing as well my dear!!

    1. You two are the sweetest mother/daughter duo and I’m so happy to know you! Thank you for the excitement, it helps push me on! *hugs*

  17. By the way~The Crock, rocks!!

  18. What an inspiration! πŸ™‚ & Happy blogiversary !!

  19. Happy Blogoversary, Jess! It’s been a fun ride watching your blog evolve into the awesomeness it is today! Looking forward to many more years of reading your writing and enjoying your pics and your ‘take’ on life!

    1. Thank you Marcia! I wouldn’t have made it this far without my redhot life list friend!

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