What I Learned in My First 6 Months of Blogging

This month, I am celebrating my 6-month anniversary as a book and photography blogger. Sixty posts, 2,012 views, and 880 visitors later, what do I have to show for this milestone?

Well, I’ve had fun, explored my creative side, and made lots of connections with other writers, book lovers, bloggers, and photographers. But, most importantly for you, I’ve learned a few lessons you can benefit from if you’re planning to start a new blog or relaunch a stalled one.

So, before I break out the balloons and champagne to celebrate, here are a few words of advice for you.

Have some content banked before you start.

My bank of original photos has been a source of inspiration for post ideas.

At first, you are likely to be bursting with ideas and energy for your new blog. That’s a great place to be in, but be sure to pace yourself with posts. Resist the urge to post everything you create immediately and bank some of those ideas and posts for later. Trust me – you are going to hit a time when you’re short on inspiration or time to create new posts and you’re going to need to draw on your content bank in order to be consistent with your posting. When those times have hit for me, I have been grateful to have had a reserve of book reviews and photography to lean on.

Just start.

This one is for all of the overthinkers and over-analyzers out there who have a tendency to get stuck revving your engine at the starting line. Don’t wait until you have years and years of content stored up or until some magical date in the distant future. Why? The danger of waiting too long is that you run the risk of never getting started – and it would be a loss for your audiences not to get to read your perspective. This almost happened to me. I first had the idea for a blog in the mid-2000s but was overwhelmed by the idea of starting. I sometimes wonder where my blog would be had I just jumped in then. Don’t wait for the perfect time to get started – just get going already.

Speaking of perfection – it is highly overrated.

There will be things you can’t get perfect at first, no matter how hard you try. You may want to get into blogging because of a love of writing and connecting with others, but your technical skills aren’t the best. Or maybe you love showing off your web development and design skills but the writing part doesn’t come naturally.  For me, I struggle with troubleshooting formatting issues in WordPress. If I waited until I could figure out how to fix every minor alignment issue before posting, I’d never get anything posted. I’ve had to learn to get posts up to the best of my ability and accept I will make mistakes and that’s okay. It’s part of the learning process. The only way to get better at the parts that are a struggle is to do them.

For the wanna-be bloggers who haven’t taken the leap, what’s holding you back?

For the more experienced bloggers out there, what would you add? 

My Happy Place

A small wooden pier with a yellow, peach and turquoise sunrise sky overhead.

It only takes a few seconds of looking through my galleries, posts, or feeds to discern that I’m a fan of the beach. Sunrise or sunset, winter or warm weather – it doesn’t matter the season or hour. All are good times for strolling the shore, snapping pics, and clearing my mind.

When I’m struggling mentally, there’s something about looking at the vastness of the ocean and hearing the sound of the waves that puts everything in perspective for me. If it is an injection of wonder or joy I need, I can usually spot an energetic dog or free-spirited toddler frolicking on the beach.

The beach has also proven to be a source of creative inspiration. Beach sunrises, sunsets, and waves have been obvious catalysts for interesting – and commercially successful – photos that have caught the attention of buyers and national outlets like The Weather Channel. 

A Christmas tree made out of sand. It is decorated with red and tan seashells and a starfish on top.
Impromptu beach scene featured on social media

Things like piers, seagulls, shells, clouds over the water, palm trees, ships, random sandcastles, and even thick fog have also provided an endless source of photo inspiration. One of my most successful photos on social media was an impromptu capture of a small sand structure shaped like a Christmas tree and decorated with seashells.

Time by the ocean has also inspired my writing, my career, and other creative endeavors. The name of my blog came to me and my husband during a long walk on the beach last summer. Laying on the beach has also sparked ideas for essays, marketing strategies, and articles.

I am fortunate to live within a two-hour drive of the beach, so it’s an easy day trip if I’m in desperate need of a few hours in my happy place. But, even if I can’t physically get to the shore, I’ve found that looking at photos or watching videos from previous trips can have a similar effect.

Where is your “happy place”? Wherever that place is, I hope you get to spend time there soon.