10 Things Taking a Trip Can Teach You About Blogging
Isn't it funny how inspiration strikes for post ideas? I've always believed that people who genuinely love creating content on a regular basis never run out of ideas. Sure, we get those days when we can't put pen to paper, and yeah, it's a hell of a lot of pressure to always come up with the best ideas. But soon enough something will change.
What I've found lately is that I've started to think about ideas in every situation I'm in. It's turned into a natural instinct, almost like another sense. Which is where the inspiration for this post idea came from.
There's a lot we can learn from situations and people, no matter where we are in the world. So today, I wanted to share some things I've learnt about life in the online world from my most recent trip, that will help you to start thinking about the projection of your own online presence.
To help you figure out if you're fitting enough breaks into your life, I've created this calendar that you can download right here - want it?
1. Vanity is not a good personality trait to have
OK, to explain this one, I need to tell you a quick story.
If you’ve joined the community, you’ll have already heard about the little tale I’m going to tell you (if not, why haven’t you signed up yet?! ;) )
During our holiday, we’d end every evening in the same way – sitting on the promenade and looking out at the setting sun over the sea. It was still so warm even late at night, so there were plenty of people around. One night, we spotted a couple on a walkway on the beach taking selfies.
At first I thought this was quite cute. I mean, come on, we all love a good couple selfie. But then they weren’t just selfies anymore.
They started posing. I mean, really posing. In their swimming gear (think skimpy bikini and small shorts). The girl was waving her hair and posing like she was in a Herbal Essences advert, whilst the guy flexed his muscles – a lot.
At this point it was more like a photoshoot to show off their bodies, rather than taking pictures to make memories. Which leads me onto lesson one.
It’s all well and good promoting what you do – it’s part of our job as bloggers (and if you’re not a blogger yet, you’ll soon realise it will be). I love it when people on Twitter promote their latest posts, because they’re getting their name out there.
But there’s a very thin line. And if people realise you’re doing this too much, they’ll instantly be turned off. Just as we were turned off from the very vain couple.
Always be proud of everything you do and know when enough is enough. I follow the 80/rule – 20% of what I share is self-promotional. 80% of what I share is personal thoughts and sharing other bloggers’ content.
2. YOU ARE TOUGHER THAN YOU THINK
As much as we’d all love a world without negativity, we know this will probably never happen. Even recently, a blogger I’ve been a fan of for about two years now published a post about people who were using her email address and name to get freebies. Who does that? It’s really not cool, but unfortunately, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
These moments can happen any time and any place, even if everything is going great and you’re having the time of your life.
At 10pm on the last night of our holiday (12 hours before we needed to be at the airport) we got a call from our taxi service to say they couldn’t take us to the airport because a taxi strike was going on across the country.
This meant that as of that moment, we didn’t have a way of getting to the airport. Cue a moment of utter panic.
We decided in the end that we would walk it – it was only (ha, only!) an hour and a half from our hotel. With a backpack. And a 20kg case.
But we did it. It was hard, but we did it. And it made me realise that I’m more capable than I thought.
If something unexpected happens, you can deal with it. You may not think so for a brief amount of time – there’s always that moment of sheer panic when you don’t know what you’re going to do. But no matter what it is you will be able to find a solution. Believe that.
3. IF YOU CAN'T SEE THE END OF YOUR GOAL IN SIGHT, KEEP GOING
It can take a while for us to reach our goals. Sometimes, we can be working towards them for months and we still can’t see the end. The longer it takes for us to get there, the easier it is for us to give up.
When we thought we reached the airport after our walk we were so relieved. Our feet were blistered, our hands were sore and all we wanted to do was collapse on the floor. But as we got there, we noticed that actually, there was a green fence that we had to walk along to get to the entrance. We walked and walked for what felt like miles, and all along, we couldn’t see the end in sight. It made it so much more difficult for us to carry on.
But you’ll get there sooner if you keep on going. As much as some people might not agree with this, giving up really is the easier option in some situations. It can be harder to keep going and powering through, without even knowing when or if you’re going to reach your end goal.
Then when you do get to where you want to be, it makes it even more worthwhile.
4. PEOPLE WILL START TO NOTICE YOU
Starting out online is quite a scary place to be. You’re entering a world where you may not know anyone, yet you need support straight away.
It’s like when you’re in a new place for a chunk of time. For the first few days you visit different restaurants and no one notices you. But then, as you carry on walking around your area on a regular basis, the waitress that served you a couple of nights ago will start to say hi to you and the cashier at the local shop will start to recognise you.
If you make yourself known and “show up”, people will start to recognise you. If you leave a comment on every post your favourite bloggers publish, they’ll start to recognise you. As you start to create a regular publishing schedule and take part in the online community, people will start to notice you and learn to know who you are and what you do.
5. IT'S ALWAYS GOOD TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT
I’ll let you in on a little secret here friends – I don’t like change. If everything’s going good, I’m quite happy to just plod along. I like the simple life and being independent. This relates to everything. I know what exercise works for me so I stick to it. I know what food I like so I eat it. Which means when I eat out, I always order the same thing. Until this holiday when I tried something new – and I loved it!
It’s easy to fall into a pattern when you’re first starting out as a blogger. You can consume so much information without really getting anywhere. I’ve learnt that you’ve got to put a limit on this.
If all you do is read what other bloggers are doing, you’ll just do the same as them. There's a quote I love that is perfect for this point:
"If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always got"
But you’re capable of so much more than that! We all are. It’s just about staying true to you.
6. You need to stay connected
I’m going to be honest with you again here. I really couldn’t wait to take a break from everything the week I went away. Social media, emails, blogging – they completely disappeared from my mind. But there were times when I was itching to check Twitter to see what you guys were getting up to and Bloglovin’ to see what great content my friends were posting.
Before you get the wrong idea, it’s more than OK to take a break. In fact, we all need one at some point during the year. If we’re always working on something and we never take a break from it, we won’t be able to distance ourselves from it. And that is never a good thing.
But, part of our job is to stay connected with everyone. So even if it’s just a post letting people know you’re taking a break for a bit, at least you’re letting them know.
7. Downtime is always needed
This relates to the point above, but it’s so important. Lauren from Elle & Company said something in a recent post that I loved: “If you’re constantly pouring out without filling up, your well will run dry.”
To me, this means that if you keep working and creating for yourself without taking a step away from it, you’ll lose sight of what you were doing in the first place. You’ll forget your purpose and you’ll run out of ideas – which is almost every creative’s nightmare.
Down time is essential. I’ve learnt this even more so by trying to balance this whole thing alongside a day job. Which is why I’ve created this special calendar so you can print it off and actually schedule downtime into your life!
8. You need to fuel yourself first
If you’re not motivated to do something, or you’re too tired so it’s making you lose concentration, you know you won’t do your best work. It’s a struggle of all of us. When I was transferring my site over to Squarespace two weeks ago, I had two very late nights and two early mornings – by Sunday teatime I was shattered.
Don’t feel pressured to get a blog post live the next day if it’s midnight and you’re struggling to stay awake. It can wait. If you know it won’t be your best work, don’t risk that. Fuel yourself first and then create.
9. Take everything in your stride
Life is unexpected. Running a website is unexpected. Sometimes we’re made to think that a blogger’s life is perfect. They spend their days creating amazing content (on even more amazingly-looking desks), have great communities and spend their days working from home, completely chilled out.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Especially when your blog isn’t your main source of income. AKA you have another job.
I guarantee that these people have bad days. They love their work, of course they do. But some days, they won’t want to do it. Something will go wrong. Many things will go wrong. But what’s admiring about them is that they take it in their stride. They find a solution, overcome it and carry on.
It’s easy to complain, but I honestly never see the people that inspire me complain. I guess that’s why they’re inspiring. Take everything in your stride and it will make you stronger.
10. Enjoy every moment
There’s no better lesson to end with than that, is there?
This has been a slightly different post to what I anticipated but I hope you found it inspiring and learnt something from it. There are so many “how to do this and that” posts out there at the moment, so I really want to strive to fill this space with discussion and personal lessons we can teach each other. I think that can actually be more beneficial anyway.
still want the free calendar? get it here
What are some lessons you've learnt about blogging from your daily life? Do you find inspiration can strike anywhere?