Six Things I've Learned As A Lifestyle Blogger

Photo credit: Alexander Baxevanis (Filckr) So I had this brilliant plan to blog about bread today. And I still will, I promise. Bread is tasty and we should all blog about it. And then eat all of it. But I'm just not feeling it and who said I have to stick to my content calendar all the time? (I mean, this is my blog. Amiright?)

Anyway. Yesterday marked a very special day in my book and I didn't even realize it until I looked at my TimeHop. Seriously, if you don't have that app, get on it. I love seeing things from previous years and if you remember my last post about TimeHop stuff, you know that sometimes those things make me think.

I've been a blogger since October of 2009. I even have the numbers tattooed on my finger. Which is a little weird, but being a blogger has been life changing to me. And every year in October I am always reminded of that first blog and all of the things that I've changed about me and my blog since then.

But now I have a new anniversary. The day where I officially said goodbye to being a dating blogger and steered into the path of a lifestyle blogger. I've mentioned 994 times about what a change it's been. And I promise that isn't what this post is about. It's actually about what I've learned as a lifestyle blogger. As a blogger who has totally shifted the topic of her blog. A blogger who tends to wonder if she's doing what she should be doing (I shudder at the word should).

Obviously it's list time. Here are six things I've learned as a lifestyle blogger (or really just a blogger in general).

1. Blog for yourself

I know. I know. That sounds pretty selfish and I promise that I do not mean it that way. I love all of my readers. Both new and old. Those that stay for a while and those that read one post. I wouldn't exist without you guys and it warms my heart to know people want to read what I have to say. But, ultimately, blogging has always been an outlet for me. A place to be creative. A place for my thoughts. And sometimes I feel like I get a little too wrapped up in what will get the most page views or what other bloggers are doing. I get so wrapped up in it that I lose sight of myself. And that's what a blog should be. A reflection of who you are. That's why people read it and that's what will keep them coming back. If you blog for yourself, you just naturally gain a following and that's the best kind.

2. Do not compare yourself to other bloggers

I am terrible. I read other blogs and assume they have all of these readers. So then I start to think about what they're doing. Should I write articles like them? Should I change my layout to be like they're blog? Why do people like them so much? What are they doing? It's exhausting and ridiculous. The truth is, I have no insider knowledge about any blog other than my own. Maybe they have 10 million more readers than I do and maybe they've figured out the secret, but maybe they don't. There are so many factors that go into this internet and blogging stuff. So go easy on yourself. It's not a freaking popularity contest anyway.

3. Allow yourself to learn from other bloggers

The best thing about being a blogger is the fact that they're are 994 other bloggers out there. And while it's easy to compare (but I've already said you shouldn't so stop it), you should actually learn from them. Sometimes I get a chip on my shoulder. Like, I've done this for years so I know what I'm doing kind of thing. But there's always new things to learn or things that you've overlooked.

4. Do not compare yourself to your former blogging self

I beat out Beyonce on Google for All The Single Ladies. Seriously. That was the title of my first blog and if you Googled All The Single Ladies, Jess Downey came up before Beyonce. Before. It was pretty awesome and I still talk about it even though that totally makes me that dude who talks about how he scored the big touchdown in high school. Sometimes I feel like I've failed myself because I am not longer before Beyonce. But you know what? I bet if she had a song about being chaotic and collected or about cooking Brussels sprouts or making DIY shit for her wedding I could beat her again. She just doesn't. So really it's her fault that I can't beat her out again. Not mine.

5. Connect with other bloggers

I cannot begin to tell you how nice it feels to have a blogging family. A cheering squad. You know, other than my mom and Mr. T. So find some people on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or somewhere and join 'em.

6. Realize that you may never be famous

If you start a blog thinking that you'll be famous you'll likely be sadly disappointed. We're all obsessed with internet fame because that one girl wrote this one post or made this one video and became an internet sensation. The real truth? You might never ever be famous for blogging. But that's OK because there is more to blogging than being famous. If you're telling your story, whether if that's a single gal with funny stories to share or a married gal who's exciting about buying a new bread maker, you're doing your job. I love this little blog. I love what it's become and what it still can become. I'm proud of it. And I'm proud of myself.

Oh and be totally organized. Keep track of the shit you want to talk about or you'll die. (Bonus tip!)