Tomorrow will be 2 years since I published my very first blog post on here. Even though I did not share any of these posts until at least a month later, it all began on the 18th May 2017. I had dreamed about starting a blog before that, and I had even started a free one (which I am pretty sure may still be out there somewhere). However, when I took the step of starting this website, I stepped into a different part of my writing journey. I did not know what it would bring, and some days I am surprised when I go back and read some of my older posts. But it has been one of my favourite journeys so far, and I am so pleased you have chosen to share it with me!
I have just completed a blog revamp that I have been dreaming about for almost a year, and finally feel as if this space reflects more of me. But today I want to celebrate this milestone, and go back to my roots of lessons learned - sharing the 5 lessons I learned from 2 years of blogging. And over the next few weeks, I will be sharing more about this journey over the past 2 years, as we approach the release date for my first book!!! And spoiler alert - this book is one of the huge things that came out of me starting this blog!
I learned to start before I was ready. This was huge for me. When I started this blog I was not ready at all. Not ready to share the posts because I wasn’t sure that anyone would care enough to read them, or that they would be any good. Not ready to face the technical side of running a blog. Not ready to put certain parts of myself out there. But I had a desire, and I decided that I would take one baby step at a time. So I wrote several blog posts before I shared any, and in truth - there are still some there I haven’t shared. I have only just made some technical changes to my blog that I wanted to make at the very beginning. And I am still learning to let go of the fear of the judgement which can accompany putting our stories out there (or at the very least - act in spite of that fear!) We often don’t feel ready to do brave things, but one thing I learned from starting this blog was that I don’t wait until I am ready, instead I take small steps and build the confidence I need to continue on the journey, and let the momentum carry me. (And for more on building confidence, check out this post!)
I learned that everything is figureoutable. This is a saying from one of my favourite people - Marie Forleo - and I believe it is the name of her new book! Last night as I prepared to launch 39 and counting 2.0 into the world - the new look blog - I dug into google and youtube to find the technical help I needed to make it come together the way I wanted. And throughout this process, I have learned how to search for what I want… How to ask for what I want. How to crowdsource information and how to persevere as I move closer to my goal. These skills have reached out into so many other parts of my life, and I am grateful for this blog bringing me these insights.
I learned how to release perfectionism. This is tricky - I am still learning this one in other areas of my life. But releasing perfectionism was a huge part of hitting publish on my blog posts for 2 years, as well as writing and self-publishing my book. There were a number of realizations that helped me to release perfectionism. One was that done is better than perfect. If I waited until I had written the perfect blog posts, I would still be sitting in front of the computer judging myself instead of celebrating 2 years of imperfect action. The second is that I got better the more I took action. Instead of waiting until I got better to take action, I realized that it was in taking those actions - writing, hitting publish, getting feedback - that I had any chance of even approaching the standard that I set for myself. I learned that if I wanted to achieve excellence then I needed to continue to take the journey of imperfect action. And the third is that - one of the beautiful things about technology is that I can always make the changes that I want. I have gone in and fixed typos, changed the names of posts and made improvements along the way, and knowing that this is an option made me more likely to release the need for everything to be perfect.
I learned that clarity comes from action. This is another Marie Forleo gem, and it is one that I am learning in other parts of my life. I have always been someone who would build a list of pros and cons, and sit there weighing up the options, waiting for that aha-moment of clarity to strike before taking action. In writing my blog, I learned so quickly how much clarity could come from actually taking action. Doing something on a small scale taught me quickly which parts of the process I loved (and which I needed to crowdsource or outsource). It taught me to trust myself to know when to lean into a course of action, and when to change direction, or pause. It taught me to do little experiments and keep gaining clarity before going all in. And this has been useful in writing, and in life!
I learned how to have more fun. Many of the factors I have mentioned thus far in this blog post were either the result or cause of me taking things very seriously. Needing things to be “perfect”, being scared of technology, worrying about judgement - were and continue to be real things for me. But having this blog allowed me to take this journey in a lighthearted way. I removed the pressure I was putting on myself and just allowed myself to write, to explore and to have fun. I decided that I didn’t need to be serious about my writing, and so I published a few of the poems I wrote, and even started writing fiction again - something I hadn’t done in years and something which led me to writing an entire fiction book - also a lifelong dream. While I don’t plan to publish it - writing that book was the most fun thing I did last year. I decided that it was just as ok to write a frivolous post as it was to write something serious and meaningful. I decided that I didn’t need to rush into generating income from my writing, or making it fit into a particular mold or format. I decided to play with it. It was one of the my best lessons from this process, and one that I continue to learn and to practice.
Starting this blog has been one of my favourite actions in the past two years. It has been eye opening and life changing and enjoyable. I have made new friendships and re-ignited old ones. I have found new passions. I have been able to reframe and let go of old wounds. And the journey continues daily. I am so pleased to have you along with me for the ride.
There is so much more to come from me in the next few weeks, as I explore more changes that came from starting this blog, and my first book makes its way out into the world in a matter of weeks! (Pre-order here!) Please click here and join my mailing list (if you haven’t already) and join me over the next few weeks as I celebrate 2 years of blogging, 2 years of writing and sharing my story - 2 years of being 39 and counting!
And as always - I send you big love from a small island!