By: Leah Outten
Blogging has become popular these days, it seems like everyone and their mom has one. Which, I honestly love because peeking into each other’s lives and at the deepest heart matters thrills me as an introvert who communicates and understands better through the written word. Back when I started my blogging journey 10 years ago, simply to journal for myself and friends, it sparked a dream of being one of those bloggers. One of those wildly successful blogs with millions of views each day, sponsors paying them, and followers refreshing their reader feed waiting for the next post. It seemed attainable that I could be one of those influential people, touching lives and hearts with my experiences and getting paid for it. I wanted to be a blogger on my own website, with my own name, my design theme, and my vision for success. But, 10 years later, I’m still not to that level.
Turns out, I kind of suck at self-discipline when I am doing something on my own accord in my own time frame. At times, I’m too flexible if I set my own schedule. I stink at dedicating time to have at least one post a week- let alone one daily- on my own blog. I’m no good at keeping up with Facebook posts at the exact right time for best views, instagram shots that people care to see, and keeping my social media presence in my follower’s feed all the time. Why? Well, I have four kids under the age of eight. I currently homeschool my oldest while trying to keep up with my terror toddler, plus a nursing baby, and a four year old needing me to wipe his poop. Some days I’d rather nap, or I have to fold those five baskets of laundry over there. My excuses are endless.
Yes, I realized that I am not cut out to do what I initially dreamed of as a way to be at home and contribute financially. I cannot put every effort into growing a successful blog, at least not at this point in life, when I’m constantly evaluating the priority of each item on my to-do list. Sometimes as a mom a nap is priority when you were up all night with a teething baby to survive the rest of the day. I’m okay with that now, after doing some pouting and wanting to give up my blog all together because I wasn’t seeing what I thought I should see. I’ve come to terms with the fact that growing my blog into a paid position turned out to be harder than I expected. To keep it thriving, updated, and followers involved is just hard when your time is squeezed between “Welcome home, babe. The kids are eating dinner, take the baby, I’m going to go write!” and your head drooping at your desk by 9:30pm. This isn’t my forte.
And while we are talking priorities on our to-do lists, let’s be honest here: My blog doesn’t pay me. Therefore, it is much further down my list. It is what I do when I find a rare extra chunk of time or the words are begging to be poured onto screen to say something that would not be fitting anywhere else.
I have no motivation to blog there consistently. I’m not saying that being paid is my sole motivation to write — far from it. My passion to write cannot be contained within boundaries of paid and unpaid. But in my own blog space, I write for me. Truthfully though, when you have four young children with bills to pay and financial goals, money is a big factor! This is where passion meets practicality- my passion to write about things dear to my heart now crosses with the reality that we need money. And you know what? Eventually it happened! Just not how I planned it. It wasn’t my blog, it was freelance writing. It was people wanting me to write for them. Who knew my dream would find me instead. I love my job and that finally the passion and need are met to create a most fullfilling life.
However, freelance writing fell into my lap because of my blog. While I didn’t get paid on my own blog, I now get paid elsewhere to write! My blog was my foundation for those opportunities. It provided me with experience, a portfolio of sorts, and a platform to let people know I even exist on this planet. The fruits of your labor may not be always evident in the areas we think they should be in, but you may be surprised where it may pop up in other ways when you least expect it. Freelance writing simply works better for me anyway, with real deadlines to meet and someone else to bounce ideas with. I didn’t even think to dream of freelance writing before, it just ended up in my lap as a happy surprise!
I write all this to say, keep going. Keep doing. Keep dreaming. It will happen. Maybe not in the way you expected it to come about, but it will come. I don’t make thousands a month- yet- but it is more than I made a year ago and an amazing stepping stone to the career I dream of all while being at home with my kids. Little jobs add up and with that experience comes more exposure and more opportunities. In the mean time, don’t forget that everyone starts somewhere. With perseverance and a little belief in yourself, you can get there too.
And keep your lap open, you never know when a surprise gift will land there.
Image Source: Thomas Lefebvre/Unsplash