Things Blogging has Taught Me

Recently Se7en asked me to do a post about “Se7en + 1 things…” to feature on her blog as part of her celebration of her blogaversary. When she approached me last year to feature in her Blogaversary “Celebrity” line up I really did think she had made a mistake… but who was I to turn down such a fabulous opportunity!!?? When she came back this year I was even more excited – at least I didn’t stuff up the last time 😉 My post went live on Se7en a while ago but I thought you might like to see it. You can pop over here to Se7en to read it or scroll down…

When thinking about what to write about I hit a bit of a wall. Last year I shared Se7en + 1 things I have learnt since becoming a mom and I wanted to do something similar but different… Eventually I realised that I have learnt so much this past year and most of it has been due to one thing: Blogging! Amazing how much I have grown and developed all down to this little hobby…

Here is my list of Se7en + 1 things blogging has taught me

1. To Discover my Passion
When I started blogging it was purely as a hobby. I had been an avid reader of blogs over the years and was (still am) a magazine-a-holic so starting my own little online space seemed like a good progression. From the moment I started I knew I had found something that I LOVED. And over the past 18 months the passion has only increased. Don’t get me wrong there are days I ask myself whether all the hours are worth it but the excitement I feel on a good blogging day is worth it. A mere hobby can grow into something so much more. Whether you are a blogger or knitter, gardener or cook you can use the skills you learn through your hobby and harness the passion you have for that interest to discover a whole new avenue of career opportunities.

2. How to Use Social Media
Of course I was an active participant of social media before starting a blog but this was limited to my personal Facebook profile. Once I realised the potential that Social Media had for my blog I was eager to learn all I could about the different platforms – how to use them, how to connect with others, how to market my blog through them, how to “go viral”. I have really enjoyed this aspect of blogging and the best part is that I have learnt so much I was able to take the knowledge back to my bill paying job and tweak my job responsibilities there too to include more of what I love. Now I’m active Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and just discovering the Google Plus world. Come and join me!! @Becomingyoublog on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and Becomingyou on Instagram. I’m always thrilled to connect with my readers through Social Media.

3. The Power of Networking
Networking is one of those overused sayings in business circles and I used to be pretty disinterested in what appeared to be just a way to “schmooze” your way to the top – not for me! But networking isn’t only restricted to this type of impersonal interaction and can actually be pretty fun! One of my favourite aspects of blogging has been meeting a whole host of new friends through the online world. People I wouldn’t have otherwise come across. Networking can happen via Twitter or email. In person, at events, conferences or indabas or at a meeting over coffee. I have come to look forward to these opportunities whenever they happen and nothing is nicer than meeting a blogger “in real life” and finding out that you really could be great friends! And the interactions that evolve after establishing a connection can be really exciting. You never know where they might lead.

4. Patience is a Virtue
This is definitely not one of my virtues but I have been growing in this area and it’s all thanks to blogging. Well, mostly blogging PROBLEMS. Things go wrong as they are apt to do and when there is a “technical” side which you know nothing about you are sure to learn some patience along the way. I have had malware attacks and blog crashes and missing posts and all manner of very frustrating things happen to my blog and each time as I’ve been getting more and more irritated I have realised that there is nothing I can do to help the situation. All I can do is step away from the computer, do something else for a while and PRAY. Having someone else to help with these sorts of technical terrors is also helpful! Put them on speed dial. Always backup your content. And sign up for a great hosting, don’t waste your time with cheap or average!

5. To Be More Creative
My blog is a place to inspire myself and others to “becoming you”. A place to document what it is I love and enjoy and remind myself that I have interests and hobbies and desires that are unique to me which I mustn’t neglect. Two of these interests have always been Photography and Writing but without the forum to share them with others in the form of my blog I might never have discovered my talent and passion for them. I have loved finding ways to improve my Photography and Writing and have been on courses to improve the skills I have. I can’t wait to take out my camera and spend some time shooting. Or spending an evening when the writing juices are flowing. Now all I need is some more TIME.

6. Comparison is the Thief of Joy!
A lesson that seems to be one I need to relearn (a lot) is that there is nothing to be gained by comparing. Comparison is something us girls are very prone to (am I wrong??) and although it can be good to look to others for inspiration or encouragement it is so wrong to compare our lives or blogs to anyone else as we are never going to be comparing “like with like”. We will also be missing out on a lot of the back story – the circumstances, opportunities, skills, money, experiences and hardships that someone else has available to them or been through will always be different to yours but that doesn’t make it better. Blogging makes comparison especially hard to deal with because there is such a tangible way to compare – the dreaded “stats”. I have fallen prey to this far too many times and keep having to remind myself to rather compare my stats to what they were a year ago. If they are on the up, then that’s GREAT. What more do I really want? Why I am looking to my Google Analytics for validation when I should be looking to God?

7. To Train my Brain
The blogging journey requires plenty of brain juice. There are so many practical things to learn. I have mentioned a few such as networking and social media but you will also need to learn about marketing, basic html, writing, how to deal with technical glitches, plugins, widgets, seo – the list is endless! I have loved training my brain to take in all this new information. Reading up and expanding my knowledge has been something I never expected to take to with enthusiasm. As I hope to grow my blog into a small business of sorts I am looking forward to discovering what else there is I need to learn along the way. I may not be “over the hill” so to speak but since having kids and being a “SAHM” for the majority of the week I did wonder if I would ever achieve anything else with my life but blogging has made me realise that you are never too old to start something new and excel at it!

7+1. Inspiration is Everywhere
Writing my blog has made me view life in a different way. Everyday outings now have become a chance to discover a new place for coffee or a different destination for an outing. My photography means I now look for new angles to shoot familiar things. These days I am more likely to notice what people are wearing and the colours of the leaves than I was before – I don’t want to miss an opportunity for an amazing blog post! I now really do believe that inspiration is everywhere… you just have to find it!

I’m still learning lessons daily through blogging, almost all of which I am able to take away to the other areas of my life – family, work and spiritual. I am excited to see what else I will learn along this journey.

I might just have to print this out to remind myself on those days when I consider packing it all in. Or maybe I should give it to my husband to read when he moans about how much time I’m spending at the computer 😉

What has blogging taught you? And if you don’t blog – why not start? You may learn a lot about yourself in process! 😉

Images: Kathryn Rossiter

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Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for almost 7 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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