History of A Faithful Step
Over a year ago I started a new, terrifying, and completely unknown adventure. I had just left on a deployment and honestly, I needed something to help process what I was going through; process my emotions, my fears, my failures and quite frankly, my past.
As I came to the realization that maybe God wanted me to pursue writing, I saw a notice that Risen Motherhood (a podcast I loved listening to) was opening their blog up for guest submissions. I took this as a sign from God to begin writing. So from Mid-March through May, I worked tirelessly to create a piece I thought was perfect for their site.
I hit submit and then waited.
While I waited, I decided to start my own blog. Overwhelmed by the research and making the “right choice”, I just decided to jump right in. I created a place that I could share my life stories and hopefully encourage and equip women just like me.
Now, one year later, here I am! Looking back, I am shocked that 1) I have actually made it this far (more on that later), and 2) how far I’ve come.
It’s Not About Me
The initial misconception with blogging is that it’s an online diary. Ofcourse, for some, it may very well be an online diary, but for me, my “why” was less about me and more about what my experiences could teach others. There have been moments when I’ve forgotten my “why”, but I am always reminded, it’s not about telling my story. It’s not about me, me, me, but instead how can I share an idea or a story in a way that will encourage others or equip them for a life well-lived.
Heres a shameless plug to take the reader survey and tell us how we can encourage and equip you better this upcoming year!
Publishing Your Writing Is TERRIFYING
I never thought about how scary it was to actually publish and promote my own writing. I easily found myself spilling my heart onto the screen, but when it was time for people to read it, I was terrified. It suddenly felt like I was on display for the whole world to see my faults and imperfections. Would they judge me? Would they question my legitimacy? Why would anyone want to read my writing? I eventually came to terms with the idea that writing wasn’t about me. It was about sharing how God has worked my life. It was and is about encouraging, even one person, to live a better life.
Some People Won’t Support You or Agree With You
When I initially brought up the idea of starting a blog, my husband scoffed at the idea. I actually wrote about the experience here. It’s not that he didn’t support me, he just thought it was a fad I would outgrow. I had to quickly learn that I wasn’t going to have a cheer squad behind me to encourage me when things got hard. For the longest time, my mom was my only supporter (thanks mom). I had to be okay with that. Why? Because again, blogging was not about me. It was about being faithful to God.
This lesson is still hard.. Have you ever tried to succeed at a goal when those around you think it’s just a fad? Its discouraging. You want to give up at times, especially when it feels like no one is reading your posts (or liking/commenting on your content). And now here I am, a year later, still writing the blog.
Some Content You Create Isn’t As Great As You Think It Is
In the beginning of this post I told you about my submission for Risen Motherhood. Well, I waited for 3 months and I never heard back about my submission. I was not selected. This revelation left me devastated. I questioned my writing. I questioned why I even bothered. But I realized that some content just isn’t as great as you think. Sometimes timing is off (you wouldn’t publish a summer post in the winter), other times it may just not be what the audience needs at the time. There have been so many times when I have published a piece I was extremely excited about, just to hear crickets from the readers… womp… womp… This is why I will share not only the Fan Favorites but my favorite posts as well.
Ultimately, I realized that everything I publish won’t please everyone. You will never know how many people you’ve actually helped because some readers just won’t tell you.
Success Does Not Come Overnight
In the beginning of my blogging journey I didn’t know what to expect in regards to blogging. I thought I would start writing pieces and people would flock over to my site to read the posts. I thought my content was great enough that my submissions to other websites would be easily accepted and yet that was not the case.
A year in and none of the above is true. I couldn’t begin to tell you when this blog will be considered successful to those on the outside. What I do know is, it takes time and it might not look like what you expected.
6. Success Might Look Different Than You Initially Thought
In #5, I mentioned briefly what I thought success would look like. I learned that success for AFS wasn’t the same as success for all the other blogs out there. If I measured success the same way other influencers and bloggers measured success I would be sorely disappointed. Instead I realized that success, for me, was the ability to encourage women and honor God. When I receive feedback from family, friends, or even strangers of how a post impacted them, that becomes my measure for success.
7. Blogging Is More That Just Writing
I was shocked and irritated with how much work actually goes into blogging. It’s not just writing a post and pushing it out into the world. You need to become an editor, a website designer, a marketer, a social media strategist, a Pinterest Pro, a SEO (search engine optimization) implementer, a traffic analyst, a graphic designer, a photographer… You get the picture, right? If you don’t male money (ahem… me) then you have to learn how to do everything yourself. And what you don’t figure out just doesn’t get done.
8. You Don’t Have To Be An Expert To Write On A Topic
Over the past year there have been times where I have been passionate about a topic but questioned my legitimacy in writing about it. For example, marriage… could I write about marriage when I have only been married for 4 years? Or what about motherhood? My kid is only 2 afterall. But I soon realized it wasn’t about whether or not I was an expert, but more to do with experience and passion.
There will be people who question your credentials; people who think your limited experience invalidates your opinion. Don’t listen to those people.
Now, I do believe you need to have experience behind your posts. Would you accept parental advice from a person with no children or educational background in childhood? Probably not! But there is no right level of experience or education that will validate a post. If you feel called to write it, do so!
9. There Will Be Days or Weeks (Heck Even Months) Where You Won’t Want To Do Anything
This was probably the most surprising lesson. I felt that in order to be a writer I needed to be inspired to write. I thought I would love to sit down and share my thoughts all of the time. Ha! That was a rude awakening. There have been many times where I had no idea what to write about nor a desire to force myself to write. I have also had moments of no desire to engage in social media.
BUT the key is to never give in to those desires. If I am being obedient to Christ, obedient to my calling, then it is not about what I want to do and everything to do with what I need to do. So during those seasons of not wanting to do anything blog related, I’ve scaled back but still ensured I was being obedient.
10. You Have The Opportunity To Meet Great People / Make New friends
Last, but certainly not least, I have “met” many great people in the blogging/influencer realm. I am so thankful for these women who have encouraged me, mentored me, and inspired me to keep pressing forward. I started the blog to help others and ended up being helped in the process.
Any of these lessons learned surprise you? If you’re a blogger and/or writer, what were some of your top lessons learned from the past year?