Thursday, October 20, 2011

What I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging...

The lovely Tara of Tara Dara Made It asked me last week to be a guest blogger for her series on "What I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging"! I was honored to be considered- such a great series!

I have a mentor in almost every aspect of my life. There's a specific attorney I look up to for career guidance, a professor I look up to for school guidance, and even peers to help me with other miscellaneous things. The one thing I DIDN'T have that I wish I did was a "blog mentor". I went about creating my own blog all alone. My sister had a blog, but she was on Tumblr and for some reason, I knew from the beginning I needed one that was easier to read than hers (logging in with a Tumblr account, etc...)

With that being said, I was overwhelmed with the things to blog about! I was creative, a student, a daughter, an aunt, and in love. I felt silly having a blog without being married or having kids. I felt that all the blogs out there were family oriented or strictly crafting blogs! I tossed aside all my care last summer when Ordy (my fiance) and I were going to Paris and I wanted to keep my family and his posted on our trip... I thought our families were the only ones reading... Until I saw the traffic and noticed that 7 followers did NOT mean 7 readers!!! I was blown away. When I got back to the States and decided that blogging was done for me, I realized I loved it too much. I was even more surprised when random people were facebook messaging me asking to keep up with the blog! I couldn't believe people cared about what I had to say!

So, that's how I molded into a blogger, a year and a half later. It keeps me sane, it makes me happy, and it connects me with other like minded people! I have loved the people blogging has connected me with and I couldn't be happier to be a "blogger"!

It's so easy to get caught up in the comparisons. I would have never started if I thought my target audience was the entire world wide web. Knowing my target audience was just close friends and family took the pressure off of me. I knew I didn't have to have profound blog posts to be on the cover of Tip Junkie or other well known blogs (even thought that's nice- don't get me wrong)! The pressure to create a good blog post can be too overwhelming especially when you see blogs with thousands of followers and you get discouraged. Do it for yourself. The minute I realized blogging was keeping me sane after hours of reading cases for school, I couldn't care about being the next Tatertots and Jello or Pioneer Woman. They are brilliant ladies, but I was a full time law student and had to realize this was not a full time job!
Take some time to unwind. Don't neglect your friends and family to create your next post. Enjoy candid family moments. Not everything has to be documented. Pretty soon, people will question your genuineness and whether you're really having family time for the company or for a "good post". Quit looking at Pinterest, other blogs, facebook, or any other distraction for a few days. Sometimes you get sensory overload and want to do SO much you confuse yourself and don't get anything done!
Don't forget, you're doing this as a hobby. The chances of Home Depot or Michael's sponsoring you from the get go is rare- start out slow and build your followers. Progress into a loved (and sponsored) blog. Nothing is more annoying than seeing banners on a blog that has 5 followers, because I automatically feel that every post influenced by a product is a sponsor and the blog is not as authentic as I'd like. Don't blog with intentions of being sponsored, your readers can tell. This is a hobby- that may (or may not) turn into a full time job. Just don't lose followers before you even have them!
Set time aside for blogging so you don't burn out. There is nothing worse than FEELING like you HAVE to blog. You end up with 3 uninspiring posts vs. 1 quality blog post a week. Your followers would rather wait a week for that one good post than know you're pumping out lousy ones they don't care to read!
If you aren't tech savvy (which I'm betting most of you AREN'T), go ahead and spend some (not a lot) on a decent design package. I know if I'll like a blog (and follow) within the first two seconds of visiting. If you have too much going on or music playing, etc, it might discourage people from seeing the "meat" of you blog! Don't splurge from the get-go, blog a while and see if it's something you want to continue doing. I didn't care about design much until I realized it's the first thing people judge me on! I ended up googling until 4 a.m. several nights just to figure out how to do it for free. I found out I could do a lot on my own (with a few questions to graphic design friends) on my own free time. Here's a tip: I do most of my design on PowerPoint- it helps me pick my own fonts and images, then I take a screen shot and upload them to the blog! Feel free to ask me for help, I don't know much, but I can try!!!

I could go on and on, but I think these were the most important things that I wish someone told me! Thanks for letting me guest post!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More Blush to Keep You Busy

I am so overwhelmed. I am two seconds away from a nervous breakdown, if I haven't had one already.

All I have is a groom and a dress. Does anyone smell a destination wedding with just the family?? I think...

Anyhow, before I sink into my deep depression before 9 am again, I'll just give a brief update... My dream venue is taken. The annoying lady was rude enough to let me visit, fall in love, think about it non-stop, just to tell me none of my dates are available. THANKS FOR NOTHING, MEANIE!

We have 2 venues to visit this week... Next weekend we're attending my friend Lori's wedding so that will take up an entire wedding planning weekend, but instead of freaking out, I'm attempting to view it as a much needed mental vaca... and I can TOTALLY be on "clean up crew", Lori... aka scoop up whatever you need to while you go off on the honeymoon! :)

The venues we're going to see are Ordy's favorites... they're back to the barn... as overwhelmed as I've been with barn weddings, it's our only choice now with my venue being taken and not wanting a fancy hotel wedding WE wouldn't even feel comfortable at. Sorry if I've gone back and forth- beggars can't be choosers! It's not that I'm settling, but yes, I really wanted the other venue! But, I must move on. With 157 days left, I need to pick a place so I can start invitations, etc.

I have a paper due every Thursday in October, a random final exam next Friday, and the MPRE on Nov 5th. I can't even take it... I need to get a venue just so when I go to type my paper I don't find myself googling venues!

Enough about my rough schedule. On to things that make me smile and think, "will this day ever come?!" More blush and gold inspiration...

great bridal shower look!!! Hint hint sher

my dream dress. i'd wear it the entire week of. rehearsal. bed. anywhere.

love rifle paper for inspiration for invites

another great shower idea :) 

Anyway, I promise, once I finish being a student/wedding planner, I'll come back to being a better blogger. Thanks for hanging in there for the 4 readers I may have left! Any ideas are appreciated!

One thing my dad shared:

"There are people with $100,000 weddings, and people with $10,000... and every person regrets SOMETHING about their wedding and wishes they could do SOMETHING differently. You'll never please EVERYONE, everyone has different taste- what you think is trendy, someone traditional will think it's the tackiest thing ever... but don't ever forget an elaborate wedding doesn't make her marriage any better than the girl with the simple one. It's about the marriage, not the wedding. You have the best groom waiting for you at the end of the aisle and that's all that matters. "

Amen. Gotta love dad's lectures/pearls of wisdom :)