Last year, I decided to invest more time on this blog. I started this blog in 2013 as a way to share pictures of Luke and offer tips and what I’ve learned about motherhood, hence – Second City Mom. But I quickly realized that I didn’t have any great tips to offer and felt like I was failing at motherhood miserably. So I decided to just share about our adventures around the city (and hopefully the world).
Although I didn’t stop blogging in 2015 and 2016, it felt like I was blogging for the wrong reasons. I didn’t blog as frequently and it wasn’t from the heart. To be honest, those were the darkest years for me (including 2014). I suffered from from two miscarriages in 2014 and then two failed IVF cycles in 2015. My blog took a backseat and realized I needed to take care of myself. With time, I finally felt little sparks of creativity and joy come back. I was learning to move on.
Why I Started Blogging Again
So at the beginning of 2017, I decided give the blog a reboot. I even shared my 2017 resolutions and goals as a way to make it a goal to blog more. But the biggest goal was self love. And with that, I wanted to use the blog as a way to express this self love and to grow the blog. At the time, I wasnot able to produce another human life, so I wanted to use the blog as a way to nurture another life, my thoughts and creativity put into words. Little did I know that we would find out we were pregnant at the end of 2017 and that we did in fact create another human life.
2017 was a successful year for my blog. Not in terms of the number of collaborations or sponsored posts but in self-fulfillment. It was therapeutic to push the “publish” button after working on a post. I saw my blog traffic increase by three times the amount of hits as the previous year. I even considered to work part-time because I wanted to spend more time blogging. But with the surprise pregnancy, it’s not going to happen. I have bills to pay.
What I’ve Learned from Blogging So Far
I’m sharing what I learned from blogging last year. I want to be clear that I am not an expert on blogging. These are things I’ve learned about myself as I blog as a hobby and not as a profession. I don’t have advice on how to monetize from your blog (there are tons of sites that will give you that information, if you want to know though).
Blogging from the heart and sharing what makes me happy
To me, I like to share things on the blog the same way I would share something with a friend. I blog about what makes me feel fulfilled or what excites me. When I started blogging, friends would ask what my blog was about. I really didn’t know. I think the blog is still evolving as I evolve but for now it’s our visual diary.
Keeping my voice
I didn’t start my blog with the intention of working on brand collaborations/sponsored posts. I do remember the first time I was contacted for a collaboration. It was exciting because it meant that someone found my blog and liked it! But as fun as collaborations can be, taking on some depends on what type of message the company wants you to communicate. I’ve come to realize that I can’t say “yes” to all offers and only accept the ones that resonate with me. I don’t want to sound like someone else or make my blog look like a commercial. I want my posts to be from my voice and point of view.
In the same manner, I think it’s great to take inspiration from other bloggers but I try not to share the same content as others because that is their voice.
Being transparent and disclosing
For collaborations and sponsored posts (and the fact that I work with attorneys), I want to be transparent and disclose whether a post is sponsored or not…it’s the law (according to the FTC).
Remembering why I started blogging and keeping the blog as a hobby
I know I mentioned earlier that I was thinking about going part-time at work so I can spend more time on the blog. I’m glad that didn’t happen because if the blog became a job, I don’t think I would enjoy it as much. This is a fun, creative outlet for me and I want to keep it that way.
Spending Less Time on Editing Photos
I use Lightroom to edit my photos and it used to take me forever to edit photos for a blog post. I would get so stressed out about making the pictures look perfect. Although I still want to share the good pictures, I am now sharing less photos on a blog post (hence less time on editing) and more about the written content. The photos in this post are all outtakes from last year btw…We took a lot of pictures….
Blogging Takes A Lot of Time
When I first started out, I thought blogging would be so easy but it’s not. Working on a single post takes lot of time. I have a full-time job and family commitments. Sometimes it takes hours to draft a post and edit photos. I have to find time to blog and learn to balance my work, my family life and my blogging hobby. I’ve told myself that I don’t have to post on a regular basis or take on all collaborations. Only when I have time.
Having fun and growing with the blog
A friend told me that the more I blog, the more traffic I will get on my blog. I do find it exciting to see the blog traffic grow but I think I am having more fun growing with the blog. Meaning that I am developing a better writing style, learning from my past blogging mistakes, and taking pictures using different techniques and settings. I post when I have time to work on the blog or when my creativity tells me to.
One thought on “Let’s Get Real: Why I Started Blogging Again and What I’ve Learned”
As a friend of yours, Leyla, I admit that being able to learn and be apart of your experiences in life through your blog is so wonderful! It’s so great to know when you are doing well and having joyful moments, as well as, be a part of the tough ones. Your blog always has the perfect balance of entertainment and vulnerability. Thank you for your contribution and look forward to the next one in my inbox. Yay!