Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Things I Know - It's a Short List

(photo above taken by Mr. Tide and processed into an HDR image by yours truly)


One year ago today I decided to do something I swore I would never do...I started a blog.  Now don't misunderstand, I had nothing against blogs, as a matter of fact, I was kind of addicted to a few, but ME write a blog?!



Mr. Tide had been bugging me for a long time to start a blog, but I had declined at every turn.  You see, I kind of have the attention span of a gnat...it's not pretty, my friends.  You can ask my real life friends about my knitting phase, my painting phase, and I once stayed up all night to make a cross-stitch wedding sampler before I got married because I knew that when the sun rose I would not have the slightest interest in doing needlework for a very long time. 




I also write for a living, so the idea of writing more stuff just sounded like more work frankly.  But after being the last people on the planet to watch Julie and Julia (I know, I know, it's been the inspiration for about a bazillion other bloggers) I thought...hmm maybe I can do this.

I thought, maybe it will give me some freedom from what I do for work and I'll be able to write about any old thing that pops into this feeble brain of mine.  So on January 4th, 2010, I put fingernails to keyboard and created my first post.  I had no clue if it would ever be read, or if I would ever do another post, so the fact that I'm still standing a year and 317 posts later is nothing short of a miracle!




And along the way people actually followed me and read my rantings and cheered me along...who knew?!  I have been amazed, inspired, encouraged, and embraced over this last year in a way I never expected and even if I shut this blog down tomorrow (and remember there have been times when I thought I would need to) I will forever be grateful for everything and for all of you!  The friendships and bonds I've made lift me up each and every day, so Thank You!!!




I've always considered myself a Jack of All Trades and Master of NONE.  And blogging has been no different in that regard, but I have learned a few things along the way that I'd like to impart.  Don't get a pen and paper folks, these aren't juicy words of wisdom, but more like rambling reflections on this past year...plastic pearls of wisdom you might say.




1.  Be true to yourself!  The blogging experts (whoever they are?) say to pick a genre and stick to it.  That's great if you are a stick to it kind of person, but I am clearly not.  Always remember that what you have to say is important, even if it's only important to you.  You started a blog for a reason, and much like life, it's a journey filled with twists and turns and unexpected surprises along the way.  If something strikes your fancy you should blog about it...it is YOUR blog afterall.

2.  Don't count your followers before they've hatched!  I can't stress this one enough.  People will follow, and people will un-follow, it's the nature of the beast.  You'll never know why someone does or doesn't follow you, or why someone UN-follows you, but don't take it personally, it's not worth wasting your time trying to figure out what you did or didn't do.  Truth be told, it probably had nothing to do with you at all, and if it did, well you can't control it anyway so let it go my friends!

3.  Who wants to be a Millionaire?!  Ok, this is probably the biggest lesson I've learned over the last year.  The odds of you striking it rich through your blog, unless you are promoting your own business via your blog, are rather slim.  I'm not saying you shouldn't go after sponsors or monetize your blog, but creating a design/lifestyle blog as a way to strike it rich is kind of like buying a lottery ticket...it could happen!  All of my sponsors are there because they offered me giveaway items and in return I offered them sponsorships.

4.  Helping Hand!  There are bloggers out there who will give you the shirt off their backs, they'll answer any question you have and really try and help you out...but...there are also some who will play I've got a secret and won't be so giving of their time or advice.  Donna from Funky Junk Interiors is one of the good ones folks!  When I first started blogging, there wasn't a stupid email question I could ask that that sweet woman wouldn't answer and I'm still here today thanks to her kindness...and that of many others too great in number to mention!  She also has lots of tips on her blog to help new bloggers out with FAQs.

5.  Guilt be a Lady Tonight!  Cut yourselves some slack, you can't be all things to all people.  You can't respond to every comment and email, or visit every blog every day...unless you can do it in your sleep.  Do the best you can and then walk away.  Blogging was never meant to take over your life, it is meant to enhance it.

6.  Negative Nellies!  Beware the Negative Nellies in the world, they are everywhere.  Sometimes they are a family member, a friend, or even a co-worker, so be careful who you share that blog address with until you really know how supportive they will be.  I'm not saying to hide something from your spouse or best friend, but if you know someone who will try and bring you down, you may want to wait awhile before you share your "baby" with them.  People love to give advice...the problem is they usually don't tell you what is good for you, they tell you what would be good for them.

 7.  Tell me you Love Me!  Comments are a funny thing.  You might write a post that you think will light up the internet only to get a handful of comments on it.  Why?!  I have no clue, and neither will you.  It could be that your post struck a nerve with the reader and it was something they just couldn't comment on, or maybe they got a phone call just when they were about to comment, and poof they forgot to come back and leave you a kind message.  So don't sweat the small stuff, even the Negative Nellies who might leave you an unkind word from time to time...you can't worry about everything, trust me.  I like to say that if my husband, my children and my dogs all love me, then that's all that really matters!

8.  Meet and Greet!  If you've had the opportunity to connect with someone via this crazy thing called blogging and you have the chance to safely meet, go for it!  Once you've confirmed that the person on the other side of your computer screen isn't an axe murderer, you might just find you've made a friend for life!

9.  Time in a Bottle!  Don't post just to post.  If you aren't motivated for a day, a week, or even a month don't feel like you HAVE to post.  When I first started blogging I thought that if I didn't post all day, everyday I would lose readers.  You might, but refer to tip #5 and take a break.

10.  Good Times!  Remember each day to have fun with your blog.  When you're feeling overwhelmed and you want to throw in the towel, step back and look back to your first blog post.  That post was so full of excitement, promise and enthusiasm and sometimes we need to look back in order to move forward.




Look, I'm no expert on anything, I just know that if I hadn't taken that leap of faith a year ago, I would have missed out on so much...on all of you!  Creativity is good for the soul and you all bolster my soul continually.

Thank you for everything my friends!  I had hoped to host a special giveaway today, something that would embody all that you have given me over this past year, but I haven't quite found that special something yet.  Stay tuned, I'll find it eventually and you all will be the first to know when I do!

XOXO ~Kat~

57 comments:

  1. I LOVE your title! The OLDER I get, the MORE I realize how little I know.

    I didn't realize you've only been blogging a year! I love your blog - - - so glad you jumped in this particular pond.

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  2. I've resolved not to let Negative Nellies get me down. Who cares what anyone else thinks? Unless, of course, it is a nice sweet comment about my art or blog - then their opinion is very important! Great list, Kat!
    -Trish

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  3. My blogging surprise is how much it helps me understand other people more, and what is closest to their hearts. I have always felt I don't speak Human - not as a first language anyway - so when people take the time to comment I am touched that they respond, and often so openly.

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  4. Kat, congrats on one year. I am so glad that you started blogging. You have been a wonderful friend and I enjoy coming over for a visit. Wish we lived closer so we could meet. Great post and everything is so true.

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  5. You have some really good thoughts here.
    I have found my blogging to be all over the place...kind of like me! If people like what I write, great. If not, great. It's an outlet for me. The bonus is that I have made some really wonderful friends through the blogs.

    I have truly enjoyed your blog...and look forward to more.
    Jane (artfully graced)

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  6. congrats on 1 year Kat....i have been following alot blogs bout a year now wish i remember when i 1st started following but oh well feeble minds can't remember everything...i just want you to know i enjoy your blog alot and look forward to reading many more posts

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  7. Congratulations on 1 year. And I'm with you on all your points.

    (Only I was kinda hoping that you'd be giving away that yummy looking bottle of curd at the end! Oh well, after Xmas, I don't need no curd!)

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  8. Happy Anniversary Kat!

    Your thoughts regarding blogging really hit the mark and I really appreciate that you took the time to put them on paper so to speak for us. It's a good reminder.

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  9. Love this post, thanks so much. I just recently lost my first follower, I didn't even know that could happen. Frustrated me, but I'm good, I've moved on. Great perspective to follow, thanks!

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  10. Kat, I love your post today! I love your blog and Happy Anniversary!! I have enjoyed each and every one of your posts and photos! Here's to you my friend!!

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  11. This is a wonderful post, Kat. and I applaud you for coming out and saying what I so often feel. Before I read this today I was feeling guilty that I've only posted once in the past few weeks- but you know what? I have a FAMILY and a HOME that I had a wonderful time attending to during those few weeks and that's what really counts. :)

    Congratulations on "sticking around" for a year, that is a big milestone!

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  12. Congrats on one year! I'm at almost six months here in blogging and love your very wise words today - they hit a note with me. Cathy

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  13. What a wonderful, truth-filled post!

    I'm one of those "jack of all trades, master of none" myself, and I wouldn't change that for the world. :-)

    Have a wonderful week!
    Hugs,
    Anne

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  14. Ah Kat - I just LOVE your "plastic pearls of wisdom"! I would say you've (well and truly) "hit the nail on the head!" Heartiest congratulations on your blog-aversary my friend. You may be a "jack of all trades" but you certainly are a "master" of the written word! ~ Sharyne

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  15. That was so well said and congrats on a whole year. Quite an accomplishment. I don't fret over the follower number either because many times I know, for sure, that I was a follower and poof I'm gone and have to refollow. Blogger has bad days too. Great post.

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  16. Kat,
    Congratulations on one year! All your points are true and wise!
    Your pictures are beautiful as usual, and the first one of the sun is over the top!

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  17. Congratulations, Kat!! I think we are on the same page when it comes to why and when we blog...also the fact that we can be all over the place {how boring it would be to only talk about one hobby or pursuit}. I'm so glad I met you. Period.

    XO,
    Jane

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  18. Happy New Year Kat ~ What a great post and congrats on your first year in Blogging. Some very good, down to Earth advice here ~ Thanks for being a sharer.

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  19. It's already been a year??? I guess I met you pretty much right after you started this. I am incredibly glad that you are such a friendly and outgoing and adventurous person, and I value our friendship more than you may ever know. (I guess it's a good thing I left my axe at home that first day, huh?) Thank you for sharing yourself and your point of view with all of us ... cyberspace is a much richer place because of you.

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  20. Yay for a stellar first year for you! You are so right about what you have learned about blogging. I find myself posting less often now and that is just fine. It has been so wonderful meeting you. ♥O

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  21. Wonderful words of wisdom Kat. Another nice post. Congratulations on your first of, I hope, many more years of filling us all in with high spirited tidbits of information or things of interest. Thanks.

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  22. Amen to all that!!! Yes Donna is one of the good ones and so are you my dear :)

    btw, at first glance I thought the last jar said lemon crud. Maybe I should have my vision checked.

    -Rene

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  23. Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom Kat, even if you know these things it is enpowering to have them reaffirmed. Congratulations on your 1st year of blogging! I pray that 2011 is a great year for you and that your blog continues to grow, encourage and inspire! xx

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  24. Thanks for sharing! Congrats on one year! :) We hope there will be many many more!

    Happy New Year!

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  25. You have come so far in only a year, Kat. I marked my three year anniversary last week and just before I visited you here tonight, I was looking for something in my old files. I could not believe the drivel I was reading.
    So hey, I guess I've come a long way too!
    Congratulations on your first year ~ here's to many more.

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  26. Has it only been a year? Congratulations on the anniversary!
    I found myself nodding at all your points. Sometimes I go days and days without writing and then I'll put up two posts in a row - my blog has to be a guilt-free zone.
    I loved all your images today.

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  27. I also started blogging last Jan. It has been a pleasure sharing with you.

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  28. A year for me too! What a gift to have you around to help all of us make our lives more enjoyable. Thanks for all of your help and support. Now I should go post something but I don't know what to say...

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  29. It seems like only yesterday that I found your blog Kat. Man, that year flew!! Congrats and sage advice from one of my favorite bloggers and friend. xo ~Lili

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  30. Miss Kat- you are so wise , but I knew that.
    Thank goodness I met you this year-
    Everything you said was 100% true.

    Laura
    White Spray Paint

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  31. Thank you so much for sharing. I love your blog and your beautiful photos.

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  32. Happy 1st year! So glad you decided to blog...your photos, inspiration and words of wisdom are a blessing!

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  33. Well said. It's been two years for me and I'm still finding my way. It makes me proud to think that folks feel what I have to say is worth their time. I thoroughly enjoy your blog and look forward to your posts. Keep 'em coming!

    Ellen

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  34. Well I for one am certainly glad you are here! I love the new header!

    I agree with everything you said. I also used to think I had to post every day. I actually checked over Christmas and was surprised to see that I had quite a few people reading my blog every day, even when I wasn't posting anything new. Now, that might not have happened in the beginning...but, bloggers are very loyal.

    Congrats on your 1 year!

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  35. Congratulations Kat! What a wonderful outlook you have!!! Enjoy your celebration!

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  36. Perfect and very well stated! Not being in this bloggy thing for a year yet, it is really nice to see posts like this, something to put me at ease and remind myself that this is for me.

    I had to giggle a little bit at your attention span statement, I take a dip in the let's-try-this pool all the time. Usually doesn't last more than a couple months and my brain is off to something new. It's like I have creative ADD or something :) Oh, and I haven't seen Julie and Julia yet, maybe I should!

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  37. Great tips. I'm forever reading a post and then getting scattered, moving on and forgetting to leave a comment. For example, I read your great post yesterday about your photography program that you recently purchased and I loved it. I could see right away how it evened out the skin and made it an improved version of your daughter (who is a cutie-patutie, by the way).

    I'm so glad you took the plunge to become a blogger Kat - I enjoy your blog so much - and have enjoyed getting to know you.

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  38. Thanks for leaving a comment! I am so happy to have found your blog now! Your photos are beautiful and what great tips in this post, too!

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  39. Happy Anniversary, Kat! This post is so wonderful! I have always been so inspired by you~ look at all you've done this year! You make me want to try new things! I've so enjoyed our visits~ you have been such a supportive friend!
    Congratulations on your milestone~ I look forward to seeing where life takes you!

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  40. I just started "blogging" and am scrolling through different blogs. Your blog is great--I loved your blogging tips and will certainly take them to heart. You sound like a "most interesting" person to check in on often. Come visit me at forgetmenotmmm.blogspot.com if you have the time. Thanks.

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  41. Congrats on your year of blogging, Kat!

    And your kind words are most appreciated! I remember when I started blogging, Kim at Reinvented was my go-to-blogger. She answered anything I threw her way. I vowed to be just like that when I knew more. I'm THRILLED that you felt I did just that!

    Here's to an amazing New Year for all of us! We ARE family after all. :)

    Donna
    http://funkyjunkinteriors.blogspot.com/

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  42. I was encouraged my dear friend, and my husband thought it would be a wonderful "distraction" because of all the family drama going on - he was right. And my friend and I had a blast reading my posts. Then I encouraged her to start a blog, and she did, she knows so much about the blogging world, decorating, cooking, children and too much to mention - anyway, I'm rambling!

    So, with all that said, Happy Blogversary to you my friend! Cheers for a happy and healthy New Year!

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  43. So glad you decided to blog!

    ~jermaine

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  44. Nice thoughts of wisdom you've shared! Glad that I've read it fires me up for this new year.

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  45. Good morning Kat, what a great post, thank you so very much for taking the time to put it together for us. Like you, I began my blog in January 2010 and did so, I believe, just to make a connection. I love entertaining friends and family, but realistically can't do so on a daily basis. My home feels a bit empty at times with both children grown and out on their own. Blogging about what I cook or bake, how I decorate my home or set my table provides me with an opportunity to invite others to my home and into my life. After a year I continue to change my style at times, still looking for who I am as Frog Hollow Farm Girl! Have a wonderful day. Ciao,bella!

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  46. Oh Kat! You say you are not an expert, well my dear one, in this post you are! Perfect advice. Simply sage and full of commons sense wisdom.
    Im keeping this post to read once in a while when my blogging life bleeds into my real life.

    Yea for you!!!!!!
    Happy 1st Anniversary, Kat! You really have accomplished something here... and it's inspiring!
    Yvonne

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  47. Congratulations, Kat, not just for your one year anniversary, but also because your blog has brought you so many good things. Thanks for sharing yourself and your blogging wisdom. You make a lot of people, including me, happy! Best wishes for years to come. :-)

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  48. First, congratulations are in order! I have the attention span of a gnat as well. So I know just what you mean. Second, your banner is very fetching! I agree with everything you said. Also, you tend to reap what you sow.
    Brenda

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  49. What a great post-very true in all and very inspirational. Well done.

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  50. ok sooo congratulations first and foremost :)

    and second, i loved this post! i think you are an amazing blogger, and i do believe i love all your posts, but this is now one of my favorites.

    excellent advice on all fronts!

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  51. Happy Blogiversary Kat! I enjoyed this post and thought it was very well written. These are things I too have learned in the past year but I could never have conveyed these "plastic pearls of wisdom" as well as you have done. It is true followers come and go. I used to worry about that but I finally let go of it and also removed the follower count from my blog. I knew before I started blogging that I would not fall into any particular genre and that almost prevented me from blogging but I forged on. Sure the name of my blog may be deceptive but it is my nickname so I went with it.

    I always enjoy my visits to your beautiful blog. You have been an inspiration to me and I look forward to another year of reading your posts.

    ~ Tracy

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  52. This is definitely the best blogging advice I've ever read!

    If I had my druthers, I'd love to sit and blog for hours on end. I'd drop in everyday to see what each one of my friends in up to. BUT, we're a big community and there just isn't enough hours in the day. Who do you cut from your list? Work? Who needs to work? Sick, depressed, or just darn tired? We all have our reasons for going MIA at times and those who blog without guilt understand this and love us anyway.

    Happy Blogaversary Kat, you are a bright star among us!

    Oh, and that darn bug you've got? Had it since two days before Christmas and finally starting to feel like it just might go away.

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  53. Congratulations. I am new to the blogging world so I really liked the tips. Thanks.Oh and I really like your blog.

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  54. CONGRATULATIONS on your one year Blogiversary Kat....I'm SO HAPPY you DID take up blogging albeit, a little reluctantly.... :o) !!

    I want you to know that your Friendship & photography have provided ME with much joy & I LOVE being able to pop back here & lose myself in your world....!

    Take care Lovey & keep 'em comin'....!!

    Cheers from Oz,
    Tamarah :o)

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  55. This is the BEST post that I have ever read regarding blogging dear Kat - absolutely fabulous! Every word rings true for me and you have said it so so very well. Blogging is meant to enhance or lives not control it. If I am guilty of anything it is that I feel bad that i get behind in visiting blogs of my friends. I usually catch up - (like me doing this right now) but sometimes it takes a while.

    Thank you for taking the time - (and it does take time!!) to write this wonderful post. I know that it is going to be a huge help to so many people - like me!

    Vicki

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  56. Love that gorgeous first picture. Sun flare is so awesome when it happens and the pattern isn't wonky. I heart it!!

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  57. I think that it's good when you write about things that you know, that will help you create a more niche list of your readers and subscribers. Hope to see more interesting posts by you, Cheers.

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