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Two Years On This Spaceship!

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December marked two years of blogging at Findingravity. It blows my mind to think about how much I’ve learned in the two years I’ve been steering this ship. Or…spaceship, if we’re talking gravity.

Nevermind.

Now, I’m not going to tell you that you “need a pretty blog design”or to “have a unique voice” because…Well, of course. Also, who am I to tell you how to run your show. This isn’t about “the hustle” or whatever trendy word people use for working really hard on something, usually between the hours of 10pm and 3am. But I am going to share a few things I’ve learned along the way, that have shaped the way my blog has played out. I’m not going to assign numbers to these to make it a little less list-y. I’ve also tried to refrain from telling you how to make your blog more successful. I’m not a guru/ninja/connoisseur/Harry Potter. I’m just a girl with a blog who likes to share things. (Things that are not Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Yo. Get your own).

I just had to start, even if it was nowhere extraordinary. I started my blog in a coffee shop after work one day (I know, eye roll). I was feeling intellectually unfulfilled and a little bit lost, as most of us in our twenties tend to feel at some stage. I had my degree, teaching experience, and was working full time, but it wasn’t cutting it. I knew there had to be more out there. I knew that I had skills that weren’t being put to use, and while I didn’t know much about blogging other than what I’d learned in a basic university computer class, it sounded like a good way to utilize some of my creativity. After telling my mom that it felt like I was just floating around as if I had lost my sense of gravity, Findingravity was born. I had five blog followers but I was happy. (Thanks Mom, Dad, and friends! You guys rock for not saying my blog sucked).

When people ask me how to grow a following I always feel like I don’t know the answer. “Write…press publish…rinse…repeat?” Show people that you’re genuine. Care. Open a vein or two. Communicate with the people who are kind enough to take time out of their days to read your work. There are no shortcuts here. I’m not going to tell you to always post photos, and that if you like it then you shoulda put a filter on it. That’s garbage. My suggestion is to write quality content and have patience.

I forgot about money. I think my blogging experience would have been sad and unfulfilling had I started with monetization in mind. Truthfully, I didn’t know what monetizing a blog was until I went to my first blogging conference. Here’s a fun secret – my blog STILL isn’t monetized. I know the world in which bloggers are making $OMG.00 per post to wear a pair of shoes. I work in it every day. Having career in digital media, I can see the value of that for both the brand AND the blogger. I’ve had plenty of opportunities to monetize and have turned them down. I enjoy taking a no pressure approach to blogging, for now. I write when I have something to say. That may change someday, and if you CHOOSE to (or currently) monetize, great! But I hope you never forget why you started. (Which is hopefully because you love it).

There will be a-holes. I once found out a couple of kids I went to college with were making fun of my blog on Facebook. At first I was hurt, because these were people I’d been nothing but friendly to. It was after I kindly thanked them for their page views and moved on that I realized there are internet trolls who occasionally come out from underneath their sad little bridges. They’ll belittle you for no reason other than they think basking in the anonymity that the internet provides is ballsy. It’s not. These people are cowards. I ignore these people. (Except for right now. Sup, peeps? I see you.)

There will also be critics, and these are different than a-holes. They may say negative things about your writing style, point of view, or overall piece you’ve just poured your heart into. They may whole-heartedly disagree with you. I know I have people who read my blog who probably don’t relate to or agree with what I have to say 100% of the time, and some have been quite vocal about it. I appreciate these differences in opinions. Considering and reflecting on these dialogues have helped me grow as a person and a writer. I think it’s okay to digest what these people have to say — provided it isn’t racist, sexist, or unnecessary bigotry, otherwise see previous, “There will be a-holes”.

It’s possible to make some really great, lasting friendships through blogging. Kate from Greatestescapist and Holly from HollySaysHey have turned into real life friends…That I hang out with outside of the blogosphere, and if it weren’t for miles and distance between us, I’m sure there are a bunch more blog friends I’d get ice cream or lattes or grab beers with. (Depending which of those three sounds most enticing. I’m a big fan of ice cream).

I’ve found stepping away when I don’t feel inspired is better than forcing content when my brain has turned into oatmeal. If you’re thoughts are feeling like mush, your writing may translate into mush. It’s okay to step away for a week, or a month, or five months, or however long it takes for you to feel good about the work you’re doing. People might disagree with me here, and I know plenty of writers who strongly feel that any form of writing is better than no writing. Don’t get me wrong, I write when I don’t feel like writing ALL..THE…TIME…It’s just not writing that I would publish on my blog. It stays trapped in my journal, or on napkins, or bar coasters, never to be seen by anybody (except for maybe the bartender). I’ve taken a hiatus or two from blogging. When the thing I love starts becoming work that I hate, I consider taking a little break or finding a new way of approaching it.

Despite how much I love writing, I feel it takes a lot of bravery (and sometimes convincing) to put my thoughts into words, and then to share them with the world. I’ve learned so much about risk taking through pressing publish on pieces that rocked my core. Writing about somebody passing away, or somebody putting my heart through a hamburger grinder, or somebody loving me, or trying to love me, or not being able to love me the way I want them to…All terrifying, and all part of being human.

And I’m going to stop there, because these really are the most important things Findingravity has taught me in the last two years. Having this blog and being a part of something growing has been extremely cathartic. I’m not sure how this blog will evolve in the future, I just know that it will. I’ve tinkered with the idea of some rebranding accompanied by a potential name change, but that’s all much further down the road. For now, thanks for being on this crazy roller coaster with me! I mean it. I think you’re all great people, and I wish I could high five each and every one of you!

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32 Comments

    • Thanks, dahhhling! And silly question, but are YOU in New York currently also?! We should grab frozen yogurt…Or hot chocolate…or something, and be buds!

      • Yes, I am in fact in NYC, my blog is not a hoax 😉 I’d love to get hot chocolate sometime. City Bakery? I’ve never been but I believe its the most NYcliche place for cocoa!

  1. You my dear have inspired me this past year to be more vocal in my writing, more vulnerable. You are a wonderful writer and if I am ever in NY it would be my pleasure to have some ice cream!!

  2. Congrats on making it two years. I’m happy to say that I’ve come across very few a-holes. But in a way, that makes me worry that I’m just not reaching enough people.

    • They’re good lessons to learn and great that you’re aware of them! And girl, we are BOTH in NY, so at this point there’s really no excuse for why we haven’t gotten icecream/beer/lattes. xo

  3. I agree with all of these points. Congrats on two years! I have been here almost the whole time, and always love seeing a new post from you–always inspiring and insightful. xo, Tobi

    • Ah Tobi, you’ve been such a dedicated reader, and having people who have really been here for the whole journey means more than you know! Thanks so much for sticking around! xo

  4. Even your “old man” has learned few things from reading the last 2 years…still reading. Love you

    • Thanks for your continuous support, Dad! Also – thanks for being one of my very first followers. I consider you an “early adopter” if you will. Love you too!

  5. Pingback: The Power of Words – And Letting Negativity Navigate You | SoshiTech - Social Media Technology - Soshitech.com

  6. Gerry says

    As usual, love your writing. Please keep it up. Enlightens me a lot and lets me see what you’ve been up to when you haven’t been home.

  7. Carley,

    I just wanted to thank you for these two years. I haven’t been here for the entire ride, but I’ve done what I can to catch up. Your writing is truly something special, and I’m grateful you choose to share that part of you.

    And if I’m ever in NYC, the ice cream (or latte … or beer … or whiskey) is on me.

    Happy New Year!
    Chris

  8. Congrats on 2 years 😀 For me, you are like a breath of fresh air that I enjoy every time I step in here 🙂 Keep it up!

  9. I will always like your messages, You are one of the first blogs I began to follow and receive email confirmations as well. Thanks. Happy 2014.

  10. I just found your blog! I love it! I just started and could use some pointers! You are a great example! Thank you! 🙂

    • Hi Sarah! In case you were still interested in my content — I’ve rebranded and my blog is now called The Renegade Rulebook! I’d love if you stuck around, so if you’d like to resubscribe you can do so on my side bar! For some reason, all my awesome followers aren’t getting notified of my new stuff. ~~<3 -Carley

      (TheRenegadeRulebook.com)

  11. You are inspiring, amazing, intelligent, insightful ahhh and lets not forget to give recognition to an… intuitive woman and I could not be more proud of your accomplishments. Congratulations honey. I can’t wait for the next inspiration !

  12. This is such great advice! I just came across your blog and look forward to reading more. Congrats on two years!

    • Hi Maryn!

      In case you were still interested in my content — I’ve rebranded and my blog is now called The Renegade Rulebook! (TheRenegadeRulebook.com) I’d love if you stuck around, so if you’d like to resubscribe you can do so on my side bar! For some reason, all my awesome followers aren’t getting notified of my new stuff. ~~<3 -Carley

  13. Veni.Vidi.Vici. says

    Lovely post. I’m pretty new to the blogisphere and everywhere I try and look for tips, there seems to be some list of things to do (monetization, yada yada) and it just doesn’t seem organic for me to do that. Love your take on things 🙂

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