Highlights & Milestones

Screenshot_2014-03-24-23-33-30 ATG

{Screenshot from my phone of when I hit my Twitter milestone.}


I started blogging August 1st, 2012 and it’s been quite a journey. I won’t go into much detail today about what I’ve learned thus far, that’s a post for another day, but I do want to talk about milestones. Suffice to say that for reasons mentioned here, I spent the bulk of my start doubting myself – a really nasty side effect when you’re a total perfectionist like I am. I wanted things to be perfect before I started promoting my site, particularly when you see the competition out there. I mean, there are some really great blogs in the world.

I’ve always been a writer in one form or another since I was really young. I had a passion for words and stories. I fondly recall making outlines for murder mysteries when I was a kid. I even remember sitting at our family computer (on Windows 95!) for hours writing chapters for a fictional novel. I kept journals on-and-off for years, and wrote another private blog just a few years before All That Glitters that I never told anyone about (though I guess I just did now).

When I was younger, I wanted to be a journalist and study journalism in college. I actually ended up in film school, but I that’s a long story. What’s pretty funny thinking back as I write this, is that out of all the cinematography, editing, and technical classes I took in film school, the classes that I loved most where either in screenwriting or film theory (which required a lot of interpretive writing about film – combining my love of writing with my love of cinema).

I had always been consistently told time and time again by my teachers and professors that I was a great writer. (This is not to brag, just to emphasize a point to come.)

So, writing wasn’t what held me back in the beginning, it was more or less learning about the “business” of blogging: how to make yourself stand out in a crowd of millions, how to promote yourself, how to develop an aesthetic and tone, how to shoot and edit more visually appealing photographs, how to create a blogging schedule, and most importantly, how develop engaging content (which takes more than being a good writer). Ultimately, it was these aspects that I was looking to perfect first and then put myself out there – what in the world was I thinking? Learning is all apart of the process when cultivating a hobby. Realistically, I know that there can’t be perfection, but you can learn to fine tune this train of thought into becoming more experienced, rather than perfect.

The point is that it’s an on-going learning process and one, that if you’re doing it right, will always be. If you’re perfect at something, then there’s no where for you to grow and wouldn’t that be kind of boring after a while?

What still surprises me out of the nearly 300 posts that I’ve written, is that the post where I took the plunge, bought a domain name, and shared a bit of my blogging journey at 10 months, is still my most commented post to-date. I got comments from many bloggers saying that they were going through the exact same thing. There’s that gentle reminder again that we’re all more alike than we think.

Yet, I have a confession to make. Yes, I did become more active in networking with other bloggers and building a community after that post – but no I can’t say that I was giving 110%. I started blogging as a hobby and initially, promoting my site after that post felt like work.

(I already have a full-time job, thank you!)

So while I kept blogging and sharing content, loosely networking with other bloggers, a more solid effort could have been made on my part. Some of that was due to my perfectionism trying to make my site more “perfect,” some just due to sheer laziness (it’s A LOT of work to promote anything – I don’t care what it is), some due to time constraints, but mostly because I wasn’t truly using the resources available to me.

I knew I wasn’t where I should be having been blogging for nearly 2 years! Let me preface that this was okay with me because it was (and is) just a hobby for the time being, but for some reason as of late, I wanted to take things to the next level.

So the biggest highlight of my week is blogging-related, when I made the conscious decision to really start networking more strongly and consistently with up-and-coming bloggers. I wanted to educate myself through other bloggers and blogging websites as well. I also set two milestones: 1.) more followers on Twitter, and 2.) more page views on any given day.

I met both milestones.

I doubled my Twitter following in a week and a half! The page views on my site have seen an improvement, and I was a Blogionaire on March 14th making it a great day on All That Glitters.

I hit my goal of 100 Twitter followers (and am now even over that!). To some this may seem pretty laughable, because if I really want to promote my site I need to be in the thousands, but the reason that I’m sharing this milestone is because it’s a testament to what you can do when you set your goal and go for it. No, my Google Analytics aren’t stellar by any means, but baby steps are okay. Blogging is supposed to be fun and it wouldn’t be for me if I got too wrapped up in those types of numbers.

I do often wonder how much further along I would be had I done what my original plan was. That plan was to blog for a month (to test commitment and build content first) and then start actively promoting it. This never happened. It took a year before I REALLY put All That Glitters out there and since I’m still writing about it – it’s taken even longer than that.

What I can tell you as I’m learning how to navigate the world of promotion more seriously on social media specifically, is that Twitter has been the biggest and best resource to meet others and build a following. Facebook is A way, but not THE way. In fact, I only keep a Facebook page for those who prefer to use this medium to follow me, otherwise, I’d likely cancel it. Twitter is much more open and active when it comes to networking – hearing from a complete stranger is common and welcomed, jumping into the middle of  a Twitter chat or Twitter party does wonders, and those annoying hash-tags (#) and retweets actually do something!

Though I consciously realize that there is no such thing as “perfect,” I suppose I have to accept that this is just part of who I am. I’ve been this way my whole life and it won’t likely change overnight. Admittedly, I like this about myself. It pushes me to always want to do and be better. However, I’m aiming to remind myself to seek experience over perfection, while still doing what works for me.

Given where I am in life right now, what works is publishing 3 times a week (as opposed to everyday as I did when I first started…and burned out quickly trying to keep up with others); spending time connecting with other bloggers (more so in consistency than in quantity to really get to know them); using the resources available to me; continuing to learn tips and tricks (because believe it or not, marketing is a game, and you have to learn how to play); and finally, writing about the things that I love.

The best advice I read recently was from another very successful blogger on emerging industries and her advice was to “write the blog you want to read.” I can’t think of a more simple way to alleviate perfectionism in any creative endeavor. If you would read it, then that’s good enough. If you would eat it, then that’s good enough. If you would wear it, then that’s good enough. It’s really all you can do.

I don’t know where the site will take me. Perhaps blogging will always remain just a hobby – though it’s truly growing into an industry onto itself with lots of career opportunities if you can seize them.

No matter what happens, these 2 years so far have taught me skills that will carry me down any path I choose and I think setting milestones is the best way to keep moving forward.

Thanks for indulging a rather lengthy post today and please share a comment on how you deal with the 3 P’s: perfecting, promoting, and publishing in this crazy world we call blogging.

Have a magical weekend!

I’m off to hit my next milestone…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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