My First Year of Blogging + What I've Learnt

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My blog, SPARKLE on darling, for those who don't know or are new to my blog, has just hit the big 1 year mark, and I'm so, so proud of my very own sparkling online space. Not just for the fact that my blog is now 1, but because I didn't give up on it, I kept working on it and kept creating content for one whole year, even when it was really tough sometimes to find inspiration and motivation to do so, I made it happen week after week, 53 blog posts, 50,600+ words written later. I've celebrated my Blogiversary, (read it here - 'My First Blogiversary + How I Celebrated') and now it's time to let you in behind the screen about what my year has been like and what I've learnt now 12 months on as a new blogger. There will always be new blogger doubt..

As a new blogger there are doubts, so many doubts, about why you even bother to put fingers to the keyboard week after week and write about whatever it is that you write about, with only the hope that someone will read your content, and even better, enjoy it. I have not in this first year published a sponsored blog post where someone has paid me to write about something, so every single blog post to date so far has come straight from my heart, soul (and my pocket), this first year has been created entirely from a place of love.

Writing unpaid to be honest is actually a little scary, because every time you hit publish it's just you, raw and real on a screen every single time, sometimes totally 'off trend', for the world to give their piece about if they wish, so it can feel a lot more personal, rather than how it would feel if you were to blog for a particular product or brand, which is why I guess I tend to doubt myself more in my pieces. As a blogger though what I've realised is that no matter how long you blog for, doubt about why you are blogging will always be there, whether it's a paid piece or not.

I've learnt that doubting oneself is simply part of being human, and that it's how you keep moving through it, and what you do with it when it creeps in that matters and in turn makes you stronger.

You have to hold hope and not give up..

Have you seen the movie 'Julie and Julia'? (one of my favourites). For me blogging has been exactly like that (who knew life could be like a movie), except I haven't had a celebrity pick up on my blog yet (maybe one day). It has been like it in the fact that I take a big deep breath every time I press publish, I sit at my laptop and refresh and wait and hope it really did publish, then I check it again an hour later to see if anyone has read it yet, and each and every time I am greeted with a beautiful response of views, likes and comments on my blog posts, people always find them, and read them, and then I take a big deep breath in and out and do it all again, each and every week.

I've learnt that if you create and put your work out there, someone, somewhere will find it, you are never alone in the world of blogging, even if sometimes it feels like it when you sit in front of a screen all day hanging out with you, yourself, and you.

Blogging does feel like the deep end, but that doesn't mean you can't still swim..

When heading into the world wide web as a blogger, one blogger might think, or will think, that within the industry of bloggers, that there are millions and millions of blogs out there, why should you do this, what will make you different in amongst them all? You, you are what's different. My blog is a 'lifestyle' blog, which basically means I can blog about a variety of things relating to life itself, though I have chosen the health side of things as my particular lifestyle blogging niche as it's one of my personal passions. Health is most definitely a flooded topic on the internet, you can get millions of responses to any given search you type into Google for what you are looking for, but still I find that my readers find me, that they find me inspiring, motivating and still get something out of my blog posts for what they are, even if there are thousands of others writing about the same thing. Blogging is all about your personal vibe, some people will vibe with you over the thousands of others and that's how you will build your own brand.

I've learnt that there is no point worrying about all the noise out there in your niche, because darling nobody is you, and nobody can bring to the table what you can.

Your community really is everything..

Speaking of community, it's a slow process organically growing an online community of any kind, but it's worth it, every new reader is more than worth it. Someone will always support you on your endeavours if they feel that you are speaking your truth, if they can relate to you and feel that they too are a part of your path. People love to feel like they are a part of something, and it's how you write and talk to your readers as a blogger that makes them feel like they are a part of something, even if it's virtually. From liking and replying to comments, in amongst my busy schedule I really do try to do my best to get back to them all eventually. I'm not perfect at my replies, but I'm always working on my community, I'm always working on giving back to you, my sparkling reader.

I've learnt that to feel a part of something is what makes a thriving community, that we all at the end of the day just want to be a part of something that enrich's our lives, no matter how big or small. There's a reason that saying thank you or giving a compliment can change someone's entire day.

My 1 year stat's..

My blog has had it's ups and downs as I knew it would statistic wise. When you first press publish and launch a blog out into the online world it's fresh, Google loves it, everyone loves it, for about a day, then from there it's growth is pretty much up to you, your personal time and of course, your budget. I've said from the very beginning that I've kept my blog very organic, the future of my blog may begin to look a little different overtime as I begin to implement new things, but writing from my heart for this first year was very important to me, I wanted to find my blogging vibe and do it on my own terms. I don't regret not splashing around more cash to get my blog out there more, because this first year has been extremely enjoyable, though tough sometimes, it's been everything I dreamed it would be like for a new blogger, and more.

Here are some of the raw and real statistics from 7 July 2017 until now:

Total Blog Views until Present 6300+

Location Viewed 66 different countries from around the world

Total Followers 120 (Wordpress: 96, Email: 24)

Blog Post Likes 195

Blog Post Comments 53 (96 including my replies)

Blog Post Count 53

Google Still ranking Number #1 when searching 'SPARKLE on darling'

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I've learn that at the end of the day, your idea of success is whatever you believe it to be.

If you would like to read where my blog was at after only 3 months of blogging, you can do so here - 'The First 3 Months of Blogging + What I've Learnt'.

There is no such thing as the right time to start blogging..

If I had waited until the right time to publish my bog, my blog would have never seen the light of the internet because there isn't a right time for anything really, today is as good a day than any. There was nothing special about launching my blog last year other than the fact that I have a really strong attraction to the number 7, so my blog I published on 7.07.17, but other than that it was the same as any other year, I was still (and still am) working full time and going about my life as I usually would, I just went for it, and have never looked back. Sure you can wait until you have more cash to splash around or companies behind you to help you grow your blog, but who knows how long you will be waiting.

I've learnt that every day without your passion is a day without your magic out in the world, don't wait, just start. The world needs your SPARKLE.

You have to believe in your purpose to blog..

Every time I write I write from a place of heart, soul and purpose. Before you start your blog, or even if you have already started your blog, even if you are years into your blogging journey, you need to know your purpose of why you are blogging and believe in it, you need to believe in yourself. Even if to some, which it will, seem un-purposeful, blogging that is (I still get questioned why I do it), do it anyway. I blog because I love to create, I love writing, I love taking photo's and I love building a community and talking to people from all over the world, blogging allows me to do this. I blog because my soul craves it, not blogging particularly, but I have always felt a strong purpose to tell my story and share my journey, because I know deep down I'm suppose to, that it's part of my path, blogging allows me to do this.

I've learnt that we all have a purpose inside us, our purpose is what lights us up, and it's that spark that lights it that we need to follow.

I have a lot of plans for the future for SPARKLE on darling, as I have from the very beginning of my blogging journey. Most are just dreams and visions right now, but another year on and some of them might just be a reality (or shall I dig deep and say now that they 'will' be). Once again, I want to thank you, my absolutely beautiful sparkling reader, for following my journey, from blogging, to my wellbeing, eating and living journey, and everything in between. For choosing to spend your down time reading my content, for letting me know when something I've written sparks a fire within your soul and for letting me know that I'm not alone on this journey I've chosen to embark on.

Thank you for everything my sparkling community, from the bottom of my blogger's heart. I cannot wait to share another sparkling year of blogging with you (bring on all of the virtual glitter).

All my love,

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