You can consider this one of those posts that has been started and stopped one hundred million times… yet, here I am, coming back to it. A lot of what I write is inspired by conversations that I have, things that I read, or reoccurring emotions that I feel. This blog post is kind of a combination of all three– but, more so inspired by conversations that I have had.
Let’s face it: it’s 2019 and being a “blogger” isn’t something unique or new. Every single day somebody else is launching their blog and diving head first into the world of blogging. Honestly, to some it may seem that the market is oversaturated, but in my opinion there is a place for all of us. Each of us are unique and lead different lifestyles, which really opens up endless possibilities for what one’s blog can be.
A little history; I launched my first blog when I was in college. It was awful. Like, literally, it was the ugliest website I’ve ever seen– but, I didn’t care. For me it was an outlet, it was a way that I was able to be creative while still pursuing my degree. Very few people knew that it even existed, it was kind of my own little secret. I have always been inspired by images and magazines. I remember saving up my money just to be able to buy magazines. I would cut out certain images and dog ear pages that aesthetically spoke to me. For a minute there I thought that maybe I wanted to be an editor of a magazine.. but, then I realized that I could not only be the editor, I could be the CEO, and that’s exactly what my first blog was for me. I learned how to work the interface that builds websites and I familiarized myself with the different options for website hosting. I did a lot of my work behind the scenes, never sharing that it was something that I did– it was kind of a safe haven for me. R used to help me shoot some pictures and he even bought me a nice camera (before iPhone cameras ruled photography). He has always been supportive of me and this dream that I have had. Well, needless to say, life happened– he got drafted, we moved, got engaged, got married, got pregnant… but, through all of it, there was a constant pull to revisit my blog, to really give it the time and energy that I knew I wanted to give it; to finally grow the balls to put myself, my life, and my words out there.
There is no secret sauce or magic trick to this whole thing. I like to say that I didn’t choose this, it chose me. Sharing my life in this way is an undeniable part of myself that I couldn’t run from any longer, so I decided to say eff it to all of the thoughts of why I couldn’t, shouldn’t or wouldn’t do it, and I just did. I launched Grace-Allen.com in the summer of 2017, at the beginning of my third trimester of pregnancy with Lennon. Even the day I launched it, I was trying to talk myself out of it (you’re about to have a second baby, two kids under two, what makes you think youll have the time to keep it going this time..? etc). Isn’t it funny that we give so much thought and attention to the voices that try to keep us from going for it and far less to the ones that tell us we are more than capable? I have always thought that there must be a reason for that… like, there must be a reason that we like to stay in our comfort zones. There must be a reason that we try to run from the things that we know deep down we need to do. All I can say is this; I decided the day that I launched my website that when I heard the voices that tried to keep me small, or people tried to steal my joy that I would respond with kindness, but deep inside I would mutter “watch me do it”…and I haven’t looked back since.
I want to preface the rest of this post with a very clear disclaimer so that there is no misunderstanding: I am by no means a professional blogger, I literally most of the time have no idea what I am doing, what I choose to do is strictly my opinion and may not work for you (and that’s so totally okay). Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s continue..
So, you want to start a blog? If I could give you a few words of advice they would be these:
I know that this can seem hard when it feels like literally everybody and their mothers has a blog. But, truth is; it’s not hard. Think about the things that make you YOU and share those. It is only normal to be inspired by others, but do your absolute best to determine the difference between being inspired and copying (it’s not cute, or inspiring to see the exact same content all over IG). As you know, if you’ve read or followed along for any time at all, my instastories and blog is literally a continuation of my real life. My IG stories are what actually goes on in a day. If Costco is on my to-do list for the day there is a 10/10 chance that I am sharing with you what I buying at Costco. If I am cooking a beautiful dinner there is a 10/10 chance that I am sharing it with you while I do it. If we are ordering pizza and drinking wine at home, 10/10 chance that’s what I am sharing. If I am going out and dressed to the nines, 10/10 chance. If I am at home in zit cream or a facemark, 10/10 chance. You get it– one of the main reasons that I am able to “keep it up” is because it’s real life, it’s what is already happening and what will happen (whether or not I share it on IG). As far as my blog posts and content go– this is the same. I cannot tell you how many times I stop mid activity and think to myself “this would be a really good blog post” and then I open up Notes in my phone and make a point to write down whatever it is that gave me the inspiration so that I can revisit it when I have a chance to write.
Engaging with my readers is literally my number one favorite part of blogging. I absolutely love getting to know who is reading my content. I love hearing how you perceive things, or that something inspired you. It really makes it all worth it. I cannot lie, I have gotten pretty behind on my DM’s and finding time every other day to dedicate a chunk of time to respond is a goal that I have set for myself. Lately I have had the luck of running into a few readers in public and that is super cool! Side note: all of the times the person is like “so this might be weird but I follow you on IG and just wanted to say hi” first of all— NOT weird at all– if we are ever in the same place PLEASEEEE introduce yourself and say hello 🙂
Kind of similar to “being original” yet kinda different. When I think about authenticity I think about remaining true to yourself. In the industry of blogging I think that it is super easy to focus on “growth” versus focusing on remaining true. There are two questions that I ask myself before agreeing to any kind of collaboration or partnership. First, “is this something that I would spend my own, hard earned money on?” Second, “is this something that I would actually use in my home, on my children, or for myself?” If the answer to either of those questions is “no” then I kindly deny whatever the request was. I do this for a few reasons, but mostly because I want my readers to trust me— that’s actually super important to me. Being an “influencer” isn’t something that I take lightly. When you open your life up and start a blog you gain a platform and with a platform comes people who are influenced by the things that you do, say, buy, etc. I don’t overlook what a privilege it is to get to engage with so many amazing people daily, and the last thing that I want to do is lie about something I do to a) earn a profit or b) get something for free.
I feel that the prior led me right into this one– let’s talk about #ad #collaboration #sponsored for a quick second. This is one of the ways that bloggers make money and in my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it (but, there is a right and wrong way to do it). Blogging takes time and costs money. It costs money to own a domain and to run a website. Not only does it take money, it takes time. Sometimes if I want to have a chunk of uninterrupted time to write or reply to DM’s, emails, etc– I’ll pay someone to watch Luca and Lennon. Other times, I use nap time, or wake up before the babies to make the time to produce my content and write my posts. It’s what I love to do, so I find a way to get it done. Having said this– if a brand reaches out to me to partner and it’s a brand that meets my criteria (would I spend my own $$ and would I actually use this) I agree and we come to terms on what the collaboration will look like. As you know if you follow me on IG, I always unbox packages that I receive on my stories. I want it to be very known that nothing that I share on my stories is required for me to share, or sponsored content (unless otherwise stated). From there, if it is a product that I genuinely love, then I consider a paid partnership with the brand or company. I want it to be very known that I will never claim to love something if I don’t– I can say this with 100% certainty because before I ever commit to partnering with a brand and making an earning, I use the product and determine my thoughts/feelings on it. I will never lie about what I love– but, I do choose to not share the things that I dislike. So, in summary: if I am sharing something with you guys on any of my platforms it is because I genuinely love it, not because I am making money to say that I do.
Know It’s Place
I wish that I could come up with a better header for this section but I just can’t. I think once I explain myself it’ll make more sense (fingers crossed). It is so very important for me to always evaluate and to know my blogs place in my life. In comparison to a lot of things it is very unimportant. This isn’t to say that I don’t absolutely love what I do, but in comparison to the things that truly* matter in life, it’s pretty low on the list. A lot of attention is placed on numbers once you choose to get into this world of blogging. How many IG followers do you have? How many likes do you get? How many comments do you get? How many hits does your website have today? You get it– if you aren’t careful its easy to get wrapped up in the number game that blogging can become… but something that I always like to remind myself of and to tell others is that having a lot of IG followers is literally like being rich in Monopoly money– at the end of the day it means nothing. I hope you can take what I am saying with a grain of salt; I so appreciate each and every person that has chosen to follow me and read along, without your engagement I really wouldn’t be given some of the opportunities that I have been given. I am so thankful. But, I also know that numbers are numbers and at the end of the day the creator of IG could literally shut the whole thing down and if my only purpose comes from having x amount of followers I would literally be screwed. I would also be lying if I said that growth wasn’t important to me, it is. Growth shows that my effort is recognized and my content is well received, and that matters to me. So “knowing it’s place” could also be worded somewhat like “finding the balance” or “knowing what’s most important to you.”
Being consistent is important in everything in life. It’s important in our relationships, in our health, and in our businesses. People like to know what they’re getting. As humans we thrive off of consistency, it makes us feel safe knowing what to expect. I feel it is important to note that consistency in blogging is equally as important… but, it is also important to allow yourself space if you need it. I have been known for going silent on IG for a few days at a time. Some would say that this is “brand suicide” and “that I need to keep myself out there because if not someone else will take my place”… but, that isn’t so important to me. It’s important to me to take time to be refreshed when I feel myself becoming depleted. It’s important to me to walk away for a few days to find new inspiration when I feel that my content is running dry. I feel that if I put out content that people care about and that resonates with them it doesn’t matter if I am not forcing myself to produce content daily and to be vulnerable when it doesn’t feel natural. I pride myself on not posting in the moments that I feel like “omg, I haven’t posted, I need to post” and focus more on posting when it feels right. This is why some days I will be active on stories all day, sharing photos with story book long captions and releasing a new post and other days there’s nothing, For me this keeps my content organic, and keeps me sane. Again, I know that some people will disagree with this, and that’s one hundred percent okay– but, this is what works for me.
Do The Damn Thing.
Like I said above, sharing my life was something that I couldn’t deny any longer. I tried to run from it. I tried to talk myself out of it. I tried to let people’s opinions trump what I felt in my soul… yet, here I am. I did the damn thing. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t awkward at first to talk to my phone, to show myself bare faced with zit cream on, to share myself crying when I thought my 12 year old dog was dying, to share how my husband and I use natural birth control… but, it just became natural. If you want to start a blog, start a blog. You literally have absolutely nothing to lose (and anyone who tells you otherwise most likely wants to start a blog of their own but doesn’t have the balls to do it yet (insert winky face here:)).
I hope this post helped to answer some questions and to motivate you to follow your heart. As always, I am always here if you have specific questions that you want answered.
come on in, there’s enough space for us all. xo, G