Sunday, January 28, 2018 was when I decided to create a website. I had a moment of inspiration and creativity following an injury the previous week that left me on strict bedrest with casts on both legs. I wanted to share about the things I love, while also taking on the challenge of my technical computer skills. Honestly, I was partly kind of bored and had a difficult time being idle. I wanted to keep my mind busy and keep my cheer and enthusiasm going. At first I didn’t know if I wanted my website to be a more personalized blog or simply a business website. So I opted for a bit of both. What I did know is how much I appreciated other people’s creative writing and photography skillset depicting their adventurous spirit while I was lying in bed, longing to just be able to take photos with the new camera I bought. Prior to my injury; however, I had taken several photos from recent travels. So I decided to curate them and up went my first post, Road Trip to Beautiful Taos, New Mexico.
From a technical standpoint, after a few days, I learned so much. I made several revisions and modified my theme, layout, photos, fonts, color schemes, and content. Not to mention editing a gazillion times over for proper spelling, grammar, context, and style. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I expected that of myself and tried to narrow down my focus. I soon realized that my website will always be a work in progress. I’m continually learning new codes and shortcuts, and as a creative, it’s hard to know when done is done. That’s something to be celebrated though. The journey, the more personal things I’ve learned along the way.
So here are four things I learned during my first four months of blogging.
- I have learned a lot about myself. For one thing, I knew my interests were eclectic but putting them in both text and visual form has made my ideas more tangible to me. Even having added the books on my TBR list to my newly created Goodreads account for my sidebar widget was confirmation. In grade school I pretty much always chose the word “eager“ to describe my work ethic when choosing a description about myself based on the first letter of my name. I wouldn’t necessarily describe my entire persona as eclectic though, but my tastes definitely are. It infiltrates my blog and social media posts as a style of randomness, Here’s a surprise, hope you enjoy, haha. I like it though, keeps me humble and happy.
- We live in a society. There have been times I’ve been indifferent toward various forms of social media. Some of it for personal and professional reasons, sometimes out of concerns about reliability, credibility, privacy, safety, fear of being misunderstood, choosing to be authentic but not oversharing, confidence and self-doubt, balancing quality and quantity, conflict of interest, image and branding, technical ability, pressure, and engagement. Two reasons:
- It’s risky to put your creative soul out there on display and not only wanting to be proud of your accomplishments on a personal level but also hoping others gain interest, inspiration, and appreciate your craft. Fluctuations in the amount of followers and engagement hasn’t concerned me as much as I thought it would, perhaps because I know for myself, there are seasons in life and circumstances that make me subscribe and unsubscribe, and later resubscribe, for various reasons like when my interests or life stage changes. However getting my first dislikes on Youtube as a creator was sad. How could anyone outright dislike my particular videos? And why? They didn’t even comment with a reason. My videos come from a place of lightheartedness. Do they realize how many hours it took to compose and edit? Should I blame it on a simple misclick? On the YouTube algorithm? Am I in a state of denial to think anyone would appreciate my talent and hard work? Nobody likes me.
- Ok I’m totally exaggerating on the last ones, but the internal struggle of sharing artistry and discouragement is real. Then I remembered a line from Seinfeld “You know we’re living in a SOCIETY!” Being a contributor rather than a consumer of content has taught me a lot about that and to not get caught up in thinking all my initiatives will be everyone’s cup of tea. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, the dislike button is there, and some are going to be more vocal about their disappointment and disapproval. And then there’s trolls and spam.
- Have no fear in creativity. I’ve always liked the quote by Dita Von Teese “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” In recovering from my injury with a lot of down time, I realized that there is so much delight in sharing about what you love without the constraint of fear. The interpersonal connections and personal growth with an “I can do this” mentality have been wonderful. It’s also brought a lot of experiential insight into other people’s joys and struggles. As I reflect back, I think of my blog and other social media sites as a creative outlet and a form of expression that says “This was really fun for me” and also “I made this for you!” It has brought me much needed laughter at a time when I was bummed about my injury. It’s funny though because whenever I hear the line “I made this for you” I can’t help but to think about one of early creators on Youtube, Julian Smith. He produced an over-the-top skit about hot Kool-Aid (see video below). It’s definitely an example of being fearless on multiple levels when it comes to expressing creativity.
- Share the joy. Building upon a hobby out of an entrepreneurial spirit brings a compelling aspect to allowing others to take part in that same pleasure. But it’s not about having a bazillion people to influence, measuring your worth in likes and dislikes, or being famous on the social internet. Aside from personal satisfaction, it’s about those who may find joy, value, encouragement, and inspiration in what you have to offer. You may never know how you might impact one person’s life in a positive, meaningful way. This morning someone took the time to write a message on the road using chalk. It was a pleasant surprise to me and many others to come across a note that read “You are beautiful. You are worthy. You are appreciated. You are called for a specific purpose in this world.”
I actually enjoy the creative process just as much as I do admiring a finished project. With that, I’d like to share with you not only individual posts as part of my social internet endeavor, but also provide resources for you to be able to create and further develop your own website and perhaps other social media sites as well.
I compiled a list of helps and services on my Resources page. I hope you find them useful.
What have you learned along the way? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear!