Happy Birthday, Thrifty Pittsburgh Girl
Friends, I can’t believe one year ago I had a tiny baby girl in my arms most hours of the day! Was I insane to start a blog when my children were 22 months and 3 months old? Maybe…uh probably!
I’m so happy I did.
June 24, 2019 marks one year since I made the plunge and created my blog. Time flies.
One Year Ago
I found myself struggling with postpartum depression after the birth of my baby girl (born March 2018). You know, it’s really difficult to recognize depression during a season of exhaustion. There are so many factors that make the newborn stage incredibly challenging, depression or not. I was so grateful for my doctor — and mostly my husband, sister-in-law, and a few amazing friends who were faithful to pray for me daily during that season and gave really encouraging words. My greatest struggle was feeling very detached from my children and the people I love, at
I could see God’s gentle hand on me each day and with little steps, I slowly felt like “me” again. It was not an easy journey. However, my faith in Christ was strengthened as I relied on Him, above all, for guidance.
What does that have to do with blogging? Well, one year ago, late at night when Hannah had just gone back to sleep, I found myself wired and antsy. To pass the time, I logged into Pinterest and stumbled upon Suzi Whitford, creator of Start a Mom Blog. Her kind spirit and motivational words encouraged me to pursue my dream of starting a blog. To this day, she continues to be inspirational and a guide to me in this process. Strangely, I felt this new hobby was a God-sent way to work through my postpartum depression. Having this new creative outlet helped me so much.
7 Encouragments After 1 Year of Blogging
This is not a blog post where I will tell you of my success story ~~ making $500 + a month or how my social media platforms are blowing up with followers…because, well, neither of those things happened to me this year! Nor is this a step by step/how to make your blog amazing, post. There are plenty of fantastic bloggers with posts like that and they are helpful for sure!
This IS a reflective post of my past year with encouraging thoughts and honesty. I’m so happy to write this. Maybe, like myself, you aren’t where you thought you could be a year into blogging —
1. Find Joy in the Process
There are days when I’m on a writing high! Everything comes together easily. I see myself making progress. Other days, I have no clue where to start. I have 100 ideas jumbled in my head and none can seem to get out right. It’s on those days where I feel I’m being tested.
Do I just give up?
Is this worth it?
Why am I doing this blog?
Then I remember — I love to write. I enjoy projects. Creating is one of my passions God has given me. That’s why I’m doing this.
I have learned that remembering the joy in this process is key. If I’m frustrated, I take a break from what I’m doing and reread a post I’m proud of or I edit some photos I’m excited to use (and so on). Basically, I remember that this is worth it.
2. Build a Strong Foundation
Starting a blog can be scary. Where to start? There are so many avenues to start a site and which one is the best? Big questions like this can be daunting.
The first few weeks of blogging might be the hardest because everything is new. This is why I suggest finding a guide. I mentioned Suzi earlier — yes, I spent $30 or so to take her startup course, BUT she saved me so much time, prevented me from making huge mistakes and had a really enjoyable course to offer!
When it comes to investing a few dollars to get a blog started with a strong foundation, I suggest making slow decisions. Take a few days to think about things when unsure if you NEED to spend money. Aim for spending as little as possible. Compare and contrast different options. Don’t convince yourself that the only way to have a professional blog is to spend money. There are so many tutorials, editing programs, and helpful articles for free. And if you are really stuck on something…
3. Bounce Ideas with a Friend
Talking things out with a friend who will support your blogging goals, is essential in my opinion. Whether that is your spouse, your best friend or someone you connect with who also has a blog — make sure you find this person!
Let me brag on my best friend Brooke for a minute. When I called up Brooke last summer and told her how excited I was to start a blog, she was so supportive. She offered any help she could and encouraged me so much. She didn’t mind when I called her just to run ideas and thoughts by her, which I still do. I honestly don’t know if I would have pushed through the first few months without her support. She is creative, honest and such a lovely part of my life. (And now she has her own amazing blog with such a cool, unique niche in the health realm!)
A few months ago, Suzi Whitford, created a Facebook thread, which she intentionally posted to connect bloggers. Suzi suggested seeking out friends with similar blogs/in a comparable place. This is where I found my blogging friend, Melanie. She is WONDERFUL. Can I just tell you how amazing it is to have a genuine friend, who works so incredibly hard on her blog? We like to email often and even plan to take a course simultaneously so we can help each other through it. You may not find a connection like this right away, but seek avenues to make that happen (which all leads back to my point of having a strong foundation). And in the meantime, check out Melanie’s beautiful, crafty site here!
4. Stay Organized
I have found myself keeping track of so many things on this blogging journey. If I could go back in time, I would do things differently. For starters, keep your thoughts and ideas organized. Whether that’s with a little notebook you carry around (thanks Melanie for that tip!), or a list on your phone, make sure your valuable ideas are easy to remember so you have a “bank” of ideas to fall back on.
Also, have an organized system for keeping track of passwords, logins, subscriptions, and courses. Call me old school, but I love having one handwritten notebook for all of these things. I always keep it at home on my desk so it can never get lost.
5. Things Can Fall Apart…but it’s OKAY
I was sharing with Melanie recently about how I felt deflated when I was “kicked out” of the Amazon affiliate program for not attracting enough traffic. Basically, my hope was to use that program to earn back a few dollars to cover the fees of blogging (hosting site, editing programs, etc.) But what’s nice is that I can try again! I feel like I have grown so much as a blogger since I joined that program several months back. Just one example of how “things can fall apart.” But when you hit a snag, it’s a chance to reassess and remind yourself of all the personal growth happening.
6. Utilize Free Resources
I won’t go into a ton of detail here but the amount of free resources available to bloggers is astounding. It is easy to let money fly out the window, but I’m learning to be patient when it comes to spending any money. Often you can find free resources, like stock images, editing tools, tutorials about technical blog details and so on.
For example, Suzi (who I keep mentioning) does a free Facebook live every Thursday where you can ask any questions or listen in. It has been so helpful for me. And when I miss them, I watch the recorded version. Just one small example. Or head over to Kayla’s site, Ivory Mix for amazing stock photos for free.
7. Family is More Important
We live in a strange world. There is a world of entertainment, information overload, and social media.
Then there is a more important world of the people you love that you can touch, influence and show kindness to every day.
As a mom blogger, I am learning that it’s important for my children to have my focused attention. No parent has this mastered and I definitely am growing so much in this; I can’t stress that enough!
I believe it is important to intentionally separate blogging time and family time. Of course, the two worlds converge at different points, especially if, like myself, you write about kid activities and love to take photos. But my point is, give your children, your family, the people you love, your full attention as much as you can. Don’t let blogging be a stumbling block to that special time.
Put aside intentional work times, whether naptime, early mornings or some evening hours to blog. You won’t regret organizing your time this way.
It’s a New Year!
Can’t wait to see what the next year holds for my Thrifty Pittsburgh Girl blog! Thanks for reading.