Real Food Whole Life

3 Things I’ve Learned From One Year of Blogging

LifestyleRobyn Downs8 Comments

Real Food Whole Life is turning one and today I’m sharing three things I’ve learned from one year of blogging.

3 Things I've Learned from 1 Year of Blogging #blogging

One year ago I hit publish on my very first blog post. I remember that moment so clearly. Sitting on my couch, giving the copy one last read-through, and then clicking publish. Then my heart started racing and I panicked. “OMG, what am I doing?”

Real Food Whole Life stems from my desire to help make healthy eating and living easier. It’s something I care deeply about, and starting a blog seemed like the perfect format to share this passion. Never mind that I knew next to nothing about blogging. You have to start somewhere, right?

Today, a year later, I’m thrilled with the direction Real Food Whole Life is headed. I’m working on a rebranding and blog design project (more details on that coming soon!), have some exciting collaborations in the works, and all kinds of other fabulous things to come in this next year.

It’s certainly been an interesting process. To say it has pushed me outside of my comfort zone would be an understatement. I’ve learned and grown in ways I couldn’t have imagined when I started. As I pause to reflect on the past year I wanted to share what I’ve learned. I think these lessons apply to blogging, but also to life.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

Learn Something New. Watching my three-year-old daughter I am constantly in awe of her capacity to learn new things. It’s inspiring. At some point along the way in my adult life, however, I seem to have stopped learning new things. Maybe I’ve felt too busy or the idea of taking on something was just too overwhelming. Nonetheless, until this year I was in a learning rut.

And then I started Real Food Whole Life and realized I had the opportunity to learn many, many new things. Here’s a list of just a few of the things I didn’t know how to do prior to launching the blog:

  • develop or design a website
  • understand web jargon (I literally didn’t know what any of these terms meant: SEO, widget, plugin, RSS feed)
  • create a brand
  • use social media for marketing
  • use a DSLR camera
  • take a (not-horrible) picture of food
  • edit a picture
  • design a graphic

Reading this list makes me laugh out loud. That’s a lot to learn. Learning something new can be difficult and frustrating. It can also be incredibly gratifying. I still get overwhelmed by all of this on a daily basis. But I am learning.

Let Go of Perfect. To keep Real Food Whole Life going I aim to publish three posts per week. That means coming up with an idea, writing the copy, taking the pictures, editing, getting everything into the correct format, uploading pictures, publishing, and sharing on social media. Then repeating this process, three times per week. Every. Single. Week.

I also work full time and have a family that deserves my attention. So the majority of work on Real Food Whole Life takes place at night or in bits and pieces during the weekend. Not necessarily optimal work time. Right away I had to make a choice. To try to make this perfect, or to focus on the practice of getting it done.

This is hard. I’m not actually a perfectionist, but I am afraid of failure. And of looking stupid in front of other people. Yep, that pretty much sums it up: avoid situations where I may fail or look stupid. So you can imagine, then, that posting three times per week is challenging. Because it’s not perfect. And, boy, do I know it.

Each post is a practice in letting go of perfect. Each time I hit publish I go through a list in my head of all the ways it could be better. But I hit publish anyway because the point is not to be perfect. The point is to provide information that is useful to you. To share, connect, and inspire. And to let it go and just do the work.

Keep Showing Up. My husband is a pretty smart guy. He has a PhD in psychology and studies human behavior for a living. Despite what you’d expect, though, he doesn’t give advice often. He’s been trained to mainly listen and ask reflective questions, so when he does offer advice I try to listen.

One of the most valuable pieces of advice he has ever given me is to just keep showing up. It’s simple, and not, all at the same time. When I whine about the blog he usually has the same response. "Just keep showing up." That response can be so annoying. Annoying mainly because he’s right.

Showing up can sometimes be the hardest part. Consistency over time is challenging. There are so many excuses to give up. But it’s also the easy part. When things get difficult I repeat the “just show up” mantra in my head. And that’s what I plan to keep doing.

As this first year comes to an end I want to thank you so very much for reading. Each site visit, click, blog subscription, like, and comment means so much to me. To my early readers who keep coming back, sharing with friends, and making the meals I want to say THANK YOU! And to my new readers who have just discovered this space, I say welcome. I’m so glad you’re here! I just can’t wait to continue growing Real Food Whole Life and am excited to share this journey with you. Cheers!