Today marks one year since I jumped back into the blogging world and introduced The Second House on the Right to the blogging community!
I never imagined in one short year I'd cover everything from fashion tips to recipes, home decor, pointless confessions, finally sharing about our wedding, and the loss of our first baby. This space has been the perfect outlet for my day to day life that I didn't realize was missing.
I thought about sharing some of my favorite posts and the posts that have been readers' favorites, but you can see the big ones listed on the right side of your screen under "Popular Posts". That pretty well sums up the list...best recipes shared, best stories shared, best linkups I've participated in, you get the idea. There's also a "Quick Finds" section on the right, where you can click on different topics and see all the posts for that subject.
I thought about sharing some of my favorite blogs that I love to read, but again, there's a list of those on the right under "Good Reads" that you can check out. (And DO check them out...I'll talk about some of them later on in this post.)
Instead today, I'm sharing a few things I've learned in the past year of blogging.
1. Your blog is what you make it to be.
If you want hundreds or thousands of followers, you'll put the time and effort into it. You'll participate in every linkup you can find and comment on other bloggers' posts on a daily basis - which is all absolutely fine. On the flip side, if you're blogging for yourself and not a growing followers list, you'll participate in what you want to on your own terms. It took me a while to realize this. There are SO many wonderful and fun linkups out there that I see and say to myself, "Oh, I want to do that one next week..." and I'll even jot it down in my planner. Sometimes I participate, and sometimes I don't. Blogging takes time, and if it's 8pm on a Monday night and I'm cuddled up on the couch with Stephen watching something on TV when I realize "I need to do that linkup post for tomorrow"...chances are I'm staying parked on that couch. I love to blog, but I love everyday, boring life just a little more.
2. Blogging is a hobby, not my job.
I don't get paid for my blog. I tell Stephen often that my dream job would now be to be a stay at home mom blogger and make money off of it. Y'all. That's what some people do these days! Sign me up for that someday!! For now, it's a hobby. I've been asked to give product reviews in exchange for the free product and so far, I've turned those opportunities down. I just don't feel like I want to tie myself and this little space down to someone else's time frame, deadline and suggested material. Don't get me wrong, the commission or payback wouldn't be a bad benefit, but for now, it's just not for me. This blog is not my employer....it's just a hobby.
3. Blogging has a way of making you feel like your best friends with someone you've never met.
Is it just me, or do we all feel like we're real life best friends with Andrea, Erika, Shay and Kelly? I mean, really. If we ever have to move, it better be to McKinney, TX or NWA, am I right?! My "friends" are all there. It's hard to explain, but you just get invested in the lives of total strangers. You watch their kids grow, you watch their homes change, you cry during their heartbreaks, you laugh every time Andrea posts a hilarious Mason video on IG. They're normal families just like your own and you connect to them. You relate to them.
4. You can be real or you can be who you want your readers to think you are.
I have come across blogs in the past year, where two posts into reading I've thought, "ha....yeah.....that's NOT realistic." They show you the pretties and the fluff. They make you think life is perfect, marriage is perfect, work is perfect, the kids are angels....folks, it's not real. Real is you and your husband arguing for the millionth time about why in the world he didn't unload the dishwasher when he was home for three hours before you were. Or why am I always moving his shoes where I want them and not where it's convenient for him in the mornings. If we had kids, I'm sure there'd be stories about poop and tantrums and sleepless nights. I like REAL. I relate to REAL.
5. Blogging actually does make you real-life friends with other bloggers.
Let me be honest, when I started blogging again last year, it NEVER crossed my mind that I would come across a small handful of bloggers that I would make a connection with and begin a real friendship with. From swapping comments on our blogs and social media to emails back and forth all day and night, it's definitely been the BEST part of my first year of blogging. Leigh, Justine and Sarah are great friends and have been some of the best encouragers that I could ask for. And maybe one day we'll meet and person and it'll be like we've known each other forever! The blogging community is by far the best thing to come out this experience in my first year. I love this little circle I have found and am excited to see what's in store for so many of my "friends"!
If you're reading this, thank you! Thank you for following along with us for the past year. It's been a joy for me to share a little bit of our everyday life with you. The past year has been nothing short of a journey for us, and I can't wait to share whatever is to come down the road!