It’s kind of hard to believe that Weekend’s With Winter has existed for 2 whole years. It’s truly a milestone for me because ( if I can speak candidly here), I’ve been the type of person who begins a project, gets really jazzed in the first few weeks, but ends up losing interest and drops the whole thing to move on to the next exciting thing. Repeat process. So for me the fact that this blog is still something I’m passionate about and committed to is a huge feat in itself. That it’s growing and gaining such momentum after two years under my direction, is an even bigger accomplishment.
There have been some great milestones in this journey , opportunities I didn’t even know were possible before I started. Like the collaboration’s I’ve made with great brands to share with you guys some of my favorite products, or the times I’ve been able to invite you along to the parties that I host and attend, or simply being able to open up and share with you, my own thoughts, feelings and experiences. Even wilder is that by simply starting Weekend’s With Winter, I’ve been given the chance to explore my other passions. Passions like my podcast “Ethnically Correct” and a new venture that I’m partaking on with some great girlfriends, where we help women manifest their own callings.
Each of these things has motivated me to come back here and keep things going even when the page visit’s aren’t where I want them to be, or I get overwhelmed with the other responsibilities of my life.
Of all of the things I’ve been able to experience because of this blog, I think the thing I’m most proud of is that I’ve finally found my passion and in some way helped other’s to discover theirs. I can’t tell you how many people contact me and ask me about how to start a blog, and it makes me SO happy to help. I realize I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of other’s and to pay that forward is the LEAST I can do.
With that said, in the spirit of paying it forward I wanted to list the top 5 things I’ve learned about blogging since I started 2 years ago. I hope that if there are any of you out there thinking about partaking on this journey this helps you along your way.
Ask Yourself what you’re bringing to the table
There are so many blogs out there! The sheer amount alone is enough to discourage even the most ambitious writers among us. However, what I’ve learned is that the beauty of blogging is that there’s room for everyone. Blogging is all about your distinctive voice, your unique experience and by purely being YOU, you have something valuable to add to the conversation. I didn’t know what was unique about me until I started though. I had to find my voice over time, but after writing really sucky posts that didn’t even inspire ME and feeling so inauthentic because I was trying to sound like every other blog I’d read, I realized that Weekend’s With Winter wouldn’t bring me the fulfillment I was searching for if I wasn’t being true to myself. Soooooo I started to write from a place of honesty and when I did that, it seemed like a whole new world of possibilities opened up. So don’t let the fact that the genre is saturated deter you, think about your unique perspective and you’ll be a standout.
Gather inspiration from other’s
So this may seem in direct conflict with what I said above but hear me out. There is NOTHING new under the sun, your thought, idea, the way you put together that outfit, or decorate that room. Chances are, it has been done before or gathers inspiration from something that has been done before. That’s OK though. I believe we are here to inspire one another , and as long as you aren’t copying someone verbatim than take all the inspiration you need. Writer and author Elizabeth Gilbert said it best “the older I get the less impressed I I become with originality. These days, I’m far more moved by authenticity. Attempts at originality can often feel forced and precious, but authenticity has quiet resonance which never fails to stir me.” As cliché as it may sound, you are you and that’s what makes anything you do special. So don’t be afraid to tackle a topic or a project that has been done in the past. You bring authenticity to it simply by being yourself.
You can’t do it alone
I thought that when I started my blog my biggest supporters would be my family and friends, and while they do support and encourage me, I have to say I’ve gotten more support and feedback from total strangers. I belong to a community of bloggers on Facebook and those folks have been there to answer questions, give feedback and a shoulder to cry and vent on. When you begin this journey I encourage you to find a group of bloggers that you can also lean on and bounce idea’s off of. They have been where you are or where you hope to be and they’re totally happy to help. There’s this vibe around the blogging community that I love, and that is that there is enough success to go around. Bloggers for the most part don’t operate from a place of “not enough” but rather feel like there is room for all of us.
There is nothing I can’t do if I’m willing to do some research
When I first started I wanted so badly to have the perfect professional images, and write articulately. However that didn’t come easy to me and I had to learn how to do those things. So I signed up for blogging conferences, I studied images that I liked and learned new editing tools to make my pictures pop. I had to decide that if it was important for the success of my blog then I had to research how to do these things myself. Sure I could ask other bloggers for advice, but when it came down to writing a post and posting pictures I had to do that myself so I inevitably your girl had to learn. That’s why if you look at my previous posts you can tell the amount to which I’ve grown. So be ready to really learn the tools you need to be successful. There’s also analytic’s to dissect so that you know who is frequenting your blog, programming to understand, photo editing, writing and proofreading to do(still learning that myself). There is a ton to absorb and you’ve got to make the decision to be a sponge and soak it all up.
I’m not married to this thing
So what I mean by that is that this blog has changed not only in terms of it’s physical appearance but it’s changed in direction as well. I’m married to continuing the blog but I’m also open to the fact that it will take on different shapes as I continue to grow myself. Perfect example of this -when I first began Weekends With Winter I did so because I loved planning parties. I thought the blog would be all about planning parties and writing about them. Well everyone and their Mama started coming to me asking me to plan their parties! I did it for a couple of people and figured out real quick that was NOT m jam! I just didn’t like the pressure of planning a momentous occasion for someone else. Plus I didn’t like the idea of planning this fun party and not being able to enjoy the fruits of my own labor. That’s when the blog took on another approach and I started covering other people’s parties. Then I really had to take a step back and think about what it was that I liked about parties in the first place, and I realized it was all about the FUN factor. I love having fun and when I think of a party I think family, friends, laughter, great food, a yummy cocktail. Fun is also using a product that makes my life easier so that I can have a lot more…FUN. Those things don’t always happen at a party. They happen at events around town, they happen when I learn something new, they happen when I least expect it! So I changed the theme of this blog and now “Weekends With Winter” is about how you too can live your life like it’s the weekend 7 days a week! I didn’t realize at the time this was where I would be going, but I was open to the new direction and I embraced it. Maybe one day I will have kids and this blog will take on a parenting and fun theme.Who knows!! All I know is that I’m open to it and I’m not married to the idea of staying the same forever.
I have to thank you guys for rockin with me for two years. When I come to this space and see that even one person has read anything I write it truly brings me SO much joy! My intention in the coming years is to bring you guys more idea’s, more inspiration, more FUN! I want this to be a place you come to because you know that it will enhance your life in some way. I pray that the inspiration you give to me I can pay back 10 fold. With that said, I’d love to know if there are topics that you’d like to see me cover more. Are there subjects you’ve been dying for me to address, or things that I should change? I’d love to know in the comments below.