It’s been ONE whole year since I started blogging! So to embrace this milestone I want to share with you my personal thoughts, and experiences about the blogging world on Instagram this past year. When I look back it’s been an awesome and rewarding journey so far but not without a whirlwind of learning and do’s and don’ts.
As most of you know, Instagram can have a mind of it’s own and it’s forever-changing algorithm is a mystery to most to say the least. Instagram can certainly be challenging and frustrating so I found it best (although by no means easy) to try and stop worrying about the things I could not control like the algorithm, and instead focus on the areas I could control.
My photographer is mostly Me, my IPhone 8 plus, and my Tripod. Taking quality photos doesn’t mean you need to be, know, or hire a professional photographer.
I knew nothing about photography when I started blogging. I don’t even own a basic point and shoot camera. Taking quality photos was and still is a DIY experience and was the biggest trial & error stage of the game for me. It may seem intimidating at first, but invest in practice and it will come to you before you know it. The most valuable thing I learned is that more important than what I am wearing or the products in the photos is how good the photo quality needs to be. For example no amount of editing or filters can fix a photo that is taken in bad lighting. I can’t help but cringe when I look back at the quality of some of my first few photos – but hey, trial and error right?
If you’re like me you are not blogging full-time. I juggle blogging with being a mommy and having another job by day. My struggle is losing track of time while blogging. I get into this “zone” of focus and it is so hard for my mind to break-free in order to tend to my other responsibilities. This became a big problem for me so I needed to put a structure in place and make a schedule.
Once I budgeted and allocated certain time slots throughout the day/week for blogging it become much more manageable. Most of my blogging work is done on the weekends – from photoshoots and editing photos to planning my grid, captions and hashtags. By Sunday night, I aim to have my posts for the whole upcoming week all ready to go so I don’t need to worry about it while I’m at work during the day and when I want and need to tend to the rest of my life at night.
Engage from the Heart
I can’t emphasize this point enough. Engaging is NOT about the clicks to like and comment a few words on a post. It is about being genuine, honest, caring and truly passionate about other people. You may wonder how this is possible in the world of social media where people can hide behind a few nice photos, likes and words pretending to be nice to others only to get something out of doing so.
If your heart is in the right place, people will notice. If it is not, people may not notice initially but they will eventually. More often than not people are feeling empty, used and alone in the social media world – starving and craving authentic relationships with genuinely good-hearted people. So take the time to be in honest community with others on Instagram and/or in your world of influence. Engaging from the heart and building relationships has truly been the best part of my Instagram and blogging journey thus far!
Be Inspired – Don’t Compare
This is probably the biggest challenge about being a blogger on Instagram. There are so many of us out there each with absolutely amazing content and style! So amazing in fact that it’s difficult not to notice and that is where the problem lies.
There’s a fine line between feeling inspired and feeling the pressure to look like, do or say what others are doing. When scrolling through your feed do you feel positive or negative? Are you inspired or discouraged? Are you complimentary or envious, suspicious or judgemental? Is your mind saying, “wow, thats amazing she’s so inspiring, I’m so happy for her, she’s doing so well good for her”, or “I wish I looked like her, she’s so lucky, my work will never be that good, how did she get so many followers or sponsors, are her followers even real?”. Don’t get me wrong, we should always strive to make improvements by learning from each other. Where it becomes unhealthy and eventually toxic is when the comparisons result in negativity, deflation, judgement and ultimately a distorted view and insecurity about our own work.
I’ve seen bloggers completely change their entire branding and ultimately who they really are. I also know a few who fell into the depths of depression and/or gave up blogging entirely because of all the self doubt and pressures resulting from constant comparisons. Don’t devalue your own amazing work. Your work is awesome and unique to you, and the work of others is not better, just different and unique to them! You will never be content or happy if you are constantly comparing yourself to others because your mind will always tell you there will be someone better. Again, be YOU, be true to yourself. Being authentic and genuine is the best recipe to success and happiness in the long run!
So there you have it – some first year blogging food for thought. Focus on the things you can control. Invest the time in taking quality photos. Organize and create a schedule to manage your time. Be in community and engage from your heart. And most importantly, don’t compare yourself to what other’s are doing but rather focus on being authentic and being your amazing self!