|illustration by cake with giants|
Four years ago today I wrote my very first post and although that post makes me cringe a little, it was honest (terrible to look at, but honest). And that's one thing I've tried to remain over the past four years in creating and recreating this space. I've tried to remain honest to myself and to you. It hasn't always been easy especially the part about being honest with myself as there have been many moments when I've questioned why I continue to blog.
One of the biggest changes that occurred for the blog this past year was that I stopped monetizing it. I'm currently not accepting sponsorship and there are no paid ads or affiliate links on D&OC. This change has taken a huge weight off my shoulders. If I miss a few days of posting, I no longer feel guilty. There was a time when I needed supplemental income from the blog but that is no longer the case and I'm grateful for that because I'm starting to find joy in blogging again. I realize that this may seem rather backwards to some of you as many bloggers aspire to blog full time and making money is often a gauge of success but that is one of the ways in which I am, perhaps, atypical as a blogger. I have a 8-5 job that I enjoy (YES, THAT IS POSSIBLE!) in a niche field in which my expertise is valued. This blog, although important to me and certainly a labor of love, is a hobby.
The downside to the blog simply being a hobby is that I don't have the time or the funds to network, attend conferences, market the blog, etc. The blog itself feels stagnant and as I watch other blogs grow and blossom it's hard not to feel insecure or worse, to feel like a failure. Although D&OC is a hobby, I often wonder what it could be if I could simply devote more time and creative energy into the content I post and into the social media that helps drive traffic to the blog. And it's this letting go of what could be that has been my biggest struggle over the past year. It's the acceptance of certain failures and the celebration of other successes, no matter how small, that I'm learning to fully appreciate right now.
So as I move into my fifth year of blogging, I think I'm finally beginning to understand this whole balance thing. And it's this understanding that I'm hoping will lead to some practical implementation of what actual balance looks like but let's not get ahead of ourselves. One step at a time. Right?
I'm still as passionate about budget-friendly design as I was four years ago. And I'm as passionate about connecting with you as readers as I was four years ago. It's this passion that I'm hoping will keep the blog going for another year, or two, or three. Who knows? The sky's the limit.