2020, A Time for Changes – Three Things I’ve Learned in My Years Blogging

It’s the seventh week of 2020, and I’m sitting down to write a post about my ~feelings~, so obviously, the year is off to a great start.
This URL expires in a few weeks, I’ll renew it, but it’s made me reflect on this blog a lot.
If you’re a regular reader of mine you’ll know that I haven’t posted a lot lately. Not to this blog, nor to my Instagram. Last year was a busy year, but more than that, 2019 was chaotic inside my head. It was so heavy on my shoulders that by October it had crushed me. That left little time for anything, least of all blogging.
Now that I’m feeling better, I can return to the part of my brain that thinks of books, reading, and this blog, and contemplate the future of it, while also reflecting on the past. I’m not sure how many years I’ve been blogging for (and frankly I don’t really care to know), but I’ve learnt a lot of lessons. Here are my top three.

1. When You Have a Business and a Semi-Public Life, Don’t Combine Them

I was quite public about my business (Potions Candle Co) on my bookstagram account, and vice versa. At first, I thought it was a great way to open my business up to more customers, but I never realised that it would come back to bite me.
Having customers follow both my accounts brought about an interesting predicament. Though no one mentioned anything, I felt immensely guilty posting anything to my bookstagram account when I had orders I needed to process, make or pack. I didn’t want to share that I was reading a book, in case it upset someone who was waiting on their order. Granted I think most people would understand that I had more than one order to do, and it simply wasn’t healthy to be working at 10 pm at night when I was reading, but I still felt guilty.
Not only did this reduce the amount of content I was producing for my bookstagram, it also fostered a strange sense of resentment toward Potions, for encroaching on my personal life in every way possible.
I still own Potions (which is Potions Illustration now), and most of my lovely followers are kind enough to follow me on both of my accounts, but because I take on very little client work, and my products are downloadable, there’s not the same pressure to be always working as there once was.
From now on, any other public venture I do, I probably won’t share on my bookstagram account, just for… you know, my own sanity.

2. Some Things Are Meant For Fun, Not For Success

Like this blog, for example.
When you’re searching for blogging tips and tricks (I often looked up something along the lines of: ‘how do I make the words come easier??!??!?!?!’) it’s easy to be sucked in my those million articles promising that you could get rich QUICK with just your blog, even if you never actually wanted to do it to make money.
So, you end up signing up to a handful of affiliate programs, get kicked off one for being too small, and make a whopping sum of $1.
Then, you sign up to AdSense before realising you hate having ads on your blog, so you install an ad blocker and completely forget that your blog still has ads, which, may I add, make you another whopping $1.
Finally, you start angling for some sponsored posts that never happen because you know deep down inside that your heart isn’t in it.
Then, you pull your head out of your a** of the sand and realise that you’ve misplaced the joy of blogging somewhere along the way. It fell out of your arms around the time you picked up SEO and those three hundred ‘How to Find Success on Pinterest’ articles that state the same thing in forty-two different font sizes (often all in the same post. My eyes. Halp).
Turns out, in the end, you sold the fun of your blog for $2 that you never actually got because you didn’t meet the payment threshold. Good job, kiddo.

3. Only You Can Decide The Direction of Your Happiness

How many times have I posted a poll on Instagram asking everyone what kind of content they’d like to see from me? Far too many. Why? I couldn’t tell you.
Perhaps it went something like this:

I run a book blog, and I couldn’t very well post anything other than books, could I?
I couldn’t have a mish-mash blog. That was what those Pinterest articles said. But maybe my followers thought something different?
Maybe they’d still read if I just rambled on about my ~feelings~.
Maybe they’d be interested in my favourite eco-friendly fashion brands.
Maybe they’d like an in-depth comparison of the quality of paper used by major notebook companies.
Best ask.
Oh, they’re fine with it.
But the Pinterest gurus…… they still say no. Better not. It’s a book blog after all.

Well, however it went, it’s no longer that way. I’ve realised (for the seven-billionth time) that I pave my own path to happiness, and no one can do it for me. It’s my choice to pick what materials I use for the path, what colour said materials are, if the path is windy, straight or uphill, it’s my choice where it starts and goes and ends.
I’m not giving the joy of my blog to Pinterest gurus anymore, nor am I selling it for $2 I never get. I’m just going to write stuff. Don’t know what. Probably book stuff. I like books. Maybe writing because that’s cool too. You never know, this might turn into my humble little place of self-rediscovery because we can’t all just go to Italy and eat pasta like that lady from Eat, Pray, Love.
Whatever 2020 brings for The Riverside Library, I’m going to enjoy it. Otherwise, it’s just a waste.
I hope my learning the hard way turns into the easy way for you! Happy blogging my friends!

Mikaela is an illustrator, writer and editor based in QLD, Australia. She's been writing novels for eleven years and editing for six. You can often find her with a coffee by the beach, pondering existentialism and the psychology of writing. She has a Bachelor of Biomedical Science and takes pride in her paradoxical nature. She's also very much like a cat.

1 Comment

  1. Amy the Zany Bibliophile
    February 11, 2020

    I know it is easier said than done, but never feel guilty for taking time out to look after yourself! It is necessary or we crash and burn which takes much longer to recover from.
    Hopefully 2020 is a better year for you and I am always around if you need a chat ❤


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