Yesterday was my five year blog anniversary. Five years! This blog is my middle child. She is two years younger than Maia; two years older than Daphne. I've nursed her along, encouraged her, watched in delight and pride as she grew, been frustrated by her needs, and, at times, thought the thought that is echoed by parents everywhere—
Wow, this can be hard work sometimes... But it is so worth it!
In way of blogiversary celebration, I have decided to take a more thoughtful approach this year and share some of what I've learned on this journey.
5 Blogging Lessons Learned
Lesson 1 :: Writing about a topic you love makes you love it even more.
As I blog about children's art, I have found that there’s more and more I have to say. The more I share my enthusiasm and ideas with others, the more excited about the subject I become, the more committed to it, and the more I want to learn about it.
Lesson 2 :: The blog community is amazing.
Blogging is a way to share what we’ve been doing, and making, with other people who are interested in the same things. It’s a way of finding our tribe and sharing with them – with other people who are interested, whether they live in the same town or across the world. I like knowing that I am inspiring other parents to do more art with their kids by sharing ideas and art on my blog. And it goes both ways. I am in turn inspired by you, by what you do and share, and by other bloggers as well.
Lesson 3 :: Just be yourself.
You don't have to blog like everyone else. It's your blog. Put your own stamp on it. Blog about what you love (see Lesson 1) in a way that feels good to you.
Lesson 4 :: It's okay to earn money with your blog.
It took me a looong time to get to the point where I was comfortable with this idea. As in most of my blogging career. It's been only a bit over a year now that I've really been earning money with my blog. Attending the Type A Parent conference and meeting the amazing Tara Ziegmont was the tipping point for me. I realized that I can stay true to my mission and my values while still earning money for the time and work that I put into The Artful Parent. I hired Tara to help me navigate this new-to-me world and, thanks to her, I am now proud to contribute to our family's income doing something that I love.
Lesson 5 :: Go with the flow.
Let your own interests and cycles of life guide you. Take a break if you need to. I have and was able to come back to blogging with increased enthusiasm and dedication because of it.
This is a lesson that I am still learning. Well, maybe all of them are ongoing lessons, but this one especially. As I reach the five year mark, though, I find that I'm obsessing about (gasp!) other topics more and more. Children's art isn't at the top of my mind quite as much. I still love it; don't get me wrong. I still love encouraging my childrens' creativity and still believe in its importance.
But... I have some new interests that are vying for attention now.
I've been thinking more and more about how to foster creativity and artistic expression in myself and other adults. For almost two years now, I've been dreaming about starting an adult creativity blog. But with my other commitments, I just haven't found (or made) the time to make it happen, let alone make my own creativity a priority. (However, I am starting a 12 week course on The Artist's Way in a couple of weeks that I'm so excited about! It seems a step in the right direction.) In the meantime, I will find inspiration and motivation at Peas and Carrots Studio, a new "creativity 101" website started by two of my blogging friends (just a tad jealous...).
I've also been obsessing about health and lifestyle. My own health has been not so great (I've mentioned depression and skin cancer here before) and for a long time I pushed the topic to the bottom of the list. With little kids and other responsibilities, I just got overwhelmed by the idea of addressing it. But now I'm ready to embrace some health changes. I am reading book after book and starting to implement changes in nutrition and exercise as well as some much-needed mental health strategies.
So back to "going with the flow"... I'm not sure what this is going to mean for The Artful Parent yet. Perhaps nothing. If I had lots of extra time and energy, I'd be one of those superbloggers who start 2nd and 3rd blogs on my new topics of interest. I've thought about it. Many times. But that's just not happening right now. So perhaps you'll start seeing some posts about these other topics from time to time. Or, maybe I'll face the fact that I can be interested in something without blogging about it (what an idea!).
Now, a question for you... How long have you been reading The Artful Parent? Less than a year? A couple years? FIVE years?! I'd love to know!!