January 1st, 2017. The first time I ever hit ‘publish’ on a blog post. If I’m being completely honest, I never thought I’d last this long. Going into this, I had no idea whether I would like blogging or not. Turns out I bloody love it! Shouldn’t have come as such a surprise, though, as I’ve loved writing ever since I was little (and I mean really little). I feel like I’ve changed quite a lot over the past year, and I thought this would be the perfect time to sit down and reflect.
Ever since I published that first blog post (‘Hello world!’, you can find it here) the blog and my ‘branding’ have undergone quite a few changes. First of all, I started out as ThatGirl. Which I thought sounded so clever when I first came up with it. I was literally like “this is brilliant! ‘who are you watching?’ – ‘oh, ThatGirl on YouTube'” – I know, groundbreaking. I really did love it, though. And I remember being so excited when I found out that the username wasn’t taken on YouTube. …That was before I figured out that multiple people can have the same username on YouTube. Fun times. After a while, I started to feel like the name was too generic and didn’t really reflect who I was at all. Which is so important when you’re trying to ‘brand’ yourself! So after some reflection, I came up with TGIFreya. Obviously based on the whole TGIF concept (which means it kinda translates to Thank God It’s Freya – but I’m okay with that). With the name change came a new logo and a completely changed web page. I still love it, but I do want to set myself the goal of buying my own domain by the end of this year and having my boyfriend design my website fully to my taste (yes, I’m lucky enough to have a web designer boyfriend).
I also think that I’ve found my ‘blogging voice’, although I’m not quite sure if that was ever really a problem (no, I haven’t gone back through all my old posts, I’m lazy). I do try to really put my personality into my writing, and I hope that it shows and that people like it. But I’m guessing that you do, or you wouldn’t be sitting here reading this post. Unless you’re new, of course, in which case: hi!
In the course of the past year, I’ve also learned a couple of things. First of all: photography is hard. Bloody hard. And natural light can be a pain in the ass, especially during the darker months. I love taking pictures, but I’m almost never pleased with the result, so I want to try working on that in the next twelve months so that by the end of the year I can honestly say that I’m proud of my photography. Secondly, coming up with interesting content is bloody hard too. It’s so easy to get sucked into what’s popular and what will get you views, but at the end of the day what’s most important is that you write stuff that you like talking about. You don’t necessarily have to be an expert in the subject, but you do have to be passionate about it. It shows.
The main thing I learned, though, is that blogging takes time. A lot of it. And effort. A lot of that, too. It really gets on my nerves now – more than ever – when someone says “those bloggers, they earn so much money and get so much free stuff, and for doing what? hanging around the house all day writing a few blog posts?” I’m nowhere near making money from my blog or being able to make it a full-time deal, but bloody hell – blogging is such hard work and people that don’t do it, just don’t get it. And I feel like they never will. Which sucks, but it also shouldn’t get us down too much. We know how much work goes into every single post, and other bloggers know it too – and that’s really all that matters, isn’t it? Nothing can beat that sense of accomplishment when you’ve finally written the last word on that post that was just taking aaages, or when you get your picture just the way you want it.
I do feel like a bit of a hypocrite for saying all that, though, because when I look back on my first year of blogging… There hasn’t been much time invested. Not much effort, either. In the span of twelve months, I published a grand total of 41 blog posts. You could say that’s almost one a week, so not too shabby – BUT I think about 12 of those were all published in December for Blogmas. That’s not too great, is it? You’d almost think I don’t like doing it at all. I really do, though. It’s just that I’m lazy af, and a massive procrastinator to boot. I mean, this post is a prime example. I planned out all of my January content back in December, fully intending to start writing on those posts and get a head start, but I’ve literally had to postpone this post (it was supposed to go up yesterday, but don’t tell anyone) and I’m currently still writing it one hour before it’s supposed to go live. Yeah…
I want to take blogging a bit more seriously this year, and really see where it can take me if I don’t slack off. I also want to grow my social media accounts. I say ‘accounts’ but I’ve kinda given up on Instagram, and what even is a Facebook? For real though, I’d love to see an increase in Twitter followers because I’ve been hovering around the same number for quite a while now, and I’m constantly thinking about how I can improve my Instagram game – because I do love the platform, in its essence. That’s why I’m going to take the time to work on a game plan, and then I’m going to get shit done.
So here’s to 2018. The year I (hopefully) truly embrace being a blogger and finally kick my ass in gear. Slacking off just won’t do anymore. If you have any tips on how I can increase my blogging game this year, please let me know in the comments. I could seriously use all the help I can get.