One year ago today I started Motley Mama. I was 30 weeks pregnant, recently unemployed by a bankrupt non-profit, and bored. Even though I had occasionally blogged for the past 5 years or so, I was new to mom blogging and unsure how to begin. For weeks I belabored over the name, hosting site, blog platform and format. I Googled “how to be a successful blogger” and sent my friends polls on what site name was most attractive. When I finally launched, I was nervous and excited, hoping this would be my next big thing.
I was very naive those first few months. I didn’t realize I was competing with bloggers who were getting 20,000 hits a day. I celebrated at 200 and thought I had made it. I posted trivial posts with simple links to YouTube videos. I posted haphazardly and often without thinking, “Would I want to read this?” It wasn’t great.
Then I started reading blogs I actually liked. It started with Elizabeth‘s blog and expanded to a handful of other blogs who were writing real, honest and interesting posts that I wanted to read. It was revolutionary, really. A wake up call to start trying harder by trying less. And so I cut out blogs constantly hosting giveaways and asking me to vote for them in contests. I also stopped reading blogs heavy in fashion and DIYs, not because they weren’t good blogs, but because they made me feel inferior. Then I started writing in my own voice about things I actually cared about.
I found my niche and it worked.
Once my blog hits started to grow, so did my ego. Every day I woke up and thought I MUST GET MORE HITS and reverted back to my Google searches of “how to be a successful blogger.” I got greedy. I got ulcers. Mostly my blog suffered because I was overly concerned with people pleasing. Again, it wasn’t great.
Right around this time, heavy colic set in. I was sleep deprived and stir crazy with a high needs baby who screamed in my arms and a husband starting medical school. In these months I was forced to let go. I didn’t have time to check my stats or worry about what everyone else was doing. I only had two hours of nap time a day, and I spent one hour writing and the other hour in the fetal position on the couch. It was, despite itself, great.
One year later and as it turns out, this blog has become a big part of my life; a vehicle for writing, a means to share, and most of all–a sanity saver. It has grown and changed along a steep learning curve, with pauses for self doubt, weeping, and resounding joy.
I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned when to push through and when to let go. I’ve learned when to share and when to keep my mouth shut. I’ve learned it doesn’t matter what your blog name is or what platform you use or how often you post. I’ve learned what it actually means to be a “successful blogger.”
People often ask me how Motley Mama’s doing; if I’m making money, how many people are reading, etc. Usually they are embarrassed to ask these questions which makes me feel embarrassed to answer. Really, I feel no shame in saying that 1) yes, I feel great about writing every day, 2) no, I’m not making any money, and 3) I have around 2,000 visitors a day.
I can also honestly say that I’m no longer trying to “grow my blog” or “become a blogger” or change the Internet because, despite my baggy eyes and messy kitchen, I’m happy. I’m writing about things I care about, things that make me laugh, and interacting with my readers. I’m meeting fantastic people and joining conversations about important things. I feel engaged and interactive without feeling overstimulated and sad. I also have a happy, healthy baby titan. That’s pretty great too.
So high fives all around, and Happy One Year to Motley Mama. It’s been fun.