Friday 18 March 2016

3 years of blogging

A few days ago, on March 15, my blog turned three years old. Depending on the day (and the mood I'm in), this feels either ancient or like nothing; it either makes me cringe at my lack of achievement, or proud at how far I've come. The comparison game can be tough, and there will always be many (or, in my case, most) bloggers with more followers, more exposure, more, more, more.

Luckily, and somewhat to my amazement, I have managed to extract myself from these black feelings of envy. Is it maturity? Having given up? Contentment? 
Maybe it's a mix of all of the above. Mostly, though, it's being happy with who I have become. 

Blogging will never be my career; it's a much-loved hobby that gives me an inordinate amount of joy. It also continues to amaze me, and I love those unexpected moments of magic: The email from a reader who tells you how much a post has resonated with them; the surprise gift in the mail; the collaboration offer that is fun and actually pays.

It has become tradition for me to do a recap of the previous year, which is something I love to do. I don't analyze the trends like I probably should, but simply like to look back and reminisce. If you want to see the previous posts, you can check them out here: 2nd anniversary and 1st anniversary

If you're a numbers person, I have a few for you: 672 posts, 1824 followers, 5394 comments, and over 232370 page views. Thousands of hours spent writing, editing, commenting, replying, researching, and networking (not too many on networking, if we're being honest here). 
The joy and confidence I have found through blogging: priceless

Let's look at each individual month, shall we?

Three things come to mind when I think back to one year ago: The link-up I was still hosting, the free glasses I received completely out of the blue from Clearly (such a wonderful surprise), and the birth of my passion, yoga
Most popular post of the month: Lying down with dogs (810 page views). 
I'm really pleased about it because it tells me that the link-up worked (all the posts associated with it were more popular than ordinary ones), and that you appreciate my love for dogs and yoga. On the other hand, I may have accidentally used a magic SEO formula, but since I don't know what it is I will never be able to recreate it again. Which is a bit tragic, when you think about it ... so let's not think about it. 

In our personal life, the most exciting thing we did was drive 2,500km to pick up our puppy Nina
In my writing life, it was getting up the courage to submit an article to Thought Catalog and have it published: 10 Frustrating Reasons Why Writing Is Just Like Dieting
I also pondered the possibility of having a Third-Life crisis, and shared the dangers of farm life.
Most popular post of the month: Which door do you choose? (285 page views)

I wrote three posts that month that I'm proud of: 
The reason for my pride in these stories is that they all deal with fears and/or insecurities of mine. Like many writers, I started writing my thoughts down in order to figure them out. Little by little, I would post something that scared the hell out of me, and come out at the other end a little bit stronger.
Seeing it all laid out in front of you has unimaginable powers: It helps you sort through the mess, separating the noise from the real problem. Turns out, a lot of it is noise: Things other people say, things you think people might say, your inner pessimist taking over and trying to make you see the worst. Once you let go of the noise, there is often very little problem left. 
Most popular post of the month: You, 10 years from now (352 page views)

I dropped the link-up the month before, and it showed: My page views dropped as well. Despite that, I just didn't want to do it any more. It's a lot of work, even on a small scale: Making sure you have a post ready the day before, so you can post at the designated time; send out the reminder email; visit every blog and comment. I like doing these things, love doing them in fact - but not when they are enforced. Even when the enforcer is myself. It didn't work for me any more at that stage of my life, and had taken some of the fun of blogging out of it for me. 
The pleasure in blogging for me is sitting down every morning, coffee close by, and to write down whatever is on my mind. Some days it's ready for publishing an hour later; often it's not. But if it's your hobby, who cares? 
My two favourite posts to write were What would you do if you couldn't fail and A day in my life. The first one, because it's one of those philosophical questions I love to think and talk about; the second, because I really like where my life was at. Still do 
Most popular post of the month: Falling and flying (224 page views)

In July, I gave the blog a bit of a facelift. You will notice that it has since changed again, but only to make it cleaner and less fussy; I'm still really happy with the look it has now! I added a category that means a lot to me: You are not alone. It's still up there on the very top, and I created it in the hope that by sharing bits of my own struggles and insecurities, you would feel understood and, well, less alone. 
Other events worth mentioning: For the first time ever I scrapbooked the year, and shared some pages with you; and I wrote about the deceivingly simple, but in reality very difficult advice to Just do you.
Most popular post of the month: It is YOUR choice (247 page views)

August was a fun month. We had a crazy (yet awesome!) experience on Salt Spring Island, which I described here: A couple walks into a dance temple. I also brought outfits posts back, which I have since then done faithfully once a week.
My favourite post of the month was this one: Be secure in yourself and nobody can use it against you.
Most popular post of the month: Grey: yay or nay? (577 page views)

September always puts me in a reflective mood, and last September was no different. I fell in love with a valley and indulged in some fantasies what it would be like to live there; I have since fallen out of love again, being in that mindset that I never want to move away from our home.
It's a recurring dance in my life ;-)
I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post called Netflix is saving my life about - you guessed it - the guilty pleasure that is Netflix.
Most popular post of the month: Getting ready for fall (208 page views)

The biggest event in my personal life was the test and interview in order to become a Canadian citizen. There was some hold-up because I needed to hand in even more papers, but it all worked out: last month I finally joined the country of my dreams as one of their own!
In my blog life, the post I received the most feedback on was Manic. A look into what havoc a little depression and being overly hyper can wreak once in a while.
I also shared my (not-so-) secret shame of wanting to be liked by everyone: Going through fire.
Most popular post of the month: Farmyogi secrets revealed (198 page views)

I bought my first blog template! It's the one you see now, and I LOVE it. Up until then I did all the layouts myself, and I'm proud of that. However, nothing like the magic touch of a professional to give your blog a more polished look. $40.00 well spent.
I shared my 10 secrets to a happy marriage, and did my favourite outfit post to date: Once upon a time.
Most popular post of the month: December goals (324 page views)

December was unreal. I discovered my new all-time favourite book, which in turn pushed me to publish my book. My word for 2016, BRAVE, came to me, and it's influencing everything I'm doing this year. My blogging mojo returned (I had lost my sparkle for a while), and I ended the year with a look back in form of a time capsule. 2015 was a great year, and I felt grateful and humbled.
Most popular post of the month: Your favourite posts of 2015 (264 page views)

Can we just stop for a second and look at the image above? That was taken on my way to work, in January, in Canada. No igloos or snow as far as the eye can see. Contrary to popular belief, we are not buried in snow everywhere in Canada, as this picture proves. Can't complain about a winter like that!
Posts I enjoyed writing in January were Don't live the same year 75 times and call it a life (words I try to live by); Finding your passion; and Being a maker. Oh, and What growing my hair out has taught me, because life lessons can be found anywhere, even on top of your head.  
Most popular post of the month: A dress that shows off your undies and extroverted boots (277 page views)

One of the highlights of last month was collaborating with Sheila and four other ladies for Project Sister Act. Such a fun and empowering project!
I told you Why I put my life on the internet (a question some of you may have pondered; my family certainly has), and shared 10 things that keep me up at night (I really want to know the answer to #2). Another thing I started doing and haven't mentioned yet is that I submitted some of my photos to Pixabay. It's a site that provides you with free images for your website, blog, or wherever else you want to use them, no attribution required. I have downloaded several (the first image of this post is from Pixabay), and figured that I should give back in some way. If you are interested, you can find them here.
Most popular post of the month: Why I put my life on the internet (259 page views)

Here we are, three years into my blogging journey. This month has become significant to me not only because of the birthday of my blog, but also because I embarked on my yoga journey last year. March brings spring, new life and the awakening of nature, and has given me two of the greatest joys of my life. It's a special month indeed.
Today I can add another exciting first to the list: My first guest post! You can find me over at Helene's business blog Blog In Between, where I'm sharing my experience of self-publishing a book (if you have no idea what you are doing).
My goal for this year is to reach out more, collaborating with others, writing more articles and expanding my horizon.

Because as you know, this year is meant for living bravely!

I want to thank you all for reading, commenting, supporting me, and making this blog what it is. I couldn't do it without you!

Much love,


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