People blog for many reasons. Originally, I started my blog the end of 2013 as an author platform.
But as time passed, I realized my blog provided much more than an author platform and it was all about the numbers. Blogging served a different and more profound purpose. I would even say that it's changed the way I look at and live my life.
That's why if you're thinking about starting a blog, I'd highly recommend it. That is, if you're blogging for the right reasons.
If you're starting a blog to get rich or even to eke out a living, well, don't count on it. Monetizing a blog is super hard these days. In fact, after three years, I'm still not making money from my blog. By the way, don't believe all the hype from people selling online courses that try to convince you blogging is a great way to make passive income. Make no mistake, writing and promoting a blog is a ton of work. There is nothing passive about it.
In fact, it's so easy to get frustrated when you first start a blog. As a technically-challenged person, I had to learn WordPress. Then, I spent a lot of time promoting my blog and trying to find an audience. Something else I knew little about. As with most bloggers, I quickly became obsessed – and depressed – with the numbers and how many visitors, subscribers, and Facebook followers I had on any given day. Turns out building up readership for a blog takes a LOT of time, effort, and patience.
So Why Blog?
Some people may disagree with me, but I think blogging shouldn't just be about making money, drumming up business, gathering a huge following, chasing fame, or trying to sell books.
Blogging can serve as a creative channel to voice ideas, thoughts, opinions, beliefs, and feelings. On top of that, writing a blog provides a wonderful opportunity to inspire and touch the lives of other people in a positive way.
How Blogging Changed My Life
My blog has certainly seen me through many ups and downs these past few years. I've written about joyful moments like a trip to Chicago with my husband to celebrate our anniversary, a day spent playing in the snow with my grandchildren, watching Paul McCartney and the Rolling Stones at Desert Trip, and a quick weekend trip with my kids to San Francisco.
I've also poured my heart out while caregiving for my mom who suffered from Lewy Body dementia and wrote about her eventual death. I shared my angst when my mother-in-law died from ovarian cancer and my son went through a painful divorce and custody battle that same year. (Ironically, shortly after I started writing a blog about happiness, I had the worst year of my life.)
Yes, I love reading, which provides a welcome respite from my troubles, but writing is my real escape, outlet, and passion. When I write, I become so focused, my problems fade away for awhile, giving me a much needed break. In fact, if you're truly a writer, believe me, it is a life-long addiction!
The process of putting my thoughts and feelings into writing has brought me comfort as well as help me relive happy moments.writer
As I've written about my life, my blog helped me think about what's important to me and determine if my life is headed in the right direction.
Since I can't write about every event, idea, thought, and feeling, blogging provides a sort of filter, clarifying my life. My blogs have helped me understand what is most meaningful to me. I've discovered along the way that sometimes it's the simplest moments that make me the happiest.
As a professional writer, my blog gives me wonderful creative freedom to express myself. Not to pop anyone's balloon, but writing sounds more glamorous than it is in reality. For most of the past 25 years, I've written articles on subjects that magazines, newspapers, publishers, and clients choose for me.
True, I've written two young adult books, travel articles, humorous pieces, and feature stories on fascinating people that were fun. On the other hand, in order to make a living, I've also written articles that bored me to tears. I've tackled technical articles – and one technical book – that gave me an Excedrin headache and drove me nuts. I've written on demand, meeting other people deadlines, writing late into the night as my brain is desperately trying to call it quits.
Don't get me wrong. I may sound whiny, but I fully realize that I'm darn lucky to have made a living at something I love. I wouldn't have had it any other way.
The point is, my blog is my baby. I write on subjects I'm interested in and feel passionate about and hope my audience will enjoy as well. My blog allows me to stretch as a writer, explore, experiment, and try new things whenever the muse hits. Writing professionally has given me the discipline to publish a blog every week, but I write my blogs when I choose. And believe me, that's not at the crack of dawn or 10:00 at night! That is luxurious.
So, those are some of the ways blogging has changed my life. But, as I mentioned earlier, the huge bonus is that blogging can change other people lives as well.
Some people have left comments letting me know that I have in some small way inspired them or provided useful information and that always brings me such joy. Writing a blog has provided an opportunity to connect with readers and other bloggers, which has been so rewarding.
What kind of blogs have proven to be most popular? It's always interesting to see what resonates and hits home. My top ten blogs in order of popularity:
1. Five Ways to Become a Happy-Go-Lucky Person
Every year, this is my top-performing blog by far. Merriam-Webster defines happy-go-lucky as blithely unconcerned and carefree. Synonyms include affable, laid-back, low-pressure, and mellow. I guess we all want some of that!
2. Golden Boys in Concert: Bobby Rydell, Frankie Avalon, and Fabian
I was asked to do a book review of Bobby Rydell's autobiography. This led to an interview, free tickets to his Golden Boys concert with Frankie Avalon and Fabian, and a backstage pass to meet Rydell in person. This was a nice perk that came from blogging! The day they posted my concert review on Rydell's Facebook page, my visitors increased by 3000% for the day. No joke!
3. Keep Laughing with the Seven Dwarfs of Menopause
This blog has held a top-three spot since I began blogging. Hey, it's either laugh or cry through menopause, and wouldn't we all prefer to laugh?
4. Staying Positive Despite Problems
Everyone has problems that make us feel powerless and defeated, so I'm not surprised this blog made the top ten. I offer three simple tips on how we can control our outlook and still choose to be happy despite our troubles.
5. What Are Your Life's Happiest Moments?
If you look back on your life, which moments would you count as your happiest? What would be your biggest regrets? That's the question one study asked participants aged 70 and older. I share the results of their insightful answers in this blog.
6. Why Older People Are Happier Than Baby Boomers
Aww, my very first blog that got my blog off the ground. The idea for this blog was based on studies that show, in general, older people – and even the younger generation – are happier than us baby boomers. One study confirmed there is a U-shaped happiness curve with the early 50's as the lowest point of well-being.
7. Happy as Easy as 1-2-3
"I want my day to feel like there is boundless beauty and possibilities and joy to be felt, discovered, explored, and expressed. And you know what? I can and so can you," I wrote. This article got discovered on Stumble Upon, bringing me my second (after the Rydell concert review) all-time record high number of visitors for one day.
8. Staying Happy Through Menopause
I wrote this article after Hot Flash Daily hired me to write humorous articles about menopause to launch their new website. I had never written humor before, but had a blast doing it for them! I happily shared it all – the scorching hot flashes, insane insomnia, annoying forgetfulness, and crazy panic attacks that ensued for years. Yes, YEARS!
9. Finding Happiness with Grandchildren
This blog was an easy one to write. To be needed and wanted by these delightful little beings is a wonderful treat and privilege. Like many people, I find that the rewards of family life only grew richer and more fulfilling as each new grandchild was born.
10. Five Happy Snoopy Quotes
Okay, this one surprised me a little bit. But hey, don't we all still love Snoopy? Now that I write a happiness blog, I'm impressed with how much wisdom Charles M. Schultz cartoons contain on the subject.
I loved writing all these articles that proved to be popular with readers. With that in my mind, what's my basic advice to all of you who are thinking about blogging? Write about your passions. Let your blog teach you life lessons. And, finally, enjoy the process. Then you can love blogging as much as I do!