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I rarely write about blogging. It’s crazy; it’s messy; it’s super busy and it is probably not at all what people think it is. In fact, although I have written this post in my head hundreds of times, I always stop short of actually publishing it. I guess I was waiting to feel like I had it all together, or I worried about coming across as a complainer or even a braggart. After all, I am just a normal person, and normal people don’t write about how they make their living. However, I am astonished by how many people want to know about blogging and how to do it. I was asked about ways that busy people like me stay focused and motivated to get the job done–well, I thought it would be a good time to give you all a bit of a peek behind the scenes into what the life of a full-time DIY blogger actually looks like.
If you have been thinking about starting a blog, or you already have one and are needing some encouragement, or if you worry that the hustle of working as a blogger may not pay off, then ask me anything. I am an open book and, frankly, blogging gets a bit lonely here behind the computer. I always want to be a source of hope and encouragement, so I hope you feel that as I share this.
If you have not been following long with my adventures and misadventures, you may not know that four years ago I left my career in laboratory cancer research to transitions to being a full-time, stay -at-home mom and wife. But, in my heart, I knew that I needed something to call my own. Blogging is all about taking your passion and sharing it with the world in a way that readers can take something from it. I get so gratified when friends ask me for my opinion on a project. I find so often that the only thing they lack is confidence. Whether it be cooking or painting a dresser, with a little guidance and perhaps a new tool, the power of a little DIY can transform people. Plus, it’s infectious!
My Morning Routine
Even though I am a full-time blogger, I am still a mom and wife first. It is my job to get everyone prepared for the day. I wake up about 6:30AM and feed the family, take care of the dog, and clean the kitchen, while chasing my 9-year old around to brush his teeth, find his shoes, etc.–normal Mom stuff– no award needed . Once everyone is out the door, I spend a little “me time” to get ready for the rest of the day. I usually use my first bit of quiet time for a small breakfast of a simple bowl of cereal or maybe some overnight oats with a sprinkling of fruit and granola. Then I treat myself to a comforting cup of coffee with a spot of caramel creamer (my favorite!). I prefer Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Extra Extra Creamer because it is made with real cream and sugar, so that I get that real touch of sweetness. Nothing is better than a good cup of coffee just the way you like it. The smell of warm, fresh coffee brewing in the early morning is one of life’s simple pleasures that I so enjoy. There is nothing more comforting than coffee…the smell, the warmth, the energizing vibe it sets for the whole day. Especially on days when I need a bit of a boost, I may have a second cup!
My “Work” Day
I am a firm believer in finishing at least one small task in the morning to set the mood for the day. Thus, I usually get out my list of “to-do’s”, then straight into email.
When it comes to earning a living blogging, the hustle is very real, ya’ll. If you are not a blogger, you may be surprised that I spend more time here at my desk than in the shop or actually creating. There are always questions from readers that have to be answered, photos to edit, social media to interact, and a list of back end work that never seems to end. The real truth here is that it’s just little ‘ol me doing everything myself from website design to photography, to answering each and every email. Even if I manage to get that done, there is always more to learn, optimize, and engage. For example, a typical post for me often takes 4-6 hours, not including activities like building, crafts, or cooking that actually went into that post. Projects can often take weeks!
As with most people, I hit that proverbial afternoon slump. I catch myself staring at the computer screen in a zombie state or with a problem where the solution seems just out of reach. When I get stuck, I have learned it is best to walk awake and wake my zombie brain back up by relaxing with a snack and cup of coffee. This energizes me so that I can complete my designated tasks for the day, whether it be further computer work, taking photographs, or in the shop making things.
Late afternoon–child is home. It’s time to change gears into “Mom” time. Shop is closed and computer turned off. Time for snacks, homework, playtime and making dinner, possibly running to some sports practice. I love being a mom and blogging affords me the time to spend with my family. It is my favorite (and sometimes busiest) time of the day.
Don’t get me wrong, behind the scenes I am not alone in this journey. I have the most wonderful support system in my husband, son, and occasionally a neighbor to lend a helping hand. (I’ve even trained our dog to pose for pictures. The madness never ends!) We have grown together through DIY and more late night projects than either of us care to tally.
My Evening Routine
Once everyone is tucked in for the night, I spend some time physically prepping for the next day. I get supplies out and check if I need anything from the store. It is a terrible thing when you are energized to work, only to find out you’re missing something and cannot finish. Secondly, I update my “to-do” list. I am a list kind of girl. In fact, I am a list-inside-a-list kind of girl. Writing down my tasks helps my brain settle and gets me organized for the next day. In my notebook, I keep a “master list” which is basically a full brain dump of everything I can possibly think needs that to be done in time. This is usually a longer term list of what I have coming up. Each night I pull from that list my plans for the next day. Each day is different. Some days it’s scheduling content for Facebook, other days it could be painting a wall.
I am thankful every day for this dream come true. And I’m thankful to you guys for following along on all our mishaps and adventures in our home.
When I first started blogging, I had a deathgrip on trying to do it all, but wisdom comes with age I suppose, and I know that the list of to-dos will never end. It just won’t. I get so many messages from friends about how to do it all – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Search Engine Optimization, writing, editing images, tech work that no one will ever see but it took hours to complete….you get the idea. Of course, I try my best, but looking back, here is what I have learned: Learn as you go. Don’t be afraid of mistakes (they won’t kill you), but rise from them better. Trial and error is going to happen. And no matter what, find your passion and stick to it. The rest will work out in time.
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