A Letter For The Struggling Blogger

A Letter For The Struggling Blogger

Dear struggling blogger,

I imagine you’re reading this because you’re feeling overwhelmed, or fed up, or any number of negative emotions. Perhaps things aren’t going the way you thought they would, or as quickly as you wanted. Maybe you just feel burnt out.

Just pause for a second. Take a deep breath. Then, breathe out all of that frustration.

At some point along the way, we are all a struggling blogger. It’s rare that anyone dives into this and flies. It takes hard work, time and commitment. Some of which you can see on the surface, and much of which goes on behind the scenes.

But, it also requires balance. If you sit and stare at the computer screen when you’ve got no inspiration, or frantically fresh your stats, you are bound to feel defeated.

Here’s my advice to you.

Keep things in context.

The lines between what we want and what we think we need to do get blurry quickly. Many of us start with simple intentions and end up stumbling into the numbers game. We end up thinking we need x amount of Instagram followers, and however many views. I’ve said before that it’s okay to care about stats, but it shouldn’t be the biggest factor.

When you see people celebrating their wins on social media, don’t let it get you down. Focus on your own goals. Is blogging a creative outlet? Did you start to help people? Whatever your reasoning was, I’m sure it’s more than likely something more substantial than figures.

What does blogging bring to your life that can’t be measured? Think of that. Keep looking at the bigger picture.

I also recommend reading What Does Being A Successful Blogger Mean? by Megan Elizabeth.

Life gets in the way sometimes.

Have you ever followed a blogger and caught yourself wondering how on Earth they manage to juggle it all? Has that ever descended into you questioning why you can’t do the same thing and feeling upset about it?

Everyone is different. We are all on different journeys, and at different places in them. What we can cope with is dependent on us. It doesn’t make anyone better or worse – just different.

You may have a lot on your plate which requires your attention. Your mental health may be having a wobble. You might be trying to squeeze in extra time with your family. There may be other hobbies you want to explore. You could be embracing the great outdoors and spending more time in nature. Whatever the reason is, don’t put extra pressure on yourself. Know it’s okay to live your life and let blogging wait.

Try something new.

Switch up your layout. Research alternative Pinterest strategies. Follow new people on Instagram. Experiment with a new writing style. You get the idea.

If you’ve been blogging for a while, maybe it all just feels a bit stale. You feel like you’ve explored every option, and exhausted all other possibilities. I highly doubt that’s true.

Do some research. You’re more than likely to discover a technique you haven’t thought of. Breathe a bit of new life into your blog or social media by trying different techniques and strategies. You’ll probably feel more engaged because it’s refreshing, and your audience may appreciate it, too!

Ask for help.

The blogging community is a basket of good eggs. It’s unfair to expect anyone to do the work for you or provide a miracle solution to achieve success, but don’t be afraid to ask someone for their opinion.

Keep in mind they may be busy themselves and not necessarily able to help, but I imagine most would try.

If you’re very serious about pursuing blogging and have a little extra cash at your disposal, there are also blogging coaches out there who will help you for a fee.

Remember: blogging should be (mostly) fun.

There are parts of blogging I do not enjoy – like keyword research and scheduling social media content. Overall, though, it encompasses a lot of things I love. If you feel the same way, then try not to let other factors cloud your judgement.

I’m a firm believer in doing things in life you enjoy. Even if you are doing this as a career (or working towards it), it should be because you’re passionate about it and want to make a living from something which makes you happy.

If blogging is no longer hitting the mark and you find yourself feeling tired of it all, there are two things to consider:

It’s okay to take a break. 

You wouldn’t think it, the way we all squeeze blogging in to every spare second. However, the only person who’s permission you need to take a breather is your own. If blogging isn’t fun anymore, then it’s time to reevaluate.

There’s this fear which grows inside us and tricks us into thinking that, if we take some time off, we’re going to return to a ghost town. That is a risk. The internet is a fickle place, after all, but it’s not as much as likely as we think. If you’ve been engaging in the community and have a loyal audience, they will still be here when you get back. They don’t want to see you run yourself into the ground.

It’s okay to walk away.

The nice bit of advice would be to not give up, yet I don’t think feeding into that mentality would be completely healthy.

You know, blogging isn’t for everyone. The only way to know is to try. If you’ve given it a go and it’s simply become another source of stress in your life, is it really worth continuing? It’s not a personal failure, it’s just not “your thing.”

Admitting this is hard, especially if you’ve put a lot of time and effort into it. But it’s important to question if you’re just wasting your time and energy? You could be using them towards something else which DOES work for you.

The key here is to be honest with your audience. Though you don’t owe anyone an explanation for living your life, it’s nice to let them know you’re okay, but your priorities have changed.

Consider another perspective.

Ask yourself this: if one of your favourite bloggers decided to take time off, how would you feel?

I’m going to assume the answer is something along the lines of understanding. Therefore, people will probably feel that way towards you, and you should grant yourself the same compassion.

Plenty of bloggers I know have decided they needed to have a break, and there has never been any ill feeling towards them. Anyone who runs a blog knows how difficult it can be. They’ll understand.

 

What I want you to remember, dear blogger, is that you’re not alone. At some point or another, almost every one, if not all, of us will end up where you are now. Some people bounce back, some call it quits, and that’s your call. Put yourself first. Do what’s right for you.

Just know, one way or another, things will work out as they’re supposed to.

Love,

Ruth.

A Letter For The Struggling Blogger

A Heartfelt Letter For Struggling Bloggers Everywhere
Struggling Blogger - This Is For You
If You're A Struggling Blogger, You NEED To Read This!

Baby Daze [Guest Post By Sarah Davis]

Baby Daze [Guest Post By Sarah Davis]

Today’s guest post is from the author of Baby Daze, Sarah Davis. Her story is incredible and inspiring so I’m delighted to be able to share this with you!


Life has a way of throwing curved balls when you least expect them. I experienced this in my own life in my 30s. However, these curved balls can also help us to learn resilience, flexible thinking and the importance of re-evaluating our priorities. It certainly worked like that for me.

At 32, I loved my full time job as a primary school teacher, I was fit with an active social life, I’d just married my partner of 7 years & we’d planned to have a holiday to Australia then start trying for a baby. Life was great!

Less than a year later, things were very different. 

Eight weeks after our wedding I had an appendectomy. This was followed by several periods of illness which resulted in M.E. I needed a stick to walk with, I was physically and mentally exhausted all of the time, I had no concentration or tolerance of noise, I wasn’t able to shop, clean or cook without being immediately flattened or leaving a cooker ring on by mistake, etc. I couldn’t work either. My husband became more like my carer and we certainly couldn’t think of having children with me like this. I did everything that the medical profession recommended but was told that I may never recover and would just have to learn to live with the symptoms!

At aged just 33, I couldn’t accept this.  I refused to be beaten and carried on pushing myself. This just resulted in a boom/slump cycle of activity then collapse. I tried to return to my teaching job part-time instead of full time. Soon, I realised that if I was to stand a chance of recovering fully, then I would need to give this up, too.

Suddenly I didn’t have my health, my mobility, the job I loved, the financial stability I was used to or the prospect of having children. I’d always wanted to be a mum and this was the biggest blow of all. My physical state affected my mental health. I questioned my purpose if I couldn’t be a mum. What I did have was an extremely supportive husband. Though he was also struggling with this huge change in our lives, he continued to be a rock for me.

I managed to get a library assistant job 10 hours a week where they were very understanding of my medical condition. They allowed me to alternate periods of physical activity and sitting down jobs, with my hours spread across the week. A few months into this we found out about a private clinic doing something called The Lightning Process. With little left to lose and the chance of everything to gain, we went along. The short version is: I made a full recovery!

Baby Daze author, Sarah Davis

Having my life back again was amazing! 

I climbed Helvellyn, went back to volleyball aged 39 and even played in a match! I was able to go back to teaching again and went part-time through choice rather than necessity. I carried on working part-time at the library, too.

Having children was back on the cards!  We knew we’d have to get on with it as I was 36 by then.  Then life threw its next curved ball! I didn’t get pregnant! We had a very long wait until finally I was lucky enough to conceive aged 40! Seven years after we’d planned. Even then there were complications at 6 weeks and we thought we’d lost our baby. Several scans later, in the week of my 40th birthday, the 13 week scan revealed all was OK.

In 2011, I gave birth to our baby boy, Matthew. 

After all that waiting he arrived four and a half weeks early! I left work at 3.10pm and had him at 5.34pm!! I guess he figured we’d waited long enough!

Being caught up in the whole rollercoaster of events and emotions that is motherhood has also had an unusual and unexpected outcome for me. When my son was about 4 months old, while up one night for the 3am feeds, a poem came to me. I wrote it down and it was swiftly followed by another. This happened repeatedly over the next few months while up for feeds. It may have been the hormones, the peace and quiet, or the emotional intensity – or maybe I’m at my most creative at 3am!

Friends and family suggested I get them published as, by the time he was 8 months old, I had 42 of them!  All about my experiences of motherhood – from the first scan, through birth, feeding, nappies, etc. to the end of maternity leave. They are short, humorous, honest and sentimental. Titles include ‘Getting to know you’, ‘A human milk machine’, ‘Public Conversations’ (about parent over-shares in a restaurant), ‘Roly Polies’ (in the middle of a nappy change!) and finishing with hopes for the future.  I made a few tentative enquiries about publishing but was too busy enjoying being mum.

Once my son was at school, I decided to contact publishers. 

I tried 7 publishers and got 5 offers! My book ‘Baby Daze’ came out in February 2018.  This year has been amazing! ‘Baby Daze’ got recommended in ‘Mother & Baby’ magazine’s ‘3 of the best funny reads’ feature. I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone further than I ever could have imagined. I’ve been interviewed live on BBC Radio Leeds, BBC Radio Gloucestershire and Talk Radio Europe. I have spoken about my experiences of breastfeeding and shared my poems with groups of 60 expectant parents at Mothercare events as well as groups at Mamas & Papas. I’ve even done an event at the library I used to work at!

I’ve been featured in online and in print publications, my book is available from major high street booksellers, indie bookshops and online in this and other countries!  My biggest achievement is my son and, now aged 7, he loves having a book inspired by and dedicated to him. He even asked to take it to school for show & tell and his teacher said he did a Q&A that had all the children engaged. Of course, it was the nappy related poems he chose to read! I hope one day when he’s older he’ll be able to relate much more to the feelings and emotions behind the words and see how much he is loved.

I’m now a supply teacher part-time so I get to do some school runs, go to assemblies and fit in book promotions when my son is at school.

At the worst point of my illness I couldn’t read a book or listen to the radio – now I’ve had a book published and been interviewed live on the radio!

Baby Daze cover

Reviews and further information about Baby Daze can be found on Amazon.

Baby Daze By Sarah Davis

Baby Daze Author's Story
Meet Sarah Davis
Sarah Davis Beat The Odds

You can keep up-to-date with Sarah on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.


While you’re here, I recommend taking a look at Jo’s guest post from last week!

INFJ Personality: Pros And Cons

INFJ Personality: Pros And Cons

Some time before Christmas, I discovered I have an INFJ personality type. If you’ve seen letter combinations like this floating around on the internet and have no idea what they mean, they are personality types, based on the work of Katharine Briggs and Isabel Myers. There’s a lot more information on the Wikipedia page.

If you’d like to discover your own, you can do a free test on 16Personalities.com.

INFJ – also referred to as “The Advocate” – is one of the rarer personality types in general life, but seems to be a common type amongst bloggers and other creatives. The letters stand for Introversion (I), Intuition (N), Feeling (F), Judgment (J).

Upon reading about this personality type, I was in disbelief at how accurate it was for me. I thought I’d discuss some of the characteristics, how they relate to my life and what I consider to be the pros and cons.

INFJ Personality: Pros

1. I’m insightful.

I tend not to see things at face value. I am a deep thinker and like to go beyond what is on the surface. Exploring the depths of my own mind as well as the various of angles of situations means my responses tend to be more in-depth than others. I feel that some of my blog posts about mental health, such as this one about workplace mental health, definitely showcase this side of me.

2. I’m passionate.

When I believe in something, I will stand strong in that belief. Though I can be quiet and introverted, it’s difficult for me to keep my opinions to myself – particularly if I feel there is a sense of injustice. I do not like to witness others being treated unfairly, and will speak up if I feel compelled to do so.

3. I’m altruistic.

As mentioned in the context of point 2, I feel uncomfortable when I perceive things to be unfair, but more so when this is on a larger scale than just myself. The actions I take tend to stem from the idea that what I am doing is for the greater good, rather than self-serving.

4. I’m in good company.

Other individuals with an INFJ personality include Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. What I love about this is that these are all individuals who are known for their caring nature, and passion for serving their people.

5. I love deeply.

When it comes to relationships, I take them very seriously. When I love someone, I love them completely and unconditionally. This does have its downside in the sense that it’s very hard for me to recover from heartbreak, but it’s a quality I’m proud to have.

6. I’m loyal.

It’s hard to get to know me properly, but because it takes so much for me to trust someone, when I finally make that leap, I’ll be a friend for life. As it can take a lot of work to find people I truly connect with, I don’t want to lose them!

7. I’m creative.

Being able to express myself in creative ways makes me very happy! As an introvert, it’s important for me to recharge after spending a lot of time around others, and creative activities are one of my favourite ways to do this. I believe my talent for writing is entwined with my INFJ personality, so I love it for that.

Flower with notebook and tea

INFJ Personality: Cons

1. I’m highly sensitive.

Being challenged or coming up against criticism is very difficult for me. I have a tendency to become defensive, or take it to heart – even when it’s constructive. This makes situations like performance reviews, where feedback is an integral part of the process, quite difficult.

2. I’m very private.

I’d consider this to only be a partial con. It’s tricky because it means making friends and letting people in is extremely hard. I have barriers in place to protect myself, and it takes a long time for me to open up and reveal the full extent of my personality to others. Though this is a negative, I believe my guarded nature has protected me on occasions, too.

3. I’m a perfectionist.

Again, it’s difficult for me to consider this purely a con. My perfectionist nature means I do any task to the best of my ability, and generally produce a high standard of work. Fellow perfectionists will be very aware of how exhausting it can be, though. It definitely makes you more susceptible to burning out. Life isn’t always smooth sailing, and I become irritable if things aren’t going the way I want them to. It also means my standards can be out of reach and I abandon things that don’t live up to them.

4. I can be extremely stubborn.

My strong sense of morality can mean I refuse to budge on certain topics. If I am completely convinced that I am in the right, I struggle to compromise. No matter how well-intentioned my motives may be, my stubbornness can cause plenty of problems.

5. It’s hard to find job satisfaction in traditional roles.

My desire to do something which lines up with my own morals, has a positive impact on the lives of others and provides a creative outlet means I am not well suited to certain job types. It’s not impossible for me to work in those environments, but it’s likely that I will be unhappy in doing so. This explains why retail was so unfulfilling, and why blogging ticks so many boxes.

6. I’m altruistic… often at my own expense.

I had to put this in the cons section as well because, being an INFJ, I get caught up in looking after others and often forget to look after myself. My determination to take care of those around me sometimes comes at the cost of my own well-being.

INFJ Personality Pros and Cons

The Pros And Cons Of Having An INFJ Personality
Life With An INFJ Personality
What's Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type

25 Happy Thoughts To Get You Through Blue Monday

25 Happy Thoughts To Get You Through Blue Monday

Today is Blue Monday, which is said to be the most depressing day of the year. Supposedly, it has been calculated by considering factors such as weather conditions, time since failing our new year’s resolutions and low motivational levels. The idea falls into the pseudoscience category. It is more of a theory than anything else, and there is little supporting evidence. However, there are undoubtedly individuals who will insist there is some truth to it.

Personally, I’m not sure either way. As a rule, I think winter can be difficult in general. The short days, cold weather and the lack of colour in the world can easily make it a miserable time of year, so happy thoughts are needed regardless.

Here are 25.

1. If Blue Monday is tripping you up, just keep in mind that it’s one day. That day is now here, which means it will soon be over. Then, it will be a whole year before you have to face it again!

2. If this is the most depressing day of the year, then the only way is up, right?

3. You’ve already made it through several other Blue Mondays. You can handle this one, too.

4. There are brighter days ahead – full of fresh flowers and sunshine.

5. It’s okay to slow down – nobody is 100% motivated all of the time.

6. If you’ve neglected your resolutions, go and read this post about the pressures of the New Year and remember there’s all year to make positive changes in your life.

7. There are still sunrises and sunsets in winter, and they’re just as beautiful.

8. You can make your own sunshine. My trick is googling pictures of sunflowers.

9. Baby giggles.

10. You can go on YouTube RIGHT now and search for funny cat videos – your day will instantly improve.

11. Climbing into bed and wrapping yourself in the duvet to stay cosy is a nice feeling.

12. Hot chocolate. It’s kind of a necessity at this time of year.

13. You are loved, more than you’ll ever know.

14. Someone, somewhere, instantly feels happy at the thought of your existence.

Large headphones with colouring book and hot drink

15. Dogs.

16. You will eat your favourite foods so many more times in your life.

17. There are beautiful books, stunning songs and magical movies still to be discovered.

18. Hundreds of new trees grow each year because of squirrels forgetting where they hid their nuts.

19. Someone, somewhere is having the best day of their life. Today might not be your day, but one day will.

20. Bubbles.

21. We own pieces of technology people only dreamed of centuries ago.

22. Seahorses pick partners for life and travel holding each other’s tails.

23. Thanks to social media, every one of us has the potential to instantly communicate with someone on the other side of the world and make them smile.

24. Smiling is a lovely free gift to give and also receive.

25. Though it doesn’t feel like it all of the time, this life is yours, and you can do what you want with it (well, within reason). The only person you actually have to please with the decisions you make is yourself.

25 Happy Thoughts For Blue Monday

Feeling Blue? You Should Read These 25 Happy Thoughts!
25 Happy Thoughts To Make You Smile
25 Happy Thoughts To Chase The Winter Blues Away

Happiness Is… [Guest Post By Jo]

Happiness Is… [Guest Post By Jo]

Happiness is something different to everyone. For today’s guest post, the superb Jo from www.arosetintedworld.co.uk, is telling us what it means to her.


Happiness for me is all about the day to day pleasures and small moments. The problems start when I feel that I don’t have enough of these. For me, happiness is having something to look forward to!

Having Something To Look Forward To

It is all about the pleasurable anticipation. Planning and thinking over a future event makes the experience sweeter and last longer. And there are so many advantages of having something to look forward to.

It doesn’t have to take a lot of time.

Even setting aside 5 minutes every day to have a meditation break or a chocolate bar can be something that you routinely look forward to each day. Or if you have a certain day off each week, why not make a promise to yourself that you will do something for yourself on that day each week?

Put it in your diary or on your calendar. Tell others of your intentions. Make an appointment with yourself as a priority, as your happiness is worth it. Having something to look forward to each week is a brilliant step towards feeling good.

Calendar

It doesn’t have to cost the earth.

Planning something to look forward to is a little bit like window shopping. You can have all the pleasure with none of the expense. However, at this time of year it is lovely to spend some time planning a trip away or a holiday. Thinking about the clothes you will wear, the sunny weather, and the books you will read.

It can even be free. The moments that I look forward to the most are times spent with my little one. Going for walks in nature and taking time to enjoy and be grateful for everything around me are the times that I relish the most. Just being in the moment and being mindful is great for our well being.

E in Nature

It can make you more talented.

In the last couple of years, I have found a hobby in sewing. The creative part of my life makes me happy. I’m always looking forward to sitting in front of my machine. I go to a sewing group on a Wednesday evening, and always look forward to those nights.

Now, I am not suggesting that we all take up needlework! But having a hobby that is portable or learning a new skill makes you feel better about yourself and can be something that you look forward to doing each day. Again, you may need to set some time aside in your diaries to do this. Express yourself, love what makes you you, and do it with pride!

Colourful Piano

It can get you in contact with other people.

Like my sewing hobby, looking forward to an event can get you in contact with other people. I always look forward to social evenings in or out with family and friends. We can all agree that being more in contact with others is a vital part of being happy. Even if it is just making time and looking forward to ringing a friend for a chat each week.

Or it can give you quality time on your own.

Similarly, if you are anything like me you may look forward to some precious me-time. Sometimes, all we need to look forward to is some self care such as a long candle-lit bath, or a quiet moment spent reading.

So why not spend a moment making a list of all the things that you could plan in the near future? Plan your next wonderful moment. Having something to look forward to is a beautiful thing. 

Happiness Is...

The Importance Of Having Things To Look Forward To
We Need Things To Look Forward To
Do You Have Something To Look Forward To?

IMG_2724 copy

Hi , I’m Jo. I’m an almost 47 year old Mum of an almost 3 year old, and I blog at 
 
 
 
 

I’m definitely with Jo on this one! I love having things to look forward to, and find it makes a big difference to how I feel. No matter how simple it is!

Did you catch Elle’s guest post last Friday? Click here to read That One Little Word.

How To Overcome Writer’s Block As A Blogger

How To Overcome Writer’s Block As A Blogger

1. Write something no one else will see.

My paralysis when it comes to writing usually stems from the fact I know others will be reading it. These days, everything we do – especially as bloggers – is crafted for an audience. Blog posts, tweets, Instagram captions… and it doesn’t matter if there are 5 people or 500 people reading it, the fact it’s someone other than you can be intimidating. And, sometimes, that gets the better of us.

So write something, safe in the knowledge you’re the only person who is going to see it. Destroy it afterwards if you want to. Write about anything. Your childhood. Your day. One of your favourite songs. It doesn’t really matter.

A couple of times I’ve done this and they’ve actually turned into blog posts. Some of my most popular ones, at that. Though that somewhat defeats the point of the activity, I was so proud of what I’d been able to create without fear holding me back, I was keen to share it.

Other times, it has made absolutely no sense and I’m glad it will never be seen again.

2. Try a less intense activity. 

Blogging requires hard work and focus. Between writing, SEO and creating/selecting graphics, it’s not always the most relaxing thing to do. I sometimes think the amount of work which goes into it is what causes us to procrastinate.

Instead of sitting and staring at the page in front of you, do something that requires little thought. Have a bath. Go for a walk. Watch Netflix. Basically, stop trying to force it and take a breather. Just be wary this break doesn’t descend into a semi-permanent hiatus…

Stationery and art supplies including paints, pencils and notebooks

3. Do another creative task.

I recently discovered that doing something else creative can bring inspiration for blogging. For example, while I’m busy colouring in, my mind will wander and all of a sudden, there’s a blog post forming in my head. Though it’s a different type of creativity, it puts me in that mindset and can work wonders!

If it’s not going to look completely out of place in your blog, you could even write a post about whatever activity you choose.

4. Read…

A) Books.

I’ve found that reading something tends to spark a bit of creativity. Sometimes, it reignites my love of words; of expression. Other times, reading someone else’s thoughts and experiences stirs emotions in me which are good to channel into my own work.

It’s all well and good saying that, but what do you read? I, personally, turn to books I know and love. Others dive into something new. Try both and see what happens!

The only word of caution I would give with this one is that, although it’s perfectly fine to be inspired by others, be conscious of not losing your own voice. If you write something in the aftermath of reading, be sure to compare it with previous posts to make sure it sounds like you – not the author you’ve just read!

B) Other blogs.

Have you ever read a blog post, and wanted to leave a mini essay as a comment because you had so much to say on the topic? Other blogs can encourage us to open up about our own experiences – use that energy and put it into a blog post.

Or, it could be the opposite situation – you disagree with what was said. To use this post as an example, if you get to the end of it and think “none of these ways have ever worked for me” but have your own ways to overcome writer’s block, make a post on the subject. You may have the answers someone else is looking for.

Laptop and sketchbook

5. Get off social media.

I notice a BIG difference in creativity levels depending on how much time I spend on social media.

When I spend a lot of time on social media, my head gets full with what I’ve been seeing. Despite my best attempts not to, I take a lot of it on board. Consequently, any ideas are pushed to the back. Social media stifles my creativity a lot, it seems.

When I take a few days away, or when I reduce the amount of time on there, a lot of the clutter falls away. Then I find my ideas can wriggle their way to the front of my mind.

6. Take a blogging break.

It’s better to take some time out to recharge your batteries than to churn out content you’re not happy with. If you’ve already generated a lot of content, it’s natural to hit a block. Let your readers know you’re taking some time out, and set a date for your return. You can always use social media scheduling to keep older content circulating in the mean time.

Take a few days and implement some of the previous suggestions. Write down any ideas that may pop up, but don’t necessarily dive into working on them straight away. Allow yourself the breathing space!

7. Stop putting pressure on yourself.

As the saying goes “done is better than perfect.” I nitpick my posts beyond belief – it’s a miracle any of them are published on time. As I know I’m going to do this, it takes some of the fun out of the process. That said, blogging should be fun! So, try to put the perfectionist on pause, and enjoy yourself.

8. Explore Pinterest for inspiration.

If you search “blog post ideas” in Pinterest, you’ll be met with numerous suggestions. There are hundreds! Some are niche specific, and others can be tweaked to fit in with any blog. Browse through, make a note of any which could work for you, and go from there.

If you haven’t delved into the world of Pinterest yet, that’s not a problem. Do the same thing with Google instead.

How To Overcome Blogger's Block
8 Ways To Overcome Writer's Block
Battling With Blogger's Block?

What’s your top tip to overcome writer’s block?

28 Life Lessons I’ve Learned In 28 Years

28 Life Lessons I’ve Learned In 28 Years

1. There are so many different ways for your heart to break.

When people think of heartbreak, they tend to associate it with romantic love, but there are so many other reasons it happens. The pain of heartbreak stems from loss. I’ve lost a lot of things along the way for different reasons – friends, family, my sense of self. Though some undoubtedly stung more than others, they all created the same feeling in my chest.

2. Things don’t go to plan, and that’s okay.

I touched on this in a tweet on my birthday, as well as this post about approaching 30, and it resonated with a lot of people. Predictability is comforting to me, so it would be nice if things went as I pictured them. Of course, this isn’t the case. There are days when I struggle with this, but, overall, I’ve made peace with it.

3. The quality of friendships is more important than the amount.

Like most people, this is something which became crystal clear as I got older. In school, I used to long for more friends, and wonder why so few people liked me. Then, in college, I met the best friend I’ve ever had. We are still friends now – 10 years later. She is full of life, hilarious and encouraging. She is my biggest supporter, and my strongest ally. I’d rather have one of her than five of anyone else.

4. Internet friends are real friends.

I know there are people out there who “don’t get it.” How you can have a friendship with somebody you’ve never met? But, I have been fortunate to connect with people who have shown it’s possible, particularly since I started blogging.

5. Your family are human, and they will make mistakes.

And it will hurt a little bit more than normal because you love them so much.

I love my family, but they are human. I think we all forget that sometimes. Particularly when we are young, most of us don’t think our families can do any wrong. Yet, part of growing up is learning to accept that even the people who love us the most make mistakes.

6. The right person for you will treat you with love and respect.

I can laugh about this now, but my taste in men has been bad. In my defence, I didn’t know any better. Now that I do, I can see what a relationship should be like. Neal never gives me any chance to doubt his love for me. He makes a point of showering me with compliments and saying he loves me multiple times a day.

That’s not to everyone’s tastes. Some individuals might find that quite overbearing and so, the key is, finding someone who respects you. In doing that, they demonstrate that they want to make you happy and comfortable. They value you and show it in their actions.

7. Nothing is worth the cost of your mental health.

I repeat: nothing is worth the cost of your mental health.

Upon reflection, I’ve persevered with a number of situations which weren’t worth the upset they caused. We all do it – stay in relationships that make us unhappy, struggle with a job that makes us miserable etc. And because we all do it, we think it’s okay. It’s not. If there’s something in your life which is forcing you to feel unbearably sad, please change it if you can. And if you can’t…

Black and gold notebook with iPhone on top next to white dish with two gold paperclips

8. It’s good to talk.

I bottle things up a lot. The simple reason is that I don’t like to bother people with my worries, or because I think what’s upsetting me is silly. I’ve improved slightly since attending counselling, but I’m not always the best at opening up when I’m not feeling great. However, counselling showed me the value of talking things through. Even when I made absolutely NO sense, just having the opportunity to unload worked wonders. I recommend giving it a go.

9. Being childish is a good thing at times.

Once in a while, it’s good to jump in puddles, or blow bubbles, or do something for the pure joy of it. So many of us stop doing things like that because we’re growing older, and we have to be responsible. I would rather stop and admire a rainbow a million times over, than lose that spark of innocence. Don’t ever grow up completely.

10. Pets are members of the family.

If you have pets, you’ll know what I mean. If you’ve never had a pet and you think they’re “just an animal”, you are incorrect.

11. You are more likely to see someone you don’t want to see on days when you feel rubbish.

Exes, past crushes, old classmates – these people always pop up on those days when you’re tired, you haven’t brushed your hair, and you’ve thrown on the first few items of clothing you saw.

12. Trust your instincts.

You know yourself better than anyone else. If something doesn’t feel right, mentally, physically, or in any other way, trust yourself and do something about it.

13. You are your worst critic.

Picture this. You put on an outfit, stand in front of the mirror, and say “I can’t wear this, it looks ridiculous!” Maybe you start to cry a little bit. So, you move to the next outfit. Again, you whimper “everyone will start at me”, before collapsing in a heap on the bed. Been there? Yep, me too. Give yourself a break because…

14. People aren’t paying as much attention to you as you think.

It’s a weird lesson to learn. It is, for the most part, reassuring that everyone is too busy living their own life to notice yours. On the other hand, I suppose it can be a little bit sad to think no one notices you. So let’s clarify: people can see you, but they’re not analysing you.

Most of the time, when I’m staring at someone in the street, it isn’t because I’m thinking something negative. In fact, I’m admiring their outfit, or their confidence. Don’t get me wrong, there are unpleasant people in the world who enjoy mocking others, but the majority are not like that. They’re usually busy thinking about their own lives.

Gold pen, white computer mouse, white disk with two gold paperclips

15. Three great remedies: sleep, tea and the sea.

There are lots of things which don’t have a quick fix but, if you’re having a bad day, I recommend one or all of these. Sleep is a nice way to escape sadness. Tea is a hug in a mug. And the sea is the best reminder I know that us and our problems are small – no matter how enormous they feel.

16. Self care should be a part of your routine.

This is one of the life lessons I learned last year. The idea of self care had been circulating before that, but I’d never bought into its importance. Then I started blocking out time to read, or to take a bath, or to just be outside. I noticed a big difference. When life got busy and I felt I had to sacrifice self care, I could sense myself feeling overwhelmed. So, look after yourself. You deserve it.

17. Time away from social media is essential.

Prior to blogging, social media wasn’t quite such a big thing in my life. I’d nosy on Facebook a few times a day, but there was no need to be constantly connected. As bloggers, I think we feel that pressure to always be online; always available. We expect we will slip from people’s minds if we take a few days off.

But, you have to. It’s not good to be bombarded with all of this stuff constantly. There are times when scrolling through Twitter is draining, and Instagram is depressing. Yet, we keep doing it because we think we’re bad bloggers if we don’t. It’s not true. Step away, chill out. Your supporters will still be waiting for you when you get back.

18. Money can’t buy happiness, but not having it is hard.

I believe in the old cliché that money can’t buy happiness. It comes from all sorts of other places. But the absence of money and struggling to make ends meet is exhausting, stressful and unpleasant. If you’d like to know more of my thoughts on this, I explored it in depth for a guest post.

19. The love for a child is unlike any other.

Don’t panic – this isn’t the post when I suddenly reveal I have a child I’ve managed to keep quiet for several months. In my case, it’s my nieces and nephew. I have never experienced love like it at any other point in my life, except when I laid eyes on them for the first time. Since, I’ve only grown to love them more.

I can only imagine how it will feel if I have a child of my own someday.

20. Loving yourself will take you further than hating yourself ever will.

Again, one of the life lessons I learnt last year which I’m still working on putting into practice. There are snippets of my counselling sessions which I can remember as clear as day. One of those is when my counsellor said, “do you ever wonder what you would achieve if you put the same amount of energy into loving yourself as you do hating yourself?” I had never considered it before. She went on to highlight how all of that time being unkind to myself hadn’t gotten me very far, and it was time to take a new approach.

It’s a tough habit to break, especially as I spent so long drilling negative thoughts into my own mind. I’m hopeful, though, that I can learn to love myself.

21. Music is one of the greatest gifts we have.

When I think about being a teenager, the first thing I see is me in my room, with my CD player on. Music has helped me through so many situations in a way that only music can. When you can’t make sense of your own feelings, and then somehow, someone sings them to you and hits the nail on the head? It’s amazing.

Black and gold notebook with iPhone on top next to gold pen and white computer mouse

22. It’s okay to dress for comfort rather than style.

I would be a liar if I said there aren’t occasions when I wish someone would swoop in and give my entire wardrobe a revamp. However, fashion changes so quickly. There are timeless classics but, for the most part, what’s “on trend” changes in the blink of an eye and I’m too lazy to keep up. As I am on the curvier side, I do appreciate things which make me look and feel good, but the most important factor will always be comfort.

23. You don’t have to like what everyone else does.

I recently wrote about this in this post, but I’ll give it a quick mention. I have been ridiculed at several times in my life for various hobbies, interests and passions. Equally, I’ve been baffled by the latest crazes and struggled to see their appeal. It’s fine. Everyone is different. You do you.

24. The comparison game is one you will always lose.

We seldom come out of it well when we start looking at what everyone else has, and what we don’t. Focus on what you have, rather than what you lack, and you are bound to feel happier.

25. It is not your responsibility to “fix” others.

There are people in this world who are flawed. There are people in this world who are stuck in a rut. You can dedicate endless hours to trying to help them, but they have to choose to help themselves. Until they get there, your efforts will have very little impact.

26. There are more good people in the world than bad.

Though it feels like it’s getting harder to believe this, I stand by it. There are so many incredible, kind, driven, and exceptional individuals on this planet. Try to remember that next time you’re watching the news, or an internet troll crawls out to test your patience.

27. The best thing to be is kind.

Imagine what a wonderful world we would live in if people pursued being kind as much as they pursue being rich, or famous, or popular, or skinny. The world could do with a little more of it, that’s for sure. It’s impossible to know what someone else is going through. Make the choice to be kind, and you’ll always be on the right track.

28. Nothing lasts forever.

Though it is true of happiness as well, I want to focus on the context of bad times. When you find yourself lost in the darkness, it can feel like you will never, ever get out. Each day feels harder than the last. If I’ve learnt one thing in my life, it’s that no matter how permanent and all consuming it feels, sadness is temporary. Then, one day, you wake up, and your lungs are a little lighter. You can breathe easier. Or, you catch yourself laughing again, and you feel unstoppable. The sun will come up again. Cherish every second.

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