Welcome back to my blog!
If you can’t tell by the title of this post, then, let me get you caught up.
SIGNED MISS A IS OFFICIALLY ONE TODAY.
I have had this blog for an entire 365 days.
I can’t even believe it myself
I started this just out of curiosity one day. I wanted to know if I could truly do it or if I would be starting this process just to pass the time. I had no idea what this blog would become, I had no idea what it would mean to me. I had no idea the people that it would touch. I had no idea who it would help and that my little safe space, my escape when I didn’t know who to turn to would be a safe space that people needed when even they desperately did not know who to turn to.
In honor of this special occasion, I wanted to highlight 12 Things I have learned in my year of blogging.
1. It takes a village.
Before I do anything else, I have to say a HUGE thank you to the people that had my back this entire year. I want to make it clear that while I am very proud of myself and all I have accomplished with this blog, I am also beyond grateful for the support and encouragement I have received from my family, my friends and even from all of you, my beautiful readers. When I first started blogging I hated the idea of anyone I actually knew reading my work. As a matter of fact, the name “Signed, Miss A” came form the fact that I wanted to be completely anonymous. I was sharing very intimate parts of my life, I was being completely transparent and leaving myself exposed and vulnerable, all for the sake of telling stories that most do not have the heart to share. I worried about what people would think and prepared myself for the worst. When I became more comfortable with the kind of content I was creating I started to share my work with my most intimate friends and family, and they shared it with people they knew and it felt good to finally have people who knew me read my work and not judge me for what I shared.
A year later, I couldn’t be any more proud of what my little piece of the internet has become. I have taken complete ownership of what it is I’m doing, the kind of content I create and I found my purpose in figuring out the why it is I’m doing this. Yes, there are still many people who silently scroll through and stalk what I do without any support or encouragement. However, I do notice the people that support me whether they be the people I grew up with or my internet friends. I notice, and it makes my heart very happy and I am so eternally grateful for you all.
2. Write for you, not your readers.
Attempting to desperately write content to please other people instead of yourself can not only be exhausting but it can also be very difficult. If you know nothing else, write for yourself, create the content that leaves you fulfilled and uplifts your spirits and I promise you, the readers will come. When they do, they will find someone who is genuine, authentic and who believes in the depth and power of their own words. Besides, if you don’t believe in your own work, how can you ever expect anyone else to?
3. Consistency is KEY.
Like anything you do in life, whether it be a relationship, education, work ethic, etc, any good blog requires that you be consistent. You have to be consistent with your content, with the images and the messages that you put out, even down to the time you announce what time a post will be posted. Be consistent. Continue to create wholesome content that is all you. Stay true to who you are and success will follow. You will begin to reap the benefits of all of your hard work. Give it time. Time fixes everything.
4. Be Passionate.
If you are not passionate about it, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. You need to be passionate about what you are doing, the content you are creating and what you are writing about. If you lose the passion, you will lose your motivation, your voice and the reason people read your blog. The reason why you made the blog. Whatever you do, just remember to always be passionate about it.
5. Don’t force it.
Also like anything else in life, if it is forced, then, it won’t work. For me, if I am suffering from writers block and know I need to produce something, I walk away from everything. I free my mind. Then, when an Idea comes to mind, I make sure to make a note of it.
6. Don’t compare.
I am still learning this lesson. Not even in terms of blogging, but life in general. We have a bad habit as people of always comparing ourselves to the next person. When I first started this blog, I used to (and still guilty of doing so) compare how my blog looked in comparison to another blogger. It seemed like everyone else had something that I wanted. I became very insecure in who I was as a blogger. I knew nobody could write like me. I have been blessed with the gift of storytelling, I have been blessed with the gift of creativity. But, blogging is a whole other story. It is more than just typing words on a screen. I did not feel content with the ability to run a successful blog. For the firs time in a long time I felt out of place, like an amateur. I thought to myself “What am I doing? Do I really have what it takes to do this?” At least a hundred times a day. You have to remember who you are and stay true to that person every single day. I learned not to compare my year of being a blogger to someone that has been in this industry for 5 years. It takes time.
7. Networking is everything.
Find your people.
Trust me when I say this, having blogger friends in your circle is the best thing you can do in this industry.
They understand your struggles.
They are probably the only people who get why you’re on social media so much.
They help to give you a fresh perspective.
They help to connect you with the right people.
Remember, it is not WHAT you know, but WHO you know.
Every creative I have connected with has in some way, shape, or form helped me with who I am as a creative today. If I wasn’t sure how to make my branding stand out, I networked with people. If I wasn’t sure where to begin with designing a logo, or making blog templates I networked with people. If I needed a graphic design piece done, I networked with Instagram artists that I admired their work, and got an art piece done. It really does take a village. Do not be afraid to plug into the resources you have at your disposal and get things done. Get Connected
8. Write the vision. Make it PLAIN.
One of my favorite Pastors, Michael Todd said it best “God never gives PROVISION, where there is no VISION”. Basically, if you want to see something become a reality, WRITE IT DOWN. Make a plan for yourself. If there is no vision written down, then it does not exist. Every idea I have, I write down. If I am out running errands and I hear or see something that sticks to me, I write it down because it could be used for a dope idea down the road. I scribble in my notebook a lot, and I know looking at it it makes no sense but in my mind, my scribbles are just the smaller pieces that are waiting to be connected to the bigger pieces to form the entire picture. WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN. You will have a plan, you will have ideas for months to come, and you save time.
9. Just Be YOUrself
When I first started blogging I spent a lot of time worrying about how I would make myself stand out from all of the other bloggers. I started questioning whether I needed to be doing this at all because there are so many of us out there. I don’t regret that because it made me dig deeper and discover who I truly was and what my purpose was in blogging. It made me realize that my superpower was the ONE thing that nobody else could do but me, and that was BE ME. Life became a whole lot better for me once I focused on that.
I started to find my niche and trusted God’s plan and my ability to be a creative more and I gradually saw things begin to fall into place for me. Just be yourself and the rest will follow. Absolutely be inspired by other people, but, it is your uniqueness, your ability to do you so well that will make others want to know more about you. Know your worth and do not undersell yourself. If someone wants to work with you it’s because you’re worth something so know what that is and don’t be afraid to stand your ground politely. You are worth diamonds and pearls.
10. It costs to run a blog.
Yes, you can find an open platform, pick a template and start blogging away without getting your wallet out, but if you want your blog to truly be successful and to one day support you financially then you are going to have to invest into it. Let it be known, that I have no desire to make a profit off of my blog. It is the one aspect of my life that isn’t ruled by money.
But, if God leads me in the direction to start profiting from this and an opportunity presents itself, then that is what I will do. But, until then, I am fine doing what I do. No good blogger that I know even started off wanting to profit off blogging and if that is your main goal as to why you blog, then, I hate to break it to you, but, it just won’t work.
When people would ask me if I thought about making money off of my blog, I used to ask myself “Why do I need to get paid for what I do?” Forgetting responsibilities that I have, forgetting bills, forgetting my expensive lifestyle.
Also, let’s forget that time, skill and the benefits of creating content for a brand. I pay for web design every month. I hire photographers every other month when a special occasion comes up or if I need new visuals . Then there is my Adobe subscription and let us not forget crazy data and wifi usage. I practically live on my phone and laptop. I run my entire brand from those two devices, but mainly my phone. Not to mention, when the good lord tells me it is time to elevate, I will have to buy photography equipment and that means new lenses, lights, memory cards, spare batteries, and any other additional props and backdrops that I may need. Then , there are the apps, subscriptions and software to edit photos with.
I am well aware that I choose to spend money on those things, but, but when there are multiple monthly fees that have to be paid in addition to annual costs, it can be very frustrating to hear people say that blogging is cheap and simple.
11. VISUALS MATTER.
If you know anything about me, you know I am a very visual person. If it looks good, it will draw more people in. When you first come onto my blog, you notice I am very BIG on visuals. That is what will entice my readers, and as a matter of fact, it is what usually hooks people in to want to read more about what “Miss A” has to say.
12. Log off. Delete. Unplug.
It is really important to take a day or two to unplug from all things blog related.
On Mondays, I take a self care day where I log off of Instagram, Facebook and sometimes Snapchat. I find myself looking forward to those days where I can recharge my batteries.
It’s really important to detox when your mind and body needs it. Instagram is where I get most of my engagement, and it is my biggest platform as a creative. It is the one platform I invest most of myself into on a daily basis. Because of this, I used to think that if I took a break from it that everything would come tumbling down in a cloud of smoke. But, actually, sometimes you NEED a break just like everyone else, so that you can come back refreshed and ultimately better than you were before.
So, whether you just ensure you put your phone on Do Not Disturb for a couple of hours when you’re out for dinner or turn it off by a certain time each night, or whether you prefer just turning off your phone for a few days, just know that is is not only 100% okay but it is also 100% necessary.
Thank You all so much from the bottom of my heart.
Thank you for being here through this crazy, wonderful, frustrating, amazing year.
We have laughed together we have cried together and we have grown and healed together.
Thank you all for being here. For helping me to find my purpose.
It has been the honor of my life to create these stories and to share my experiences with you all without fear, hesitation or judgement.
Thank you all for the support and for the never ending love.
You all make this possible. You all are my heart.
With All of My Love,