I’ll be honest I struggled with whether I should write this post but between the daily post prompt being ‘Believe‘ and people asking about what I thought of the V by Very Blog Awards and I found it hard not to. This is a personal post and is very much about believing that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to, provided you can ignore the stress and self-doubt.
I would love to say that I entered in order to win but in my mind, I never thought I had a shot at the finals let alone a silver medal. I entered in order to take part in the process, see how it worked and also to have a bit of fun in the Irish Blogger’s Group on Facebook. I wanted to meet new people and have fun but as the blog progressed the more stressed I became. I have never entered on my own before, I have always been the support of someone else’s blog. So doing this on my own was unsettling but you never achieve anything if you are always comfortable right?
1. It’s Stressful – Blog Post Workflow
I won’t lie this was easily the most stressful thing I have done. In the beginning, I didn’t really think about it; I was nominated and I entered. The more I thought about it, the more I focussed on my technique, SEO, image optimization, relevant posts and the list goes on. I stopped looking at my blog as a place of refuge for me and more like a business and I’m not sure I enjoyed that. I blog because I like to write and I enjoy all of the new opportunities that have come my way from writing here and building my space. It’s quite different to sit back and realise that industry professionals are looking at your work and grading it. I am always looking at what can be improved on my site and I’m sure I’ll always want to change something but ultimately this was my place to relax and the awards shattered that for a month. However, if I was more relaxed and didn’t think about the awards process then it wouldn’t have affected me so much.
2. Let Go
One of the best takeaways from the whole process was just to let go. The awards are often down to judges preference and although you can improve the technical side of your blog sometimes judges just prefer things to be in a particular layout or they prefer a style of writing. If their tastes differ to yours then there is nothing you can do about that. If you are happy with your blog and the space that you built and it’s a hobby then why stress about it. Let the award come and go but enjoy your audience and the process of blogging. The awards are one night but your audience and online community are worth so much more than that.
This is double sided. From entering the awards I became aware of more bloggers than I had before. I have added a few to my reader and even though they aren’t in craft or slow living I enjoy what they write and I love their aesthetic. I believe you can always learn from your peers and by that, I don’t mean copy. I mean that your peers can inspire you to achieve greater things and push you and by taking part in the process and finding new blogs, it has helped to remind me why I blog in the first place.
The flip side of that is people finding me. I have a following of around 3K/month. This goes up and down but I’m not at the dizzying heights of blogdom. These awards allowed me to take part in the process without a public vote and be graded against just my content. This is fantastic for someone new and only a year into blogging. The awards also helped introduce my blog to others and to gain confidence in what I do. This was worth every stressful night.
4. Friends Old & New
One of the highlights for me was attending the awards with two close friends of mine. I got to hold their hands as our categories were called and share in their wins too. We normally wouldn’t have a reason to venture out into the world together and as we all live in different parts of the country we needed a reason for us all to be in one place at one time. Events like this are amazing for networking making new friends or even inspiring collaborations you never thought possible. I got to meet online friends in person and make new blogger friends on the night and find out more about their lives and how they blog. Sometimes blogging be isolating, having friends that you can bounce ideas off or help you when you feel down or when you really want to quit and you feel lost, those friends are invaluable.
5. Believe in Yourself.
I know, I know this makes me cringe because it is everywhere but it is true. The reason a blog stands out is because of its unique voice and that is you! Your taste, your style, your decisions, they all create something wonderful and unique to you. This blog is not my first, it is my second. I’m not new to the craft community but I am to the blogging community. I didn’t know that many bloggers when I started and new I’ve met bloggers from all over the world and I love what they do. Evey blog has it’s own twist on posts, style and community it’s a window into how that person thinks of craft and their community usually reflect that. So don’t second guess yourself, just start and learn along the way. If you try and get everything perfect you will never publish. Believe in yourself first and others will follow.
Huge congratulations to both Carol and Evin on their wins and also a big thank you to Evin for allowing me to steal her photos from the night for this blog post.
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My photos are honored to be nestled among your beautiful, sincere reflections. So true, all of it. And well expressed. Your blog is beautiful and exemplifies you!