So blogging has some perks. They include setting your own hours. You can work when you want and how you want and wherever you want. Which is really cool, but also… not cool. Not cool at all when you’re in a procrastination slump.
And that’s where I am today. In a procrastination spiral that’s getting me nowhere.
I have a list of things to do and apparently a need to (continue) avoiding said list. Ah, the life of a procrastinator during the holidays.
I may not be good at a lot of things, but procrastinating? Yeah, I’m an expert.
And someday I’ll probably make a cute graphic to go in here about being an expert procrastinator- but you know- today is not that day. (badumbum!)
This has been my entire week: I’ve watched Netflix, I’ve scrolled Facebook, I’ve liked a bunch of pictures on Instagram. And I’m reading blog posts.
And one of those posts was about the truth behind blogging- something I knew I had thoughts on myself.
I love finding something online and deciding, hey, I have something to say about that! In my own voice, in my own way, with my own story.
Basically, that’s what blogging is/was/will always be for me.
And no one can stop me from saying it. muhahahahahaha!
And btw, this post? It’s totally written for myself, which is cool cause it’s my blog.
And that’s my truth number 1 about blogging if you will. It can be whatever I want it to be.
The Shenanigans of Blogging: 6 Truths
First of all, a little background. I was totally one of those people that just decided one day that “I’m a blogger!” even though I had no clue what I was doing.
Or worse: why I was doing it. I had no plan. None at all. I do not recommend this course of action.
2009 Calling Shenanigans Was Born
I created a blog in 2009 (Calling Shenanigans) and thought it would be totally anonymous.
A diary of sorts. I wasn’t going to add my name or anything personal to it; Lord knows I wasn’t planning on filling my posts with selfies.
My, things have changed! Ha!
What was my first blog post? It was about the Miracle on the Hudson and the importance of First Class. I still love that post just because it was so me at the time.
I think I had 3 posts that year. And one the next. I was not tearing up the internet with my words, which was fine, because…
Then I had a baby and totally forgot about blogging.
Which is HI-LARIOUS as mommy blogging (especially those moms with super cute babies!) are such a huge part of the industry.
I regret not keeping that online diary of those early days, because it was definitely an intense time in our lives. I was a full time working mom who officed at home with four kids, three dogs, and a husband that commuted almost an hour to work each day. My kids were deep in sports and dance and scouts and this momma was always going in a different direction.
It was, ah, interesting. And I’m sure there would have been some gems posted during that time.
And that’s when I started running: the crazy had to leave my body somehow!
2011 Margaritas, Miles & The Mouse
But running sucked. I never really loved it and needed some big carrot on the end of a stick to keep me interested. In 2011 I discovered runDisney, which reignited a love of all things Disney.
Like any good junkie will tell you, you gotta find a way to feed the habit. And I knew that in order to keep the pixie dust flowing, I’d have to find a reason to justify going back to Disney World.
And guess what? A lot of people were just learning about runDisney and there were a lot of questions out there. And very few resources giving first-person accounts of it all.
Ding ding ding- I could fill that void!
I joined Facebook groups (I think the first one I joined only had 300 people in it; it has over 20,000 people now and isn’t even as big as the spinoff group, runDisney run with over 35,000 people). I joined Twitter. I stalked the DisBoards.
By 2013, I was all over this new and exciting community and I loved every second of it.
Blogging truth number 2: I had no clue what I was doing.
I wrote tons of posts that were straight up junk. And I know many bloggers find that when they venture back into the archives.
Um, I blogged about winning a roll of KT Tape in a contest. A WHOLE BLOG POST ABOUT WINNING A ROLL of $15 KINESEO TAPE.
Bless my newbie blogger heart.
Now I was Margaritas, Miles & the Mouse. A mom who loved to runDisney without spilling a drop!
Err… something like that, anyway.
And this is where I started to learn the real truth about blogging.
Truth #3- and it’s a biggie: blogging is as complex or as simple as you want it to be.
It can be a hobby, it can make side-hustle level money, it can be a full-time career. The deeper you get into it, the more work it will become.
I believe blogging can be whatever you want it to be; you just have to decide what that looks like to you.
Truth #4: blogging can change over time as well. What your goals are can change, what your niche or topics or focus can change.
There’s a lot of great reasons to stick to one corner, one area, one focus… a lot of really smart reasons to blog this way. I repeat: there are A LOT OF SMART REASONS TO NICHE DOWN!
Side note- that would actually be my number one suggestion to anyone who wants to start a blog as a business: go ahead and commit to one niche. Do you, but do you in one super awesome area.
I, however, took the exact opposite advice. Ahem.
Because let’s be real. We all change. We evolve. We like different things and we find ourselves in different seasons as time marches on. No shame in change!
2015 and My No-Guilt Life
I think it was around 2015 when I made the biggest blogging change. Show me those dollas!
Blogging truth #5: sometimes you need to get paid.
I was in a conference when a speaker said that if you aren’t making money on your blog, then you are stealing from your family. This sunk in with me. I mean, the conference was a perfect example of that.
I had paid to travel, I paid to get an entry to the conference, and I even bought new clothes to attend this event. All to learn how to be a better blogger— that wasn’t making a dime.
My family deserved more.
I decided that the amount of time and energy I was putting into the blog and my online life needed some sort of payoff. Because: fun fact, blogging takes a lot of time. A LOT. And that was time I wasn’t giving to my family.
I knew I needed to expand my coverage to include products and places that might offer sponsored opportunities, ie, I needed to bring in some money.
Plus- I was getting a little bored.
As much as I still loved runDisney, I wanted to talk about other places and other things.
The freedom is amazing, to be honest. Also amazing?
Some days I have donuts and can even write them off on my taxes. #fortheblog #itsworkIswear
What is this life?!
Since rebranding, there’s been:
- Resort reviews
- Travel tips
- Movie Reviews
- Red Carpets
- Theme parks (#notdisney)
- Mom tips
- Gift guides
- Birthday Party Ideas
- Weight loss struggles
And of course, a Mouse-ton of Disney posts. Always.
Blogging truth number 6: I’ve enjoyed pretty much every day of my job.
Real talk? It’s not always rosy. There are struggles to find paying partnerships. There can be varying levels of FOMO. There are people who think they know you and make assumptions about you without knowing a thing about your reality.
The internet is a magical and wonderful place to work- until it’s not. And sometimes, well, it’s just ugly.
But such is life.
Bottom line: you know what they say, find a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life! This is blogging summed up for me.
2019 and Beyond
What comes next?
I have no idea. Like, I’m laughing out loud for real as I write this part of the post. We’re just a few weeks away from 2019 and bloggers around me have had their game plans and goals and word of the year all ready to go… and I’m over here laughing.
Cause, yeah, I have no idea. Legit.
Hey friends, if you’ve got any big ideas on what you’d like to see, send them my way. I’m listening!
I’m feeling another big change coming, but not totally sure where it’s going to take me. But see truth number 1: it’s my space so ultimately I can decide where to go.
Ruining YouTube For My Kids
One thing I know for sure is that I’m going to do my best to ruin YouTube for my children.
I already managed to embarrass them enough on Instagram, so now I’ll see if I can make another outlet just a bit less cool when they see their MOM is on it.
I’ve been dabbling in YouTube lately, and except for the higher amount of commenting trolls over there (WHY IS THAT?!) I’m finding it to be a lot of fun.
In 2019, there will be more video content coming and it will likely be posted over there (so I’d love if you can subscribe and help a mother out!).
A Family That Blogs Together, Stays Together?
I won’t lie: I’m FREAKING OUT this year. My oldest is deep into teendom. My daughter is hot on his heels.
Next year 3 out of the 4 will be in the Big Kids School (aka middle school/high school combo) and it’s crazy that my elementary mom years are almost over.
I have reached that time of parenting where every milestone is increasingly bittersweet. There are just so few left for my son to experience under my roof, and it’s not cool to make me feel like this, Time; not cool at all.
I’ve tried to be careful in this space when it comes to their privacy and their stories; so there’s a ton of things I’d LOVE to say about life with teens (like- zomg yall… I NEED TO TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT THIS!) but I’m just not sure they are my stories to tell right now.
But maybe, just maybe, I can convince them to join me on a family blog.
A space where they have a chance to tell their own stories, their own way, and maybe have a little fun together before people start leaving this house.
This is in negotiations; I’ll keep you posted on how far on the Lame-O-Meter the idea ultimately lands.
But I’m a cool mom, I promise! Work with me, kids!
So my blogging truth?
It’s not as easy as I thought it would be when I started, that’s for sure. And as I’ve networked with more and more content creators in the space, my eyes have flown open by how varied a “successful blogging career” can look like.
It’s been an incredible ride. And one I wouldn’t change (too much, anyway!).
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Patty Holliday is a Marvel loving, Disney obsessed wife, and mother of four. She’s a travel agent specializing in Disney & Universal vacations- and loves a candid confession. Find her in Virginia (or anywhere frequent flyer miles or her trusty minivan takes her.)