I would like to give a big thank you to Kait from Life as Kait for nominating me for this award.
I was nominated on June 15th, and I am now sitting down to write this post, the night of the 23rd.
Before I opened the email, I had no idea a "blogger recognition award" was a thing. I haven't been blogging for that long, and at first I questioned whether or not I was qualified to give any advice about blogging haha.
But here I am! Thanks to Kait I am able to connect with other writers :)
So let's get into it!
How I started my blog:
my about page certainly explains a piece of it, and I refer back to the story in a lot of my posts. But I'm going to be more specific about how.
My high school social worker.
That is where it began.
I found myself in her office, a lot, and check-ins every single morning. This whole "seeking help" thing was new to me, and I had no idea what I was doing. Communication was a key ingredient in progress, and that was my main struggle. I would sit in her office just staring at the wall, trying to form words in my head that were safe enough to say aloud.
I wrote a list instead. Everything I was afraid of, everything (that I was aware of) that was contributing to my anxieties. I handed it to my school social worker and felt my body dissolve as she read the lines in front of me.
It was uncomfortable, but the two of us discovered something that day. A way for me to express myself.
She told me about how she started her own personal blog, and how she loves to write. I related to her interest, and how writing has always been a way for me to tap into my soul.
I didn't know anything about blogging, but I was willing to try it out. I built my first site, and wrote daily about my mental health journey/challenges. I had one reader; my high school social worker.
I began like most bloggers do- on WordPress, with a few readers I knew personally, and the rest who found me by my tags. I was not writing to reach anyone else, but me. It was a way for me to express and analyze some very dark, and complex thoughts that were overwhelming me. It was so private, that it even scared me to have strangers finding my words.
... but I recovered. It was a bumpy road and this blog I write now tells that story. Part of healing from my mental illnesses was moving away from the dark patterns of my old site, and writing to put the good pieces out there instead.
As my about page states at the bottom:
My site is named "Very Haley" for a reason. I have always been very clear about who I am and what makes my soul shine. If my mom saw something in a store she would say "this is very Haley!" Or a video of another person doing something silly or dancing around looking like a fool, "that's very Haley." In other words, this is me. I fall down, I get up, and this is my story. Very Haley. As real as can be.
My advice for new bloggers..
If you are nervous about where to begin, or putting yourself "out there"scares you- start small.
Build your foundation. Get some posts out of the way, and work on your message.
If you aren't sure yet, don't let it hold you back.
So many times I would hide away from the keyboard because I had no sense of direction. Just write anyway. The drive, the path, the inspiration will find you.
Focus on you, first. Blogging can get tough if you only focus on who is reading, and what they are thinking. Blog for you, first. Build the confidence. Confidence is like your own personal fuel or gasoline that helps to run your blog. Practice, leave your comfort zone on your own watch, and try new things until you feel comfortable with the direction you are going. Then you can work your readers. I had thought it was the other way around, but trust me, it is no fun to have self-doubt about your own site. This is your space.
Build your home sweet home, before rushing to call in visitors.
Do not compare yourself to others.
This is a given statement for any situation, but it is crucial with blogging because there are so many bloggers out there.
I had NO idea when I started how many bloggers there are. They are all so different; different interests, different stories, different parts of the world. Fashion bloggers, beauty bloggers, wellness bloggers, personal blogs, business blogs, freelance- the list goes on.
Social media is almost scary. You will find the bloggers with the perfect theme, the professional photographs, and the 2.5k followers. It's hard not to compare.
Heck, I did when I was nominated for this award and questioned how much of a "blogger" I really am.
and now for my chosen nominees:
Special thanks again to you, Kait.
A Boston social work student, using writing for healing. Sharing the peaks and valleys of an empath's mental health journey.