Well, it sure has been awhile. Quick run-down of where I’ve been the last few months: we quit the travel nurse life, returned to Kansas City to be with family and our awesome group of friends, and I went back to work teaching part-time. As per usual with me, I had lofty aspirations about waking up early to blog, work out, and then head off to teach a couple classes.
Not Enough Hours in the Day
Expectation: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. For me? A belief that I could be a blogger, a teacher, a freelance writer, a fitness coach, a mother, and a wife all at once. Ha! Ha.
Reality? First, I need my sleep. Early wake ups are not my thing. No matter how many motivational quotes, books, or memes I read, I just can’t do it. Give me a glass of wine and a computer, and I’ll write til the wee hours of the morning, but it takes a literal shrieking banshee (aka toddler) to get me out of bed in the morning.
Second, I’ve discovered there is no such thing as “part-time” teaching. I find myself stressing about lesson plans for 1-2 hours each morning, before I commute to my two-hour per day contract. I stay late to grade or email parents each day, and I still fall behind on my grading queue. The job just never quits, whether you have six classes or two, the workload is colossal.
Something Had To Give
The first to go? My efforts to be a health and fitness coach. I absolutely love the products and felt that I needed the accountability myself. It just wasn’t where my heart was. I hate that the first item on the chopping block of my day is my workout, but it just is. When I weigh all the other things that need to be done, I push it to the bottom of my list.
Next? I discovered an amazing freelance writing site where I’ve been able to successfully sell my content. While The What Next Mom blog has been a labor of love, and in many ways, an awakening for me and my creativity, I haven’t been able to make it as profitable as I had hoped. My freelance writing gigs have been paying consistently, however. So, the next thing on the chopping block happened to be this blog.
What’s Next With the Blog?
Blogging has been amazing. It has made me remember how much I love writing, and I am seeing the payoff. A consistent freelance writing check each week has been a pretty incredible confirmation for me that there is a market for my skills.
When I started blogging, it was mostly to expend some mental energy. Life as a stay-at-home mom in a semi-nomadic family was kind of rough, so I wanted to do something productive and satisfying. Writing definitely fit that bill, though I quickly realized that all of those Make Money Blogging!!! groups and blogs and pages were pretty bogus. Sure, make money blogging if you want to blog about blogging…in other words, if you want to link to web hosting deals, and “how to be a blogger” or “how to master Pinterest” courses, or e-books on how to be a millionaire blogger to rope in more wannabe bloggers…nope. Everything I read started to feel like the next trap to give money to someone for a product with the hope that I might make a killing with my blog.
The Truth About Blogging
Bottom line? I love writing. I have a talent for it, and I’ve realized that people will pay me for it. Sure, it’s possible to strike it rich with a personal blog, but man it takes a lot of work. Before I hit publish on a post I want to get traffic to, these are the steps I have to follow:
- Determine a keyword.
- Write my content with the keyword in mind. Include keyword in title, headings, and subheadings.
- Write all the content.
- Proofread all the content.
- See if I can insert any affiliate links in the content in a non-sleazy, non-salesy way.
- Find quality images. Either take a photo myself (super iffy), find a free stock photo (kinda iffy from a legal standpoint), or buy a stock photo (not great for a new blogger making basically nothing).
- Insert images in appropriate places, writing captions to optimize keyword SEO (search engine optimization).
- Edit image with Canva or PicMonkey.
- Create 1 or 2 Pinterest-worthy graphics, then upload to Pinterest with all the appropriate hashtags and optimal keywords in the pin description.
- Pin that pin to multiple group boards, Tailwind tribes (subscription only of course), Facebook promotion groups, etc, etc.
- Instagram a thoughtful, engaging photo and micro-blog about my current post, adding a link to my profile.
- Add an engaging question and post to my Facebook page or group, hoping for interaction so followers actually see the post and comment or react to it.
- Tweet a link to the new post, adding Twitter-appropriate hashtags to get the right engagement.
- Add my link to any number of blogger support/engagement groups on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter to reciprocate likes, comments, and shares, all in an effort to get the content in front of more people.
- Send out a newsletter to my (hopefully) growing email list that all bloggers say is super important…all the while, kinda suspecting that’s just because they want to get a commission from my mail service subscription.
- Do all the above with the goal of ENGAGING everywhere and BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS with readers. Which means responding to every comment and every like on every single social media post I make.
- Obsessively refresh page views and affiliate sales.
- Drink wine.
I don’t know about you, but I ain’t got time for that.
My personality tends to be an all-or-nothing reality. I have tons of ideas for blog posts, but when I start thinking about all of those steps above, I become paralyzed and don’t even start them. If I can’t do it all, I can’t do it right. Intellectually, I know that’s not true. Internally? Not so much. Not yet.
As for The What Next Mom? I plan to keep blogging here, though it will probably be few and far between. Winter break is almost upon us, though, so perhaps I can sneak a few posts in during that time!
The What Next Mom remains my baby, and I believe she’s just the beginning to what’s next for me. I’m purposefully not adding any photos or Pinterest graphics to this post, because I just don’t have time for that. I do have time for sharing my thoughts though, and I sincerely thank you for sticking with me through my ramblings. Stay tuned for what’s next!