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Stop & Smell the Flowers

Hi all :) I’m back! Did y’all miss me?? I took a bit of an unofficial blogging break this past week. On Tuesday night, Dreamhost (my web host) had a power outage causing all their servers to go down. Mine was one of the many and it was probably the longest outage this blog has ever experienced, over 12 hours, and to add injury to insult, as soon as they got the power and servers back online the following morning, another power outage happened. As I’m sure you all are well aware, those situations can be so frustrating. I had a blog post planned for Wednesday but I couldn’t write it the night before because the blog was down. Anyway, long story short, I made the decision right then and there that as soon as the blog came back up, I was going to switch web hosts. I made the switch to Servint, with the help of Ryan of WP Site Care, and so far, I’m really happy with the results. If you’ve noticed how fast my blog loads now, you can thank Servint!

During the downtime I had a lot of extra time to do a lot of thinking and I wanted to share with you all some of the thoughts that ran through my head as I was without a blog for the entire week. A lot of this is about the blogging career and what I’ve come to realize. This isn’t aimed at any one specific or any specific group. This is everything that’s been going through my head since I had a lot of extra time, and I feel it’s actually helped my state of mind with this blog. I feel like something just clicked and I hope with reading this, you’ll come to realize some of this too. I guess you could say this hosting outage was a blessing in disguise :)

Numbers don’t, and shouldn’t, mean anything.

I’m sure when anyone’s blog goes down, panic ensues because you want to please your readers. You want your readers to get that latest recipe or to be able to search your blog for dinner ideas or for next week’s menu. When my blog went down for over 12 hours, of course I was frustrated, but what was the first thing I thought of? My numbers. I thought about how horrible this is going to do to my overall stats, how no one will be able access my blog from re-pins, how my email subscribers are just all going to unsubscribe, etc, etc. Does this sound like any of you? This entire week, I was worried about my numbers but you know what? As the week went on and the more I was without my blog due to the hosting switch, I suddenly came to realize, who cares?

I started this blog in the very first place to share my recipes and to inspire everyone to get into the kitchen and let your creative juices flow. I never intended my blog to make money. That was NEVER, EVER my intention, at all, and neither should it be yours (that’s my next point). I never intended for my blog to get as much traffic as it does now and never did I intend that I’d be spending $160/month on web hosting instead of the $7/month I started with. Am I beyond blessed and thankful there are millions of you out there that want to read what I have to say? Of course! But, was it my intention to have you guys find me and read my ramblings? No.

With blogging, I feel like you get really sucked in to the number game. How many visits a day, how many fans you have, how many likes on this post, how many comments on this recipe and that recipe, how many repins you have. It sucks the life out of you and makes you worry over the dumbest thing. IT’S JUST A NUMBER. Yes, I’ve come to realize this over this past week because I was so worried about it Tuesday & Wednesday. It was throwing me off and it made me wonder, “WHY am I caring about this?! My blog isn’t even about that!!!”

That number does NOT represent who you are and what content you’re putting out. That number does NOT tell the story of your life and that number SHOULD NOT consume you.

There, I said it. And that’s how I’m going to continue to think for now on. It is what it is and it’s going to do what it wants to do but I won’t let it affect my mood or any part of me for that matter. As long as I’m in the kitchen coming up with recipes and sharing them with you & making your tummies fuller one recipe at a time, then I’m happy :)

Having a blog ≠ money. Starting a blog with the intention of it making money for you is the wrong goal.

I’ve gotten many emails in the past month asking me, “hey Julie, I want to start a blog and make money with it, how do you go about doing something like that and do you get a lot of money for what you do?” or “hey Julie, I just started a blog and I’m not making any real money with it. I want it to be my full-time job.”

I’m half tempted to just delete those emails because it makes me disappointed to see that people want to start blogs not out of PASSION for what they do, but because of the money aspect of it. They see others making money off their blogs and they want an “easy way to make income.” First, what you see others doing is a very small glimpse of what it really takes to get where they are. Second, it’s not an easy way to make income. There’s a lot of work behind it.

I’ll admit, it’s very very nice and cushy to have money generated from my blog but you have to realize that I NEVER intended it to be this way and I didn’t come into the blogging world being like, “oh, I’m going to write a bunch of my own words and drive people to my site so I can make money.” Um, no. Like I said, I started the blog as a way to share recipes with my friends and family. I didn’t want to keep re-writing the same recipes over and over again. I also have always blogged/written a journal. This was my version of taking it public and showcasing my secret passion that not many people knew about. Also, you should know that this is not my full-time job.

Look, I’m not saying that this is wrong that people want to start blogs to make money. I’m saying you have to have some sort of passion and desire. You can’t just do it & expect to make money because you will be very disappointed. Do you get what I mean? Like, your passion and desire can’t be because you want money.

And it can totally be your full-time job. Totally! Many people have made it that and have worked hard to build up to that, but what many don’t realize is: it takes dedication and hard work and you have to keep at it. If you aren’t willing to put in the time and effort and just hope that money comes to you, then maybe you should re-think it. It’s not a snap of the finger, magic wand, kind of thing. I’m not saying the ones that email me about it can’t make it their full-time job, all I’m saying is, know what you’re getting into and it’s not as easy as it looks. Oh, and since I had to go through with this yesterday: any income you make is also taxed :) so you have Uncle Sam to deal with, too, haha

So, there. Those were my two major thoughts while I didn’t have my blog this week. You get so wrapped up with your blog that you sometimes forget the bigger picture, and I hope I was able to bring that bigger picture for you if you’re going through a rough patch or having writer’s block or feeling like your blog just “isn’t good enough.” Or if you’re starting out and worrying about the money part or the “popularity”. Just don’t. Really. Trust me, it’ll all come full-circle :) keep doing what you love & people will see it & people will love it.

If nothing in this post matters to you, I just hope that you still take away this: sometimes, you really just gotta stop and smell the flowers & not let the little things cause worry in your life! Live what you love (my new motto in life) but don’t let what you love consume you.

17 COMMENTS

  1. 03/23/2013 at 10:41 am

    Wise words. I just started my blog in January. I love to cook and share it with my family and friends. It’s as simple as that. I really have no intentions of making money with it at all. My first thought was ‘you can do that?’LOL soooo green. But I really do enjoy watching those numbers. It’s like an addiction. I like to see how many countries I get visits from and just this week I had my highest traffic day yet. So far I’m still having a lot of fun with this unexpected perk of the blog world.

  2. 03/23/2013 at 11:24 am

    Love this post, Julie! Thanks for sharing your blogging wisdom. Your passion shines through and I love it :). Pretty flowers!

  3. 03/23/2013 at 7:04 pm

    Good points. I love checking our my views for fun (like Bernice, I only started blogging a couple months ago) but I can see how it can get too consuming… Especially when your numbers decline, or aren’t meeting your “goals”. Good to just remember to enjoy the journey. And don’t worry Julie. After I tried your chicken masala recipe, a week off definitely won’t stop me from reading!

  4. 03/23/2013 at 8:30 pm

    Julie, thank you for this post, you have just completely taken the stress out of my upcoming move to WP. I didn’t even know what a blog was when I started, a friend suggested it to me after my girls and I did a summer project of baking every day. It was just us 3 throwing flour around the house and posting the photos to FB to show family and friends what we had created that day. While my sight is down, I’ll put the camera away and do a little baking for fun. I’let it be a vacation at home for a change. Maybe I’ll clean out a closet or two although that would take some of the fun out of my self imposed vacation.

  5. 03/23/2013 at 8:54 pm

    I picked a good day to stumble upon your blog! As a new blogger these are good things to keep in mind- thanks for sharing!

  6. 03/23/2013 at 10:04 pm

    Thanks for sharing Julie. I can certainly see myself being in a similar mindset sometimes. It is especially important to remember that we are doing what we love to do!

  7. 03/23/2013 at 11:09 pm

    Great words, great perspective. Thank you and glad to find u thru FB group! ;). Aloha

  8. 03/24/2013 at 7:22 pm

    Oh, such an important post (and ironically, I’ve found, the more I don’t care about numbers etc, the more the numbers grow). I’m glad you got a chance to take a step back and re-engergise yourself.

    • 03/24/2013 at 7:56 pm

      Haha, that is SO true! :)

  9. 03/24/2013 at 11:37 pm

    Julie, you DID give us a recipe…a recipe to enjoy life and enjoy our passion! So thank you. I just started a blog about my passion, God’s Word, and all week I’ve noticed myself looking at those numbers instead of my God. That will stop…RIGHT NOW! :)

  10. Nat
    03/25/2013 at 6:00 am

    Great post! Thank you for the wise words, pretty pictures and great recipes :)

  11. 03/25/2013 at 4:51 pm

    I hardcore heart this post, Julie. Thanks so much for sharing the wisdom you learned during this trying time. Bookmarking this post for those days when I start to lose track of why I do what I do. :)

  12. 03/25/2013 at 10:46 pm

    You’re so right, Julie. While trying to grow my blog, I’ve nearly lost site of why I did it, which is to learn and have fun and share my love of cooking. Now that I’ve remembered all of that, I feel very much back in the groove!

  13. 03/26/2013 at 2:35 pm

    I totally agree with you! We just returned from a long vacation to visit our families back in India and Malaysia — and I was hiatus from my blog for almost 2 months! Never felt good :)

  14. 03/27/2013 at 6:02 pm

    wow what a wonderful good reminder post!!! bring it back to where your heart is…not to stress…needed that reminder!

  15. 03/27/2013 at 6:06 pm

    Well said and it’s a nice reminder for newbies including myself to let it go with the flow. :)

  16. 04/16/2013 at 3:32 am

    Just looking through my starred items in my reader and saw I never commented on this! I tend to schedule posts during all my vacations and took, for the first time, about two weeks off this past holiday season- it was total bliss! I really should do it 2-3 times a year to recharge. Of course it’s always nicer when the break is of your own volition and not forced, like in the case of your web host issues :)

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