One year ago today, I did something that would change my life forever: I pressed publish on my blog.
That moment was one of the most nerve-wracking of my life; it was something I had been working towards for over a month and a half, and I couldn’t help but wonder where my decision to start a blog would take me. Needless to say, that single moment has taken me on an amazing adventure of ups and downs, new friends, and learning experiences that have brought me to where I am today.
But maybe I should start at the beginning.
In Fall 2016, I started my freshman year of college, and quickly realized that I wanted to start a blog to record and share my experiences. The funny thing is that it wasn’t even the first time I had thought about it. Throughout high school, I had read dozens of blogs that had helped me plan and prepare for college, and each of their respective bloggers raved about how much they loved blogging and the number of opportunities it gave them. I wanted to try my own hand at it, too.
But even though I wanted to start a blog, I teetered on the decision, constantly going back and forth about whether I should or not. After all, blogging was unlike anything I had ever done before, and I had almost no prior knowledge on the subject. Most of all, I was scared that blogging would become something that I would get bored with and quit after a few months.
So I waited.
To figure out whether or not I should start a blog, I spent a lot of time reading articles about blogging. It was mostly stuff like blogger regrets, what bloggers wished they knew before they started, and what you need to do/know when starting a blog, but I took everything into consideration. I even decided on a blog name in case I did start a blog: Letters From Sunshine. In my mind, the “Letters From” described the blog, since I imagined it to be a lot like writing a letter, and the “Sunshine” described my personality.
But even after deciding on a name, I still waited.
The decision to finally take the plunge came the day after Thanksgiving, when I happened to look at web hosting and noticed a Black Friday sale going on. I knew this was my chance, so I jumped for it and bought my website.
I was excited to have finally made a decision—one that my heart had decided on long before my head—but I had already run into a problem. December was just days away, which meant that my 1st semester finals were about to start. There was no way that I could launch my blog and study for finals at the same time. After all, memorizing irregular verbs in the preterite tense was hard enough without trying to install a theme on WordPress at the same time…
Not that I even knew how to navigate WordPress yet.
Since I had no clue how much I would need to do before my blog was ready, much less how long it would all take, I decided on a launch date of January 17, 2017. This gave me six weeks to get everything done, with the exact date being chosen because it made a “number pattern” of 1/17/17. Priorities.
But even though the launch date gave me several weeks to do everything, it wasn’t as much time as you would think. Everything I was learning about blogging was brand new, which meant that I had a huge learning curve to conquer. In those six weeks, I also had times where it was close to impossible for me to work on the blog, like finals week and the holidays, which meant spending a lot of time shopping for gifts and visiting family.
Nevertheless, the weeks passed and January 17th rolled around, my self-appointed blog launch day. As the minutes ticked by, threatening to make me late to the first-day-of-the-semester breakfast I had planned with my friends, I looked over my blog one last time, ensuring that everything was the way I wanted it.
And then I pressed publish.
That moment was one of the most nerve-wracking of my life, but I’ve never been so glad for anything in my existence. Publishing my blog has given me amazing new friends within the blogging community, the chance to learn and develop new skills, and the ability to share my experiences with the world. While it’s taken a while to get the hang of (I still cringe when I see the designs of my earliest Pinterest images), blogging has given me opportunities to propel myself forward towards the future I see for myself.
But as amazing as my blogging journey has been, it’s also been hard. I’ve had my share of ups and downs, self-doubts, writer’s blocks, and challenges along the way. But no one ever said that blogging would be easy, and each of those trials have taught me valuable lessons about myself that I might not have learned otherwise.
However, it doesn’t mean that I’ve reached the climax of my blogging journey; in fact, I’m far from it. After all, my blog and I are still learning and growing. Letters From Sunshine became Forever Charlotte, a re-brand that gave me a stronger identity and the freedom to write more topics that I love. My design skills are constantly changing and improving, and I’m looking for ways to make my brand more identifiable. Best of all, I’ve finally figured out a way for me to stay organized when it comes to planning content for the blog.
I mean, thank goodness, but why did it have to take me a year to figure it out?!
But like I said, I’m still learning. I’ll continue to have great successes and frustrating failures, as well as new lessons to be learned. But no matter what, the journey to get to my first blogiversary has already been an amazing one, and I can’t wait to see where else it takes me.