Second Blogiversary Hero
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Celebrate My Second Blogiversary with Me!

Holy Guacamole! It’s my second blogiversary… already? It’s hard to believe an entire YEAR has come and gone since last we came together to celebrate how much this little blog has grown. For the next few days, I’ll spend time talking about how my blog is doing, what I’ve learned, where I’m headed, and more… but for now? It’s time to celebrate!

I just went through and made an infographic for the past year’s growth, using the same stats I track in my “month-in-review” posts. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what I found really changed the way I feel about the last year of blogging.

I probably need to back up a bit before I launch into the results.

Blogging is hard work. No matter what you hear to the contrary, committing your life and passion to creating a blog that you hope will eventually create income, friendships, and a future — it takes a lot of grit, patience, and support from those around you. You’ll usually feel like you’re speaking to an empty room, and the posts are often un-shared, un-commented-upon, and un-inspiring.

I started Valerie & Valise about two years ago when my mom suggested I find a way to spend my time while looking for a job post-MBA. Since then, my blog has become my primary obsession, a project for which I am always learning, testing, and trying new things. I’ve written 275 posts in that time, including a six month hiatus right up front, and I’ve become discouraged more times than I can count.

The problem was that I couldn’t see how far I’ve come.

Being a travel blogger involves a lot of comparison — I’m constantly checking up on fellow bloggers, and privately berating myself for their success while I feel like I’m standing still: why does she gain nearly 1,000 followers per day on Instagram, whereas I’m stuck?! and how does this person have 10,000 UMVs (unique monthly views) when I’m only at 5,000?! are common complaints both in my head and aloud. It’s hard, in the super-connected world, to not compare yourself, especially when the metrics that tourism companies use to hire bloggers are so readily obvious. If you don’t have a great social following, enough UMVs, and a completely flexible schedule, it’s hard to get work. It’s easy to give up.

Don’t!

Today, I learned that I have seen growth far beyond my wildest dreams of one year ago — I couldn’t have imagined how far I would come, and I can’t believe how much better this makes me feel about how far I have left to go.

In the last year, over 10,000 of you have joined me on social media.
There have been over 37,000 page views on my humble site.
You’ve supported campaigns to help me win work, such as my trip to Jordan in 2016.

…And this is just year #2!

Year 2 Infographic

Here’s the thing: when you’re looking at everyone else, it’s hard to appreciate how much you’ve grown. Until I saw the numbers, it was hard for me to realize how many actual living people have joined me on this journey in the last year. Sure, it’s not 4,000,000 or whatever other bloggers are claiming, but it’s way more than I thought, and there have been so many of you I’ve had the privilege to interact with one-on-one, that makes it even more rewarding.

I started writing a blog to pass the time and pursue my passion for writing and travel. I had no idea that so many of you would join me on the ride. I don’t know where I’m headed, but I’m looking forward to going there with all of you.

So for you bloggers out there, feeling despondent — it’s okay to feel that way! It’s normal, and it’s totally in your head. If you’re doing what you enjoy and connecting with like-minded people, at the end of the day it’s not about how you’re doing compared with others; it’s all about how you’re doing compared with your past self.

Cue the cheesy quotes, right?

But it’s true — I’m planning to look at these metrics the next time I feel the need to compare myself to other bloggers. My path is my own, and I hope you can start to appreciate yours too.

If you ever need an ear, a shoulder, or a couch to crash on, find me on Twitter and give me a shout. Here’s to Year 3.

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