What I Learned From My First Year of Blogging

Can you believe it’s been an entire year since I launched this little blog?

Neither can I!

My microscopic corner of the internet was carved out during a really dark time in my life. I was battling a spell of depression and grieving my late grandmother. I kept a journal to help me sort through all these new and confusing feelings and quickly began filling the pages with thoughts and ideas.

One of those ideas was Unapologetically Morgs.

It’s been a ride, that’s for sure. I’ve achieved goals I never knew I had, while making goals I never thought I’d make. But this is only the beginning.

I set out on this journey a year ago with no idea of where it would go or what I would learn. Truthfully? I learned more about myself in the past year of this blog than the other twenty-three years of my life.

To celebrate one year of living life unapologetically, I’d like to share with you a few of the most important things I’ve learned this year!

Don’t be afraid to be yourself.

While this might seem obvious, it can be harder than you think.

I spent a lot of my life toning down who I was for fear of being judged by others. Growing up, I liked “nerdy” things and read a LOT for fun which made my peers think I was weird. In an effort to be more accepted, I stopped talking about the things I loved.

I stopped expressing who I really was.

When I decided to create Unapologetically Morgs I made a promise to myself that I would stay true to myself. People relate to you the most when you’re 100% honest and your truest self. I would write about what I wanted to write about, I would promote what I wanted to promote, and any naysayers could promptly f*ck off.

Thers a reason I named my blog Unapologetically Morgs. By publicly promising myself to live life unapologetically, I manifested it into a reality.

One year later, I believe I’ve kept my promise. I’ve talked about subjects that are difficult personally or taboo socially. I’ve posted photos that maybe weren’t the most flattering, but necessary for the conversation. I’ve worked hard to stay true to myself throughout my year of blogging and I promise to continue to do so.

Don’t be afraid to take a stance and be opinionated.

We live in a world that doesn’t want to have an opinion about anything and I don’t necessarily agree with that.

Hear me out.

Its extremely important to know where you stand on certain topics, especially important ones. And I think its healthy and normal to want to voice those opinions. You never know whos listening or whos mind you might open.

The issue our society has is respecting other peoples opinions. Especially when they vary greatly from your own.

I think you absolutely should voice your opinions. There is nothing wrong with having different opinions than other people. As long as you can respect the fact that there are going to be other people out there who have different opinions than you, you’ll be fine.

Voicing your opinion or taking a stance on a subject is really important when you’re blogging. It can be easy to try to just keep the peace and be neutral on everything, but its not realistic. People connect to others who have similar opinions. People will stop and listen to someone who has a different opinion than them to either solidify their stance or to try and understand the other side.

Be that voice. Stand up for what you believe in and what is right. Even if it ruffles a few feathers, the right people will thank you.

If you get an amazing opportunity, TAKE IT.

It doesn’t have to be “amazing” per say, but if you get any opportunity to collaborate with another blogger or be featured on their blog, podcast, channel, etc you should absolutely go for it!

I’m a part of several Facebook groups for bloggers and influencers to connect and collaborate with one another. This has been a tremendously valuable tool for me, as I’ve met some really amazing creators through these groups! We bounce ideas off each other, collaborate on content, and feature each other on our platforms.

One of my favorite collaborations this past year was with Youtuber Lauren Taylor. She invited me on her live podcast called Live with Lauren and we chatted about friendship and body (you can listen and watch the episode here.) It was such a great experience! I had never done anything like that before and the podcast took me out of my comfort zone a bit.

But, it was great for me! It helped me become more comfortable with my own voice (literally) and being in front of a camera. Beyond that, I made a new friend!

BUT, be smart.

This is some of the most important advice I can give anyone starting out as a blogger or influencer: You should not have to pay a brand to promote their product.

You’ve seen it before and you might have even gotten the comments yourself. A brand comments on your photo, “Hey! We love your content! DM us to collaborate!”

You get all excited at first. Someone noticed me! They want to collaborate with me! And then you message them replying to their comment and they tell you they’ll send you the product for free, just pay shipping.

Initially, it still sounds like a great idea. Until they tell you shipping is $20 or more.

I’ll say it again: You should not have to pay a brand to promote their product. Not even shipping.

Sketchy brands use this tactic to generate sales from aspiring bloggers and influencers who might not realize this is basically a scam. I tell you this, because I fell for it once. I once paid $12 shipping for a few sweaters from an online boutique. Their products were great and their website looked legit, so I thought “Why not? Its still a steal!”

Those sweaters never came and the brand never messaged me back when I sent them multiple emails asking for my money back. And if you’re thinking, “Its $12, calm down.” If this brand convinces 50 people out of $12 that is $600 straight profit for them. Yeah, its a scam.

I’ve been sent hundreds of dollars worth of products from a single brand and not had to pay a dime of shipping. Why? Because they loved my brand and content and genuinely wanted me to promote them.

I could go on for days about how to know if you’re making a good decision with brand collaborations, but that’s not the point of this post. Brand collaborations can be amazing, profitable opportunities. Just make sure you’re collaborating with a legitimate brand!

Take the damn picture.

This can be the hardest hurtle to jump for a lot of aspiring content creators and bloggers. From the comfort of your own space you can write amazing posts and express a vast majority of who you are to the world via the internet. But chances are, your life isn’t confined to the four walls of your home.

You’ve got to get out there to really take your content to the next level.

Not only does this make your blog/Instagram/whatever more interesting when featuring different locations, its good for you to get out there!

People connect with people. So don’t be afraid to show your face on your platform! In fact, its the best way to really solidify yourself as a brand and to build up your community.

My husband takes a LOT of my photos for me. Grab a friend, your significant other, or even your kid and ask them to help you take a picture. They’ll probably be really excited to help!

Don’t have anyone who can help? Invest in a tripod. My tripod is my best freaking friend (I use this one.)

Victiv 72-inch Camera Tripod Aluminum Monopod T72 Max. Height 182 cm – Lightweight and Compact for Travel with 3-way Swivel Head and 2 Quick Release Plates for Canon Nikon DSLR Video Shooting – Black

And don’t feel awkward posing for pictures. Sure, it can be awkward posing in a public space for a photo, but who cares?!

Do it for yourself!

Everything you read about content creation and blogging will tell you otherwise. But heres why I will always say: your blog should be about you.

Anyone can write an article on the perfect buffalo chicken dip. Anyone can create the perfect holiday gift guides or give you recommendations on what skincare products to use. The difference between your recipe, gift guide, and recommendations? You.

Your blog should never feel generic. Your personality and light should shine through with every word you type.

The best way to accomplish that? Write about stuff you actually care about.

You’ll stop writing if you only write about things you think will get you hits on your website. You’ll stop creating content if you’re only creating content that will get you likes or appeal to the most people.

Create for yourself.

Paying attention to your audience’s likes and dislikes will help you create and maintain a solid community of readers or followers. But at the end of the day, you should be pouring so much of your personality into your work that people know from first glance this is something you created.

At the end of the day if you’re not doing it for yourself, then whats the point?

To everyone who has supported me this past year by reading my posts, following along, sharing my content, and encouraging me to continue; thank you. I appreciate it more than you could ever know!

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