It Took Me 8 Blogs


It took me 8 blogs and two years of blogging to…


:: Stop listening to all blogging advice out there.

:: Realize how unimportant SEO is. I learned this from my favorite blog, Zen Habits. While he wasn’t giving out advice when I read it, Leo shared why he doesn’t apply SEO. He’s proved, with his impressive following, that you just don’t need it. He discusses why quality always trumps SEO and marketing.

:: Not feel like I need to be “Pinterest-able.” While I share some things that may be and I have the pin it button, I don’t buy the ‘you always need a picture for your posts.’ One of my favorite posts to write was a letter to myself. I think that adding a photo to that post would have been a disservice because sometimes words paint enough of a picture.

:: Know when not to blog and to never apologize or justify needing a break. Being ‘consistent’ is overrated. After all, life isn’t consistent.

:: Write only on what I love. That being original is not a process, it’s not a step-by-step guide, a how-to. Being original is not something gained from the advice of others. It’s only achieved by being you at all times because you are original. 

:: Recognize blogging envy and wipe the floor of it.

:: Realize I’m not a narcissistic attention seeker just because I blog.

::  Share only what I feel I can look back on and be proud of or will make me smile with reminiscing eyes.

::  Know that I’m enough, that we all have a story. That a post doesn’t have to be ‘planned inspiration.’ That sharing something as simple as a rainy day is enough. That I don’t have to be something. I can just be.

::  Understand that numbers aren’t a reflection of quality nor impact.

:: Learn that I’m not a category. I tried a book blog, a movie blog, a DIY blog but I realized I just want a blog. I don’t even call it a lifestyle blog because labels irk me. While I follow bloggers who do focus on certain topics, I figure, don’t we all? I focus on simple living, reading, repurposing, sustainability, travel and some others. Our passions are our focus.

:: Plan less. Although I do jot some notes in my composition book, take pictures while exploring the every day, I am coming to love planning a little less. Pretty much all of my posts are written the day of and the risk adverse person in me gets hives at the thought, but the free spirit in me loves it because then you never know what’s around the corner. That way everything is exciting.

:: Not install stat counters. While I didn’t pay much attention to stats before, this is the first blog where I didn’t install anything to follow stats. I don’t want to become attached to numbers. I just want to share beautiful things and enjoy writing, snapping pictures, creating a space I love and connecting with others.


What have you learned in the process of blogging? How long have you been blogging?  

Also, I’m incredibly stoked to share my first podcast this Sunday for Simplifying Sunday!

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45 thoughts on “It Took Me 8 Blogs

  1. Wendy says:

    This is great! I subscribe to the same philosophy but there are certain things you listed that I needed to be reminded of.

    I’ve been blogging since 2005 ish. I’ve learned to not take it too seriously. Use it for what it is- a creative outlet, not a competition (which I’ve fallen into in the past).

  2. Bekka says:

    This is really refreshing and honest and your blog is one of my favourites despite only recently finding it. I’ve tried my hand at several blogs before, and then when I made this one I decided not to be to hard on myself if I could’t post to a strict schedule, but more importantly to blog about my life and the things that interest me as opposed to blogging about things I thought other people would be interested in.

    • Aubrey says:

      Really and truly, thank you Bekka! I think to blog about life is one of the grandest things because it not only gives us much to discuss but also allows us to love life that much more.

  3. Tori says:

    I love your honesty with this topic. It’s so important! I totally agree that the planning less posts is more freeing and my spontaneous posts end up being the best ones in my opinion. And not feeling like I have to write about something big or grand is another one I try and remember. Just being and writing about something that truly is special to me, even if it’s little like a rainy day, is liberating in the blog world.

    Thanks Aubrey for these reminders. It’s hard to remember that each of our blogs are OUR blogs so we can do what we please with them:)

    Much love,

    • Aubrey says:

      Oh gosh yes! It’s like your post on the documentary, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry. You mentioned that you had just watched it so it was clear that you didn’t plan the post. It was in the moment because you were so excited about that film (and rightfully so). It showed in your writing. Those are my favorite posts to write. Or when I spontaneously have an idea at 11 pm at night and start writing that post the day prior.

  4. Ashley Hayley says:

    I really love this post. I had to take a look at your blog after your nice comments and I really like what I have seen so far!

    Lately I have been really irritated by blogs that exist to collect followers and have giveaways and it has started to seem like they are the only ones out there anymore.

    You are refreshing. Thank you.

    • Aubrey says:

      Oh gosh yes. I once had Shabby Apple come to me and ask if I’d do a giveaway. I hope I didn’t come off as mean to them, I really tried not to but I told them that I see their giveaways on darn near every blog that I read. And that while I’m humbled that they asked me, I just can’t participate because I’d just be a part of the crowd. I rather be up there with the speaker, you know? And if I’m going to do a giveaway, it’s going to be one that means something to me.

  5. Heather Harmon says:

    I love this so much! When I started my blog I didn’t even realize that people had specific things they blogged about. Mine started out as a type of journal, and it’s evolved since then, but I still love sharing my life, on my terms, not by any set rules.

    Your blog has always been one of my favorites Aubrey. Everything you share is worth reading and I almost always leave inspired!

    • Aubrey says:

      Heather, you may or may not know this, but you are one of my influences for realizing these many things. I could always tell from your writing, because I firmly believe that writing speaks many things to us, that you aren’t seeking followers. You are writing for you, when you want, on what you want. It was just something I observed over time reading your stuff. So thank you for that! It’s truly refreshing.

  6. Linda says:

    Thank you for this Aubrey. I emailed the link to myself with the subject “important (in caps even)”. I can’t begin to express my annoyance at “7 ways to grow audience”, “create an email list NOW” and all this stuff. How to get more traffic, blah blah blah. I want people to come to my site because they like what I have to say, not because they’ve been in any way forced, or coerced.

    So refreshing to read. I think I am finally getting to a place where I can write about whatever I want (and it may involve a new blog ahemm. that would also bring me to 8 blogs).

    • Aubrey says:

      Linda, if you start that 8th blog, let me know. I’d be happy to read it. I too get bothered by similar posts. I try so hard not to hold it against the author. They mean the best and they are trying to help. I just feel like it hurts a bit in the end. As a writer of fiction, one of the greatest tips I’ve ever received about writing, wasn’t on how to write (though I do read up on the different techniques and approaches) but to simply, just write. To not sit there and read advice after advice and never put pen to paper. That logic, I think, applies to blogging as well.

  7. Jojo says:

    This is one of the greatest blog posts I’ve ever read. I’m so glad I found your blog. I have been struggling with realising people read my blog now and I get panicked that my content/images aren’t good enough but this post has really helped and given me perspective. Thank you. I will be a frequent visiter and reader of your blog now! XXX

  8. Sarah Grace says:

    Ugh, I tried watching a video on blogging successfully and I remember it being absolutely awful. What’s the point of blogging if you are only posting stuff to get more traffic? Blogging helps me continue to be creative. If it turns into spending hours online joining link-ups and pinning stuff and tweeting and looking for free ad swaps I end up getting SO bored. By that time I don’t have enough energy to sew or bake something, which might turn out to be a cool thing to post about!

    • Aubrey says:

      Sarah, I just couldn’t agree more. The first priority is to live. I tend to get a bit bummed out by posts on how to write good content and people thanking them for the advice on how to write good content. There is really only one way I know to write good content. It’s not prompts. It’s not taking the advice of someone else. It’s living. When I read a post by someone who is struggling with something to write about, I have this desperate urge to say, “step away from the computer.” As soon as we step away and simply live and experience is when we have something to share. If we are always stagnant and jacked into the web, then growth can only go so far.

  9. Rebecca @ Highs and Humdrum says:

    Such a wonderful, refreshing post. I have been finding a lot of this out myself over the past 14 months (and 2 blogs) but it’s always nice to get a reminder and to know that there are other people who feel similar.

  10. Alicia | Jaybird: Home in Motion says:

    I started reading your blog at Barcode Alternative, then Cognizant Dreamer, and then all the sudden you disappeared! The internet is a small world though and I’m glad to have found you here. The Daily Simple is a beautiful name and I love the ideas you’ve been expressing here. Blogging has the potential to be equal parts personal diary and public community, and to make it your own sometimes you have to buck the rules.

    • Aubrey says:

      I am really humbled that you have followed along since my last couple of blogs. That was when I was starting to get my groove, but now I’m finally in my groove. It really is a small world. Bucking the rules is probably one of my favorite things to do. It’s honest and it allows us to be ourselves and not what’s ‘expected.’

  11. Sara Strauss says:

    I seriously love this post! I love all of it! Sometimes I get too wrapped up in blogging and wanting to be original and getting lots of comments, but in the end who really cares? It’s just blogging and I do it for the fun of it!

  12. Sarah says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I am relatively new in the blogger game and there is so much conflicting advice, and it is easy to compare yourself to what everyone else is doing.
    This post has given me a lot to think about!

    Thanks again, I really enjoy your blog.

    Sarah :D

  13. Lauren says:

    This is so beautifully written and I couldn’t agree more! I was at a food blogging conference last year, and while I learned a lot, I was so turned off by the sessions and talks on “branding.” Not my thing. I started my blog as a gift for my family, and while it brings me tremendous joy (and I love comments), I don’t want to brand myself or “position” my self for a share of the market. ;)

    So at that conference, I skipped out on this little mocktail hour sponsored by a major national brand to head back to the hotel early and freshen up. I don’t want sponsors on my blog, so I didn’t think it was necessary, you know? A few days later I got an email from said “major national brand” saying it was a pleasure meeting me. Even though we’d never met. Where’s the integrity in that?

    • Aubrey says:

      Oh Lauren you hit the nail on the head for me! Brand is one of those words that makes me cringe. I’m not a brand. I understand branding. It was pounded into my brain in business school but it’s just not for me. To me, being yourself is brand enough. And I love that you mention integrity. I often worry that integrity is often lost on the web because of anonymity or the ability to delete (even though everything is archived).

  14. Nat says:

    I have learned that not everyone will like me or my writing style. And it took about 10 or so blogs to realize that as well. I just wanted a place where I could share my stories, my likes and dislikes (of course) and a place to show off my designs and getting my design business out there more.

    You are so right on this. Every single one. I am always concerned about how many readers I will get. When it’s really quality of quantity. I don’t do stats either.

    • Aubrey says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one to stack up some past blogs. ^__^ I do see both sides of the coin and get why some bloggers do, especially those looking to make a living off their blog. But for those of us doing it for pure enjoyment, the rule book need never apply.

      • Nat says:

        I have had a cooking blog, a mommy blog, a product review blog, an angry blog, a judgmental blog… YOU NAME IT!

        I think the one I have now is what I finally found to love and really be me. I was always so used to pleasing others… when all I want is to please myself!

  15. Noor Unnahar says:

    I agree with you on every point . Blogging guides are here to guide , not to be followed till the end . Blogging is what we do for us , not to please or for others . That’s all :)

  16. Jaclyn says:

    I love this. So much of this holds true for me as well. I have had the same blog for over 5 years now but it has undergone a number of changes. I don’t like to fit myself into a label, I want to be able to talk about whatever I want and share what I like with the world. I cannot wait to read more from your blog.

  17. Heather says:

    This was a really great post! I couldn’t agree more!

    Anytime I find my blog “stressing” me out, I take a break. I have to remind myself sometimes why I started blogging: for fun! My friends who don’t get to see me very often love it because they get to keep up with my life in a way that facebook doesn’t quite cover.

    • Aubrey says:

      I love that! I do the same thing. Another time I take a step back is when I start to feel unnecessary pressure. That’s when I know I have to remove myself temporary and collect a bit.

  18. James says:

    This is really an orginal sounding article that clearly explains your reasoning. The SEO view will bring a few frowns to the experts, but this is still a fine post. Regards J.L.

    • Aubrey says:

      Thanks so much James! Luckily the example I used is of someone with millions of followers, a proven expert. Though I guess the word expert is relative. But I should take this moment and clarify what I’m discussing about SEO. When I say it’s unimportant, I’m not saying it doesn’t work. I don’t disagree with those out there who say it does. I know it does. What I’m saying is that one does not need it and people like Leo have proven that.

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  20. Faith says:

    Twigs and Tea is my fourth blog and I am starting to feel that the name isn’t appropriate anymore. I’ll see where I end up going! I’ve been listening a bit too much to the blogging advice lately, and I need to stop because it’s not helpful at all. Your blogging advice is excellent though, and I’ll break your first suggestion by listening to you :3

  21. Sarah says:

    This is all brilliant advice! Particularly the part about blogging envy, it’s so easy to get sucked in by that! Thanks for sharing :)

  22. Jessie {Creating Happy} says:

    Great post Aubrey. Loved reading it! I know that I am much happier since doing some of these things you have listed above. I have really enjoyed just being myself on the blog. I kicked my blogging schedule out the window and it feels great. I blog when I want and about what I want. It feels good to blog about things you are passionate about instead of what you think people want to read. Thanks for sharing this and always being an inspiration.

  23. Ofelia says:

    Hi Audrey, I just found your blog from Wendy’s Young Heart.
    I’m with you on your observations and realizations, especially the one about not being a blog-label. I have many interest and at times I had wish to just blog about thrifting but that is just one part of my life and there are too many other ones to write about. I also have to calm down about the numbers since at the end of the day no matter how small my numbers are the important thing is that I have created some cool and loyal blogging friendships!
    Great Post!

  24. Annabel says:

    Excellent philosophy to keep in mind as I start over on what will now be my third blog! I agree, getting caught up in numbers and stats can get a little overwhelming, and detract from why we started blogging in the first place. I especially love the tip about realising that blogging isn’t synonymous with narcissism! I’ve struggled with that myself.

  25. Claire says:

    Thanks so much for these – I’m a newbie blogger so grateful for all advice and inspiration! I love especially the bit about not being a category, I agonized on that one for a while as all advice I’d read was to find a niche, and I couldn’t make up my mind! I eventually decided to go with just creating a fun place to share thoughts and connect with other people – so far so good!!

  26. Tilda says:

    What a great post! I was really intimidated when I started blogging because I saw these people who had set schedules (Mon faves, What I Wore Tues, etc) and I knew I could never stick to a schedule like that—also, I have a wide variety of interests. Finally I just calmed down about it and blogged about whatever I wanted to. I have a tiny following, but I cherish those people and I’m not worried about it. My blog is ultimately a chronicle for myself—I can look back on stuff I may have forgotten about, or re-visit things I have done and talked about—and if someone is into something I have posted about, then great! Life is too stressful to add one more thing to worry about, so I just let it go and do what I want :)

  27. Jessica Brown says:

    I completely agree. It’s so obvious when you see a blogger that does his/her own thing, isn’t swayed by others, influenced by the idea of being consistent, fitting into a category or any other constraints. A blog is to make you feel happy and fulfilled, and should never be about numbers! x

  28. Joanne says:

    I absolutely LOVE this post! So many awesome points, most of which I’d like to apply to my own “blogging life.” Points I love – not paying attention to number, SEO, being labeled, consistency… I guess it’s pretty much all of it. With all the blogs out there, it’s easy to get distracted and get carried away and do what they’re doing. But really, we should just focus on doing what we can do w/ our own blog, with whatever time we have and share whatever our heart pleases. =)

  29. Sarah D says:

    This is really powerful for me to read. I’ve had four blogs since 2007 and I always gave up on them. The second to last had me trying to be someone I wasn’t–a DIY queen, master chef, inspirational Amelie to the masses–and I got insanely burned out. The last blog, before Vellum, I got so dejected by the tiny (face it, nonexistent) blog views that I was seriously questioning my own person. Am I not enough? My life didn’t and doesn’t look like the beautifully sunny and upbeat blogs on my feed. But I missed connecting with people and holding myself accountable for finding the good in my life via blog posts. So I’ve learned a lot. Ignore the stats. Blog what inspires you, not potential publishers. Don’t expect a whole lot. Be yourself.

    I’m so, so glad you posted this.

  30. juni says:

    THANK YOU for this! I love this so much. I am pretty new to blogging, a little over 6 months in. And I’m so glad someone finally said all of this. Suuuuper agree with what you said about labels, my blog is quite a mumble jumble, I have DIY posts, sometimes I blog about what I did in my studio, sometimes I’m just sharing picture of flowers I just bought… having those labels just seems really… not authentic.

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