I feel like there's not enough inspirational OutKast quotes. So, I made this graphic.
Dirty confession time: I started a blog to make money. Yup, I heard you could make money doing silly stuff around your house (Thanks Tamara Orth) and I desperately wanted to do that. Desperately. I mean you can look slightly to your right and see all of the advertisers and affiliates and figure out it's not like I'm trying to not make money.
But (but, but, but, but) what I didn't account for was just how much I would love it. See, my blogging journey kind of took me backwards, from sellout to broke enthusiast, to all the way back home to myself, which there just aren't enough words for. Hey, can I also say that I'm grateful that I'm not that broke anymore? But digging yourself out of a hole is a good life lesson, too. All that opposition makes you feel like you've earned the ground you currently reside on.
Looking back, money was more of the security blanket that kept me from being myself, like " I don't actually have to care, this is just my job." Really, I've always had an aversion to letting people see my creativity, because it means people get to criticize something you put bits of yourself into.
See, it all began when I was 7 and I wouldn't let anyone watch me tap or practice my jazz piano. Funny, but not a joke.
As an adult, I always liked cooking and refinishing furniture and once I was done with a large furniture project people (very talented people who's opinion I totally appreciate) would always tell me how I could make money off this stuff, which should've excited me, but it didn't. When I thought of having a brick and mortar business I felt, encumbered. It felt like climbing mountains everyday, and having worked for other small business owners I know that it's no cake walk, you're married to what you do. When you have to leave it you feel like there's always more you could be doing and wonder how it will ever survive if you have to go on vacation, or have an emergency.
I really think there are some huge, huge perks to that, too. I mean it gives you purpose and you can point to your building and say I did all of that. I build this from the ground up. I just knew deep down, it wasn't for me.
A fact which is kind of funny since I went to school for business, you'd think I'd want to be in business. I mean I am in my own way, in my own time.
Back to my dreams of making money, well I looked at other blogs and thought I could do that. I mean I can do that, you can do that. We all could do a lot of things, but will we?
The big investment in this kind of thing is your time, and consequently your self and furthermore your faith. Time + Self + Faith = No small task.
In the beginning, I woke up one fruitless morning after the next, making what seemed to be little to no actual progress and around three months it became clear, I didn't care about money, or progress, or wether anyone reads my blog at all, because I liked doing it. I love it, actually. Bad mood, bad day, arguments, life in general, I do something with my time that everyday, without fail makes me feel better and not worse.
And that is the greatest perk to sticking it out. I mean you've probably seen there are a million and a half blogs in any given category and you know most bloggers give up within the first few months and you've probably read the dreaded GOMI. Frankly, I thought a lot about those things, but day by day they just kind of fell off. Now, I can safely and confidently say I don't care, not about superfluous competition or nasty internet comments or people digging up "dirt" on me. I mean would I prefer we lived in a world where everyone was just oh so supportive? Sure I do, but it's not the way it is. So, I could spend my time wondering if I'll ever make it or just dive in and see what happens. Where ever you are, what ever your passions are, I hope you always choose the latter.
There's no safe path. You either get out there and swim around with those sharks or stay in your comfort zone and drag your feet behind you, one day after next, and I don't know if you noticed but there's enough of that in the world.
So, here's my list of perks for being a novice coming from someone who is inching her way out of novice status:
1. You don't know anything - How is this a good thing? I can barely explain it, but it's the best thing. The best thing you have going for you at any given time is your ability to clean your slate, and if there's never been anything on your slate, than you have cleanest one of all. Dive in and see where all that possibility takes you. I definitely thought my blog would take a different direction. I love refinishing furniture, but I've done next to none of it on the blog. So what? I haven't made any promises.
2. You'll learn more about yourself than you ever wanted to know - Ugh, just, ugh.
3. You'll bite off more than you can chew and then be forced to chew it - Every part of venturing out on your own and not knowing what you're doing is more than you can chew, but take some comfort in knowing it's more than everyone else can chew, too. Way more, but you kinda just do it anyways, or quit, but seriously, don't do that. Don't quit, unless you hate it, in which case, it's not quitting it's just moving on.
4. You'll fail and feel miserable and get back up - Yeah there will be failed projects and you'll burn things, like that time I burned my Ninja by leaving it on top of my toaster oven, because I was trying to do too many things at once. Then there was last Christmas when my bird wasn't pretty enough and I had an out and out tantrum about it. Not proud, but sometimes I'm a baby about things. I like to think it's charming, sometimes, and then there are times when it's not, which takes me right to my next point.
5. You'll learn the only thing to be is yourself - While it's normal to be inspired by others, those proverbial others are successful by being themselves, getting in touch with a series of skills and a voice that only they have. If editing, working, and reworking my blog has taught me anything, it's that if I don't sound like me, it's painfully obvious. It's also kind of a cheat, not only to yourself, but to everyone who came out to hear what you had to say, or just see what you're doing with your day. Plus the way you are is already inherently good enough. So, why bother being someone else?
6. You'll kick yourself when you're down then realize why there's no point - You have to be on your own side when you're starting out on something. You're going to have to bet on yourself. There will be times when you think, if only I did it like that other person, or WHY oh why didn't I start sooner? I could be so much further along if I, if if if if if. You see how this is going nowhere? It won't go anywhere, ever, but you'll probably do it anyways.
7. You'll grow - Growth, you'll grow a little every day. You'll learn to sink into yourself and it'll matter less and less what the outside circumstances are because you are learning. Who knows what everybody else is doing. Maybe they're learning too, or maybe they're standing at the ledge looking at how brave you are and admiring you. Or maybe they hate you. Either way, they're feeling something. By doing what you do, you inspire something inside others, be it hate, love, or something in between.
My 95-year-old grandfather said something to me a few Christmases ago, he said, "I've done something with my life that has fulfilled me in a way I can't readily put into words." I kinda did and kinda didn't know what he meant at the time, but I knew I wanted the same. I still want the same, to look back on life and think that was me, with my little hands and spirit making a mess one day after the next, and not knowing, and huge mistakes, and it all added up to something that I can't readily put into words and no one else needs to understand because, I do.
Other inspirations who make me proud to be a human:
Thanks to Hope Smith, for being the kick in the ass and the ticket back to earth I need sometimes (most of the time).
Thanks to Veronica Quezada for showing me nothing is perfect, except sharing your soul.
Thanks to my big sister, Alexis for always being the half of my brain that actually works and for keeping me safe from the outside world for all these years.
And to my Mom, who's enthusiasm is unparalleled even though she has no idea what it is that I do.