Well, that's it friends! Another year on the books, and what a year it was. Before we move on, I wanted to pause and reflect on 2017, both personally and with regard to this blog. I always strive to be honest with you guys, and while I don't think it's healthy to be introspective all the time, I do like taking time for reflection every now and then. The first day of a new year is a natural time for this, and it's a one of my favorite traditions...to quiet myself, pause all my activity, consider what my goals and priorities really are, and make sure I'm doing things with intention and not just on auto-pilot.
Truth be told, 2017 was the hardest year for me yet with blogging. Early in the year, I got an email asking me to remove a photo that (though properly credited) I hadn't asked permission to share. They threatened legal action, which scared me enough to go through my archives and delete any posts with photos that weren't my own. Needless to say, that took out a big chunk of my old blog posts, since I used to love sharing inspiration, trends, and ideas. I know many people are happy to have their photos shared (with credit, of course)...and I know I could reach out and get permission ahead of time for blog posts moving forward, but I felt like the safest course of action was just to stick with my own photography.
However, this made each blog post pretty time-intensive this year. Taking my own photos requires me to plan ahead so I can shoot when there's good natural light (and this year, there was the added necessity of shooting during Ian's naptime). Besides the photography itself, it also takes time to style the room, edit photos, crop and resize, and upload them...a lot more work than simply posting inspiration photos and writing about why they caught my eye. You may have noticed that most of the posts I managed to publish this year were sponsored posts. That's not because I was indiscriminately accepting any sponsorships that came my way (I still turned down a lot)...it's because I just did not have time for additional blog posts besides the ones with deadlines.
I don't mean to complain...blogging is still a DREAM job and I realize how lucky I am to get paid for something I love. But I have to admit, this year there were multiple times that I considered throwing in the towel...for multiple reasons. One of them is that I'm just not that excited about DIY projects anymore--and that used to be a big part of this blog. I used to spend hours thinking of ideas, planning them out, and executing them. And I had fun doing it! But this year that just seemed exhausting, and I found that I'd rather simply buy something I love rather than try and recreate it myself. So my DIY posts pretty much died this year.
Another reason I felt defeated in 2017 was the (very unhealthy and detrimental) habit of comparing myself to other bloggers. Being an "influencer" (although I hate that word) has become such a common thing. Now there are an endless number of people with huge Instagram followings, and that's what a lot of brands care about when deciding who to work with. It's hard not to feel like your worth is defined by a number--and meanwhile, my Instagram barely grew this year. So I felt, often, that I would fall behind, unless I wanted to devote a bunch of time to strategies for gaining followers (which feels weird and unnatural to me--plus, I was trying to spend LESS time on my phone).
Lastly, the biggest reason is a positive one--becoming a mom! When Ian was born and I quit working full-time, I naively thought that I'd have more time for blogging since I would be home all day. And when he was a newborn, that was true. But as he got older, he got more interactive and busy, and he took less naps. Now he's down to one nap a day, which is also the time I use for prepping dinner, cleaning, and (occasionally) relaxing with a book or a show. I don't want him to see me on my laptop all the time, and I also don't want to spend my whole day blogging anyways. Ian loves getting out of the house and going to the library or the grocery store or the park (when it's not winter!) and I love planning playdates with my friends and their kids (lots of my friends in Spokane are also stay-at-home moms, which has been really nice). So I just haven't been focusing on blogging as much as I thought I would this year. And that's a good thing! It's been a joy spending time with Ian and watching him grow and learn. This is such a fun stage of life, and I wouldn't trade it for more work, that's for sure.
So 2017 wasn't the best year for me as a blogger...but it was a great year for me personally. I managed to accomplish a lot of my 2017 goals (moving to a more affordable city, buying a house, traveling as much as possible, getting out of the house and spending more time with friends). I didn't lose weight, but I did get pregnant again, so I give myself a pass on that one. :) I'm already in my third trimester as of yesterday--it's going by so fast!!! So far, no warning signs of preeclampsia so that's a good thing too.
I feel like this time of life is so precious, I really want to soak it in and enjoy. I have goals and plans and ideas, of course...but I also want to live in the moment, be content, and spend lots of time with friends and family in 2018. I don't want to worry so much about the direction of this blog, whether I'm falling behind, or what my next step is career-wise. Those things will come. When I really reflect on what brought me joy last year, it was the personal stuff. So my goals for 2018 will probably be mostly personal stuff as well (I'm working on a post with all of them right now). I still plan to keep blogging in 2018 (we have lots of house projects planned, which I'm excited about!), but I'll be honest...it's probably gonna be another year where blogging isn't my first priority.
Anyways, I could go on but I feel like this post is already really long. If you actually read the whole thing, I hope I didn't come off sounding negative! I still love blogging! But I wanted to be honest, and share some of the struggles I've had with it in 2017. I'd love to get your thoughts, whether you're a fellow blogger, small business owner, or blog reader. Thanks for bearing with me on a wordy, reflective post...I don't do these too often but I always feel the urge around the start of a new year!