Lessons learned from nine years of blogging

Lessons learned from nine years of blogging | SusannahConway.com

My blog turned nine on Sunday. Nine years of sharing my heart online — can you believe it?

Back then blogging felt like a friendly chat around a kitchen table. There was no concern about tweets and likes and shares, although we were still pretty keen on comments. In April 2006 Facebook was a two-year-old toddler and Twitter only a month old. While I’m sure there were plenty of business-driven blogs, our corner of the blogosphere consisted of personal bloggers sharing their stories and interests. We loved words and poetry, photography and craft. We commented on each others’ sites and our blog rolls spilled off our sidebars. The online world really did feel like a smaller place back then.

I remember when everyone was up in arms about adverts popping up on blogs — now no one bats an eyelid at blog monetisation. When I first offered my Unravelling course in January 2009 (and over 100 women signed up!) it never even occurred to me that it could be a sustainable business — you know, doing stuff online. Each time I offered the course I’d think “maybe this is the session that will bomb” and would quietly freak out whenever I saw someone else offering a course, fearing the marketplace would become saturated. The irony is the marketplace is now most definitely saturated, but that also means doing stuff online has become so normal.

I often wonder what my online life would be like if I’d have had access to the bells and whistles we have now. I imagine it must feel rather intimidating starting a blog, website or online biz with all the razzmatazz out there. Nine years ago I didn’t know I was stepping on to an entrepreneurial path… I just wanted to connect with others and exercise my writerly muscles again. I wonder if my 33-year-old self would have signed up for B-School and jumped in feet first? (Answer: highly unlikely.)

One of the loveliest parts of being online is the community that’s grown around me. So many of you have been here from the start, witnessing my journey and supporting me all these years — thank you so much for being here! It’s a blessing to have such kind-hearted peeps in my tribe. These days I may blog less but I hang out on social media every day and cherish the connections we share. I still get overwhelmed by all the noise (hello HSP) but as long as I filter mindfully I can usually keep my head ;-)

My online persona is pretty close to my off-line persona, though in the 3D world I’m far more sweary. I don’t share all my dirtiest laundry here but then I never have done. Even in the worst of the grief I was still a year out from the blast when I started blogging, so the white hot pain was kept to myself. I share what I would be happy to tell you to your face, and I really am truly HAPPY to share — it’s an honour to have this space and reach as many people as I do.

There were never any long-term plans when I started blogging because I had no idea what was possible — the possibilities hadn’t been imagined yet. But if I’d had a plan where I am right now is where I would’ve hoped to be…. still connecting with others and exercising my writerly muscles.

A few things I’ve learned through blogging:

1. People are amazing. The kindness of complete strangers has blown me away thousands of times over the last nine years.

2. Everything will change. Social media sites will come and go and domain names will be reimagined, but your voice will always be yours. Hone it, use it, appreciate it.

3. Never underestimate the power of story. Sharing our stories helps others feel less alone and teaches us how to live even better endings.

4. Nine times out of ten a post will be improved if you sleep on it and look again with fresh eyes in the morning. This can be applied to most situations, I find.

5. There will always be someone bigger, brighter, more successful. Someone with whiter teeth and shinier hair. Do your best to tune them out and keep your eyes on your own page.

6. DO YOUR OWN THING. Do your absolute very best to not be a watered-down version of someone else. There are a lot of people online and after a while they all start looking the same. Proudly stand out in your own way. Be YOU in all your messy fabulous glory.

In a completely unplanned turn of events, Blogging from the Heart is currently enrolling — we start Monday May 4th :)

25 responses
  1. Marianne

    I’m so grateful to all the words you have written and shared over the 9 years I’ve been reading here (and at Ink on My Fingers) – I’m grateful for your courage, your honesty, your eye for beauty and for staying relentlessly true to who you are the story you have to tell. Thank you for being my friend in a time when I needed friends so badly. Thank you for everything. xxx

  2. Jo

    Happy Blogday. And I’m forever glad I found your blog and then you. Especially the fucking swear-y bit. Love you. xx

  3. Catalina

    Hi Susannah!
    I only discovered your blog recently but I’m so glad I did! Your posts are brilliantly written (and they speak to me so much) and your photographs are superb! By the way, your photo of the statue of Tara is my absolute favourite! Love it.
    Thank you for everything! xo

  4. The dame intl

    The sleeping on it is a great tip. I wrote a post the other day about haters on the internet, slept on it and re-reading it made me realise it was more of a rant that I didnt want on my blog, so I trashed it.

    I also wish more bloggers would carve their own brand and not copy what every other blogger is doing, it gets so redundant now that the scene is so saturated :) I love people who have a unique take on life and themselves!

  5. Laura SImms

    Happy Blog Birthday, Susannah. So glad I found this kitchen table where I can always expect a heartfelt story.

  6. elizabeth

    INK ON MY FINGERS!!! ohhhh those were the days. . .ha! I sound like an old lady, don’t I? but we were THERE and it was GOOD and now we are HERE and it is getting better all the time and all I know is I am blessed to the moon to know you, to spend time with you and to call you friend. Happy nine years anniversary– may there be another 90 more! xoox

  7. Mary in VA

    Every morning I check the blog to see if there is something. I am so glad I found this blog 4 years ago. Over the years it has gone from being a lifeline to a conversation with a friend. I look forward to Something For the Weekend and save up to take classes. Thank you!

  8. Annette Gendler

    Congratulations! Sticking with anything for nine years is an accomplishment worth celebrating, and growing with it is even more so. Thanks for sharing your journey and for being a shining example of how creating a business out of being true to yourself.

  9. Bella

    Been a minute, right? Happy Blog Birthday lovie.
    I’m happy to have met you + have you as a friend and ally through this beautiful medium!!

  10. Grace

    Susannah, I remember taking one of your first Unravelling courses and absolutely falling in love with the art of telling a story through photography. Years later I enrolled in Blogging from the Heart and fell in love all over again, this time with soul-full writing. Thank you for being my guide and mentor in the blogging world! Much love to you and here’s to another nine years!

  11. Yvonne

    Happy blogbirthday! Great post and I totally agree. Actually I deleted my old blog as I realised that I felt some kind of pressure… and started all over again. Best decision!
    Much love!

  12. Sandra Pawula

    9 years! That’s so amazing! You’ve always had a unique voice and presentation style. I think that’s one of the greatest lessons you have taught us. Thanks for all the goodness you’ve brought to the world over those last 9 years. And, here’s to a bright future as well.

  13. Emma

    Happy birthday! As one if those original 100 unravellers I will always be grateful for your innovation, and your ability to bring people together. You rock x x x

  14. Terri

    Congrats love…thank you for all that you do so creatively and bravely. It’s meant so much to me and supported me in so many ways. Love the reflections in this post especially “still connecting with others and exercising my writerly muscles”….perfect words xo

  15. Mary

    It’s been awhile since I visited but every time I do it’s like coming home again.

    Congrats on #9! Keep shining your light, Susannah!

  16. Maria

    Beautiful. I have been reading you blog on and off for a few years. One of the things I like the most is that you’re always true to your voice. Many of us, including myself, have done so much experimenting that we felt a need to start new blogs, some of us several times. I think it’s a great accomplishment that you managed to write on one blog for nine years! That is very cool. Thank you!

  17. Elizabeth

    Congratulations on your nine years! You have certainly helped me become a more confident blogger through your courses (both blogging and photography/unravelling) and even though I’m only eighteen months in I already feel I’m finding my online voice. Your way of being you online is a real inspiration. Here’s to many more years to come x

  18. masha

    Susannah, Congratulations!!! I don’t know how I happened to come to your blog, but I liked you right away. I love your style of writing, it’s conversational, that’s the way i want to write. I’m new to the blogging world and am just now learning what works for me. I am loving your course “Blogging from the Heart” am learning so much. So, here’s to a new friendship and congratulations!!!

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