Two Years of Blogging: One Piece of Advice

Yesterday was my blog's second birthday. Yesterday, I didn't even realize that it was my blog's second birthday. Today, I'm wondering why I cared so much more about having a blogiversary last year than I do this year. I mean, last year I went out and bought myself a 1st birthday party hat, some streamers, and a cupcake to celebrate the monumental occasion.

I also changed the name of my blog from Shades of Gray and a Pinch of Pink (P.S. what in the actual fuck was I thinking?) to Two Thirds Hazel, redesigned my entire blog from top to bottom, and gave away a bunch of my favorite things. But this year things seem to be a bit different.

First off, because I honestly thought my blog's anniversary was on February 28th instead of 27th (shows how much I care) and secondly, because I just frankly don't find it all that important to celebrate year two. I'm not hosting some huge giveaway with all my favorite bloggers, I'm not dressing up and holding a bouquet of balloons in my hand while holding a sequined "2" statue in the other (even though I kind of really want to do that now that I think of it), and I'm not parading around the blog world shouting from the rooftops how insanely crazy it is to be an official blogger of two years.

What is insanely crazy, though, is how much I've grown as a blogger in these past two years. That's about all that's going through my head this time around.

I started out having absolutely no knowledge of anything to do with blogging, just like the majority of everyone else. Those were the days I was proud of myself just for successfully uploading a picture from my iPhone and being able to insert a link under it that was actually clickable. 

I blogged about pretty mindless things in my first year. "What I Wanted" on Wednesday, a Polyvore collage of some bullshit outfit I'd never wear on "Fancy Friday", two random pointless happenings for "Twofer Tuesday". The only time I really had much to say was when another blogger held a linkup and gave me prompts to write about. I'd post twice in one day. I entered giveaway after giveaway. I wrote very few words and spaced them out into short lines of text, one after the other. If you were looking for paragraphs, realness, or logical thoughts laid out conveying some sort of well-rounded message, my blog was not the place for you. There wasn't too much to leave you thinking, or anything to really disagree with. I only ever received one anonymous hateful comment and it was from someone in real life, not the blog world. 

It was all pretty fluffy, and not Despicable Me unicorn fluffy, the bland kind of fluffy. And that's because, for the most part, I didn't put myself into my blog. Yeah, I wrote it and it was about me, but it was just an extension of what I wanted me to be instead of just plain old me.

Yet two "where the hell did those years go" later, I'm here. And I feel like things are a whole lot different.

There's still some fluff around the corners, there are still a couple linkups, some rare giveaways, and quite a few "why the hell did she just publish that random nonsense" type posts, but the majority of what you see these days is a whole hell of a lot better than what you would've seen in my first year here. I'd shamelessly toot my own horn right now if I didn't think I still had leaps and bounds and mountains to climb in order to actually be a "successful blogger", but in my own personal journey I think I've improved tremendously. And that's because I started putting myself into these pages.

Those "fluff" posts turned into "why so serious" posts. Instead of posting about all my favorite pins from Pinterest, I posted about how I was once crazy. Instead of posting a collage every Friday from some fantasy land, I started posting about real life happenings. Like when I introduced a guy on my blog for the first time ever when I got a boyfriend and then ultimately, writing about the break up a few months later. I also realized I didn't have to hide the parts of me that didn't fit into the mold of the "average" blogger. I started going against the grain, writing about how I don't believe that everything happens for a reason as well as how I don't believe in God. Then there were the posts that delved deeper into me as a person. Beyond just the puppy loving, tutu wearing, Miller Lite drinking, Chipotle lover that I am. There was the good, the bad, and the ugly. There were the things I was afraid to tell you

With each post, I stepped farther and farther out onto the proverbial diving board. Sure it was a hell of a lot scarier than keeping those toddler-sized swimmies on my arms while wading in the kiddy pool of all things safe and non-controversial, but it also wasn't nearly as fulfilling. 

My comments increased not only in number but also in depth. So many more heartfelt, honest, and thought-provoking encounters started coming my way. The connections I made with readers became deeper as well and I wouldn't trade that for the world. "I love that pin too" turned into "You stole the words right out of my mouth, thank you for making me feel sane for thinking these exact same thoughts. I needed this post today." My readership also grew immensely over this past year. My first blogiversary saw about 700 followers on board. My second now has over 3,000. Family and friends have told me how much they enjoy reading everyday and getting to know me on a more personal level, even if the means is through a computer screen and not actually in person. Millions more opportunities have come my way and I've been able to branch out into other areas besides just writing. 

But above all of that, I feel more fulfilled. More accomplished. More real. More satisfied. Because at the end of the day, even though putting yourself out there is scarier than Joan Rivers' face in the dead of morning, it is also so completely and intensely gratifying. So the biggest piece of blog advice that I've acquired over the past two years? Put yourself out there in whatever way you possibly can, the benefits will absolutely come your way.

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