i love blogging. i really do. there is no way that i would spend all my free time and allowance money on this if it was not something i enjoyed doing! there are so many things i enjoy about it! i love the community, i love the creativity, i love the desire to continue learning (i am super academic people. i LOVED school!), and i love how i feel when i am blogging.
this blog did not happen overnight. i am the blogger who has gone through years of blogging and many seasons. i have tried new things (some that succeeded and some that failed). i have emo blogged. i have shared too much and i have shared not enough. i used pictures i didn’t own before i learned about copy right and quickly fixed that when i did learn! i blogged on a whim and i blogged with a strict schedule. i have said i would never do outfit posts and now they are some of my favorite posts to do. this place is an evolution.
now i am enjoying blogging at a level i never thought i would reach! i remember when i had 30 followers on GFC and i was blown away because some of them were strangers! and then that number reached 100 (party!!). i had so many celebrations and moments where i was blown away that my blog was even being view by others! last month i had over 100,000 pageviews which is the most i have had ever. for me it is still only the beginning! every day i am learning more and challenging myself to be the best blogger that i can be. i love my job dearly but i dream of the day when i can stay home with my kids and still help the family out. i love the idea of this turning into a solid part time job so that i can make money doing something that i love so dearly – wouldn’t that be awesome!
i did not get here alone. i have learned from so many wise people who have gone before me and who are walking alongside of me. my encouraging husband has willingly given me his camera to take millions of pictures for this place and has challenged me when i fall into self doubt. he has given me blogging time, asked questions, and helped me process ideas, advertising, and ventures. so many friends & family let me take pictures on our adventures and send me sweet notes letting me know they read everyday. i have also read books, taken classes, joined groups, and shared ideas. i think the best dream is one that you do not do alone, it is one that involves the people around you. it is deep and wide.
i read this one last summer and it really was the jump start i needed to really invest in my blog. i liked posting. i liked my readers. i liked when people commented but i just didn’t know where to go or what to do. i was in an awkward season and this book was perfect. it does talk about a lot of the basics (like naming your blog and that kind of stuff) but i learned a lot too. even with the simple things – i realized how i might need to switch my blog name (which i did). i loved the little stories from other bloggers and loved just the freedom to dream and take my blog seriously. no one told me that my blog could be a business until then.
as seen in the photo above, i just started this one last week and have made it a couple sessions in. this is my first ecourse from A Beautiful Mess (in fact, it is my first ecourse ever) and i am thoroughly enjoying it! we are all at different stages with out blogs but we always have something to learn. i can be tempted to skip over things i have already done (like think about what i want to blog about) but if i do, i miss so much room for improvement. this ecourse is perfect if you are starting out but it is also perfect if you are loving where your blog is going and are feeling pretty established. i am taking notes like crazy and rethinking things like content. you may not need to switch anything up but it is good to take the time to recognize you like what you are doing and it is working. also, you can only do so much at once. so last year when i read blog inc i learned a lot and put a lot into action but i also missed a lot because i was focusing on other things. continuing your blogging education is important because there is always a next step. and always something that can be refined. i highly recommend this one (also, what wonderful people to learn from!!)SKILL SHARE
have you heard of this place? it is a wonderful place where you can sign up for a membership ($10 a month) and take unlimited classes! i think that growing and learning is KEY in the creative world. challenge yourself and learn new things! Skillshare has hundreds of amazing online classes and you can use this link to get a free month of Skillshare Membership and unlimited access to these classes!
i do not have the simplified planner, i have the simplified binder which is currently not for sale right now but the planner is practically the same thing. when i first started blogging all i thought i needed was a computer and an internet connection. then sticky notes were showing up all over my house and i figured it was time for a little organization! i plan my posts ahead of time, schedule giveaways months in advance sometimes, and pretty much have a lot of dates to remember. writing everything down in a calendar helps me be able to communicate more professionally with people who are wanting to partner with Oak + Oats and allows me to not stress out about forgetting things! i work full time and have a pretty active social life (remember,i am an extrovert!) so my blogging time is pretty limited. i love using my free time to blog but i want it to be productive so i am not sitting in Bible Study trying to figure out how we can sneak out before we all start talking and watching youtube or even before prayer requests so that i can get home to blog. blogging is not more important to me than the community around me, i always want to keep that in mind. this planner helps simplify my life so that i can spend time with the ones i love (like i have all my posts scheduled for the week so that i never have that thought during Bible Study.) also, it is good to have a place where all your blog thoughts can call home. i still scribble on sticky notes but they all go into the same folder or are rewritten on a blog idea page.
i just got Laura Casey’s powersheets this year and they are wonderful. i had a couple ideas floating around in my head in regards to my blog but i did not think i actually could do them. one of my favorite quotes from her is “you know all those things you wanted to do? you should do them!” it comes with the powersheets which are a way to organize your goals and track your progress. it is pretty amazing. you can actually see all those tabs sticking out in the above photo! (remember, it is important to keep all your blog stuff together!)
i have the lifetime membership and it was worth the investment! i knew it was a community that i wanted to be a part of so i just took the leap and dove into it! the forums are great when i get to spend time on them but really, i don’t have a lot of time to do that right now. that is one of the reasons i got the lifetime so that i didn’t feel like i was wasting my membership. but what really does it for me is the classes! i have loved taking the classes. as a member you get a certain number of classes free and that really makes your money’s worth! i have loved every class that i have taken and they are on a huge variety of topics! if you cannot make the live class, you get emailed the recording when it is over! it is a great community to learn with and bounce ideas off! one day i would love to be able to go to the influence conference!
you may not think that this website would be included in my blog resources but it really is a great place of encouragement that i have found. i believe that nothing is worth doing without the Lord. He has given me dreams, talents, passions, and hopes all to use for His glory. when i spend time seeking the Lord daily, my blog is blessed, my business is blessed, my life is blessed. because i am able to hear His voice and follow His leading. i still mess up and i am not perfect but i know the Lord is my provider. if i want this blog to grow i must seek Him first – even if He calls me away from this place. but right now i know He has called me to it and He will be faithful to use it. this community of women reading Truth together is so encouraging and uplifting because it reminds us we are not alone! and it is not just bloggers, it is moms, daughters, teachers, students, dreamers, of all sorts.
i am including this site because they have personally been such an encouragement to me! i met Savannah in high school when my best friend moved to Georgia and i would go visit her. Savannah was one of her GA friends and neighbors. we of course became myspace and facebook friends (i am sure) and i continued to follow her through the years. they all went to the same college so i would hear great stories and fun adventures. when she started MaieDae i was one of the first followers. i was so inspired what she was creating and how she was growing. i went to Sav & Jenny for my first blog design when the just started. it was so cheep but i was nervous because it was the first time i had ever spent money on my blog. but it proved to be a great investment and grew my blog. then when i was thinking about rebranding i went right back to them! they helped me really hone in and create Oak + Oats. i NEEDED Jenny’s handwriting included in my blog because i love it so much and it is one of my favorite things about this space. they are great designers and if you ever need brand & design help i recommend them without reservation!
DEATH TO STOCK PHOTO
i love this website and their photographs! i try to only use my own photos but i am still on their email list for their photo packs. i love being inspired by their photography. also, i think it is awesome what they do! a blog is judged by its cover (sorry but it is true) and they create a way that everyone can have beautiful photography legally! if you are struggling with photo content you need to sign up on this website!
i started this little collection of blog topics that i have covered. if you like what you have read, you can read more here.
WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND MOST HELPFUL ON YOUR BLOG JOURNEY?