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Sunday
Jul222012

My American Dream

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You all know that patience has never been one of my strongest characteristics.  In fact, I'd probably be the first to admit that I was last in line when God was handing out that attribute up in Heaven.  When I want things, I want them today...I want them yesterday, to be more precise.

But, as we all know, there are very few things in life that give us instant satisfaction.  Most of the things we all want take countless hours of time and sacrifice, and years of determination before we even begin to see the fruits of our labor.

Earlier this year when I shared blogging tips for my blogiversary (you can catch the series here if you missed it), I mentioned the foolish expectations I had when I started this blog.  Shamelessly, I admitted to under-estimating the work it would take, and over-estimating the power of Facebook.  I thought that once I released my blog link to my friends on Facebook, everyone would just come in, like my page, spread the word to all of their friends, and the rest would be history.

I'm sure anyone who blogs just had a good chuckle over that admission, but don't worry, I'm not too embarrassed by it.  In fact, I have a good chuckle myself when I think back to those first few months when I was bright-eyed, and bushy-tailed, and had fairy dust in the brain.

I can look back now and see the entire journey I have been on since starting this blog.  I can see the ups and downs that I have had along the way, and I can appreciate them for getting me to where I am today.

There have been many struggles during the time I've spent blogging.  I've struggled to find the balance between working full-time, completing projects, and writing regularly.  I've struggled with my health. (Who'da thunk that living off of 4-5 hours of sleep each night would bite a girl in the butt eventually, huh?)  I've struggled with learning coding tricks, site design, and managing a million social media profiles (okay, it's just a few, but it feels like a million).  I've struggled with finding my place within this huge community of DIY/Home Decor bloggers, most of which are legendary.

Of all of the struggles I've encountered during my time blogging, I think that I am just emerging from the most challenging of them all.

You probably noticed that my posting activity over the past few months had headed down the crapper. I went from posting 3-5 times per week to 3-5 times per month starting in mid-May.

What happend?

Well, I started to second-guess myself.  Up until my blogiversary I had been watching the numbers of my readership grow.  They weren't sky-rocketing by any means, but each month I saw consistent growth, and I viewed that growth as progress.

Progress toward what?

Progress toward my goal of someday being able to follow my dream of blogging full-time.  Progress toward my small slice of the American Dream that tells us it is possible to make a living doing what we love to do.

But, after I hit my first blogiversary I started to notice that my stats were going down, and it devastated me.  Not because I want to be the most popular girl in school, but more because it made me feel that what I was doing must not be adding any value to anyone, or anything. 

Then I started to feel sorry for myself.  (Gosh!  I'm such an emotional mess, right?)  I started to think about how I was not reaching my success as quickly as I thought I would.  I started to think about how long it was going to take, and I started to wonder if I would ever get there.

Then I started to self-sabotage.  I'd sit at the computer with plenty of topics to write about, but I just couldn't find the words to put down on the page.  Each of you should probably be glad for this, because I'm sure anything written at that point would have been pure garbage.

I know how smart each of you are, and I know that you can tell when I'm not being truthful to the emotions I'm sharing on the page.  The truth is, I was so far in this rut that I felt sharing anything would be a dis-service to anyone who reads this blog.  You deserved better than what I had to give.

Bouncing back has been such a process, but I couldn't have even begun without the help of some really wonderful and supportive people.  I have some amazing coworkers who encouraged me, and last night I had some wonderful experiences that helped me to put things into perspective.

I was able to attend the performance of a local band made up of my friend Jana's husband, and a few other friends from my work.  Their group has just recently formed, and it formed by chance...or perhaps destiny.  It formed through mutual acquaintances who identified a similarity in the passion for music that each of the band members had, and now they're a group, they've performed their first show together, and they're talking about the big dreams that they all have.

As I watched them, I realized that they were really talented.  I realized that it may one day work out for them and each of them may be rich and famous.  What started in a small venue called The Rhythm Room may one day turn into crowded stadiums with hundreds-of-thousands of fans singing along to the lyrics.

It could happen for them, but it will probably take years of hard work, playing gigs, and building the right connections before that happens.

I realized that it's the same for me.  It could happen for me.  One day I could be successful with this and be able to make the transition into blogging full-time, but it will probably take years of hard work, writing posts, working on projects, and building the right connections before that happens.

While I was at the show I was able to have a brief, but influential conversation with someone that I used to work very closely with.  In fact, she used to be my manager, and we used to have talks about our dreams and passions on a regular basis.

We were talking about work and some changes that were taking place, and then we were talking about the other interests we have been pursuing (she is actively pursuing becoming a professional photographer).  I shared with her the rut that I had found myself in due to the drop in numbers I had seen, and she encouraged me with some words of advice.  First she reminded me that ups-and-downs were normal, and then she told me that I had to hold onto the indicators of success that I did see, regardless of if they were big or small.

She reminded me that every time a comment came through, or every time a picture from my site was pinned, that was success...that was growth.

She is right!  ...and now I feel like a complete fool for forgetting that...

Why am I sharing this?

Because you all are a part of my American Dream.  In fact, each of you plays a huge role because you are what makes this experience worth it!

I hope that I don't come across as sounding like I only write this blog in hopes of becoming rich someday.  Nothing is further from the truth!

When I think about making money through sponsorship on this blog, what makes me excited is the thought of being able to do what I love to do all of the time.  I think about all of the projects I could complete, and share with you.  I think about how quickly I could grow the resources that are available through this site, and I think about the time I would have available to be more interactive with my followers.

You are what motivates me, and I hope that if you've ever found any value through the pages, tips, and tutorials I've shared on this blog, that you'll help me to move closer to my dream of blogging full-time.

How can you help?  It's simple.

  • Comment--Your comments make my day!  They keep me going strong!
  • Like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram (@happyplacehome)
  • Subscribe to my email content
  • Tell your friends--tell your sister who loves to scrapbook, or your cousin who's into crafts, or even your crazy uncle who just likes a good read.  Tell them all!

You all mean the world to me, and I truly am humbled by you giving me the opportunity to be a part of your day. Thank you for all of the encouragement you have offered me through thick-and-thin.  I love you all!  XOXO!

PS...The band I mentioned above is called Flight of Ideas.  They are really good, and you should check them out on their Facebook page, Facebook.com/flightofideas2012, and their Twitter feed, @flightofideasaz

PSS...My friend's photography business is called Project 31 Photography.  She takes great photos, and you should check her out on Facebook, and her website.

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Reader Comments (4)

Your honesty is refreshing! I know I feel stuck in a rut often, and sometimes it's surprising what can help to lift me out of it (a spontaneous conversation with a new friend, drive into the mountains, really good ice cream). And when I get out and look back, the rut I fell so deep into was just the size of a baby puddle. It gives me confidence to move forward with wisdom to avoid that particular rut in the future. Keep pursuing your dream...I'm along for the ride!

July 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNichole

Thanks Nichole!

I'm with you when it comes to the ice-cream...hence my Project Self initiative. LOL! It always amazes me the support that I find when I need it most, and how it sometimes comes in the most unexpected places. I also agree that looking back later always makes me feel like the challenge was so small, but I think that's because we grow stronger as we go through it.

Thanks for all of your support!

xo, Kelli

July 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterAHPCH

One of my favorite things about your blog is your genuine honesty. Thanks for sharing your heart in the highs and the lows. I believe that is what will help you see your dream... being truthful with yourself and your audience.

Thank you Danielle!

I'm so sorry that I'm just replying to this comment, but I wanted to let you know how much your kind words mean to me. It's difficult to know if sometimes I "overshare" but I'm definitely not the kind of person who can fake an emotion that I don't feel.

Thanks for your patience with me, your encouragement, and your understanding!

xo, Kelli

August 22, 2012 | Registered CommenterAHPCH

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