Why Starting my Own Blog was One of the Best Things I’ve Done

Around 3 years ago, I decided to start my own personal blog. Looking back, I’m not exactly sure what it was that prompted me to do so. I had always loved writing growing up, and had also just started experimenting with a personal journal. I must’ve thought, “Why not have a place online where I can also document my thoughts and ideas?”

So, I took the leap and started a blog on WordPress called lifewithjulia.net. When I first started it, the website looked nowhere near what it does today. I began with one of those basic themes that WordPress offers, and tried my best to play around with and customize it to make my blog into what I’d always envisioned. But it was difficult to do that with the limitations of the theme, so after about a year and a half, I made the decision to use a pipdig theme for my blog, despite the added cost. Pipdig offers a ton of amazing themes for your blog and the service is great, too.

When you purchase a theme, they install it for you and carry over everything – your content, photos, etc. – from your old blog to your new one. On top of the theme, I also had to purchase my own hosting from SiteGround (after shopping around, that one seemed the best for me). Even with these extra costs, I viewed this all as a new milestone for my blog, and was so much happier with the way it all looked.

 

 

 

 

Lifewithjulia first started as a lifestyle blog. I liked writing about the books I was reading, or some of my favourite quotes. I posted about apps I was using, restaurants I was going to, and magazines that were piling up in my house. Then, after getting my own DSLR camera, the blog began to shift, focusing more on travel.

My family had always been big on traveling. We liked to do a big trip together at least once a year, and it was our way of “bonding.” Cruising was definitely our preferred mode of travel because it let us see multiple destinations in a short period of time, while not having to pack our bags every night and constantly be on the move from hotel to hotel. If we weren’t cruising, we loved the idea of bus tours, especially when in Europe, because we were taken around to all these different cities and countries with a guide. So I started writing a blog post for each port of call, or city, that we’d find ourselves in. And because I had my camera, I started using my own photos in each post. It was my writing, my photography, and my blog.

And I loved it. Yes, it was time-consuming at times and after a big trip often with 10 ports of call, it was difficult to get a post written up for each, find the appropriate photos, and post them on the blog – all in a timely manner. But because I loved it so much, I pushed myself to stick with it, trying not to fall behind on posts or to simply forget about them. About a year ago, I started experimenting with the idea of writing a few posts while I was on vacation if I ever got a spare hour or two. Throughout the day, when we were on the go, I’d open up the Notes app on my phone and jot down any observations I had and all the locations we’d visited during the day (because I never trust the impermanence of memory). Then, when I got time, either back in the hotel or on the cruise during “At Sea” days, I’d sit down to write a post. When I got home, I’d then figure out a posting schedule and which photos to use.

The best part about having a travel blog is that it allows me to keep a record of all my travels. Even today, I’ll look back and read my posts from a vacation that we’d went on years ago. Suddenly, all the feelings I had felt – the joy, the excitement, or even the apprehension – while in the city flood my memories. The photos serve as another great reminder of all that I saw.

What I love most is how my blog gives me my own platform for self-expression. It gives me a reason to keep writing, and is such a great way to get my writing out there. In the beginning, it was difficult for me to share my writing so publicly, but lifewithjulia and Her Campus have really helped me get over my fear of vulnerability. I strongly believe that frequent writing, no matter what it’s about, is the key to not only becoming a better writer, but becoming better with communicating your thoughts, and being more open to what you see in the world.

For any of you who are thinking about starting your own blog but don’t know what the first step is, just go for it. Start with Wordpress, Wix, Weebly, or any other blogging site out there and get even the most basic website set up. Once it’s set up, just start writing, and you’ll find that your passion for blogging will grow even more. The best part is that you can make your blog whatever you want it to be. It can be about food, working out, your favourite books, travel, etc. The important thing to remember is that it’s your blog and your space. I like to call it your own little slice of the Internet. So just write, play around with it, and see where it goes. You won’t regret it; I promise.