Living

by tinareale on April 6, 2012

I started blogging just over two years ago. Over that time, I have seen my blogging take a journey that I hear happens a lot for many bloggers.

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  • First hear about blogging and think “that sounds like fun”.
  • Start up a blog and spend hours trying to figure out how all the little details work.
  • Blog sporadically – a post here, a post there. Only when you feel like it.
  • Suddenly realize the vast vortex of blogging and end up reading, commenting, learning about blogging, etc for a huge chunk of your time.
  • Begin posting more regularly because you realize just how much you enjoy it.
  • Start getting a few more readers and making new connections.
  • Eventually begin making comparisons and wanting to be like other “big bloggers”.
  • Put a lot more time, effort, and pressure into blogging.
  • Think “this can take up a LOT Of valuable time”.
  • Realize that other bloggers’ style isn’t your own. Get frustrated. Go back to a more personal style.
  • Blogging grows into a creative outlet. A community you love. A passion. You want it to flourish because you love it so much.
  • Go back to putting a lot more time, effort…and eventually pressure into blogging.
  • Get frustrated again and get *thisclose* to stopping for good. I even had an official “Goodbye, I’m leaving blogging” post drafted and ready to hit publish.
  • Take a step back and think. What do I love about it? What don’t I love about it? What do I want to give others? What fulfills me? Is. It. Worth. It??
  • Make decisions. Then, either stop or make changes. Stick with them.

My personal decisions and changes?

What do I love about it? The community and outlet to share myself and my passion for fitness and that healthy living can be fun for anyone.

What do I want to give to others? A source of support/empathy. A friend. New ideas for workouts. Motivation to strive towards a healthier life physically, emotionally, mentally, etc together.

What fulfills me? Helping others and being there for others.

What don’t I love about blogging? Well, I love it all now! What didn’t I love before? Before, I would often feel like I lived my life through the blogging lens. I would still go about my life and never did things “for the blog”, but I would constantly consider how I could craft my experiences into blog posts. My blog used to always hover in the background of my thoughts and experiences. I couldn’t just live. It drove me crazy. So much that I almost left blogging behind completely.

Until I made the decision to change. To align my blogging habits with what fulfills me and drives me (sharing and participating in the community while also helping others achieve personal fitness goals in a fun, realistic way). And to not have to share every piece of my life. So I can go out and LIVE.

Fully in the moment. Fully with my loved ones. And not stress the pretenses and schedules and numbers and self-imposed expectations.

Zoo with my best friend and our kids…far outweighs the need to draft up a post for Thursday. A dinner night out with my family trumps getting 100% caught up on my Google Reader. It saddens me that I wouldn’t always have approached life that way. I may have done those things…but worried about the blog in the niggling recesses of my mind. Now…I just live. And share it when I get the chance.

Go LIVE this weekend! Then share it later. Or not. It can be a special treasure of a memory in your heart and mind too. That’s 100% okay.

{ 75 comments }

1 Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama April 6, 2012 at 6:37 am

Yes!! I have often wondered how bloggers who have a more lifestyle/journal/daily eats format do it. I would have a very hard time living that way. I’m glad you figured out what works for you as a blogger and were able to continue AND enjoy those life moments. So important!

2 Claire April 6, 2012 at 6:37 am

Nicely said! I could not agree more & not just with blogging- I used to do the same with photography or calorie counting/food…
I hope you enjoy every minute of your life :) & live fully in the moment.
Thank you for sharing so much of your lives with us but please don’t feel like you *have* to! All the best xxx

3 Lauren April 6, 2012 at 6:38 am

You’re blog has changed throughout these 2 years but it has ALWAYS stayed so true and real and honest. Enjoy your weekend hun and happy Easter!

4 Brittany @ Itty Bits of Balance April 6, 2012 at 6:50 am

Amen, amen, amen! You just detailed the last 9 months of my life into bullet points haha. It took me a while to finally embrace not having to talk about EVERYTHING that happens in my life, and most importantly that there aren’t any “rules” with blogging! I guess I took what I saw in other blogs as the ground criteria, but pshhhh– who wants to be a uniform blogger anyway!

I love your journey as well, and I’m so glad I was able to witness the switch of your blog! You’re such an amazing person for following your goals so boldly! And just as I always say— You have to do something wrong before you can do it right.

5 Michelle@Peachy Palate April 6, 2012 at 7:09 am

Great post Tina and that is so my journey and I still have only been blogging for 9 months! It’s a whirlwind! Happy Easter and hope you a have a lovely weekend just living! :)

6 katie April 6, 2012 at 7:28 am

You are beautiful Tina and I love everything you said! LIVE is what we should all do every day, it is hard to get so caught up in our blog! You have to have balance!

The last pic, your daughters face, SO cute, haha!

Happy Easter to you and your family! xoxo <3

7 Heather (Where's the Beach) April 6, 2012 at 7:34 am

Amen – I love blogging too, but living is so much more important!

8 Janine @ThePurpleGiraffe April 6, 2012 at 7:42 am

Great post! I love blogging – but blog about the life I love living! :)

9 Emily April 6, 2012 at 7:48 am

Amazingly odd timing!! I sat down to write a very similar set of statements on April 1 as it was the one year reflection of “whytheheckamIdoingthis” (http://sparrowinthetreetop.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/im-making-this-up-as-i-go-along/)
Albeit you have captured the essence here much more eloquently : )
Glad I found your blog!!

10 tinareale April 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Thanks! I’m going to have to check out that post of yours. :)

11 Michelle (Better with Berries) April 6, 2012 at 7:49 am

What a great post! I think I’m in the “blogging is starting to take up a lot of time” stage right now because between teaching, grading papers, writing a few posts a week, and catching up on all my friends’ blogs, it’s starting to feel like another job. I need to remind myself of what I love about it (connecting with others!) and focus on that part and not do what makes me feel stressed (feeling like I have to post x times per week).

P.S. Your family is beautiful!

12 tinareale April 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Thanks, Michelle! And definitely keep it fun and pressure free. I know how crazy busy teaching can get. I know I wouldn’t have been able to handle both together! Kudos to you!

13 Khushboo April 6, 2012 at 7:57 am

GREAT post Tina- love it! Everytime I find myself thinking of content, I realise I’m not blogging for the right reason…i.e. as a creative outlet! I refuse to let something pleasurable like blogging become an obligation- if I don’t post 3 times a week (as I aim to), it’s no big deal…I’m not going to lose readers!

14 Karen April 6, 2012 at 8:00 am

Nicely said Tina!! I couldn’t agree with you more. I used to feel a tremendous amount of pressure to blog a certain way and a certain frequency in order to “grow” my blog. It’s taken some time but I finally realized that I should be living my life and enjoying it instead of stressing about what my next blog post will be about. I have fully embraced the attitude that if I don’t have anything meaningful to say then I won’t say anything at all. Time with my friends and family is far more important!

15 lindsay April 6, 2012 at 8:03 am

amen sista! this is beautiful! to see YOUR LIFE after you have lived, for YOU is why i read. Thank you TINA!

16 Nicole April 6, 2012 at 8:09 am

Yes! So agree with this! I’m also pretty happy you didn’t leave blogging though. Life is for LIVING ! :)

17 tinareale April 6, 2012 at 2:27 pm

I knew I couldn’t have. I would have missed it and everyone in this community WAY too much. :)

18 misszippy April 6, 2012 at 8:10 am

Sounds to me like you’ve got it all figured out. Good for you. I’ve been blogging for about the same amount of time and have had a similar journey. I still feel that pull sometimes to get back on Reader, etc, but I have gotten much better at ignoring it for real life. It’s all about balance!

19 Heather April 6, 2012 at 8:11 am

I am so sorry that it ever got so frustrating that you wanted to quit. I am at a point in my life where I enjoy crafting activities and things for blog posts. I don’t have kids, I work from home, and it is possible for me, and I am so grateful. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to change things cut back, etc. if I had kids and/or felt like it was taking away too much time.

20 Lee April 6, 2012 at 8:13 am

I think the best thing that I’ve realized is that I’m probably never going to be a big or even relatively big blogger and that’s okay. I blog for myself, not for anyone else and getting frustrated because I have a really small readership is just adding extra stress to my life that I don’t need.

21 Kierston April 6, 2012 at 8:22 am

Great post! Happy you found what works for you! It’s so important to live life and to enjoy every moment of it :) I love all the family photos! Have a wonderful weekend!

22 Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) April 6, 2012 at 8:36 am

I feel like blogging is like catching up with a great friend over a cup of coffee. It should never be about the numbers. When it starts to be that, then it becomes less real and more forced. I have had to step back from my own blog so much the last year. I actually miss writing like I used to, but I have too much going on here that needs my attention. You have two young kids. You have a career and a great husband! You definitely have your priorities right Tina! Enjoy your weekend and your family!

23 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers April 6, 2012 at 8:39 am

I’m in a semi-blog break at the moment (except for today’s sporadic post), and I totally know what you mean. Blogging is fun for me; it’s my creative outlet. Since my hubby, grandparents and parents read the blog, it’s also a great way to education my loved ones about the importance of health. However, I needed a little break. Funny thing is, I only took a week off before I already really really really missed it.

24 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats April 6, 2012 at 8:40 am

I’ve definitely learned there’s a balance – some life events I love to photograph and share and sometimes I like to drop the camera and live in the moment!

25 Parita @ myinnershakti April 6, 2012 at 8:41 am

Couldn’t have said it better! Live first then blog, not the other way around. :)

26 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health April 6, 2012 at 8:43 am

Thank you for this!! Great post Tina :) . Lately I’ve been getting really caught up in blogging and don’t feel like I’m actually living the way that I should be. Sometimes I even think about quitting the blog, but realize that I do love it. I guess I just need to work on figuring out how to work into my life instead of letting it run my life!

27 tinareale April 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I’m here if you ever need to talk. because oh have I been in those feelings!

28 Corey @ Learning Patience April 6, 2012 at 8:46 am

Great post Tina… unfortunately my “hours” trying to get set up quickly turned into days… lol
Now that I’m nearing the 10 month since I started blogging, I realize that it’s way more important to blog when I have the time and feel like it rather than blogging just to blog because I feel guilty about “not” doing so.

xoxo from MI still…dreaming about my Caribbean home – it’s COLD here

29 Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean April 6, 2012 at 8:55 am

loving your outlook! you’re amazing!

30 Laura April 6, 2012 at 8:57 am

Do I spy Sal’s Place? YUM! Hope y’all had some good pizza. :-)

31 tinareale April 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Yes you did! And oh my gosh – our first time there and SOOOOOO good!

32 Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! April 6, 2012 at 9:18 am

Fabulous post, Tina! I think this is a common ‘mistake’ that tons of bloggers make, myself included. I forgot how to live. But now, time and living far from home has really taught me to embrace life and let other things happen around it :-)

33 Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona April 6, 2012 at 9:57 am

This is such a great post – very honest! Thanks for the reminder that life isn’t about blogging, it’s about life.

34 Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life April 6, 2012 at 10:01 am

I needed to hear this today! I have only been blogging a few months, but I have already realized I am not like other bloggers and that’s okay! I initially started blogging everyday, but then I stopped on weekends, and am actually thinking about taking it down to a few times a week instead. I love blogging and enjoy reading blogs, but it was the center of my life for the first couple months and I lost the fun of it. I think it is easy to get caught up in wanting a successful blog and obsessing over content, but it’s important to remember that the blog can tell a story about your life, but it should not be your life! The best parts about blogging is definitely expressing yourself and the community. I have made so many friendships and receive so much support, it’s incredible! Have a great weekend! :-)

35 Megan @ Fiterature April 6, 2012 at 12:03 pm

@newly wife healthy life – I am RIGHT there with you! Every day that I see a new post in my inbox from a blogger I think – HOW are they doing this every day??!! I find myself getting caught in the “I’m not doing as much as everyone else” spiral.

Then I sit back and think “I am doing this for ME. This should be what I want it to be – anything else is superficial!”

Thanks for sharing! Good to have you!!

36 Alyssa @ Fit and Fun in Third April 6, 2012 at 10:08 am

What a great post!!! Thanks for the gentle reminder of what is really important… have a wonderful weekend! :)

37 Tracy April 6, 2012 at 10:12 am

Perfect! Blogging should be fun! You said it wonderfully..

Thank you so much for sharing with all of us! I have had all of those same thoughts and feelings at one time or another. Blogging is suppose to be fun and a way to express our thoughts and feelings, no matter what the topic we want to share at that moment!

Thanks again for a great post and keep the inspiration coming… ~Take Care… Happy Easter!

38 tinareale April 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Hope you have a great Easter weekend, as well. :)

39 Elena @ joi(run)r April 6, 2012 at 10:17 am

Wow, Tina! You have some great posts that hit at just the right time! I have been dabbling in the blogging world…alittle post here and there and very sporadic! Sometimes when I do something, an idea comes to me to add to my blog, but then later in the day I don’t have the energy to sit and write it down. I am always amazed at how some bloggers can whip out a blog a day. I love reading peoples blogs and am always inspired by what they write. I have found that it is okay to blog when I have the time and living my life is much more important than what I write down. The memories will live in me and not all of them have to be shared. Thank you again for you awesome post!

40 jobo April 6, 2012 at 10:30 am

I’ve loved reading your blogging evolution and seeing it first-hand! Your style of late seems to fit you best, be the most you and allows you better balance. I of course love reading each and every one of your posts, but I think sometimes quality still outweighs quantity, no matter what. And family and the zoo? trumps all :)

41 Jess April 6, 2012 at 10:30 am

YES!!! This is a very similar journey I’ve gone through blogging-wise. Having moments where I thought that maybe this is “it” – that it’s time to hang it up and move on. That it’s stealing too much of my life from well, my life. But then, I stepped back, re-evaluated. Got back to blogging for me. Not living for the blog. Huge difference. I’m so glad you’re at that point too. It’s freeing you up to live your life AND share your passions here, however you see fit.

42 Caroline @ After Dinner Dance April 6, 2012 at 10:45 am

I love this post! I just started blogging but I feel like I’m already getting at the point where I’m not doing what I want to do because I “need” to blog. I decided to stop posting twice a day unless I really felt like it. I was posting two recipes a day! That’s a lot of cooking, pictures, editing, and writing! It’s more fun when I’m blogging once a day and living the rest :)

43 Kris W April 6, 2012 at 11:07 am

Loved this post! I found myself nodding at ALL the steps of the blogging journey- so very true. I have taken thoses steps back, written those “I’m done blogging” posts and also have come to the place where I can make blogging my own unique experience and not let it interfer with living in the moment and enjoying family and friends.

Love your blog and the passion you share!

44 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile April 6, 2012 at 11:20 am

I lovelovelove this post. I cannot post about every single part of my day either, it’s way too time consuming to me!

45 Lisa April 6, 2012 at 11:42 am

Perfectly said. I think its pretty easy to get super caught up in living through your blog or feeling the need to post, which makes blogging lose its appeal fast!

46 Amanda @RunToTheFinish April 6, 2012 at 11:47 am

I totally agree with this. I started taking less pictures after my husband commented that he felt like I might be missing the true experience.

I am going through a phase now of deciding if this is just “fun” or if it is also becoming a job in which ase it needs to make money.

47 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen April 6, 2012 at 11:53 am

That blogging roller coaster ride couldn’t be closer to the truth. I’m still somewhere in the middle of it, but on an “up” right now :)
Happy Easter, Tina!

48 Lisa April 6, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Yep–that sounds about right. I went through that too. I didn’t think anyone would be interested in my blog and when I started getting tons of hits I was shocked! People seemed to be inspired, so I kept going.

I go through phases where I get frustrated that it’s not “more” and or I feel like blogging is taking too much time and energy, or i”m not inspired anymore. I take a break and then come back. :)

49 Carol @ Lucky Zucca April 6, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I love how happy Mackenzie looks in all those pictures!! proud of you for doing what is right for you Tina! :) Happy Easter!

50 Maria April 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm

So very true. I went through so many highs and lows with blogging. I have changed my blog so many times trying to find what works best for me, because at the end of the day, I love blogging, but it can be all-consuming. I remember being on trips or outings and constantly thinking “I need to photograph that and that” and thinking about my next post, essentially living through my blog. Not a good way to cherish living in the moment.

Once I gave up my old ways of blogging, I found it to be even more enjoyable than I did before. It’s very refreshing to write a post now.

51 Ela April 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I love that! “Go live this w/e and share it later!” Your family are all looking so well and beautiful.

My blog journey hasn’t been like that–I feel like I never figured out how to get enough readers to have it be that way, so I’m just sort of plodding along, grateful that there are a few people who love to read my blog, wishing it could reach more people… I’ve just been so busy lately that I haven’t been able to look into networking better.
love
Ela

52 MCM Mama April 6, 2012 at 2:23 pm

So true! Other than races, I don’t tend to look at life through the lens of “blogging”. If something comes up that I want to write about, great! If not, whatever.

And my favorite google reader button? Mark all as read. Sometimes you just have to start fresh.

53 tinareale April 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm

I hit that button so much. And it does feel dang good.

54 Brittany April 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm

I love this post Tina and totally agree that living life is way more important that blogging about it. I’m going on vacation this week and I definitely plan to be present and enjoy it rather than rushing back to the hotel room to blog about it.

Happy Easter!

55 Heather @ Better With Veggies April 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Awesome post – I’ve seen myself go through some of those stages already and it’s only been 7 months — oops! I’m feeling more settled and calm about it recently, which I love. This is a great post to remind me (and everyone) of the right balance. :)

56 Cat @ Breakfast to Bed April 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm

love this, and it’s so true. so. so. true.

57 Ali April 6, 2012 at 3:15 pm

You’ve very beautifully written the truth. It’s an inspiration!

58 Paige @ Running Around Normal April 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm

*like* :)

59 RunEatRepeat April 6, 2012 at 4:25 pm

You rock.

60 Linz @ Itz Linz April 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Amen, Sista! Your family is beautiful!

61 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions April 6, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Amen, sista! I haven’t been blogging nearly as long as you (I’m just about to 10 months), so I haven’t gone through that whole cycle, but I totally operate by the if-it’s-relevant-then-you-can=blog-about-it mindset. My day-to-day life isn’t that interesting and totally isn’t worth blogging about. Some of my runs aren’t interesting and aren’t worth blogging about. But when something interesting that I want to share happens, then I blog about it. Blogging is not my job — there’s no point killing my brain to try to come up with some way to make my day sound interesting just for the sake of posting.

62 Courtney April 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I love this post, Tina! So so so true! Although I haven’t been blogging for that long (almost a year) I find myself having to take a step back and live outside the bloggers lense very often! I think it is so important to keep your blog voice YOURS and write for YOU! Of course, the relationships that are created are absolutely amazing, but the core of blogging begins with the writer. Awesome, awesome post. You are so wonderful!

63 Christine @ Love, Life, Surf April 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm

This is such a great post and you totally capture the experience. I think that I’m in the “realize the vast vortex of blogging” stage. Living life through a blogger’s lens is such a bizarre phenomenon. You are so right that it leads you to live a bit of a less authentic life if blogging is always in the back of your mind. You have a great blog and glad that you continue to share your passion with us!

64 Melissa @ Live, Love, & Run April 6, 2012 at 8:21 pm

I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years…and I like to think that most of the reason why I’m not a “bigger” blog yet is because I have lived life more than I have blogged. I’m trying to figure out where I stand, what my readers enjoy most when I blog, etc. I love writing, but because of the situations I’ve found myself in over the past year, I haven’t been able to focus on it as much as I’d like. Your blog took off, because I can remember when you first started! You’ve come a long way! What changes did you make that helped you go from “quitting” to “keep going”?

65 Megan April 6, 2012 at 9:00 pm

A million thumbs up to this post! Your blogging philosophyis very close to mine. There definitely were times when I, too, wished for a bigger audience, more comments, and huge ads to roll in, but in the end I’m glad my blog is small. It lets me control my content and my life, and that makes me happy. Love your blog, and loving bootcamp!

66 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey April 6, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I really love this post. I think we’re both in that “happy” place right now – and to think it only took two years to get there! ;)

67 Julie April 6, 2012 at 9:47 pm

A lot of times I catch myself thinking “this will be great for ROJ” or “how will I express this on ROJ” but then I remember my site is a reflection of my life, not the other way around. I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years now and countless online journals and sites prior to it too. Part of me feels like I’ll never be a “serious” blogger because I can’t imagine being attached to my camera and always prepping for the next entry. That’s their style though, not mine and I love sharing my life with everyone (for the most part)

68 Jen April 7, 2012 at 1:40 am

I just want to say that I am so happy that I discovered your blog! I absolutely love your honesty and sense of humor…not to mention, the fact that you are SOO amazingly inspirational! I also love that you are a woman of FAITH & willing to share that very important part of your life! I am so glad that you are discovering what works for you & wish you all of HIS blessings! Happy Easter to you and your beautiful family!!!

69 Sara @ Nourish and Flourish April 7, 2012 at 1:59 am

This post–especially the last couple of lines–really spoke to me. Blogging is fulfilling with its used an outlet to share our lives; not as a designer for our lives. I definitely fell into this trap when I first began writing. Now I post only when there’s something I’m genuinely excited or passionate about sharing, which makes writing (and living LIFE!) much more enjoyable.

I hope you have a beautiful weekend with your family, Tina! <3

70 Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope April 8, 2012 at 8:11 am

I completely agree with this assessment of the blogging journey! I think blogging truly becomes enjoyable when you can become yourself in your blog and just have your blog be another part of your life… not the sole focus. It also creates a unique blog that is going to capture your readers! :)

71 Deborah (Schmiet) April 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm

Great post Tina. I’m somewhere in the middle of your dot points. I still love blogging, but mainly because I love writing. Blogging has given me a voice and an outlet I didn’t previously have.

Unlike you though, I’m not a ‘professional’ by any means, so I can imagine it’s hard maintaining that line between imparting useful info and personal sharing. A friend of mine who’s a personal trainer is grappling with that at the moment.

As for me, I need to re-think some of my over-sharing sometimes!

Deb

72 Katina April 8, 2012 at 10:54 pm

You are so right on with this post! I am soooo busy with life and blogging can sometimes be that one more thing to do! Nice reminder that we can leave something’s “un-blogged”!

73 Caroline April 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Love this post! You have it exactly right! I used to feel frustrated and pressured to post and was blogging for all the wrong reasons until it suddenly clicked, like it did for you. Now I blog even more often with no pressure, I do it just for me and love it : )

74 Vee April 17, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I love this post. I can so relate to the ‘what I didn’t like about blogging’ part. It was one of the reasons why I stopped maintaining my own blog as well. My new blog is up and running now again as I have missed the blogging community too much and crave to be a part of it again. But will be hopefully much wiser this time around. :-)

75 Laura @joyful shimmy April 20, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Tina your blog, your journey continues to inspired me as a blogger. I have learned to listen to my voice to be authentic. For me it means Im unplugged on the weekends living life. I now focus on blogging on a consistent 3 days per week which is manageable for me. It really comes down that it is a process. I remember once I stumble upon the vortex a year ago Of the blogging community it was mind blowing.

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