Archives For On a Personal Note…

I frequently get questions both in my personal life and via email from you guys about running this blog–how much time do I put into it, how much money do I make, etc. Since I’ve been in a bit of a lull with projects lately I figured this is as good a time as any to dish the details.

behind the scenes of blogging

Time and Inspiration

I put in about 5-10 hours a week actually sitting at my computer editing photos, writing posts, and responding to comments. These days I usually knock it all out during Jack’s morning nap, but when I still worked full time I would do it in the evenings and early mornings. I have the WordPress app on my phone so I can post on the go if I need to, but I really prefer to use my laptop whenever possible.

The amount of time put into projects is another thing entirely. Back in the day I used to knock out three blog-worthy projects every weekend. These days inspiration and funds are scarce and I often find myself wondering in the evening what I’ll post about the next day. I keep a running list on my phone of potential blog topics and often refer to it when I’m planning my to-do list or heading out to run errands, but a lot of times I’m limited by both the amount of money I can spend on supplies and the amount of time I can devote to a project. Gone are the days when Jack played happily on a blanket while I painted! He’s into everything now and it’s much harder to get anything done with him underfoot.

As for inspiration, I get ideas from other blogs, Pinterest, other homes and places that I visit, etc. Keeping a list on my phone of projects big and small that I’d love to tackle someday helps me keep track of my hopes and dreams.

Traffic

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a big-time blogger by any stretch of the imagination and I am not particularly ambitious. I have been quietly plugging away at my little corner of the Internet for two and a half years because I enjoy it. In the earlier days I did a lot of commenting on other blogs and even submitted posts to be featured on other websites (like Knock Off Decor). My traffic has grown slowly but surely, with a few big jumps when my site has been linked to by other blogs or internet message boards. These days I average almost 500 page views per day and 15,000 per month. I remember a time when I would have been thrilled to see 100 hits in a day so I’m still pinching myself over these numbers even though they’re paltry by some standards.

Money

Hahahahaha!

Just kidding, I do make a little money nowadays. I didn’t start placing ads on my blog until I had 10,000 hits per month (this was after about two years of blogging). I really wanted to wait until I had enough traffic to actually make a difference to advertisers and also to have a solid enough blog following that my readers knew I wasn’t in it for the money. I started accepting sponsorships from small businesses (mostly etsy shops) at a rate of $10 per month and that’s still what I charge. I usually only have 1-3 sponsors at any given time though I’ve got room on my sidebar for up to 10. I’ve turned down sponsorships from businesses that I didn’t think would be a good fit–if I wouldn’t personally use it or recommend it to a friend I’m not going to advertise it on my blog.

I also display sidebar ads from BlogHer. I think I was on the waiting list about six months, but once I got accepted into the program it was really easy to get my ads up and running. The way it works is that I install a code on my sidebar and then BlogHer runs ads from companies that they work with and pay me based on how many people saw it. I can select categories that I don’t want on my blog, such as diet companies, junk food, certain political ads, etc. With my traffic I currently make about $20 per month from BlogHer. If you’ve got your calculator handy you’ll see that I make about $2 per hour. I am so not in this for the money.

Criticism

This is not something that I had to contend with until the last year or so. Sometimes a comment will rub me the wrong way or I’ll see traffic coming in from a message board where people are discussing my blog. I handle this the same way I do criticism in my personal life–just because somebody says something (good or bad) doesn’t mean it’s true. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but it’s up to me to decide. So after taking a few deep breaths I ask myself, “Is there merit to this criticism?” If there is then I go for gratitude. Maybe this is some information I can use–like the time I was inspired by criticism to rearrange my office a bit. If whatever this person has said is not true or relevant then I do my best to dismiss it. Easier said than done, I know, but start working on it and see if you’re not happier after a few months. I’ve learned the hard way that the best way to deal with criticism is to get your affirmation from within. This strategy helped me get through a really difficult time in my career–I was working with many challenging clients who said hurtful things to me on a regular basis. Internet snarks have nothing on angry teenagers.

This blog has been such a wonderful thing in my life. It helps me connect with others, gives me a sense of purpose and identity, and serves as a creative outlet to help me cope with the stresses of both social work and motherhood. It’s also inspired me to learn new things–like improved photography. I seriously cannot imagine my life without it. Thank you all so much for reading. This whole endeavor would be so much less meaningful without you!

After a weekend out of town I’m off to work this morning and consequently have nothing of substance to post about today. But I wanted to show those of you who may not have seen it yet this photo I snapped of Juliet on a neighborhood walk last week.

dog in stroller basket

She really enjoys taking walks, but I guess at the ripe old age of five her stamina just isn’t what it used to be. She often starts refusing to walk any further before we’ve made it home even if we stop for a rest at the halfway point (a whopping half mile from the house). Usually I carry her but on this particular day I decided to try squeezing her into the stroller basket and to my delight she fit perfectly. I walked an extra mile smiling at the sight of her happily riding in the stroller.

I’m working on getting a Facebook page for the blog so that I can share photos and such with those of you who aren’t my personal Facebook friends. In the meantime, you can follow me on Instagram, if you’re into that sort of thing.

We’ve spent this weekend at my favorite place–the beach.

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Unfortunately between Jack’s sleeping/eating requirements and some bleary weather we really didn’t spend much time at the beach at all. Yesterday we finally got tired of sitting around waiting for the sun to come out and went to a local arcade. Jack was mesmerized by all the lights and sounds and the grownups had a good time acting like kids again. My favorite was the skee-ball, but Nick enjoyed trying to beat his own high score at the sledgehammer game.

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Forty bucks later we traded our 1,350 tickets for a finger puppet, a small toy ball, and three packs of twizzlers. Here’s Nick’s brother Tim displaying our bounty. Of course the sun had come out while we were inside playing.

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We shared a cabin at Alabama’s Gulf State Park with Tim and his girlfriend Jessica. The state park is a great budget friendly lodging option and the cabin, while small and outdated, was really quite comfortable. It helps when the company is so good. We spent our evenings playing cards and drinking beer on the screened porch.

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Last night on our way home from dinner we realized the sun was out and we had an hour until Jack’s bedtime, so without even running back to the cabin to change Jack into proper swimming attire we seized the opportunity to finally introduce him to his mama’s first love, the ocean.

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Baby, meet sand. He loved it so much that he screamed in protest when we picked him up to go home, so we put him back down and let him play a little more.

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Of course when we woke up this morning there was not a cloud in the sky. So while Tim and Jessica were still sleeping we slathered Jack in sunscreen and brought him down to the beach for a proper romp in the sand and surf. And this time I put the iPhone down so I could focus on seeing the ocean through the eyes of my sweet boy. So I don’t have any pictures, but I do have some solid memories.

We’re driving back today. It’s so nice to be able to sneak away for a weekend like this, but I’m not ready to get back to the grind again. I wish we could’ve stayed longer!

Good morning, party people! I’m feeling especially enthusiastic today because this morning I got up bright and early to take the Licensed Clinical Social Worker exam. And good news–I passed!

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It’s a huge professional milestone that I’ve been working towards for years. So forgive me for not having anything to say about decorating or crafting or shopping today. This is kind of a big deal! Happy Thursday, y’all, and thanks to all of you who have offered words of encouragement and support as I studied in recent weeks. I’m so happy to have it behind me!