It was probably about 9 years ago that I found and read my first blog. It was A Beautiful Mess, one that I still read to this day. Since then I’ve sort of grown a love for following blogs; especially lifestyle and travel blogs. I love following the bloggers’ adventures; rejoicing with them in their successes, and grieving with them in their sorrows. It’s a community, and I love being a part of that!
Of Trails and Thunderstorms began last September out of my desire for a creative outlet. I’m a bit goal oriented and as I felt less and less challenged at work, I began seeking out another venture. Blogging came to mind, sprouting simply from my love of reading them! I also thought blogging about my life and adventures could be a neat way to archive our memories for remembering later.
As my thoughts and ideas evolved, my excitement grew quickly. Soon, dreams of sharing my life lessons, triumphs, failures, and adventures with the blogging community, as I had seen so many others do so before me, began to form.
My family and friends have always been nothing but supportive in this wild venture of mine.
Eric has spent probably over 100 hours working on my site; changing it one way and then putting it all back when I change my mind. 🙂 My mom was my first reader, my dad was my first subscriber, and my sister has even written a guest post on here! Gosh, I’ve been blessed with such encouraging and empowering people in my life.
What could go wrong, right?
I want to let you all in on where I failed with all of this.
At the beginning, blogging was so much fun. I loved thinking up post ideas, taking photos, changing the design of my site, and dreaming up what it could be.
As I got further and further into it, I began researching about what makes a blog successful.
Somehow I came upon some information about how to make a blog profitable, and right then and there I started to equate success with profit.
It’s always been a goal and dream of Eric and I to have a family one day and have me be a stay-at-home mom. We were both homeschooled and see the immense value in having a stay-at-home parent.
Of course in order to achieve this, we would need to be in a good financial position. One allowing me to stay at home with our kids, which could potentially involve me working a side job from home.
I read so much about the great success so many bloggers had found. Some bloggers were making enough income to quit their nine to five jobs! Slowly I began thinking that maybe I could possibly make enough money to help me one day be a stay-at-home mom.
As that thought grew in my mind, it became this huge goal that I set out for myself:
Make my blog profitable.
Now, I’m not saying that having this goal for your blog isn’t good. But I am saying it wasn’t good for me.
I started taking a course that would help me begin making money through ads, affiliate marketing, and brand sponsorships. There were so many aspects to my blog and writing style that would need to be altered though and I was always so conflicted. It never felt authentic, or natural, and that should have been a red flag to me.
In order to make a blog profitable, you have to give it your all and I tried to do that, but I couldn’t. Between working full-time, church activities, relationships, responsibilities, and blogging I was always exhausted. On top of that, I felt like I wasn’t accomplishing anything. I was spreading myself way to thin, and not being true to who I am.
Many of the articles I was read talked about creating valuable content for your readers. This is, of course, something I can totally understand. However on the other hand, it kept stopping me from sharing authentic (maybe sometimes boring) content that I wanted to post to share more of me, and my story.
I kept looking up templates, and spending way too much time on optimizing my blog to be seen. Some of it worked very well and I saw the analytics of readership go up. But every time I took a day off, those numbers would drop.
My goodness, I fell into a deep, dark pit of discouragement and hopelessness trying to make this blog profitable.
Don’t worry, this story is going to take a turn for the good now.
One recent Sunday evening, Eric and I were talking about the blog and I just started crying. Through the tears I began to share with him this heavy burden I carried. The burden of making my blog profitable and the immense embarrassment and failure I felt from not succeeding in it.
I had pinned all my dreams of being a stay-at-home mom to this blog and I was watching them slowly disappear.
Eric, in his kindness and gentleness, held me and wiped away my tears. He had no idea I was feeling this way because I had been trying to hide my embarrassment and discouragement for a while. Eric told me that my being a stay-at-home mom didn’t depend on me earning profits from my blog. He shared with me how he didn’t attribute success from my blog to be tied to profits. Rather, it should only be tied to the enjoyment I received from it.
That burden and weight of failing dreams lifted from my shoulders and I felt immediate relief. He was right. Success in blogging shouldn’t mean that you’re making a huge profit. Success should be found in the joy and positivity you have from sharing your life, adventures, and lessons learned with your community.
You probably haven’t noticed, but I took a couple weeks off from blogging. I needed some time to regroup myself, and reassess my goals in Of Trails and Thunderstorms. During those weeks, I dove further into my devotions with God. Its there that I believe I’ve found my new motivation for this blog.
Through Of Trails and Thunderstorms I want to echo His praises and bring glory only to Him whom my soul loves.
He is my Rock and my Redeemer, all other ground is sinking sand.
I want to remain authentic through my posts. I’ll continue to share from our life and travels on my blog. However, I’ll strive to do so in a way that is true to myself, without the motivation of gaining profits.
If it’s the Lord’s will that one day this supports my being a stay-at-home mom, I’d like it to happen naturally; through His timing, not my forcing. And if it doesn’t happen, I’m okay with that.
If I share an affiliate link, or one day collaborate with a brand, know that those recommendations and opinions are truly and sincerely my own. It will never be a marketing scheme. That’s my promise to you and myself.
In the meantime, I sincerely appreciate each and every one of you. Thank for taking a moment out of your day to read about what God is doing in our lives and the adventures He’s taken us on. Thank you for joining me on this ever changing journey.