Last week was the one year blogiversary for The Golden Daze! 🎉 If there’s one thing I can tell you about blogging it’s this: it’s not easy! I vastly underestimated how much time it would take to not only create the blog, but to maintain it as well. From brainstorming and planning content, to writing the blogs, to taking pictures and engaging with people on social media… blogging is something that is incredibly time-consuming, especially when you have a full-time job!

With that being said, blogging is also something that I love. To have something I created and that I can call my ‘own’, gives me a sense of purpose and pride. After one year of blogging, I’ve learned a lot about blogging and about life (and if you’re new to the blog, you’ll realize I love a good life lesson 😂).

The_Golden_Daze_Briana_Manrique1. It’s important to have a passion project aside from your regular job

I created The Golden Daze because I wanted to connect with people. I wanted to share experiences and spark a conversation about topics that aren’t easy to talk about. But to be totally transparent, I also desperately needed a creative outlet. I was living in California and going through a difficult time where I felt very stuck. I enjoy writing and reading other people’s blogs, so I figured why not! My blog is something I take great pride in. It’s fun to share something I’ve worked really hard on and to see if it resonates.

But let me just say that my content doesn’t always resonate, nor does it always get a response. I don’t always get a lot of views or likes or comments. But that’s just part of the process and what makes it so fun! You can’t go into blogging thinking it’s going to be easy. You have to work hard to see results. So if you’re feeling a lull in life or need something to spark something inside, find a passion project! I think that it’s important to have something you’re passionate about outside of your job to mix your life up a bit. It could be anything – learning a new skill like playing an instrument, writing, yoga, etc. Anything that you find gives you purpose and pride will do the trick.

2. Sharing your thoughts and experiences can be scary, but is also very rewarding

Naturally, I am an open book and I’ve always worn my heart on my sleeve. Even so, sharing my thoughts, feelings, and experiences on my blog for the world to see can be very scary. It’s scary to be vulnerable without knowing if anyone will care or relate. But when I share a blog that has more personal thoughts in it, and I see people reading and engaging with it, it makes it all worthwhile.

There’s not a lot in life that you’ll go through or feel that someone else hasn’t gone through or felt. I think there is strength and hope in that connection. The world we live in can be challenging at times. It’s easy to feel alone, even though we are more connected than ever through technology and social media. But it’s only through showing vulnerability and sharing what we’re going through that we can begin to feel more connected. I told myself that if I can connect with even one person, then in my eyes, my blog is a success. I feel like I’ve done that within this last year and I’m excited to continue connecting with more and more people.

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3. Don’t take things personally

I remember starting my blog thinking all of my friends and family would be my biggest fans. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this is not the case. I was also surprised to see that bloggers I have been very supportive of did not reciprocate that same support. After thinking about it, I realized that none of this “non-support” was personal.

The truth is, readers will only come to your blog if there’s something in it for them. But your blog isn’t something you created for everybody, and you won’t put out content that resonates with everybody. I’ve learned that just because some of my friends and family are not my biggest blog supporters, that doesn’t mean they don’t support me as a person. The things you care about won’t always be the same as the people around you, and vice versa. The most important thing to do is to stay focused on your blog and do the best that you can. You may have to prove yourself to some people you didn’t think you would need to, and that’s okay. Just stay focused and keep working hard.

4. Give yourself a goal – but don’t be too hard on yourself

When I launched The Golden Daze, I thought it would be something I would work on ALL the time. I assumed it would be easy to put out weekly blogs and post constantly. After the first few months, I realized how much time was needed to maintain the blog. There have been times when I’ve been ALL about it – writing posts and scheduling content and taking pictures. Then, there are times when I’m just not feeling it. Blogging while having a full-time job and dealing with the ups and downs of life can be challenging.

When I wasn’t able to keep up with my blogging goals, I would be super critical and hard on myself. Somewhere along the line it hit me: it’s NOT the end of the world and you always have to do whatever is best for you. Because blogging is so directly tied to social media, there will be times when I just need a break. And I’ve come to realize that is totally OKAY. It doesn’t mean I’m a failure – it means I prioritize my mental health. Making goals for yourself is good – but shit happens and sometimes things don’t pan out the way you intended. That doesn’t mean you’re a failure or that you should just give up. Take the time you need, relax and rejuvenate your mind, and start again.

5. Never compare yourself to other bloggers (or people!)

It’s hard to stand out in the blogging space because it is incredibly saturated. With that comes the challenge of trying not to compare yourself to other bloggers (or other people in general). We’re all living our own journey and we have different variables at play. When you really think about it, who’s to say someone is ‘more’ successful or ‘less’ successful than someone else? What makes someone more/less successful is up to interpretation. When I start to compare myself to others, I try to keep that in mind and stay focused on myself. I feel confident in my journey and where I’m at as a blogger, and, to me, that’s all that matters.

The_Golden_Daze_Briana_Manrique6. Social media is not real life and it’s okay to take a break and have boundaries

Social media is a HUGE part of blogging. With that comes being on social media more often than you normally would be and it can be draining. There’s a lot that goes into social media and sometimes I just need a break. I used to force myself to post, but now if I need a break, I take one. If I don’t have something valuable to post, or if I just simply don’t feel like posting, then I won’t. Even 2 days away from the pressures of social media can help. So if you need a break – take one!

It’s not easy seeing other bloggers perfect pictures and exotic travels. Vulnerably, I will admit that seeing those pictures on my feed can sometimes make me feel less than or not good enough. But those pictures are NOT real life. It’s their curated lives. It takes a lot of time, effort, and help to plan out and shoot those perfect pictures we see on social media.  Lighting, photo editing, and the right angle helps a lot! One rule I have is that if an account makes me feel insecure or gives me negative vibes, I unfollow it. I basically Marie Kondo my social media: if the account does not bring me joy, I unfollow (or mute, depending on who it is). Since doing this, social media has become much more enjoyable.

7. Stay true to yourself

When I started my blog I had to think about who I wanted to be and what I wanted to blog about. Initially, I wanted to blog about fashion and beauty. Not because I’m passionate about those topics, but because that’s what a lot of other blogs post about. I felt myself trying to morph into what I thought people would want. I realized that by doing this, I wasn’t staying true to myself or the things I was passionate about, which ultimately led me to not be as excited about blogging. I think that in order to have a successful blog, you have to write about something you are passionate about and enjoy.

Another thing I struggle with is sexuality on social media. Here’s the truth: sex sells – it always has and always will. Sometimes it’s hard not to feel pressured to post sexier photos on social media. This doesn’t mean I see anything wrong with it, but it’s just not something I’m comfortable with doing for myself. Bodies of all shapes and sizes are beautiful. If you feel comfortable, you should post whatever you want! But if you’re doing it because you feel like you have to or like you should just to get likes or attention, then to me, that’s a problem.

You HAVE to stay true to yourself. If I posted about fashion or posted photos I didn’t feel comfortable with, I wouldn’t be true to myself. I feel comfortable with where I’m at today with my blog, and I have stayed as true to myself as possible. I blog about the things I know and that I am passionate about, while posting pictures that I love and feel comfortable and confident in.

8. The success of anything is a direct result of the effort you put into it

As mentioned, I underestimated the amount of time it would take to launch and maintain a blog. I realized that the success of my blog would be a direct result of the effort I put into it. The first year of my blog was a crazy one. I had a lot going on in my personal life (including a big decision to move to Chicago), and I just didn’t have the mental bandwidth to hit my blogging goals. This year, I plan to spend more time on my blog. It’s something I really enjoy and am willing to make time for. Success doesn’t happen overnight, but comes after putting in the work. I think this point applies to many areas in life: you’ll have to work damn hard to make your dreams come true and to see the results you wish for.

It’s exciting to look back to where I started and to see where I am today, but I’m even more excited for the future! I’m starting to find my voice and realize what I want to write about and how I want to make an impact. For everyone who has been following along over the last year: THANK YOU. From the bottom of my heart – thank you. And for anyone who is new or just tuning in, I am excited to connect! What would you like to see more of from The Golden Daze this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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