What I’ve learned in 4 years

The other night, I was signing into my WordPress account and said to the Pilot:

“I’ve written almost 3,000 posts.”

4 years. It’s like I’ve gone through undergrad all over again writing this little blog, and on the many pages, you’ll find stories about things that have happened in the past four years. Deployments, moving, the good stuff, the tough stuff, pregnancy/baby, and lot of the events in between. With everything that’s on here, there’s also quite a bit that isn’t, as I try to keep a balance between what I choose to blog about. Over the past 4 years, my eating style has changed, my workout styles have changed, my blog style has changed, and I’ve changed.

Me and liv 4

I’m not by any means a blogging pro or expert, but just thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned:

-Blog what you love. This one has always been important to me because I’ve found that it’s more enjoyable to write about the things I love and care about than trying to mimic other blog styles. In the beginning, I really wanted to be a standard healthy living blogger, blogging all of my meals and snacks. I eventually realized that wasn’t inspiring or enjoyable to me, especially since a lot of my meals and snacks are redundant and kinda boring. If I don’t feel inspired writing about a certain topic, I don’t write. Sometimes this means beefy posts with usable content, or maybe it’s just the way Bella’s hair blows in the breeze πŸ˜‰

Bell

I think the amazing thing about blogging is that there are so many types and options out there, anyone will be able to find a topic or blogger they enjoy and relate to. Make your blog reflect YOU and keep true to yourself. Whenever other bloggers email me for tips, that’s the first thing I’ll say. Don’t write like you’re trying to make a living off your blog or put too much pressure on yourself: write what you love and the audience will come. Even if you’re like me and the first people to really read your blog are your mom, nana, husband and VeggieGirl (thank you, Liz for being awesome from the very beginning ) πŸ˜‰

MY OTHER VIDEOS

On the same note, write a blog that you would love to read. I especially love reading blogs with little bits of the blogger’s life or personality thrown in- otherwise, it’s the same thing as reading a generic cookbook (DIY book, Fashion book, whatever). Do you.

NewImage

-It’s ok to change. So many of my favorite bloggers have changed over the years that I’ve read them. Even if it took a while for me to get used to as a reader, I’ve usually enjoyed their blogs even more afterwards, since they were staying true to themselves and adapting their blog to go along with life changes. Two of the blogs that come to mind are Eat, Live, Run and How Sweet It Is, which both evolved from their original styles/format. And, just when I didn’t think it would be possible to love these girls even more, it happened. The other blogs that changed and I didn’t really love it? I stopped reading them. NBD. The blogs I read change on a regular basis according to what’s going on in my life, even though there’s the core group I read pretty much every day.Β 

Cimg1412

(Meghann’s pic from the first blog dinner I ever went to)

-Photography matters. This is one I fought for a loooong time. I thought my grainy point-and-shoot pics were just fine -the Pilot would ALWAYS say to me “they look blurry” but they looked clear to me.. my eyesight is also a little iffy so there ya go. I realized that the blogs I enjoyed reading the most were ones with vibrant, luscious photos. I bought a DSLR, am still really learning how to use it two years later, but I recognize the fact that photography does matter. It will never be a true passion of mine, but as a huge component of my blog (along with techie know-how) it’s something that I’m at least attempting to improve.

Bloggies 2

-Some people hate their picture being on a blog. This is on the same note as taking good photos, but over time I’ve realized that some people really, really don’t want their photos on a blog. I’m always been sneaky about taking pics at events, and have always asked before posting photos of other people, but I really toned down the friend pictures. I don’t tell a lot of my newer friends about the blog, and the good friends that I’ve known for years obviously know about it, but when I’m enjoying time with them, I don’t usually take photos. My family usually doesn’t mind the occasional appearance (it helps that my bro and Meg have blogs), but this is why I’ve learned to post more photos of things instead of people.

-Take the good with the bad. When you put yourself out there for others to see/read, expect criticism and take it with a grain of sea salt. Some of the things people will say are easy to brush off your shoulders, but every now and again, you’ll get a zinger that you’ll feel in your soul (at least I do). I try to have compassion for the person writing the comment. Usually there’s something else going on in their life which is causing them to share their negativity so generously, and sometimes, there is true constructive criticism that I take to heart.

Over time, I’ve realized something pretty important when it comes to the negative stuff:

No matter what you do, someone out there will have a problem with it.

NewImage

For a long time, I tried to write my blog so everyone would be happy. Each sentence was so carefully and delicately constructed as to not step on any toes, but then I realized that it was exhausting, and still, no matter what I did, pleasing everyone was an unattainable goal. So the thing is: make yourself happy with what you write and stand by that. Write to the people that get you and understand you, not the ones who are looking to pull you apart.

-Quality over quantity. I’ve written some boring/crappy/lame posts since the Fitnessista’s inception, mostly because I was killing time in Valdosta. I realized later that I wasn’t proud of those posts and would rather focus on topics/quality instead of quantity.

-Blog friends are amazing. When I first started the blog, I had no idea that an entire world existed out there of people who enjoy the same things I do. Other people like quinoa! Other people think pictures of cats doing yoga are funny! Other people get stoked about quick workouts and healthy recipes!Β It blew my mind. I also had no idea that through writing the blog I’d have the chance to meet and connect with so many incredible people.

This post ended up being way longer than I anticipated… guess it’s just one of those “spill my heart out” kinda mornings πŸ˜‰

Thank you, as always, for hanging out with me over here <3

Hope you have a happy Wednesday!

xoxo

Gina

What have you learned from blogging? What have you learned from reading blogs??

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130 Comments

  1. Life's a Bowl on October 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Great tips, thanks for sharing! I can’t believe that I’ve been blogging for just over a year [with a few months hiatus when I switched jobs and during wedding planning] but I absolutely loveee it πŸ™‚ I love looking back on my own posts and seeing how things have changed and I enjoy reading everyone else’s stories, tips and tricks, and adventures- so much inspiration!

  2. Angie on October 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    LOVED this post Gina!! So glad you write from your heart!! you do such a great job, and I love coming to it every day to catch up πŸ™‚ I love that you’re passionate about what you do as a living, AND blogging about it!! I can tell you want to blog because you really enjoy it, I don’t ever feel like there’s a moment where you’re just filling space.. even when it’s your picture posts, I feel like the pictures you put up here have an intention, have a reason… they have a voice by themselves πŸ™‚ xoxo keep doing what you do!

    • Fitnessista on October 18, 2012 at 12:54 am

      <3

  3. Nichole on October 17, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Just want you to know that I have been a reader for a little over two years now and your blog ALWAYS brightens my day! Keep doin’ what you do! We love it πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on October 18, 2012 at 12:54 am

      thank you so much, nicole!

  4. Caryln@CarylnRambles on October 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I have been reading blogs for a few years, yours was actually the first one I ever found, and have recently started my own. I love blogging…I think it is like the modern day version of scrapbooking!

    • Fitnessista on October 18, 2012 at 12:54 am

      thank you!! and i totally agree πŸ™‚

  5. Shari on October 17, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    I love everything about this post, especially the part about meeting some absolutely amazing people via blogging. It’s such a wonderfully special community!

  6. Alexandra on October 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I love your blog sooo much Gina! And I love how it has evolved over the years. Yours was one of the first blogs that I ever read and have kept reading for the past three or so years. It has definitely been a wonderful source of information and insight. It has also helped me to deal with the challenges of my fiance’s job as a cop. For all those naysayers out there, they’re not worth turning your gorgeous smile into a frown. Thanks!

  7. Giselle@ahealthyhappyhome on October 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Love this post! I can honestly say your blog inspired me to start up my own in March of this year. It started as a hobby to post healthy baby friendly recipes and has really grown into so much more. Although now that I’m so busy with my own blog, I have a hard time sitting down to read all the ones that made me fall in love with blogging. However, I still check in with yours daily! Love it!

  8. Lauren @ The Homeostatic Mindset on October 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Love this post, Gina. I felt the exact same way as you do about blogging! Negative comments= likely something going on in THEIR life. And OMG- realizing that there are ‘others’ out there exactly like me! It was so exciting πŸ™‚ Blogging makes me happy…I’m so glad it does the same for because your’s is honestly one of my most favourite blogs! xo

  9. Sana on October 17, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Happy 4 years! Blog friends is seriously the best part about blogging!

  10. Melissa on October 17, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    We’ll I’ve been reading your blog through several changes and I love them all. We all change- it’s who we are, it’s makes us interesting people. Thanks for taking the time to share you life with us!

    Enjoy the day Gina- M

    • Fitnessista on October 18, 2012 at 12:53 am

      thank you, lovely <3

  11. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles on October 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    Definitely great tips! I’ve only been at it for about 3 months, so I’m still figuring out what style of blogging works for me and how I want to approach it. Even in that short amount of time, things changed – I started out with a “this-is-what-I-ate” blog and it’s already started to evolve beyond that. (also, I’m a grad student, I’m impressed i can get 1 post up a day, let alone the 2-3 I was doing in the summer).

    I think we just have to make sure we’re doing what we love!

  12. Alexandra on October 17, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Just wanted to say thank you for everything that you do! Your blog is by far my absolute favorite and one that i always look forward to reading. Keep up the fabulous work girl!!

    • Fitnessista on October 18, 2012 at 12:53 am

      thank you so much for reading, alexandra <3

  13. Amanda on October 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    Great post! One question for anyone who might know- I like the idea of blogging, but I’m intimidated by techy know-how stuff. Is there anywhere online with tutorials or some way to help me pick up those kinds of skills?

    • Fitnessista on October 18, 2012 at 12:53 am

      for me, it’s just come with experience… and breaking my blog. many times. anyone else have good ideas/tips?

      • Rebecca on October 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm

        Sometimes your web domain provider will give you all sorts of tips and tricks! That is how I got mine started! It took a few tries though!

        Other than that, as Gina said it comes with experience! I’m not a very ‘techy’ person – but I’ve managed so far. However if my blog ever goes down – I may cry πŸ™‚

        • Amanda on October 19, 2012 at 10:40 am

          Thanks to both of you! Maybe I’ll give it a shot sometime- if anything, might be good techy practice πŸ˜€

  14. Jen@HealthyFoodandFamily on October 17, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Great post! Now that I’ve realized that I can’t please everyone, I write for me! Do I have a hundred comments? Nope, but I’m documenting my journey to fitness and one day I’ll look back and read what I’ve blogged about and remember the good and bad times.

  15. Jess on October 17, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Haha love what you said about negative comments! So well written! And so positive. Great tips! I agree I usually like blogs even more when they change as they become more authentic. Your blog is wonderful because you share bits about your life and you are genuine and real.

  16. Tavolini on October 17, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    Gina, I loved reading this. I’ve been following you since the beginning, (though I rarely comment) and have really enjoyed seeing your blog flourish and getting to know you and your family through it. Your honesty and shenanigans totally make my day πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on October 18, 2012 at 12:48 am

      thank you so much <3

  17. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on October 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    Blogging helps me stay positive and focused on the things that matter to me in life: staying fit and active, spending time with family and trying out new things. It is truly a reminder for me to live a balanced life!

  18. ash on October 17, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Your blog has always been my fav!

    • Fitnessista on October 18, 2012 at 12:48 am

      thank you, ash!

  19. Jennifer on October 17, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Congrats on the four years, Gina. In a world of cookie cutter (everything) your blog has always stood out as something different in the very best ways. πŸ™‚ I personally love that I never know what your topics will be each day – sometimes food…sometimes family…sometimes work…sometimes travel. It makes you want to come back each day to see what’s up.

    Reading blogs has taught me plenty but one big thing I’ve learned is that I’m a very boring person compared to all of y’all. πŸ™‚ You do more blog worthy stuff in a day than I do in a month sometimes.

  20. Sarah on October 17, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    Love your honesty here. Love you. Happy 4 years, friend.

    • Fitnessista on October 18, 2012 at 12:48 am

      thank you! love you.

  21. Anne on October 17, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    So wonderful to read thank you for posting this!

    I feel much the same about photography, I truly need to invest the time, money, and energy into a decent camera!

  22. Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food on October 17, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Awesome post, Gina! I have been reading your blog since I started blogging, almost 2 years ago and I have loved it all along the way! You have given great tips and it’s so important to be yourself…like you mainly touched on! In the beginning, I was obsessed with checking for comments and checking my stats…until I realized that none of that mattered. What mattered was what I was writing and being happy that I was able to share that with the readers that I DID have…even if it was only my boyfriend and best friend!

    • Fitnessista on October 18, 2012 at 12:45 am

      <3!

  23. Annamaria on October 17, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    Hey Gina! Where did you buy your pants in the first picture from?! I’ve seen them around a couple of times and love them! Need a pair.

    • Fitnessista on October 18, 2012 at 12:43 am

      thank you! hm

  24. Courtney on October 17, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    I think as my blog is becoming a little more popular, I’m attracting a few more haters. It’s hard! This post was so uplifting, thank you!

    • Fitnessista on October 18, 2012 at 12:43 am

      if you have haters, you’re doing something right.
      xoxo

  25. Kristin@operationnutrition.com on October 17, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Hi Gina! Thank you for such a great post. As a new(ish) blogger, I’m still in the process of “finding” myself on my blog. Your tips are great. Thank you!

  26. Lisa O on October 17, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    This blog is like a friend I catch up with every morning. As a new mum (Stella was born Feb 14… 2 weeks late!) I love reading what you and Olivia are up to, and you provide such relatable content! It’s like a comfort blanket, inspiration board and treat finder (you introduced me to Tulsi sweet rose among other things and I’m forever thankful!) all in one. Even though we’ll never meet (unless you plan a very random trip to Perth, Western Australia… unlikely, our east coast friend Sydney is way more popular for Aussie visitors), thank you for being such a fun part of my life! xx

    • Fitnessista on October 18, 2012 at 12:39 am

      aww our babies are so close in age! i would love to make it out to australia one of these years.
      thank you so much for reading and for your kind words <3

  27. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on October 17, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    It’s amazing how much people can change and grow in four years. Keep doing you girl! I love your blog!

    • Fitnessista on October 18, 2012 at 12:35 am

      thank you so much!! <3

  28. Marlene on October 18, 2012 at 1:00 am

    What a great post. So helpful. That pretty much answers every question I had about starting a blog. You can never go wrong staying true to yourself.

  29. Sonal on October 18, 2012 at 6:02 am

    As a pretty new blogger, I really appreciate this post! The tips are great and I am already realising some of them earlier on. Love your blog πŸ™‚

  30. Kayla on October 18, 2012 at 6:33 am

    love your blog! your blog was one of the first one’s i started reading 4 years ago when i was in college. thank for being YOU and providing a real inspiration to females! πŸ™‚

  31. Lauryn on October 18, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Hi Gina, that was a lovely post to read and at just the right time. I have been reading your blog for years and even though this is my first ever comment I have been with you through all your blog moments and could relate to quite a few of them. I just started a little bloggy of my own this month and although still figuring it all out I do look forward to finally getting comfortable with it and hopefully even gaining some blog friends! πŸ˜‰ Take care and keep up the good work!

  32. Megan (healthgeekchic) on October 18, 2012 at 8:54 am

    First of all–Congrats, What an accomplishment!! This post offers great perspective and advice, especially for new bloggers like myself! Cheers, and here’s to many more years of blogging and inspiratiion!

  33. Irene on October 18, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Congratulations on 4 years! I’m certainly glad you started your blog – it is definitely in my top 3 blogs and I am excited to read it every day. You’ve introduced me to so many cool fitness tools and recipes! Speaking of which, I made the cranberry orange amaze balls yesterday and I’m completely obsessed with them! Even my husband enjoyed them!

  34. Grace on October 18, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Great tips! Just put up my first blog post πŸ™‚ about yoga teacher training. Wish me luck! I’m excited about the possibilities of blogging

  35. Kristen on October 18, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Your readers have also learned a TON! I know I have. I wish I would have known about the blog world 4 years ago. I only discovered it about 2 1/2 years ago. Your blog was the first and is still my favorite today. I quit the gym because of your blog. I get just as good of results from your workouts and they are free for me. Thank you πŸ™‚ I also learned that eating healthy can still be fun and interesting. Aside from all of the eats and workouts, your blog just puts me in a good mood every time I read it. Even when you write about something that’s serious or that I may not agree 100% with, I still love it because it makes me think and consider a different perspective. Also, your baby is just a couple of months older than mine so I love the family page.
    I could go on and on with nothing but positive things to say about your blog. Thank you so much for taking time out your day to do this!
    Did you ever think that when you started this blog basically out of boredom that it would become what it is today? That’s amazing!

  36. Rebecca on October 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Congrats!!! I enjoy reading your blog pretty much everyday and I’m liking seeing how another baby almost the same age as mine grows up. Sometimes they are so similar it is a little scary!

    Sometimes I struggle with ‘what to right’. I can’t really talk about my job, nor do I really want to have some sort of ‘edu-blog’. So I just write instead. I do like the fact that I can go back in time and read what was going on at that particular moment in time – especially with a growing baby!

  37. pluvk on October 18, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Congratulations on four years!! I’ve often toyed with writing my own blog, but the “you can’t please everyone” insecurity gets me every time. I cannot understand why people need to make rude and/or cruel comments… I totally appreciate what you wrote — that you try to have compassion for the person, and that you take the good with the bad.

    You have an amazing blog, and I cannot wait to see where the next four years takes you!!

  38. Kim on October 18, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Gina, I’ve been reading your blog for a little over a year..it got me through fitness food ruts, boring grad school biostatistics classes, and inspired me to want to write a blog. Thanks for the tips.

  39. Bek @ Crave on October 19, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Thanks for the tips! Love it! πŸ™‚

  40. Natasha on October 19, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Love all the tips, and love that you blog about what interests you. It gives the posts a great variety which I love<3

  41. purelymichelle on October 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    I will be forever grateful for having spending a month with you at 105. You are one the sweetest, most beautiful person (inside and out!) I know!! I am blessed to call you a friend.
    Love you!

  42. Kim on October 20, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Wow! Thanks for all the information. I started reading your blog over a year ago and love it!! I just started blogging a little over a month ago and so far I really enjoy it. I started with a concept (I just turned 43 and every day I do 43 of some type of fitness thing – whether it is my whole work-out or just the starter). I thought I would just stick to that and leave out all the other little details of my life. After a week or so, I found that little pieces of life started to naturally sneak in. I like blogging better that way! Good to hear a someone who has really experienced the blog world say that is the way to go! Part of my frustration is trying to figure out some things on WordPress. Do you have someone who helps you with all of the techie things? Your blog always looks so great!

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