Blog Berry Juice is a triannual post where my squirtle and I treat one of my newer pokémon out to some berry juice at Shuckle Shack and discuss the progress of The Grown-Up Trainer. This post's guest, Oranguru.
First, let’s start the final Blog Berry Juice of 2017 by checking out the blog’s stat summary. It has an average of 50 unique visitors a day, with an average of 140 visitors each weekend in December. The most popular posts continue to be the monthly financial reviews.
The blog's social media following continues to grow. Instagram, a great place to see all of the blog art in one spot, has 56 followers. Twitter, the best place to hear about truant posts, U-Turn Tuesday and see Shadow Sneak Peeks, has 58 followers. Facebook, a place that mentions when new posts go live, has 35 follows. The weekly e-mails, which I always send out immediately after a post goes live, are up to 15 subscribers.
It has been an interesting four months. A sweet kiss from getting married in August caused some confusion longer than anticipated. My schedule was thrown off by going to Drag Con NYC in September and continued into our honeymoon in October. I struggled, even more, trying to find my own tempo in November. Finally, in December I skill swapped some inner focus and got back on track. During the whirlwind of these last four months, I fell far behind reading other blogs and even missed appearing on Mrs. Picky Pincher’s list of Favorite Money Bloggers, Part 4.
When I visit with my parents, whether in real life, Skype or on the phone, I always feel like I need to give them assurance that I am doing work that I love and am surviving just fine. Having been with my parents in Montana for Christmas, for 2017’s final Blog Berry Juice I want to discuss the 6 answers I give my parents about my blog.
No, my blog isn’t making money yet.
When I started my blog, I was hoping to make a little side-income from it. I was fully aware that most blogs don’t make much money during their first few years and I was fine with that. As I have gained blogging experience this last year, I have learned that I don’t have the energy right now to teach it pay day. Right now, I am more interested in finding my voice and getting my ideas out there, than I am in passive income.
Yeah, it’s not my job, but it is my work.
For me, my job is what pays my bills and my work is what feeds my passion. It’s all about juggling jobs, work, and life. Sure, most of my energy is leech seeded by my fulltime job, but I enjoy it immensely. It feeds my passion for costume design. Almost every day I learn about designing and building costumes by working with some of the biggest names on Broadway. I then put those lessons into practice when I find my own costume design opportunities.
My work, on the other hand, must be power split to feed my many passions. The work I do on this blog feeds my passion to make personal finances more accessible and interesting. This is why I became so frustrated about being teeter danced these last couple of months. I am also working on being more active in New York City’s bisexual community. I assisted in starting up a new discussion group for mixed orientation couples, and am lending a helping hand to new outreach programs.
Then I have my passions that are a natural part of my life. I love to run and have many goals, like running the Dopey Challenge in 2020. Of course, Pokémon has become a part of my daily life. Finally, I become more passionate about my family as it continues to grow.
Yes, I really enjoy blogging... even though my schedule can stress me out.
I taught my beginning costume design students in grad school that design has two parts process and product. Although the process is very important to development, the final product is what the audience sees. I am an artist who loves the process. I enjoy the artistry of the writing, the editing, the reorganization and manipulation of words, but I can get lost in it.
Due dates are the mean look that prevents my process from escaping and focuses me back to the product. When the process occasionally gets too far from the product, it causes me stress and frustration. In December my goal was to have each week’s post written a week early to gastro acid any last-minute pressure. It started successfully, yet here I am, posting a day later than scheduled because the post wasn’t complete on time.
Actually, I put a lot of time into it.
When I blogged for my undergrad college, I posted weekly and it took me about two hours. I wrote about that week’s experience directly on the website and added a picture I took that week.
With this blog, a post takes me anywhere from 10 to 14 hours. Along with writing each post, I also create an image, a sprite for the home page and the Instagram “The Next Post Is Live” image. I also care more about my content than I did in undergrad. I want to make sure it makes sense and has minimal rambling. Adding the pokémon references is also fun. Some weeks it’s as easy as finding a zubat. Other times, searching for a proper reference is like finding a feebas in Hoenn, I know it's here somewhere, but I have to give up for now.
I’m drawing on a weekly basis.
I always feel a bit like a bidoof saying this. Like exercise for my body, drawing exercises my art muscles and I should always make time for it to remain in peak condition. Except, also like exercise, it only happens when I have a reason or goal behind it.
This blog gives me that reason and drive. Not only am I drawing on a weekly basis, but I practice and experiment with Photoshop and Illustrator too. I think about composition more often than before and am even working on character development and movement. Sure, not every post’s image is amazing, but if I never throw a pokéball, I'll never catch a pokémon.
It’s good for my portfolio
Portfolios are a collection of an artist’s work that shows a potential employer the artist’s skills and talents used for previous projects. I feel this blog showcases a consistent design concept and creates a recognizable brand aesthetic. It demonstrates my ability to create new images and other content on a regular basis. Someday, I will take Ms. Montana’s advice and start a blog as part of my online portfolio. Until then, this blog is a great substitute.
Let’s chat: What topics would you like to see me tackle in 2018?
The Life Cycle of a Blog- Millennial Money Man
How I started a blog while working full-time- Picky Pinchers
Rockstar Directory- Rockstar Finance (it's a pokédex of over 1,400 Personal Finance Blogs)