One Year Blogiversary + Huge Announcement!

I honestly never thought I would be writing this post. When I launched this blog a year ago, I never thought I would keep up with it. I had tried and failed in the past to be "a blogger" and each time I failed miserably. But here we are, a year later and the blog is officially one! I have made huge strides with this blog in the past year but none I am more proud of than the community that has been built around it. 

When I first launched, I had one thing in mind. To share my story and to help others. I don't think you understand how happy it makes me say that I have poured my heart and soul into that mission over the last twelve months. But I wouldn't be here without YOU. Whether you've read every blog post or just the ones you most relate to, YOU are what keeps this blog moving in the right direction. YOU are what makes this a community with your sweet comments, uplifting and encouraging thoughts and I'm working on making a way for us to be able to share those with each other on a regular basis. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for being here on this crazy journey.

In the last year, this blog has gone through a final year at West Point, a Wedding, a move. We as a community have shared highs and lows and talked about some pretty uncomfortable topics, like suicide and depression. I've hit numbers and milestones that I would never have thought I would hit in a million years but I've also learned some important lessons that I would like to share with y'all today. If you're thinking about starting a blog, write these down. Pin and save this post for later, because these words are SO important for bloggers, and for all of us, to hear:

1. The number of followers you have doesn't define you

The Instagram game is a harsh one. For every follower, you gain it can seem like you lose 10 more. Some days engagement is high and others it seems to tank. You're constantly caught in the comparison game, whether you like it or not. But here's the thing: none of that matters! When I made community my word of the year for 2018, I didn't realize how much of an impact that would actually have on my life, including my Instagram feed. I'm not saying that numbers never get me down or anything but for every moment I have doubted my success on Instagram, I have a sweet comment or conversation with one of you. THAT is what is so important. When I see that a post or caption has resonated with one of my followers on Instagram, that reminds me of what I'm really striving for. 10,000 followers on Instagram may be nice but it's nothing compared to cultivating a community. 

2. Community > Competition

Speaking of community, blogging can be LONELY AF if you're seeing everyone in the industry only as your competition. Honestly, I think these first two lessons are the top reasons why all of my blogs have failed in the past. The bottom line is that there is room enough for everyone in the blogging community. Whether you're looking to make a living out of it or just doing it for fun, never let anyone tell you that the market is oversaturated or that the world doesn't need another blogger. The truth is, we all have stories to share and whether we tell those stories with fashion or with prose, being a part of a blogging community makes me a better blogger rather than just focusing on all the other bloggers out there as competition. 

3.  "Haters" gonna hate but you'll be better for it

I've actually only gotten one mean comment in the last year but that one comment rocked my world. It made me question everything from why I was doing this to whether or not it was worth it and even if I should stop. But I came back and I wrote my heart out in both an Instagram caption and a blog post and not only did that put the issue to bed with me and readers, but it also helped me connect to you guys SO MUCH MORE.

4. Quality over quantity always wins

In December, I wrote 25 posts. That's one post every day leading up to Christmas. While this was a huge traffic booster for my site, my audience and page views didn't go away when I stopped posting every day. I'm not sure why this fear of people never coming back is so prevalent in the blogging community but you really don't have to post every day to get the kinds of views you want. If you write quality content that is helpful and that readers relate to, they will come and more importantly, they will keep coming back to you. 

5. Being vulnerable is scary as hell

Being vulnerable in any facet of life is scary but putting yourself out there on the internet where you know it has the (however slight) possibility of going viral is downright nerve-wracking. I get so anxious before I publish anything that sometimes I have to walk away and come back before actually hitting publish. But you want to know a secret? It's so so so worth it. The scariest posts I've written have been some of my most rewarding.

What's Next?

Now, what you've all been waiting for. The big announcement, right? AM Coffee Collective will officially be launching on July 6th! That means that next week the blog is going to be pretty quiet as I shut down and work on getting the new website put together. That's not the only exciting thing that's happening next week!

With the launch of the AM Coffee Collective rebrand, our Facebook group will also be officially open! You can make sure that you're the first to know when the Facebook group is officially open by subscribing to the new AM Coffee Collective email list. There are also a few more exciting things that I can't wait to share with y'all but you'll have to wait until the official launch to find out all of those! I can't wait to connect with y'all in a new way and to officially position this blog as a community for honest conversation! 

Once again, thank you from the very bottom of my heart for everything that you have done to support me and our little corner of the internet over the last year. I can't wait to see what we accomplish with this community in the future!

Until next time, y'all,

Darrian