How I Handle the “Real World” & Blogging

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Most people in my “real” life don’t know that I have a blog. It’s not something that I really advertise because I don’t want to answer questions or have people that I know read my blog. Most of the time what I’m posting about is really personal. I share my feelings, views, and opinions without having to worry about too much backlash but I often wonder what would happen if my family, friends, and acquaintances were reading.

I used to share the link to my blog on Facebook and Instagram so it’s not exactly a secret. My Instagram is weird because I post about my blog on stories but not really on the main feed. I’m so weird about it because so many of my “real life” friends and family follow me on Instagram.

All of this weirdness stems from me being an awkward introvert. I have such a hard time talking about my personal feelings in real life and become super awkward and change the subject ASAP.

I guess the truth is that I’m still trying to figure out how to balance blogging and my personal life. Blogging is something that I’m passionate about but I don’t know how I would feel if everyone knew about and read my blog.

How do you handle blogging?

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The Blogger Comparison Game

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A couple of years ago I took an internet marking class in college that made me decide to quit blogging. I had already been blogging for a couple of years at this point and no longer could handle it. I hated comparing myself to other bloggers and their successes. I hated looking at my stats and feeling like a failure because I couldn’t meet the goals that I had set for myself. I decided that I hated everything about blogging and shut my door to the community that I worked so hard to connect with.

I never thought that I would come out of blogging “retirement” but I’m so glad that I did! I pretty much had to build myself back up from nothing and it was rough. I let fear and self doubt crush everything that I had created and I almost let that fear win.

Blogging in the age of social media influencers is much harder than when I started this blog almost six years ago. When I started writing a blog for a college English class I never expected to love it and want to keep writing after the class was over. Having this space has become my creative outlet and all of you have become my internet friends.

Still, I find myself comparing my little piece of the internet to other’s. I feel a sense of belonging in the blogging community yet still compare my posts and pictures to everyone else’s. I cheer people on while tearing myself down because I’m a perfectionist and nothing ever feels good enough.

The blogger comparison game is real. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way and I wanted to share how I’ve been coping with my feelings.

The wonderful bloggers who I follow are amazing people. I’ve never met them in real life but I can tell because they put so much into their writing. Instead of comparing myself to them I’ve been trying to instead put my energy into engaging and building others up too. If I follow you it’s because I honestly love reading your content and I want you to do well!

As bloggers we have the unique ability to put our thoughts out into the world in either a negative or positive way. Playing this stupid comparison game with myself was a negative behavior and it was hurting my blogging. I will probably never be a social media influencer and that’s okay. I’ll always be a shy introvert who is just happy to share her truth with the world.

Do you find yourself getting caught up in the comparison game? How do you deal with it?

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I Needed A Break

blogging break

I took a week off of blogging and nothing bad happened.

I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump lately. It’s been an endless cycle of the comparison game and I’ve just felt like there’s no reason for me to keep writing.

I opened my laptop several times to start writing but I couldn’t find the words. I have drafts that I could have easily set to publish but none of them seemed right either. I needed a week to recharge, regroup, and find some new inspiration so that’s what I did.

Blogging is supposed to be a fun, creative outlet to get me outside of my comfort zone and de-stress. Sometimes it becomes the source of my stress and that’s when I know that I need a break.

I have a lot of big things happening in June. I’m throwing a baby shower for my sister in law, traveling to meet up with some friends, and the start of our busy airshow season. All of these things are creating a lot of stress even though I’m excited for them. As always, just trying to take things day by day.

How do you feel about taking a break from blogging?

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5 Things I’ve Learned After 5 Years of Blogging

5 things I've learned in 5 years of blogging

I am still in shock that I’ve been writing Life of Hayley for 5 years! This has been such a fun adventure and I hope to continue blogging for the foreseeable future.

One question I get asked is what are the things I have learned about blogging over the years. The blogging community is changing rapidly and it’s hard to keep up with all of the new influencers popping up every single day. I try not to take blogging too seriously which has helped me continue to love writing after all this time.

Here are five things that I have learned in my five years as a blogger:

  1. Not everyone needs or wants to be a professional blogger. I have no real desire to blog full time right now. I really enjoy having Life of Hayley be my hobby and because it’s not my full time job it’s okay if from time to time I need a break from it. If blogging was my full time job I would have to create a content calendar and stick to it. Some of my favorite posts are the random ones that I wrote when I was feeling inspired.
  2. The more time you put into your blog the more you get out of it. I have found that the more time and energy I put into a post the more views and comments it gets. The more I post the better my blog does but it’s important to remember that it’s not all about your blog stats! I blog because I love to and not because I like to see how many people are reading each day. I’d rather have one meaningful comment than one million page views.
  3. Being able to look back at your life is pretty cool. I’m terrible at keeping a journal and my memory isn’t the best. Being able to look back at blog posts over the last five years is really cool. I have been able to document my life and can see how much I have changed and how far I have come. I can be proud of my journey.
  4. You don’t have to be a web designer to have a nice blog design. When I was in high school I wanted to be a web designer so I took all of the web design/coding classes that my school had to offer. I am lucky to have a small amount of knowledge about web design but for the most part you really don’t have to have any prior knowledge to start a blog. WordPress is great because it has a ton of free themes and it’s easy to watch Youtube tutorials if you want to customize anything.
  5. Making connections is the best part of blogging. YOU are the reason I keep writing! All of my blogging friends and this community is what inspires me to keep telling my story. I love sharing my journey but I also love reading about your journey too.

What are your best blogging tips?

Lifestyle Blog, Life of Hayley

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5 Years of Blogging!

5 Years of Blogging

In November Life of Hayley turned 5! Since then I have been struggling on how to properly commemorate this very special occasion. 

Let me start out by saying that I began this blog right after my 20th birthday as a way to document the 25 things I wanted to accomplish before turning 25. At the time I was a sophomore in college and felt incredibly lost about what to do with my life. I felt unaccomplished and lonely. I had started a blog the year before for my freshman English class so the thought of writing had been in my head for some time. My 20th birthday was the perfect starting point for a lifestyle blog.

In the beginning I wrote about whatever I wanted and it was never about the views, likes, or comments. When I studied abroad in London I posted once a week and my blog gained a small following. I really loved the interaction with fellow bloggers and fell in love with the community. My senior year of college I took an internet marketing class that forced me to once again start a new blog. I spent all my time and energy on getting traffic to that blog. My grade was based on the number of followers, likes, and comments. I started to hate blogging when I no longer felt joy in interacting and instead found myself fixated on the stats. After I graduated from college I took almost a full year off of blogging and honestly thought that I would never blog again. 

My current job is what inspired me to open my laptop and start writing. I work in finance so there’s very little creativity in my normal day-to-day activities. I found myself wanting to write again about getting married and life after college. My first post was a challenge to write but after that I got back into the swing of things. 

My life has changed greatly since the day I sat in my dorm room and began writing. Life of Hayley has developed into something that I’m really proud of. This community has supported me during some of the hardest moments of my life and for that I am grateful. I hope 5 years from now I’ll be around to reflect on my 10 years of blogging.

Thanks so much for reading!

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Travel Playlist – A Week In Italy

Travel Playlist - Italy

Hello from Italy (hopefully)!

I am scheduling this post a week in advance but *fingers crossed* Brett and I are currently in Rome!

The most popular blog post that I have ever written was my Study Abroad Playlist in 2015. I am still blown away by the number of views that I receive each week on this post! Music is so important to me and I love having a playlist for each trip that I take. This trip to Rome has been one that I have been dreaming about since I was in Elementary school. I’m so grateful to get the chance to visit!

I should also mention during this trip I will be living out my Lizzie McGuire movie dreams so of course there will be songs from the movie soundtrack. 🙂 I hope you enjoy this little taste of Rome.

Volare – Vitamin C

Pompeii – Bastille

Walking On Sunshine – Katrina & The Waves

Daydream Believer – The Monkees

Learning to Fly – Tom Petty

Go Big Or Go Home – American Authors

Send Me On My Way – Rusted Root

New Soul – Yael Naim

What Dreams Are Made Of – Hilary Duff

Here I Go Again – Whitesnake

Where The Streets Have No Name – U2

The Nights – Avicci

Have Love Will Travel – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

I Love This Life – LOCASH

What are your favorite songs for traveling?

Thanks for reading!

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Hello From Somewhere!

travel blog

Hi friends!

It’s the beginning of a new week and I have no idea where I am. I’m writing this post ahead of time because Brett and I are traveling this week. The goal is to make it to Europe, preferably Rome, but we will take a what we can get!

My husband, Brett, works for an airline which means that we get flight benefits to fly standby. We aren’t guaranteed a seat on the flight and a lot of times we get stuck places. But I guess that’s part of the adventure!

This week we are trying to make it to Rome and hopefully by the time you are reading this we have made it. If you want to know where we ended up make sure to follow me on Instagram (@lifeofhayleyblog). I’ll be posting to my stories as often as I can.

I am so excited for this new adventure with Brett and can’t wait to share my travels with you when I return.

Thanks so much for reading!

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