Lessons from My First Year Blogging

I’ve never actually run a marathon. I was almost kicked out of high school basketball because I refused to join the track team. (My hate for running is deep.) But today I feel like I am crossing the finish line of a fancy marathon. Breathing heavy, sweaty, and arms raised in adrenaline filled victory. I want to hug a stranger, cry and kiss my metal. People, today is my 1 year blogiversary!!!!!!

When I hit 6 months, I wrote the 3 lessons I learned in those first 6 months. It’s still one of my most commented on posts. Those first few months were overwhelming and crazy. And if you have just started this journey, check that one out for sure.

I had asked myself two questions for my first 6 months. And I had two questions for these 6 months as well. 1. Who am I trying to help? 2. What kind of transformation do I want to help create? Of course, the questions I ask rarely get answered. So here are the 2 lessons I found out instead.

1. Being known is awesome…and terrifying

I really believe that our stories are important and powerful. If we can speak the truth in a simple and clear way, we can share a tiny piece of our life with another person. It sparks understanding, compassion, ideas, and inspiration. We share our victories, and our failures. The things that we are most excited about and what we fear the most. We let people into our little piece of the world. And good things can happen. It builds relationships. And it encourages.

I love sharing our story because we don’t have impressive stats. We haven’t earned huge incomes. We haven’t saved millions of dollars. But we have lived on target with the things most important to us. We have been able to adopt 4 kids. We have travel through 27 countries and all over the US. We have enough financial freedom that we can focus on leveraging our time in ways that will create the most impact without worrying about paying the bills.

I share our story because if we can get to this place, with those inputs, I think it will encourage others that more is possible than they might currently believe. I share all our monthly expenses so that you can peek behind the curtain and see what this frugal life really looks like. What kind of lifestyle is possible. And tweek it to fit your own needs.

But it’s also terrifying.

Have you ever worried about being “too much?” You’re too passionate, too excited, laugh too loud, too logical, too intense, too silly, too caring, too honest, too trusting, too relational, too focused, dance too crazy, too much of an idealist? Just too much for some people? I was born without the proverbial “chill pill.” And I’ve never found one. I’m just too much. Probably of every single thing I listed. There is a constant temptation to scale back my “too much” to fall within the acceptable range. Where everyone can be more comfortable.

Those things that are too much are also the most sacred. It’s the most honest version of myself. If you ever see me acting cool, and nonchalant, well, that is a total lie. Unless I am asleep. Or sick. ( I live with 5 germ minions, so that actually happens quite often.)

Here’s the thing.

What I love most about others is their “too much.” When they laugh so hard they snort, then I laugh even harder at their snorting. When they start dancing in the grocery store because their favorite song comes on. When they care so much about a world issue that they break into tears because it’s pressing so heavy on their heart. When an author will print his cell phone number in the back of a best selling book. Or a mom will post a picture of a pile of dirty laundry so tall it might avalanche and bury the family dog. There is a short pause where I think, “Oh, God, we are way outside of the socially acceptable level here.”

And then I love them instantly for their unique “too much.”

It’s easy for others to take our “too much” and fashion it into an arrow to shoot at us. Our “too much” is vulnerable. It’s so honest, and so close to our heart.  That makes it terrifying.

A few months ago I went out to coffee with a person who was upset with me. It was an hour long list of everything they dislike about me. Every perceived mistake I’ve made was carefully cataloged. Every way I fall short as a human being exposed. After 45 minutes of fighting back tears, this single statement pushed me over the edge. They said of my son who passed away, “I always felt sorry for your adopted son, I pitied him, because I don’t think you loved him. That one time I saw you together, you didn’t hug much. He deserved better than you.”

It was a arrow straight to my heart. And I sobbed hot angry tears. I tried to blubber something thing about teenage boys and reactive attachment disorder, and dynamics of adoption with older kids and alternate forms of affection. But mostly I cried uncontrollably. Hot messy tears. Right in the middle of the coffee shop. They weren’t the most hurtful words ever spoken to me, but really damn close. I couldn’t sleep for 2 nights after that.

All the things close to my heart were fashioned into a arrow. Not by a stranger or internet troll, but someone I thought cared about me. There are a few people very skilled at arrow making in this world. Able to gather the things close to our hearts and craft arrows that fly straight. So with trembling fingers I share my “too much” with all of you. And I steady my breath that the arrow makers won’t find more flint and feathers from these things I write.

2. Momentum

I’ll share all my site stats at the end, for all the spread sheet loving, number and chart geeks out there. But the momentum is more than that.

Relationships. Building relationships takes time. Getting to know people takes time. And I’m starting to see a lot of momentum on that front. The number of emails I received from readers month 1 was 0. Month 2 was 0.  Month 3 was 0. Now I get emails every week, sometimes every day. It took a year of writing here every week, but we have gotten to know each other a bit. Sometimes you’ll shoot me an email or leave a comment. I’ll get a Facebook comment on things I post or my ridiculous attempts at Facebook live. (These are really terrifying for me! No script, no edits. 90% of the time my “too much” pops out like a wardrobe malfunction, and I want to stick my foot in my mouth!)

I’ve loved Skyping, Google hangouts, chatting on the phone and mailing you all packages! In my 6th month recap I said that “community is magic” and you all leaned in and made it SO much better! Thank you for that. =)

Skills/Identity. I wrote over 100 posts this first year. Or about 100,000 words. I write a bit faster now. I can write longer. I am better able to sit down and write on a schedule. I went from seeing myself as a hobby writer blown about by whim and inspiration to a professional writer. I started earning money from writing words for other people. I send invoices! I actually feel like I can approach people for writing work, because I know the value I can add and the way I can help them in their business.

Opportunities. In certain situations, a blog can be the longest business card ever. It’s not just a small blurb on a website. In the longest possible form, it’s where I stand on things, my ideas, my experiences, my stories, my tips and tricks, how I see the world, our know-how and skills and personality. If you have a few hours to binge read, you can probably figure out if I can help you out with something. When you first start blogging, you get a few emails from spammy companies wanting to work with you. 12 months in, and there are more companies, that I am legit interested in. People creating high value products and services who I really want you to know about. Other people I have gotten to know and want to partner with to create things. New ways of teaching and being able to go deep into a topic with people that I am excited about.

Impact. This is just nuts to me. Everything I write about are conversations I have had with people. Maybe just my husband or a friend over coffee. Maybe I gave a talk to 50 or a 100 people. Maybe I chatted with a few friends. But the idea that hundreds or thousands of people get to read the ideas that have helped us create financial freedom blows my mind! I grew up in a town of 800. And now I get to “chat” about personal finance with 7000+ people a month? It’s such a privilege to know that I can help so many people in some small way via this blog or in a much bigger way with money consults and mentoring.

It’s all more, not less. But those 2 questions I keep asking become even more important. Just because it’s a great opportunity or idea, doesn’t mean I have space on my plate for it. I’ve had to learn to say no more often. I suck at it. But am slowly learning.

Ready to geek out on some numbers!?!

These aren’t incredible, but they aren’t horrible. I would say they are rather average.

But that’s exactly why I want to share them. So you see a benchmark for average. If you want to leverage a blog to grow your business, start an entrepreneurial endeavor, build a platform to expand your impact or blog for personal growth, it’s good to go in eyes wide open. I have a super helpful post coming Wednesday, if you are interested in building an online presence (Plus a GREAT offer at the end of this!).

year 1 of blogging number of posts

I’m actually really proud that I hit publish on 102 posts this year! Consistently putting out content is a big challenge to blogging (read: time consuming) but it’s paying off.

first year of blogging

Here are my top 10 posts from the year. I think it’s kind of cool that the “Our Story” is the top page now. =)

gaining blog traffic with guest posts and features

On the shoulders of giants!!! I am overwhelmed with gratitude from the very bottom of my heart. Everyone who shared my posts on Facebook or Twitter. Everyone who shared a link. Every blogger who let me guest post on their site. There were literally 500+ places that references came from. And I am super thankful to each and every person. You all helped a newbie out and I am truly grateful. And a really big thanks to J$ and Cait who featured 10+ posts on Rockstar finance. J$ featured Walden Theory on my blog launch day exactly 1 year ago. If you, for some crazy reason, aren’t subscribed to their email, go do that now. We’ll wait till you get back.

number of facebook likes for new blogger

I’m working really hard to make Facebook a great place to connect. I would love it you would follow me there! Plus I have these crazy fb live videos. =)

Mr. Montana took and SEO course, and my site is doing much better! Plus more people are searching each day to try to get here. Last summer I averaged 5-10 a day. In the fall I was in the 30-50 each day. Now I am averaging 60-100 searches a day.

How many email subscribers after 1 year of blogging

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!!! To everyone who has subscribed to my email list and allows me to write you a letter each week. It is absolutely my favorite thing to write. It feels like such a privilege. (Pro tip: if you ever want to get a hold of a blogger, subscribe to their email and, if possible, hit reply to send an email to them. If you reply to an email I sent, I figure we are already basically friends.)

average page views for 1 year old blog

Ah, the good stuff! Page views. Every time someone clicks on a page it’s counts as 1. So if you come to my site, but read 15 posts, I get 16 page views (home page, plus 15 posts.) Binge reading is encouraged. =)

First 4 months: 1,000-10,000 a month

Months 5-9: 10,000-15,000 a month

Months 10,11,12: 20,000-25,000 a month

visitor average for first year of blogging

This gives you a better idea of unique visitors for my first year. The last few months I have had about 7,000-9,000 people showing up here per month. In Wednesday’s post, I want to talk about ways you can leverage a blog to help grow an existing business, start an entrepreneurial venture or personal growth. But if you have a message you want to share, product or service that can help people, or want to create community to support your growth, having an extra 7,000-9,000 people on your site each month is a HUGE help!

For fun…here are the top places in April that people checked out my site. I love seeing these! I’ve been most of these places, and left a bit of my heart in each. I haven’t yet made it to Australia, but Mr. Montana’s dad is from there. So we have a close connection. His whole family is an awful lot of fun, and I completely blame that continent! Too much sun and surf. =) Or maybe it’s the Vegemite. Ugh. I don’t get it.

So that wraps up my first year!!! It’s ended up being way bigger than I ever expected. So many cool things have come out of it. Because I have had such a great experience, I wanted to give a special offer to my readers.

If you want to get started on a blog for yourself, I am going to offer a FREE hour consult to the first 20 people if you get your website hosting with my Bluehost affiliate link. I have had a great experience with them this year!

Starting out can be a little overwhelming. From the tech side, SEO, finding your audience, when and how to monetize, finding the right schedule to meet your goals, well, it’s a lot at first. If you think that adding a blog could really help expand your reach, I’d love to help you get started. I’m not a expert, but after a year, you pick up a few things. =)

We can jump on a call or Skype and cover any these topics:

Narrow which of the three groups your blog would fall into.

How to narrow down your niche.

How to find the voice of your blog.

How to join the conversation already happening in your field.

How to grow your email list.

And anything else we can fit into an hour!

But I only have 20 spots for the free 1 hour consults. Just click on the link to sign up for your hosting if you are interested! Hosting is just a few dollars a month, but you never know what might come from it. =) They will send me a notification, and I’ll reach out to set up a consult call!

For Conversation:

Do you ever struggle with the line of how much to share, or feeling like “too much”?

If you blog, what were your first year experiences?

Any advice for other newbies looking to build an online platform?

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61 thoughts on “Lessons from My First Year Blogging

  1. It’s hard to keep everything in perspective and remember that growth takes time, and really I haven’t been doing this that long! Baby steps. This post is helpful. Thanks for the dose of reality 🙂

    • I feel like the first 6 months were just getting my bearings. This last 6 months have been focusing down a bit more. And it all does take time! After a year, I feel like I just scratched the surface. =)

  2. Oh my gosh. YES, I often feel like I’m too much! But lately, I’ve been getting encouragement indirectly from people in my life who tell me (or others) things like “When she enters the room, she brings such an energy with her!” “She has such a contagious enthusiasm!” “Thank you for coming to the game night; none of us knew each other very well but you bonded us together by getting us all to talk!”

    Even so, I feel like I’m too much. If it’s a good day, I’ll shrug and accept that we’re all made differently and have different strengths and weaknesses. And if it’s a really good day, I’ll laugh at the fact that the world would be crazy if every single person on earth was just like me. I love how we all are different but can enjoy life together! It’s interesting, joyful, and even fun!

    I”m very sorry that someone was rude to you and spent all that time telling you what they don’t like about you. Wounding someone like that – there’s no reason for it.

    I think you’re amazing, and you’ve helped personal finance make so much more sense to me than a lot of materials I’ve read over the years. I appreciate your honesty. You rock!

    • Whatever people feel like they are “too much” of is generally what I love the most. =) And I think it take a certain kind of bravery to not constantly pull that in to a more “normal” range. I ran into 2 friends this weekend who were telling me about passion projects they were starting. I could tell they were trying to play it cool, but I wanted to say, “It’s ok to be super excited about this! It’s super exciting!!!”

      Thanks so much Sunny for the comment! I’m glad this posts are helping you. It takes time to figure this money stuff out and look at it a different way. I’m still in process! =)

  3. Congrats on your Year 1 Blogthday (is that a word?), Ms. Montana! I just finished Year 2, and it’s an amazing journey. Keep cranking out the great content that you’re becoming famous for, and you’ll be amazed at the continued growth. Being “real” is what you’re about, and folks connect with that. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you this past year, and look forward to what the future brings for you!

    • If it’s not a word, it should be. =) I’m really excited to hit 1 year. I knew I would do 6 months no matter what, but wanted to make it to a year just to get a good taste of what it’s all about. It’s been really amazing, and I can’t wait to see what year 2, 3 or 4 might bring. It’s been so surprising already! And I feel like I’m just getting started. =) Like I mentioned in the 6 month review, the community has been magic! It’s been awesome to get to know you, and I’m so excited for when you guys finally make it to Montana! I’ll make ice cream. =)

    • Thanks! And thank so much for including me in one of your posts. It brought so many new visitors over here! This year has been great so far. It’s amazing how much can happen in a year!

  4. Wow, what an awesome first year! It’s amazing that reach and influence you’ve gained so quickly. I admire that 🙂
    So sorry to hear about that really rough conversation you had with someone close to you. I know it’s impossible not to take those hurtful words personally, but I don’t have to know you or the situation to know that was off-base and untrue. That person must have some brokenness that is driving those comments. Anyway, please don’t let that tame your voice here and elsewhere!

    • People are always worried about saying the wrong thing to a parent after a child dies, well….that is the wrong thing to say! It’s hard to get me to cry, especially in public, but that nailed it. After that, I’m not sure how much worst internet trolls could be. =)

  5. Kudos and congrats. I love these posts about what has learned. I have just hit 6 months and while my site is not as big as yours, it is fun to connect with people and see the community grow.

    • The community is AMAZING. That was my biggest take away when I hit 6 months. Other bloggers, readers, connecting on Fb or Twitter: that alone makes the whole process worth it!

  6. Congrats on 1 year!!!! Your first year was just amazing, Ms. Montana! I’m grateful to have been able to follow your journey and grateful we’ve become friends along the way.

    I think we’re all “too much” in one way or another. But it’s the “too much” that makes us unique, it’s who we are. Who wants to be normal, anyway?! Although I’m getting better, I’ve struggled to find my voice in my first year of blogging, that ugly fear creeps in and stifles my “too much”. It’s a slow process, but I’m getting there.

    I’m sorry you had that experience in the coffee shop – I can’t imagine how difficult that must have been. It’s disappointing that people can say such cruel things. I really think this person needs to take a closer look at themselves.

    • I love that we are friends too! And I with your totally right about embracing those things that are unique in each of us. But dang that fear is real! I feel it constantly. And it is a slow process. But I try to think of others “too much” and why I love them even more for it. Every person that I adore has something “too much” about them. =) Even little things like how J$ uses WAY “too much” exclamation points and winky faces. Once he sent me an email that was only exclamation points. I think it’s my favorite email ever. 😉

  7. Happy Blogiversary! (I remember that first RockStar post brought me to your site). I love your writing and so does Mr. Groovy. I think he has a little crush on you. In a good way. Wishing you many more years of blogging and everything else you enjoy.

    Your “too much” is “exactly enough”. It’s called passion, generosity, and being brutally genuine. And that friend of yours? With friends like that who needs enemies. What a horrible thing to go through, but now you see who she is. She’s “way too little”.

    • “Your “too much” is “exactly enough”.” Thank you so much! I think I will write this down and paste it in an encouragement cabinet I have. And I think you both are so awesome. I’m so freaking excited for you to come to Montana!!! I’ll try not to monopolize all your time here. =)

      “With friends like that who needs enemies.” No joke, right? I walked out of there thinking WTF just happened? Who says that to another person? I know they were annoyed about another issue entirely, but to resort to that is just mean. It’s hard for people to cross a line with me, but saying anything negative about my dead son? Oh please. Line has been crossed!! It actually gave me more resolve about creating this online space. If I can deal with that kind of crazy shit in real life, I can handle a few rude comments here. =)

  8. Happy 1 year. I’m at about 8 months at this point and can only wish I were seeing the progression you had at this point. So I’d say what your doing is working regardless.

    I’m definitely in the stealth wealth group that does not want to share my finances. I find myself walking write up to the line, like in my post today, but its a line I won’t cross.

    My only advice… Persistence and understanding that you’ll be talking to yourself for the first few months.

    • It takes SO much persistence. The first few months, it was like a negotiation with myself. How many people need to read this in order for it to be worth writing down? 50? 25? 10? I committed to 6 months, hopefully a year. And settled on about 30. If 30 people will read these things I write, then it’s worth writing them.

      And I kind of hate sharing our numbers to be honest. My family is so Scandinavian, and talking about money like this is very rude. But I do it because I think it’s more helpful to others. The whole time we were paying down debt and just starting to save, people thought that those little things we did were silly and wouldn’t add up. I hope it encourages others to pay attention and be intentional with their money. But it will be weird if my family ever starts reading. =) I don’t think our numbers are impressive at all! But I worry it would come across as braggy to some people.

  9. I am too much. Some people who know me have read my blog and it freaked them out. I struggle with exactly what you wrote almost daily. Thanks for capturing the feeling in words. Also I’m so sorry about what that person said to you. Harsh words are a reflection of what they’re going through and nothing to do with you. You don’t deserve that negativity. Keep being you and writing!

    • I think it’s a big struggle with a lot of women I know, especially the exceptional ones. =) And the whole other situation was just crazy. There was a whole other issue I wasn’t going to budge on. So we went through 45 of random complaints. And when I was too calm and gracious with those, dynamite was thrown. In a way it worked, I erupted into tears.

      The upside is that sometimes when women who have lost their child or spouse get together, we joke about all the crazy, horrible things people have said to us. Like, “Oh, I’m so sorry, I know just how you feel, I lost a dog once.” Or anything that starts with “At least….” You know, things that make you want to punch someone in the throat. I always win that game now. =)

  10. I would say you are killing it! I can only hope for such page views in my first year of blogging. One blog that i follow (michael hyatt dot com) says he had about 400 page views a month for the first 3 or 4 years. This was back in the early 2000s.. Now he has over 700,000 subscribers…He preaches, being consistent and not giving up as the key.

    Congrats on all the success. Wish you twice as much in the next year!

    • I have heard him talk about those page views and it encourages me every. single. time.! Consistency is so important. Momentum takes time! And it’s not really linear. I had about 175 subscribers in my first 6 months. And over 3 times that many in my 2nd 6 months. But the first few months are like crickets. But if the stuff you are writing is good, when people do find you, they will have a lot of back posts to read! Yeah for the binge readers out there. =)

  11. Forget what other people say about whether you ‘deserved’ your adopted son! In fact forget whatever this person said about you.

    My brother died aged 18, I was 17. My elderly Great Aunt who had lived with us for many years said my parents didn’t deserve him. They idolised him. Maybe they did, but as his only sibling I didn’t feel any different. As ever there is a bit of history. My Dad watched his 2 brothers aged 18 & 21 drown in a canoeing accident, when he was only 13. By the time he was 50, he had lost all 4 siblings and both parents. Aged 52 he lost his only son as well.
    My Great Aunt was well out of order, as was the person who gave you 1 hour of misery. They are sad.

    Please, please, forget it. It will generally be borne out of their own sadness, an a reflection of their own desire to inflict hurt as once they were hurt.

      • I always try to keep the stats in context. Your stuff was read 4,000 times! And that is awesome. A dissertation or school paper will be lucky to get 12 reads. =)

    • Thanks so much for the comment! It’s water under the bridge now. I occasionally write things that are very close to home, but always after the wound has healed. Grief is a funny thing and it does change people. I think losing someone can help you appreciate and enjoy the loved ones we currently have even more. I’m sure it played a part in us taking a year off work. I just didn’t want to miss a single moment with my kids. I think knowing that life is so temporary can give it even more desire to appreciate. I’m sure having experienced so much loss already, your dad loved you both fiercely. And I’ll take that any day. =)

  12. I love your “too much” so please don’t stifle it! I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum, and my husband even makes fun of my silent laugh, but I was raised in a home where it was better to not attract attention, so I can be laughing so hard I’m crying and still not make a peep. I admire and respect people like you who share their “too much” with the world, and I think it’s just the right amount.

    • I love that you laugh till you cry. It’s a wonderful kind of “too much.” =) My husband caught me dancing when I had head phones on, and we laughed so hard I cried. (My dancing is really that funny, it even makes me laugh!)

  13. Ms. Montana turns One! Very exciting.

    You gotta love seeing the growth, and the fact that after a year, you’ve learned enough to be able to speak with some authority on what it takes to be a successful blogger.

    Cheers to your continued success!

    • Thanks, I’m super excited to hit this milestone. Boy, the first 6 months are a HUGE learning curve. But it’s amazing how much we pick up in a year. Helping others get their business blogs set up has been one of those fun side projects that I never saw coming. I’m so grateful for everyone who helped me out the first few months! So it’s great to pass a little bit of that forward. =)

  14. Congrats on one year! You’ve made it longer than most bloggers and that’s something to be proud of. This stuck out to me: “Everything I write about are conversations I have had with people.” I once heard another finance blogger say “think about how money has impacted you or someone you know the past week.” Ever since hearing that tip I never run out of blog topics. There’s always something more to write about or some topic to go deeper in.

    • Yes! The thing I love about writing about money is that it’s the thing that trips most people up, stresses them out, is THE limiting factor in their life, and I feel like if I can make it more clear or simple they might have real growth in the areas that matter most to them. It gets me super excited. There are so many life problems that seem impossible to overcome and I have no idea how to fix. But if the problem is money I am overjoyed because that we can make a plan for! It’s not always easy, but generally really simple!

    • Thanks so much Holly! And the first year is crazy! I feel like should have at least earned an associates degree for all the things I had to learn!!! I’m excited to be able to take those new learning curve items one by one now instead of drinking from the fire hose. =)

    • Right? I feel like it’s a surprise gift. And I just want to scream, “What’s in that box!!!??” I guess we just have to wait a year and find out. =)

  15. Congrats!! Happy Blogiversary! On a separate note, I’m a little speechless about what people will say to each other under the guise of friendship. It’s none of my business, but that comment was not about you and had everything to do with the “friend” who said it.

    • Thanks, I’m super happy to make it to a year!
      And I don’t think the comment was meant to be helpful. After I hadn’t broken down with all the other random criticism, that was the final bomb to break me. They seemed very smug and happy after I broke down. I think the comment was, “Well, I suppose it’s good we had this talk.” And in a way, they were right. Because now I know. I know they will say anything to try to crush me. Let’s just say, there will be no more chats over coffee. =) It takes a LOT for me to draw that line. But they managed to get me to draw it.

  16. Congrats on one year! I’ve only been here a little while but I love your site!

    Often, our biggest strength is our biggest weakness as well. I guess that is the to much? I can tell even in the short time I have been reading your blog that you genuinely care for others, a lot, even to the detriment of yourself. A person who would say things like that to you is no friend at all. There is constructive criticism to help guide which I find helpful in a friendship and there is just people projecting their own shit on you. I truly hope you distance yourself from this person, a person who would make a comment like that will have another arrow in their quiver.

    • I do care for others, a lot. =) I just think people are awesome. Like so much potential, so many creative, amazing things just waiting to be leveraged into this world. They might not see it, but I always do! And I see the next 5 or 10 years unfolding in front of them and how freaking awesome they could be. It’s part of why I am so passionate about personal fiance. If we can just figure this thing out (which seems really simple and straightforward to me) then like a rocket they will be freed up to do that thing they were meant to do!

      And you are right about those who are skilled at arrow making. They always make more out of the simplest things. It’s part of the reason I write slightly anonymously. I know a few arrow makers. Any little thing can become flint and feathers to some people. Making arrows can become a past time if people aren’t careful. :/

  17. Congratulations! Wow, it’s hard to believe you’ve only been doing this for one year. You’ve accomplished more here than most people do in 5 years of blogging. You should be very proud!
    102 posts is no joke. You must just be cranking out ideas!

    • Ha! I keep and idea book, and have another 80 waiting for the time to put them down on paper! But we tend to spin about 20 plates at a time, so unlimited time is not on my side. =)

  18. Congrats on a very successful first year of blogging. Your story is very inspiring to me, especially because of what you’ve been able to accomplish with such a big family. I can’t wait to visit Montana someday, so your five kids can play with my five kids!!!

    • I would LOVE for you guys to visit! It would be like a constant party in the backyard. There is a trampoline, swing set and we can set up the bouncy house. Just let them run amuck. =)

  19. So cool to see everything you’ve learned in the first year. I hit my 1 year blogging anniversary at the start of January and found that I’ve grown a lot as a person just from putting myself out there on a regular basis like this. I’ve connected with amazing people online in the PF community and have had to get comfortable that not everyone out there is going to love everything I write 🙂

    I keep chipping away at it though – I’m having a blast and really looking forward to seeing what the next year holds!

    • The habit of consistently writing is such a good growing experience! I think that everyone to aspire to write professionally or be a thought leader should blog. Even if hardly anyone reads it. It’s so important to find those rhythms, and consistently think through ideas and put them down. Plus you get instant feedback! Are people connecting with what you say? Does it make sense? Is it something relevant? I think it’s nuts that people will try to write a book before just the practice of blogging for a year or two.

  20. Congratulations on your first year!! I am coming up behind you which means I best get working on a post now…I’m currently averaging 1.5 posts per month (pesky work getting in the way!)! 😉

    I read this post yesterday but needed some time to digest your words so I wouldn’t act on my first instinct which was to drive to Montana, find this Person, and kick their ass from here to Sunday. That being said, I still have my keys in hand should you ever need to call on me. After my first instinct passed, I took a moment to step back and in doing so realized that words only have the power that we give them. This Person strung together a perfect line of words to get to your very core, as you put it, “It was a arrow straight to my heart”. What he/she said was SO cruel that one can only wonder what deep, terrible, dark place they had to find inside themselves to be able to spew such hatred to the mother of a lost son. I can’t imagine. It speaks volumes – not of you, of them. We all feel we are failing at times (I feel it every day) but to have your shortcomings or “perceived” shortcomings be brought to you in that manner is simply unacceptable. Shame on them. I can’t say enough about this because, like you, when I see someone treated so poorly I can’t help but be “too much” to get justice in their honor. For now, I will move on to make my greater point…

    As I said above, words only have the power that we give them. You can hear a song on one day and it doesn’t affect you and on the next day you can hear it and it will make you crumble. Someone says I love you one day and it flies past your ears but the next day it makes you embrace them like there is no tomorrow. Again, words have the power that we give them. I want to tell you that in the past few months, through reading your blog, your words have given so much joy, hope, and motivation to so many…me being one of those many. It is evident in your stats (which are awesome!!) but also in your community. You have given back more than what you have taken. You have made this PF bloggy world a better place, but beyond that, you have made the real world a better place. You and your husband have created a beautiful life for your kids and I appreciate you letting us in on it. You rock, girl, and I am happy to know you. Keep being you…the real, unedited, too much you!!!

    • Damn it. I’m sitting in the exact same coffee shop and I almost cried again! The baristas here are going to think I’m crazy! But thank you for those words.

      And it’s so true. Thankfully time has given me perspective on it. That day I was crushed by the cruelty of it. But in the weeks and months that have followed, I could reflect more on their story. Why they felt the need to tear me down like that. And the parts of their story that caused them to choose those words. I think we get to choose which words or offenses we want to carry with us. As in: taking offense. Or we can choose not to take it. And instead leave it with the person who tried to throw it our way. They get to own those words and carry them. Not me. That wasn’t our story. It took a few weeks, but I decided to push those words right back across the table. =)

      Oh, and it’s always a good idea to drive to Montana. =)

  21. Congrats on one year! I’ve been blogging for a little over a year, and I think your numbers look really great! It can be such a slow process but I have to remember that I started my blog as a place to write for myself and the fact that anyone is reading it should be a bonus.

    I hope have many more years of blogging to come, and for sharing your tips from your first year of blogging. It’s nice to hear from people who are still fairly new at this but having success.

    • Those first few months I would debate with myself how many people I would need to read these words. I knew they would help me (and they have!) but I settled on 30 people. If 30 people would read what I was writing, it was worth putting it out into the interwebs. =) I thought it about like sending an email to all my friends. I would write an email if 30 people actually read it. 30 is kind of amazing really. Imagine a room with 30 people sitting in it, listening to your ideas, stories and tips that might help them. SO cool!

  22. Awesome job Ms. Montana!!! One year feels like an eternity on the web 🙂 I definitely love reading your posts and to be featured by Rockstar 10 times is incredible. Definitely is a testament to your wonderful and captivating writing.

    • One year does feel like an eternity on the web. Or at least dog year conversions. I am super grateful to all the features, guest posts and link backs! It makes finding your readers so much faster with those soft introductions! =)

  23. Congrats on one year!!! I remember exactly when you came online 🙂 First time anyone has ever made it on Rockstar Finance on their first post!

    • Again, thank you, thank you, thank you! That first post being featured was one of the most encouraging, supportive and affirming things that any newbie could receive. You gave me a little bit of direction and a ton of encouragement, and as any brand new blogger knows, I needed that more than ANYTHING.

  24. Now that is one very succesful and fun one year of blogging if you’d ask me. Well done and please keep going!
    Take care from the last country of the list of visits from all over the globe 😉