Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Virginia Beach, VA

September 7, 2020

8 Life Lessons From 8 Years of Blogging.

     Yesterday marked eight years of blogging here at Southern Belle in Training! Eight years... this is a weird analogy but that means if my blog was a child, it would be a third grader this year. Insane! I still can't believe that something I started as a hobby as a college freshman is still such a big part of my life today. 

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     I started blogging on my 18th birthday in 2012, so my blogiversary and birthday are the same (which was yesterday, September 6th). This year I wanted to do two blog posts- a more personal one for yesterday, and this is the blogiversary focused one for today! The post idea I had for yesterday has ended up taking me way longer to write than I thought- so that didn't end up getting finished yet. I'm going to try to finish it to share later in September! But for today- let's chat about the blog. 😊

    Blogging has made my life better in so many ways over the years, but I wanted to narrow it down today to the eight best ways that blogging has changed me personally and the biggest life lessons and skills I've learned. I truly think everyone could benefit from having a little space of their own on the internet- even if you just do it as a hobby and not to monetize, it's still so much fun to do. 

8 Lessons from 8 Years of Blogging:

1) Confidence - This has to be the biggest lesson of all, and the one I'm most grateful for. I struggled greatly with self confidence in high school, and this lead me to experience severe anxiety for all four years, and depression during part of 11th grade. Being able to work on and grow my blog and turn it into something that I am truly proud of to share with the online world has helped me to find so much confidence. I believe in myself more than I ever did, and the things I'm capable of in the future, both with blogging and beyond!

2) Time Management - The second biggest lesson after confidence, and one that I'm also so grateful for. I struggled a ton in high school and parts of college with procrastination on schoolwork. I always managed to get everything done and keep my grades up for the most part, but I'd worry what life would be like once I was an adult in the working world with keeping up with all my responsibilities. I'm proud to say that with each year that goes by as an adult, I continue to successfully manage both blogging with working full-time in radio, and other commitments as well! While the blog will always come second to my day job, I still value it a lot and prioritize dedicating my time to it. I frequently get asked questions about time management for blogging and working- I answered them as best I could in this post!

3) Consistency - Blogging has taught me that you have to follow through with things and not give up to make something truly great. Good things don't happen overnight. One of my personality faults is that I've struggled a lot with consistency in various stages of my life. In childhood, I quit music lessons for three different instruments over the span of my childhood (guitar, piano and the shortest lived, flute). In high school, I had short stints on some JV sports teams but never worked hard enough to get to varsity. In college, I transferred schools sophomore year, and I never kept up with studying French after I finished all of my minor classes. In adulthood, I left my first job after a year (which I don't regret doing- but still!). These are just a few examples, but I will be the first to admit sometimes I have a hard time sticking with things longterm. Blogging has been by far the longest thing that I've followed through with, and I know that a lot of the cool opportunities I've had through it (like travel blogging especially) never would've happened if I gave up early on, or was really sporadic with when I posted. Posting overall 3-5 times a week for 8 years has paid off!

4) Stress Relief - This one is double sided haha! Sometimes blogging is a form of stress- especially on busy weeks at my day job where it's tough to carve out time to finish blog posts. But overall, I'd say blogging can be stress relief. My Relationship Monday series is a great example of this- it's always so good for my heart and soul to pour out my thoughts on dating as a Christian woman and long seasons of singleness into these more personal posts. It feels very freeing! Same thing with some of my other more personal types of posts as well.

5) Professionalism - I swear sometimes that my self-taught skills through the blogging world taught me more about professionalism and being a successful working adult then college classes did. I started working with brands and PR agencies about a year into blogging, when I was 19. Being that young and figuring out how to write professional emails and network and advocate for myself in a business sense was an invaluable skill! The types of email correspondences that I have with blogging are also very different from the ones I get with my day job in radio, so I feel it's made me more well-rounded as a working adult. Now one thing that I probably could still improve on with professionalism? Spelling and grammar checking! Haha- but it's true. I often get to excited to schedule and publish a post that I forget to proof read. Something I need to work on!

6) Authenticity - This one kind of spurs off from confidence. In high school and parts of college, I definitely fell victim to trying to fit in with and earn the approval of people who didn't want to give me the time of day. I never felt cool in my own skin. I knew that God loved me and I valued my faith, but it didn't feel like enough day-to-day. As my blog has continued to grow over the years and I've found new readers and made friendships through it, I've become more and more comfortable with being authentic, and sharing the things in my life that make Annaliese Annaliese! There are a million fashion bloggers these days on Instagram who pose the same way for photos, wear the same Amazon and Nordstrom clothing in their try-on hauls, and post the same types of content every day. I never want to be that type of blogger! I love sharing the things that make my life authentic, and if you ever want to start a blog I hope you do that as well.

7) Negotiation - It cracks me up sometimes to think how nervous I still get for any types of negotiation / salary related things with radio, but how confident I can be negotiating with a brand for my blog! I've learned when offers are way too low to say yes to a project, and also how to prove my worth and advocate for myself to get that number higher. I'm able to determine now what types of posts I will do for product only (meaning no monetary payment, just free items), and what I'll only say yes to if there is payment involved. One of these days maybe I'll become as confident negotiating in my full time career as I am with blogging, haha!

8) Discernment (with the internet) - Lastly, I feel like blogging has taught me good discernment with things online. It's no secret that as a blogger and a radio host that I share a lot of things publicly. I'm very comfortable with chatting on IG Stories, writing more personal posts, keeping strangers on the internet updated and informed with certain aspects of my life. But certain is the key word. I've also become well aware of things that will never be appropriate or safe to share online. There are aspects to my life that I've never discussed on the blog, radio or social media, and probably never will, and that's for the best. I feel like by this point in blogging, I can write a decent personal post on a more sensitive topic without disclosing too much!

     Thank you so much for continuing to read my blog over the past eight years! This is a journey that gets more fun with each year that goes by. It's a special thing to have the entirety of my college years and my first years as a working woman documented publicly to share with others. My greatest hope with each year continues to be that the Lord and my faith in Him will be evident in everything I do with blogging. I am so grateful for all of you who have supported me. Let's go year nine!

     God Bless,

     xoxo Annaliese


  1. Happy Blog Anniversary friend- 8 years is AMAZING! I love that you always keep it real but also bring such a daily dose of sunshine to your readers! these are such wonderful lessons that blogging has taught you and I'm so happy that it also brought our friendship!

  2. Happy 8 years of blogging! That is so amazing. I love your lessons and can relate to them on what i've learned too. I am so glad we connected.


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