2015 blogging goals, inspired by The Nectar Collective

Even though I haven't been visibly active on this blog these past few months, I've been thinking about it a lot. It's embarrassing how often I stalk my own blog, really. I am so proud of how far my blog has come, but there is undoubtedly so much room to grow. I'm excited for what 2015 has in store as I finish up my freshman year of college; ideas are buzzing and my mind is getting frazzled, so I'm getting it organized with this 2015 blogging goals free printable PDF created by Mel of The Nectar Collective.

>> What worked this year? What didn't work?

I was worried about switching platforms from Tumblr to Blogger, but I think it worked out. Tumblr is a microblogging platform, but it's really not at all like blogging. It targets a very particular audience with a very particular aesthetic; most just look for pretty pictures and clever text posts. Of course, there is so much of Tumblr that I appreciate, such as the high community engagement via likes and reblogs, but many people won't read anything over four lines. When I first switched from microblogging to blogging on Tumblr, people asked me wow, what is this for? what blog style is this?--so foreign was the idea of lifestyle blogging. Thus, I relied heavily on Bloglovin'. Ever since I switched platforms, I have seen an increase in comments, and for that I thank you, not so much for the volume of comments, but for the fact that you have taken time out of your day to humor my little space on the Internet when you could be doing anything else. Another thing I noticed is that I am now much more thoughtful before pushing the "publish" button. I don't know if this is a benefit or a detriment. On one hand, I like to think that the quality of my posts have improved, but on the other hand, I take so damn long to write them up!

I am very interested to hear what you think has worked well this year on Brunch at Audrey's and what hasn't! I'm a big girl now; I can handle it! Leave your opinions in the comments below or contact me directly if you're more comfortable with that. You guys are my inspiration and my motivation <3

>> Current stats & 2015 stat goals

I am a person who cares way too much about stats and I don't want to anymore. I used to count the ratio between photos I posted on Facebook and photos I was tagged in. I used to clear my Doodle Jump scoreboard after every bad run in order to maintain a high average. I used to refresh my Instagram every 30 seconds for ten minutes after I posted a new photo. Okay, I still do that last one.

Anyways, you get my point. It's ridiculous how stats can send me flying high and crashing down. However, I do recognize that an acknowledgement of stats is helpful to a certain extent. I have quite a few social media links, but I'm going to choose to focus on Bloglovin' and Facebook, the main platforms with which I hope to reach my audience. Right now they're both at about 80, and by the end of 2015 I hope to get them to 150 and 125 respectively, or 200 for Bloglovin' if I'm feeling ambitious.

You might find these numbers low, but I think that this is a healthy goal for me. The idea is that the goal is easy enough to achieve that I won't be obsessing over gaining followers, but challenging enough to encourage improvement, because I'd much rather have a smaller but more engaged readership than a larger but more passive one. Also, I'm more interested in working with the readership I already have than in reeling in people who might not be so keen about this space.

>> What community goals do you have? Describe the community you'd like to build on your blog in 2015. How many comments will you receive? Will you have blogger friends? Will you be connected to your readers? Describe anything that relates to your ideal community.

There are so many amazing blogs and bloggers out there that, in my opinion, have really made it. The blogging industry is a young one that is slowly growing, and believe it or not, some people make their whole living off of it. (I can only dream to be at that stage one day.) When you first start blogging, it's natural to want to reach a large audience, to want to exert an influence as significant as that of the more established and more popular blogs you follow. Until then, I like to think that the golden time is when you first start off as a small blogger. I'm sure everyone hopes that their blog will take off and maybe even earn a little money from it, or at the very least they want to find an audience that cares about their little place on the Internet. You blog for yourself, but it's nice to have some support along the way. However, being able to experiment, to do what you want to do, to write about what you want to write (no matter how irrelevant or trivial), to create or find your authentic self, is one of the greatest things to discover and cherish when you first start off! With this golden time I want to build trust with my readership. I want you to get to know me better, and I want to get to know you better as well.

I'm not interested in having a certain number of comments per post. What I want to achieve is perfectly illustrated by this quote from You've Got Mail: "I like to start my notes to you as if we're already in the middle of a conversation. I pretend that we're the oldest and dearest friends -- as opposed to what we actually are, people who don't know each other's names." As implied by the definition of a conversation, the dynamic I want to have here is one where people aren't afraid to are passionate about exchanging ideas. I did not start this blog to enlighten the world with my great knowledge, though if I had any I'd be more than happy to share it with you. I want us to bring forth our various perspectives not to agree upon a conclusion but to contribute to conversation and to encourage open-ended-ness.

And as for blogger friends? Yes, yes, yes! I can't imagine anyone being afraid to approach me, because in fact, more often than not, I'm the one who's thinking, "wow wow wow. you're so cool. why can't i be cool like you. please be friends with me. teach me how to be cool. let me have the honor of being your friend. i volunteer. take me." Don't be a stranger! Message me on Tumblr* and introduce yourself.

*If you have some personal vendetta against Tumblr or would just simply prefer to contact me some other way, leave it in the comments or check out my contact form. I just thought that Tumblr message would be a little more personal/private, but whatever floats your boat!

>> How much money will you make from blogging? How will you do it?

Zero, zip, zilch, nada. First of all, I want to put my energy into growing my blog rather than dragging in sponsors or advertisers. Second of all, how much I earn will just become another stat to unhealthily obsess over. Third of all, I don't want to ruin the integrity of my blog. Of course, there are many honest, for profit blogs out there, but I don't want to put myself in the face of temptation. I guess I'm worried about how money will affect the relationship between not only me and my readers but also that of me and my blog. That being said, you might now be wondering about the links under "shop" in my sidebar. Head on over to the Getting Started page to find out more about that!

>> How will you enhance the design + organization of your blog? What does your ideal blog look like? Any special features?

I don't know, you tell me. I wish I could say that I had enough vision to create a brand for Brunch at Audrey's, but alas, that is not the case. I see one thing and I fall in love with it. I see another thing and I fall in love with that too. My indecision is evident by the number of Tumblr microblogs I have (a wildly inappropriate humor one, an aesthetically angsty personal one, an inspirationally adventurous nature one, and a beautifully dreamy vintage one). For now, I'll just share a list of my favorite blog layouts:
I'm not ready to spend money on blog design, so I guess I'll just continually search for inspiration (Bloglovin' is my friend), figure out what exactly I like so much about these blog layouts, and then see what works for me. My options may be limited by my inability to code, but baby steps, baby steps.

>> What do you love about blogging? How can you add even more of that to your blog in 2015?

The influence of blogging doesn't stop at my screen. There's a fine line between living to blog and blogging while living, and while I haven't yet defined that boundary, I truly believe that even just the process of finding balance has added to the quality of my life. I try to find "bloggable" moments in everything I do; sometimes I'll go and do something just for the possibility of blogging about it.

Blogging has motivated me to take a few risks, do more things out of my comfort zone, and, well, just do more things in general haha. It has encouraged me to find inspiration from my daily life. Although blogging hasn't led me to creating anything tangible (i.e. DIY projects... but it's never too late for that!), I have definitely created many memories, and I hope to create more! With you!

I cannot emphasize enough that I draw my inspiration not only from the blogs I follow, but also from you guys. I love the community engagement in the blogosphere. I've been trying my best to reply to all the comments you leave on my blog and have also been checking up with you guys on your blogs and leaving comments myself. In 2015, I hope to expand my engagement by learning how to use social media instead of making you guys wait for my posts to come up. Teach me how to Twitter.

At the end of the year I hope to have many things to look back on. I was actually hoping to end this year on Brunch at Audrey's with a roundup of my favorite moments, but many of my posts are still over on my old blog. I wanted to transfer the old posts to here, but my blog has evolved and some of those old posts are--hmm how do I put this--various in quality. A Beautiful Mess does a wonderful job of rounding up their highlights. Maybe once I accumulate a substantial amount of memories of my own I can organize my highlights into a timeline on my about page like this.

>> What do you dislike about blogging? How can you minimize that? For example, creating email templates so you're not always typing out responses to the same kinds of emails.

Demoralized by blogging without substance. Exasperated by "deep" posts that try too hard. Guilty of all of the above. Not a fan of spam or negativity. Frustrated when people say "anyone can blog." These are all things that nag me that I want to bring to light. But enough of that. The best way to improve is to reflect upon yourself instead of ranting about others. Because ranting is annoying too. I don't like how I take so long coming up with ideas and drafting them, so I'm going to start planning posts but also keeping in mind to not become too formulaic. This is the planner I'm currently using and I'm obsessed with it (you can get it on sale here!). It's a hearty size and is filled with beautiful colors and patterns, which I think is key in motivating me to actually accomplish all the tasks I write in there. I've been using it solely for academics, but there's enough space to plan my blogging in there too.

>> Dream big! List three big blogging goals for 2015.

1 // BE CONSISTENT, 1-2 posts a week. Maybe I'll even try a 52 project challenge.

2 // DO A COLLAB. That's a sure sign of community engagement, is it not?

3 // ESTABLISH A BRAND, visually. (name, logo, color, tagline, fonts, tone, etc.)

I tried my best to be as specific as possible with my goals, though that last one is a little more broad. It's also the goal I foresee to be the most difficult to achieve, but also the most rewarding to achieve. The more general and unquantifiable goals I have are to improve my photography, to spend less time drafting blog posts without sacrificing quality, to learn how to strategically utilize social media, to be more engaged in the blogosphere, to comment with purpose, and to work on graphic design.

What are your 2015 blogging goals? Feel free to leave them in the comments below or make your own post and send me the link to check it out! I'm constantly looking for inspiration from fellow bloggers :) Also, just in case you were skimming this post and missed it, it would be so helpful if you could leave a comment below with what you think worked this year on Brunch at Audrey's and what didn't.

Thanks for sticking with me! May 2015 be an awesome year for all of us!