How I Started Blogging at 57


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Blogging seemed to be something reserved only for young people surfing on the internet at their ease. I would never have thought that I would be blogging one day! And yet, in April 2020, my daughter and I created our own website, and we are now actively building it up. I would not have dreamed about this a couple of years ago.

Blogging as a senior is less difficult than one may think. It can be a great hobby or even a business project which gives you a new wave of motivation and inspiration while helping you keep a sharp mind with age. However, in order to successfully start blogging over 50, you need strong enough motivation, inspiration, a sense of self-organization, and good advice or support from a mentor or program.

I have been living a very conventional working life until I found my real passion. At 57 I decided to become a blogger and discovered that blogging is not linked to age as far as you are able to learn and adapt. However, there are a few challenges that come with blogging, so read on if you want to learn more about my experience and how to successfully start as a senior.

How I started blogging at 57

 

How The Idea First Emerged

About 5 years ago, I had a very strong burnout. To be honest, this did not really come as a surprise, as I had been facing big challenges in many areas of my life for some time.

Around this period, my daughter started getting interested in blogging and other online projects. As we were discussing some of the challenges I was facing, she suddenly said „Why don’t you write about this?“. She thought this could actually help me analyze my situation and start finding answers. According to her, it could even have a nice side-effect – helping others who are facing a similar situation, who feel alone, and who don’t know the way out.

At first, although I could see how writing about my feelings and the obstacles in my life could help me, I was skeptical about putting myself out there; I definitely doubted that I could have any sort of impact and help others on those same topics I was struggling with.

However, over a few months, I found out that, although your family and friends will be there to support you and give you advice in bad times, they don’t necessarily know or understand what you are going through. Not everyone can provide the appropriate answers to your specific problems. I experienced first-hand that when faced with an uncertain and scary situation, one first turns to the internet to find answers, or, at least, peers that are going through the same.

I was still doubting that someone could learn or be inspired by my experiences, but I thought it would be good to process my experiences and emotions in writing.

A Complete Change in My Life

As I mentioned above, when I was about 53, I experienced severe burnout combined with a depression that scared me more than anything else in my life. To be honest, this did not come as a surprise. I had been neglecting many areas of my life for a long time, and I knew I had to change my life, completely.

Luckily enough, my severe burnout felt like a profound wake-up call, forcing me to finally make the decisions I had wanted to take for a long time but never had the courage to. I quickly reacted and decided to leave nearly everything – my job, my home for 25 years, and my friends. I decided to move back to my country of origin, just because my intuition was telling me that it was absolutely vital for me.

I was facing many fears. Would I find a job again being over 50? Would I be able to settle and find new friends? Would that be enough for my mental health to get better?

Most of my friends and family did not really understand how much was at stake. They were discouraging me from quitting my job and moving away. But deep down, I knew I had no options.

To my own surprise, I found a new job rather quickly, thus proving everyone wrong and starting to build a new life at 53.

But Something Was Still Missing…

And so I settled down in my new environment and concentrated on my professional life. But I soon felt that, even after changing my job several times, I was not happy with my positions and tasks. It felt like I was not learning anything new and had to do the same I’d been doing for 20 years over and over again.

Of course, there are always new things you can learn and discover in a new position. And that, in itself, can be very positive. But it just felt like my work was lacking sense and purpose, and this, again, was putting my mental health at risk.

The Need for Autonomy

Additionally, the lack of flexibility in all these jobs started feeling like a burden to me. Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are always rules to follow whatever you do, but I just felt I could set some more rules by myself. After 20 years+ of loyal work and this level of maturity, I found it ridiculous to be micro-managed in a lot of situations at work.

I started aspiring for more freedom – the freedom to organize myself however I’d like, to select the topics I’d be working on, and to be able to choose when, where, and how long I would work on them.

In the end, however, I knew that the main reason for doing my job was earning money for a living. And though this was definitely important, I was looking for more purpose in life. And somehow I couldn’t help but think that I would feel depressed again whatever job I would be doing in a conventional company.

The Willingness Not to Retire

At the same time, I was only 53 and retiring was definitely not an option yet. And I felt like I had to find an activity that could last even after having officially retired from professional life. I’d always loved working and I didn’t want to stop at 65.

Of course, I’m aware that there are lots of activities one can pursue when retired, such as sports, travel, reading, clubs, and so on. But what I wanted was something that would be useful to others and be like a keynote in my life and fill it with sense. I wanted to stay a fully integrated member of society and be professionally active as long as I wanted. I did not want my age to decide for me.

Co-Working With My Daughter

In the meantime, my daughter had already created her own website from scratch and she kept me informed about her experiences and progress. This new world felt so exciting! It was then that we seriously started discussing creating a website together.

We reflected on what might be our range of subjects for a blog and what would be our audience.  Then we began putting our ideas on a list. There were many subjects in which we had gathered experience that we wanted to share, and there were yet many other topics we wanted to discover and learn about.

Above all, we realized that many of these topics might affect us in a different way depending on our age. We also felt like there were too many limiting beliefs related to aging. A dialogue between generations could be a great way to add value and help others. Helping people realize that their life was not over at 50+ became one of our core missions…

This is the moment when the idea to start aginggreatly.com came to life!

The First Steps

After setting up our website and selecting a simple design, we started creating content.

I can tell you, the beginning was much harder than I had imagined. I really struggled to organize myself and my motivation level was not always at its highest…

Organization

I started blogging at 57

One of the most difficult aspects of being self-employed is organization. There are no regular working hours and nobody tells you what will be on the agenda today or tomorrow. You have to think of everything by yourself. And doing this while discovering a completely new field in which you have no experience at all can be quite difficult.

Of course, this was the freedom I had dreamed about, but it definitely takes some getting used to at the beginning. If you’re having trouble regarding self-organization, don’t panic. It’s normal, and it just takes practice. Just try to become better every week and be self-compassionate, you will get there over time.

Several months after we created our website, we are have now found a good pace and know that we have to set ourselves goals every week. Of course, we don’t always meet them. Sometimes we even get only very little done compared to our plans because other to-do’s and life get in the way.

It now helps us a lot to set our objectives together once a week. When the week is over, we compare our progress to our initial plans. And this has been extremely helpful to us as a small team.

If you plan on starting blogging by yourself, it could help you to find someone who could help you commit to your weekly or monthly goals. It doesn’t have to be a business partner. It could be someone from your family, friends, or a mentor. Consider reaching out and asking for support, having a brief weekly or monthly meeting to discuss your progress.

Motivation

When you start building your dream blog, you will for sure face some phases when you don’t feel very motivated. Blogging can be tough at the beginning. That’s because it takes some time until you start having pageviews and building traffic. A lot of people refer to this initial phase as the “ghost town” phase, as it feels like you are putting a lot of energy and love out there with no reaction from your audience. It takes a few months to start seeing results.

At first, I was very surprised about this. How could I not feel motivated when I was finally working on my own project?

But I’ve learned that it’s very natural to start feeling discouraged when you are a few weeks or months into that type of project. The naive enthusiasm you have at the beginning is not invincible, and there will be moments when you doubt that what you’re doing really makes sense and will lead to the results you are hoping for.

That’s true for many bigger projects, including hobbies or entrepreneurial endeavors.

My daughter and I have a look at our website’s statistics almost daily. And I can tell you, there are some very exciting phases when our pageviews increase a lot. On the other hand, there are phases of stagnation or decrease, as well. The progress – in any project – will never be linear. That’s a given.

But we’ve learned to look at the bigger trend and we’re seeing a great evolution so far. We also feel lucky enough to have found a great online program, called Project 24 by Income School, that we can follow in order to build our blog*. It’s a program that intends to help you replace your full-time income with an online passive income in 24 months. If you want to read more about it and about our experience with it, read our story here: Our (Blogging) Secret. We make sure to follow their timeline in order to see whether we are on track*. If you’re interested to know about our results so far, you can find them here.

Nevertheless, I want to be fully honest here. Despite our results so far and the great support I’ve had, I still feel discouraged sometimes.  It’s just part of the process. And if I don’t work on our project for a week or so, I find it very difficult to get into the flow again.

However, when we get some positive comments on our work, we are excited and the motivation is back! It is great to feel that what we are doing seems to have a positive impact on others and this feeling always puts us back on the right track.

The best thing to do when blogging over 50 is to know beforehand that you will have ups and downs, and so will your motivation. Try to make a plan to stay consistent and put in a minimum of weekly work regardless. Also, try to be self-compassionate. Know that you are not the only one going through these phases. And make sure to take full advantage of your high-motivation phases! You can relax more when you are in a lower motivation phase.

Writing Articles

Build Up Your Writing Habit

Writing my first article (I burned out at 53) turned out to be a complete catastrophe. At least that’s how I felt. Writing articles is so different from anything I have done for the last decades… it was a huge challenge.

First of all, I had no idea how to organize my thoughts. It took me several days to come up with an acceptable first draft. What a disappointing performance! That’s definitely not what I had expected.

When we discussed my struggles with my daughter, I realized that I had not dared to put myself out there completely. It took me some time to understand that I had to tell the whole story, no matter how humbling it felt; and that there was no shame in being proud of the very small successes I had achieved.

Inspired by this insight, I put myself back to work. I modified my article and there it was – the message I had intended to express to my audience was finally the way I wanted it to be!

Practice Makes Perfect

I started blogging at 57

Writing articles is a learning process. You can’t expect to become the perfect blogger or writer right away. Even famous bloggers and authors had to put in years of practice before they could produce great articles and books.

First, be clear about the content of your article. Make a list of all the aspects you want to talk about in your blog post. Then, try and organize your thoughts in a proper blog post structure. At first, this task can be difficult enough by itself. So it’s totally fine and may even be better to schedule this workflow for a day and to actually start writing the article itself the next day. You will find writing easier after having defined the structure. You will only have to pour down your thoughts and fill in your blog post’s structure.

When Blogging, Size Often Matters

What we’ve learned so far from Project 24* is that the size of your articles often matters. The Income School Team* recommends writing 3 different types of articles:

  • Response posts, containing 1250 words or more. Those are ideal for specific topics or questions that seem to have a low competition on Google.
  • Staple posts, containing 2500 words or more. Those should be written to tackle subjects that have some competition.
  • Pillar posts,  containing 3500 words or more. When faced with high competition, you’ll need to make an extra effort. Make sure to give the readers everything they would want to know about the topic in order to rank higher on Google and receive higher traffic from it.

However, Quality Always Comes First

According to the Income School Team*, the size of your blog posts mainly matters because it is often directly correlated with quality. Indeed, it’s often difficult to give the reader everything he or she needs using less than 1000 words. There are some fields, however, such as cooking recipes, where less is probably more.

So, if you decide to start a blog as a senior, always thrive for high-quality posts that will surpass your readers’ expectations. Look at the web and see what you can do differently or better. It probably won’t help much to write yet another article that is very similar to what’s out there.

We’re still learning a lot and also thrive to better understand how to provide better quality content on our website. It’s all a work in progress, so we don’t think we’re already experts on this. We keep practicing and hope we’ll get better at this in the long run.

Outsourcing

Very soon we realized that writing a certain type of article we wanted to have on our website would probably be of higher quality if we outsourced it. Through Project 24, we discovered two great content creation companies that we can highly recommend*. They train their writers with the Project 24 method and have delivered amazing quality for a great price so far.

Outsourcing content helped us accelerate the process and kept our motivation high in more difficult times. If you have the budget for it, we think it could be a good boost to your niche website if that can make sense in your overall strategy.

Keyword Research

Every topic can be seen from a slightly different angle. Therefore, it is important to find the keywords by which people are looking for answers to their questions on the internet. It can make all the difference for your Google rankings and, therefore, can help your audience find you!

Keyword research is an art by itself. It’s easy to find (long-tail) keywords that your niche audience is looking for. But you have to figure out whether the potential traffic is large enough and whether the competition is high or low. It’s also important to have a balanced mix of keywords you are trying to target. You should tackle low-competition keywords to get initial traffic to your website faster. However, you also need to target higher-competition keywords in order to make sure your traffic volume is high enough over time.

Again, we’ve learned a lot about this through Project 24 by Income School*. They have an entire online class about keyword research and also how to find the right niche for your website. If you want to have more details about their program and read our honest review, go ahead, and read our description of the program here.

Conclusion

It has now been several months since I started blogging. I would not have thought that my beginnings would be so difficult! After experiencing some ups and downs, and with some practice, I have gained more confidence. I’ve learned a lot (and am still learning) about the world of blogging, internet, and other online projects. This is extremely inspiring. And it is proof that you can still learn new things and adapt to a new world when you’re over 50. But the most exciting experience is to see people encouraging us to continue.

Ruth

Hey there, my name is Ruth, I'm in my late fifties. My life was turned upside down a few years ago as I experienced a burn-out. But I saw it as a sign that something had to change in my life. I'm happy I used this tough experience as a stepping stone. I now feel happier than ever and hope to inspire you to do the same, no matter how old you are.

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