I'm taking the Pet Blogger Challenge

Pet Blogger Challenge 2018

I stumbled upon the GoPetFriendly.com annual Pet Blogger Challenge for 2018 just in time! After a brief blog hiatus (which I will explain soon), this seemed like the perfect way to get back into my blogging routine, reflect on last year, and make plans for the year ahead. Here it goes!

1. For those visiting my blog for the first time, how long have I been blogging and what is my main topic?

I have blogged since July 2009. My first blog was First Class Great Outdoors, and I started it to share my adventures as a newbie camper. As time went on, I wanted to write more about home projects, health and wellness topics, and of course stories about our dogs. A new blogging space with a new name felt like the right move, and A Two Dog Life launched in August 2014.

2. What was my proudest blogging moment of 2017?

I am proud that I finally acknowledged to myself how important blogging was in my life. I have struggled to write consistently, wasting time on other activities that don’t bring me nearly as much joy. I decided that no matter what, I wanted to maintain my own space where I can share my stories and connect with others.

3. Which of my blog posts was my favorite this year and why?

I don’t know why, but “The Fire,” about losing our camper to a fire, was my favorite blog post from last year. There was a lot going on behind the scenes in our life when we got the call that there was a fire at my mother-in-law’s house … right next to our camper. It was such a raw moment. And while it wasn’t the happiest of stories to share, it was really real.

4. In terms of my blog, how do I measure success?

Honestly, I haven’t had a measure of success for my blog to date. However, this is one thing I want to change in 2018. I want to take blogging much more seriously and start tracking visits to the blog. I’d love to grow my audience and traffic to my site!

5. In what ways has my blog changed during 2017?

I changed the look of my blog in 2017. My new design is more modern and focuses on imagery. I still have a little work to do in making it mine, but I got off to a good start last year.

6. What was the biggest blogging challenge I overcame in 2017, and what did I learn that could help other bloggers?

My biggest blogging challenge forever has been writing consistently. And in 2017, I gave myself a choice — I could either start writing again and take blogging seriously, or I really needed to shut it down and move on. It was maybe the best choice I could have given myself. I couldn’t imagine walking away from all my work and the possibilities. It really does make me happy to put a little piece of myself out into the universe. I knew I needed to make it a serious part of my life, if for nothing else than for a little happiness.

7. When things get hard, what keeps me blogging?

My blog has motivated me to do things I never thought I’d do — more camping, challenging hikes, getting out of my bubble. When things get hard, I think about the cool things I’ve done that I’ve shared here and it makes me want to do more.

8. Looking forward to 2018, what I am hoping to accomplish on my blog?

As I mentioned earlier, I would like to blog seriously in 2018 and grow my audience. I would like to delve into more lifestyle topics that I’m passionate about, particularly the choice not to have human children and to just be a dog mom. I hope to get more active in the pet blogger sphere as well as the healthy lifestyle realm.

9. In addition to what I’d like to accomplish, is there one specific skill I’d like to improve or master this year?

One skill I’d like to improve is photography. I have a nice camera … that I rarely use because I don’t feel like I know how. I don’t really know how to edit photos. I love taking pictures, and I think I’ve captured some good ones by sheer luck. I’d like to go beyond luck to real skill.

10. Now it’s my turn! I have the attention of the pet blogging community — is there a question I’d like answered, or an aspect of my blog that I’d like input on? Share it here, and you can answer me in the comments!

My questions always turn to topics and focus. I started blogging about camping, hiking, and national parks. But those activities never encompassed my regular life. Outside of work, my life revolves around our dogs, our home … and trying really hard to live healthy. All of these areas of my life weave together.

I guess what I’d like to know is do multiple topics make sense? Is there a topic people would be interested in reading more? Where do you think I could take this little venture of mine?

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  • Reply somethingwagging January 8, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Glad I got a chance to meet you through the hop. I’ve liked your FB page so I can see more.

    I can relate to your question about focusing the topic of your blog. I’ve always been all over the place. But since I moved on board a sailboat 2 1/2 years ago, I want to do more about that aspect of our lives.

    But I don’t want to lose the attention of the many great people I’ve met over the years who think living on a tiny boat is crazy.

    I’m hoping that being authentic and real will keep the regular readers coming back. And I always try to find ways to relate life on board to things others are facing with their own dogs.

    BTW, I love travel posts (as you can imagine). So always happy to see them on any blog.

    • Reply Laura January 11, 2018 at 1:44 pm

      Great to meet you, too! I think living on a boat with your dog sounds super cool! I’d love to do something similar in the future with my hubby and pups, but for us it would be an Airstream. Cruise the country in comfort!

      Thanks so much for your thoughts, and it’s nice to hear that others can relate to my blogging struggle. I agree wholeheartedly that authenticity is the key.

  • Reply ckmorita January 8, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Consistency is the bane of my blogging existence. Early on I did pretty well with my blogging calendar, but the past 5 or so years I’ve had difficulty sticking to my schedule. I hope to change that this year and keep to 2-3 blog posts a week. I blog about puppies and training so anything related to those two topic would interest me. I try to stick to those two topics, but occasionally I drift away and write a post like today on blogging. Good luck to you in 2018!

    • Reply Laura January 11, 2018 at 1:54 pm

      Thanks Colby! Consistency is such a struggle for me. The funny thing is that I’ve also been blogging in my jobs for longer than I’ve had my own blog. And I never struggled with consistency on my work blogs. I want to start viewing this blog as my job, and maybe that will help.

      I’m such a fan of folks who raise guide dog puppies. One of my relatives has his second guide dog, and these dogs really do transform lives. We just moved, and I’m looking forward to getting involved in a animal-related charity near our new home.

      Oh, and the movie is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom — a personal favorite of mine! 😉

      • Reply ckmorita January 12, 2018 at 6:00 pm

        You got it! And you have good taste in movies 🙂

  • Reply Kristin Avery January 8, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Good for you for making the commitment to take your blogging to the next level. It clearly means a great deal to you and I wish you much luck. I think combining healthy living, camping, hiking and life with dogs sounds like a great combination! I’m going to go back and read your post about the fire now.

    P.S: I’m in IL, too. Are you in the Chicago area?

    • Reply Laura January 11, 2018 at 2:03 pm

      Thanks Kristin! I’m looking forward to spending more time on my blog and weaving my dogs into more aspects of my content.
      Funny story, but we were living in the Chicago area. We moved to that area in February … and then we moved again in November. Now we’re located in the St. Louis area. 2017 was a crazy year to say the least. 🙂

  • Reply Jana Rade January 9, 2018 at 11:43 am

    I think the best way to marry multiple topics is by finding a common thread between them.

    • Reply Laura January 11, 2018 at 2:04 pm

      Very true, Jana. My dogs play such a huge part of my life, and I don’t write about them nearly as much as I could. I think they’re the thread, and I can’t wait to share more about them!

  • Reply Jodi Stone January 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    I think Jana is right about marrying the topics. On my blog I write about a number of different things, but the common thread is my dogs, they tie into the other things I’m writing about. Although, I could throw an off-shoot in there just because I roll that way, but for the most part, the blog is about my dogs.

    Also, welcome back! You’ve got a lovely blog.

    • Reply Laura January 11, 2018 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks Jodi! I’m excited to share more about our dogs. They are definitely the common thread throughout our life, and I don’t share nearly as much about them as I could.

  • Reply Front Seat Ryder January 9, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Nice to meet you over this challenge! Personally, I would like to hear about the choice not to have hooman babies. I am turning 31 next month and I am almost positive I have decided to be a dog mom for life. Is it a decision that most seem to find … odd. For lack of better word. But it suits me. I am looking forward to reading more of your content.

    • Reply Laura January 11, 2018 at 2:20 pm

      Nice to meet you, too, Kalia! I’m so glad you would like to hear more about the decision just to be a dog mom. It’s not the easiest choice, because other people don’t always understand it.

      It sounds like your relationship with Ryder is a lot like the relationship I had with my angel dog, Thea. I have battled depression and self-image issues, too. Thea saw me through one of my darkest times. Dogs are so incredibly special in that way.

      I’m looking forward to reading more of you content, too, and wish you lots of luck in your new blogging journey!

  • Reply GoPetFriendly.com (@GoPetFriendly) January 9, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    Thanks so much for joining the Challenge, Laura! It’s so nice to learn more about you and your blog. My advice on topics relates directly to the reason you blog … it makes you happy. So, write about whatever calls to your soul. Just be authentic – the thing that will tie it all together is you.

    On the photography, Mary Hone from Tales from the Back Road is starting a weekly series call Clicking to Creating, taking us inside the mind of a professional photographer, from conceiving an idea through editing the photo. I think it will provide great inspiration! Also, I took a great beginners course on digital photography from a community college a few years ago. It helped me understand my camera a lot better. After the course, my husband got me a day-long photo tour with professional photographer as a birthday gift. It as fantastic! She helped me so much with composition, and I had her all to my self for the whole day.

    I hope you have a fantastic 2018, and I look forward to following along!

    • Reply Laura January 11, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Authenticity … that may just have to be my word for the year. It’s so perfect, for my blog and all areas of my life. 🙂

      I saw the Clicking to Creating posts on Tales from the Back Road, and I’m excited to read them. I also think taking a beginner photography course is a great idea. My local library occasionally offers photography workshops, too, and I might have to check that out.

      Wising you a fantastic 2018 as well!

  • Reply Denise January 15, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    Happy 2018 and welcome back to blogging. I think you’ll find all of your topics/passions have a common thread and especially if you choose to weave the dogs into each aspect. Amanda from Dog Mom Days (http://www.dogmomdays.com/) weaves many aspects of being a dog mom into her blog as well as the choice to be a Dog Mom and her choice to not have human children. I look forward to reading more of your blog in 2018 and love the challenge since I always find new blogs to follow.

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