Wowwwww, and just like that, 10 years in the books. This month marks my blog’s 10th birthday and I can’t believe ten years have passed. Have I really been at it that long and living in France for a decade now?!? Just wow. I started Oui In France a few months after moving to France at the very end of May 2012. I didn’t have a plan but I knew I wanted a space to help me process my new life abroad and connect with others. Ten years later, I’m still here and I’m so thankful you are too.
Oui In France 10-year blogiversary
The past year, which was my worst ever personally speaking, was the best ever for Oui In France. In terms of growth, everything came full circle as I hit some milestones I’d been working toward, had more opportunities than ever, and felt truly proud of what I’ve accomplished personally and professionally.
I just wish my mom and Dagny were still here to celebrate with me. They won’t be a part of anything I do in my life going forward and that fact is something I struggle with. But I don’t want this post to be about that.
Anyway, I’m not a big time blogger. I don’t have a team. I don’t have millions of page views each month. But what I do have is a body of work I’m proud of through and through. Oui In France means the world to me. It’s been a place where I can connect with you and express myself, process life, and be creative. Having your support over the years here on the blog and on YouTube has kept me going and I don’t know where I’d be today without Oui In France.
Let me start with lessons I’ve learned from 10 years of blogging and follow up with some of my all-time favorite posts.
Lessons learned from 10 years of blogging:
1. Consistently showing up pays off.
It’s so easy to start a project and then let it go by the wayside after a few months or years. I’ve done that. But not with Oui In France. From the very beginning, Oui In France was a priority in my life, and even during times when I felt less motivated or was busy with work, I made sure I still showed up here. It was a commitment I made to myself and to all of you and one I’m so grateful I kept.
Staying consistent in the short term leads to long-term growth and will get you to where you want to go. I’m so glad I stayed the course. When motivation wanes and things get tough, that’s a sign to keep going. It’s incredibly rewarding when you do.
2. Time flies.
HELLO, I’ve been at this 10 years??? WHAT THE HECK?? I’ve experienced this in other areas of my life, but when it comes to blogging and living in France in general, I can’t believe I’ve been here a decade and blogging that whole time. Knowing how fast time seems to pass and how fragile our lives are has only made me want to live life to the fullest. I want to travel and experience things and enjoy myself. Life is so short, so let’s get on it!
3. Success and happiness look different to everyone.
As an early 20-something starting her career in NYC, success and happiness were linked to my career and achievements. I thought that I’d have to work all the time and move up the career ladder in order to be successful. These days, I’ve learned that what’s important to me is my time and freedom to do what I want, when I want. I’m rich in time and the important things for me are having time to think, spend time with my loved ones, and have the ability to choose how I want to spend my time.
I don’t’ want to relax and live the good life when I’m retired. I’m alive now and I’m so grateful I’ve set up my life in a way that lets me be me, without the stress of corporate life and keeping up with the Joneses. No, I’m not a millionaire but I’m grateful for where blogging has taken me.
4. Failure is necessary.
Failure isn’t failure if you’ve learned something. Anyone who gets anywhere in life has experienced failure — some bigger than others — and that applies to both our professional and personal lives. Trying things outside our comfort zone is the best teacher of what we want and don’t want out of life.
When we apply this to blogging, I’ve had a few failures such as posts that didn’t do well, my first merch launch which didn’t do very well, and so much more over the years. All my “failures” have taught me so much and led me to where I am now, so they’ve been worth it.
5. It’s important to interact with the community.
Back when I started my blog, I stupidly thought that replying to comments was lame and that replying to every single one was not the right thing to do. You guys didn’t want to hear back from me, right?! Crazy, I know. Luckily, I snapped out of that fast and realized that it’s important for bloggers/YouTubers to connect with their audience as much as they can. I know I love when bloggers reply to my comments o what the heck was I thinking?
While I can’t reply to every comment, I try my best to reply here on the blog and YouTube as much as I can and be a present in my comments section.
It always makes me scratch my head when I look at people’s blogs/channels and don’t see them replying at all. As creators, we’re nothing without the community and I remind myself of that every day. This lesson transfers over to life off the blog too. Be a part of the world around you and not just a bystander.
6. Do what feels right to you and don’t worry about what others do/think.
This is such a hard but important lesson that translates to life in general too. It’s so easy to go down the rabbit hole looking at what other people are doing and feel ‘less than.’ Maybe they have a better aesthetic, presentation style, video skills, budget, whatever. Maybe people in your niche haven’t been super friendly or supportive. Everyone is in their own lane and nothing anyone else is doing can take away from what you bring to the table. Keep on doing you and keep looking straight ahead.
7. Trying to do everything never works.
I’m not active on TikTok, don’t have a Patreon, am not starting a podcast, don’t have a course to sell, and the list goes on. I think that as content creators, it’s so tempting to chase the shiny new object but all that does is spread you too thin. When you try to do everything well, you end up doing nothing well.
The past 10 years have been a long lesson on boundaries and knowing my limits. I’ve learned that for me, my blog and YouTube are where I want to spend my time with a sprinkle of Instagram and Facebook. That’s all I can manage on my own without it feeling overwhelming. I did write a lifestyle blogging eBook if you’re thinking of starting a blog as well as a France travel tips eGuide you might like but no plans to start a podcast or anything. 😉
8. People are weird (and wonderful).
I’ve had interactions with readers/subscribers over the years that have left me feeling amazing, supported, and grateful but also ones that have left me furious, attacked, and unappreciated. I’ve had people in the Oui In France community send me cards, little gifts, heartfelt emails, and offer to bring me some of my favorite things when they come to France. All of that warms my heart and reinforces my belief that people are inherently good.
On the flip side, I get at least one email a week from someone who doesn’t even say “Hi Diane” or “thanks” after writing a 1000-word email packed full of questions. Or people who don’t reply to say thanks after I’ve spent a half hour replying to them. That’s all to say that putting yourself out there publicly will invite a wide range of reactions, so make sure you have a thick skin or at least have a plan for letting that stuff go. I always remind myself that hurt people hurt people and somehow that makes it easier to shrug off the a-holes.
My all-time favorite Oui In France posts
Since I started the blog, I’ve published 861 posts including this one. They range from being funny and useful and informative to personal, sad, and introspective. Regardless, they are all me. My posts reflect what I’ve learned and experienced over the years and I’m so grateful for the written record of how I’ve navigated life through it all.
And then of course there’s a lot of solid France-focused info for people looking to learn more about the French and how things are done here.
These posts are special to me for different reasons and my gosh was it hard to narrow them down:
Strange noises French people make: This post with audio clips is one of my early ones that was really fun to write.
77 Little things that are different about life in France: This might be my best list post and sums up all the little things that make life different than the US.
It’s been one week since my mom died: The hardest post I’ve had to write but one that was extremely cathartic as well. This one about making a diamond from her ashes and the unexpected side effects of grief fall into the same category.
Pros and cons of living abroad in France that matter most to me: I wrote this one a couple of years ago after life abroad became my “norm.”
Struggling with living abroad? Remember this: Many of you out there said this post helped you to feel less alone and that means so much to me.
What I learned after my YouTube video went viral: This post talks about my bakery video blowing up and how that was a sign for me to keep going on YouTube. It gave me confidence and now I’m at nearly 75k subs. Don’t ever forget to believe in yourself.
Here are a few more that I love in different categories.
Favorite moving/living abroad content:
Favorite France travel posts:
–Top travel phrases (with audio) for your trip to France
Favorite French culture (& cultural comparison) posts
Favorite French language learning posts:
Random fun posts:
-I think we took a photo of a ghost. For real.
Thank you again for being here. Whether this is your first time on my blog, you’ve been here for 10 years, or somewhere in between, MERCI! Your support this year especially has meant the world to Tom and me. xx