Now that I feel led to jump back on the blogging wagon at this new site, I’ve tried to remember why I stopped in the first place. Other than identifying the obvious reasons of busy-ness and trying to keep up with life in general, I realize that there were a few things that seemed to contribute to my falling away.
1. Trying (Unsuccessfully) to Define My Blogging Niche
When I first started blogging in 2006, it was all about community, making friends, and reading and commenting on each other’s posts. Simple stuff, really. I know that for many bloggers/blogs, this is still the case, and I definitely have my favorites. I have online friends whom I enjoy interacting with and I enjoy reading everything they write.
But it seemed there came a turning point when bloggers were encouraged to define themselves into niches and become ‘experts’ in their fields. Was I a lifestyle blogger, cooking blogger, educational blogger, ‘writer’ blogger, weight loss blogger, inspirational blogger, etc.? Yes to all…but also no to all, at least not in the sense of all the time, every time! One day, I’d think I was this kind of blogger, and the next day, I’d change my mind and decide I was that kind of blogger. I just couldn’t seem to pinpoint exactly what kind of blogger I was, and it bothered me to the point of being stressed.
Apparently, I’m a schizophrenic blogger. A Jill-of-all-trades blogger. A little bit of everything–and a whole lot of nothing blogger.
But if I didn’t know who I was, then how could I expect anyone else to know or care? Or come read what I had to say, especially if I couldn’t streamline my content based on my self-imposed niche? And of course, there was Facebook and Twitter to fill in the gaps. Silly, I know, but that was sort of my mindset at the time. I was a blogger with an identity crisis!
2. Stats and Comments Can Be Good–Unless They’re Not
Building on the last point, I became too fixated on my blog stats. Did certain posts invite more readers? Did other posts seem to draw less traffic? If the Lord put something on my heart to write, why should I have cared about blog traffic? You’re right! That should’ve been the least of my worries. But I still cared, and those numbers could either make me extremely happy or very sad. Nothing should have that much power over my emotions. And the comments? Oh yeah…sweet comments were awesome. Negative or critical comments? Not so much. I’m not a tough-skinned person, and well. Yeah.
3. I Didn’t Feel Like I Could Compete or Keep Up
I know, right? Stupid, stupid, stupid! My header wasn’t pretty enough. I didn’t have the extra money to invest in a cute blog design. Groceries for eight people or money to invest in a jazzy new template and blog button? Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.
However, everyone else seemed to be getting professional face lifts for their blogs. Their content was more timely, more inspirational, more monetized, had better photos, more… yada-yada-yada. It was enough to make a person’s head spin. And it made me tired to think about it all. Why bother? I just couldn’t seem to keep up with all the changes that seemed to be happening in the blogging world.
But you know what? If I was writing what was on MY heart and doing what I was called to do, then it didn’t matter what everyone else was doing! It’s not a competition–or at least it shouldn’t be. Nobody else can tell our stories, share our hearts, or write our posts like we can. We are each unique, and the Lord has given us all individual talents and gifts. It’s up to us to listen and use those gifts in the best ways we can.
And if I wait until I have the perfect header or blog design, then I won’t ever write or post anything ever again–for anybody. So, what am I waiting for? Perhaps later I can invest in a design upgrade, or at least convince my talented daughter to take pity on me and help make things look better. And I know there’s lots of room for visual improvement. But for now, this is what I have and where I am.
Since I am a children’s non-fiction and educational writer, I do have my ‘writing’ website. But that’s a whole ‘nother thing. And in the vein of keeping it real, I need to be more consistent over there too. Way more consistent. As in, I don’t think I’ve posted there in a year and a half. Yikes. Plus, the whole site needs some work.
But I digress.
4. Blogging Can Take Over Your Life…If You Let It
So, so guilty. There were times when I got so caught up in my blogging, that I let other important things slide. Having a voice and encouraging others is great…but not at the expense of your own home and family. If I was blogging about some delicious recipe, yet my family was having to fix their own bowls of cereal for supper every night, then something was definitely wrong. I found out that I could easily get sucked into spending hours writing my sweet little posts when I should’ve been taking care of my sweet little family.
Of course, I know that some people blog for a living. It’s their full-time job. I get that, and I respect that. But in my case, I wasn’t blogging professionally, and I needed to set limits. That was another reason I backed away.
Setting priorities is the key, and there were lots of times when my priorities were way out of whack. I want to blog and encourage others, but I won’t do so at the expense of my family or my other responsibilities. They will always come first.
My New Blogging Manifesto
My sister and I attended the Sweet Sisters Conference this past weekend in Charlotte, NC, and I was so inspired by the speakers, Sophie Hudson (Boo Mama) and Melanie Shankle (Big Mama). Both of them emphasized that as women (especially Christian women), we should be lifting each other up and encouraging each other in all we do. Not competing or tearing each other down at every turn. There’s enough of that in the world to go around a million times over. We are called to be different.
So, if I can be an encouragement to someone who takes the time to read what I post–so be it! That is what I want to do. I will write what’s on my heart and mind, regardless of what day it is, how many visitors drop by, or what my stats are. It might be a slice of life vignette, a recipe, a fun DIY project, a Bible verse, an opinion, a homemaking or homeschooling idea, or a whole lot of silliness. Who knows?
Perhaps I’ll never fit into any specific blogging niche, but that’s okay. If the Lord wants someone to read what I write, He’ll send them. If it’s just for one reader, or even if what I write is for my own benefit only, that’s okay too. I enjoyed blogging in the past, and I’ve missed it. I do hate that I lost 3-4 years of posts at my original blog over at HomeschoolBlogger when they changed platforms/servers, but I am looking forward to starting anew.
So here we are. I’ve felt the Lord nudging me to blog again. My job is to be faithful. He’ll handle the rest.