Why did you start blogging?
I have a few reasons but ultimately I wanted to get back into the habit of writing and eventually back into print. Here’s a little back story, I’ll try to keep it short.
After getting my degree in English and Writing I went directly into an editor position for a local, weekly paper that specialized more in advertorials than editorials. After I’d had my fill there I went to work at a chamber of commerce where I put together a slew of empty, albeit important, words in the form of press releases, newsletters, web content, SOPs, AARs, minutes, and even the organization’s policy manuals.
Regardless your background, I’m sure you know that writing press releases and advertisements is NOT the same as writing even the simplest personal essay. You’re not investing a part of yourself into a paper titled “Handling Rude Phone Calls,” you don’t get defensive at the sight of a red pen, and while Elephant Rock Park is a fun place to visit you’re not hurt if that story is cut by 200 words to make room for an advertisement.
I wanted to get back to a more heartfelt style of writing, feel challenged, and tap into my creative spirit. No matter what I was sharing I wanted it to be something I was excited about. I wanted my blog to be a marketing tool for the brand of me.
Things were going along nicely. Then I attended my first conference. Oh how naïve I was back then. I learned about linky parties, SEO, and all the other ways to effectively sell the attention of my readers that most bloggers nowadays are well versed in. When I got home the first thing I did was reassess my blog. There were new to-do lists, new goals, new measures of success, all of which had NOTHING to do with writing or being printed, but it wasn’t a horrible thing. I was excited. I felt this new purpose and it felt good.
For a little over a year I stayed on this path; riding the ebb and flow of good stats to no stats and back again. Then last December I was cleaning out notebooks and reading through my old ambitions and ideas. While my blog had grown, my dreams were no closer to coming true then they were the day I’d wrote them down. I felt duped. As if I’d wasted a year working towards some arbitrary set of goals instead of MY own. My blog was no longer a marketing tool for the brand of me, the roles had switched, I was working for it.
Getting tied to a niche, spending too much time on social media or empty content, caring too much about stats, losing sight of our goals, or making someone else’s goals our own. It’s too easy to fall into the trap and find yourself in a position where your blog is holding you back.
I’m not an expert, nor do I proclaim to be, but I know there are ways to get back on track without giving up on your blog or your dreams. There can be a happy medium. There is a way to find balance. Hopefully you’ll be able to hear me and others discuss what we’re doing to get back to a place that feels honest and true for us. In the meantime, if you’re feeling disgruntled, lost, or overwhelmed by your blog but you’re not ready, or willing, to give up, just ask yourself, why did I start blogging?
-This post outlined the inspiration for a Room of Your Own pitch I made for BlogHer2013. Even if I don’t get accepted, I will still be sharing the tools, tips, and motivations I find that have helped me get back on track and use my blog the way I intended. I hope you're able to stop by again and find encouragement. -Erin