I began blogging in 2008 as a way to work out all the things going on in my head. At that point I was a newlywed who didn't even have a dog. Looking back I can't for the life of me think what was really even blog-worthy back then. Please, don't bother going back to look. My webpage was a simple black background with white typing (as opposed to the only other option of white background with black typing...fancy). I didn't own a fancy camera or for that matter even know what one was. My pictures were crappy at best. I had hardly any readers, but the ones I did have were like a close community. We all read and commented on each others blog. There was no pressure to connect, we just did.
Over the past 5 years things have changed greatly. There is a much bigger blogging community with all the pressures to go with it. Blog design options are endless. There are numerous ways to connect whether through Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook. There are companies to partner with, blog sponsors to obtain, and money to be made. The pressure to connect, to grow, to make money has changed the world of blogging and in my opinion, not always in a great way. No longer do we purely connect on the basis that we like each others blog. I'm not saying those pure friendships don't exist anymore, they do and I have some, but it's just not the majority.
Last year, I gave it my best effort to grow my blog. I felt like I needed to, I thought I wanted to, I wanted to keep up. I've since realized that trying isn't what I want to do. It isn't what I'm here for, my heart just isn't in it. Things felt forced and when I'm creatively forced, I shut down.
Of course, I want readership. If I didn't care if anyone was reading I wouldn't publicly being putting it out there. There I said it. I like to know that people are reading. I love comments. I love knowing that someone got something out of what I had to say. It makes me feel purposeful. It makes me feel less crazy to know that someone else has been through the same thing. Sometimes it comforts me to know that I have a wide community that can give me helpful suggestions when I have something going on in life that has completely stumped me. I truly believe that I would not have gotten pregnant with Jackson as quickly as I did if I had not had this blogging community who generously and lovingly gave me advice. Thank you!
A lot has changed in my own life since 2008. I'm no longer a newlywed, I have a dog, two kids, been through several moves and quit my job to stay at home. This blog has turned into a way of documenting my children growing up, but even more so it's turned into a way of documenting my experience with motherhood.
When I stopped to question myself about what drives me to blog, I came up with this:
I blog so I won't forget.
I blog so if I die an untimely death, my children will know who I was and that I loved them and that we had some wonderful ups and downs together. (Morbid yes, but true.)
I blog because I feel like I have something to say, a story to share, something to offer. I feel like people can connect/relate.
I blog because I like to be part of this wonderful community that opens their hearts to perfect strangers, that makes this wide world feel a touch smaller. This community inspires me and makes me feel more normal every day.
I blog so that when my children have children, they can look back on their own childhood and hopefully relate to my words and who I was in that moment.
I blog for me. It's my me-time. It's my creative outlet. It feeds my urge to document. It's where I confess my failures and short comings. It's where I get to share how wonderfully blessed I am. (I strive to be honest, real and share not just my ups but the downs.)
What I discovered is that I do not blog for the money. I do not blog because I want to make a business out of it. I do not blog for free products. I blog for the sense of community. I blog to document and most importantly I blog for me. I believe that in order to be happy you have to define your own meaning of success. It cannot be someone else's or you will always be dissatisfied.
I'm not saying there won't ever be another sponsored post, another giveaway, money made, or another ad here. I'm saying that those things are not my goal nor my purpose. There are times when great products come along and I want to share them. If a company wants to pay me to put their ad on my site, great, but I am no longer making the effort to go out and find them. If bloggers want to advertise their blogs on my site, fantastic, I'll swap ads with you because I believe in community and admittedly like having readers myself.
I think over the past year, I got distracted by something shiny. I'm going back to the old days, the simple days. Sometimes we look at those as the best days right? I'm no longer going to pressure myself to blog 5 days a week (if that hasn't been obvious already). I want to stay in love with my creative outlet and perfect my craft in my own way. I want to grow my community, but I want it to be grown organically instead of forced. I want to reconnect.
If you read and have never said as much as hello, please do. It totally freaks me out that I have 300+ people out there basically peering into my heart and soul. I once read a quote by Ernest Hemingway that says "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." and that is basically what I try to do here and I hope you feel that too.
If you are an in real life friend or family member who reads, I'd love to know. Several of you like my page on Facebook but I have no idea if you read anything or not. Sometimes I find out through the grapevine that so and so is reading my blog or maybe it's through our own personal conversation that I find out you read and I get that sudden feeling that I've shown up in public without any clothes on. Like my page on Facebook, communicate with me there, hit the thumbs up button on a post, tell me that I suck. I don't care. Just don't be a creeper. Ok don't tell me that I suck (I have feelings)...just dislike my page...I'll get the point and we shall carry on.
I want to connect with you. I want to know that you are reading. I want to know if you relate.
Want to connect with me? Here's some ways:
Facebook: I check this site out more than I should admit. It's like auto pilot. I want to grow my blog community there and start more conversations. I find it easy to respond to questions and I can get back to you pretty quickly here.
Instagram: This is my favorite way to share daily happenings. It's quick, it's easy. Let's be friends.
Twitter: I still don't understand this medium. If you are a twitter addict, I update my posts and Instagram pictures here. Sometimes I use it to ask questions. Communication...it's hit or miss. I know this is frowned upon, but truth be told: I don't have a smart-phone (SHOCKER!!!). So therefore, it's not super easy for me to keep up with Twitter and to be honest, I don't really have the desire to scroll through tons of other peoples conversations and feel like I'm creeping or butting-in.
Email: I get crap tons of email everyday and the good stuff often gets lost in the mix. Seriously you are better off communicating with me on Facebook, but if you have something private to share I'm here and I will respond...it might just not be as timely as it should be.
Comments: I adore them. Let me know what you think. Tell me that you are reading. If you have a question, I will email you an answer. I don't email back on every comment so don't be offended, but I appreciate them and I read them.
My goal is to get back to the basics with this blog and fall in love with it all over again. I get very little me-time these days, but I want to make this place my priority when I do because I need it. Thanks for being here, thanks for coming on this journey with me and most of all thanks for reading and letting me know that I'm doing it more than just for me and that in some small way, I make a impact on others.