Blogging was simple when I started in 2005. I wrote posts, replied to comments, commented on other blogs, kept up with my blogroll on Bloglines, and that was it. And then blogging exploded and social media was born, and for me, blogging got a whole lot more complicated. I’d like to think it’s possible for me to decide that I can make blogging easy again.
I put pressure on myself to try and keep up with everything that everyone else is doing. As my traffic dropped, I frantically tried to figure out why, was it something I was doing or not doing, what were other blogs doing, maybe I should do that too – I’ve been driving myself crazy.
And then I went to the Brands & Bloggers Summit last weekend, and listened to Andrea Metcalf, a nationally known fitness expert and motivational speaker, speak on the topic “Amplify Your Brand”. What I wrote down in my notes is this:
What is your MISSION? Inspiring others? Encouraging others to dream? Transforming lives? You need to know what you want to accomplish with your writing.
I hadn’t thought about that, beyond a general “my mission is to, you know, write stuff, and it would be great if other people read it.” My original plan for this blog was for it to be an online journal of sorts, where I could save memories of my kids as they grew up, and where I could share my thoughts on current events, books I was reading, music I was listening to, movies I’d watched, TV shows I was addicted to, whatever came to mind.
And then I started blogging for the purpose of earning money, and the train went way off the rails. I lost track of that original plan in my rush to start contributing financially to my family. I started saying yes to everything, and now I have made a big mess of my life. Every day I stare at piles of products I said I’d love to review, hundreds of new emails that I can never keep up with, and a list of things I “should” do, like update twitter X number of times, make sure my posts go to Facebook, add my Wordless Wednesday link to as many linkies as I can find, all in the hopes that one or two people will come here and leave a comment.
I’m never going to have the readers I had when I started. The people who read my blog in 2006 and 2007 have told me flat-out that they stopped reading when I started writing paid posts. They still like ME, they just stopped liking this blog. It hurts, but I can’t blame them.
I have got to stop making blogging into something difficult. I’ve got to stop worrying about keywords and title tags and SEO and linkies, and just write from my heart. I’ve got to pull in my focus and stop letting what everyone else is doing affect what I’m doing.
In other words, I need to blog like NO ONE IS READING. Because if the original purpose of this blog was to journal my life, it should be just for me anyways. Believe me, I wish I could go back to 2008 and make a different choice. But I can’t, so what I can do is learn from my mistakes, and vow to do better starting now.