I’ve been at this blogging thing for almost four years now. What began as a forum to share my passion for parenting has evolved and changed multiple times as I have tried to find my voice in the online world.
I cannot tell you how many articles I have read about building a noteworthy blog. I am currently working through two top-notch blogging classes taught by highly successful bloggers (who make six-figure salaries) where I am learning how to bring my small blog out of obscurity.
There are so many rules to this game. They tell me to pick a niche and write exclusively about topics in that field. I am supposed to figure out what my audience wants from me and feed them a steady diet of whatever that might be. After I do that, I should concentrate on writing posts that feature lists because those tend to gain traction in the world of sharing. And sharing is the golden ticket to success.
But I don’t like writing (or reading) lists. For me, they are forgettable.
I am knee-deep in SEO, attention-grabbing titles, editorial calendars, lead magnets, readability (what is that, anyway?) social media strategy, Pinterest-worthy graphics (complete with keyword-rich descriptions), list-building, networking, and turning my blog into a brand. Next, I should probably write a book, start a podcast, create and sell an online course, and host a few webinars because every blogger who is anybody is doing those things.
I. CANNOT. DEAL.
I am a rule follower by nature. I have been trying to follow the rules because they must work, but I can’t do it anymore. Attempting to put myself into a box governed by do’s and do not’s has made writing feel like a chore instead of a creative outlet. I need to find a different path – one that is fulfilling instead of draining. One that does not feel so heavy and overwhelming. One that allows me to be ME.
A few days ago, I came across an article entitled, “Blogging Tips,” by Erin Loechner of the widely popular blog, Design for Mankind. Erin’s work is new to me, but I became an instant fan after reading what she had to say:
I know what you’ve been told. You’ve been told to choose an audience, to write to your audience, to speak to your audience, to find out their every like/dislike/obsession/idiosyncrasy. You’ve been told this is the key to success, writing what you know to who you know. But of course there’s another way (there is always another way). Try, instead, writing for you. Write what you want to know. Write what you want to learn, just for the pleasure of having written it. Write because you love it, because you have something to explore and not because you have something to say
Do you. Go your own way. The Internet is wide and deep and vast. There is room for you. There is space to dream as wildly as you dare. Dream differently. Carve out your room. Take up your space. Dare as you must.
I think Erin’s words were the answer to my prayers, giving me permission to break the rules that have been making me crazy.
Starting today, I am done worrying about posting a million times a day on Facebook in exchange for a few likes or shares. (Have I told you I hate Facebook?) I am going to focus my energy on Instagram instead because it is the only social media channel that I enjoy. (Follow me there)
I am going to stop immersing myself in the work of other, more successful, bloggers so I can concentrate on my path without comparison. The comparison gets me every time.
I am not going to stress about fitting into a niche because I am passionate about a variety of things. I will write from my heart, whether or not it attracts my “ideal reader.”
I am going to stop worrying about the analytics and start pouring my whole soul into the words. That is what blogging is about, right? The stories? The ideas? The food for thought? The inspiration? At least, that is what this blog will be about from now on.
I understand that I may lose some readers as I shift my focus a bit. My goal to grow my tribe may take exponentially longer, but I must heed these words from Matthew 16:29 that are ringing loudly in my ears:
For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
My soul is inextricably linked to the words I share with you, so I must follow where it leads. For the first time in months, I feel light, free, and excited about the potential of this online space.
If you are up for the ride, I would love to have your company. A promising new adventure awaits.
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