This post is dedicated to all of you who read my blog in 2017. Thank you for sharing the journey with me.
When I first started blogging last Feb, my three primary goals were to learn WordPress and add that to my skillset, to enjoy writing, and to explore blogging as a real hobby since I hadn’t had time for one in years. I started out very philosophical; my earliest posts are still some of my favorites. After a lot of thought I named my site Energy for Moms and then in my first post talked about why. Then I wrote for a few months about motherhood, personal development, weight loss, home management, decluttering, and some about my journey and the books I was reading.
Along the way I started to take small courses and read extensively about this whole blogging thing. And I found a real course toward the end of the summer and started to follow it step by step. At that point my writing and my mindset made a shift. I began to overthink my avatar, spending too much time analyzing who I was writing to. I got stuck debating keywords, and blog post titles. I started watching traffic numbers, and created perfect pins for all my evergreen pillar posts, which ended up being all of them. Every post was carefully scripted and scheduled. I learned about affiliate marketing and started adding links and disclosures. I set up my email list with a form and freebie to feed it. I joined a mastermind group, tried some facebook ads, met other bloggers, read other blogs, and started to really understand the nature of blogging as a science, and as a business.
And I hit pause.
I stopped writing in Novemember, and I just disappeared. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to tell my readers what I was thinking. I just needed space.
I said it was my family, the blog was taking too much time from them. But it was so much more than that.
The truth was blogging felt like a treadmill, the bad kind. The never ending writing and perfecting, and posting and sharing, and all the checklists and steps. My joy for writing got suffocated in the process. But I learned enough to catch a real glimpse of what it takes to be successful.
Successful. What did that really mean?
Some people had lots of followers and seemed to make lots of money. But I didn’t like some of their methods, and wasn’t sure I aspired to their lifestyle. And I found my self reassessing what would be success for me. I didn’t like where I was headed, I was afraid if I stayed on the treadmill I wouldn’t be able to get off. (For example, I could see how getting likes and comments on your Facebook page could get addictive.) So I just stopped. Then it was the holiday season, full of great times with family, followed by snow and more time with kids home from school, then an unexpected trip to Texas followed by kids being sick in March again. (Two years in a row we’ve made it through the winter and then been sick in March.)
So I let writing go, but I kept reading. Reading is my constant; if I’m breathing I’m in the middle of reading a new book.
A reader had introduced me to Marie Forleo, who did an interview with Tony Robbins. I read all of Tony’s books and then saw an interview with him and Gary Vaynerchuk, and started reading Gary’s books and watching his multitude of YouTube videos. And on the way I found a few more authors that are beginning to influence me, like Brene Brown and Danielle LaPorte. And my awakening that caused me to stop writing and blogging in the first place began with reading Shauna Niequist’s, Present Over Perfect.
Last May and June I was blogging because I hoped it would help me change my life for the better, and hopefully help some readers in the process. The sum of the above influences has brought me back to that early goal in a deeper, richer way.
I’m on a quest to learn something new every day, to take a step every day toward the future I want to be creating with my actions, toward the life I want to live.
And my recent breakthrough that got me writing again was the realization that I should go back to that, and focus on sharing my journey. Specifically what got me unstuck a few weeks ago was listening to Gary Vaynerchuk encourage creatives to try documenting instead of creating. Because the pressure you feel when you sit down to create, with the aim to produce something that you hope will be x, y, z… that process can cause you to overanalyze and even paralyze you. So he was suggesting just doing what you love and documenting the journey and taking it from there.
So that’s what I’m going to do. Forget perfect keywords, scripted headings, and editorial calendars. I’m on a journey to follow my heart, within the practical limitations of my life as a suburban, part-time working mom of 4.
Oh, and there was another important way I got unstuck. Between the whole avatar/audience thing (who am I writing to?) and then my many interests leading to seeming lack of consistency on a topic (parenting, psychology, technology, time management, etc. what should my site navigation be?) I lacked enough focus to channel my thoughts for writing. Now after seeing people like Marie Forleo and Gary Vaynerchuk talk to a wide variety of people about a certain theme, I see that I can do that too.
Energy for me as a mom is still what I need. Being or feeling vibrant, fulfilled and beautiful is still my goal. The theme I’ve added is my how: motherhood as leadership. I think all my interests can tie into a unique approach that I’m trying to live and model, which is to explore what it means for moms to function as leaders and accept the roles, actions, mindset that come with that.
I’m going to push myself to think in terms of documenting instead of creating, and sharing instead of presenting.
This should mean more frequent, but perhaps shorter posts that are less topic-focused but more authentic and heartfelt.
The one caveat to that is that I still love reader requests, so if you have something you’d love for me to write about, let me know!
Misc note: writing posts is easier and fun again, but giving them a title is really hard, lol.