Given the upheaval in my family’s life over the last year, blogging has gone on the back burner. Like, the back burner in someone else’s house.
Part of me really misses it. I enjoyed the writing. Writing helped me make sense of things. And–let’s face it–I could really do with some regular time to sit down and make sense of things! I loved the photography part of blogging, and got a lot better at taking pictures. I learned a wee bit of graphic design part and had a lot of fun with that. I even enjoyed marketing it, sharing my work on social media and sharing others’ work in return.
I loved that blogging forced me to get outside and explore my surroundings. It’s easy to get comfortable and think, “sure, someday I’ll go do that.” But when I’m torn between being cozy at home and going to explore, nothing kicks me out the door quite like getting fodder for the blog. (Oh, who am I kidding? I’ll take any excuse to get out.)
And that’s the issue this year. We’re not getting out much these days.
I have been blogging pretty regularly since 2009. Then, two or three years ago, I started seeing all those pins on pinterest, claiming that I could “Make thousands of dollars by BLOGGING!” Well, shoot–I’m blogging anyway. What do I have to loose?
So I dove into trying to keep my blog within a niche (if you can call an odd combination of blogging about Mexico AND Catholic apologetics a niche!). I had a Tailwind account and spent hours and hours repinning (and reading) others’ articles and repinning mine. I was a part of so many facebook blogging groups. I had advice pouring in from all sides.
“Churn out content!”
“Make 6 new pins for old articles a week!”
“Join our share thread. (And make sure to read and comment on everyone else’s posts.)”
It was starting to get overwhelming.
And then we moved.
Overnight, I lost half my niche.
I felt that maybe my blog was defining me rather than me defining the blog.
And I never made a cent off this thing anyway, so . . . why stress myself out about it?
I knew that it would take me at least a year to feel like I knew what I was doing again. It would take at least a year to get me feet under me. Planting crocus bulbs last fall, I knew that in some way, I was planting myself. I knew I needed to do some serious interior work on myself, to ground myself, so I could bloom in the Spring.
In early March, things felt that they were falling into place. I could see that personal bloom coming!
But then we all got hit by quarantine, and most of us are still taking stock and figuring out how we’re moving forward.
Moving Forward by Looking Back
The other night, I stayed up way too late, looking back over my original blog. I’ve missed it.
It was fun.
It was spontaneous.
It was honest.
It wasn’t at all polished.
While some posts were tedious or mundane, some were some real gems. Others were downright funny. (Click here to read about my struggles to get my four-year-old to wipe his butt. If you know this kid, do NOT mentioned that you’ve read this!) Or here is the time when I found registering my son’s birth certificate to be like a form of “civil baptism“. Here is my plan for getting my newborn to pick out his own middle name. I was on a roll those days!
I set this blog up to be my “professional blog”. Instead of having a goofy URL, it very seriously states my name. The fonts are prettier than on blogspot (and–can’t lie–that’s why I’ll be staying with this one!) My posts were going to be Search Engine Optimized and pinable. They were supposed to help people and answer questions. Those are all great goals.
But in that great quest, my blog lost its soul.
It started to be work, instead of fun. The joy slowly ebbed away.
I want the fun back.
Why Do This?
I started blogging because I wanted to have an easy place to share pictures and stories of my babies to my family and friends. I also wanted to explain to them why Mexico was a marvelous place to live.
While doing that, I met a lot of fabulous people, plenty of whom I have never met in person. Nevertheless, we had a bond for awhile which was extremely rewarding. I found legions of expats and exiles in Mexico who felt all alone (just as I did). Together, we found that we weren’t alone.
Because I don’t live there anymore, I might not be able to be quite as evangelical about Mexico as I was. However, Ohio and Indiana are full of fabulous, not-well-known gems. While Ohio and Indiana don’t suffer quite the same level of bad press that Mexico does, they don’t often get good press. Furthermore, there must people in this region who have also moved from who-knows-where, and may be feeling just as lonely as I originally did in Mexico. This blog can still be that shoutout in the void, letting others know that they’re not alone.
My kids are getting bigger, so I’m respecting their privacy more and they won’t be my blog fodder quite as often as they were when I started. (They do still consent to be my models when necessary!) But I have found some tricks and tips that have worked out well for me, parenting-wise. For those who may be going through similar times, I’ll let you know what has worked for us. (And maybe what is making me pull my hair out . . . like the fourth-grader being on a chromebook for the entire school day, and then he winds up with a ton of homework. I leave him alone with the homework and a half hour later, I find he’s still on the first problem . . . oh, that easy access to videos!)
And, in case I find any inspiration, I’ll write it here–if anything, so I don’t forget it myself. If it helps anyone else out, that’s a bonus! It feels like it’s been a long, dry spell since being inspired. However, as Picasso said, “Inspiration exists. But it must find you working!”
So, is it because I haven’t been seeking out ways to become inspired that I haven’t been inspired? Maybe.
I know that as I used to write things out here, I processed them as I wrote, and then would see connections that I hadn’t been aware of. Those discoveries gave me no end of thrills. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I used to go out and do things, seeking out new adventures, in part so I would have something to write about.
Going through those past posts the other day, reminded me that it’s time to go out and seek inspiration and adventure. I might not find it. But if I stay stuck in my rut, it is much more likely that life will continue to feel rather stale. If I try searching out some inspiration (and then come back here to make sense of it all) I might have more luck at getting life to have that spark of excitement again.
It worked in the past.
I think I’ll try it again!
Wish me luck.
Computer/Journal photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash.
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4 Replies to “What’s My Why?”
I for one am grateful you started your blog. It’s been lovely hearing a little bit about how you’re doing and being able to quietly cheer you on. I’m glad you’re looking at carving out time for this again because it’s wonderful to know you are doing something that brings you joy.
It is! I’m not sure where that time is going to come from, but I think I need it! What brings you joy? (Or, like in my case, DID, so maybe we need to get back to those things.)
I recently went through a Pinterest/Tailwind episode myself and got lost in SEO. Now I’m back to writing what I want to write about (Hint: herbs). I expect blogging goes in waves just like life. Looking forward to your next post Jill!
Oooo–I’m looking forward to more herblore from you!
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