When You Don’t Know Your Place in this {blogging} World

I feel like I’m coming out of a blogging coma. I’m not sure what I’m doing or even if I want to be here. I look around and everyone’s got it together–their mission statement, their purpose, the bubble chart showing where their blog will go (stats included). And I’m just sitting in front of a computer, desperately wanting to be a part of it. To have something to say. To know the reason I come here and write words. But right now, I don’t know.

If you’d ask me why I write I might just say, “Because I always have. I love to write.” And that’s true. But the more I come here and find the words harder to flow…I just don’t know. I still love to write.

As 8 years of blogging have passed me by, I feel like the quaint house in The Little House. I’ve been here before there was a bustling town, before the suburbs became the city, and the rolling green hills turned to sidewalks and skyscrapers. I crane to look around, but this space has grown so tight and I wonder if there’s room left for me.

I print out Blog Branding 101 and draw a blank. I don’t even know. Everything is business now. Everyone has a project, a shop, a something. Then there’s mastermind groups and tribes and niches. {of which I have none} And I can’t even describe what I want my blog to be. {what does that even mean?} I need a brand these days. {how do I boil a whole person down to 3 words and wrap it in a package?} It all feels so alluring in it’s 5-Easy Steps packaging and I’ve fallen out of step as I’ve birthed babies and moved cross-country while still trying to figure this whole motherhood thing out.

What happened to the fun of blogging? There’s always another new eBook, new post, new conference, new passive-aggressive throwdown. I’m having a hard time keeping up and I wonder, ‘How do these women do it all!?’ I was telling a friend, just today, that the internet feels so loud. That era of information overload people are talking about, I feel it.

And my blog? What is it adding to that cacophony anyways? I don’t feel ready to leave, but I don’t know what to say. I flip through those first posts from that first December I logged onto blogspot.com and remember the wide-eyed wonder of what it felt like to write on the internet. Funny thing is I didn’t care who read it. There were no 10 Tips to a Better Blog or 5 Mistakes to Avoid on Your About Page. It was just writing. Dipping my toes into bravery and for the first time being open to someone stumbling across my words.

Now I have an invisible panel of bloggers and people voting and offering their 2-cents on every word, idea, or tweet I write. I fear their presence, their screening. I feel the space around me shrinking as the buildings and bloggers, communities and ladders climb higher and higher. I’m lost in the midst of so much growth. I feel a bit like a chipped vintage charm set in the back of a jewelry box. Something to save, but not quite sure how to make it useful.

So I sit and wait.

I wait for that young twentysomething to awaken. The one who wrote about hope,

Hope holds out until even the darkness covers it,
And even then,
it’s always looking for that ray of light
to ride in.

And saw the possibility of dreams fulfilled fully in the Creator,

The one who saw this great, big, wide Internet as an opportunity. I’m waiting for her to stop as she walks by and say, “I know you. The setting’s changed, but under the dust and broken shutters it’s you.”

And she’ll lead with familiar hands to the place where grass runs rampant over green hills and flowers bloom without fear of crushing and all the earth shines.

Maybe it’s time to move to the country.

 

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50 thoughts on “When You Don’t Know Your Place in this {blogging} World

  1. Perfect words for how I’m feeling. Wanting to be a part. I know I have something to say, to share, to add to this big world-wide-web-conversation, but what?? Is it worth it. Somedays I feel like I’m ready to fold it up and pack it away – other days I’m full of ideas, inspiration, and excitement, but I find no free time to put my words out there. So I don’t. My blog just sit. I’m always here to read your words Jessica, because I love hearing what YOU have to say- YOUR thoughts on a topic. I value your opinions and love hearing your heart.

    • That full of ideas, but no time…I’m there too. Thanks for listening Donna. Also, I’m really hoping to go to Allume and a big part of it is wanting to hang out with you!

  2. Sigh. I love that book.

    Jessica: just write! Don’t improve your about page in 5 easy steps or improve your SEO in 10 minutes a day. Just write. Out in the country, if you want, but keep writing!

  3. I just wanted to tell you that your words matter. No matter if one person of 500,000 are reading them. God will make sure they reach the hearts they are intended to reach. Your words echoed true in my heart today. I am a writer at heart though I have never published anything and friends say, “Why don’t you blog?” This is exactly why….I don’t want to market and tweet and all those things. I just want to write. So, I just keep my words to myself for now because it all seems too overwhelming for me – working full-time, being a mom, trying to do it all. Whenever you can get your words out there, however you can – it is brave. It is worthy. The internet is so loud. I read blogs all the time and think, “I can’t retain all this. It is all too much.” So, if you need to unplug, do so. But know you always have a place in this {blogging} world!

    • Nicole…honestly that’s one thing I’ve always struggled with (one lie I’ve always believed)…that a lot of people have to be reading or I have to be published to have what I say matter. It’s a nasty lie to believe and hard to get over. But thank you for the encouragement and push.

      If you ever do share your writing, let me know!

  4. Wow, what exquisite and heartfelt post. So happy I hopped over (Anne Bogel linked you on Twitter). I too have struggled with that at times and feel I am only now coming to a place that I, just me, feel comfortable. I hope you won’t give up blogging because I would love to read more of your thoughts. I think we need more honesty, more heart-sharing in the blogosphere and you seem perfect for that.

    I love how you said, “how do I boil a whole person down to 3 words and wrap it in a package” ~ such a perfect description. But I think that’s just it, most people willingly say they don’t share all sides of themselves on their blog, only a sampling. Sorry this has become a novel comment, but I want you to know I really love this post.

    • Thanks for sharing, Catherine. I think part of my struggle is I tried, once again, to try and “fit in” and stopped away from the honesty and heart-sharing as you say. I’m growing out of the “fit in” box.

  5. I know that feeling all too well, and I love how you’ve used that beloved children’s book to frame it.

    I decided, back when I started my blog, to ignore all the advice about finding a niche and claiming a specific corner of the blogging world. I didn’t want to be just a mommy blogger or just a Christian blogger or just someone who wrote about divorce—in fact, I knew I couldn’t focus on any one of those things and maintain my honesty and personal interest in my blog. I had to just be me, and I had to trust that a certain group of readers would respond to that. Setting aside all the blogging advice and following my heart & gut hasn’t completely eliminated those times when I’m thinking “What am I doing here?”, but this perspective has helped me get through those times.

    Blessings on you and your writing! I will definitely be back.

    • I feel much the same way…I don’t have a niche and don’t want one. Every once in awhile I found myself at that place where I need to shed all the advice and answer, “What am I doing here?”

      Thanks for reading.

  6. Love that little book. I can so relate. My grandma had a little cottage that overlooked a field of California poppies on a bluff that overlooked a beautiful bay. Some 25 years after they bought the place, somebody built condos on the bluff destroying the poppies and obscuring the view. —change happens.

    You’ve been writing that blog for a long time. Sounds like somebody built a condo on your bluff! —change happens. What motivated you 8 years ago no longer does. You are not the person you were then nor is your audience. One thing that has not changed is your love of writing. Writing has been going on for a long time and somewhere down the road somebody decided that if you do it on a computer that it shall be named blogging. Then some other people decided there needed to be some rules about blogging —how often, what about, and for whom.

    One of the happiest things I did recently was decide that I write a blog because I like to write and not for the purpose of gaining readers. I know who my audience is. I know what I like to write about and I know that if I want to change my mind, then that’s OK too. I disconnected my blog from my business website, though I still write about business stuff sometimes. Point is, I’d keep writing even if I didn’t know if anybody else ever read it. Though I get comments of support -so others must like it.

    Write because you like too.

  7. Beautiful post, Jessica. Oh, how I loved it.

    You are a wonderful writer… keep writing, keep being you.

    I’m so glad I found this post {through E Tells Tales}… she linked to it and I’m reeeeally glad she did.

  8. I loved this post. I’m just now realizing that I can’t keep up with the pace of what I *thought* I wanted my blog to be. I’m trying to scale back to more simplicity, like when I first began blogging. There is a need for blogs like yours. It’s refreshing to see someone who hasn’t branded themselves to the high heavens! Good writing is scarce these days. However, just reading this one post of yours (my first time visiting), I already want to come back for more. You keep doing YOUR thing.

    • Mandy…oh how the Lord has confronted me over and over again with what I thought my blog was going to be or do! I could write a small novel. It’s a hard lesson (that I keep needing to hear over and over again) being faithful is the thing, not success.

  9. This is gorgeous and perfect. You so eloquently wrote exactly what I’ve been thinking. “The internet feels so loud” is exactly how I’ve been feeling, too. It really is an age of information overload with rules and pressure and stats, and I hate it. Just keep doing what you’re doing, and you’ll be appreciated for not being part of the overwhelming majority.

  10. Preach it girl! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve convinced myself that I’m having a full-blown identity crisis because I’m so concerned with falling behind all the 5-step, conference running, daily posting blogs out there… I love them, but I know I’m most likely never going to be one of them. And I’m trying to be more than okay with that fact.

    A mission statement’s never been something I’m comfortable with… Because, well, I haven’t got a clue what I want it to be. And really, this is my fun time to write about whatever I fancy at the moment. If someone enjoys it, that’s a bonus. Now I must go write this all down on a post it and stick it to my computer monitor the next time I’ve decided I’m not good enough. :)

    • I can totally relate to the identity crisis! And you are good enough. It’s not always what we want to hear (especially when we’re holding the measuring stick to ourselves), but if God says you’re enough…you’re enough!

  11. Love.this. Not only because it features one of my very favorite books ever, but because ever word resonates with my own feelings toward my blog in this new year.

    Thank you for putting it into words. Praying we can find our way back into that spot where we loved to blog just because we loved to write…

    • I thought of you when the granddaughter calls the house “the little pink house” (even though it looks red to me in the pictures). We have both been around since the dawn of blogging, huh? I hope you find the love again too, Gretchen.

  12. Such a beautifully, honest post. We all feel that insecurity from time to time. Some days I long to feel like my blog is “more” than it is. Other days, I’m perfectly content. I find the more I submit my heart and my writing to the Lord and leave it at His feet to do with what He wants – the better able I am to see it from His perspective and focus. And God is never about popularity. :)

    You definitely have a gift for writing. That alone, should encourage you to continue. For God will impact others with it if you let Him. :)

  13. Well said. I have with my blog for a while now. When I started out, it was just as you described. It felt so easy and I didn’t ever think about my “audience”. I just wrote what was on my heart. When my heart became too heavy, I quit writing. Then I wanted a fresh start. Then I didn’t know what I wanted. And finally I am here today feeling overwhelmed by how I’m “supposed” to do it. I’m tinkering around in the back end of my blog too timid to come out and play. I want it to be easy as a summer day in my childhood once again. You’ve given me hope and courage. Thank you.

  14. Oh, how I love this! I enjoy writing and a blog is the most expedient way for me to do it, but when did it become so complicated? I have no idea what my “hook” or “niche” should be, and if I even want one. Hey, I still struggle with what to put in my “About Me” section! How do I distill all aspects of my personality into a few choice bites so that anyone who reads them will know what I’m about? So what I’ve chosen to do is to put all that aside and just write what’s on my heart. If someone reads it – great. If not, I’ve still been obedient. Thank you, thank you, thank you for encouraging those of us who wonder where we belong out there in the Great Big Blogging World!

    • You’re welcome, Kim. And you know what? I’m pretty sure I was scanning a post about writing a better about page just a few minutes before I started writing this post. I know my about page doesn’t fit all the rules, but I like it. So it stays. Thanks for sharing.

  15. I think a lot of it depends on your goals. What are your own aspirations for writing or blogging? Some want to stretch themselves and challenge themselves to go farther and reach higher.

    While others simply want a quiet place to share their own quiet thoughts (which is perfectly fine!) Nothing is required of anyone other than what you want for yourself. This is a beautifully illustrated picture of what many, many bloggers feel, though. Often people just get “stuck” and don’t know where to go from there.

    Create your own ideals! Don’t try to follow someone else’s. Make your own goals and work to reach them–ignore what everyone else is doing. God has a different purpose for everyone. We each need to find out our individual purpose and walk in it. :)

  16. I was having these same thoughts this morning. I’m Finding it hard just to get the words out these days. Lots of stuff is swirling around in my head though. I have to come to a place where the other “stuff” just doesn’t matter, and just write. For me. For legacy. For God. Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt wonderful post. Blessings.

  17. Thank you so much for sharing this! I recently started blogging. I emailed a graphic artist (a friend of a friend) to help design a header for it. She emailed me back and asked me I planned to use this blog to generate revenue? I was really surprised! I hadn’t even thought of that… and it got me wondering. I started my blog to LEARN how to write. I feel like I have a lot in my head but no experience in how to share that in writing. I love reading what other people like me have to say… but now I question how “authentic” it is. It is reassuring to know that there are still people out there that are just writing because that is what the enjoy doing. I am thrilled when someone comments on what I have written or if one of my posts gets more than 10 views. I hope you get joy from how many people you are reaching and knowing you are making an impact. God bless!

    • My advice for when all those business-type questions come running is to remember what drew you in the first place…and maybe there’s a place for revenue and maybe not. What I’ve come to learn is when I chase after money-making ideas my discontent with my blog, writing, and this whole online place grows.

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  20. Chiming in here like so many others to say that you have captured here what I have been feeling for over a year now. I have been blogging since I was a teenager, before it was a “thing,” and back when it was just about writing for me. For a long time that was fine, that’s all I wanted from it (that’s all I continue to want from it). It wasn’t until the city started to grow up around me and I was surrounded that I even realized anything was different. Being told there were all these things I had to do to be successful…to be a real blogger. For a while I really tried to do it all.

    But it’s not me. I must accept that. My blog is, literally, a country blog. I write about the spirit of place, my roots, the peace of sunrise, Oklahoma. I am not all these busy, city things. I don’t want to be them!

    Thank you so much for this reminder. It helped to bring me some genuine clarity on the issue!

    Love your blog, too. This is my first time visiting (from Allume) and I’ll be back!

  21. Hi Jessica! I just came across your blog and this post, and it seems like I’m reading exactly how I’ve been feeling for nearly a year now. Not long after I started my own blog, it basically froze in time, because of what I call anxiety from ‘information overload’. I started reading about what I should and shouldn’t be doing, and I felt like I didn’t have all my ducks in a row before I started writing, that what I had to say wouldn’t be in the right format, or that I might write something that wouldn’t be of interest to any one in this huge bustling blogosphere. So, I stopped writing, and have been going to what I call my own personal Blogging University in-house. I’ve been in observation and reading mode rather than writing, and feel like it’s time to take Anne’s advice, too, and ‘Just write!’ You’ve inspired me with this one single post more than I can tell you, and I just wanted to say ‘Thank You’, that you have definitely been heard, and I really like your blog neighborhood! I look forward to visiting with you again soon. Have a wonderful weekend. :)

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