I’m at an impasse. I’m not sure what to write about. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say. I ALWAYS seem to have something to say. It’s just that I’m not sure in what direction I should go at the moment.
This blog began as a way for me to bitch and moan and then celebrate a little about how I was treating my body. I was going to get fit, dammit! And I was going to be accountable along the way by sharing my trials and tribulations with all of you out there in blog-land. Naturally, I would digress from time to time, but that was fine, especially since I planned to be completely anonymous.
Well, it didn’t take long for me to start writing about my family of origin, and my current family situation. After all, this is my life, so welcome to it. Again, I was anonymous, so whatever raw emotions I was feeling I spilled out onto the screen and didn’t think twice about hitting the publish button. I am what I am, take it or leave it. Something like that.
Then I started to sneak in some of my professional life. I’m a teacher. Teaching is an all consuming profession. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about SOME aspect of my profession. Lesson plans are swirling around in my brain, the endless to-do list nags at me at the most inopportune times, and I’m constantly thinking about how I can be more effective. It’s impossible to be me without also being an educator, so again, into the blog it went.
One of my education pieces got picked up by Scary Mommy, and that was a lot of fun. Thousands of readers took in my words, and honestly that was a rush. The piece was also translated into Greek and posted on no fewer than 8 Greek language websites. That event also marked the end of my anonymity.
Now in addition to an educator, I’m a writer. As time has gone on, I’ve come to realize that writing is something that I’m meant to do. I’ve been writing, reading about writing, learning about writing, and writing about writing. And yes, I put that into the blog too.
So now what I have is a big ‘ole mess. The blog has turned into a giant mish-mosh of stuff, from fun fitness for fat chicks to fabulous books for fourth graders to my childhood memories of gingerbread to my feelings about frito-pie and standardized testing. I’m afraid that as I’ve spread out my topics, I’ve lost some momentum. I feel like I’ve lost my edge by wandering around discussing this topic and that. I feel like I need to narrow my focus and find my niche, but I’m not sure I exactly WANT to do that. I like writing about a little of this and a little of that. And I don’t think I have the energy to run several blogs at once.
Even if I did, what would I call them?
BulgingButtons – or how two years later I’m still fat and struggle with making good lifestyle choices
All the Pretty Words – The Journey to Becoming the Writer I Believe is Hiding Inside Me
Give Kids a Chance – My Take on How our Education System Ought to Help Kids
Past, Present, Future – My life as it was, is, and hopefully will be
I know bloggers who have revamped their blogs, or started additional blogs to address new topics. What do you think? Shall I soldier on? Make some changes? Rein in some of my topics? Avoid others all together? I’d love some feedback, and if you’ve been with me for some time, thank you, your support means a lot.
March 1, 2015 at 2:58 pm
My recommendation, for what it’s worth: write about whatever you’re comfortable writing about, and sometimes stuff you’re not.
I haven’t been very successful at writing for two blogs. I started Our View From Iowa with my husband so we would have a forum to write about ANYTHING. And I was very adamant I didn’t want it to be a quilting blog. But at a point I had a lot more to say about quilting than anything else, and I decided I needed to start Catbird Quilt Studio. Now I neglect Our View, sometimes not posting there for weeks at a time. Part of the issue is when we started it, I was depressed and angry about some specific things. And I had written elsewhere a lot about hunger (food insecurity) issues, and I wanted to continue that. And I’m not depressed anymore, and I’m not (very) angry about those specific things, or I’ve gotten hopeless about them and don’t feel like ranting anymore. And though I had a platform and audience at my other writing forum, that disappeared. And I was tired of writing about hunger when no one in my current audience cared.
So, my writing has become somewhat narrow. But I try very hard to a) not just chit-chat about my daily life BECAUSE *I* don’t like “quilting” blogs that do that; and b) not just provide pretty pictures, since everyone can find prettier pictures than mine all over instagram and pinterest; and c) not confine my quilting posts to quilts, but also discuss things like fair pay for crafts (recent topic) and emotional reasons to quilt, and ergonomics and safety of your quilting space, and where does cotton and fabric come from (upcoming topics)… I really want my blog to “add value to the world,” which sounds very insipid and unrealistic. Still…
You know that good writing — even fiction — is true writing. Write truth. Write stuff we can believe, even if it isn’t part of our own experience. Make it personal about all parts of your life, or just a portion. Or make it less personal and more observational. But make it true. And we’ll still read it.
March 2, 2015 at 6:15 pm
I am so grateful for your well thought out reply. I appreciate your insight and your willingness to share your experience with me.
March 2, 2015 at 1:17 pm
Personally I have a few blogs, but they are more like place holders for research I’m doing or things that I want to learn more about. I think if you are talking about your life and all of the elements in it then really that is one blog, the story of you. Plus multiple blogs can be unruly especially when there is overlap in topics – do you just re-post? or rework for a different audience?, or hey remember when this used to be fun???
I would suggest re-working your categories. Making them more specific or creating sub categories so that people who are interested in reading only about specific aspects of your life can zero in on those areas, but for the rest of us who appreciate all the facets of you, we’ll read it all 🙂
– the Goddess
March 2, 2015 at 6:17 pm
Oh Goddess, how wonderful to hear from you. I’m leaning that way too, and I think you’re dead on about creating sub categories. I’m actually going to the WordPress blogging workshop in a couple of weeks, so I’m not going to make any drastic changes until I learn what I can there, but I think one big blog of me sounds about my speed!
March 2, 2015 at 4:20 pm
Speaking from experience, I tried starting a second blog and found it caused me to stall out in both blogs. Somehow, I thought it would be helpful to diversify, to organize with two blogs, to separate certain topics, etc. But in reality, it added an extra pressure, even if it was psychological and self-imposed, to write enough to fill both blogs.
I blog because I love to write and it is a platform to share some of those words with others. My journal is where I keep the personal, private stuff, and my blog is for the rest. Having two blogs made me feel like I was no longer writing because I love it, but because I had to produce words. It became about the content quantity rather than the content quality, and I eventually stopped writing on either blog. Then I rebooted, closed the second blog, and recommitted to my first.
I think each individual will have to figure out what works best for them; obviously some writers are doing quite well with more than one blog, and sometimes many. For myself, I’m keeping it simple, and I’m going to be okay with my one blog being as complex and multi-topical as my own messy life. 🙂
By staying with a single blog, you make it easy for me to keep up with you. But, if you find that multiple blogs free up your mind and feel more natural, be sure to let us know where to find the new ones, so we can follow those as well. No matter what, keep on writing! Cheers!
March 2, 2015 at 6:19 pm
Laura, thank you for your reply and your candor. As I read these posts I’m reminded over and over of why I love blogging so much in the first place. It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the people, and the opportunity to connect. Thanks for helping me remember that.
March 4, 2015 at 3:26 pm
I really enjoy reading your blog (any and all parts) and I think (Goddess) is right in that you should simply create sub-categories rather than making a whole new blog altogether. Keeping one blog, however many different topics, makes it more real for those who are reading it. Just my opinion though, hope everything works out!
March 4, 2015 at 4:16 pm
Thank you for not only reading the blog, but adding your voice to the conversation. I’m so glad you chimed in. XO
March 4, 2015 at 7:12 pm
I’ve literally found myself in this said same boat but admit to not having the energy to manage more than one blog at a time plus my life is not made up entirely of any one thing. I’m an awesome collage of lots of little things – my words, my faith, my photos, my quotes, my whatever inspires me on any given day – or as my friends said recently: 50 shades of Gale. You write well, you inspire others, you are honest – I’d say keep on keeping on … but that’s just my two cents worth. Hugs! 🙂
March 6, 2015 at 10:31 pm
Gale, it’s so lovely to hear from you. I struggle with the idea of keeping up with more than one blog. I worry that I wouldn’t manage very well at all, and the idea of determining what content goes where seems a little bit daunting. I, for one, enjoy 50 Shades of Gale! Thanks for your opinion, I certainly value it.
March 5, 2015 at 5:20 pm
Gosh, I’m in the same boat! Too many interests, too little time, and sort of paralyzed by the need to blog regularly while also trying to post stuff on Goodreads and Amazon and FINISH MY NEXT BOOK. When I was working on my novel, MONTPELIER TOMORROW, I started a blog on bits of medical info that could help caregivers protect themselves, all the while meeting their families’ needs. (http://blog.maryleemacdonald.org) That blog required a lot of time. I did a Skype interview with an Italian doc who had presented at an ALS conference in Milan. He turned out to be a Buddhist and into meditation, plus a super funny individual. I did email interviews with Irish researchers. To do a good job with that blog, I need to stay current with the research, and that means reading the Journal of the American Medical Assn. plus ALS, MS, Huntington’s, and Alzheimer’s refereed journals. Does that sound like a full time job? Yes, it does, and there is only one of me.
Stupidly, I started another blog that had to do with developing a writing practice. I wrote one post in a year. One! What a slacker! That blog is now undergoing a “complete makeover,” and it will soon resemble your blog here–a little of this and that. (http://maryleemacdonald.org)
Your post has given me permission to just plunge in and see whether the “trail balloon” will ascend or pop. Thank your for inspiring me to keep at it. I do think that writing helps us discover new truths about life and perhaps discover what it is we truly care about.
March 6, 2015 at 10:35 pm
Somehow I don’t see the words “slacker” and “Marylee” in the same sentence. Isn’t it interesting how one thought leads to another and another and another? That’s why the idea of separating, while at first seems appealing, doesn’t seem like such a great idea after all. I appreciate your input. It’s great to hear from so many others who have struggled with this same issue, and to learn from their experiences.
April 7, 2015 at 9:02 pm
It’s great to be in touch with you, too. Your experience made me think about how I could conserve my fiction-writing time and minimize the social media stuff. I feel like I’m headed in the right direction, but I’m not there yet.
April 7, 2015 at 9:06 pm
Yes, the ever present issue of time…