The Problem With The Business of Blogging
So I have had plans to be my best blogging self this month. I have had this beautifully planned out content calendar with every intention to knock it out of the park creatively. Intentions are great and something I fully believe in, but they also are simply intentions. Life happens. Things happen. We get thrown off. A lot of little things come into play that add up enough to be one big thing that stands like a boulder in the way of even best-laid plans. Our intentions no longer are priorities because other things become the important things. Instead, those intentions feel more like work than passion. They feel heavy and debilitating. They feel like we might just want to run from them. This is me this month and a week ago I was frustrated and ready to just fold inward under the weight of the combo of business and life all because of some positive and exciting intentions and plans that didn’t go as I had hoped.
The thing is I made the decision to run my business in a specific way this last year. Mike has been consulting pretty much full-time while as I focused on the blog and getting back to myself creatively. I was struggling to find the balance in it all and so we made changes and shifts to how we work. That is the beauty of working just the two of you instead of having a team. He loves what he is doing right now. It is a lot of hours, but he is fulfilled, happy, and it has allowed us more freedom. This last year, I have been working to figure out what I really want under the pressure of business and blogging when they land under the same roof while trying to be a mom. At times the business of blogging feels more like business than passion and I realized how little I had really grappled with this. Those little things that add up over a few weeks have a tendency to bring us to a wonderful and challenging place where we have to deal with demons that seem to hide on brighter and sunnier days.
I realized that the business of blogging stole some joy from my work. Everything seemed to remind me that my numbers are a reflection of my value as a creative/blogger/etc. In all honesty, those numbers got to my head. I say this because I know I cannot be the only one in the room of bloggers that can say this. Daily we are reminded of the importance of our numbers by the emails we receive, campaigns we run, and for the ask for numbers to be handed over. In fact there are literally sites for you to see where you rank in the world of blogging! Our numbers have a tendency to qualify our worth in this business. I have never been a fan of valuing creative things with numbers. It tends to muddy the work especially in this business. How is it that a difference of 20 followers on your Instagram account that bounces you between one number to another can make you question all you are doing? The truth is we all have days where the numbers get us. They drag us down. They make us feel empty, lost, and like my gosh did my time pass me by? I know that my struggle with the numbers is far deeper than just the numbers themselves, but I want to say this in all transparency because I know many of you see a world of many bloggers that looks perfect, unphased, and so on. I like to believe that even Joanna Gaines or Beyonce might have days the numbers get the better of them. I know that we all let the number demons sneak in at times. If it doesn’t, well I am pretty damn jealous! I am not that strong or at least not yet…
I am not going to lie to you and tell you the numbers haven’t won a lot of battles for me. I am an achiever after all. I thrive on succeeding. The thing I have had to handle lately as I battle insecurities is to rethink what is success in this space? Why am I here? I have to remind myself. Ground myself. Disconnect in every way possible from equivalating success to numbers and my choice for a blog post that day by how many pageviews it got or whether it is a clickable story (wtf?! Why is that a thing?).
This last week amongst dealing with being sick and having a sick kid. I fell short on my intentions. Mike traveled twice for family and for work and I was left handling the reigns at home. My personal life outweighed my work life. I had emails stacking up. Expectations I couldn’t meet both for others and myself. Things fell through the cracks as they do on weeks and months like that. I felt pretty low some days. The month felt heavier than I anticipated and those insecurities that numbers feed crept in. I questioned myself. I questioned my passion. I questioned my abilities. I felt hungry for something I actually didn’t want. So, I stepped back and really took time to ask why am I doing this because if it is just about numbers, that is silly and if it is not, than why do the numbers matter?
I chose to keep this space simple, minimal, low overhead, focused on my direction without many other voices. I didn’t want to build a blog for market. I want to build a blog I felt and saw as my creative space. I know that about myself, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t felt the pressure or left myself questioning if by choosing that direction I have failed in the world of blogging success. That by choosing less over more I somehow have chosen to “fail”. When success or achievements seem to be books, product lines, trips around the world, features, partnerships, office spaces, and large production teams. I knew in my heart that wasn’t for me. I wanted to be me. I wanted to feel unconstrained to shift and move as I wanted so if that is the case than I had to stop focusing on the numbers. I had to find success in a well written post from my heart, a gathering that brought me more joy than the images themselves, and building a garden that inspires others to grow things themselves. Oh, and most importantly to find complete success and contentment in this life I love. Those are the things where my success needs to be measured. It doesn’t mean the moments of insecruity and questions won’t creep in, but I feel there is calm in that agknowledgement. There is freedom in stating something brings you fear and then to define why.
I said to Mike the other night, that 30 has been about growing up a lot and figuring out that you can do whatever you want, but you just cannot do it all. Making decisions about what will be the things we find as our prizes in our work at the end of the day. I told him that if I end this year feeling ownership of my days and fulfilment in this beautiful life I love more than in how many likes it ever gets than I will feel successful. I want to feel freedom from performance and “qualified” success and metrics. I want those numbers to stop muddying my dreams to make me desire something I don’t. Instead, I am practicing passion these days and writing things I am inspired by in a way that the business of blogging can sometimes strip away.
If anything this last month has taught me it is that sometimes our best-laid plans are ruined and shaken not because we were never intended to make that happen, but because we weren’t ready for it just yet. We needed things to be shaken in order for us to do that little more work on ourselves so we could better our hearts and souls in preparation to accept what beautiful things lie ahead. In this case, it is freedom. It is feeling fearless to use this space the way I want to and wasn’t aware I hadn’t been. I find it funny how we feel we have things figured out and it is when things go against our plans where it reveals we really didn’t. The work is truly never done.