I have been a blogger for almost eight years. When the average life span of something on the internet is thirteen seconds, doing something for eight years seems like an impossibility. I’ve seen blogs rise and fall, some went by in a flash and others were established, beloved, successful bloggers who closed up shop for reasons ranging from burn out to life getting in the way. I’ve been witness to the changing tides of blogging. When I started my blog, most bloggers did it as a form of journaling, sharing their lives with internet strangers. Now blogging has turned into a business with metrics to be measured and networking to be made. Most bloggers now consider themselves entrepreneurs, they have online shops and services. But what if you’re the type of blogger that doesn’t want to get into the “business of blogging”? What if you blog for yourself?
I belong to many blogger networking groups and read a lot of “industry” related articles because it’s part of my professional job and the one piece of advice I see time and time again is “blogging should solve a problem for the reader.” And it’s good advice if you’re the entrepreneur type of blogger. But what if you’re not looking to turn a profit from blogging? How do you fit into the equation of bloggers and readers? Let me ask you another question: What if you shouldn’t worry about it?
I blog for myself (mostly). I started this blog after taking a break from my previous one. I was burnt out and felt like I had written myself into a corner. I also felt like I needed to re-strategize, that I didn’t fit the mold of blogger anymore. I like to tell personal stories, share my life, work out things on paper but I was becoming a rarity. These are also the things I like to read about most. My favorite bloggers are the ones who share their lives, good and bad, not the ones who preach or give me nothing but step-by-step tutorials. It’s partly because I enjoy the idea of being a voyeur; it’s like reading someone’s diary.
Last summer I was experiencing extreme burn out. I looked at blogging as an obligation that I needed to check off. When I had that time away from writing a blog I noticed I missed the outlet it provided. I no longer thought about writing a post that would optimize the best rather I wanted to share what was going on in our lives, a move to a new state, a new life experience, and just how badly I missed cheesesteaks. I had started blogging for myself as a form of outlet and a way to practice a craft that I wanted to become better at, why did I think I need to change myself or my methods? When I wasn’t focused on numbers, growth, reach, engagement, and following I found that I was able to enjoy writing again.
Blogging for yourself provides you with a unique gift. I have the last eight years of my life and thoughts chronicled, saved forever. I have photos and details of my pregnancies, the minutiae of Sophia’s and Jack’s early days that I can barely remember. There are funny anecdotes between Tim and I that I would haven’t remembered if I hadn’t saved in print form on my blog. I know with certainty that I wouldn’t have as much detail of my life if it wasn’t for my blog. Handwritten journaling never stuck with me for some reason but blogging did. Maybe it was because I wasn’t writing it simply for record but because I was sharing. I was telling my story not just memorializing dates and people.
If you’re the story-telling type, I want to encourage you to stick with it. Let your voice be heard. Let someone find you relatable. Let someone find your story surprising and thought-provoking. Blog for yourself.