Article by Wendy McCance
For months now I have struggled with this blog in terms of content. When I began this blog in 2012, the entire blog was focused on my personal journey. I talked about family, health issues, career challenges and my kids. I also wrote many articles about navigating through life and how I saw a deeper meaning in the most trivial of topics.
About 6 months into my blog, I began focusing on writing and blogging in more depth. Those two topics were becoming a big part of my life. Being on my mind quite a bit, I discussed what I was learning and how I could help others who were going down the same path.
By 2013, my blog had become 85% a writing and blogging website. I was so immersed in what had become a full-time career that I wrote about what was on my mind (my career) continuously.
At one point I questioned the direction my blog was going and did a survey to see if people were more interested in the personal topics I used to discuss or the career topics I was writing about all the time now. The results were close to 50/50. I was torn about the direction I should continue with the blog. On the one hand, I wanted this blog to focus on “professional ” topics because so many potential clients were visiting the blog to get a sense of what I was all about and to view my writing style. I had a hard time envisioning writing about some of my personal topics and having a client read what I was addressing. On the other hand, I missed the feeling of freedom from opening up and letting it all hang out. I was frustrated that I had no place to put my personal thoughts anymore.
About 2 months ago, I decided to begin a new blog, Skipping Puddles. I figured I would write my personal stories there and focus solely on writing and blogging here. After juggling the two blogs for a bit, I came to the conclusion that I hated the separation of topics. It felt strange to share part of my life with one audience and another part with a completely different group. I felt as though I wasn’t being real with my readers because I was censoring what each group would see.
The other day I began reading some random blogs about topics that were about anything but writing and blogging. I realized something while reading what other people were putting out into the world, I had stomped out the magic of my site.
What made my blog stand out was the fearless way I would talk about everything that popped up in my head. If a reader came to my site, they would leave feeling as though they really understand me because I shared everything. I loved the blogs I was reading that let it all hang out. That feeling that you had met a new friend and knew what they were all about. It was that breezy, carefree style that I had lost and wanted back.
I began to look over my stats. Were people still interested in the type of topics I used to go into depth about? I was surprised to see that all of those old articles were still being read as much as the writing and blogging posts. It was in that moment that I knew I wanted to go back to what I loved. I have decided to put all the topics I once discussed back on this site. I will still touch on blogging and writing. As I learn more information, I will share it with you. It’s still a big part of my life experience. I am going to revamp a few pages and smooth out the site so that there is more fluidity between subjects again, but I did miss the personal side of my blog and want to integrate in into this site again.
I have to admit, I got caught up in all the advice on the web. That warning of mixing topics that are incompatible soaked into my head without me realizing that it had affected my decisions. I was so afraid of ruining my blog, that I broke apart something that was actually working. Instead of seeing the fluidity between everyday struggles and having a blog or how a reader might also be trying to change their life by pursing a new career, I viewed my topics more stiffly. I had personal topics and professional topics and I couldn’t see how they were integrating with each other. In all reality, it’s all part of our life and personal decisions are what make the professional choices. It can be mixed together because it’s all about life experiences.
A long time ago I was invited to be in a mastermind group. I joined the group but quickly realized it wasn’t for me. The group was fantastic in that new information was shared, the people were supporting each other and the group was made up of smart, hard-working folks. At the same time, I felt that I wasn’t able to concentrate on my own voice because there was too much attention on one goal for all. The group would come up with an idea and everyone was to carry it out. By being in that group, I would have lost my own thoughts on where I need to venture next. Everyone is on a different path and hearing your own voice and trusting and implementing your own ideas was what I needed to focus on. For me, it was too difficult to divide my attention. I have realized that I have had the same problem when I am researching information on growing my blog or finding success as a writer. I have had to stop and reflect several times on what was right for me. There is so much information that can be gathered and when you see the same advice over and over, it’s hard not to buy into it. I have found I have made decisions that ended up being a wrong move simply because without realizing it, all the advice I read had unwittingly made an impression and I did it without questioning if it was a good move.
The longer I have this blog, the more I learn about what I want to get out of it, who I am and how I want to express myself. It’s what makes having a blog magical. It’s a never-ending journey to the center of your soul.
I am curious to know if you have experienced a tendency to rework your blog as you grow and change. Have you tried new techniques? Were there times you were disappointed with the results? Have you gone back to the way you presented your blog in the beginning? I’d love to hear about your own experience.
To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: [email protected]