'If we are open to our art, our art will seize every opportunity we give it.' - Julia Cameron
I think I've been writing this post in my head for the past six months. It's so big, there's so much to say, every time I go to put it on paper (or screen) I go totally blank and get overwhelmed by the enormity of the conversation. Even now, it's taken me all day to find the right words for this post. It's a little long, so thank you in advance for taking the time to stop by. I'll pop the kettle on.
For a while now I've been trying to find my place in the blogging world. I've been writing for what seems like forever and it's been so fascinating to see how much things have changed over the past six years. The technology, people, the whole business of blogging, it's a whole conversation in itself and lately, there's been times I've totally worn myself out thinking and analysing it all. I love to blog, even when I first began, with my generic blogger template, random sized photos and blurry header, I felt like I finally had a place to call my own. I love to write, I love to take photos, I'm a maker, a doer, it just all seemed to fit. That was 2008, when blogging was all brand new. These days there are so many blogs out there, most days I feel like I can't keep up. With so much change happening, so much talk of the future of blogging, branding, business, blogging workshops & e-courses, 10 ways to get more readers (you know the drill), I find myself getting totally overwhelmed, when all I've always wanted to do is write, take photos and be part of a community.
At some point in about 2011, I thought I wanted a 'big' blog. I was posting twice a day, interviewing fellow bloggers, running a weekly meme, organising guest contributors and by 2012 I was totally and utterly exhausted. At the very same time, life came crashing down around me and gave me the most important wake up call of all. I'd been so caught up in work and blogging, I was putting myself under so much pressure to improve my stats each month, I wasn't actually really living my life the way I wanted to.
When I came back to blogging a few months after we lost Cohen, I knew I had to start over. I slowly found my voice, wrote from the heart and shared what was important to me (as I still do today). I knew I only had about half the readership I had previously, but I couldn't turn back, that kind of blogging just wasn't for me. Fast forward a year and a half and I find myself here once more, pondering the future of blogging and what next.
Recently in between moving, mothering, rediscovering my creative self and just trying to get enough sleep, I wondered why I was still blogging at all. It seems like there were so many people who also like what I like and do what I do, I feel like my little unique nest on the Internet, that I'd taken so long to make warm and cozy and just me, at times isn't so unique after all.
But then I began to look back through my archives. For me this isn't just a blog, it's a time capsule of my life for the past six years. And those six years have been the most amazing, challenging and heartbreaking I've ever experienced. So I decided, as I was hanging the washing out the other day (that's when I do most of my blogging thinking) that there was no way I was going to let this precious time capsule go. Although those memories will always be in my heart, those moments, those emotions will be forever captured here, in photos and words and that's something I want to fight for, embrace and keep for a long time to come, no matter what happens out there in the world of blogging.
For me blogging has always been about creativity and community and these are the two things I keep coming back to me when I think about where to next. Recently I was talking to a few blogging friends about how much I wanted to get back to the old days of blogging. Before it all got serious, when it was just for fun. I loved seeing what everyone was up to, making new friends and feeling like there there was no pressure to create 'content' and have 'schedules'. There was such a wonderful community spirit, there were pats on the back, celebrations, pin cushion swaps, handmade giveaways and heartfelt conversations. Sitting down to read my favourite blogs used to be such a wonderful part of my day and I loved sharing the everyday stuff, what was on my desk and what I'd been up to on the weekend, without feeling the pressure (I've often put on myself) to post everyday or make my life look like something from a magazine.
So where to from here? Well I'm bringing back the happy good days of blogging! More than ever I'm inspired about posting what I love, when I want to, because it brings me joy. I want to give creative hugs, I want to share inspiration (in a real and honest way, not a perfectly curated Pinterest board kind of way). I want to celebrate doers and makers creating great stuff, have meaningful conversations without worrying what people might think. I've decided that the world of blog monetizing isn't for me (although I am completely understanding of and honour those who choose to monetize their blogs). So now on my side bar you'll find fellow creatives who I trade ad spaces with and small businesses of dear friends who I love to share and support.
Most of all I want to reconnect with my blogging friends and connect with new to me blogs that I love. Inspired by Ronnie's fabulous post today I'm going to really make time to comment more, engage wholeheartedly, to visit blogs (rather than reading them through Bloglovin) and honour the love, time and effort taken by each blogger to carefully put together their post. I want to celebrate all the wonderful things about blogging rather than analyse and worry about what's to come.
Thank you so much to Steph, Ronnie, Gaby, Pia, Kate and Katie for inspiring me and giving me the courage to write this post. And thank you for your support and friendship over the years. The connections I've made through this little blog continue to amaze and inspire me everyday and I'm so grateful that you take the time to stop by. In true blogging serendipity Katie and Reuben have also written an amazing post tonight about what's next for them. I'm so excited about this new blogging chapter!
How are you feeling about blogging these days?
Do you remember the good old days as fondly as I do?
Were you a part of Kate's pin cushion swap too?