I have been wanting to write this post for a long time.
I started blogging almost four years ago now. Wow! My blog has changed a lot over the years, as have I. My wants, dreams, and desires have changed. I have been looking at myself, at my blog, and wondering if I am headed in the direction I want to head. I have noticed things about myself and wonder if it would be better in the long run for a change. Then a couple things happened all at once that made a blog break ideal: starting a new job, having guests visit, and our computer breaking (got our new one yesterday! yay!). Also, right before I took a break I read a really great post over at A Gracious Home, where Sallie challenged us to read only blogs that edify and lift us up. I think it was something I needed to read at the time.
A few days ago I had some down time at work, so I was jotting some notes on a piece of paper about where my thoughts are in regards to my blog. At the bottom of the paper a phrase jumped out at me: I want to be myself. I think that’s what I’m missing in blogging. Over the years, as my blog has gotten more readership, I am less and less myself. I’m sure any blogger can understand how this happens.
I’d really like to get back to that. To being myself. I LOVE blogging. I have always loved to write and to express myself, and blogging fits a need for me. It has opened the door to many new friends, most of whom I haven’t met but I would totally drive out of my way to meet them if the opportunity arose. I don’t want blogging to be a “chore” – I don’t want to feel obligated. You know how you think something is fun, but then once it becomes more than a hobby it’s not fun anymore? My mom was a music major when she first started college, but she realized that music was just a hobby for her, not a career. (So she switched to math/accounting.) That’s how I feel – blogging is a fun hobby for me, but when I put restrictions on myself it’s no longer fun (having to post a certain number of times, or not posting about certain things, etc).
A while ago, I made the decision that I would not be putting any ads on my site or using it for revenue. I knew that once I started trying to make money, I would become obsessed and it would cease to become MY blog, but it would become THEIR blog. I guess I’m the idealistic artist – I want to produce from my heart, not out of obligations and commitments.
Another thing on my mind is privacy. I used to be very open on my blog about who I was and where I lived! In fact, when I moved to Atlanta, I actually wrote a post with a list of the apartment complexes I was considering, and links to the apartments’ websites, as I encouraged friends to go check it out and help me choose. (And then, of course, I wrote a follow-up post with the apartment that I chose, along with a mention of my apartment number in yet another later post.) I have since gone through my blog and deleted that kind of personal information. I have also gone through and deleted my last name (and I’ve asked friends to do the same on their blogs – so you don’t find me when you Google my name). As my readership has grown, I’ve realized I’ve needed to be more careful with how much I reveal about myself. While some of it is necessary, sometimes I feel like it keeps me from being myself.
My readership has grown in recent years, as I’ve been commenting on others’ blogs, participating in blog carnivals, etc. I love meeting new people, and having fun banter in the comments section with them, getting feedback in general when I write. It makes me feel happy and special. But I have also noticed that I have shifted my blog topics to more general subjects. I miss somewhat what it used to be. I don’t want to be just a “general interest” blog. Not that I’m stuck on myself, but I just miss the diary-ish feel it used to be. I want to be myself.
Anyways, all this to say, I am not stopping blogging. :-) I plan to continue, shifting focus a little bit. I’ll try to make sure that my posts and everything I do here reflects who I am, instead of who I’m trying to be or who I’m trying to please. I will continue not having ads. I have gone through my subscriptions list and the blogs I read and made a decision to delete ones that don’t uplift me or encourage me. A little while ago, I stopped using Google Reader to read blogs for multiple reasons, but that backfired on me when my computer broke and I lost all the links that were in my bookmarks! So now I have added blogs back to my Google Reader. Most of the blogs, that is. I didn’t add the blogs where the entire feeds don’t come in (only the first few sentences, and you have to click through to see the rest of the post). Not being able to read the whole post for some reason drives me crazy, and the point is to focus on uplifting blogs, right? :-) It helped a lot when I deleted those feeds from Google Reader, so I will continue to only check them when I remember to manually go to the page.
Oh! Before I go, another big thing I wanted to say. Part of being myself includes talking about things that are happening to me right here and right now. However, the job I have recently started is with a company where I am working with very sensitive information – so much so that I am not even allowed to bring cameras or jump drives to the office! So I feel that I shouldn’t say anything at all about it in this public blog. However, my job is part of who I am and sometimes I want to share (and are unrelated to the sensitive part of what I’m doing). So, I have started writing again in my Xanga blog because I appreciate the privacy Xanga allows you to have, and most of my friends have Xanga accounts. If you are interested, just email me your Xanga sign-in and I will add you as a friend. Please don’t feel obligated – if you talk to me a lot (phone, email, etc.) you’ll probably hear about everything anyways! I just wanted to mention it for people who are interested.
Most of all, I want to be myself, and I want this blog to be a reflection of who I am. :-)