If there was a recurrent theme that seemed to continually materialise during the recent Aussie Bloggers Conference, it was the importance of unearthing your unique blogging voice.
And here in lies the rub… because everyone else seems so sure of their passion, purpose and plan. Yet I’m floundering like the US currency!
I used to think I was a “mummy blogger” (and proudly so) and that was all the categorisation that was required of me. Naively I now see there seems to be some sort of backlash against that term – no one likes to be pigeon holed I guess. I do also wonder if you can be considered a successful blogger and still hold something back? Because if you are not in the business of being confrontational or controversial, or painfully honest about some of your most significant struggles in life, can you still provide riveting posts to your readers?
Raw honesty abounds in blogland. It is quite a privilege to be invited into someone’s inner sanctum and have his or her experiences shared. My admiration for these bloggers who have the courage to tell it how it is, and refuse to paint with pastels any situation that might just be black and white, is endless.
How then, to be an engaging, insightful and entertaining writer, when you still keep some layers tucked away behind a wall of privacy? Offering the Gods of cyber space the sacrifice of any personal struggles for the whole world to see would not just affect me; and hence I am not willing to take that risk. Indeed the few times I’ve inadvertently pushed the boundaries and accidentally inflicted unintentional hurt its ended up causing me just as much pain.
Perhaps of late I’ve just lost sight of the reason why I blog. True, it was born for posterity; to hand to my Harrison a bound book; a treasure trove of memories that most likely would have gotten lost in the modernity of life.
But then a funny thing happened along this little journey – I reignited a long lost love of all things literary. I’d look at the world a little differently, and often stumble upon little triggers that would see me start to wonder “is there a blog post in that?”
And so I began to stretch my voice. Its malleability was a revelation. Perhaps I did have more to offer than stories centred purely on my offspring,
After my first “break-out” post, I started to receive comments from complete strangers. I discovered there was a whole other blogging community out there (stupidly I thought I was but an island!) and eagerly immersed myself in the business of becoming a regular blog reader. And whoa, what a realisation that has been. You suddenly realise that your words, which you humbly thought carried some polish, truly has nothing on some of the shining gems out there in the big black hole of cyber space!
But after almost two years blogging (which is no time at all compared to others) I have arrived at a point where I must make some decisions. Do I put my all into this and build it to be the best it can be, or distribute my writing energies so that my fiction and plans to tackle the freelance market also come to fruition?
Time to determine the purpose, passion and path I am on – hopefully that will then help the elusive “voice” I seek (like a Oprah “A-ha” moment) to shine.
One thing I think is wonderful, is you don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket, you can branch out in different ways like adding a different section to your blog, starting a second/third/fourth blog that’s separate all together, or keep your own blog and write features/guest posts for other people, when you’ve got something different to write about.
There is a HUGE bloggy world out side of the Mummy Bloggers niche, just waiting for us to take a look. 🙂
I love the way our blogs evolve, starting out with a set plan in mind, and then somehow they get under our skin and begin to serve an entirely different purpose..
I think post conference most of us are thinking about our blogs a little differently. it’s been quite a journey! Like you I stasrted blogging with an idea in mind, and then it wnet in a whole other direction…
I have been reading lots of posts about the struggle to know what to blog, when to blog, how to blog… what kind og blogger to be… I am strughgling too. But I am coming to think that the struggle is good, is part of the porcess of moving forward and growing… I like that my blog has evoled, now if I coudl just work out what kind of clog it is!
Catch the Kids says
You’ve voiced my inner thoughts exactly. There are just so many possibilities! Will be interesting to see how your dilemma pans out.
Emma M says
It can certainly be a bit of a mental minefield. But I think that’s one of the wonderful things about blogging – how it opens us to both a wider world and to what we can aim for and achieve ourselves.
Megan Blandford says
Great post. There are two things I’m having an internal debate about at the moment (well, two blogging related, anyway!): authenticity and opportunity.
The word ‘authentic’ was used so much at the conference, but I think we all need to remember that being authentic and honest doesn’t mean crossing the line of sharing what we’re each comfortable with. I struggled with the concept that because I might share a bad moment, I’m considered ‘real’ – even though that’s (luckily) only a very small percentage of my life. Most of my life is happy, so to me it isn’t ‘smug’ or ‘dishonest’ to convey that.
And opportunity – there are so many opportunities out there, waiting for bloggers / writers / people with talent and skill. And you can’t take them all. I’m trying to focus on what I’m passionate about, and follow those things right now, because I’ve realised that as much as I want to do it all, this is is not the stage of my life where I can stretch myself that far.
Sorry for the long ramble!!
Claire Keipert says
As just a blog reader, I’ll just say, I love your “voice” I have really enjoyed reading your blog and because of you I found other blogs to read. I am always impressed by your stories and what you choose to share. I personally think branching out in all directions, I am looking forward to reading your fictional book when you write it, but I love your reality checks on your blog. I just think the most important thing is keep writing whichever way you want go I’ll (and lots of others) will keep reading 🙂
I’m in a funk myself.
You get that.
It’ll sort itself out in time, and your voice will emerge with confidence…
Super Sarah says
Gosh I can relate… I am struggling to define what kind of blogger I am and a bit sad that I even have to.
Glowless @ Where's My Glow says
I think it’s natural for Mummy Bloggers to move away from the “every post is about my kids” way of blogging as they get a bit older and our own worlds expand back to include the variety we experienced pre-baby.
Like Liz from Mumstrosity said, you dont’ have to put all your eggs in one basket… unless they’re easter eggs.
My Name is Dorothy and I live in Oz says
Focus on the reason you blog. Is it for therapy? Is it to make money? Is it to get a book deal? Is it just because you love doing it? I suspect most of us do it because we love it. It is a part of us now. If we start focusing on all the other stuff, the fun goes out of it. And I’m pretty sure that someone at the conference said that it’s important to write for yourself.
This is a post really close to my heart. I started as a blogger just for family and friends to follow our IVF and pregnancy journey but there’s only so much material there. Then when our son came along I blogged for him as an online equivalent of a baby book. I never expected anyone but family and friends to read and therein lies the problem. I can’t be REAl – I can’t bitch about my horrendous MIL or my sister who is a godawful mother and makes me so angry I have to fight so hard to have my own children. I have to be polite and guarded. I am always so envious of blogs where people are RAW – it is great to read and must be great therapy.
Instead I just plod along with a mismatch of mummy blogger stuff. some craft and some house stuff but I still enjoy it and I guess that’s all that matters. I’m never gonna have hundreds of regular followers hanging on my every word but that’s ok.
Seana Smith says
Hello Donna, I so hear you! It’s tricky to work out one clear path and I am just starting anew but know that I am trying to fit three topics into one blog already…. Maybe I should concentrate just on the reviews of great places for kids… But am also really drawn to writing on Good Enough Mother topics. Bugger! Too much brain activity and not enough time to do it all.
keep posting like this it’s really very good idea, you are awesome!
If someone can write, it doesn’t matter what they write about. I like random blogs (surprised?). I like that I drop in and see a different slice of their life/personality/experience. It works for me. My niche is ‘no niche’. A great post Donna. Thanks for Rewinding x