Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Because Blogging Shouldn't Be Hard

36(ish). The number of times I've seriously considering never writing and publishing another blog post. I'm not being dramatic, I've been on the fence more times than not over the last 12 months. Blogging has been in my life for over 5 years. If you think about it, I was a blogger before a Momma. Which is really hard to imagine. But one thing I know is that blogging shouldn't be hard. It is sometimes and that's when I want to quit. Let me explain.

When I started blogging we had just moved from Ohio to Texas and blogging was a lifeline for me. It was a way for me to meet and mingle and create joy when I wasn't too happy with my current situation. Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't miserable: I loved my husband and son with my entire being. I just was in a new home in a never been to before state with an 8 week old baby boy and my husband was working more than ever before to support our family in a city that had a higher cost of living. Life was tricky in 2013 but blogging gave me something to pour myself into and I was hooked. I loved it and from then on, I was a mom blogger and proud of every single piece I wrote, every new follower I gained and for each new year of growth.

But then why did I say I've thought about quitting over 30 times? It's simple: blogging stopped being fun and started being work. For me this started to happen in 2015. I was feeling more and more stressed over "having to work" and wasn't enjoying something that was so life giving for me. When I look back on 2015 I see why things started to get hard for me. We moved home in January 2015 and for the first time as an Ohioan, I was no longer working. I was able to spend time with friends and family more, Connor and I started attending more and more play dates, CJ stopped napping and started preschool in the Fall. 2015 brought with it a lot of baggage. When I say baggage, I mean that in the kindest of ways. For the first time as a family of 3, we had the ability to do more since James wasn't carpooling for 2.5+ hours a day. We were home and soaking up every minute of it. But I was really stuck in "blogger" mode and that started to take its toll on me, making blogging so.much.work.

Last year I worked on my blog more and more, just in smarter ways. I used social media more than ever, which was necessary to see any real growth. But Connor was also in school more so I had the chance to spend more time online while he was in class. Over the last 7 months or so, I am often torn between loving blogging and wanting to throw my laptop into incoming traffic. If you are a blogger, you'll get this. Readers, not so much. I couldn't find a balance and that sucked. I don't want to quit blogging because I am good at it. And mostly, it brings me so much joy. It's something that I've worked my tail off on. In 5 years, I've published over 1,260 posts, gained a social media following of over 15,000 and have created friendship with women that are beyond special to me. Bloggers turned friends who will forever be friends long after blogging falls to the wayside.

What prevented me from hanging up my blogging hat is that I gave myself grace. I schedule breaks for entire weeks at a time, allowing me to pack away my laptop for a solid 5-8 days. I took the week off when we went to Disney and another when we went to Mexico. I have a couple other breaks planned, too! I cut back on blogging 5 days a week and have left the need for "Pinterest worthy" posts in the dust. I've chatted with friends who have told me they feel the same way about different roles in their life and that you must give yourself grace. Give yourself a break when needed. Step back and check things out from a new point of view. I quit taking on sponsored content that came with rules and deadlines. Yes, that means I'm not making any money blogging anymore but that's never why I started blogging to begin with. I started sharing more "real life" and "life lately" posts and what do you know? I'm still getting the same amount of traffic and reader interaction. I just went back to the reason I started to blog to begin with: to document life.

I am sure that most of this sounds like rambling and it probably could have been worded better. The truth is I just wanted to get it all off my chest. Blogging doesn't have to be hard. It doesn't have to be filled with constant comparison. 5 years ago, I hit published on the most basic of posts for one reason and I may have forgotten that reason but thanks to my love of writing, the blogging community and a husband who just thinks I'm crazy, I've found my way back and can say that I'm not done blogging. Not yet anyway. That day will come and when it does, I'll be okay with it. But for now, there's more to come. For those of you who feel like this, you know... love it one minute, hate it the next, I'm here with you and I know others are too. I just challenge you to do what you love the way you love to do it. Don't try to be an "it" blogger. Don't make yourself crazy over the number game that is social media. And lastly, don't make it harder than it is. Find the joy and give yourself grace.

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