This post breaks all of my blogging rules.
I didn’t start my headline with “How to” or a number.
I didn’t use the Coschedule Headline Analyzer to find a headline that rates a 70 or above.
It’s not a list of useful tips or tools for bloggers.
You won’t find an easily digestible bulleted list.
I didn’t optimize it for any keywords. (Who am I kidding? I never optimize for keywords.)
And it contains more questions than answers.
Want to read it anyway?
If so, allow me to abruptly launch into a personal story:
I’ve been in love with reading and writing for my entire life.
Throughout my childhood, I loved escaping into a book.
One time my family drove from Denver to Canada, packing the car with stuffed animals, clothing, and 10 paperback books. We had to stop at a used book store in Victoria because I had read all of the books on my way up.
When I went to India at age 20, I brought no less than 5 paperbacks in my backpack. (Compare that to the 2 pairs of pants I packed for the 9 week journey, and you’ll get a sense of how much I love reading.)
I spent 3 years in the sunlit Creative Writing classroom at Denver School of the Arts, typing away into a Mac. When I was 18, I published a book of poems, short stories, and dialogues and sold it for $3 a piece.
Writing has carried me through 25+ countries and it helped me get through middle school without going crazy. (I recently found the journal I wrote in when I was 13. Every page made me cringe.)
And…through this blog, writing has helped me grow an audience, create a business I love, and connect with bloggers all over the world.
Every post I’ve written is honest. Every word I’ve published here was exactly what I wanted to write at the time.
But I miss unbridled writing.
I miss the writing that allowed me to let my hair down. The writing that gave me passage to share whatever I wanted to.
The writing that not only helped others but also helped me to see myself more clearly.
I miss the writing that comes from letting go.
Letting go of a niche, letting go of needing traffic. I miss the writing that isn’t just honest, but that surprises me with its depth. The writing that, once it’s written, I know it needed to come out.
I always tell bloggers you need to have a focus.
You need to give people a reason to keep coming back. Your readers need to know what’s in it for them.
I still believe that.
But unless the writing feeds you, serves you, keeps you alive with its strength and power, you’ll fall out of love with it.
And then your blog becomes another way of getting people to like you. (And when I write “you,” I mean “me.”)Blogging rules were meant to be broken.Click To Tweet
This post doesn’t have a neat little list of takeaways.
It doesn’t have any answers.
Because just like any book worth reading and any adventure worth having, there are more questions than answers on the path of blogging.
Every path is different (even though we blogging experts try to tell you we know exactly what your path should look like, that’s a bunch of wishful thinking).
And we all need different talismans and tools to help us keep going.
When I was a kid, I clutched novels like lifesavers.
Now I’ve found a different set of essentials to fill my blogging backpack.
- The strength of my own voice
- Permission to be different and forget about the “blogging rules”
- The freedom to create not just for my audience but for myself as well
- The knowledge that when I skid off the path (like I am in this post) it will bring me closer to myself
Blogging is hard.
It’s a treacherous road we’re walking.
And, for me, it’s only worth it if I can do it on my terms, in my own way, and with my own voice fully intact.
It’s a lot to ask. But I’m asking anyway.