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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blogging with Purpose…or Not?

buttongoing

A couple of weeks ago, I stared my “you’re nothing” monsters down and toodled over to the next state to attend a blogging conference.  The homeschool blogging conference, 2:1.  It wasn’t a first for me.  But somehow it was still hard getting the car, waving good-bye to my family and going off on my own to surround myself with mostly strangers for the weekend.

The first night, I found myself sitting down to dinner with Deb Chitwood on one side of me and Rachael Carman on the other.  And feeling mostly tongue-tied.  I think I want to be Rachael when I grow up (I’m only kidding a little bit).  The beautiful grace that flows from this woman…I could use some more of that.  I could.

She turned to me and asked if I had attended last yearWhy, yes, I had. 

And what did I learn?

She waited expectantly.

That what I have to say matters.

Yes!  Why are you back again?

And this was something that I had thought and prayed about for weeks but had never put into words.  Out loud words.

Why did I come back?

Being put on the spot with a table full of people, all strangers until that moment.  There was the moment of clarity.

Because I want to know where I’m going with this blog, that’s the question.  Is it a hobby?  Or is it more than that?

I’m thankful that I met Rachael face-to-face that first evening; putting that thing that had been hanging at the back of my mind for weeks into words organized my jumble of thoughts a bit.

This is a theme that continues to swirl in the recesses of my brain.  I’ve been thinking so hard about how this site fits into my life as a whole.  So hard that I’ve barely been blogging at all.

2to1conference speakersLovely Speakers at 2:1

During all those talks about SEO, forming community, balancing time, and staying true to my myself and my God-given purpose…some feelings I’ve been having lately became clearer to me. 

I know in my heart that my voice on this blog has changed.  It’s become maybe a little more business-like.

Some of my quirkiness is missing. 

Yes, I have more pageviews than I had a year ago.  More people are reading what I’m putting my heart into. 

Maybe.  I think stats can be a little misleading.

But am I really expressing what’s on my heart?

And blogging itself has become more of a job.  And I’m not getting paid.  So the question becomes---do I want to put more work into it and actually maybe earn something for my trouble?  Possibly.

Or do I want to take a different path?

This is something I’m going to be puzzling out over the coming months, because the summer seems like a good time to get my priorities into order---what is my true mission at Homeschooling Hearts & Minds? 

My husband said it best:  You want to help people. That’s who you are.

He knows me well.  That’s my goal.  Not pageviews or name recognition.  Not even making money.  But helping and encouraging people.

I’m feeling right now that the mechanics of getting my content into the right hands (those who want it, need it) through SEO and and other things is in many ways counterproductive to the content itself---maybe I’ll expand on this at some point.

I strongly suspect that I will not be attending 2:1 in 2014.  Because Chicago is so far away (yes, it will be in Chicago next year!).  And it would require getting on a airplane and stuff. 

Ok, that’s not the real reason.

I think maybe I’m really am being called to take a different path.  Not a non-blogging path, but something a little more, um, individual?  For want of a better word.  I’m figuring it out.

I also felt different this year.  Less full, somehow.  It was a positive experience, absolutely.  But in some ways last year was better for me, personally. 

Next month, though, you are going to think that I’m crazy, because things are going to be hopping around here.  

Some hints…hmmm, I did just get back from that conference and I’m pretty sure I have some goodies in my suitcase to giveaway.

And if you knew me last year, you might remember that May is Ichthyosis Awareness Month---announcement for a special event coming shortly.

Hopefully, amidst all the busy-ness, there were be more quirkiness.

5 comments:

  1. I like your blog just the way it is!

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  2. I have these crises continually. :-) Found you via Pinterest, by the way. I plan to feature your post on kids not on grade level in What's Hot in Homeschooling.

    One thing I know about blogging. I have a friend who has continued blogging with no interruptions while I have gone great guns and then quit because I was all worried about what I was doing. Then I come back and often start a new blog and the cycle starts over. I compare my blog to my friend's and her audience is much larger because she's just faithful to the process without worrying so much about the results.

    I suspect that my problem is that I'm concerned with the outcome rather than the process that God has called me to participate in. I'm always looking for ways to limit my time commitment and that worries me. But lately I am not wanting to quit completely. Not saying that's your issue. :-) Just joining in the musing!

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  3. Ugh. Sorry. I was logged into my son's account above.

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  4. That's ok, Melanie, it was cool to have a comment from "calebscool," lol!

    Thank you for your musings, I think we all go through seasons in everything that we do.

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