July 30, 2012

on blogging, creativity, and where to go from here...

I've been doing a lot of thinking about blogging. Things have changed a lot since I first started blogging—in fact, I didn't even know what a "blog" was when I started my first online journal more than a decade ago. I had always been an avid paper-journaler, and I think I started my first blog thinking that it would just be very modern of me to type out my thoughts online. I never expected readers, I never thought much about what I wrote, I just...wrote.

My first blog was on a website called Blurty, which is still around but perhaps not very active (or popular). I love logging onto that old account because it is filled with the romantic musings of a seventeen-year-old girl—one I am rather fond of, in hindsight. I remember staying up late after a long day to log-on to AOL (these were the days of noisy, dial-up connections and the classic, "You've got mail!" greeting) and pour out all my thoughts and emotions into my online journal. Unrequited love, college, my first boyfriend, my first break-up, goals and dreams, my favorite quotations, lists and longings. All of these things were captured within the entries. It was all very simple and easy...no fancy design, a handful of readers, no face attached to the words, no real community or expectations.

After a few years, I "upgraded" to a Livejournal account, which inspired me to learn more about Photoshop and beautifying the design of my corner of the internet. I started connecting with other bloggers and realized that blogging was actually a thing. I continued to remain generally anonymous and simply write about my life without holding anything back. I mean, nobody I knew read my blog at that point, so it was a bit more free. And unedited.

I don't really remember why I started my first public, real blog (the one you see here), but I thought it would be fun to have something that could be much more me. Something more public and less attached to a certain platform. The idea of having my voice heard was an appealing one, and it made me want to do more, to say more, to write more. I started connecting with a few other bloggers, then the circle grew and grew...and the rest, as they say, is history.

This blog has been so rewarding in so many little (and big) ways. I've received so much encouragement, created so many friendships, learned so many things about who I am and what I'm good at. I wouldn't change any of that for the world.

And yet, during the last couple years, part of me has begun to feel a bit overwhelmed. I look around and see so many people who have turned their blogs into their livelihood—who have created communities and businesses. It's incredibly inspiring, but overwhelming at the same time. I have stepped back from my blog for many reasons, but one of the biggest has been that I just don't know where to go with it all. These days, it's like you have to keep moving forward to bigger and better things.

Well, you don't have to. I know that. But I feel like I should.

I guess that I just have started craving more simplicity in every area of my life—the internet included. I miss the days I wrote just to write, without worrying if the post was too long or too short or needed a pretty photo or wasn't relevant enough or wasn't funny enough. And so on and so forth. I'm a perfectionist and a people-pleaser, so sometimes I feel like I'm no longer writing for myself. Which is what blogging is supposed to be about, or used to be about, right?

In the same way, I've become so burnt out with my creativity. I miss the days I made things because I liked them, pure and simple. I would create whatever I felt like creating, listing new items and becoming drunk with joy after making a sale.

These days, I worry too much about creating my "brand". I worry about whether what I make is as good at other things I see. I worry about promoting myself, about whether I'm not legit if I don't have a Facebook page, about ads and statistics. And I kind of hate that it has put a damper on my creative spark. I want to rediscover creating just to create, and selling items that I like without worrying whether or not they have reached some unattainable standard.

Again, I want simplicity.

I've decided to start actively pushing towards my goals again, but making sure I'm staying true to myself, and that whatever I'm doing makes me happy. When good things begin feeling like a chore, it's time to reevaluate, right? Right.

This post is a little bit scattered, but that's okay. It's honest, and it's what is on my heart tonight, and for the first time in a while I just wanted to write to help myself settle a bit. So, there's that.

25 comments :

  1. This is EXACTLY how I've been feeling. What I've been struggling with. I feel like my creativity has taken a huge hit because I feel like I have to write about certain things to keep my audience happy. Since when did I take the back seat to my audience?

    Loved this post and thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing. <3

    ReplyDelete
  2. I hear you. The Internet has become a bit overwhelming. It's hard to not get pulled into the comparison game. I hope you can find a way to just simply be you, stay you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I struggle with my blog too, you're not alone. Especially since I recently found out some people from my past (that I don't want in my life and they're not there for a reason) have started reading it. It's a hard place to be, wondering about password protecting or not writing personal things, but that just wouldn't be me and that's not okay with me.

    Be YOU Kerri. We love you for YOU, as simple or as complicated as you want to be. Sometimes life needs to just be simple, everything else is so complicated and causes us to put so much pressure on ourselves, simplicity is calming and necessary.

    Keep writing, what YOU want to write and creating things YOU want to create. We all love you for you, simple as that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Just yes to all of this. This is is exactly how I've felt. I have so much else going on in my life that blogging takes the back seat, and then I feel guilty, but I know I don't want to turn my blog into anything else. I just want to write what I feel when I feel like it without pressure. It is heartening to know I'm not the only one, and I hope you are able to stay true to you and do what you want, because that is truly what makes me love reading this :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Been reading you for years and years, and I have to say I would be sad if you were gone completely but you have to do what's right for you! I've always thought we would be friends if we knew each other "in real life." Your blog totally does not have to be your whole life, and it should be making you happy! I say, post when and what you feel like writing. Maybe just do tumblr, b/c seriously I would be so sad not to keep up with you and Eisley!

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's great to hear this from other bloggers too-- I'm relatively new to the blog and internet sharing world and there have been days recently where there feels like this need to always be putting something out there everyday that is new, different, inspiring. I've sort of shut down to that a bit and had been having some conflicting feelings of guilt and freedom at the same time. I hope you continue to write and just say whatever you feel because I find your words to be comforting and enjoyable to read. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. We love YOU, just the way YOU are. And don't you dare forget it!

    ReplyDelete
  8. i couldn't agree more! this world we've opened up for ourselves is the very one that feels like we've become slaves to. and shouldn't creativity be the opposite of feeling bound? thank you for sharing and thank you for being REAL!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I feel that way too! I write just to write but I start comparing myself to other bloggers who sell things, giveaway things, and the fact that some can just post a photo of a cup of coffee and get 100 comments. I shouldn't care...I have always blogged for me and just need to stop reading those that make me feel like I need to compare myself.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hear hear. This whole post resonated deeply with me, and the sentiments you're expressing are very common among the writing blogosphere nowadays. I think it's just the natural evolution our generation is going through as we navigate our lives and how they're intertwined with technology. Especially us creative types who are, by nature, a meld of personal and professional.

    But I'm glad you're returning to your center, to yourself. I truly believe that's the key for any of us to be successful, and happy in that success. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I feel like I wrote this. You and I have talked about this via e-mail and well, basically, I agree with everything you said, wholeheartedly. I know you are meant to do great things, online and offline, and I'll be sending you lots of happy creative thoughts while you re-focus your attention. <3

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is so exactly how I feel lately. I also find that I have little time to actually write blog posts but that when I could squeese something in, I end up not trying because it feels like it's never "enough" - except I'm not defining enough. Someone else is. And that's just not cool with me anymore. I need to figure out how I want to proceed.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I know what you mean, I feel under pressure to have a 'niche' and network lots and write a certain amount a day.. I wrote a similar post recently just about wanting simplicity in such a busy world and internet! I hope you find your spark back soon!:) xx

    ReplyDelete
  14. I've been wanting to revamp my blog lately - make it more my style, focus it, find some direction - so part of what I'm doing now is thinking about what kind of blogs make me happiest to visit, and what I want people to feel when they visit mine. I realized that my favorite blogs aren't the "professional" ones - they are "hobby" blogs, but written by people who love doing it and who care about the quality. The writers of these blogs (yours included!) are women who I want to be friends with. So that's what I'm going to go for with mine - no comparisons, just make it my happy place and remember the connections it's brought me. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Amen Wishcake! Someone once told me, "No one gets a break from their own reality".
    That said, you dont need to make your blog come in a shiny perfect box. Because what is perfection anyway? Everyone's view of life is different, so just be yourself and dont make apologies!! Your uniqueness is your gift!

    ReplyDelete
  16. YES. A lot of yes in this post. You definitely speak for a TON of people here, including myself. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I so get this.

    And livejournal... man, that takes me back. It's where I started blogging. (An ex told me I should try it.) It was all about what I watched on TV the night before and my many, many celebrity crushes.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This resonated with me so much. Sometimes I feel the urge to jump on whatever is "cool" now in blogging, but the truth of it is that it doesn't jive with what I want for my life right now. I mean, I don't even let my blog show up in Google searches, for goodness' sake! So much for increasing page views, ha. I think that simplicity is becoming evermore important to me, like you shared.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sometimes, Miss Thang, I think you live inside my head. In the best of ways. ;)

    I've felt the same way in many areas. I just want to simplify life. It has it's own way of becoming chaotic and overly complicated that I don't need to add to it, ya know? Especially as we journey toward next fall, when we'll begin trying for our own little one - I want to organize and simplify so I don't miss the little moments.

    Blogging as felt this way for me for awhile. I look at old blogs and think.. WOW, I CAN'T BELIEVE I PUT THAT OUT THERE FOR EVERYONE - But ALSO, I think.. wow. That was 100% me. ;)

    Even Etsy became unfun. It stopped being this thing I started as a means to create and give to charity, and became about revenue and was my brand as good, were my photos as perfectly placed, was my gift wrap the most awesome, am I shipping 900x a week to satisfy everyone? I even was accused by someone of "changing my brand" when I tried making different items. It was ridiculous and lost all its luster.

    Blogging has done the same. I can be satisfied with a small blog that doesn't have series, large readership, giveaways, isn't linked to every social media platform out there and posts mainly grainy photos taken with my phone - but I feel like I am not supposed to be. I am supposed to want 10,000 readers and I'm not measuring up if I don't have, and can't live off of, my ads.

    It's why, in a weird "cleansing" way, I bought a brand new domain and am going to do my absolute best to simply write what I want, how I want. Full of glorious typos, lame photos, and topics no one cares to read. It will, hopefully, remain a place that strictly is.. just for me.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love that you wrote this post. You have no idea who I am, I'm sure (and no, you shouldn't lol. I'm no celebrity by any means), but I started blogging about a year and a half ago and love to write and post and it was really fun for a long time. But I begin to get more into blogs and search for them (how I found yours) and found that people were far beyond what I had going on with my little blog. Over the past six months or so, I have been slowly feeling the same exact way you described in this post! I felt this nagging desire to make my blog better and cuter and fashion forward and and and...And in reality, I am a wife and a mother (of a 6 year old little boy) and my life is way to busy on a day-to-day basis for me to neglect it all just to make my blog (and life) appear more glamorous than I am capable of doing! My desire to just get back to the simple things is just as strong as yours! Believe me, the wide-eyed-expression of my husband when I tell him I am just going to slide everything off the counters into the trash can so that I can breathe is proof enough ;-)

    I hear you in this post! Know that we, your readers, don't judge you. I don't wonder why you aren't perfect. In fact, it's nice to know that you are real and living life and it connects me to you! So, honey, blog when you have 5 minutes (or take a bubble bath instead! I won't judge ya ;-) ) and when I have 5 minutes to sit down and read, your blogs is one of the first I'll check on. In the mean time, enjoy your sweet little girl and your quirky husband and your adorable little self and don't fret on if your blog isn't perfect. Because 1) it actually is the cutest thing on the planet and 2) we all love ya anyway :-)

    ReplyDelete
  21. This has been on my mind a lot too. I was seriously considering closing my blog because I didn't want to be a "blogging mommy." I just want to blog for my family. Too many people in the blogging world blog to he seen and heard. They make their lives seem so perfect and I know it's not true, but it just bugs me. But then last night I went through old posts and realize how much my blog means to ME and that's all that matters. I hope you keep blogging. I've said it before, but yours is a blog that I feel is genuine.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Everything you wrote is exactly how I feel too. I don't have a blog, but what you wrote is pretty much why I don't have a blog. I would love connect with other bloggers though, and so far I have made a friend just through commmenting, but still, it's just a lot of work it seems. When I see women who photograph their outfits EVERY DAY...wow. That's dedication!
    But that's so wonderful for them, to put themselves out there, and build things from their blog.
    And you're doing a great job yourself! You have a beautiful daughter, and you still try to juggle blogging. Just do what makes you happy, whether it's blogging more or less, regardless, I'll still love to read what you say.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Reading this post and everyone's comments is so refreshing and makes me feel better about my own concerns or imperfections, whether in the bloggy world or in real life. Thanks Kerri!

    ReplyDelete

Thoughts? Questions? General musings? Do share!

If you are asking a question, I will respond here within the comments—so, be sure to click that handy little "notify me" box below to know when I've replied!