I sat down earlier to write and – going in-part with the flow as I do, always with some idea of what I’m going to write but leaving room for inspiration – I was completely derailed. As I sat reflecting on my blog, and on how much it’s changed over the past year or so, what hit me was how it’s changed with my developing sense of me blogging ‘properly’ – whatever that means.
I was left feeling that somehow the me part of it had been buried under making sure I tick all the boxes to keep my branding, SEO, and all those ‘bloggers essentials’ in check. As I’ve progressed as a blogger, the type of content I want to write about has narrowed down. What was once a barrage of whatever came to mind is now fairly streamlined, focusing on a few key (yet still varying) topics of interest.
There’s something about that cutting-away which once made me feel I was losing aspects of me, having to narrow my scope. Doing this under the advice of professional bloggers, told that it will help to communicate with a more specific audience, help hone my message, and give me more direction (rather than less) felt a little fake at times.
Yet, who was making those decisions, if not me? Who was consulting this advice, but myself? My sense of control, and the divisive way of seeing this ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ control, was perhaps leaving me a little defensive. I felt as if by taking this advice, I was losing myself.
The thing is though, despite that feeling of cutting things out, what was left was still me, and just as much me as before. When we are able to drop more and more of the ‘clutter’ around what we hold close to our sense of identity, often we find a truer and deeper understanding of ourselves.
It’s easy to get caught up in identifying with the work we do, whatever it is, but ultimately we go beyond that. We may say we put our heart and soul in to our work, but the work never becomes us (at least, it doesn’t seem healthy to let it).
I’ve got to admit, it took some adjusting – I still feel that urge to just break the walls down, and talk about whatever from time to time. Yet, it’s been one of the best things I’ve done for my blog, and ultimately my business online. It’s given me a clearer idea of what exactly it is I want to communicate to people, and it’s made it easier for people to find and receive the message that I’m putting out in to the world.
Rather than talking a little bit about everything, I’m more able now to really get in to depth on those few key areas that truly ignite my interest. I’d considered the angle of having a lifestyle blog, but after a little digging I feel it would have been a cop-out for me (as a style it definitely works for some, but it wasn’t for me). I was using it as a sort of excuse to let myself write about anything and avoid focusing, finding clarity, and honing-in on my message.
Deciding what you really want to blog about can be challenging (it certainly was for me anyway). It sounds so easy, and the advice is great: write about what you’re passionate about. Yet, what if you’re passionate about a lot of things? This can be tricky, particularly if there’s a lot of cross-over between your interests. So how do you find direction amongst what can seem like a tangle of avenues?
For me, it took a lot of searching. There was a definite theme that underpinned a lot of my interests and the work I wanted to do, yet pulling them all together there seemed to be no alignment. In my head all these things tied together, yet there was a lack of direction (or too many directions) in my writing. Things started to work when I realized the common-denominator.
Really digging and putting in to words what it was that glued things together, it all started to make a lot more sense. When there was a clear message or intent behind my writing, it made sense not only to me (since I knew already, on some level, all the connections) but people could really connect with my message.
My advice for now to anyone lost in that haze of directionless, is to trust. Once we let go a little, we allow ourselves to see and then to follow the path we are on. Continue writing about whatever you want, if you feel you don’t know what you want. Continue to follow your passion, your excitement, even if it feels as though it doesn’t ‘make sense’ right now. The time will come that you see and feel that thread which you want to follow.
Life just doesn’t add up sometimes, especially when you’re trying so desperately to make it add up. I’m guilty of overthinking, over-analysing, and wanting to be able to fit everything in its box (despite how much I tell myself that isn’t something I do).
Yet there is so much to be gotten from just letting things be, from letting yourself be.
On one level, perhaps where you are right now, things may not make sense and seem overly chaotic.
From another point of view, they add up beautifully.