So this is a weird post to write . . . I can’t remember the last time I published a post that didn’t contain a list, or a tutorial, or keywords and clickable titles. I generally send my more personal, letter-style content to my email list and here on the blog, it’s all business, all the time. But I think it’s time for that to change.
I actually feel like I should re-introduce myself. . . Hi, I’m Sarah. This year has been a struggle and since I’m still deep in it, this post doesn’t really have any lessons or answers. I have been feeling like it’s time for things to shift and I wanted to share that with you. And I figured since there are lots of you who have been hanging around for a long time, it might be OK if I write about what I’m working through as I’m working through it. This post doesn’t fall in line with my usual “awesomely actionable” posts, but I think hearing about non-Instagrammable, non-Pinterest-able things is still worthwhile, right?
A couple of weeks ago I had a life coaching session with my friend Katie. I’ve known Katie for almost two years now so it was immensely helpful to not only get her professional advice, but also get her feedback on things that I don’t post online and didn’t write in my intake worksheet. Things that made me burst into tears, saying, “Fuck…you’re right.” Things that were completely obvious when she called me out. Things I hadn’t been able to see on my own.
One of those things being the realization that blogging is not creative or fun or enjoyable for me anymore. And let me tell you, when blogging about blogging is your job, that is one shitty realization to make.
So as I cried to Katie she said, “You seem burned out.” That announcement not based on my current state, but based on observing what I’d been posting online. (Another “fuck…you’re right” moment for sure)
After we spoke I spent a few hours curled up on the couch, unloading my brain into a notebook, and realized she was partially right. I’m not burned out on working in general, but I am burned out on the type of content I’m creating.
I’ve gotten myself into a rut that is not serving me, only moderately serving my audience (compared to what I know I’m able to do), and leaving me feeling deflated way too often.
Blogging has changed a ton since I started, when there were no marketing campaigns and it was all about telling stories and sharing ideas. When I was a teenager and in my twenties it was my creative outlet. I would spend entire days writing, taking photos, screwing around with my design, happily staying up until 4 in the morning. But I haven’t done anything resembling that in YEARS.
Instead, it’s all tutorials, and lists, and how-to posts. And even though I know that type of content is helpful for my audience and good for Pinterest/Twitter/SEO, I’m tired of writing posts that start with “Seven ways to . . .” (And I have a feeling you might be tired of reading those posts too.)
I always tell other bloggers + business owners that you can make your own rules, that the experts aren’t always right, and they don’t always know what you do best or what your audience needs. And so I’m taking my own advice and re-learning how to write things that don’t check all the blogging boxes. Things that make me feel excited to create, things that make me feel a little less serious, things that light me up and hopefully light you up too.
But to be honest, I’m not 100 percent sure what that’s going to look like.
To start, I’ve decided to stop checking my stats. Which yes, goes against everything I teach, so if you’re starting or growing your blog, this is a “do as I say, not as I do” situation. Stats are still important so I’ll still be updating my monthly spreadsheet, but keeping an eye on them daily/weekly is not serving me personally right now.
When I initially wrote this in my notebook, I intended to not check stats through the end of this year, but instead what I wrote was, “Give up stats for 2018.” So I’m going to assume my hand and my pen know better than my brain and I’m going to stick to that 2018 goal.
I’ll also be pulling back on number of how-to, tutorial, list posts I’m creating. I have over 1000 blog posts, multiple courses, books, and webinars, so I’ve got y’all covered. I’ll still be writing about blogging and email and social media, but I think we’re going to go at it from a different angle so my blog can feel fun and uplifting and creative again. (If you still want some lists and tech tutorials you are more than welcome to dig into my archives and courses because there’s a good chance I’ve already written the tutorial you’re looking for!)
Lastly, to start reorienting myself, I’ve been collecting new blogs to get back to reading for pleasure again. I don’t know when or why I stopped, but I can’t remember the last time I got hooked on a blog that I wasn’t reading for work purposes. If I’m going to be moving away from how-to posts for the moment then I should probably following bloggers who don’t generally write that type of content as well.
Also, let me also say that if you’re starting or growing your blog/social media/email list you should probably still follow the practical advice. Just because I’m having a personal shift that is also shifting my content, doesn’t mean you need to panic and shift too. I used how-to posts and lists to grow my audience from scratch, and now that I have that audience + a stockpile of posts, it’s time for me to dig a little deeper.
I promise I’m not going to jump ship and turn this into a lifestyle blog or go in a completely new direction. I am still dedicated to helping you look like a brilliant badass online and do it in a way that makes you feel excited and confident, instead of overwhelmed. THAT will not change. I know that if I keep creativity and positivity at the top of my mind we’ll all end up in a better spot whether I write list posts or not!
And if you made it all the way to the end of this post, thank you. I appreciate you for showing up and hanging out with me, and bearing with me as I figure out how to make blogging fun and creative for myself again knowing that, as a result, you’ll get better (and a lot more) content out of it too.
Now let’s discuss . . . Are you seeing a shift in the blogs you read? Feeling a shift in your own blog? Are you happy about less lists and how-to posts, or no?