Is it weird to write a blog post about a blog post? Or use a photo of a cactus? And is it obvious that without a “7 ways to . . .” starter, I’m really lacking in post title creativity?
Since I’m in the mood for rule-breaking, I’m going to do it anyway.
First, if you took the time to read my last post, leave a comment, send a message, or email me, I am so thankful to you for sharing your thoughts, letting me know I’m on the right track, and that you’re on board wherever this blogging train is headed.
It was one of those posts where I hit publish, Insta-storied to announce that it was live, and then closed my computer for the rest of the night, a little scared of how people would respond. I even saw a handful of Instagram messages and put off clicking that red icon until after I’d plowed through the final five episodes of Stranger Things. (Side note: ITWASSOGOOD, right?)
Even though you all have a history of being epically nice and supportive, there was still a small fear of one person ruining my life by saying, “Well, this is fucking stupid.” (Which no one did.) And also a small fear that if you all start cheering me on, I really have to commit to this change.
Because while I’m not entirely happy, I am comfy just doing what I’ve always done. Writing the how-to posts, keeping it simple, helping you work through the strategies. But, what I really want is for you to read my blog posts and get excited about your own stuff and take notes and walk around the rest of the day with your phone glued to your hand because you need to keep track of all the ideas popping up.
And continuing with what I have been doing for the past couple of years was not going to make that happen.
So I waited until the next day (because I tend to be a crier and I didn’t want to show up red-faced and make things awkward for a coaching call with a student) to finally go through and read all the comments and messages and emails.
Along with hearing, “I am SOOOO over all the lists and how-to posts,” the three things I read over and over were . . .
- This is the first time I’ve really seen you in your writing
- I read your blog a long time ago, but haven’t read much recently
- Reading your post gave me so much relief
Talk about getting hit with a ton of bricks, y’all! (But like a ton of bricks that I really needed and am happy about after the fact.)
I assumed that because I was doing the writing, my posts would automatically sound like me. But a handful of times, as I was trying to finish a blog post, I didn’t feel 100 percent satisfied with my writing. It felt forced, less playful, and less encouraging than I intended. Even leaving in the swear words and cheesy jokes, I still sounded too buttoned-up and presentable. And though I was aware, I had been writing in that voice for so long that I didn’t know how to not write like that.
I have a whole other post brewing on how I (and we as an entire blogging-for-biz culture) talk to our online peeps and why I went from personal posts to sounding like a blogging expert robot. But I won’t bombard you with another 1k words today.
I also didn’t realize that so many people who read my personal blog years ago were still hanging around waiting for me to show up like that again, looking for the real-life stuff that I used to share. There were tiny shreds scattered through all my list and how-to posts, but my writing was edited to perfection to check all the blogging boxes, and I never really went below the surface.
In my shift from personal blogging to blogging for my business, I assumed those who were interested in growing their online presence would stick around and those who weren’t into that content would find other personal bloggers to follow. But it turns out you all stuck around, getting your personal blogging fix from my emails and Instagrams.
Also, as much as I say that you don’t have to follow the rules or do “all the things,” I think you may have still felt like you did. Because you see what I’m doing, which after years and years is all the things, and it gives the impression that doing all the things is the best way to grow your audience too.
I am big on the idea that actions speak louder than words (personally and in business). I like to sit quietly and watch what someone does and base my perceptions of their character more on the things they do than on the things they say.
So it is clear to me now that I have to show you that you don’t need to do all the things by not doing them myself. To prove that you can put aside the blogging, social media, and list building strategies that don’t feel good or fit into your life, and grow your audience in a way that works best for you. And I think I’ve taken a tiny step forward on that seeing how many of you positively responded to my last post!
I’ve had a handful of people ask me what my plan is now, what this shift is going to look like, and honestly, I don’t have any solid answers. Right now I’m doing a lot of writing, a lot of reading, and getting myself into a space where I feel confident enough to embrace this change.
One thing I do know is that my goals now are less about pageviews and follower numbers (because I’ve already checked those boxes repeatedly) and more about getting you to read to the end of my posts and leave a comment. Because if I can make you feel something enough that you take action, I know I’m on the right track and making an impact.