After stepping away from blogging for a bit, I gained clarity and a renewed perspective for moving forward in the direction that feels right to me.
If you read my previous post, then you know I took a break from writing new posts to fix up previous posts from my earlier days of blogging (say that 3 times fast)! I’m happy to say I’m almost through the list, and can’t wait to focus on what’s to come. Bring on spring!
Sometimes taking a step back is what we need to move forward. Although last year brought about many positive changes, the road getting there was one of the toughest I’ve traveled yet. Along the way I wished so many times for a better set of circumstances, but the changes didn’t come as quickly as I would’ve liked. They usually never do, right?
Thankfully, my faith is strong enough to know “this too shall pass” during difficult phases. Like many, I’ve had enough practice. Even though times can be challenging, I believe our hardships are there to teach us lessons and, if we listen closely, guide us in the direction that feels right. Sometimes all we need is a good helping of patience (and a little Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t seem to hurt either).
I once heard someone say life is like a sweater. When you’re on the right path, that sweater is warm and comfy and fits just right. Then one day you put it on and it feels a bit scratchy. Eventually, you can’t get it off fast enough. The problem is you haven’t found the right one to replace it yet.
Taking time to pause and reflect over the past few months has allowed me to figure out some of the “itchy sweater” aspects of my life. More importantly, I’ve been able to develop insight into what led me there in the first place. I have more clarity.
To sum it all up, I didn’t stay in my lane.
What does that even mean?
In the fast-paced world of blogging and social media, where “likes” and “shares” are better than sliced bread to many, it’s easy to get swept up in it all.
Time spent using our God-given talents creating and inspiring is somehow replaced with tasks like determining when the best time to post to Facebook is or which boards yield the most repins on Pinterest.
Can’t I just post and pin when I feel inspired to do so?
Then there’s the fear of missing out where we sign up for webinars so we can find out what we MUST be doing to become a successful blogger.
I have to post 5 days a week? I have to spend hours and hours promoting on numerous social media channels? I have to…
And let’s not forget to mention the comparison trap we tend to get caught up in.
Her house is so beautiful and she always looks flawless and did you see the photos from the vacation she just went on?
You start to over-think. You start to question everything. It all gets way too darn complicated.
Call it “grass is greener on the other side of the fence” or “shiny object” syndrome or a combination of the two. Any way you slice it, it takes us away from our own sweet spot.
When too many people get lost in it, too much starts to look the same. Just take a look on Pinterest.
Isn’t being different a good thing?
Taking time away gave me a new perspective.
Put energy into the things that matter to you, not what someone else tells you to do. The latter will burn you out. It started to burn me out.
Get back to what inspired you to start a blog in the first place.
Call me old fashioned, but I’m someone who still values authentic connection.
Remember the days when we left heart-felt comments on blogs and shared our favorite posts to say, “Look at what my friend created. Isn’t she talented?”
Are those days gone? Is it only about hearts and likes and plus ones? Is our success measured by reach alone? I hope not.
What I’ve come to realize is it’s best to stay on my own path.
If that means shutting the computer down when my husband gets home from work so we can cook a meal together, so be it. Or if my son calls and I’m in the middle of a project, I’m going to pick up even if it means an hour of English paper help. I believe you would want me to. The post can wait.
I’m not afraid of change if it’s the right change.
Sometimes it takes dipping our toes in the water first to know if something’s right. That may mean bumps along the road, but that’s okay.
That thing your blogger friend is doing may just not be for you. Do what your gut tells you.
Try new things.
Who knows, I may even start a YouTube channel. Doubt it, but never say never.
What I won’t try is putting that itchy sweater back on.
So, what does this all mean?
Moving forward, what I choose to share on this blog will only be those things that feel right to ME. It’s not to say past posts have been inauthentic or forced, not at all. The difference is I now have a deeper understanding of who I am and feel I can convey that much better. I believe you’ll start to see that over time.
Sure, I may have to turn down more sponsored opportunities, but that’s okay. I believe the ones I’m truly excited about will be those that resonate with you anyway. Other opportunities will come my way.
There may be some sporadic weeks when the blog is quiet. (I’m still working on letting go of that guilt.) I’m all about quality over quantity.
I want to blog about what I’m doing. The blog shouldn’t be my life.
And you can always subscribe to my newsletter (which will be seeing its own fair share of changes). There’s a whole bunch of spring cleaning going on around here.
I’m curious to know, as a blogger or reader, what’s making your sweater itch these days? Have you started making any changes of your own?