How I learned NOT to be a blogger at #pbevent

I Must I learned not to be a blogger @ #pbevent -

I must confess, it’s true.

I went to a blogging conference and came away with tips on how NOT to be a blogger.

Now, I probably need to put this in some context.

The pure definition of a blog according to the Oxford Dictionary is a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style. A blogger is, obviously, a person who writes a blog.

Then there’s the Urban Dictionary definition of a blogger (my personal fave): Term used to describe anyone with enough time or narcissism to document every tedious bit of minutia filling their uneventful lives. It’s a magnificent definition, isn’t it?

Regardless of which definition you choose, in these very simple, isolated contexts, a blog is a regularly updated web log documenting life events, experiences, knowledge and learning, written in a conversational style.

When I started my blog back in 2011 it was an exercise in documenting my life via an online diary. It was something I started purely for me, with little expectation of readers. Back then I had NO idea there were blogging communities or that social media was a key to post promotion or that you could make any sort of money from writing a blog.

My original ‘why’ for my blog was to rediscover my love of writing, cultivate a hobby and find a way to process my imminent return to work after my third child.

Nothing more. Nothing less.

In the last 4 and a half years, the blog has grown, as have my expectations and commitment to it. I spend far more time on it now than I did in those early days and I have discovered the wonderful world of the blogosphere. I’ve embraced social media, greatly improved my writing and have met some truly beautiful souls in the process. Blogging has changed my life.

However blogging has changed in that time too and is far more involved and complex than the simple dictionary definitions suggest. It is no longer a simple act of updating a page on the internet or writing in an informal or conversational style.

Blogging is now a business. And whether you choose to monetise or not, the very process of blogging is morphing into a series of systems, processes and tools which almost supersede the organic and natural act of writing itself.

When you think about all the steps that go into crafting a typical blog post it’s no surprise that this is the case. There is researching & writing; photography credit & image optimising; keyword & SEO considerations; social media promotion and the technicalities of domain hosting and your individual blogging platform.

Just to ram this fact home, if you take the time to check out profile information for fellow bloggers on social media you’ll find very few references to anyone being a blogger at all. Instead all these profiles increasingly include impressive titles such as owners, editors, creatives, directors, founders and writers.

Talking to my colleagues at #pbevent I discovered more and more using blogging as a platform for other endeavours rather than a means to an end in itself. I heard inspiring stories of blogging being used as a springboard for corporate writing, for setting up online stores, as a channel to spread the word about social good projects and as part of a holistic approach to online business.

I met MANY others who didn’t consider themselves as bloggers at all. They were first and foremost business owners, artists and digital creatives. They were not bloggers in the traditional, dictionary sense of the word. Their interest was not in regularly updating an online log of their lives. Their interest was in sharing their creativity and their knowledge instead and the platform chosen just happened to be via blog.

As I attended sessions on growing my online following, understanding site metrics, setting up email autoresponders, moving from blog to business, becoming more focused and organised, creating content events, monetising my personal blog and learning the ordinary habits of extraordinary bloggers, I realised it was no longer just about having a blog.

I learned a lot of things at #pbevent, most of which relate more to being a business owner than a blogger in the traditional sense of the word.

And this is why I came away from #pbevent feeling like I had learnt how NOT to be a blogger.

Which is fine. Because I finally realise what I actually am.

I am a business owner. I am a special needs advocate. I lead a community. I share my knowledge. And I network on a daily basis with other like minded souls.

I just happen to have some blogs supporting these endeavours.

For someone who has been struggling with focus and trying to find my way outside of the traditional workplace this was just what I needed to hear.

I will still be blogging. But I now know that my focus should be on my other endeavours first and on blogging second. Blogging has helped open the way for me to make a difference and help people. Now I need to let go of the security of something I know and have loved for nearly 5 years and open myself up to new challenges.

Which really gets down to the new ‘why’ of My Home Truths.

I want to help people.

I want to help other special needs parents who are struggling after receiving a diagnosis for their child. I want to provide understanding, advice and support. I want them to feel less alone and less overwhelmed. I want to create products to give them practical ways to find their way on this new road. I want to help them look after themselves.

I want to help other working parents who feel like they are failing. I want to help them recognise they are doing the best they can. That takeaway meals more often than not is not the end of the world. That looking after themselves is as important as looking after their kids and home. That comparison with others is not helpful or real.

I want to help everyone who is seeking truth in their life. I will continue with I Must Confess and seek to grow the community to create a safe place for people to understand, accept and share their truths.

So that’s what I learned at #pbevent. Check out my latest post at Smarter Happier for some more specific learnings from each session I attended 🙂

I look forward to sharing this not so new direction with you all!

P.S. I FINALLY set up my email subscription service! If you are interested in following my journey or looking for help and support on your own, sign up below 🙂

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41 Responses

  1. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head, most blogs actually want to help people, and often, it’s just helping them not feel so alone in their predicament, whatever that may be….interesting post.
    Lydia C. Lee recently posted..Social September – disconnect to reconnect

    • Kirsty says:

      I know from personal experience, especially in my early days as a special needs parent, just knowing I wasn’t alone and that things do get better, that really helped me mentally. I hope I can go some way to doing the same for others x

  2. Mardi says:

    This is such a lovely and thoughtful reflection Kirsty. This is a perspective that I hadn’t considered, but is so true. Blogs are there for so many reasons and for so many audiences and rather than naming it a blog, it really is content creation….a more fanciful word, but probably a more realistic view of blogging as a business. I can now see how your “why” for your website will give greater audience connection.

    • Kirsty says:

      Thanks for reading and for your lovely comment Mardi. I loved meeting you at #pbevent and seeing how a blog can be added to a business to enhance relationships and connections with your clients. I hope you got a lot out of the weekend and that we can get a local gathering going for “content creatives!”

  3. Emily says:

    Love this! Love your why. My why seems removed from my blog, but I have the blog to thank for the renewed focus on it and for helping me find my voice. I agree – few people at PB identified solely as a blogger. Even those making most of their income from their blog had other interests on the go (even if they were directly linked to blogging, like Carly and Chrissy’s blog workshops).
    Emily recently posted..Seven things I learnt from the 2015 ProBlogger conference

    • Kirsty says:

      I think reading your post helped me clarify my thoughts and allowed me to write this – so thanks for that! I really don’t know anyone who makes money solely from their blog. As Heather said at #pbevent the bottom has gone out from the advertising bucket so that’s never going to allow you to draw a full-time income. And every one of the presenters had used their blog to create and sell products or services – that’s where their money has come from. Having a blog is a valuable asset but it, of itself, is never going to make you the money you need to live. But it’s an awesome platform to find your why and do things that you love and are passionate about x

  4. Maybe that’s one more reason why I didn’t feel the urgency to attend PB this year – I prefer connecting with “bloggers” to artists and creatives …
    Janet aka Middle Aged Mama recently posted..Experiencing Life with a Disability

  5. Cate says:

    I’m not sure I’ve processed PBEvent completely, but I think I’m losing the details now. I’m not sure what I got out of it, except bluddy overwhelmed!
    Cate recently posted..Hello Monday

    • Kirsty says:

      Overwhelm is real. Even though we stayed an extra night and spent half a day discussing our direction and what we wanted to do, we still feel like there is so much to take in, process, action and practice. I’m concentrating on my biggest blocker right now, getting organised. I’m hopeless at it so I was relieved to actually discover techniques and tools to get organised and stay organised. My quest will no doubt be the subject of another post… Maybe just pick the one thing that most resonated with you and concentrate on that. I loved Carly and Christina;s session where they stated that you CANNOT multitask – it’s a myth. SO concentrate on one thing at a time and maybe you’ll conquer a little of that overwhelm x

  6. I’m loving your WHY Kirsty. My why is very similar – wanting to help people, just in a different way. 🙂 x
    Min@WriteoftheMiddle recently posted..Problogger Event 2015: Orientation and Networking

    • Kirsty says:

      Ever since I left work last year I’ve been trying to find out what i should do and every time Nathan asks me what do I want to do with the rest of my life I reply “I want to help people”. Although I knew that’s what I wanted to do I wasn’t sure how to go about it. I didn’t realise or appreciate just how I could help people until recently. Now I know, I can’t wait to get started. Yay for us helpers Min!

  7. I agree… Helping people is why I began. I don’t want to be study any further to help people but when j write it’s with the hope I can make a change . I am moving to create a program for teenagers as my heart breaks for them
    Natalie @ our parallel connection recently posted..7 ways to stop procrastinating

    • Kirsty says:

      That is so good to hear Nat – you seem to really understand teenagers and how to communicate and listen to them. I look forward to finding out more and helping out in whatever way I can x

  8. I think it was very business focused too. It seems like most people were saying personal blogging is dead, but I dont think it is, I think there’s just less people willing to do it just for the story telling – everyone seems to want to get rich these days.
    Toni @ Finding Myself Young recently posted..10 blogging tips from Problogger 2015

    • Kirsty says:

      Spot on Toni. I think unless you are insanely funny and can somehow wrangle a book deal or something of that nature, you’re never going to make a full-time income from a personal blog. I don’t believe it’s dead at all – I’m still committed to sharing my life and my truths but I can also see how I can help others and become a little more focused – another of those oft-used words at #pbevent!

    • Fluffy says:

      I’m with you on that Toni – the first question out of everyone’s mouth when they hear Junket and I have a blog is “are you making money?” My response is “No we are ‘making’ fun. We are giving ourselves permission to write. We are sharing our stories. We are bonding with other women.” Followed by an inward sigh.
      Fluffy recently posted..Stand up and Speak out.

  9. jess says:

    I love this, there really are so many different reasons for blogging. The reason why I started is no longer relevant, and I am going through a big change as well!
    jess recently posted..The Friday Wrap 21.8.15

  10. Sounds like you took a lot away from ProBlogger this year. Linking and running this morning with meetings on but will be back this afternoon to catch up with blog hopping.
    Raych aka Mystery Case recently posted..To Love, Cherish and Give Unforgettable Suction

    • Kirsty says:

      Yes, I took a lot away from #pbevent. Most of the meat of what I learned will be shared at Smarter Happier but the personal stuff will be shared as I go along here. Good luck with your meetings Raych!

  11. Dorothy says:

    I always felt a huge disconnect between what was said at Problogger and personal blogging. My personal blog doesn’t serve anyone but me. It is there as therapy and a way for me to connect with others who’ve been in the same boat. As soon as I start asking questions like “who do I serve?” and “how can I provide value?” I can’t blog any more. My blog is a chronicle of my life and serves me and those few who have connected with me.

    My business and the blog attached to it are a different matter. All those things I learnt at Problogger suddenly apply. I’d love to bring the two parts of my life together somehow, but I am yet to find a way.

    Still, these days, I consider myself a business owner first and a blogger second, but those two things are completely separate.
    Dorothy recently posted..Would you like to Move It, Move It? Giveaway!

    • Kirsty says:

      I think that’s where blogging has truly changed. At first it was all about sharing your life and most people were personal bloggers of some kind. Now it’s all about the niches and how you can serve your audience. As a personal blogger you are essentially nicheless and serve your audience with more of your life. You can’t really productise your soul. I’m pivoting this blog to be more useful but it will still be largely a personal blog – I’ll never make a living from it. Double Scoop, my new business, will be where I try to draw an income and, like you, I can definitely see many areas where I can put into practice what I’ve learned at ProBlogger.

  12. I was updating my Twitter profile the other week and thought I’d better change “satirical website” to “satirical blog”. Looks like I should have changed it to “satirical business” (which I guess it sort of is in an unread, unpaid sort of way).

    Glad you are still going strong on the blogging front. I’ve really appreciated your work and support over the years – and, of course, all those Eurovision tweets!
    Ed @ The Tunnel recently posted..Mark Latham Book Week readings cancelled

    • Kirsty says:

      Thanks Ed – yes, you should change your description to “satirical creative genius with ambitions of world domination” I think that would be an awesome title for Twitter or for any SM platform really!

      I wish Eurovision was on more than once a year – it accounts for at least a quarter of my yearly tweet total and really presents me with the right platform to share my unique sense of humour. Really, twitter is wasted on me for the rest of the year 😉

  13. Ness says:

    I think you are doing a wonderful job of helping people and raising awareness. Don’t change a thing.

    I’m one of those online diary or narcissist bloggers and I’ll never be a Problogger. Love that Urban dictionary definition. LOL.
    Ness recently posted..I Love Lobster (But Liebster Is Good Too)

    • Kirsty says:

      That urban dictionary definition is gold. I think I should make a Facebook or Twitter cover photo of it and share it loud and proud!

  14. Jo Tracey says:

    I love your why…and I love the urban dictionary definition. I originally started mine (at first it was just the astro blog) to get me in the habit of regular writing. Then it was about creating and sharing content. Then I created and anyways for all the other parts of my life. I should be using it to market my book, and gain audiences and all of those other things…but I write it because I enjoy writing it.
    Jo Tracey recently posted..Something more about conferencing…

  15. Julie says:

    Problogger would of been great. Sounds like you got great direction from it. I would love to go. Your why is so important. I feel like I am changing the direction of my blog too to fit with my why but I can only get to one blog post a week at the moment. Where does the time go??? Thanks for sharing your insights in problogger.
    Julie recently posted..Selina Bailey Isagenix 3 Star Golden Circle Executive – Women in Business

    • Kirsty says:

      I think you can still do a lot in one post a week – just concentrate on making it a quality post. I’m loving your women in business series at the moment – very inspiring for women like me seeking to reinforce our role as business owners x

  16. I think the definition of blogging has changed, it is no longer an online diary, like you said it is a business. I’m trying to define my direction at the moment and it is easier said than done.
    Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages recently posted..What do you want?

  17. Wow look how many linked up this week! I normally comment on all of them but don’t know if I’ll get around to it this week – I’ll give it my best shot though because that way I can learn vicariously!
    Janet aka Middle Aged Mama recently posted..Famous Middle Aged Women with Tattoos

    • Kirsty says:

      I’m very happy with this week’s turnout although it has put some pressure on me getting around to everyone’s posts. But I’m getting there! Thanks for always being generous with your commenting Janet!

  18. Blogging is certainly moving towards a creative side with so many artsy, design and crafty bloggers. The business side also scares me a bit. I like your ‘whys’ and I think most of us can resonate with that. After reading yours and several others’ posts, I am going to start thinking about my ‘why’.
    Sanch @ Living my Imperfect Life recently posted..The Present Moment

    • Kirsty says:

      I really do recommend taking that step back and understanding why you blog and what you hope to achieve. It has certainly helped me when I was feeling very overwhelmed and pulled in many directions.

  19. I still need to go back and look at all the notes I made at the PB Event. It’s good to read these posts on it though as reminders, and so see how different ones of us filtered what we got from the conference. I am thoroughly impressed you’ve been blogging this long. And I love your reason.
    Peachy Keen Mumma recently posted..Zucchini Bread (It’s Just Like Banana Bread)

  1. August 25, 2015

    […] might also find this post interesting … How I learned not  to be a blogger from Kirsty at My Home […]

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