How I learned NOT to be a blogger at #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 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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