Do you hate it when bloggers blog about their blogs? Sorry if you do, but please bear with me for a minute, as lots of people have asked me about my blog lately.
Why don't I blog as much as I used to? Do I still want to write here? Am I thinking of going in another direction? Is my freelance writing taking over?
I don't know... but I thought I'd share some of the thoughts going through my mind about this whole thing, and see if it gets us anywhere.
Time is certainly a factor in blogging less, but there are some bigger issues at stake here too. The main one is sharing. I've written a lot of personal stuff here over the last few years and, while that has been incredibly therapeutic and I've loved being able to connect with readers over some of those issues, it's not something I'm convinced I can maintain. Life isn't like that for me anymore, either. It's changed a lot. And it's not just about me (who knew!) - as I watch my girl growing up it doesn't seem fair to share too many stories or photos of her online anymore. It's actually starting to feel downright inappropriate.
So the question of how much to share of myself and my family is a big one - and it's blocked me from writing here, or at least from publishing the many drafts that sit at the back of this blog, many, many times over the last months.
My only goal when I started blogging was to write. I just wanted to see if I was any good, and give it a shot. Now it's about more than that. The next step feels imminent.
'Writing Out Loud' was a title filled with meaning for me when I began: it was about living out loud and learning to be myself. It feels now like it was the story of me finding my feet and getting over some bad times - and that story has, I hope, ended. The last few posts feel, to me, like they're wrapping up the story. The upcoming birth of this baby feels like it's wrapping up this story, too. My own happily ever after before moving on.
I've considered giving up blogging altogether many times of late. Sometimes all these issues seem too overwhelming to overcome. I ask myself if it's really worth it. But then, I always come back, I always want more. I write as my job now - a dream I barely let myself believe could be possible when I started here - but sometimes I need to let go and just... Write. Share. Be myself. Explore different topics and ways of writing.
So, what do I want to write? I still shy away from having a niche. I love to write about travelling and adventures, but I also love exploring deeper issues. Over the last few months I've written features about camping, fun family holidays, depression, and innovative businesses. I love that variety, that light and shade of delving into life issues and then the next thing on my to-do list being compiling fabulous photos for a travel feature. I love one minute travelling somewhere with my family to sit down that night and write about, and the next interviewing an intriguing person about a topic that I know will help others. I love writing online just as much as writing for print publications.
None of that is particularly helpful in deciding where to go next in the online world. I don't want a dedicated travel blog or a dedicated anything blog, really. I don't want to limit myself from sharing personal things or funny things or crazy adventures - or whatever is happening in life. I just need to re-learn the boundaries. There are a lot of different sides to me and I don't particularly want to cut any of them off. I don't want to lose the readers of this blog either; all of you have been so kind over the past years.
A bit of space has taught me that I really do love blogging, that it's an absolutely legitimate form of writing and it suits me. The less I do the more I realise how much this blogging caper is where I'm meant to be.
But really, the only thing I'm certain of is to let it work itself out, not make drastic changes until I have made a clear decision. There are answers starting to form in my mind, but they need a little more time. Let's just see where this takes us.