Seven years ago, I took a walk with my camera and shot a photo of the wheat crop in July, because I thought it was beautiful. I did not take the photo with the intention of posting it online; I just wanted to keep it in my memory because it is part of a place I love and to which I belong. That summer turned out to be my grandfather's last wheat harvest; he died the following spring in a sudden way that knocked the air out of my lungs for the rest of the year.
I have been feeling a little nostalgic for the old days of blogging lately. When I started blogging in 2006, it was just me figuring things out as I went and hoping to make some friends on the way because I was getting all into the hippie mama stuff and feeling a little lonely.
I didn't think about branding, metrics, scheduling posts in advance (I wrote and posted at my son's nap time), garnering a group of followers by getting people to opt in with their email address, or promoting my blog on other sites. I was not coming across articles about how to increase my blog traffic in six months or how to leverage Pinterest (possibly because it did not yet exist) or how to write catchy titles.
I just wrote.
If I remember correctly, it was really nice.
And now? While I obviously don't worry about all that stuff too much, or am too lazy to really put any of those tutorials into practice, I often wonder if I should be worrying a little more about it. I worry that having a blog now without following all of those best practices is a little like opening a store but not having anything to sell.
The thing is, if I clear away the cobwebs and get to the heart of it, I don't have anything to sell. I don't need a million followers when I have a few really good friends; big isn't my style anyway. I really just want to write because it helps me figure out who I am and what I believe. Besides, promoting myself even in small ways can feel fun because sometimes I get little pats on the back, but it's also exhausting and gets kind of gross after a while. How many back pats will I need to finally validate my existence?
I understand there are people who make a living with their blogs, or hope to, and I'm okay with that; many people including myself have benefitted from the ideas and information shared on those types of sites. But when I think about reading other blogs now, what I am yearning for is not writers positioning themselves as experts (as Tonia mentioned in this post, which inspired me to sit down and write here today), but writers who are simply sitting down and offering their heart and life in an easy, friendly sort of way, because writing is how they figure out who they are and what they believe too.
I want to search out blogs that are beautiful and honest and maybe not following all of those blogging shoulds and strategies. I want to find blogs that will help me grow and understand myself because they are written by other women doing the same thing. I also want to keep that kind of blog here, and remind myself that I really don't want a million or even a thousand followers to deal with, that my few faithful friends will do nicely, and that I don't want to try to make a dime from the words I write in this space. It is really just a journal of my words and photos and journey.
Which bloggers still remind you of the "olden days" of blogging? (I mean that in the best way.) Please share in the comments and I'll check them out. I'm also going to add them to a folder in my bookmarks, to check in on them the old fashioned way-- when I have time to sit and read, not just zipping through them on my feedly to check them off.