I'm sure I got you there. No, I haven't decided to pack it in and give up my blog but I have seen a lot of women making the conscious decision to walk away from this world in order to spend more time with their families or pursuing careers IRL (in real life for those of you new to the whole bloggy/tech scene). You see, when you first start blogging, it can actually be really cathartic. You share your innermost secrets that you can't tell your real friends, you connect with like minded souls across the country, you plan to meet them in person and you do, and then you start getting contacted by publicists to attend events, review products, possibly go on all expense paid trips, the memories can be priceless. But what do you have to show for it?
Have you been able to turn your passion for blogging into a business or have you tried for years and for some reason, something just doesn't seem to be clicking? Do you get frustrated when you see other bloggers succeeding while you're struggling to make a dent in a world that already seems pretty overpopulated at the moment? Let's get down to the heart of the matter shall we?
Blogging certainly means different things for different people.
For many women who are pioneers in this world, blogging is about great writing. It's about storytelling, as we instantaneously share those intimate moments when something incredible or heartbreaking happens in our lives.
A blog can be a forum for individuals who are passionate about causes to band together to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than themselves.
A blog can be a mom's connection to individuals in the outside world who might be going through the same thing she is - sleep deprivation, post partum depression, parenting a child with special needs.
It's a wonderful motivator - just look at Bookie Boo and her Mamavation campaign which has swept through the Internet encouraging women to take back their bodies and lose weight!
Blogging can be a hobby and it can also be an addiction.
When your child is begging you to get off the computer so that you can help them with their homework, school project or take them off to buy clothes for summer camp - it's time to step away and return back to life as we know it.
For me, blogging has been an amazing and surprising experience. I have met some of the most talented writers in our nation - many of them humor writers, since that's my passion, and have made lasting relationships that I am certain will endure throughout my life. I have been inspired by the bloggers who rally against adversity and protect their own when tragedy strikes. I have been incredibly disappointed and shocked by women who hurl mean-spirited comments on Twitter and ascend to their own bully pulpit via their own blogs. And I have also felt incredible respect toward the women who have managed to turn their passion for blogging into a successful business. (Still trying to figure out that one as I write this post - damn how I wish my hubby was an IT guy).
As my children continue to grow and need me more (trust me new moms, it doesn't get easier, it just gets harder), what I've come to realize is that I need to keep my blogging in check. I will never give it up because writing is my passion, but I am finding ways to bang out blog posts when my kids are fast asleep (um, that would be now), at a friend's house for a play date or during my work day when inspiration strikes.
If you believe that you will be able to build a brand because you have a blog, just know that the work you have in front of you is incredibly arduous. I'm not saying you should give up - just don't try everything at once. You don't need to criss cross the state attending dozens of conferences - just choose the ones where you'll get to connect with your online friends while learning how to take your passion for blogging to the next level.
And it's perfectly fine to continue blogging as a hobby. This is not a race - it is a marathon - an uphill one at that, and the more you blog, the more you build a loyal following who may be interested in what you say or might just be entertained by your writing.
Don't get down if people don't comment. There are amazing bloggers who are great at engaging their audience. Others may have lurkers on their blog who read and move on - either way - if you are happy with your writing, don't look for validation online. Connect with other writers you admire and respect and find out how they've managed to perfect their craft.
Join a writer's group or a book club. Step away from the laptop and meet people in real time where you can discuss the things you love or help one another achieve your personal or professional goals.
Spend time with your family and friends. I remember one old friend telling me she keeps up with me through my Facebook and blog posts. That's not how I want her to keep up with me - I want to see her more. Get the chance to have dinner or a glass of wine and laugh the way we used to when we were back in high school.
Technology can be a blessing and a curse. It can enrich your life by exposing you to opportunities and friends you never even knew existed. But it can also suck time away from the ones we love. At the end of the day, blogging should not be all consuming. And as you're cruising for Facebook friends and Twitter followers, you should know that in your own home live the most important people who would really like to know your status right about now:
"Mom is about to wake me up so she can make me breakfast, fix my lunch and take me to school."
One day, they'll be too old for me to wake them up, cheer them on at ball games or kiss them on the cheek before they fall off to sleep. And I don't want to miss a minute of it. Am I quitting blogging? No way. Just doing it in moderation so that I can get back to the real world.