Wednesday, 27 January 2016

a valuable lesson about blogging

Success is not a competition with the world, it's a competition with yourself. When you truly feel amazing about yourself, you've won.

Blogging has taken over my heart and my life in a way that I never expected it to. It amazes me how many people I have connected with and all the possibilities that have opened up before me. But one big thing that I have learnt recently is that there is a need for balance in all things - especially in blogging!

I never dreamed that I would have hundreds or even thousands of people stop by and read a post or two. This tends to lead to thoughts of how to get bigger, or better, or spread the word further and the ambition grows. The trouble is that I am not an ambitious person and when I connect up with those who want world domination with their blogging, I run into a brick wall.

I feel like I've come full circle this week - I'm returning to my blogging roots and what I originally wanted this blog to be - a place where I can connect with people who want to make the most of life and especially midlife. It's not about making money, or writing what I think other people want to read, it's about being the authentic "me" sharing my thoughts and my world with others.

So, here I am "un-plugged" and feeling free and totally amazing - ambition can get completely out of hand until you find yourself back to square one and in that square is what you truly loved in the first place. I'm now back to square one and it's a pleasant, stress-free place to be. I hope you stay with me as I continue the journey of finding what this life is all about.


66 comments:

  1. Hi Leanne! Yes I think we all go through those phases that you and Gary mention. Hopefully though the reason we started in the first place is because it is something we love-- otherwise we end up like so many other bloggers: here today doing fabulously and then gone tomorrow. I've only been doing this for 4 1/2 years and I've seen SO MANY do that. But there is something that stands out in those of us who stick with it and that is a willingness to bring ourselves back, over and over, to what we love. I enjoy your page and your focus on the good in the world. Stay the course!!! ~Kathy

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    1. thanks so much Kathy xx I just found myself getting pushed and pulled and not feeling like it was fun any more. I've stepped back a little and relaxed and I'm feeling a lot more at peace with the whole process. It's about pleasure - not pain :)

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  2. I can totally relate to this post - sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves we suck all the fun out of the thing! x #bloggerclubuk

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    1. that's exactly what was starting to happen to me Jessica - it was time to take a step back and breathe and the stress has just dropped away.

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  3. I'm pretty new to blogging .. and am still trying to build it up however I'm already pretty addicted to it lol every free moment I get at the moment has been spent doing something for it. Your blog looks amazing thou so clearly all that time and effort has paid off :) makes it all worth while hey x

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    1. thanks so much for those kind words! I've only been blogging for 12 months or so and I can't believe how much I love it and how much it has added to my life. I think my problem was that I got swept up into the bigger/better/more mindset and it wasn't making me happy - back to square one for me :)

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  4. Step back and breathe.......thank you!

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    1. It's so important to remember why we started and not to lose that in the push for more readers :)

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  5. I've been blogging for over six years and this is so true. What was in my favor was that I never became highly successful. I've rarely (I won't say never) been tempted to blog for reasons other than love of writing and taking snapshots. Thank you for reminding me that I am a success. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. I think any of us who are loving what we are doing are a success Alana - it's when we allow ourselves to be swept up into something that isn't authentic to ourselves that we lose ourselves - bigger isn't necessarily better :)

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  6. I feel like I've come full circle as well the past 27 days. Blogging/content creating leveraging my personal brand is how I generate income. I don't do sponsored posts but that's another story :-)
    Still I had lost my spark. I gave myself permission to never blog again starting January 1. I started putting out feelers for traditional work. I found all I wanted to do was blog and right because I took away the "must."

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    1. That's so true Carla - it's taking a serious look at which parts work for you and focusing on those and not selling your soul for other people and what they think your blog should be. I'm glad you didn't quit :)

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  7. What a great reminder to stay true to yourself in your blog. Thank you!

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    1. my pleasure - it's been such a wake up call for me - to go back to what I wanted it to be - not what other people think it should be!

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  8. Great timing! Blogging does take up so much time, your post has reminded me why I started in the first place, the enjoyment of sharing recipes & not getting too tied up with everything else. Thanks for sharing :-)

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    1. thanks for stopping by Sarah - I think we need to remember who we are and why we started and not get caught up in all the tizz that can go with being part of the blogging world :)

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  9. Thats a pretty accurate cartoon. I think we've all been there

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    1. It's funny Jeremy, I saw that cartoon at the exact moment I made a big change in stepping back - it was just perfect for where I was!

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  10. My post this week is in the same vain as this! Although yours is far more articulate! I've been fighting with myself recently about writing what I want and not what others or brands want. Be your authentic self - its much more fun! #MMWBH

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    1. I'll have to find your post and read it! I've seen so many people sell their souls (and their blogs) for the sake of picking up a sponsored post or two and it is not the direction I want to go in either. It is definitely about authenticity :)

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  11. Love the cartoon - so easy to lose yourself in plans for world domination etc etc......

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    1. Our egos love the idea of being the new best blog in the whole wide world, but you have to weigh the cost and my scales tipped in the other direction last week :)

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  12. I think a lot of bloggers go through this. Some several times. It's just that the recognition is so addictive- but it 'interferes', doesn't it? I began my journey in an attempt t write a family history wrapped in a cookbook. I STILL haven't completed it! *head shaking*

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    1. Recognition is a bit like a drug - we get hooked on it and the page views and the stats and that's not what I set out to do and I am doing a 180 and letting that stuff go - I'd love to see you complete that cookbook :)

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  13. So true. In the race to get bigger and more popular we can lose the joy that started us blogging in the first place. Your post resonates with me!

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    1. I'm so glad Helene - I hadn't realized how much I was losing in the process of getting bigger. It's been such a relief to turn it on its head and just be "me" again.

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  14. I love the cartoon! Great post too, I know exactly where you are coming from. I found myself frantically trying to schedule posts as I was supposed to be away this week then caught onto myself and realised there was only one thing I wanted to write, and that was a little update on my son at 11 months. Which is the reason I started blogging, to record his milestones for myself. I think world domination is a long way off for me! xx

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    1. I have done the same thing Rebecca, scheduled posts, tried to work out what people want to read, looked at what others were doing etc etc, but ultimately in the end, nobody really cares that much, and being true to yourself and what your blog means to you is the most important thing - make sure you enjoy your break :)

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  15. Love this and you've hit it on the head about the ego part of blogging. You get a little success and want more! Its human nature, but something we all have to try and control in our own way. Thanks for the reminder. Great post.

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    1. I just don't have the drive to maintain what the ego would like Laurie. What is actually entailed in making a blog bigger and bolder is just not in my heart - I'd rather have the connections and the conversations :)

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  16. A wise word for all of us, Leanne. Do what you love. When it takes on a life of its own, its not the thing you loved.

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    1. I think I got tired of wrestling with what was required to move onwards and upwards Di, I'm happy where I am and I love this little blog and my blog buddies (you!) and that's where my heart wants me to stay.

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  17. Such truth. I started (less than 2 months ago) with the same intent as you and I can see how it can grow and get out of hand! While I want to impact people and have an excellent blog that encourages and inspires, I don't want to get my focus totally on growth. Hard to do when all you see is posts about doubling your views in 1 week or growing your Instagram following by 1,000 in 2 weeks! Thanks for your perspective in this post. A great reminder for me!

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    1. I got so caught up in all that too Cathy, when you see your blog growing, it becomes 'what do I do next' and you get caught up in all the hype and start questioning what you're doing. I love where I'm at and I'll sit here quietly and enjoy it - no more striving for me!

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  18. I hear you Leanne and yes I will be staying the course with you! have a great week!

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    1. thanks Sue - I am amazed at how this has resonated with others - there must be a lot of us out there :)

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  19. That is just so well put, Leanne. It can end up that in letting something go that has grown too fast, we lose the gem in the middle. Good that you've identified the really important things to you about blogging, and seen that it's easier to keep it that way.

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    1. thanks Susan - I'm so glad I realized what was happening, because you're right - I may have given the whole thing away rather than just stepping back to what I love.

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  20. So very true and love that cartoon. We all got into blogging to "say someting" so often I get so caught up in traffic, readers that I forget what I wanted to say in the first place. Good reminder.

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    1. I think that's the key Rosie - we get caught up in the traffic and lose our voice - I'm claiming mine back :)

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  21. The most important thing about blogging or anything else is that you have to love what we are doing. Sometimes it is nice being a smaller blog, not out to make tons of money or become the most popular blogger. I love the saying "To thine ownself be true"

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    1. I love that saying too Lee, if you aren't true to yourself and you sell yourself out for the ideals or dreams of others, then you lose your voice - and that was the whole reason I started blogging (to find my voice!)

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  22. Oh yes! It's easy to get so caught up in the sense of our own importance. I've cut back on blogging this year and enjoying it a lot more as a result.

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    1. I didn't realize how sucked in you get to the whole "my blog is growing" scenario and what you need to do to keep the momentum. I don't want to sacrifice my love of what I do so that I can keep getting bigger. I want to find that perfect balance and I agree that cutting back a bit is the answer Corinne.

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  23. I've been blogging for years and still no real audience. I recently decided to "give up" and just do what I love, write. I think your post and the comic peg it. Thanks.

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    1. Hi Denise - I've only been blogging for a year or so, and somehow I have connected with some fabulous women. The trouble was that it started to take on a life of its own and I just don't want to always be pushing, pushing to move forward. I just want to do what I love too x

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  24. I relate to this so much. SOmetimes we need a small break or to just get back to our roots and how and why we started. Angela #Bloggerclubuk

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    1. I think a break and a little be of re-evaluation go a long way to keeping us on track Angela.

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  25. Wonderful food for thought! Sounds like you're in a good place with your blog. Cheers - Ellen #pitstop

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    1. Hi Ellen - I think I'm finding my blog's "mojo" and how much I'm prepared to do to be seen. I won't sell my soul for page views - it's just not worth it :)

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  26. I think it's really important to stay true to your roots and remember why you started your blog. I love writing what I write and hope it inspires others, like you do. Yes it's good to want to do it to your very best, just to be proud of what you've achieved.

    Sally @ Life Loving
    #LifeLovingLinkie

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    1. Hi Sally - it's a fine balance isn't it? I felt like I was heading down a highway to nowhere, I'd rather be on a side road with people who are travelling with me :)

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  27. It certainly is easy to get totally consumed by blogging. I really love it & have enjoyed the connections I've made. The more effort you put it, the more there is to do & it keeps growing like that. I'm glad you are taking a step back with this post. I really enjoyed the cartoon. Thanks so much for linking up with the #BloggerClubUK linky x

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    1. It's been a time of working out what is important and how much time and energy I want to invest and where it's best to invest that energy. I think I'm gradually figuring it out without throwing up my hands in despair :)

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  28. Food for thought Leanne. I went through a period over the holidays where I shut down. I guess its about what we want to achieve with our blogs. I'm hoping it will be a way for me to eventually become good enough so that I can get a job because I need to make a living after having raised 4 kids. You are winding down and I'm going in the opposite direction. I know that because you are following your heart you will be successful. After all that's why we visit and comment week after week!

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    1. Hi Mary - I'm not sure that I'm winding down - more just evening out and not pushing so hard. It's not an income for me, it's a hobby and a pleasure and I don't want to lose that focus in pursuit of being bigger or making money.

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  29. This is really good! I often thought that I'd like to "go viral", however, I know in reality that it's overrated and can cause more problems than it's worth. Thank you for bringing this as a visual reminder and thank you for sharing it at the Over the Moon Link Party.

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    1. Hi Sandy - I think going viral is every blogger's dream, but I am coming to realize that bigger can mean selling part of your soul and that's not what it's about for me - I want to keep my integrity and my love of writing and not sacrifice them to numbers.

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  30. Oh Leanne! Such truth right here! I started writing my blog because, well, just because I LOVE to write and needed an outlet for all of those words! Competition is good sometimes, but then it leads to comparing ourselves with others and it just sucks the life right out of the one thing that you started to put life back in you!! Vicious cycle I tell you!! I just found your blog, but have already added it to my faves because I just can't wait to read more!!

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    1. Thanks so much Robin - I popped over and had a read of some of your posts too and will be back. I think blogging means different things to different people and I don't want to lose the joy to attain some mythical popularity contest.

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  31. So great! Thank you for this reminder. When my husband congratulates me on something I did well on the blog my mind always goes to "But I'm not doing this thing" or "But this part isn't as good as so-and-so's" and things like that. It's important to appreciate where you are.

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    1. I think we can get too caught up in the bells and whistles and hoopla Grace and forget the real reasons why we blog. Getting back to the roots of it is what makes it special again.

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  32. Wow, looking at the number of comments you've received on this post I would say that you hit a nerve! :) And I certainly see why. I think every blogger can relate. While I would love to "grow my blog," I have had to take a few steps back and re-evaluate what my goals REALLY are. Growing is great; however, staying authentic is crucial. I can look at posts I've written and easily identify ones I've written because they meant something to me, and ones that I wrote because I felt like I "needed" to write something. Over the Christmas holidays, I took a long break from blogging and it was exactly what I needed. While I am trying to get more professional and consistent, I'm also trying to put boundaries on it. For instance, I try (for the most part!) to close my laptop in time to get my head "into my home" and off of the internet before my husband gets home (does that make sense?). And I keep it closed throughout most of the evening if possible. You are right, it is all about balance!

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    1. Wendy you have hit the nail on the head - I think there are a lot of us who have been swept up in the "grow your blog" palaver only to find that we have lost our first love and it's becoming a sales pitch instead of something from the heart. I'm enjoying stepping back and doing it all on my terms again - and as you said, judging from the comments on this post, there are a lot of us looking to find that balance in our lives and with our blogs!

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  33. I have never looked at my blog as a business, as so many bloggers have begun to do. And maybe that's because monetary compensation could never compare to the payout I get in connections, and in the simple act of expressing myself creatively in a space I love. That's not to say I haven't monetized my blog or made some side change from the endeavor, but money will never be my motivation to blog. Thanks for sharing this post, Leanne. We share the same thoughts and views on the topic of blogging. :)

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  34. The highs and lows of blogging. Get caught up in the numbers and forget why you started in the first place. I'm as guilty as anybody!

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