Last month I had a difficult time blogging consistently but not for any of the reasons you may think. I hadn’t run out of ideas for blog posts. And I didn’t feel too busy to blog either. No, I didn’t lack the inspiration or the time, but I did lack the intention.
I was no longer clear on why I was blogging. Sure, I know all the business-related reasons to blog. I know blogging can help you establish yourself as an expert, increase your visibility and build your know/like/trust factor. But I needed a reason beyond that.
Then I read an interview that writer Ashley C. Ford did with Novella, a New York-based writing club for women. Ashley has written for big-name magazines like Vogue, Elle, and the Guardian so, of course, people want to know her secret. They want to know how she made the right connections and wrote the perfect pitch to land work in those publications. But in this interview, she revealed she followed no such strategy.
“I don’t want to sound braggy or be a jerk about it, but I didn’t pitch,” Ashley said. “They reached out to me and asked me if I would be interested in writing for these publications. And that came from doing my own thing in the places that I wanted to do my thing.”
While I don’t have Ashley’s resume, I could completely relate. I’ve written for nearly every publication in my city and even landed monthly columns and in almost every case the editors reached out to me. Why? Because I was doing my own thing. I was blogging consistently and building buzz by building a community for women who write.
My blog can and should be about more than business. My blog should be my space to do my own thing — happily.
Related Reading: Rediscovering the Joy of Blogging
When you run a business like See Jane Write LLC, when you’re not just a writer but also a writerpreneur, you have to be strategic about the things you do. I want my writing to make an impact, but I also need it to make an income.
But perhaps it’s time to rethink the strategy.
In the Novella interview, Ashley was asked if she had planned the trajectory of her career. Ashley started her career writing for blogs and now she’s doing work at BuzzFeed, writes for major magazines, and is currently working on a memoir.
But Ashley had no five-year plan, at least not in the traditional sense.
“I think what I wanted more than having a strategy for my career was to have a strategy for my life,” she told Novella.
And that life, she said, is about being with the man she loves and creating meaningful work she’s proud of. That life was never about working and writing for a certain company.
“I knew that I wanted to live a life that allowed me a little more flexibility, allowed me to be extremely creative, a life that allowed me to help the people I know and love thrive,” Ashley went on to say. “And every single thing that I try to take on is in some way is just trying to get me closer to the life I want to be living.”
That’s not to say that she thinks being highly strategic won’t work. She just thinks that sometimes something important is missing from that strategy.
“I’m noticing the people who are trying to be highly strategic are doing some amazing things, and then they’re having to play catch up personally,” she said. “I think there’s a way to move forward where I can be working on my career and on myself personally.”
(Read the complete Novella interview with Ashley C. Ford here.)
And I believe I can work on my career and myself, too. To be honest, I haven’t always. I used to think I needed to sacrifice self-care, fun, family time, and friendship until I’d reached my goals. But without those things, I felt too isolated, depressed, burned out and unmotivated and to even work on my goals.
I’ve always considered blogging a way for the writer to practice her craft. It’s what rehearsal is for the musician, what an exhibition game is for the athlete. But I’ve decided that through blogging I’m also going to write my way to the life of my dreams. My blog shall be the place where I think out loud as I envision the life I want to live and decide what opportunities will bring me closer to it — opportunities that are more likely to come my way if I keep blogging, if I keep writing, and if I keep doing my own thing.