It’s been a few
weeks months since my last post and there are two main excuses: 1) I’ve been making progress against my goals which has taken my attention away from writing (more on that in the next post) and 2) I’ve had to step back and evaluate my writing goals and take a hard look at where writing fits into my larger list of priorities.
Writing is an art that I had and then lost. As a teenager I filled journals with musings on everyday life and the drama that came with being a misfit teenage girl in high school. Sometimes I pull out those journals and read through a few pages and I am always surprised at the quality of my writing. Somewhere around the time I started college I stopped writing – maybe it was all those term papers that squandered my love for it.
Nevertheless, here I am picking it back up. Except that I got too far ahead of myself – I let myself get too concerned with what people wanted to read instead of writing what I wanted to say. I wrote a few posts, I got a little traffic and I started feeling the excitement of building an audience. People were reading what I was writing – how thrilling! What better reward for my time than to imagine that my words are having an impact on someone else. People I’ve never even met! But then, how could I increase that impact? How could I make myself bigger?
Blog Promotion: The Death Spiral
That’s when I entered the blog promotion black hole. I wanted to build traffic and I found 1,000+ guides on how to do just that. Start a Pinterest account, join Pinterest group boards and make pin-able images for every post. Make sure every post has the appropriate SEO in place. Create an email list. Write the emails to send to your email list in addition to multiple blog posts per week. Design something as an incentive to drive your email list. Join blogger Facebook groups and share posts. Trade likes, comments, tweets, shares, and so on. I did all of that and more for a week and IT WORKED! I increased my traffic 10-fold in a matter of days.
Soon I started to scrap my original post ideas and started to jot down new post ideas that catered to the “X number of ways you can live a better life” or “How I did X to get to X,” all in the name of catering to the masses with clickbait titles and Pinterest-friendly images. My original goal of reaching the right people fell by the wayside, it was all about the numbers and the eventual potential to make money from my blog traffic. More views meant more people were reading my content and feeling the impact, or so I thought.
The most visible result of all this hard work was the pressure it put on me personally. Here I was on one hand advocating for a simpler life focused on things that matter to me and in my reality I was overcomplicating this blog idea in the pursuit of celebrity and the chance of possibly making a profit. It all really sank in when I took a step back to realize the most obvious thing: How would I possibly make money in a genuine, authentic way while maintaining my mission of spreading the word about saving and simplifying? I would have to compromise my own goals to achieve something that was never part of my initial desire to start writing.
Getting Back on Track
I took a much needed time out and now I’m going to ease back into writing. I have a renewed focus on telling my story and documenting my transition while committing myself to nearly zero promotional efforts (I’ll keep posting to my personal Twitter and my TBW Facebook page). You won’t see me peddling life courses. I won’t spam you with affiliate links except in the rare case that I’m linking to products I really, truly love and recommend. My new goal is to have a positive impact on 50 people. I’m not sure how long that will take but I’m determined to make it real.
So, yeah. New goals = less posting = more honesty = happier Jenerra.