Or, why do I blog?
That’s really the question.
It’s been on my mind a lot lately. Carving out time for writing amid the business of work and family has been challenging these past few weeks. I grab time at 5 AM, 10 PM, and in between. The “grabbing” is hard, and, often, depressing. I don’t end up with the final product I’ve envisioned because I get cut short by my need to sleep or a child who wakes up far too early. I crave hours uninterrupted. To write. To parse each sentence down to its right form, its best configuration. I want time to connect with other bloggers, to do the social media side of blogging well, so people find these words. But, ultimately, it’s writing I want. Writing is why I started Red Shutters, and it’s why I continue.
Much of available time for writing has been sucked up by the technical side of blogging – site maintenance, SEO, hosting. Things you, as my readers, don’t need to know about. It’s all-important for Red Shutters, of course, but it takes time—time I’d rather be writing.
Recently, I attended an event for bloggers to learn more about the world of marketing as it relates to blogging. Led of Liz O’Donnell, PR maven, author, and founder of the Hello Ladies blog (which you should read, if you don’t already), the discussion centered on the intersection of bloggers and brands. What do brands want from bloggers? What do bloggers want from brands? The women around the table represented a variety of bloggers—from those just starting out to established bloggers who are widely read. Many of those present have successful relationships with brands via their blogs, earning money that helps support their families. Others see their blogs as a means to promote their freelance social media or writing. The wide variety of approaches was fascinating to me, and it’s a bit like life itself, isn’t it? We all chose different paths, and the best we can do is support one another and not judge someone else’s decisions.
One of the distinctions made that night was the difference between being an editor (someone primarily focused on the content) versus a publisher (someone interested in more of the business side). This struck me as somewhat of the crux of my challenge here at Red Shutters: I’m both, with little time for each.
The editor side of me comes in when I write my blog posts, perseverate over a word or phrase, and jot down blog ideas while stuck in traffic, watching my daughter in swim class, or playing Legos with my son. It’s the part—I’ll be honest—I enjoy the most.
The publisher side comes out when I deal with the backend blogging stuff and intersect with public relations folks about writing on specific topics. My goal is say yes to opportunities that are (a) interesting to me and hopefully to you, and (b) appropriate with the other content on this site (e.g., things that are relevant to working parents and the parents of young kids, books, etc.). I decline opportunities that don’t fit my working parent schedule or are just not connected to who I am. I’ve never made enough money from blogging to cover even the costs of running the blog, but that’s largely due to the fact that I have a professional life separate from my blog. I don’t have the space in my life—right now—for the publisher responsibilities of Red Shutters to grow. Long-term, though? Perhaps.
So back to that initial question: Why do I blog?
I have several answers.
And, that, for now, is good.