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Is Your Blog Holding You Back?

There is a post that keeps coming up in the blogosphere in various incarnations that essentially states that the person is shutting down their blog (and sometimes starting up a new one) because their blog no longer fits them.  Perhaps you have written one of these posts either in your head or in published form.  People do this daily; close one space and begin a new one, either importing their old posts or starting tabula rasa.  And sometimes they don’t begin a new space at all; they either say goodbye or don’t say goodbye and stop blogging altogether.  Sometimes they feel as if they’ve outgrown their blog and no longer need it, or the space itself holds too many memories they’d rather not confront on a daily basis.  And other times, they’d very much like to keep writing in the same space, but they feel as if they don’t know who their audience is anymore because their old readership no longer fits their current situation.  Or maybe they know exactly who their audience is and don’t want to write what is on their mind for fear of offending them.

And when any of those things happen, a space that had once began as a refuge becomes a place of discomfort; what once brought clarity now brings mostly confusion; and what one was an anchor instead becomes a straightjacket.

Welcome to the drawback of niche blogging.

Niche Blogging vs. General Diarying

If you listen to blog experts who write on blogging expert sites, they will tell you that if you want to find an audience for your blog, you should engage in niche blogging, which means essentially that you write about one topic the majority of the time.  Communities spring up around common topics, and the best way to find readers for your blog is to find other people who write about the same things and comment on their blog.  Then they will find out about your blog and most likely want to read it because you are both interested in the same topic.  See — genius idea.  I, for example, could be labeled as an infertility blogger.

General diarists have an uphill battle in finding an audience because they write about themselves and until they’re a known entity, many people won’t find it enticing to click over and discover a new blog.  Mostly because they have no clue what it’s about.  General diarists get to write though about a whole slew of topics — anything that crosses their brain is fair game.  I, for example, could be labeled as a general diarist.

Wait, how could I be both a niche blogger and a general diarist at the same time?  I mean, it fits right?  I wrote about swearing yesterday and family trees the day before that.  And once or twice a week, I write about infertility.  So I’m definitely a niche blogger and a general diarist at the same time.

And why the hell not?

No, I mean seriously, who is the blogging empress who decreed that you need to be one or the other?  I give you full permission to start thinking of yourself as both at the same time, and writing accordingly.

Who Wears the Pants on Your Blog?

Some people are fully in control of their content.  They write what they want to write and don’t care if anyone reads it.  More people share control of their content.  They write what they want to write, but they also take their readers’ feelings into consideration (some more than others).  And then there are people who give control of their blog over to their blog.  Yes, this inanimate space dictates what they publish.  More on that idea below.

You: do you write whatever you feel like writing without anything holding you back?  If you feel like writing 15 posts in one week about peesticks, do you write 15 posts about peesticks, even if you get a comment on the 12th one saying, “really?  Another post about peesticks?”  Do you keep your blog solely as a record for yourself, and while readers are nice, they’re not necessary for you to keep being invested in writing?

Your Readers: these are the people you know and the people you don’t know.  While I only know a fraction of the people who read my blog, I can guess my general readership and know what they would and would not want to read.  You probably know your readership too.  Do you give your readership a lot of thought when posting something?  How much thought?  Would you post something if you knew it would be unpopular or upset people?  Do you worry about alienating or losing readers?  Would you stop writing in your current space if there was no one there to read it?

Your Blog: your blog has a personality.  It would be totally out of character for me to begin posting daily recipes or haikus.  You’re just not going to hear posts about potty training here (by which I mean that I didn’t write those types of posts back when we were going through potty training).  So sometimes it’s not the readers who are limiting you, but it’s the blog itself which is holding you back.  Maybe you don’t want to publish recipes anymore, but that’s sort of your “thing” so you now feel like you need to continue it.  Or maybe you don’t want to write about infertility anymore, but you think that since your blog is called My Big Fat Hairy Uterus, you need to keep posting about said internal organs.

This is a question where I think everyone will have a different answer: in terms of percentages, who determines the direction of your content — you, your readers, or your blog?

As a personal blogger, if you are not writing what you want to write — what you need to write — is your blog serving you?  Are you getting enough out of the time investment that comes with writing?

Are you happy with the breakdown of your percentages for what you’re allowing to determine the direction of your content?  And if you’re not happy, are you going to do something about it?

Do You Really Have to Move?

You’ve probably noticed that I don’t have a great love for closing up shop on one blog and opening up a new one; at least, not for myself.  I continue to live in the same house regardless of how life has changed and our family has grown.  Perhaps one day we will move if this house no longer serves us, but for the time being, we’ve made the house change to fit our needs rather than moving ourselves as circumstances change.  And I feel the same way about my blogging space; I’ve tweaked it to fit different stages of my life that I’ve gone through in the last six years instead of closing a blog and starting a new one as circumstances change.

I don’t mind when other people do this, though it’s just as pain-in-the-assy as captcha or music autoloaders.  When a person changes their blog url, I have to decide whether to delete the old space or keep it in my Reader for old time sake.  I have to update feeds, remember a new name.  Sometimes I’m successful with moving with the person, other times, I lose them in the shuffle.

So perhaps this post is also self-serving; by encouraging you to stay put, I don’t have to update things on my end.

But I really do hate to see people struggling with that decision to leave behind a space they’ve always loved.  To see people wondering where they fit in after a life change.  You fit in exactly where you’ve always fit in — you fit in that YOU space that’s created by… you.  Wherever you are is where you need to be, and the rest of us will follow you if you lead us.  Please know that you are in charge of your blog.

Last Thoughts

If you’re interested in hearing more on this topic, I’m moderating a panel at BlogHer next week for three other members of the ALI community  (Kathy, Lori, and Kir) called “My Blog No Longer Fits Me.”  Even if you are not at the conference, you will be able to follow along from home because there will be someone there liveblogging (and I believe taping, at least, audio if not video).  And you can participate too by leaving a comment below telling me in terms of percentages, who determines the direction of your content — you, your readers, or your blog?  Though please also write your blog name in the body of the comment so I can make sure I mention that if I read it aloud.

33 comments

1 jodifur { 07.25.12 at 8:01 am }

Such a good topic, and one I’m struggling with. I’m there!

2 Stephanie { 07.25.12 at 8:07 am }

Very interesting post! I closed my blog and opened a new one last year. This morning, I finalized the closing of the first blog by making it private so that I don’t have to deal with spam commenters anymore. For me, it was really about the URL and the audience. I started out as a healthy living blog who sometimes (rarely) posted about infertility. All of my readers were healthy living bloggers. I started moving away from the topic because it was boring and limiting. By the end of the year, I just wanted to write humour posts and leave the rest behind. For me, closing my blog and starting a new one was the best decision that I could have made for me as a writer and blogger. I would say that I lost the vast majority of my readers when i made the switch, but that’s ok, because I honestly didn’t want to read their blogs anymore either. I had really moved on. The few who did follow me are my “favourites”, the ones who wrote healthy living blogs but also dabbled in other stuff. My readership now is so different from what it was. And I’m much, much happier as a blogger.

3 Courtney { 07.25.12 at 9:51 am }

Great post, Mel! My blog started out as more of a personal diary, but it changed gears completely when we started TTC two years ago. Throughout our fertility struggle, it’s grown and changed as well. And oh, I just cannot stand when people abandon their blogs. It always leaves me hanging wondering where they went!!

4 Danielle { 07.25.12 at 9:52 am }

I really needed this. I recently changed my blog title and url but it essentially still filled with where I started with an infertility blog. I am now a mother and was noticing myself really filtering my thoughts and posts to not “offend” anyone. In reality I realize I lost a ton of support and readership as soon as I was pregnant. I needed to shift my blog to represent what I am passionate about and my role as a new mom without guilt. I feel like I am starting from scratch in trying to find new connections and as much as I love writing and keeping my blog, it has been very hard to find my way into a new community, but not for lack of trying. Every day I have to remind myself that as long as I am genuine I will find some fellow bloggers who are willing to make connections.

5 Monica { 07.25.12 at 10:01 am }

What a timely topic! I just came back from a blogging hiatus and did a “blog goals” entry. For me, I felt pressure to write regularly when my mind wasn’t in it and yet I wanted to keep my readers posted on our adoption news (which is also on hold right now). By listing out my goals, I felt I could take some pressure off and just get back to my reason for blogging – a good release of stress, a release of information about our status and one place that keeps all the timelines/information straight.

6 Jamie Baetje { 07.25.12 at 10:33 am }

I just tried to create a blog and they told me it would take 8-12 months for approval? I want our story out there now, and not wait a year for support. How can they do that?

7 KeAnne { 07.25.12 at 11:20 am }

ARGH. I had started what was certainly to be a profound comment and lost it.

8 KeAnne { 07.25.12 at 1:42 pm }

Ok. I would say that about 98% of the content on my blog (Family Building with a Twist) comes from whatever random idea catches my fancy. 2% comes from my readers in that I just asked them what they would like me to write on.

I did abandon my IF blog, but I went back recently to post a link to my current space. Thanks to an unintended hiatus due to child/work/school, I was able to return to blogging as myself and didn’t have to worry about a niche or previous identity. I rather like being able to put back together all the parts of my self that I had cleaved off over the years.

9 missohkay { 07.25.12 at 1:49 pm }

I am glad that I chose a blog name that wasn’t infertility related, though the decision wasn’t intentional at the time. I definitely feel less constrained because of it. I’m still a niche infertility/adoption blogger with occasional diarist tendencies. The only topic I (mostly) avoid out of politeness to my readers is politics, which is a great passion of mine. Sometimes I am unable to resist.

10 Jonelle { 07.25.12 at 2:49 pm }

I too chose a name for my blog that wasn’t IF related. But I think now what I’m struggling with is where I fit in the ALI community. We aren’t trying anymore (not preventing either), but we aren’t living child-free. We are currently in the waiting stages of DIA, but it has been a place that we have be in for the past 2 years. Last October we had a failed match and since then I’ve been blogging about dealing with the fallout from an adoption that fell apart. Well, either my readers are tired of reading about my grief, or they just don’t care, because when I do post, no one really comments on it.
Recently, with other things going on, like my SIL and BIL having twins, and more than one of our close friends getting matched after only just filling out their DIA app; I find I can’t blog about that, because I don’t want to offend them. Because I’m afraid they will misinterpret my anger and sadness about our situation, onto them, so I keep a majority of my feelings to myself.
I guess by the current lack of response of my blog, I could let my blog content be determined by my readers. But since I’m still posting despite the lack of comments, you can say that I determine the content of my blog.

11 Stupid Stork { 07.25.12 at 4:29 pm }

Although I’m a brand spanking new baby to blogging, I can’t imagine abandoning it because it’s difficult to face. If only because writing about it every few days makes it easier to face.

Again, brand spanking new.. But so far, I think I just write what I write when I want to write it. I don’t think I’d go so far as to write 15 posts about pee sticks, but if I started worrying too-too much about readers I’m not sure I’d be able to get through a post without second guessing myself. (Plus, I accept that like in life, I’m really for specific type of people, so no matter how much I edit myself I don’t think I’m ever going to be universally-popular).

That being said I love my readers so far – getting in convos with them after I’ve written something. And I love READING them, that’s the big thing. I don’t exactly understand how this all works without mutual reading. Figuring it out, I guess.

12 Amy { 07.25.12 at 4:41 pm }

I’d say that for my blog (babyloss/infertility), I’m 90% writing for myself, but that other 10% – audience- can really color what I say or how I say it.

I started my blog, Our Tiny Angels, the week after we lost our IUI twins to a second trimester m/c. My inlaws were lurking on my blog for a couple of months before I caught wind of it, and this was a bi problem for me, because they were not participating in or supporting us through our grief – or, heck, even allowing us to witness *their* grief. I felt violated and intruded upon.

Some big shit happened in the first several months after our loss, including my mother-in-law and sister-in-law choosing not to invite me to my other sister-in-law’s baby shower, and I felt hog tied, able to write about my outrage and hurt in a vague sense, but somehow unable to name names, relationships or even what event I’d been purposefully excluded from because I knew they were reading.

My relationship with my mother-in-law – a woman who saw me in my hospital bed and my dead babies in their isolet in my room but who walked past them to me and then talked about the weather and other stupid stuff for the rest of her visit – is deeply damaged and now, just a week shy of the one-year anniversary of our loss, I see no forgiveness or healing in sight…nothing has changed, despite a confrontation about ALL of it.

And so, still, I occasionally stuff a sock in my mouth, so to speak, and limit what I say. To prevent her from reading would mean making my blog private, thereby cutting off the easy support I can get from my community (one of the reasons I started the blog in the first place), or stop blogging all together. Neither is an acceptable solution in my book.

13 S.I.F. { 07.25.12 at 5:21 pm }

I think I started out as a niche blogger, with a definite shift to general diarist since I’ve tried to heal from infertility. But infertility is still a big piece of my life and inevitably comes back up from time to time. Thankfully, I’ve never felt any need to completely move my blog because of it… I would like to think it’s transitioned well!

But as far as who is in control of my blog content, it’s funny because I think this shifts a lot. I go through phases, where I feel completely free to write whatever I want (and in those times, I honestly think I produce the best content) and times when I start too think too much about who is reading and begin to feel stifled. It’s a difficult thing to balance, and I’m not sure I always do so successfully.

14 Queenie { 07.25.12 at 6:07 pm }

I write what I want 100% of the time. I suppose if I absolutely never got a comment, I might ultimately stop blogging. But really, I don’t write for the audience. I write for me.

I can’t be bothered to change my URL, but I do sometimes wish I’d thought ahead and chosen something a bit more ambiguous that could grow with me. But, whatever. I have the literal babies, I have the figurative Borneo (or maybe symbolic Borneo), and I’m still hoping for the boobs–two out of three ain’t bad. The title reminds me of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come, and probably doesn’t make sense to anyone but me, anyway.

Baby, Borneo, or Bust. . .

15 Stinky { 07.25.12 at 6:12 pm }

I never wanted to be a niche blogger, and never wanted to limit myself to just one topic, although I wanted the space to process the fertility stuff as it started to come up. It can tend to dominate at times, but as with real-life – ivf cycles and loss can dominate that stuff too, I reckon it just reflects that. I think I just wanted a record of what had been going on, what had been catching my interest, and to have somewhere to practice writing a bit more consciously than mindspew. I do censor quite a lot on my blog, because I am concerned about ‘anonymity’ and its only a matter of time before someone stumbles across is, if its not already happened (barring Mr Stinky). So I do tend to second-guess a lot of the personal stuff thats there, and then journal the ‘raw’ stuff privately anyway. So I have no idea who I actually write my blog for.

I’m one of those that moved urls – I switched to wordpress (beyondtheparentheses) earlier this year, for a number of reasons. I didn’t publish my move on LFCA or any other such although had a blog post on my old blog for a couple weeks before I deleted the content altogether and I think there is a link to it in my blogger profile. Some readers followed me over but I think I lost a few in the move (and just before anyway), but I don’t think they were readers who commented or were really present anyway.

Percentages: changes from time to time. I’m thinking ideally I write for myself, but then if I do that, whats the difference between writing private journals, and writing a blog? the difference is the readership, the unknown faceless, the ‘community’. So I guess I write for readers, but I don’t consciously think of any of them when I write, its more for me. So I don’t know. All or nothing. 100%-0%.

16 Mic { 07.25.12 at 7:35 pm }

Mel, sometimes I think you are living in my mind with the timing of your posts. I’ve been drafting a “goodbye” of sorts for IF Crossroads for the past week. For me, the blog itself holds baggage that I need to maybe pack-up and unload into the blogosphere. I started the blog after my first year of infertility and now 3 years later, I’m trying to move on and away from the label I’ve created. Yes, I dealt with infertility, but I no longer choose to identify with the persona that was created on those 300 (+) posts. I actively choose not to live in that pain.

I’d say that 80% of what I write is my “balls to the wall” approach. I very rarely sit on a draft before pushing publish. I write for me.

There is that 20% that sits in the recess of my mind wondering, worrying about who else might read and how what I write will resonate. Although, at this point, the majority of my readership is pregnant with their second or third children and so me ending my journey isn’t really a painful topic for most of them to read.

I think the biggest part of my decision in wanting to leave altogether stems from the fact that I just need to move on. Move away and take a vacation. I’ll potentially return to writing should I need it as a further outlet for a particular life challenge.

17 Justine { 07.25.12 at 8:52 pm }

Guilty as charged. Though I’m not likely to move, unless it’s to WordPress or some other more hospitable space. ;)

I started out as a general diarist with a niche, I think. Then I found this community, and I sort of became a niche blogger, because I loved the audience, and worried that the only way to get their attention was to post. But that wasn’t really being true to myself, either … all along, I’ve defined myself as a writer in more broad terms than infertility and loss. It’s hard to leave behind that desire for a readership, though.

I think NaBloPoMo has actually changed the percentages a bit. I have posted much closer to, say, 75% for me, and maybe 25% for my blog, with some overlapping percentage for my readers (because none of the posts are really JUST for one entity or the others). And maybe I’m relearning how to be a general diarist. Sometimes without recipes. Because some days I just don’t have anything new. :)

18 a { 07.25.12 at 8:53 pm }

I wanted to be a niche blogger, but I’m not easily stuffed into a category. :) No, I don’t have much to say about my family building issues. I don’t have much to say about parenting. I don’t have much to say about anything really, but every now and again something implants in my brain and won’t go away until I let it out somewhere. So, I don’t really need a new space. I should probably update my blog, since I haven’t written anything there since April, apparently (so my husband says).

19 Magpie { 07.25.12 at 8:55 pm }

I’ve always felt myself to be a general diaryist, and I just write what I need to write. It’s all over the map, but there you have it.

20 Mali { 07.25.12 at 10:34 pm }

I started blogging with a specific year long project (x365) and so when that finished started another blog (an A to Z blog), and then when I’d been through the alphabet there a couple of times, realised I needed something else, so started a new blog as a general diarist, and I still do that. I can’t imagine stopping this blog – I only stopped the others because they were specific projects that came to a natural end. Then I realised I had quite a lot of stuff I wanted to say on infertility, and didn’t feel it would fit there. So started a “living life with no kids after infertility” kinda blog. My general diarist readers read my No Kidding in NZ blog, and now vice versa too. I also have a Travelalphablog blog about travel.

So I like the niche aspect of my blogs, but also the connections I have through being a general diarist too. I like the fact that there’s a space where I don’t focus on my no-kidding life, just on life. And I can’t imagine abandoning any of these spaces. Maybe I will.

In terms of who determines what I blog? Well, I do. I censor myself sometimes. Well, quite a lot. I say what I need to say, but with a considerate nod to my readers too. Let’s just say I’m diplomatic. Most of the time!

21 Kimberly { 07.26.12 at 12:27 am }

I gotta say, from the first time I decided to blog back when I was still an lj girl, I posted for me. It was a way for me to sort out my thoughts and sometimes people came along for the ride. After a few years and our infertility diagnosis, I upgraded from livejournal to blogger because the format fit what I was looking for at the time. Yes I could be more open about our infertility because I made it known that I would use this space for that as well, but that was all that changed. Overall, while I do sometimes post strictly about infertility, I also post just for me and still use it for my original purpose of processing my thoughts.

When I moved to blogger I made the decision to go with a name outside of infertility and something that meant many things to me. If You Don’t Stand For Something is from the movie Sucker Punch, but the complete line from the movie was, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” That line hit me and gave me direction in my everyday life so it seemed to make sense at the time to use that as my blog name.

So I think I fall into the diarist with a touch of niche blogging. My blog transitions with me as I need it to. I use it as a multipurpose tool, always have, so transition is easier to embrace. It’s the place I find comfort. And while the audience is nice, the recognition is wonderful, at the end of the day, I write to find peace in my otherwise hectic life. I will always in some way wonder how my words may be read, but more in the context of “will those that read understand what I’m saying in the way I originally planned this outline in my head” moreso than “will they judge me for this”. I always try to post in a way that is welcoming to new people but still true to my goal of writing for myself first. I think of it in the way of walking into a building and noticing if someone is coming in the building behind you. Depending on the distance, do you hold the door open and stay to wait for the person a house length away? No probably not, but if someone is a few steps behind you, then of course you will wait and hold the door for them. It’s like that with my blogging. I will consider lightly how my post will be taken by regular readers and may consider how I approach the post but still post about the topic regardless. But if I considered everyones opinion and let it affect my writing all the time, I would never write, or never get in that building just standing there holding the door for everyone. You know what I mean?

In the future, my only planned move would not be out of discomfort in my space, but rather moving to a different platform like wordpress or self hosting because it suits my needs at the time.

22 St. E { 07.26.12 at 1:08 am }

Love the post, Mel.

I moved my blog lock, stock and barrel last year to a new address, and it wasn’t because I wanted to. It was because the existing one got too hot due to some stuff.

However, at the new abode, I have continued to write the way I want to write.

I care about my readers, but I don’t care about them in numbers. I am happy with the lot that comes by and the few who anchor themselves in words over my blog. The direction of my blog is decided by me, I suppose. I am writing for myself, and it definitely helps to know that there is a bunch of people who do want to know what I have to say. But if I were to write to suit my readers, I wouldn’t be able to do it.

I can’t sing about primary infertility if I have already have a child to raise…so it is organically expected that my topics would change.

I am not sure if I can call myself a niche blogger or a general one. I am definitely not writing about EVERY aspect of my life on MLOL.

P.S. It bugs me when people go away without saying goodbye.

23 Kathy { 07.26.12 at 2:38 am }

Great post Mel and loving reading the comments, especially in light of our panel at BlogHer`12 next week!

As for who determines the content of my posts… Mostly me, but sometimes my blog/readers, in that I try to write about SIF and loss somewhat consistently, as I know that is why some of my readers follow and/or refer others to me/my writing.

I love the idea that a person/blogger can be both a niche blogger and a general diarist. As I think after five years of doing both on my blog, that definitely sums up how I see myself/my writing.

Though I have changed the name of my blog three times in five years, I have always kept most of the original content and only changed my URL because I decide to move to self-hosted WordPress and used it as an opportunity to expand the direction of my blog from being more focused on my family (“Four of a Kind”) to my experience being a bereaved and blessed parent, grandchild, friend, etc. (which I think more people can relate to, without alienating those who are dealing with IF/loss).

24 Steadfast Warrior { 07.26.12 at 4:59 am }

Oh the timing on this! Before popping over here, I just posted a note on my blog with a link to the new one!! For me, the old blog was never something with a direction except when I was dealing with miscarriage. I too consider myself a niche blogger and a general diarist, but at the same time, my niche changed on me without my realizing it. Once I did, I understood that that was why it was so hard to write in that space. I’m not sure what will happen in my move to the new space, but I’m more confident about this new space going forward.

I decide the content of my blog, but I do keep my readers in mind. I also know that just because I moved into the new space, the old space isn’t something that didn’t happen, so I know there will be some cross-over sometimes. I think going forward, there will be a bit more intention in my writing, rather than aimless thoughts. While I do need to vent or ramble on at times, I tend to write better when I know what it is I want to accomplish with that post.

25 Her Royal Fabulousness { 07.26.12 at 9:00 am }

This is speaking to me, Mel. I just wrote a post about my blog and it’s evolution. I won’t go anywhere (unless I buy my own domain name at some point – stupid Blogger) but I’ve been struggling with who decides the content of my blog. Ultimately it is me, but I share custody from time to time. I *DO* think it is awful when people up and disappear. I would never intend to do that, even if I did stop blogging. But no plans to do that…Thanks for the great post.

26 JustHeather { 07.26.12 at 12:41 pm }

I’m definitely a diary blogger, that seems to have a bit of a niche going on. When I started my blog back in 2008, it was with the intention of writing about differences and similarities between US and Finland, which I didn’t do too much of. Then when TTC started taking so long, I started writing about that and now pregnancy and I am sure I will continue on with motherhood. These are quite specific topics, but I also find time and the desire to post about other things too (random thoughts, recipes, etc). It’s a place for me to put my thoughts, but I love the interaction.

I did choose the (new) name of my blog having nothing to do with IF or TTC. The name is just me all the way.

27 liddy { 07.26.12 at 2:05 pm }

My last stop on my ICLW July 2012 Iron Commentator Journey….

Blog holding me back… right now my IF blog is not. Yet, my other blog that I share with E, I think that needs to get a revamping.

An ICLW Visit from #63
liddy @ the unfair struggle (mfi, speedskating, 1st 2ww)

28 Jess { 07.26.12 at 2:11 pm }

I started blogging for me, not caring if anyone else read it, then I found support. So I became more of a niche blogger as it overlapped with a time when IF took over my life. So I changed my blog name and changed my persona. With the nature of adoption, I was not able to publicly blog about some issues, so I maintained a separate blog for that where I could go more into detail for a chosen few. I also wanted to limit readership as some family members and IRL people had started to poke around and a new change was needed. However, I needed to move that blog when it became un-useable (not to blame any particular website but I was having a lot of trouble with a site named something like flogger.) So, my digs are finally established. I still have my old school, usual IF blog, which is I’d say 85% niche blog, 15% whatever I feel like. And then I have my adoption blog with private info/ photos, and that is 15% niche (adoptive parenting) and 85% whatever I feel like as a mom.

For me, starting the adoption blog was a necessity. There are many more people to protect.

29 Maggie [The Freckled Citizen] { 07.26.12 at 2:56 pm }

This is a great topic for discussion and the comments here are fantastic – I look forward to checking out each of your blogs. This topic interests me because over the last decade I’ve had five blogs, and the first four were all niches: politics, movie/book reviews, creative writing, and wedding planning. I finally got so tired of compartamentalizing myself into each space that I scrapped all of them and started a new blog that I wanted to be a catch-all for my many and varied interests – it’s the same blog I have today. I “came clean” about my infertility struggles to my readers last May, primarily because it felt dishonest having a personal blog and not sharing the biggest thing happening in my personal life. The response was heart-warming for me – mostly from existing readers I already knew I had, but also from lurkers or people who were quietly going through the same thing I was. Since then I’ve shared a few posts that I label “The Fertile Hurdle,” some of which I wrote as long ago as last winter after we first began the IUI process. I don’t have an infertility audience, I have a general readership. I’m okay with that. Never once in this process of coming clean in my own space that I write just for me, on my own terms, have I wanted to begin an infertility blog. I think I learned the lesson of over-compartamentalization with my old blogs. I’m more than just IF. I’m a lot of things at once. And if a personal blog is truly the place where you can just be yourself, I like that the blog has a lot going on, too. I like that it will grow with me, be whatever I am over time.

30 Emily @ablanket2keep { 07.27.12 at 10:02 am }

Great post Mel. I stared blogging as a sort of journal for my IF journey. I was told by a blogger I followed that is was a great thing and that people would eventually comment and give you feedback. I wrote my first post not expecting anyone to read it, yet scared that someone would and think I was stupid because I didn’t think I was a good writer. It took a while to get into a grove and feel like I was getting better. It still is my IF journal, but I write about whatever I feel like, IF or not. It’s a life journal. I don’t like when bloggers disappear. If your blog need a revamp then do it. When I finally get pregnant I know my posts will change because my life will change. I will probably lose readers, but that is ok. I know I will feel guilty because I love this community and I don’t want to hurt or upset anyone, but I have learned that you can’t please everyone and you need to do what is best for yourself and not feel guilty about it.

31 Sarah { 07.27.12 at 10:34 am }

I loved this post. And it’s so interesting to me because I have never had the identity crisis on my blog like so many people have. I have never felt like it was no longer a fit, and maybe that’s because I am a lot like you. I was an infertility blogger, I am still a memeber of that community, but I mostly just write about whatever I want. And maybe that is hard for my audience, but since I don’t write for them, but for me, I don’t let it effect me… much.

I am aware if I do several review posts close together, or if I go too long without posting pictures of Henry. Or if I have ten posts in a row that are nothing but pictures of Henry. But in a lot of ways I think that consideration of “am I stuck… are people over reading about this” helps to keep me moving forward.

And at the same time, maybe the fact that I am very general in my blogging, it hurts my traffic. I had never thought of it that way, but it does seem possible. Still, if I boxed myself in i feel like I would have given up blogging long ago.

32 kateanon { 08.13.12 at 3:39 pm }

I just read this, and wish I was at Blogher, for I would’ve been in that front row for your panel.

At one point, I was very niche. I started writing a blog about trying (and failing) to have a child. Infertility consumed most of my post, and those of the blogs I read and commented on. My readers were also going through it, and that community sustained my blog for a long time.

Then, the majority of my readers achieved parenthood, and I felt left behind. Then, I was diagnosed with cancer and didn’t post as much as depression set in.

I continued to blog, privately, then changed the name. It became what it is now, which is a blog for me, very diarying. I made sure my blog could encompass anything and everything I wanted to talk about. Sometimes I have no readers, sometimes I have a lot, it’s OK with me either way.

33 redlipstickmama { 07.31.13 at 2:27 pm }

Hi,

got to your blog thanks to this blogger http://fantasyholidays.wordpress.com/ and this has been so insightful as I am thinking about what I want to do next with blog aka ‘therapeutic’ space . and reinforced me in my belief that as long as I feel it’s still my (crazy or sad or anxious etc.) voice that shouts through the posts, everything is just fine as it is.

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