It’s the new year (haven’t you heard?) and bloggers everywhere are talking about new year’s resolutions, plans, and goals for 2014. There’s just something about the after-Christmas hush that provokes Deep Thoughts and Reflection.
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this blog of mine – what I want for it, what I want from it, and what you – my readers – want from it. I started this blog with no vision or ambitions. My main goal was to share my Craigslist adventures, vintage finds, and furniture restoration escapades. When we had to leave our apartment and move in with in-laws, the blog went on hiatus. When we purchased our home this past February, I opened up this blog again to write about Craigslist finds, selling, and renovation DIY projects around our house.
This time, my ambitions were a little larger but still modest – I simply wanted to become a world-famous DIY home décor blogger with a possible book deal in the future. Nothing too grandiose 😉
I set out to learn basic coding and web design, social media marketing, search engine optimization and hone my photography and Photoshop skills. I made wonderful blogging friends who encourage, teach, and inspire me constantly. I dove head-first into DIY projects and discovered the wonderful world of scraping popcorn ceilings, spackling and sanding drywall, and electrical wiring. I set a self-imposed blogging schedule of Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, firmly convinced that consistent posting was the key to breaking into the marvelous world of DIY blogging-fame.
I worked as hard as I’ve ever worked in my life, but no matter how much time I devoted to this “hobby”, there was always more to do. I opened up my laptop first thing in the morning and then again once I got home from work until bedtime each evening. Personal time? What’s that? All time is work time! On the clock, 24/7.
Ironically enough, “project time” was getting eaten up by “managing” time – all the time it took to manage blog maintenance, social media scheduling, self-promotion (ugh! my least favorite part!) and link-ups… Craigslist searching completely fell by the wayside, because there were literally not enough hours in the day for me to sit in front of my computer. Or on my smartphone.
Inspiration waned. Inertia set in.
By December, I was scraping to create content. (This is not to say that I wasn’t pleased with my Christmas posts – it was a fun theme, but perhaps a little overkill to post about nothing but Christmas for an entire month, without a single DIY project.) My whole “three times weekly” posting schedule was just getting harder and harder to maintain with quality and integrity.
Then Christmas break happened.
I spent two weeks on the couch. Two weeks off the computer, largely disconnected from the internet except for some zealous tweets about my newly discovered Buffy love.
I spent two weeks thinking about blogging. About how my favorite hobby had turned into a full-time job with a horribly demanding, perfectionistic, never-satisfied boss… Me.
About how I had lost my vision and enjoyment. I had stopped dreaming big, and put my nose so far to the grindstone I couldn’t see the big picture.
About how I didn’t want to just “add to the noise” – create mediocre content just for the sake of consistent posting. I would rather have one truly creative and well-written project to share with you on occasion than a week’s worth of quickly-cranked-out and uninspired posts.
About how I may not bring the most DIY-experience (hint: I have very little!) or interior design skills (untrained novice here!) to the table, but that I am a writer at heart. Hopefully you won’t scoff at that idea, but ever since I first learned to read and write, I have best expressed myself through the written word. I may blog about DIY, home décor, and vintage furniture finds, but the most important aspect of blogging to me has always been the actual blogging.
About how it’s fine and dandy to be a badass at social media and photography and branding and strategy, but sometimes it’s equally important to be a badass at sitting on the couch and rocking the Netflix queue. I am the queen of overachieving, but oh, do I need to learn the art of relaxation!
About how I was failing at spending quality time with Bryan. “The boy behind the blog” was literally coming in behind the blog in terms of priority and precedence. Major, major, major! This needed to change. We spent hours talking over beers at The Meddlesome Moth on his birthday, and that needs to *not* be a rare occurrence!
My Word for 2014
If you’ve been reading blogs much at all since the start of the year, you’ve surely noticed bloggers posting about their “word of the year”. It’s supposed to be one inspirational word that sums up your goals and resolutions and vision for the upcoming year.
My word of the year is Relax.
(Sorry, I couldn’t resist the Zoolander tie-in. Plus, every blog post needs a strong visual, right?)
My New Year’s resolutions include sitting on my butt more, watching more Netflix, reading more books, hanging out more with Bryan, and spending time online that perhaps doesn’t directly pertain to blogging.
2014 will also include plenty of DIY projects as well! I’m a dyed-in-the-wool do-it-myself-er, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. 2014 will include more Craigslist posts and vintage finds, because I’ve been so sad to see those fall by the wayside when I was too busy with other things.
2014 will see me posting less frequently here on my blog. And perhaps on other social media outlets as well. But 2014 will see better blog posts. Better pictures, better stories, better projects. Little posts, on occasion, as well. Silly ones too. Personal gut-spilling, over-wordy ones like this? You bet!
But I will not be adding to the noise.
I will not be posting a Valentine’s or Saint Patrick’s Day themed craft/décor/recipe project unless I want to. Unless it is something I can be authentic about, excited about, and good at. I will not be hammering out a post the midnight before my self-imposed schedule…(Okay, okay, I probably will wait until midnight to write, but only because I think best in a still, dark house.) I will not be hammering out a post the midnight before just to have something to post the next morning. There’s a lot to be said for structure and self-discipline, but I put myself through blogging boot camp for the last four months, and I am ready for some hard-earned R&R.
And I can’t end this post without a heart-felt message to you, wonderful reader.
Yes, you, sitting there, spending your valuable, precious, hard-earned free time reading this post.
Thank you for reading.
Thank you for commenting.
Thank you for befriending me.
Thank you for chatting with me on Facebook and Twitter and for your emails.
Thank you for putting up with the ugly baby phase of this blog and its gangly teenage period of self-discovery. (Let’s hope this ugly duckling turns into a swan!)
Thank you for letting me share with you.
Thank you for sharing with me.
Thank you for making this the most rewarding hobby and passion and community.
Thank you for 2013.
Julia Konya says
I'm so with you! I enjoyed my time off over Christmas and I need more of it. That might be my only goal for 2014. I don't want to make any more goals for 2014, I want to go with the flow and not put any pressure on myself. I'm getting kinda annoyed with all the deep, meaningful, goal oriented posts around this time. They make me feel inadequate and like a looser. I could go on and on about this 😉
Love Zoolander and Ben Stiller 😉 by the way.
Soooo, if I'd have to pick a word for 2014 it would be relax or chill just like you!
"Relax, just do it" 😉
I'm all about taking the pressure off myself right now! I definitely tend to feel inadequate and like I need to constantly be better, but the next time I do, I've decided to just close the computer and find a way to relax. Here's to more chilling out in 2014 for the both of us!
Lets just build a house! says
awe happy new year Brynne! I think RELAX is a good word for 2014. I want to RELAX too, on a beach mostly…
Thank you Trina! Happy new year! Beach relaxation is the best – hopefully 2014 holds that for both of us 😉
Cassie @ Primitive & Proper says
you had no idea that zoolander is one of my absolute favorite movies, did you? it's amazing!!!!!!!! and i love this word- great choice!!!! i should consider it. 😉
Zoolander is totally one of my favorites too! We quote it constantly, but of course I've been quoting the "relax" part a lot more lately 🙂 Here's hoping for much relaxation for you (and me!) for 2014!!!
I enjoyed this post. I'm just new at blogging and I really can't believe how many hours one post takes! The time invested by bloggers who post regularly, add photos, etc. is so insane. I don't think anyone has any idea until they try to do it themselves. I'm consistently reminding myself that I have a life and I need to balance my priorities and not get sucked into the blog.
I admire you for staying true to who you are, and to prioritizing your life correctly. Recently, I wrote this article about how we can't do it all and I had a lot of people on Facebook tell me that it really has helped them. It has helped me to stay focused on what matters. http://livelikeyouarerich.com/why-you-cant-do-it-all/ anyway if you are too busy I totally understand but if you get a minute to stop by the article maybe something positive that is related to you relaxing this year.
Great word by the way 🙂
Thank you for sharing your post, Anita! It looks like we are thinking along the exact same lines about priorities and enjoying life! I love that you turned “you can’t do it all” into such a positive reflection on life 🙂
Christina O says
I hit the same wall after blogging for a year. Doesn't it feel good to relax? Unfortunately, it's easy to get sucked back in (I've done it twice now), but your word for the year will really help you keep your big picture in mind!
Christina, I may have gone over to the *other* side a little too much – it's going to be a little bit of a journey to find a good balance between work and relaxation! That's true for everyone though, right? 🙂
Katy Byrne says
Good for you lady. I need to do this too. The busier we get, the harder I find myself able to truly relax. Saturday I watched 8 hrs of Downton Abbey in my sweats with some macaroni and it was the best day ever. I need to do that more. Life is too short. I'd say your 2013 accomplishments are QUITE impressive!
YES! 8 hours of Downton Abbey sounds wonderful – we all need more days like that! Thanks Katy 🙂
"This time, my ambitions were a little larger but still modest – I simply wanted to become a world-famous DIY home décor blogger with a possible book deal in the future. Nothing too grandiose ;)"
LOL! I feel like this is every bloggers' dream. Then, when they do get it, they whine that "oh my gosh, I'm so sorry I haven't blogged for you – I'm OMGosh too busy!"
Then, I feel guilty for reading said blog 🙂
I totally hear you on the NOISE. I'm the social media person for my *job* and it's really hard to disconnect yourself from it.
Good luck! Your blog is one that I will continue following even though I made it a resolution to clean up my blog list in 2014 and only follow the ones I really love.
Dear anonymous commenter,
You totally made my day with this. Thank you! It's probably a good thing you didn't leave your name because otherwise I would be likely to stalk you and forcibly hug you 🙂
Debbie Pearl says
Brynne…great post! You know I loved your line about the "noise." As I have just started blogging this year, I am still trying to find my voice and I am unsure the exact "personality" I want my blog to have, but I do know what I don't want it to have….uninspired, endless posts! Sure, not everything is going to be a groundbreaking project, but it will be something that I think is informative or helpful or inspiring to others. I think you are doing it right and that's the way to create a blog that will grow and last. Best of luck to you!! Debbie… PS…thanks for taking the pressure off me for a Valentines post…if something comes to me fine but i am not stressing about making something pink or red … haha!
Debbie, I love your outlook on blogging – I think it's spot on! "Informative or helpful or inspiring to others" is the perfect goal! Thank you so much for commenting – it's so good to know that other bloggers feel the same way!
Momma Lew says
Great post. I did the same over Christmas "break" and when I came back to bloggyland, I had found that everyone else was knee deep in Valentine's Day already and quite frankly, I have NO interest LOL!
Thank you Momma Lew! Valentine's Day doesn't hold much interest for me either and I still have all my Christmas decorations up 😉
Lauren Lanker says
Holy cow, girl. This was spot on. Yes, I think we hit about the same brick wall this December…and I'm thankful for markers like the new year to impose some much needed time of reflection. Clearly, we both needed to step back and realize that something needed to change. (I can SO relate to putting the blog before all things, including the hubby and sleep…no good…very bad.) And my favorite sentence of all had to be this one: "About how it’s fine and dandy to be a badass at social media and photography and branding and strategy, but sometimes it’s equally important to be a badass at sitting on the couch and rocking the Netflix queue." Yes, that was so good, it deserved to be re-stated. Here's to more moments of being badasses on the couch with our hubbies by our side and laptops closed in 2014. More balance. More relaxation. Let's go!
Thank you Lauren! I so appreciate your comment! It has meant so much for me to hear such support and encouragement from my blogging sisters! Balance + relaxation = a recipe for success. 🙂
renee @ savoring life through creativity says
i LOVE this…especially the zoolander REEEELAX video…gosh, i haven't watched that movie in SO long!! thanks for the reminder. LOL! so funny!! i've been in the same boat…i'm always wanting to RELAX and i've made adjustments as well…and what i've come to know…if it doesn't FEEL good…don't do it! if it does…DO IT!! all that matters is that it's connected to YOU and makes YOU feel good. :):) love your blog!! and i'm a new reader from the SITS facebook page. :):)
Renee, thanks so much for stopping by & for the encouragement! And hey – if perhaps I inspired you to go rewatch Zoolander, then my entire blogging career is validated because I AM HELPING OTHER PEOPLE RELAX! 🙂
Candy Mickels Mejia says
Agree! I've found myself in this position as well. I too have decided to post about things that really move me, BUT I've also decided I need to go ahead and post the ones that aren't perfect. It really is a struggle to find balance in this thing I do that yields no income… I've also decided to pick and choose the blogging "advice" that works for me. So maybe my posts aren't SEO'd as they should be – it's ok if I got my message across.
You are not alone!
Oh my goodness, yes – as a dyed in the wool perfectionist, it is such a struggle to "let go" of certain things so as not to lose my mind! But I literally cannot be the master of SEO, Pinterest-worthy photos, social media promotion, and epic-writing-chops ALL THE TIME. Only some of the time 😉 And I so hear you on the "this thing I do that yields no income" – that's how I'm going to refer to blogging from now on 🙂
I think after a while people start to notice if you're just posting because you're "supposed to." I would much rather read a blog that publishes one quality post a week over one that posts all the time and the content feels forced. I think you're doing the right thing. It'll make you and your blog better 🙂
Thank you Trish! It's so good to hear that other people understand and prefer the less-frequent but better crafted posts!
Jenn Rian says
My blog has always been a hobby, I've never had any intention of making it a business, I just wanted to write. And even without the prospect of money, the more it grew the more obsessed I became with it growing. Then life got busy and I barely blogged for 2 years. And I had a revelation. I loved blogging, but the moment I take it too seriously…it's not fun anymore. So I started a second blog last year (the one you read earlier today) where no one knew me and I could post stupid stuff and laugh at myself. My other (still small yet) bigger blog is still there and I post when I want to and when I can and I try not to look at the stats. I'm not a very goal-oriented person. My goals for this year are exactly the same as yours. Except for hanging out with Bryan more. I doubt I'll do that.
Thanks for commenting on my blog today! 🙂
I know exactly what you mean about the more it grows, the easier it is to obsess about it growing more! It sounds like you've figured out what you want and how to keep blogging enjoyable for you! P.S. Love the hilarious last part of your comment! 🙂
Stopping by from SITS. LOVED this. With all the *strong* encouragement to be more consistent, my life with my three kids, one with autism and therapy schedule to keep up with and life in general means consistency falls by the wayside. I was going to set a self-imposed schedule, but decided ahead of time that with all the stress and anxiety in my life, and this is supposed to be a respite for me, I would not make my respite stressful and full of anxiety. I love to write – LOVE it. But I can't post something that doesn't add up to my standards – not perfection, but something of good quality that I would want to read myself. So I'm going to enjoy my time blogging. I'm setting up a brand new website in wordpress and switching over from blogger. I'm still wrestling with time to figure all that out myself, which means posting on my actual blog has been severely sparse. But I discovered that regardless of what project I'm working on, if I'm not loving it, it's not helping me in my life in any way.
Wow, that was a ramble if I ever heard one. Sorry about that! Anyway, enjoyed reading!! Feel free to visit me too at http://hopeinautism.blogspot.com. 🙂
Thank you Sarah! It sounds like you have a wonderful plan to keep your blogging time enjoyable and refreshing! I'm so glad you enjoyed this post and I loved hearing from you!