I decided to take a little break from the blog these past three months. But it’s the new year, and I’m ready to start writing and posting again.
I made the executive decision to take a breather back in October, because, to be honest, blogging started to feel like something of a chore, something I needed to get done, rather than something I had fun doing, which it why I started this little guy in the first place. I needed a break. I needed to be able to sit back and figure out why I’m doing this, what I expect out of this, and in a sense, what I maybe need to change, and I can confidently say that the break helped.
I started this blog, first and foremost because I love to write, I like planning trips, and I like going on trips and sharing where I’ve gone. When I first started, I tried to post once a month, which turned into twice a month, which then somehow morphed into once a week. For the longest time, I didn’t do any promotion, social media, or real web design, somehow thinking that readers would come. Guess what? They didn’t. But it was new, and this was fun, and I first just wanted to concentrate of finding a voice/tone, and I didn’t really care.
Then, somewhere along the way, I started to care. I started to want people to read this. I wanted shares, and likes, and some sort of internet presence. I wanted to have enough of a name that maybe pitching companies and locales for press trips actually were warranted, so I started a Twitter account, later on a Facebook, and just this past year, an Instagram account.
It was also at this point, when I started adding much more moving pieces to the blog, that I made a major life upheaval: I quit my job. I’d been teaching high school for five years, and so disillusioned with being an educator that I resigned without having anything lined up. I figured my blogging experience might be able to be used to my advantage, and that maybe I could parlay at least some of it to some career opportunities, so I kicked it up a notch. I told myself that I’d get my reader count up, that I’d make sure to publish a new post every week, and that my social media would never slow down.
This is when it morphed from something I legitimately looked forward to doing every week, to a chore, something I wanted to make sure I did, but didn’t find much joy in. I also realized that this day and age, just having a blog doesn’t necessarily make you special or marketable, no matter how niche you were (and let’s be honest, my niche is by no means unique). I ended up getting a job that really has nothing to do with anything I’m actually passionate, and started thinking to myself, why am I doing this if it’s not getting me anything? Is it worth doing all this work, for something no one reads or cares, about, and when I started thinking about it in that manner, I knew I needed a break, because realistically, when it comes down to it, I’m doing this because I like it. Make no qualms about it, if my blog, as the kids say, goes viral and blows up in the near future, I’ll love it. That being said, I’ve got to be realistic and realize that in order to have a successful, successful blog these days, you have to almost focus solely on the blog (which I simply do not have the means to do), and have a lot more hustle then maybe I have?
Anyhow, giving it a break made me realize I missed it, and made me remember why I started doing this in the first place.
So, I’m back, but with a few changes. First and foremost, I’m not going to give myself some crazy schedule to adhere to. I want to publish at least two posts a month, but that’s it. If I don’t do once or twice a week, I’m completely ok with that.
I’m also going to lessen up a bit on social media, trying to post in a more organic fashion, rather than trying to plan out my Twitter posts for two weeks, and getting stressed if I don’t get likes or shares.
This may seem counterintuitive to what I just said, but I do want to start building up more of an audience, not necessarily for the recognition, but for the discussions, ideas, and exchanges that having one can bring.
I want to focus less on the amount of content, versus the quality of the content (in fact, one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to go back and proofread all of my old posts-I’m way too guilty of rushing posts out there without properly proofreading, especially for someone with an English degree). I also want to focus on making a blog that also looks good, something that for whatever reason, I’ve failed to do in the past.
Another thing I want to do is start bringing the focus back to Pennsylvania. I started the blog to highlight the things I do in and around the state, and while I’m not going to complain that I was able to travel to a ton of new places last year, I feel like the blog started looking more like trips out of Pennsylvania, rather than a celebration of my all-time favorite state.
And while I’m promising myself to not again think that the blog can become something it probably won’t, I do want to start being more interactive with it: interviewing people, having guest posters, maybe even guest post myself here and there, and getting into more social media conversations. Like I alluded earlier, the collaborative opportunities that arrive with this can be extraordinarily fun.
So, if you are one of the few who’s been reading this over the past four years, welcome back, and if you’re coming here for the first time, expect regular content from here on out. I’ll actually be posting somewhat soon with a little bit of a 2016 recap, because aside from a little bit of a bumpy start, 2015 was a pretty good year.
And if you have any suggestions on how to do any of the aforementioned things I’d like to do with my blog, well then by all means, suggest away, especially if it has to do with finding a decent template, because this one blows.