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I couldn’t bear the weight any more.

Feeling defeated, burdened, and overwhelmed, I walked away from my blog. What started as a break, felt like it would turn into “for good”.

For the past six years, I’ve clicked the publish button over one thousand times. I’ve spent endless hours reading others’ writing. I developed systems, processes, and ways to expand and grow my website, but the income that I desired never came to fruition.

Over the past six years, I’ve evolved from hobby blogger to professional blogger, to author, to course developer. Yet a month ago, I sunk to a place of intense discouragement and disappointment.

I was not happy.

As I shared in my last post before my break, I’ve been striving instead of serving. I heard from many individuals that this resonated with them… that they too, felt like they had gone down that path and had found no joy in it.

Over the past month, I’ve gotten clarity about blogging, and I thought I would candidly share my discoveries and the truth about blogging, with you.

This may be the most candid and honest truth about blogging that you may ever read. Click To Tweet

1- Beware of internalizing what you read.

Blogging often requires us to read other bloggers’ content. It’s in my nature to want to understand and identify with the people I associate with. This can be a dangerous approach to blogging. First and foremost, you may end up overidentifying and rationalizing a piece that has nothing to do with your life. Secondly, it can impact your sense of self-worth and identity.

I’ve walked away from critical articles about moms, bloggers, and homeschoolers and never realized just how much the words impacted me. If it’s harsh or negative, I quite often take it to heart. I wonder, is that me? Do I do that?  Am I a bad mom, a bad blogger, a bad Christian, a bad homeschooler?

Just because someone wrote something that resonated with you, or emotionally affected you does not mean it has to be your truth.

The only piece of literature I wish to internalize is the Bible because it’s God’s truth. Other writings can be eye-opening and thought-provoking, but I know now that nothing should take the emotional place of God’s word.

2- Don’t overwhelm yourself with what you “should” do.

Everyone has an opinion, but when it comes to blogging, the advice is unending. Be warned, the excessive knowledge can sink you.

I have read endless posts on:

“How to go viral.”

“How to make a 6 figure income while blogging.”

“How to grow your Pinterest account.”

“How to double your page views in X days.”

“How to grow your social media accounts.”

I’ve attended many webinars, taken numerous blogging courses, and bought many blogging books.

This information overload can be a burden. It puts you in a place of frequently needing to change, fix, or improve something. This constant state of improvement robs us of the time we would rather spend writing and enjoying our lives.

I also realized that following someone else’s formula for success won’t work for me. In fact, this past month I reviewed the top posts on my blog and was stunned to discover that the posts with the highest traffic were written before 2014. I found this fascinating considering that 2014 was when I decided to get serious about blogging and tried to make a profession of it.

I know about SEO, how to build beautiful, clickable images for Pinterest, and I have an active blogging community, but my content after 2014 has not had the same impact on my blog as the content before this.

What happened? I have a theory… see my next point.

3- Be careful when switching objectives.

I heard and read countless times that to find success in blogging, you have to narrow your niche. I did this. In fact, I started my other blog, Deliberate Homeschooling, to narrow The Deliberate Mom into the parenting niche.

Even though it’s only a few months old, Deliberate Homeschooling has been growing more than I expected. One could argue that its specific niche is why it’s doing well but I think the reason for this is entirely different. I think it’s because I’m passionate about homeschooling.

Am I passionate about parenting? Yes and no. It’s my goal to be the best mom I can be to my children but it’s such hard, exhausting, and overwhelming work, I couldn’t honestly say it’s my passion. My passion resides in being deliberate and reflective in how I raise my children. The countless screw ups, the bad days, the frustrations… those aren’t my passion.

I have other passions too. I like to experiment in the kitchen. I like to sew and paint. I like to organize my home. I like to set up impressive play spaces for my kids. I’m crazy about office supplies, colored gel pens, binders, and Excel spreadsheets.

By narrowing my niche, I’ve been saying no to a lot of content that I wanted to share here on The Deliberate Mom. As a result, I’ve been stifled, uninspired, and lacking passion.

4- You can’t please everyone.

I recently spent some time thinking about who would read and enjoy my blog. As I envisioned that person, I realized that I’ve been trying too hard to please too many people at the same time. How can I be passionate if I’m safely sharing what I hope will make everyone happy?

To add to that, if someone were unhappy and unsubscribed from my newsletter or Facebook page, I would wrestle with feelings of rejection. The constant feelings of rejection certainly isn’t a healthy way to live.

The realization that I can’t please everyone will take me some time to fully grasp, but I feel it’s incredibly important for me to embrace this truth if I want to continue blogging.

5- Stick to YOUR truth.

I’ve read it countless times. I’ve written about it repeatedly. I fell into the trap of comparison. I found myself looking at other bloggers and wondering why they have succeeded, and I haven’t? Why are they reporting these huge incomes, yet I have to work countless hours just to cover the costs of running my blog?

I found myself looking at their niche, their pictures, and their social media accounts. When I did this, all I saw was my lack. It’s taken me a few weeks to get out of the rut of comparison.

I found that my biggest place of insecurity was Instagram. It felt like everyone’s pictures were far more beautiful and interesting than mine. But here’s the kicker friends… I only wanted Instagram to be a behind-the-scenes glimpse into our lives. So why then, was I feeling insecure? Perhaps it was because the true, the gritty, the unfiltered lens of our lives isn’t perfect. For someone who’s always trying to achieve the highest standards, that imperfection is unsettling.

When I found myself pinning articles about how to grow my Instagram account and researching hashtags, I knew that my vision had gone awry. I had to reset my intentions and remind myself that my Instagram account is entirely separate from my blog. I intend on keeping it that way.

6- Accept that it’s a journey.

Every time I post something new on my websites, something shifts. I learn, I expand, I grow, I move through challenges, I overcome obstacles, and I celebrate.

My journey right now has brought me to a place where I no longer want to blog for profit. I just want to share what gives me joy and what I’m passionate about. It may be a recipe or a reflection inspired by a book or a special moment from our days. I want to be as real as possible. I want you to read my content because you expect you’ll get something from it. I want you to come here and be met with love, sincerity, and truth.

I’m not going to write because of schedules, timelines, and pressures to publish “x number of times a week.” I’m going to write whenever I want.

So friends, what have I learned from this break? From now on I will write about what I love, what makes me happy, and what inspires me… when it inspires me.

Jennifer-The-Deliberate-Mom-Signature

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Jennifer Bly
Jennifer Bly
Author of My Kitchen, My Classroom: An Introduction to Homeschool, creator of The Deliberate Mom, Deliberate Homeschooling and regular contributor to The Huffington Post. Jennifer writes about parenting, her faith, and life with her husband and two girls. Jennifer has a Bachelor of Applied Human Service Administration Degree with a specialization in Early Learning in Child Care.
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