Blogging for passion and purpose

by Lesley on October 2, 2012 · 16 comments

in the blogging world

It was a lonely September day six years ago when I began to blog. I had no intentions, no goals, no agenda, no purpose. I didn’t know blogging could even be a career.

I only knew of the passion to write, and the belief that writing helped me to better understand myself.

In the beginning, I didn’t analyze anything. No one knew of my little space, so I penned updates about our life without worrying they might be boring or appear self consumed. Eventually, family and friends started to find my corner of the web. Their presence, your presence, felt exhilarating and terrifying.

Once I recognized I had an audience, I started to branch out from the everyday posts about life in Sacramento. I loved sharing my thoughts on religion, politics, food, style and parenting. But it also felt much harder to be myself.

A few years ago, I started asking myself these questions:

What’s a blogger and what’s a writer? Can I be both? How are they different?

Do I want to make money blogging? Could I make money blogging?

The blogging world says you need a niche. Am I a lifestyle blogger? A social media blogger? A food blogger? A mommy blogger? A Christian blogger?

If I continue to blog, do I need to learn code? Photography? Design? Can I hire someone to do those things? And when, oh when, will I even have the time to figure this all out?

After sifting through all of these questions, I came to many conclusions but the biggest one was this: I decided I wanted to concentrate on writing first. Of course, bloggers are writers too–it’s just they have a whole lot of other things vying for their attention. I wanted to focus on a book before a blog, and enjoy the craft of writing before the photography, or blog design, or monetization.

For the most part, ever since Anna was born, I’ve felt really confident in my current role as mom and writer. Jonathan’s year through cancer freed me to write again from the heart; to write for therapy and nothing more.

But recently I’ve been slipping back into some old insecurities. I’ve been writing less because I’ve been busier, but also because I’ve fallen into the trap of believing you all want a certain thing from me. When I write about parenting, I’m afraid those without children will roll your eyes and think, “NOT AGAIN!” and when I discuss Christianity I’m afraid those of you who aren’t Christians will think, “YOU’RE A CRAZY PERSON!” and when I write about what I did last weekend I’m afraid some of you will think, “BORING!” and when I write about cancer I’m afraid you’re thinking, “MOVE ON ALREADY.” 

So, here’s what I’ve decided. First, I need to remind myself, yet again, that God is given glory through our stories, and that MY story is worth telling, even when it’s not perfectly photographed or neatly optimized for SEO or cleanly edited and under 400 words. I believe I need to create in order to feel fulfilled, and I recognize He’s given me a gift and a desire to encourage others through the written word.

Here’s the next thing. I’ve decided, based on Sarah Mae’s suggestion, to write a mission statement for my blog. Are you ready? Here it goes:

Barefooton45th.com exists to provide an authentic space on the web where readers feel encouraged, loved and informed about everything from faith to friendship, politics to prayer, cooking to cancer, marriage to motherhood, and anything else God uses to share the gospel story. 

 

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15 comments
Kelly
Kelly

I have been kind of in a blogging rut lately, and I think part of it is I've been having those insecurities of "does anyone really want to read this?" It's kind of silly though because I don't really ever think "UGH this again" when I read anyone else's blog! I'm more just happy when I see something I can relate to, and if I click away it's only because I'm busy or can't relate, but I'm not mad about it. I guess I need to redefine why I blog... but I think in the end writing has to be for us before it's going to make sense to anyone else.

Caroline
Caroline

Love this post and I have asked myself a lot of the same questions as a blogger. I think having a mission statement is great idea!

PC
PC

I sooooo hear you on this! I have been trying to refine my niche and purpose because everyone says I should (well every blog about blogging I read says I should). I keep searching out what my niche would be. I have asked my readers to help with their feedback, but his pandering for comments NEVER works. So alas, I just keep writing as your friend San said above. At some point, because I just keep writing, it allows me to be surprised that ANYONE is reading at all. Otherwise, I'd be stressing for more footprints in my stats. Ya know?

Tamara Powell
Tamara Powell

Love your mission statement. Love you friend.

lb
lb

amen!

Ashlee
Ashlee

OH, AND, I love your blog mission statement. You have inspired me to create one as well.

Ashlee
Ashlee

I have a lot to say about this, but I'll try to condense. Two weeks ago a grad student at Sac State asked if she could interview me about blogging for a paper she was writing. I said sure, met her at Starbucks, and answered questions about how blogging has affected my life for an entire hour. It was fascinating. She asked questions I had never even thought about, and even though I was put on the spot, the answers flowed out of me seamlessly. I left that interview feeling more confident about blogging than I ever had. For me, my reasons for blogging have changed and evolved over the years, as I would imagine yours have too. It started as a creative outlet, a place to just write for me, and then grew into a place where an audience formed. That audience became two things for me: instant accountability to write often and write well, and a place of community. I think those things exist in both blog-land and writer-land, but in different ways. The community is irreplaceable, and when asked point blank in the interview, "Why do you blog?" .....that is what I said. I blog for the me too's. Although a lot of my blog community exists within the blog itself, in the form of comments, a big part of that community exists outside of it. Like the phone conversations with total strangers about breech babies and c-sections, or like the e-mail I received today from someone who, after hearing about Gene's passing, decided to write his son a letter, just in case anything happens to him in the near future. I don't write about my personal life for the sake of just writing, or for the teeny tiny amount of money I am now making....I write for the community. For the me too's. And that's why I love your blog, Les. Because I am one of your me too's. Not with the cancer stuff, but with the marriage stuff and the mommy stuff and the friendship stuff. I love reading your perspective on things, and I love that you frequently challenge me to think hard. Your blog, and your future book, are going to continue to be a great inspiration for both men and women. I know there are a LOT of spouses of cancer survivors and patients who are going to read your words, whisper "me too", and sleep better at night knowing they're not the only one who has felt what you felt, and continue to feel. Okay, that wasn't very condensed. I still have a lot more to say about this, but I've worked up an appetite and need to go make a sandwich. Maybe we can talk about it offline sometime ;) Love you, friend.

Tim
Tim

So far Lesley, everything I've read here has been worth my time. If you ever write something that's not, so what? You're still writing stuff that needs to be written, and I'll just move on to your next great post. As for that mission statement, those are all excellent reasons for you to keep writing and me to keep reading. Excelsior, kiddo. Tim

Christina
Christina

Love your mission statement Lesley! I think it perfectly describes the kind of writer you are, and the thoughts you share on your blog.

Joelle
Joelle

As a regular stalker, the posts I enjoy most are the ones you write that capture you - in whatever space you are in at that moment. As interesting as the ones are with links for different shops and ideas, reading what you think is what I keep coming back for. Unfortunately it makes blogging kind of a one-sided relationship - I get to remain anonymous while you bare your soul. Having said that, I, too, am facing the same questions with my blog. I would love to write more from the heart but am scared to put myself out there. Here's to being willing to be vulnerable for an unknown audience!

San
San

Stop thinking and keep writing. I am pretty confident when I say that people who come here want to read about all of this! :)

ronda
ronda

Once again you've blown me away with how honest and smart you are. Your words are always refreshing to read. Keep up the blogging! I look forward to seeing Barefoot bolded in my google reader each time!

Sarah
Sarah

I think you live that mission statement through every single post. Your writing is authentic, thought-provoking and sensitive to all kinds of perspectives -- no matter the topic.

Sarah Denley
Sarah Denley

What a great mission statement! I love it.

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  1. […] friend Lesley (who is most definitely a writer, and a good one!) recently wrote about blogging for passion and purpose, and in it, she created a blog mission statement. I loved reading her thoughts, and was instantly […]