I began blogging over 10 years ago and it changed my life. What started as a fun structure to inspire my creativity turned into a community of connection, a calling and eventually a creative business. When I wrote that first one-paragraph post, I had no idea that it would turn out like this!
That was back in the days before blogging became a lifestyle business, before it became an entrepreneurial necessity. It wasn’t about branding; it was abut bonding. It was about expressing ourselves and in so doing discovering that around the world there were people like us, people who loved to paint or bake or write poetry. It was about suddenly discovering there were members of your tribe in Boston and Edinburgh and Adelaide. It was about sharing our stories, both vulnerable and triumphant. It was about sharing our creations both wobbly and wonderful. It was about square pegs who found themselves struggling in round holes, people in regular jobs living regular lives who wanted to spend the weekend tossing sequins in the air at the beach.
Blogging helped us remember who we were on the inside. Blogging helped us come alive.
In those days, it was exciting to think that maybe, just maybe, you could make some money through your blog. Maybe you could get some sponsors, maybe enough to pay for your hosting or maybe even some art supplies. Maybe you could create a little e-course that your community would embrace and enjoy. It was a time when you could get a little “what if” twinkle in your eye, imagining that maybe you could earn a living sharing and creating from your heart. Imagine!
I followed that dream. I invested in professional training so that I could coach the creatives that I so wanted to help. I started teaching classes about listening to our souls, finding and following our dreams and discovering our creative hearts. I remember the deep joy and satisfaction of completing my first offering, Soul Reflections, a self-study workshop that helped you use collage and journaling to discover the truth that was deep in your heart. And I remember that ‘dream come true’ feeling of people buying it – not to mention the deep fulfillment of people letting me know it made a difference.
I created something that made a difference.
That’s what it was and is all about.
Then suddenly the world got hip to blogging and this grassroots art form got professionalized. Suddenly it wasn’t just regular people writing about their creative lives. It was rock stars, bestselling authors and self-help gurus. Bloggers were talking SEO and making sure their post titles were rich with key words. Blogging meant identifying your target audience and developing your brand. It meant having a consistent voice and making sure you delivered value. It meant compelling copy and professional photographs. It meant HD video and art that was worthy. It meant sharing 10 Top Tips for Your Creative Success not 10 Things You Might Not Know about Me. (That was relegated to Facebook.)
And just like that blogging went from grassroots to glossy.
What that meant for me, as a burgeoning creative entrepreneur, was that I started to leave myself out of my blog. (I know that may sound weird coming from a woman whose site literally has her name in it.)
As I started to do more coaching, teach more classes, as I started to become a business, this is what I started to believe:
Nobody wants to know about the meal I had for dinner, unless I am a food blogger and have Pinterest-worthy photos.
Nobody wants to see pictures of my walk to the Beaches with my husband unless I am sharing travel-blogger type info about the neighbourhood or including a useful lesson about quality time with your partner.
Nobody wants to see what I am creating unless it’s Etsy worthy or I’m teaching the techniques used to create it.
Only “useful” things.
Only “beautiful” things.
Only “well-written” things.
Only “relevant” things.
Only “strategic” things.
Only “on-brand” things.
What started out as a loving and careful desire to focus on what was useful, relevant and inspiring became so restrictive that my blog didn’t feel like my blog anymore. This thing that had been such a powerful and important part of my life belonged to “the business” Suddenly it felt like there was no room for me.
Maybe that’s appropriate. I have been wrestling with this question for quite some time. A part of me has thought this is a natural evolutionary process. My business has come into its own and of course the blog has developed with it. Of course, I want to offer what is useful. Of course, I want my blog to be beautiful, well-written and relevant. Of course, I want my business to be strategic and a recognizable brand. Of course, I do.
But I also want to be a person. A person with a blog. This blog.
I want to share too many cat pictures and posts about everything from my neighbourhood escapades to my art supplies, from becoming a more confident traveller to learning to make pasta. I want this space to reflect the depth and breadth of my creative life, the messy, the silly, the epic, the beautiful, the painful, just as it is. And I want to do that alongside resources, help, inspiration, classes, etc.
So, I’m taking my blog back.
I’m kickin’ it old school.
And I’m going to see what happens.
Maybe I’ll lose you. Maybe my life, my casual writing, my imperfect photography, my wild experiments, my current obsessions, my modest home, my artistic attempts, even my aging self, maybe that won’t be aspirational for you. Maybe it won’t be a Pinterest board, a shiny magazine or a 7-figure business (6-figures is so 2015).
But it will be me.
And maybe, just maybe, if I take some place for me amidst the work, you’ll realize that on your own blog, in your own life and in your own business there is also place for you.
Maybe together we’ll remember that we can dream and be real all at the same time.
That’s what life is all about.
I’m looking forward to you blog as you have described it. I miss blogs that have been replaced by Instagram, Pinterest, etc. Three of my favourite blogs as Dispatch From LA, My Giant Strawberry, and Lost Coast Post. They are all real and personal. Thank you for this post. PS My cats are on the way to BTS!
Thanks so much, Leone, and I am looking forward to your cats! I can’t wait :) Thank you for sharing some of you favourite blogs. I’ll be sure to check them out.
Oh God yes, the glossy blogging, it wears me out. I can’t do it and even though I’m clear about not wanting to, it also stresses me because I know I’ll forever have “only” a few 100 readers (lovely people one and all) when really in my physical situation would be perfect for me to make money online. But it’s not me, the footsies and the fabulous tabletops with decorative salads and whatnot. I don’t create a new painting every day to post, in fact I post mostly about my failures because they amuse me and well, to offer my experience that others may skip it.
And there are so many glossies out there, I’d just be one in a billion even if I did manage. I’ve actually come to actively NOT clicking the 10 of this and 5 ways to that baits. Mostly hot air and repetition. Can we go back to actually having conversations, pls?
I for one look forward to many more Escher pix. I dare you.
LOL! I will take you up on that dare. I have plenty more pictures where the ones I have shared have come from! I am constantly holding back so as not to overload people with cat pics. Thank you for the encouragement and for sharing your perspective about the glossies.
Amen Jaime. I love that you are reclaiming your blog. I’ve been thinking about doing the same thing. I’ve missed the very things you do about blogging. One of my fond memories and my introduction to you were those “The Next Chapter” book clubs. I loved reading the book, reflecting on it in a creative way in my blog and then getting to know other bloggers through their responses. It was a catalyst that really took my creative journey and blogging to a new level. I also enjoyed the Wishcasting Wednesdays. Time is so limited for me these days working a full-time day job while nurturing my online community and developing new content. For my own happiness, I may follow your lead and spend a little time here and there on my personal blog.
Thanks for the inspiration. I think you are awesome!
Thanks, Kathryn! I love that we’ve shared those experiences together. What a blessing to have been part of that time and space in the blogosphere. I am forever grateful for that. May you follow wherever your own happiness leads!
Woohoo! More wonderfulness from Jamie. Love it! I love Sunday nights when your newsletter floats into my inbox from the ether. It lifts my spirit, makes me think outside the box, laugh and altogether sets me up for a great week. Thank you so much Jamie, looking forward to following your blog. Jenn.
Thank you!! Oh, that makes my heart smile knowing you enjoy the newsletter in that way. I am just beaming at you!
I have missed your wishful Wednesday, I wish for you everything you wish your blog to be, and look forward to some great stuff (no pressure!) x
Thank you! And as you wish for yourself, so I wish for you also. ((hugs))
Yay to old-school blogging. I am glad you are back in that way, although I don’t think I was following you back then. Looking forward to reading your “10 things” type posts. Who needs Facebook with all its political negativity anyway?
I love kickin’ it old school when it comes to blogging! Maybe I’ll have to do an official 10 Things You Might Not Know about Me post this week!
wonderful Jamie I remember those blogs as well and miss it I also want to go back to old school when blogging was new and exciting I was on Blog I think I followed you when you wee also on Blog Spot or Blogger. Spot. You can see how long I have been following you and in fact that is where I developed by confidence to post my own work I m looking forward to following your blog and maybe you will follow mine. You go girl friend! Joy
What a journey we have been on, Joy! I am just delighted!
I love this, and I love you and your voice! I have been thinking along these lines for quite a while, too. It feels good to see I’m not alone. Thank you for saying this out loud.
Thank you, Kim! That means a lot to me :) ((hugs))
I love the kind of blogging you described, Jamie. The more personal ones. My favorite right now is a friend’s personal blog which is about her daily life. She has really captured a way of describing her every day in such an interesting way. I myself have wanted to do a blog but have feared not being good enough too. You ARE someone I aspire to be more like so maybe through your reclaiming your blog, you will encourage me and others like me to create their own. I can’t wait!
I really do hope this inspires you to make your own blog, Tracy. I am absolutely cheering you on! Thank you for cheering me on too!
Soooooo glad you are back and you’re taking your blog back Jamie! It should not be any other way!!😍
Thank you! Me too :)
Thank you so much for this Jamie, You won’t lose me. I’m so glad you are doing this. The blogs I love are those that are written from a place of truth, where were a allowed to see the person and not just a polished product. I want my blog to be that way too.
And thank YOU! I’m surprised how much this feels like both an act of courage and absolutely natural, lol. Knowing that you’ll still be reading inspires me!
Oh! I´m at the exact same spot! Going back to “me” which in turn, led me back to you. Happy blogging my dear. :)
Look at that timing. Isn’t it just perfect! Here’s to coming back to ourselves.
Huzzah, Jamie! Looking forward to hearing about your everyday adventures, whether taking a walk through Toronto or making pasta. Oh, and too many cat pictures.
Yay!! Thank you so much. That gives me a boost for making this change!
i look forward to it. I personally hate curated Instagram accounts of perfection and blogs full of list posts telling me what I need to do next… I adore photos of everyday moments of life and beauty, hearing the behind the scenes stuff and understanding the person who is blogging. Xxx
Thanks for sharing your perspective and encouragement, Deb!
Jamie, I love you for your integrity. You are a beacon of inspiration and authenticity. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. XOXO
Thank you, Annette. I am honoured by your words.
I am excited about sharing in all your moments and interests Jamie. Much love. Angella
Thank you, Angella! ((bighugs))
Jamie, I find your energy and ability to renew yourself so very inspiring. Have found myself in a bit of a creative slump, but following along has kept me in the loop and kept the desire alive. Think September may be a new start. Thank you for your honesty, energy, and great laughter. Susan
Thanks so much, Susan. That really means a lot to me. May September be a renewing force for you! If the desire is alive, the fire is alive. Follow where it leads you!
This is awesome! I actually stopped writng on my blog because I just didn’t feel I had anything to offer…to others. Maybe I need to get back to why I started mine in the first place. Just to tell my story on my journey…for me! Thanks for the inspiration! <3
Thank you so much, Ceanne. I hope this inspires you to take your blog back too! And let me say too that one thing I know for sure is that you have something wonderful to share. You really do.
I love this Jamie!!! I remember the days of memes on blogs… I stopped writing on my blog because it became a chore, and like you, didn’t think anyone wanted to read about my journey. I look forward to you kickin’ old school xx
I don’t comment a ton, but I read your blog because it’s ‘human’ and I so LOVE this one! That’s how I feel about my Instagram. Yes, I want it to be strategic and generate business but I want it to SHOW the world who I am at a deeper, more loving level. I’m happy for you! I think you’ll gain more followers and your business will continue to BLOOM —–because people can RELATE and you are a real, creative, loving soul!! Thank you for writing this! :)
I look forward to your blog … and loads of cat pics … and your photos of flowers, nature, or whatever. I find you very inspiring! I tell all my friends I have a personal lifestyle coach, her name is Jamie. Being retired on a very small, fixed income, they raise their eyebrows and say, “How in the world can you afford one”. LOL. Keep up the brilliant work you do. I adore everything. I love to hear all about your everyday life–the good and the not so good. You have made a difference in my life; and, I thank you.
Jamie, I am always so appreciative of all that you do and share and so personally and full of JOY. Not sure though how to find your blog. will the newsletter have the link to it. Maybe I missed it. Don’t want to miss your posts. Lots of love as always susanJOY In australia
I absolutely love this post Jamie and I have felt the same. I took my sites offline for a few months just to revamp and I came to the same realization. I just want to share me and not have to be pigeon-holed into some time of “brand.” Thank you for putting this into words and letting me know I am not alone. *hugs*