Maybe a better title for this post would be “In Which I Attempt to Explain My Absence.” Because there isn’t one Big Reason why I haven’t posted in the last month. (I cringed as I typed that.) The thing is, about a month ago, I was hard at work writing guest posts for other blogs in order to widen my reach and attract new readers, so it was a really dumb time for me to drop off the face of the earth.
One of those guest posts was on one of my favorite topics, the gut-brain axis, and was published on Sarah in Shape. The other was about surviving college as an introvert–maybe not my favorite topic but definitely one in which I have a lot of experience–and it appeared over on Mostly Morgan. I had a lot of fun writing both of these posts and working with both Sarah and Morgan was nothing but a wonderful experience.
However, I did not account for the slight burn-out I would feel after writing both of these posts in the same week, in addition to writing a piece on Truity about the most common mistakes introverts make. Add to that the fact that I am currently taking a class in nonfiction creative writing, and you will see that I have been doing a lot of writing based on my own life lately, which has had the unintended consequence of me not really “feeling it” in the blogging department. But if this had been the only issue, my absence likely would have been about half as long as it was. The other major factor was that, after about two weeks of not blogging, I was hit by an overwhelming thought of “Will anybody care if I stop blogging? Does anyone even read my blog in the first place?”
This, of course, was a terrible path for me to go down mentally. Even though I objectively know that blogs don’t get big over night and some never get big at all, I hate not excelling at things. I was struggling with this even before my unplanned blogging hiatus, and in an attempt to improve my blog stats (page-views, bounce rate, followers, etc.) I was reading a ton of blogs about blogging and trying to figure out how to fix my own blog. And I read a lot of good advice. But a lot of it was not applicable to me. Using Pinterest, for one. I love Pinterest, don’t get me wrong, but I use it primarily for things I’m interested in that are not particularly Worrier-related. Food, clothing, and pretty scenery, for the most part. I’ve tried my hand at some visual art in and image editing in order to make more “Pinable” posts, but it really isn’t my greatest strength nor do I feel like it is what I should be doing. I’m not disparaging Pinterest as a platform or as a tool for attracting people to your posts; I’m just saying that it doesn’t feel right for my blog at the moment.
It’s not just the Pinterest thing either. Lots of advice I read was about adding value to your posts for your readers, whether by way of a printable worksheet, an e-book, or something else, whether for free or for a price. I want my blog to be valuable to others, believe me. But at this point in time, I don’t know what on earth I would make a worksheet for. “Ten Ways to Procrastinate on Writing Your Essay”? A checklist for how many meals of the day you ate oatmeal for? “How to Resolve that You’ll Stay in on a Friday Night and Then Go Out and Party Anyway”?
I don’t feel like I’m “together” enough to be providing that much advice to my readers. At most, I feel like I can offer up my own experiences for other people to relate to (or not) and things that have helped me that could (maybe, possibly) help others (or not).
Right now, I’m feeling more OK with that idea, but I wasn’t for the last month or so. This is not exactly a true “lifestyle blog,” so maybe I shouldn’t be comparing myself to lifestyle bloggers and their vases of tulips and mint green fingernails, but I can’t help myself. And even though I talk about food a lot, either because I love it or because of it’s relation to the microbiome and the gut-brain axis, I am not even remotely a food blogger. But I am still envious of Instagrams of avocado toast (when I can’t justify the expense of an avocado) and farmer’s market hauls.
This blog has elements of a health or wellness blog, but you won’t find any pictures of me doing yoga on a beach (because I am mediocre at yoga and far, far away from any beach) or guides to juice cleanses. Also, being Healthy has been a source of anxiety for me for a long time. I capitalized Healthy on purpose to separate what I’m talking about to being literally healthy, as in not being at abnormally high risk for any diseases nor being overweight. The kind of Healthy that I’ve always struggled with is the Health that means having a slender waist, lightly toned muscles all over, shiny hair, white teeth, clear skin, a clear mind, and a stomach full of leafy greens and lean protein. Especially since beginning my microbiome research (both for personal interest and for an independent study I’m doing this semester), I feel very guilty when I eat anything made with white bread or refined sugar. I am really afraid of getting too wrapped up in maintaining or controlling my diet too rigorously. Eating is something that has always been a bit of an OCD trigger for me, so I’m wary of getting too particular about my food intake in any way, be it volume, quality, or something else.
I don’t know exactly how to categorize my blog; it doesn’t seem to fit one niche. “Mental health” is probably the best fit, but even that seems off to me.
So, for now, I’m choosing to be happy with this blog as it is and growing it as organically as possible, taking the advice that I think fits me and saying “No thank you” to what doesn’t.