Dear Crissy

Supposed former documentation junkie

Yes, my title is a weird play on Alanis Morissette’s 1998 album, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie. Don’t ask, it just came to me.

Sometimes random or clever titles actually scream out to me when I’m writing a blog post, but I’m clear on the pointlessness of cute titles when it comes to SEO, and Pinning, and sharing — which brings me to the point.

Supposed Former Self-Documentation Junkie

I totally miss just giving my blog posts titles that look and sound pretty. I miss writing posts that read like journal entries. I miss writing haphazardly, minus capitalization and punctuation in some cases.

I miss writing and connecting with the eyes and experiences and hearts of the people who come here to read my blog, you know, the one or two or twenty of you who actually have some interest in what I have to say.

Honestly, I feel a little vulnerable for wondering if I still have readers like that, and I hate how much the business of blogging has clouded the original goal here.

Most of the time I feel okay about the mix of content on my blog. I go through these gnawing phases where I feel like I’m going too far, and then I remind myself that I’ve been really, really lucky to turn something I love into something that can also help me pay the bills. The income I generate via my blog is impactful for my family—period.

I can’t help but feel, though, that I can have it both ways. I can do something here that is meaningful for me as a person who is really driven to write and create, and also collaborate with brands in a way that is still true to who I am.

I’m trying.

Blogging has changed so much since I first started writing for an audience when I was 16. I started my first online journal in 1996, and boy, was it awful. It was melodramatic and self-indulgent… wait. You know, it really wasn’t too far off from what I’m doing now.

I went through a long period of exhaustion after having my kids. I didn’t have the energy to focus on my internal life. I didn’t read, I didn’t write (to speak of), and I didn’t make art. When I became a mom, I found new ways to experience beauty. I experienced it every time I looked into the eyes of my children.

I’m getting back to the old me in some ways. I want to take photos again, I want to write, I’m rediscovering the feeling of being lost in a great novel. It feels good.

Writing this post feels good, too. I miss the speed and catharsis of just hammering out a personal post. I’m not going back, and I’m not editing or revising. This post is sappy, and sloppy, and should probably live on the pages of a paper journal, tucked away in some drawer. Probably.

I am making it a personal goal to write more, and to write more honestly. Are you with me?

    32 Comments on “Supposed former documentation junkie”

  1. Atlanta, GA Aug 20 development, integration, testing, and deployment. Deloitte’s SI Capability maintains a strong focus on … DeloitteAs used in this document,

  2. Crissy, I know exactly what you mean. I can’t tell you how many seemingly ingenius titles, well at least in my mind, have been altered all for the purposes of SEO. It is a slippery slope to get the gods of Google to recognize our work with their little bots, but sometimes it just warms the soul to come back and go back to our roots and WRITE. I can’t wait to see what great tales and adventures you have to share, I know I will certainly be reading more!

  3. As a blogger who has been in the review/giveway niche from day one, totally by choice, I can say that I have learned a whole lot in my 3 1/2 years. I don’t regret the path I struck out on, but I have found that it is quite a challenge to take the blog to a very professional place in this niche, and it is darn near impossible to carve out real community when folks expect a chance to win on every single post. No chance to win = crickets, even when thousands of people are subscribed…

    Anyway, whenever I talk about this tension with my husband and talk about how tricky the path is to keep growing, he asks if there are any examples of bloggers who have blazed the trail, and who have this great blend of sponsored content and personal content AND who actually have readers who respond. You are the blogger I point to. What I would give to pick your brain and hear more about how you have done it.

    Thank you for your honest post. But for what it is worth, please know that in the eyes of this blogger, you are a raving success.

  4. Good for you!! I love personal blogs and gettting to know the person. You pour yourself and time in writing. You should do what makes you happy! I’m new to your post, but I like what I’ve been reading.

  5. I have to say, one of the reasons I continue to come back to your blog and not others is because I think you really have struck a nice balance between being personal as well as a professional who is using her blog as a source of income. It’s a really hard balance to find and I don’t think any blogger gets it 100%. But that’s okay. I don’t want to read a perfect person’s blog anyway. (or one written by someone who wants to seem perfect)

  6. I’m with you girl. Personally, I love posts that are from the heart. I too can make a pretty penny blogging and at times I’ve thought of stopping it all together, but then I can’t help but think about all the great things its brought to my family, all the great products I’ve been able to review and the monetary aspect is very hard to just throw away once you’ve established it. But on a personal level, I like reading posts like these more.

  7. DEFINITELY. I miss how personal a lot of blogs used to be, but have been a bit lost for one reason or another. :) I say it’s YOUR blog – write what you want!!!!! :D
    Be BLESSED!!!

  8. I’ve been blogging for almost two years now, and at first it was just to document my journey as a new mom, but now it’s turned into more of a “brand spotlight” blog. It’s hard for me to get inspired to post on my blog sometimes because it’s not what I want it to be anymore. I’m kicking off a new blog in March that will focus more on me and my life, as well as my hometown. I think it’s going to be much more successful, because it’s something I am really excited about.

    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now, and I still love it. I think it’s great that you were successful in turning it into a business to help generate an income with your family. But I must say, I really love reading your memoir posts the most, because I feel like readers can connect with you on a personal level. Whatever you decide to do with your blog from now on, is totally up to you. As long as you blog your happiness, like you said, you should be fine (:

  9. Seems like a lot of us are going through this. I got lost in too many reviews and giveaways and am digging my way back out.

  10. I have been struggling with the same issue for the past few months. I have started blogging what I love and it feels amazing. I remind myself daily that the blog is my domain and I can do and say what I need to on it. Sure SEO and optimization helps but some days it feels good to just post a pretty picture.

  11. I understand the sentiment. I do not follow SEO rules very well which is probably why I only get 500 visitors or whatever god awful low number it might be. I wish there were a happy medium. I suppose for a site like yours who has a fanbase it isn’t so difficult. I am one of the quiet fans. This is my first time commenting. But I thought I’d let you know I appreciate the craftiness in writing over the SEO. Just wish Google did, too. ;)

  12. Hi Crissy,

    Yes I am with you! I actually started reading your blog because of a personal post, so keep em’ coming.
    I haven’t made much money on my blog (yet- finger crossed) but I can already tell I’m not content being just a review/giveaway/sponsored post type of blogger. I love content and plan on writing more. If I feel like I’m barking at a disinterested moon when I get no or few comments? Well, at least I stayed true to myself.
    Keep up the great work. We all strive for that balance!

  13. Definitely! I enjoy your unique view and more personal posts. And, while I also love and enter your giveaways, they are so hugely popular that I often don’t enter, or only do a few entries. I subscribe because I like this BLOG and what I read and the pictures I see here.

    So hey…I’m with ya!

  14. Balance is tough! Good luck! I enjoy reading your blog but I should try to comment more on blogs I read so the writer knows I’ve read and enjoyed! Sorry for the lack of commenting

  15. I’m with you Chrissy. I understand how we can get away from our original goals just by going thru daily life and trying to make it. It’s the time of year that I re-evaluate and find where I’ve gone off from where I want to be. I hope you find yourself and your goal/path that you wish to be on. More power to you for realizing and recognizing that things are not as you wish them to me and making a change. Blessings.

  16. You go girl ……. the best writing (and creation of art) comes from the heart. I am an artist as well, although I never attended college.. ……. I was very much into art as a teenager (in the 1960’s) ….. took private art lessons for a number of years ….. had some of my “works” in local art shows (in Bethlehem, PA) …… from there I got into fashion which was a direct result of my job at the time. After that …. photography ……… and now, some years later …… I am now 62 years old …. I find I express myself the best in my kitchen …. trying to create new recipes. So, I feel…. any way you can express yourself is, in itself, a form of “art” …… although, I must say I miss the smell of linseed oil and turpentine from time to time …….. oh, by the way, I won a Nikon D3100 on one your blog giveaways last summer ……… and, I am once again, getting back into photography!!! I thank you for that ……and, please continue on with your blog …. I do not get to read it every day, but enjoy it when I do ….. your self expression ……. your “art” ……..

  17. I think every blogger goes through phases like this. I started my blog 4 years ago, I think about a year later I started reading yours! That was about the same time I realized I can make some money blogging. I didn’t think it would happen overnight and I’m kind of glad I was very skeptical about generating any income. I definitely had a stint filled with too many sponsors, even though they were ones I truly loved, ones that are true to my blog philosophy of green living. But still, sometimes I just didn’t want to write a review at all, and it becomes work. Right now I’m trying to balance the two as well, really craving just writing what comes to mind, what I am living through as a parent – something others can relate to. At the same time, it is a business that helps us financially. I definitely know what you’re saying! :) I’m sure you’ll figure it out, it’s an ever changing process.

  18. I’m trying to adopt a new mantra: “Honor where you’re at.” I’m trying to apply it in all areas of life, but my blog is really a biggie. If I don’t feel compelled to write, I don’t, if I want to write a sappy post, I write it, if I want in on that big campaign, I’ll go for it. My blog has been through so many iterations of itself as I try to approach the elusive “balance” you mention here (and yes, I’m with you! i want it, too!). I’m not sure I’ll ever really get there, but what I’m getting (I think) is progress, expression, and experience as I try, and as I “honor where I’m at.” If readers follow, then that’s a huge bonus. :)

  19. Crissy, you can make your “people” title whatever you want! Keep your cool pretty titles. Only your search/Seo title and URL matter for search purposes. So just create 2 ! Blog on!

  20. I like it ! Blogs have all become deals and sponsored ads, which I do like, but I enoy the personal touches so much more.

  21. It was a lot more simple and fun when I first started blogging, and the only reason I was doing was because I loved to write. I’ve read article after article about how you should blog. You know, all the rules about SEO, what topics are best, how many words, how to make money — blah, blah, blah. I felt like I forgot how to just write. I’ve been trying to pay less attention to all the rules lately.

  22. Absolutely! I never liked reading blog posts that were ads… yet I totally get why bloggers do it. For what it’s worth, I believe in you. Every minute of the day, we make a decision to keep things the same or to change them. Life is always more interesting than ads, and I’m looking forward to more casual posts. :)

  23. I remember I use to use song titles from The Beatles, whatever title fit my mood at that moment or fit the blog post I was writing. I do miss that. That’s why I still have a personal blog where SEO is thrown out the window.

    I totally get what you’re saying here.

  24. My blog, is basically just for me…but I’ve seen a lot of bloggers feel this way lately. Makes me feel grateful for my small audience and so happy that I haven’t even looked up what SEO means. Yeah, sometimes I wish I had lots of people commenting and goodness I would love to contribute to my family with my blog. But, I read post like this, and I’m almost happy that I haven’t been able to do that so far.
    I love to read real and personal posts from other bloggers. Somehow it makes me feel more connected and sometimes it makes me feel less alone. I think that’s a wonderful goal that you have. :o)

  25. I have only been blogging for one week. Seriously – one week and one day, so I don’t have any way of comparing my own experience. However, I’ve been reading blogs for a number of years, and the best ones (yours included) have a lovely balance of content with personal input from the heart. That’s what makes a great blogger, in my opinion. I like to read someone who not only has something useful to share, but who shares it in a way that I wish they were my neighbor and we could have a cup of coffee together while sharing. I’m making a second pot of coffee this morning because it’s WAY too cold in Florida (34!). Would you like to join me in a cup?

  26. I’m in the process of starting my blog and it’s always in the back of my head to figure out just what I want my blog to be about, you know? I’m still on my journaling site (Livejournal), where I’ve been since a sophomore in high school!! Those are the times where I don’t have to utilize capitalization and like you said, have journal titles that reflect who I am and what I’m currently listening to.

    I really enjoyed this post and wish a lot of bloggers would take the time out, to just be personal sometimes. I was reading an article about a blogger who came across another article, about writing everyday even if the work wasn’t ‘perfect’ that having a ‘done blog post’ is better than a ‘perfect one’ –if that makes any sense at all!

    Sometimes, we all just need to let loose and remember who we are or strive to get back to.

    • That’s so true for me. In most cases, I’m better off just typing a post, publishing, and not going back to fix the errors. When I over think what I’m writing, I end up censoring or even deleting my post completely!

  27. I hear ya!!!!

    I’ve been reading your stuff for a long time and see the transition from you to you being brand friendly. But as a freelance writer, I get it! You are so lucky to have risen from the sea of the millions of family bloggers. Recently I wrote a post about trying to strike this same balance of being true creatively to myself while remaining attractive to those that may want to pay me. It’s really hard. But YOU are doing great. You are an inspiration for many of us. And I think you know that your readers are your first brand.
    Thanks for keeping it real!

    • It is hard! It’s always shifting, too. I guess we just have to stop every once in a while and smell the roses, so to speak, to make sure that we are in fact keeping it REAL! :)

      Thanks so much for reading, Stef.

  28. You have the advantage of being the writer starting a decade ago Crissy! Too many are just starting and have never felt the passion you are talking about-

    • That’s true, I think it’s just totally different for those who started out recently. The internet actually felt really intimate in the late 90’s, I miss that in a lot of ways.

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