Direction {or lack there of}

I’ve been blogging since 2005…that’s seven years. For seven years now, I’ve been blogging…and I love it, but sometimes I do get a little sad over the direction my blog has taken. It’s not that I’m not happy with my readers and the community I’ve built because I am, more than anyone could possibly know. I love the people that I’ve “met”, the connections I’ve made…the feeling I get when I write something that hits home to someone. I love that. But when I started blogging seven years ago, I looked at those huge bloggers that really made a name for themselves and I wanted to achieve the same kind of Internet greatness.

I feel really lame admitting that, but it’s true. I’ve never confessed that before. I’ve always said that I’m happy to be a low key blogger, and that is also true; I am happy being who and what I am. I don’t think I’d handle trolls very well.

But…I’d be flat out lying if I said that I didn’t sort of dream of becoming one of those “big time bloggers” that makes a profit off their blog. I never had these feelings until I became pregnant with Nolan. I wanted to help provide for my family and still stay at home with my baby. I think that’s where all my desire to make money off my blog comes from…I simply want to bring in some extra money for our family. I want to help provide, and since I’m not able to go out and get any old job I have a dream of “making it” in the blogging world. How cool would it be to feed my family off my words? Really cool…actually.

In the same breath though, I haven’t really worked extremely hard to do much of anything really. I write posts, I share stories about our life and reflections on things that happen to me, and I’m totally happy doing that. I’m beyond amazed by the followers that I have, by the sense of community that surrounds my blog. But I’ve never really branded before, in fact I’m not even entirely sure what branding is. I don’t know how to reach out to companies to do product reviews. I know that I could do product reviews, I’m very good at selling things if I like the product, but reaching out to the companies is something that intimidates me.

I can pretty much tell you why reaching out to companies intimidates me, and it’s because of her, because she’d get involved in crazy pyramid schemes and harass the living hell out of anybody that came within five feet of her and I’m forever perpetually terrified of harassing people.

But there is a huge part of me that doesn’t even want to “grow” and make money off my blog. I don’t want my blog to become one of those constant review blogs, because then I would feel, yet again, like I’ve lost my platform and my story telling capability.

One thing that I know I’ve always wanted to do is go to Blogher. For seven years, I’ve read all the posts that follow that major conference and seen all my favourite bloggers, all those people I look up to, having the time of their lives. I’d love to go, and meet everyone. I’d love to pass out cards with my blog name and somehow “brand” myself into the direction I wish to take {um, whatever direction that is}. Sometimes I day dream about the day I’ll go, about how awesome it will be and how it will be an amazing experience for me. I could really learn a lot from Blogher, I could quite possibly learn exactly what it is that I want to do and become with this blog.

I try to ignore the crippling anxiety I’d feel in that big of a social situation. I try to ignore how terrifying it would be to go out of the country, to a new city with no familiar surroundings or faces {well, surroundings anyway…I suppose thanks to blogging, Twitter and Instagram several faces will be familiar}.

I would feel so strange though. Everyone else has been blogging under the same alias pretty much consistently since I’ve started…not me though. My blogging platform has seen many changes. Let’s recap, shall we? I started out blogging at Miss Misery Smiles when I was sixteen years old. Then I turned it into Sarcastica with the help from Karen, and that’s where I stayed for a very long time. Sometimes I regret my decision to change Sarcastica into a full out mommy-blog called The Bottle Chronicles but I did and that was done. Sarcastica was laid to rest and not even a year later, so was The Bottle Chronicles when I changed into Notes of Life & Love. That blog didn’t even last a full year either, as I recently changed it to The Fevered Pen and now I’m switching from Blogger to WordPress and it’s all very, incredibly confusing {and I apologize for that}.

I couldn’t tell you why I’ve made so many changes over the last few years…I just get tired of the title not “fitting” me. I’m pretty confident with The Fevered Pen though, as it seems to fit everything I write about. I’m passionate about writing, no matter what the subject is, and I always write with a fevered intensity.

Still though, even though the changes make sense to me I highly doubt everyone else is on the same page and I’d be terrified of going to a big conference and have people say “who are you now? You’ve been blogging for how long? Really? I’ve never heard of you” and really…I’d be the only one to blame for that! I suck at branding, I suck at sticking to a “name”.

One year, I will go. I will force myself to go. Maybe I’ll hide behind my cousin’s skirts, peeking out and only observing for my first year, but I want to go. I’ve been blogging for seven years and if I was going to stop, I would have by now.

Maybe I’ll go on my tenth year of blogging….that gives me plenty of time to figure out how to brand and, well, save to go. Plus the “ten year blogging anniversary” seems pretty big, and I can’t imagine a better way of celebrating it than going to Blogher for the first time ever.

To all you lucky duckies who get to go to Blogher this year, have tons of fun! I look forward to reading the re-cap posts and seeing all the Instagram pictures, even if I’m slightly jealous that I don’t get to go. I wouldn’t want to take away from any of my friends who are going, so please don’t feel the need to not talk about how awesome it is — I truly get it, and maybe one day I’ll get to experience it first hand. 

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  1. I’m kind of on the fence about the whole BlogHer thing. In some ways, I feel like it’s just become one giant popularity contest. At the same time, though, there are some people who go who I’d really like to meet. I suppose I could always organize a road trip and meet everyone some other time (and said trip would obviously include Canada). I don’t know.

    I didn’t think to mention this the other day, but I’ve changed my online brand just as many times as you have. I started off on LiveJournal with Strangling Ivy in 2004, to Trouble Water after becoming obsessed with Kittie, to The Bipolar Cat after my rambunctious cat, moved to WordPress and changed my name to Collective Musings, got my own domain at Perpetual Smile, moved to a new domain called e•liz•a•what, then moved to Elizabeth Barone. I can honestly say that when I moved to elizabethbarone.net last year, it was the first time I started thinking consciously about starting branding and stopping confusing the shit out of my readers. 😀

    Oh yeah, and there was Diary of a Sicky.

    You’re not the only one.

    I should write up a post about branding so I don’t hog your comments section… But anyway, I don’t think it’s too late for you to monetize. I also don’t think you would have to do reviews all the time, or reviews of things you’re not interested in. Take Casey. She only reviews things she actually likes. You could start out with something as simple as book reviews. (There is nothing cooler than getting a book in the mail from someone who wants you to review it, in my opinion.) I don’t think you have to have a direction like “mommy blogging” or “book blogging.” To me, you’re a life blogger — which is awesome because you don’t “have” to stick to the kids or books the way other bloggers would. Your direction could simply be to monetize what you’ve already got going.

    Reply

    1. Ya, that’d be the plan…to review things I actually like. 🙂 Blogher kind is a popularity contest, but they always host it in the coolest places and they do have very educational conferences.

      Reply

    1. Haha plan to go in three years! That’s when I hope I’ll be going…unless we come into money before then haha.

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