Thursday, March 28, 2013

Building an Arena

The world of blogging is really weird and the subdivision of Mommy Blogging is downright wacko.  I can say this because I am one of these freaks, so I can use that term with love.  Why would I use the word "freaks" to describe the women of the Internet, myself included, who take time out of our already busy schedules as mothers to plunk down in front of a computer and spend hours pondering, analyzing, creating, and publishing content about our life and family to share with millions of strangers?

Because it's crazy, that's why.

When I really take a moment to step out of my own skin and look from the outside at the why/how/when/what of my role as a blogger, it makes me shake my head a little.  Do I love it?  Yup.  Am I happier when I am producing current, relevant, quality content?  Absolutely!  Do I thrive on the positive feedback and feel crushed by the negative?  You betcha!

Wait.  Uh oh.

That's a problem, see.  As someone who already struggles with using approval as a motivating factor that guides my life, this is something that can really be a trap for me.  When I see my comment number climb higher and higher, my self-esteem follows suit.  But when a post I labored over for days with more effort than some women require to birth a child yields the dreaded ZERO comments, I feel betrayed, worthless, and unloved.  Clearly, if the Internet doesn't find me fabulous.....well, then the "real world" must feel similarly.

I'm pretty sure there was a pretty smart dude by the name of Paul who wrote about the dangers of seeking the approval of men/women/mommy bloggers over the opinion of God.  Ok, so maybe the scripture didn't specifically mention mommy bloggers, but it certainly pertains to me!  :)

So I need to work on this.  Now, let's be clear.  I'm by no means saying anything like "Stop commenting so I can work on my soul!"  I like comments.  Comments help me understand what is and what isn't working in terms of my topics, tone, and relevancy.  They are like the compass the guides the direction of my focus on the blog.  Without them, I would have no idea if what I was writing was flopping or scoring, so please keep writing them.

What I need to think about on a more personal level is how much weight I am putting on the opinions and approval of others, both in my "real life" relationships and my online ones.

With that in mind, I have been wrestling recently with what direction I want to take Arena Five.  I'm certainly not a big name blog with millions of hits every month or even a moderately sized blog with thousands of hits each day.  Do I want to try to grow?  Yes, I think so.  Do I want to start hosting ads to earn revenue?  Not sure yet.  Or perhaps it would be better to stop trying to keep biggering and biggering.  It didn't work out so well for the Once-ler.

(Sorry, the kids watched The Lorax recently.)

Heck, at this point I'm not even sure exactly what kind of Mommy Blog it is that I write!  I write about my goofy kids a lot, but I've also become a scrapbooking blog and (much to my surprise) a fashion blog!  To a certain extent, I've even started venturing into the realm of the spiritual blogging as well.  So, where do I fit?

Gracious mercy.  I feel like a young teenager trying to find a spot at the high school cafeteria table all over again.  Do you stick to the familiar and go sit with your small little group of friends you've known since elementary school or do you throw caution to the wind and land at the large group of popular girls in the hopes that they will actually turn out to be pretty amazing and welcome you into their fold as well? 

And now I've broken out into a cold sweat and feel a strong urge to listen to something by Destiny's Child.  Creepy.

Yes, we freaks of Mommy Blogging can be a real flock of odd ducks, but at the end of the day we have something important to say.  Sometimes it's just a rant about how the baby used his poop as paint, but even that can remind a reader on the other side of the computer screen that their frustrations that day were not unique and that we are in this together.  Reading a blog could bring a much-needed smile, a burst of encouragement, a laugh, or even an introduction to a Savior. 

I'm going to keep going.  I'm going to keep writing.  I'm not sure yet what direction to steer the course, but I trust it will become clear.

As long as you tell me in the comments.

Joking.  (Sort of.)

Love you!

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