Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Time for a reset

Last week I celebrated my birthday.  Just a regular old birthday--no balloons, no fanfare.

Last year, on the other hand, I celebrated a big time birthday.  A milestone.  The big 5-0.

To be honest, turning 51 is a lot less exciting than turning 50.  All that fanfare was fun.  But turning 51 is a whole lot more like my real life than turning 50 was.

Real life, as it turns out, is not so much about the big, alert-the-media events as it is about the ordinary, everyday stuff.

This non-milestone birthday has prompted me to do some deep thinking about my blog.  I started blogging back in 2007.  I knew of only one other person who blogged.  I wrote a few posts, but then life got in the way and I stopped.

I re-started blogging in 2009.  By that time I'd read several other blogs and found them to be helpful and encouraging.  That inspired me.

To be helpful and encouraging.  That's exactly what I wanted.

And I loved it.

So long as my focus was on being helpful and encouraging, I was free--free to be my true self, to make Imparting Grace an extension of my home and my heart.  Sort of a front porch with a lot more places to sit than I'd otherwise have.

Over time, though, the blogosphere changed.  Suddenly there were hundreds of thousands of blogs, and thousands of those were so much better than my blog.  They had professional-quality photos, exciting headlines, streamlined sidebars.  I was amazed and a little intimidated by them.

I knew I needed to get with the times or be left behind in the dust.  So I made some changes, joined some networks, hired some expert help.

The problem is that somewhere along the way, the idea of making my blog a success became more important than my original intention of helping and encouraging.

Honestly, having a successful blog is not a bad thing.  I now know lots of highly successful bloggers, and they're great people.  I rejoice with them.

But for me, the lure of success ended up being a tool in the hands of the enemy of my soul.  "If you're successful, you'll be able to help and encourage so many more people!" he whispered.  "You're just enlarging your platform so that you can do more good in the world!"

That sounded plausible.  And maybe there's some truth in there. But the more I got wrapped up in striving to be a successful blogger, the less satisfaction I found in blogging.  What was once a source of pleasure became a source of pressure.

I've decided that I need to go back to my front-porch approach to blogging.  My original intention was to impart grace to my readers.  Simply trying to help and encourage was good for me, and I hope it was good for you, too.

Blogging has brought me all kinds of opportunities, but what I value most is that blogging has brought me the opportunity to get to know people.  Strangers have become friends, and friends have become family.  And every single one of you is more than welcome here on my front porch.  Y'all come and sit a spell, won't you?

I'll be here, being my true self.  We'll share what we've learned and what we're learning.  And if I can be helpful and encouraging to you, I'll count that plenty successful.

What about you?  Do you ever need to stop and re-evaluate whether what you're doing is reflective of who you truly are?


Kathy Olson said...

I love you and your blog! Don't ever stop- it would leave a void. I love reading about your daily life, family, and home!

Sandy A said...

I have read your blog for quite awhile--probably since you started. It is beautiful, helpful and encouraging! You don't need to change a thing. I read blogs for ideas and just because they are pretty to look at. But the ones I take the most from aren't the slick and professional--although they are beautiful to look at--but I could never take their ideas and remake them in my home. I hope you will continue with decorating ideas in your posts along with your desire to impart Grace within Blogland...

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

I went through this in March and I am going through it again.

I think we all get caught up in the Rat Race that Blogging can become....joining one more party, copying one more project that a favorite blogger has shown, trying to use what everyone else is using and do what everyone else is doing.

It can happen easily and I feared it was happening again for me so I have again stepped back....reduced my posts and now I also have reduced the parties I link up to because I would rater spend that time visiting Bloggy friends!

Blogging has changed but our own blogs will always remain what we want them to be,,,,,


Rita C. said...

Refreshing, to say the least. Just be true to yourself. I could not be anyone but me.- and would not want to be.

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

I really enjoy your blog and you being you. I try to just be me and learn from everyone around me, and that is the fun part of blogging for me.

Sonny Gianetti said...

Blogging , for me, has lost much of is appeal and I'm sad to say its due to thecommercialiaion of what was once a joyful sharing place. as with all things it got taken over by the , what I call., penny a click syndrome and soon after it wasnt a penny anymore- it was ALL each and every one could get and then some- though they still smile broadly and speak about it feeling ike family.. thats rich:(( it is what it is and what it is ,STRICKTLY business and many expert self promoters who while they mmay not lie- do skirt the truth to get just ONE MORE CLICK.. The unabashed self promotion of SOME blogs is nauseating and I have removed them from my blog roll. I wouldnt want someone of that calaber in my real life and I surely dont have to tolerate them here, where I come to smile and share..
I have not found anything offensive here and if you touch on a topic I dont care for I just move on..
Do what brings you real joy,, and nothing else but. Life is Short.

Debby Ray said...

Richella, you know I have only been doing this for such a short time, what I say may not mean much. You were one of the first blogs I started following and you were there in all of your sweetness to welcome me into Blogland. Whatever you choose to do...however you change or don't change it up...you have to do what you feel led to do. I never started my blog for any other reason only as a creative outlet for my photos after my eyesight had been restored. I only wanted to be encouraging but at first I felt so much pressure about my posting. When it started stressing me out, I know I needed to re-think why I was doing it and the Lord showed me there really shouldn't be any pressure if we are just trying to encourage one another. You do what you feel you need to do...and whatever it is, I will be following :) You just never know, I might trek on down I-85 and come visit you on that porch of yours!

Debby Ray said...

Oh, and I totally agree with Sonny, too,

Cathy's World said...

I started a blog. Then, that was it. I wrote a few posts and thought, this isn't for me. That is not to say that I don't read them. OH, I read them. I came across your blog today at the Tuscan Home. I love Liz. I find your blog to be refreshing. I can't wait to read some more.

The fact that you add HIS name to posts makes it even better. I hope you don't stop. I am excited to read more


Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I could have written this myself! I have written only a handful of posts this year that weren't my weekly link party (which is really just a cut and paste formula). It was hard at first to step back and worry about "falling behind," but now I'm so glad I did. I don't feel as pressured any more; I feel more creative! Young House Love posted something very similar recently!! We're not alone. If we feel this way, imagine how the mega-bloggers must feel. I feel like every post I read is a commercial sponsored post (I do them too!).

Susan Jeffries said...

Thank you so much for such a heart felt post. I love blogging and reading blogs, but so many are no longer the blogs that I used to enjoy! Thank you for staying true to your calling of encouragement, there is no greater success than being faithful in what we are called to do! Blessings.

kristinwithani said...

Yes! This is pretty much why I have barely blogged this summer. I never wanted a successful blog per se. A friend told me she was praying my blog would become famous and I asked her to stop praying that. I just stopped enjoying blogging. At first I felt like I needed to apologize but now I'm back to just wanting to write when I want to or feel I have something to say/share. I like your new/old direction. :-) I still want to sit on your front porch....

Valerie said...

Dear Richella,
I struggle with this all the time. I have a very small blog. Only 29 followers. It is hard to find the time to write every week. I love writing...just wish I had more time to lend to it. I love your 'front porch' and your encouraging posts. Blessings and Sunshine, Valerie

Shenita @ Embellishments by SLR said...

Richella, this is such a refreshing post! You know how much I enjoy your blog; and I agree with you. I only post when I really have something that I would like to share. I don't feel the pressure to push out a certain number of posts per week; and I have gone a couple of months without a peep. That's the beauty of having your own blog. It's yours and you can do with it as you please.


Sounds perfect, Richella.


At The Picket Fence said...

Oh how I LOVE this post sweet friend and relate to every word! It's so easy to get swept along isn't it? But my original goal in blogging was the same as yours and still is. I want to be encouraging and to share my faith and to leave people feeling better after being around me/my blog. I hope you know though, that every time I've ever been over here I have had grace imparted to me. That's been a constant for sure! :)

Zuni, Chickadee Home Nest said...

Hi, Richella. I "found" you not so long ago (maybe less than a year?) and enjoyed your posts and joined your parties, but this summer I grew tired of what became almost a have-to--getting frequent posts out there. I tried to make the Blogher "quota" of a weekly post for at least 3 months, and that turned out to not be very fun. My goal when I started blogging (and didn't know about growing my blog, or getting followers, etc.) was simply to share my love of home and family with other like-minded women, and here it was becoming a chore. All this to say I completely understand where you are right now...keeping a clear head about our own purpose, as opposed to keeping up with others is important. My best wishes in your reset. :) ~Zuni

Sue said...

Such a spot on post RIchella. I have read blogs for quite some time now, but find it harder and harder to find ones that I like. Most are just ads or posts for ads, and frankly, yuk. How nice that some can make a lot of money from their blogs, and if that's what they want and if people want to read it, that's great.
I still prefer real blogs, about real people and real houses that Home Depot didn't sponsor. It truly isn't because I think those things are bad, it's just not want I want to spend my very precious time reading.

I have opted out of TV this year, and I am trying to wean myself from all "ad" blogs. i just want real people, real homes, and real lives. This is what I loved about blogging in the beginning.

You are doing just fine!

maggiegracecreates said...

I love coming here --- I like the feel that this really is your home and your family and your life. I am re-evaluating so much in my life right now. I applaud your decision. I'll be right here - cheering you on.

Terri said...

Good Word!! And.... I love your blog!!!

Cynthia said...

Richelle I really love and appreciate this post. It really touched my soul and makes me remember why I started. Not that my blog is any means important to many. It is important to me and I just wanted a platform to share in my love of decorating and doing things in my home. The love of my pups, husband and food. I guess the grass isn't always greener on the other side, perhaps???


Patti said...

I relate very well to this post because I just came back to blogging today after 2 years. I stepped away for several reasons, but my recent pull to come back is my intention to help touch others in whatever small way I can. I love to see through the eyes of other people. I became disappointed in a filter that I kept seeing woman use to make their lives seem 'perfect'. A felt the Blog world was becoming a place to envy, and compete with. I was seeing woman worshiping each other rather than the one we are all created to worship. But here I am back again....and so happy to see that you're still blogging! :-) I look forward to following along...

Maria Elena said...

Happy late birthday! Your porch looks gorgeous. I have always admired it. Big hug, Maria

Susan Shull said...

Thanks for this post, Richella! I haven't been feeling it much this summer and wonder if the world needs one more post from one more blogger-me! Time will tell. Thanks for hosting your party so faithfully!

NanaNor's said...

Hi Richella, Great post-I totally understand your feelings. While I started mine to share with family and friends and shine my faith, I remember getting caught up with the numbers. I follow many blogs that have well over two hundred readers-and I couldn't figure it out. Plus it takes almost all day to just read the intro to a post and not the whole thing. I'm glad you are going back to what you began blogging for-it will touch many, including me(you always do).

Carol said...

I totally get where you are coming from, Richella. I've never been a "for profit blogger," and I'm so glad that I've not been lured in by that. I absolutely understand why some bloggers go that route and more power to them. I really enjoy visiting your blog, and I know that you are always going to respond if I leave a comment & even visit my blog before I join any parties. That makes me feel good and like we are actually friends. I decided some time last year that I was putting myself under too pressure to write several posts a week, & I stopped. I write one per week at the most, and find that I really enjoy it so much more. So, sweet lady, be true to yourself. I would love to come sit for a spell on your front porch! Oh, and Happy Be-lated Birthday! You are still just a young chick!

Debi T said...

Richella ~ I totally understand where you are coming from. I have only been blogging a few short months and I can already relate to what you are saying. I love writing and sharing with others. I love to decorate and share with others the "how to's" of what I love to do. But I have found that many times I feel the urgency to get something great online - To get a certain amount of posts on my site each week - making what I love to do sometimes feeling a bit overwhelming.Everything I read told me to be a successful blogger I needed to post frequently. So many others were posting daily and I was having trouble getting 3 posts a week together.! Working full time didn't help.I talked it over with the Lord and after a bit of reflection, I came away with the knowledge that I can post whenever I am able. Be true to what I love and who I am - not try to be a "super blogger". What load it lfted off of my shoulders. It was so refreshing to open your post today to see that someone else feels the same way I do and as I read over your comments I find so my others feel the same way. I feel like we are a "family" of people who blog because they love to share with others. Maybe we should start a special group of like minded bloggers. :-) Thank you so much for your post. You were the first to feature one of my posts and I will never forget the excitement I felt when I found out I had been featured. I will always be a fan. Happy belated birthday and I look forward to everything you have to share.

Dining Delight said...

As evidenced by the many similar comments left here, even with this post, you are being "helpful and encouraging". I agree, do whatever it takes to make blogging feel fun and worthwhile for you. Thanks for sharing your feelings. Happy belated birthday!

Lynne in NC said...

Your blog posts are always something wonderful to look forward to. It is great that you share so much of the real you with us. You do impart grace with your words and photos. I have kept the waterlogue canning jars photo on my desk top -- it is so calming and reminds me of your back porch :-)
I hope you continue to grace us with your encouraging words and lovely photographs as time allows.
Is it tea time, yet?
All the best!

Damjana said...

warm and encouraging, that's the picture I got in a journey through your blog and during our short blogging acquaintance. I'm grateful for your today's words, they will follow me and remind me on my way forward. I wish you a lot of heartwarming moments on your further blogging journey. See you again, I'll keep reading your blog. :)

stoneleafandcompany.com said...

Richella, You have touched on a topic that I have struggled with this year. The purpose of my blog and just who am I writing for anyway? I almost decided to stop writing altogether. I worried that not enough people were reading etc. A sweet blogger friend pointed out to me that if the amount of people who were reading my blog actually came to my house it would be enough. Put in perspective, our blogs only need to reach the intended audience that God has for us. That helped me get over my stats! I decided to be me and write what is on my heart to write and not worry about the rest. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and for being you. I have loved your blog ever since I found you.Not because of the design or sidebar, but because I could see your heart. I don't comment often, and I don't even make it over everyday, but you are one of the few blogs that I have followed faithfully!

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