Christmas came. Christmas went. January 1st came and went. The boys got sick. Zach got sick. I got sick. Lots of laying around was happening. Lots of thinking, reading, and praying. It's been a very introspective couple of weeks and I'm so thankful for it. I tend to fill my days up with so much stuff that I never get the chance to sit and think. Sometimes my thoughts can be a scary place and so I try to distract myself and keep myself busy so I don't have to be alone with them. But once the habit of social media and senseless scrolling has been broken, it's easy to forget about that distraction and just give in to your thoughts. So that's what I did. I gave in. I thought. And then I thought some more. The main thing that's been rolling around in my mind is something that I pushed away a few months ago. I began to wrestle with it at The Influence Conference, but once I came home, I got wrapped up in other things and pushed it out of my mind. But the break from distraction has forced me to deal with the fact that I've started to question my purpose and intent with what I do on the internet.
The thing is, I never really wanted to be a "blogger", persay. Writing is a therapeutic outlet for me. I know that I'm a gifted writer and the fact that my words have reached so many people is just so humbling and so incredible. But "blogger", I am not. Writer, yes. And there is a difference. There are so many successful and uber popular bloggers that cannot string a sentence together. I'm actually kind of in awe of how they've gained such a following when their grammar is second grade, at best. I have a lot of thoughts on it, but I'll keep them to myself. The point is, I've never thought to myself, "Man. I really want to be a popular and successful blogger." It's always been about writing for me and for the past few years, blogging has been my outlet.
But with the popularity that comes from internet obscurity comes the need to be "liked", the need to be the most popular, to have high stats, to make money, to be viewed as a "somebody". When did I start caring about that? When did I start thinking of myself as a "somebody" and when did I start feeling the pressure to put out content to make people happy? When did I start letting criticism shape the things that I write about? When did my writing become about what other people wanted, rather than what's on my heart? I'm not sure when things started to change. But they did and I don't like it.
I've spent the last month or so checking my motives and praying through this process. I'm not quitting the internet, by any means, but there are a lot of changes coming. For one, I'm stepping away from sponsored posts. These have been my main source of income the past six months, but they're a lot of work and they distract me from writing about things that I really want to be writing about. They consume too much time and too much brain space, so for the time being, I'm going to be saying "no" a lot more. It's scary to walk away from that income, but I know it's the right thing to do.
Another thing I'm going to be doing is more comment moderation and less apologies and explanations to people who don't like what I have to say. Ya'll. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone. Everyone and their mom. And their grandma. And their sister's cousin's best friend's sister. They say I shouldn't do sponsored posts, it's tacky to include affiliate links, why can't I write about this, why didn't I include 4,052 explanations in that 300 word post, I shouldn't write about my marriage so openly, I say too much, I don't say enough. BLAH.
I can't win. No matter what I write, I can't win. Someone gets offended at something, or their feelings get hurt, and then I question whether or not I should be writing on the internet at all. Not because I think I'm wrong in what I write, but because it's mentally draining to have to explain myself and cater to hurt feelings all day long.
I'm taking a new approach to writing : It's not my problem if your feelings are hurt. I never intend to offend or hurt and those that have followed me for any amount of time know that. I'm kind. And I write kind words. I know I'm not a sugar coater, and I say things bold and unapologetically, but that doesn't negate the kindness. I am for moms. I'm a champion for moms. I fight for healthy marriages, healthy families and loving homes. Every single thing I write is with the intention of relieving the pressure of motherhood and encouraging women to be the best version of themselves, right where they are. There's no way I can make every single post apply to every single person. I can't. And I won't try. It's not even possible. I appreciate when my readers share with me that something bothered them, but I can't make apologies for what I write anymore. It takes up too much of my time that could be spent writing more things for other people to get offended at. Seriously though, I'm so sick of walking on eggshells all the time because God forbid I have an opinion that isn't shared with 100% of the world. I will no longer apologize for what I write unless I really think it was something unnecessarily offensive and trite. Otherwise, here's a tissue, maybe tomorrow you'll like what I have to say. If not, well. I'm not sure what you want me to do about it. It is what it is. I write what I write. If I wrote to with the intention of pleasing every person that reads my words, this blog would be super boring.
The last big thing that's not really change so much as an addition, is that I've finally created a space for my writing that doesn't fit on this space. When at Home has such a broad audience and after almost three years of blogging here, I've learned what works and what doesn't work. I want to respect my readers and what most of you are here for, so I've kept back a lot of my writing because it just doesn't fit. But now I have a place for all of the misfit writings. Poems, short stories, devotions, and more faith based writing. All the things that have completely flopped on When at Home will be shared on my other site : www.kristenlavalley.com YUP. My name has a domain and I think that's pretty cool. There's not much to the blog yet, but big picture : I want to get published this year and have an actual real book deal and creating a domain from my name is a step somewhere in that process. I'm excited. Feels good. Feels right. Follow me over there if you feel so inclined and we'll see where it goes.
So to sum things up : I'm checking my motives, stepping back from the pressure to make a billion dollars, walking away from the criticism that shapes my writing, and channeling my non mom blog writing to a different site.
I love you all. Have an amazing weekend!