I’ve long called my writing genre “stay-at-home yogi.”
This isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy sharing random musings, or writing for various media outlets where I find that it’s best to share these said random musings. But.
But I’m here to offer today that, as writers, we should have an intention for our blogging.
This was recently made all the more clear to me when a reader asked that I consider writing not about motherhood for a change, but about money. Um, no—and bwahahaha! to anyone who knows me in the slightest.
And this also isn’t to say that it’s not easy to fall into this trap of blogging about everything that comes to our minds. After all, blogging is exciting and social media is exciting—especially when it seems that people are really beginning to listen.
I, too, have been guilty of over-blogging.
To be fair, this assessment of my past as a writer and my future of a writer has become easier to appreciate, since I’m currently in full-time Mommyland mode and, for one, being more particular about what I take the time to share on a public platform and, for another, having larger pieces of writing in production (i.e. books) has encouraged me to fully understand how blogging can—and should—be used to further our other writing pursuits—and this is what I’d like to discuss here.
I came into blogging as a natural evolution from journalism.
Reporting for a newspaper doesn’t mean globe-trotting and digging into top-secret stories. Often, it means covering whatever the writer is assigned.
Still, I became appropriately fascinated with news, covering current events and, later on, I found that blogging meant being able to put my own spin on it all (whereas good journalism should contain no personal sway).
However, writers who aren’t focusing on journalism—which is usually the case with blogging—should have a more focused goal for themselves—and a focused genre.
So I’ll use my own example—my “stay-at-home yogi.”
The shortened story is that I was primarily a yoga teacher-slash-writer until having children and moving away from my mother, who watched my kids when I taught.
I saw this move, separation and lack of help coming and began, initially, to write a yoga column for the same newspaper where I was reporting. Then, I gradually shifted into online writing and away from the newspaper scene entirely.
Presently, I consider myself to be primarily a writer and, of course, a mom.
I’m also no different from most writers in that I prefer writing about what I know—which is still my yoga practice and teachings, my children, my life as a parent and my life as a writer and blogger.
My ultimate goal, if I’m being more honest here than I’d actually prefer, is to write books and use my blogging to gain audience for them. (I’m old-fashioned and really find it ideal to shift away from living in front of a computer screen—and books provide this lifestyle with much more practicality.)
Point: my blogging should support my goal as a writer, and I should have a targeted audience with an intended purpose for my writing—anything outside of this can and should be privately journaled and not published. (Here, read this.)
And my own intended audience isn’t just women.
No, the lessons I learn as a parent can be made relevant to all, and I’ve found a supportive readership from men as well as from women, in addition to other mothers.
Still, writing about money—as that one reader suggested—doesn’t fit into my writing world that I’m creating—at all.
Four questions to ask ourselves before we hit submit, publish or share:
1. What is the purpose, intention and goal of my writing?
I’ll share mine: to remind everyone—including and especially myself—that life is made up of little, tiny, seemingly inconsequential moments that make up our lives, and that staying present and mindful as we move through them means not missing out on anything. This also means staying present for those less than stellar moments, and much of my blogging pertains specifically to how to deal with these types of stressors (which is where my yoga practice comes in).
2. Why do I want to share this?
Let me be thoroughly honest here: I see a lot of blogging out there right now that makes me question the intention—and the wellness communities that I typically write for are not exempt.
For example, is this writing self-serving to our ego, or is it written to gain sympathy rather than to actually help other people?
In other words, always ask yourself after writing something: is this helpful to others or is this more of a rant that can be saved for my own privacy?
3. How is social media supporting my writing?
Speaking of over-sharing, there’s also Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc to consider, especially as a blogger.
These types of social media can absolutely be used to further advance a writer within a specific genre and towards a wider audience with a specific goal.
Personally, I’ve found both Instagram and my Facebook author page to be great places to connect with readers, while staying inside of the framework of what I find appropriate to share from my life and myself.
4. What is my ultimate goal as a writer?
Now, this can be a hard one, as writers definitely should write because we can’t not write. Meaning, we write because it sets us on fire and the words come and we can’t stop them. But—there’s that but again—as a published writer, where do you see yourself?
As I’ve shared, I see myself as a book author who blogs a bit to stay in touch with the world.
Maybe you see yourself as a yoga teacher who supports and supplements with yoga blogging too.
Ask yourself these questions and if the answers are foggy, then spend time pinning down specifics.
The way that I see blogging and writing is more than a hobby. Writing, for me, is a career.
Because it’s difficult to take a writer seriously who doesn’t take herself seriously. It’s also challenging to find an audience if no one knows what to expect when a new piece goes up. More, blogging is an ideal platform for those of us with many interests and who enjoy quick bursts of creativity—like, ahem, a stay-at-home yogi.
And being a mom has taught me more than I ever could have expected about being a writer.
It’s reminded me of what’s truly important in life, and it’s forced me to reign it in and publish only what is really important for my career because I simply don’t want to make the time to write everything anymore, not with two little kids and one chance to be mom.
Ironically, this blog is a little bit of everything on this subject—but my goal and intention here is to open up some discussions between writers and the blogging community as a whole, because this is the reality of being a writer in this modern age.
Self-publishing, blogging and connecting with readers on social media are ginormous parts of the life of a writer who wants to share her work in a public manner.
Still, the writers that I keep coming back to read again and again are those who give me insights into myself by sharing little snippets of their own discoveries, whether fictionally or not.
After all, we are not writers because we are gifted with words; we are writers because we are gifted with observation.
Photo: Flickr/Drew Coffman.