It is the new year. All of us get to turn a new leaf. Full of hopes and resolutions we can begin another 365 days of living. Another 365 days of belly laughers, broken promises, tears of happiness and sleepless nights. Another year of ups and downs. Isn’t that the beauty of life? The ebb and flow will take us into all sort of directions. This year and the next. Until we reach the grand finale. Some things we can plan. Other things will surprise us. I know about this unpredictability of life. I have experienced it first-hand. Yet I like to take the time each December to reflect on the months gone and the months to come. I take stock of what went well and how I can improve. (I also draw up a list of resolutions that I know I likely won’t complete, but that comforts me nonetheless.) This year I had one more thing to consider. A new aspect of my life. My blog.
I love the space I have created on the internet. I l love the accountability it attaches to my creativity. I love the community it embeds me in. And I love the memories I get to carefully curate. But I don’t love the marketing that can come with blogging. This is not because I don’t how to do it. I work in digital marketing, so I know all the tricks in the book. Google likes frequent and consistent updates, keyword research and (internal) linking. Followers like an active social media presence, easily digestible content and a polished image. Some of my favourite bloggers follow these rules. Others don’t. But what I love about all the blogs I frequently return to is that the humans behind them stay true to themselves. With or without a marketing strategy their content radiates authenticity. I can feel the love and passion that goes into these blogs. Each and every post. I have written before that I have no intention of following the marketing rules of blogging. Yet unwittingly some of the rules have influenced my blogging in the last couple months. I have created posts for the sake of creating posts. And I have created posts that I am not proud of.
The best and the worst
Some of the shoddy posts that have adorned my blog in the last couple of months are:
10 shocking facts about plastic – I am adding nothing new to the table here, not even a personal touch.
Edinburg: the ultimate vegan travel guide – I liked this idea, but my execution was lazy.
5 areas in the body that can hold stress – I am not sure what I am trying to say here.
But there are also a lot of posts that I am extremely happy with:
Why less is more– I eloquently raise some difficult questions here rather than trying to answer them.
Why brown rice is healthier than white rice -This is a well-researched post.
A lesson in surrender (November in a nutshell) – I like the personal story, offering insights into my anxiety.
Question everything. Learn something. Answer nothing.
Why do I like the latter posts so much? It is because they a) are carefully and diligently researched, or b) they raise questions instead of answering them, or c) they tell a story about my life. These are the posts I want to make. The posts that I look back on proudly. The posts I would want to read myself. So instead of filling my blog with more easy content in the hope it will grow quicker, I want to upload less frequently. Less frequently, but more intentionally. I want to master the art of proposing a question, rather than offering trivial solutions. Not because solutions don’t matter, but because questions enlighten. So I am abandoning my ‘3 posts a week’-rule. (Yup, I did secretly follow a ‘marketing’ rule.) I want to write to improve my writing and want to post when (and only if) I feel proud of an article. When I do offer advice, it will be thoroughly researched with the benefit of the reader in mind. I know this will attract fewer readers. But I hope it will also attract more intentional readers. A community of thinkers and questioners. Because as Rilke said it best:
“I beg you to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
2019 will be about living the questions.