Thursday, July 26, 2012

Confession

Tree Frog on my bay window.
Okay, time for a huge confession.
Hold on tight.

See, after four years of studying, applying and teaching about blogging, I'm still scratching my head as much as some of you. Truthfully? Probably lots more than many of you.

I KNOW the value and importance of knowing your focus and sticking with with it. The importance of knowing your readers and writing for them, giving them some kind of take-away value. The importance of all kinds of things... I know. I've taught it in workshops at a conference, online, and even here on my blog and a at least a zillion times in one-on-one contacts.

But.

But the truth of the matter is that after over 800 posts here on this site alone I'm still clueless.

Produce from my garden in one picking.
I don't know my niche. I don't know my focus. I don't even know my readers. Oh sure, I know some of you—but if the numbers are to be believed (and to be honest, I'm even doubting the numbers these days!!) I don't know who even a small fraction of my readers are. So how on earth am I supposed to write for you and offer some take-away value?!?

I've got a few ideas from the trial and error method I use and the feedback and comments I receive—both here on my blog, on Facebook and via emails, but there is no real rhyme or reason, let alone focus to what I do.

That's why, when I'm asked how I've built my site to what it is today, I'm clueless. I can only shrug and admit I don't know. Because I don't!!

During this break I took I thought seriously about posting a poll to find out who my readers are and what they're interested in—I want to be helpful and relevant. I talked about it with my husband, decided to do it, and then held back. There was just something that didn't feel right to me and I'm slowly, ever-so-slowly beginning to listen to that inner hesitancy. I'm glad I did. Here's why...

I started blogging out of obedience, not because I wanted to. It changed my life. And that's not an exaggeration. My blog has grown and changed with me over the years. If I had posted a poll to find out what you guys wanted to see on here, it could easily become me focusing on my readers (which is very good) to the exclusion of listening to God's quiet direction (which is bad).

Now don't get me wrong. I'm all for hearing what you guys want to see on here. I really am. So if there are things you want to hear more about, please, please, please let me know! All of my series have grown out of questions people emailed and asked and I've had fun writing the posts and they've been helpful to many others (again, if the stats are to be believed).

Cookie, one of our newest additions to the family.
But I've also decided that I need to keep the focus I've had all along: writing what's on my heart. That means this site probably won't ever find a niche to fit and I won't have one single focus and that I'll have plenty of off-the-wall posts along the way.

Yes, I know I break most of the rules about blogging—well, about building successful blogs that make great platforms. But you know what? I wasn't called to build a successful blog. I was called to obedience.

16 comments:

  1. Patty, I feel exactly the same way. I feel validated to know I'm not the only one. I'm just getting my blog going and have had the same struggle with what my focus should be. I watch my audience for any sign or response - what gets the most comments, what gets none, what kind of comments. Then I'm left frustrated because that tells me nothing. Different people respond to different things. I have found that I'm more anxious when I post something based on what I think people want to hear rather than when I'm focused on what I think God wants me to post. My anxiety leads to mood swings too. But when I focus on what God is saying to me and post accordingly, I almost have a hands-off attitude, like - well, if it gets bad reviews there's nothing I can do about, I was just being obedient. But, I'm usually surprised at the great feedback I get when I am obedient. It definitely takes the pressure off. Thanks for your honesty.

    Kate

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    Replies
    1. Kate, I am so very glad I'm not alone! The same has happened to me--when I post what I think people are looking for, and then it falls flat (in my expectations), I'm a mess. But when I simply post what's on my heart, what I feel God has put there to post, then I don't care if anyone sees it because obedience was the key.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, commenting and helping define what's important.

      Hugs!

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  2. Patty: I think obedience stuff is key. I used to fret, thinking my blog wasn't relevant and was pointless. A waste of time. Etc. etc. But then I talked to some others and realized it didn't really matter: I'm supposed to be doing it. I set up a schedule of weekly subjects, pretty much stick to it, and just keep plugging along. Don't know who reads it but every time I see the numbers, I hope something has touched someone, made them laugh, or gave them encouragement. All I know is that God wants me to do it so I do. 'Nough said.

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    Replies
    1. Kim, I often think my blog is irrelevant and pointless. I totally get that. LoL. You really summed it up well when you said "All I know is that God wants me to do it so I do. 'Nough said."

      That's it right there! =]
      Hugs!

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  3. Jo wrote a challenge entry that has sort ingrained itself in my head about this. The guy on the beach, writing words that only he and God could see. There was purpose in it, even if it was only for himself. Every time my blog starts to grow I change it and lose readers but I'm kind of past caring about numbers anymore. The people that do notice and comment are the ones that remind me why I write. God gave me a voice and I'm meant to use it. The rest is just details.

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    1. Just gotta say COOL, Sherry! Cheering you on - and TOTALLY stoked that that piece hit you like that.

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    2. Sherry (and Jo), I remember that Challenge entry too! Thanks for reminding me of that one. It really demonstrates this whole issue I've been wrestling with.

      Jo, I went looking for a link to that story but can't remember the title. Could you post it for us? =]

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    3. http://www.faithwriters.com/wc-article-level3-previous.php?id=13200

      It was called "A Useful Branch." One of my faves too. :)

      Delete
  4. When my pastor told me God was going to send me a friend who would actually BE my friend, then said that women would come to me and I could tell them my story of healing, I was shocked. Then I met you...and you helped me raise my platform and jump off it! God is AWESOME, and let me tell you, I write because it's in me to write. That's what I'm supposed to do, too. And I have to learn that it's not about numbers, or who does or doesn't read. It's about being obedient to what GOD has placed on my heart to write. Because of that, I continue in my healing and growing, and I also get to help someone else heal, who's hurting. Whether they respond, comment or not (mostly not). It's a learning process, so we do it together. Keep doing what you're doing. I know you're helping me, and for that I'm thankful. ;)

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    1. Shelley, I'm so very glad you're blogging! You're right, our personal obedience often keeps the door open to our own growth as well as helping others along their way--on whatever path they're on. We don't need to know their path. God does. And if He chooses to use something we wrote to help them or encourage them or even just give them a smile, like Kim said, then HOORAY!! What a blessing! Even if we don't know about it until we get to Heaven.

      Hugs!

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  5. So VERY glad you're listening to Him, Ms. Wysong. VERY glad. Keep doing what God wants you to, k?

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    1. JoDear, you cracked me up with your Ms. Wysong. *eye roll* Who is that?!? LoL.

      Thanks so much for your encouragement these four years, Jo. God has blessed me so much through you.

      Hugs!

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  6. Please follow your instinct...if we pray to God to be lead in what we say and what we write, then we need to let go and say and write what God wants. Our messages are heard by the people who need to hear them...the numbers are just an indicator of how many have read them. If one person is changed by what I say or write, then it has all been worthwhile! Keep on doing what you have been doing for the last 800 blogs... and may God bless you while you do it!

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    1. You're so right, Audrey. We're responsible to obey and write what He gives us to write. He takes care of the rest. He gets the message to the ones who need it. =]

      Hugs!

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  7. Thanks for this one Peej!I needed it, esppecially yesterday. I sat down to blog in the morning and had a horrrendous time trying to put my thoughts together.

    I sensed the Lord telling me to get back to blogging in January this year and it was to be a devotional type blog. I decided to use Bible Gateway's verse of the day as a starting point each day. What a blessing it has been to me to keep me "filled up".

    And it has been fun to see where the blog has gone - some really interesting characters have read it!

    But yesterday it started feeling stuffy, pointless. Then I read your blog and I realized maybe I was writing for the readers more than listening to what God was saying to/for me about the verse.

    A writing mentor once told me that writing devotionals is more for the writer than the reader. And she was right. Sometimes I just forget that.

    Love you!

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  8. Bonnie, I love that!! Writing devotionals is more for the writer than the reader. That's how I feel so often when I write a devotional. Talk about helping keep things in perspective! =] Thanks!! =]

    Hugs!

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