Saturday evening, I was very flattered to be invited to a casual get together of some women bloggers who had attend the Blog Indiana conference held last week. There were Twitterers and bloggers of all variety at this get together of about 15 women.
I sat next to Heather of Just Heather and the founder of Inexpensively. She is an outrageously fun woman! She is so full of energy that is absolutely contagious and she is smart as a whip when it comes to all things social media. I had a lot of laughs sitting next to her and also gained some knowledge.
There was one bit of advice she gave me that I've actually been mulling over for a while now. It's something I've certainly heard before but never actually tried to do.
Develop a mission statement.
As Heather said, it doesn't have to be published, it doesn't have to be grand. But it helps you stay focused on why you do what you do.
I've thought about it before but I guess I'd always had a hard time figuring out what my purpose was in this blogging thing.
I started it on a whim; actually, I was forced into by Christy. But I love it and I keep going so there must be some reason, some purpose.
There are blogs dedicated to weight loss and fitness. There are blogs detailing the experiences of women escaping domestic violence situations. There are blogs dedicated to bringing a face and voice to homelessness. There are travel blogs and RVing gay couples on a year long adventure across the country blogs. There are cooking blogs and journal blogs and parenting blogs of every ilk. There aer humor blogs and political blogs and education blogs and military blogs and religious blogs that run the spectrum.
Where on earth do I fit into all of that?
I'm a mom so does that mean I'm a Mommy Blogger? I talk about my faith so does that mean I'm a Religion Blogger? I sometimes talk about current social issues and my opinions on them so does that make me a Political Blogger? I'm very open about my mission to become a Healthier Me and I even blog for FitCity Indy so does that mean I'm a Fitness Blogger?
It struck me on Saturday, as I studied the women who surrounded the table, that I don't have to fit into any sort of category in order to realize my mission. As I met most of the women and talked with them about blogging and life and kids and jobs, it struck me that the joy I get from blogging is the connections I make with other people.
Over the past few years, I find that I easily unfollow someone on Twitter or that I stop reading their blog if I never feel that any effort is made to connect back. It doesn't have to be a reply to every comment or an e-mail back for every comment. It doesn't have to be commenting on every blog post I write. It doesn't have to be a constant Twitter-fest or daily comments on my Facebook page. Don't get me wrong- I love all of that! And I do my best to give those connections back to people.
What I don't understand is when zero effort is made to connect back to a reader who has made the effort to reach out to you. I get it with the really big bloggers- that homeschooling mom on a ranch or that mom who has been on Oprah and just bought a new house thanks to her blogging career. When you get hundreds of comments on a single post or your contests receive thousands of entries, it's tough to connect back. That's when writing style is what really connects you, I think.
But when you aren't a big national sensation and you still look to your local network to lift you up and you really depend on each and every reader to be part of your blog... give back a little!
I started blogging because I had something I wanted, even needed, to put out here. For whomever to find. Sometimes, it's a light hearted something. Sometimes, it's a serious topic. Sometimes it's about my kids. Sometimes about my marriage. Sometimes even about working. I put my thoughts and experiences and opinions and philosophies and fun times out here on my personal blog. I've never had a goal in mind of what was to come of it. In all honesty, I never dreamed I'd have readers beyond Christy and Jeff.
My mission statement?
To write in an open, honest, and true voice about my life and thoughts. In so doing, I will connect with other people both local and global. Through these connections, I can become a better person and possibly help someone else better themselves as well.
And so, dear readers, I turn the floor to you. Do you agree with my mission statement? Am I fulfilling my mission?