Blog Drift: The Urge to Change the Direction of Your Blog (P.S. It’s a Trend)

Blog-Drift-The-state-of

This is my reaction to a post by writer Gayla Trail, who thoughtfully and eloquently laid out her own thoughts on the need for garden writing genre “to expand and and take risks.Where she wants more out of the garden writing genre (and she’s emphatic that she’s a writer), I see bloggers in various categories wanting to push out, expand, and take risks on their own blogs. Personally I don’t think those are mutually exclusive impulses; I don’t think one can exist without the other. They are interwoven. However, after a Twitter conversation with her, I have edited my original introduction to this post because  I misread and consequently misrepresented her intention. I read into it a desire to push within her own blog. She meant to call strictly for, in her words, “MORE from the industry.” Mea culpa.

Yet even after the conversation and upon rereading the piece I still hear the same notes, phrasing, and a desire for change, shift, risk that I hear coming from other writers, specifically bloggers. I can’t separate those calls and desires to take risks.  A push toward blog drift… or blogging drift? Might they be one and the same? I don’t know for sure. I just know these issues– a desire to for something MORE–keep coming up at the macro and micro levels of blogging. So I tried to pull it all together, clumsily and hastily, to lay out what I’m seeing online.

Blog drift.

My friend Colleen is experiencing it. So is my friend Jimmie. Even Jen’s got signs of it, although this marvelous post of hers hints at some larger, powerful changes. [ETA: Gwyn just posted about her major shift.] Heck, I went through it. (Coincidentally, I went into blog drift in November. A seasonal shift brings this about, maybe?)

In my opinion, blog drift is natural and normal. In fact, I think blog drift is going to be a big trend, a thing.

Why?

Because it’s inevitable that real writers–people who come to blogging to connect, persuade, inform, and entertain rather than solely to make money or become famous–will seek to liberate themselves from the constraints of being a “mom blogger,” a “homeschool blogger,” or a “garden blogger.” Sure, many people are happy to claim those categories and stay with them. That’s fine and perfectly valid as a choice.

But guess what?  We don’t always get to choose how this blog thing plays out. Life happens. Kids grow up. Droughts hit and gardens shrivel because the gardener gets too sick to care for them. People write about plants/parenting/basket-making until it seems that nothing else can be said.

If we’re lucky, we get older, too. We start to crave universal truths, to want to poke and prod at our lives and disclose things to see if we’re in this together or not.

Like I suggested, I went through this drift phase. I’m still sort of going through it as I parse through some hard lessons that I experienced offline this past year. I think it’s a net positive to branch out, though.

That’s because I believe the world needs writers to utilize blogs and books to examine life in general, the good-and-sticky stuff that defies categorization.

That is what the medium of blogging began as–a place to examine life. Before the brands, the sponsorships, the book deals, the controversies, blogging was about writing, creative expression, and connection.

I say it’s time to reclaim that heart–the heart of blogging.

The upshot of this post? The takeaway?

If you experience blog drift, bravely lean in to it.

I’m ready to cheer you on.

Note that I have a new, private Facebook group with RW&G fans who are experiencing the impulse to connect, collaborate and create through a new net. There’s about 50 of us over there, and I’m fairly selective about whom we add. If you’re interested in joining, please contact me, tell me what your struggling with as a writer or creative person (and we’re ALL creative), and you sound like a good fit for the group, then I’ll send you the link.

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Blog Drift: The Urge to Change the Direction of Your Blog (P.S. It’s a Trend)

5 thoughts on “Blog Drift: The Urge to Change the Direction of Your Blog (P.S. It’s a Trend)

  1. Pamela, since I started blogging as a way of expression of my passion for gardening, and not to make money or certainly not to have writing turn into my main source of income (as it is now), I’ve always felt that I can write about whatever I feel like writing about. I don’t feel the need to ONLY write about gardening. My reasoning behind this is that gardeners have so much more to their lives, and there are other topics that also have wide appeal to…well…humanity. Some of my most viewed blog posts are those that have nothing to do with gardening at all. I will say though, as my career started veering in the direction of paid writing (about gardening), I have felt more of a responsibility to stay focused on gardening. But in the end, it’s my blog, and if I get an overwhelming urge to blog about something, I just do it. 🙂

    1. When I first started blogging officially in 2008 (I dabbled with it before that), the categories didn’t seem as hard and fast as they do now, Kylee. My blog started out as an advocacy blog that intersected with gardening and then as I branched out, I saw that categorization is a benefit and a hurdle for the blogosphere.

      When that switch gets flipped and money comes into play–again at the macro and micro levels, I think those categories DO become more like stifling silos. Not always, but often. Too often. I see a lot of very, very new bloggers–none of whom I referenced in this post–feel like they have to “write to a niche” in order to “make money” as a blogger through ads and sponsorships, never mind that most people I know who blog generate more money offline using their social media base (including the blog) as a spark.

      I travel in a number of what we’ll call “category circles,” and I don’t see a whole lot of cross-pollination right now. I think there needs to be more of it, frankly, to get at the humanity thing to which you refer. And I think we owe it to think of ourselves as “writers” more than “xyz-category blogger” or even “xyz-writer.” I think that opens us up and our blogs and our writing, too.

      It might even help us build audiences for our core niche(s).

      But that’s just my perspective, and not everyone will agree.

      1. Kylee Baumle says:

        Exactly. When I started blogging about my garden in January 2007, there were not that many gardening blogs. I think Blotanical had something like 400 or so of them registered there. Now, it’s well over ten times that. It’s an evolving medium, that’s for sure.

        The times when I’ve written about non-gardening issues, it’s mostly because I’m compelled to do it. Those posts generally have a passion that is obvious. People are drawn to passion.

        1. I wonder too if some of this drift thing is a desire for the return of long-form blogging. I’ve seen that mentioned somewhere–Problogger, maybe?–as a trend. A pendulum shift away from micro-social media to longer stuff.

  2. I do hope it indicates a return to long-form blogging. People are going to keep searching for life’s eternal truths, asking questions, and searching for connection. You can’t do that in 140 characters or quick status update snippets.

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