The end of the year always means one thing when it comes to blogging, for me anyway. It's time to look back on the year, reading old posts, seeing what I have achieved and what I would like to improve on.
It's the time I make a plan on how I am going to go into the new year, and a rough idea of what on earth I want to do.
And at the moment. I feel like a brat in all honesty.
I look back on old posts, ones from 2011 that make me cringe, the ones I want to delete completely. I feel this year I am in a place I quite like. I know what I like, I know what I don't like, but I see massive improvements needed....except I'm not sure how to do them.
So, I do blog for myself, that's one thing I have learnt in the past year after almost being censored for a while and controlled by what others wanted. And, this is my space. I am "my own boss" or my own editor I suppose. This I realised last year and I decided that I needed to write what I wanted to write. This blog is supposed to reflect me, my life, my head, my ideas, my views and so on. I would never say, if you don't like what you read then don't read it because life is about having different opinions and I would rather someone say "Hey. Not sure I agree with what you're saying...." and to have a discussion than to walk away and never return.
I don't agree that I blog just for me. And I think it would be silly to even say that. When I write reviews who am I writing those for? Not for me.
I don't really write about our days out so it's a diary and to look back on when the boys are older, although I suppose that is one way of looking at it. Instead I write about days out and experiences to share with others, just as I would with a friend.
So, I'm not just writing for me, I'm writing for others. Others who I want to read my blog and I want to enjoy it.
But, how do you know what people enjoy? How do you know that you are fulfilling your readers needs?
Surely when you head to a blog you have expectations of what to read. I know that those blogs I read on a regular basis have something special that keeps me going back. There is a reason I open the post when it pops up on Bloglovin, or in my email subscription box, or that I will type in their web address to see if I have missed a new post.
Those are the blogs that I miss if they haven't been updated in a couple of days.
And, I don't know where I am when it comes to that.
I feel my blog is maybe one big identity crisis.
Is that ok? Or is it too jumbled and random with no standard schedule or theme that it's hard to read, understand, or to come back to?
I know where I want to be, and I feel I am getting there. I decided to step back from writing about the boys so much, and although I do still write about them, and share photos of them and so on, I wanted this to be more about me than about them. They are a massive part of my life, heck they are the biggest part of my life so I couldn't not mention them, however, I wanted to be able to say "Hey, my blog doesn't need them to survive" and I do feel I'm comfortably at that stage.
There are people who I really look up to when it comes to blogging, and photography and they really inspire me, not to the point that I want to copy everything they do, but to the point that I examine everything about their blog and wonder how I can bring that to mine. That's not a bad thing though right? Being inspired?
I no longer want to doubt myself. I want to be confident, and to go into 2015 with an almost ballsy, but not cocky-over-confident attitude. But it's hard when you really are judged by what your blog looks like, what you write about, how you present things, the kind of person you are and so on.
So, I decided that when it comes to 2015 my attitude is All or Nothing. In February I would have been blogging for 4 years, and I am ready, so ready, for challenges, and opportunities to really work at this.
It's not about stats, it's about being recognised as a person. As someone who in some way or another might have talent somewhere.
Being recognised as someone who has a voice and wants their voice to be heard. Someone who wants to represent something big.
As someone who people trust, not only to represent them, or to work with them, or to be their voice, but as someone others would trust "Lauren said X is good so it must be".
But what happens if "all" doesn't work out? What if the result is "nothing"? What do I do with that?
I don't want to walk away from it. But is it just acceptance that maybe that talent isn't there? Or maybe the likability factor is lacking?
Is it about dealing with that and with a shrug of the shoulders just simply saying "for now, I blog for me. For no one else, and just for me?"
Or do you carry on fighting? And hope that eventually, you will get there?