(too) many categories, segments, themes and all that jazz
In my reflective post about the survey feedback I received, I mentioned that I don’t blog about my personal life much anymore.
It’s not because I have been too busy or because I am hiding things from people who read my blog. It’s because during the times I didn’t have much to write about, I started to think of themed posts and segments to keep me blogging and keep me motivated, so that I could write and post regularly. And that’s how I ended up with a plethora of blogging linkups, segments and other regular themed posts.
‘Setting an expectation will put pressure on you.’
I now know, that despite my advice I gave in a recent Girl Geeks talk about blogging – where I mentioned that you shouldn’t set an expectation or make a goal you aren’t ready for – I think I’ve come to the point where I need to slow down.
I go back through my archives and everything is from one of the segments/series I’ve created. It’s not working for me anymore. Fashion Friday every fortnight. 2 minutes and 40 seconds interviews every fortnight. Reviewing subscription boxes. A Day in the Life. Timeless Thoughts. Nick’s Fashion Quarterly. The Best Friend Lunch. Small things, but small things add up. I don’t dislike all of these things I have created for my blog. But perhaps all of them at once is just a little too much.
If I glance at my calendar, there is a post required every week from one or more of these segments. A Day in the Life becomes the only day I really write about what goes on during my day, because with regards to the other segments, I actually want to write about things I learn in web development, and I want to write about my journey on living simply. And suddenly, writing about your life becomes interesting, instead of boring (which is what most people think). But I love reading about what people are up to, and about people’s lives. I know that that kind of stuff interests other people who read my blog. That’s why we all became friends, right? :)
That said, I’m going to do a couple of things to remove the sort-of clutter from my sort-of second home, and that is why perhaps you have noticed that I haven’t had those segments around in the new year yet. ;)
Real post excerpts
I was sick of the way I used post excerpts, which was just copying part of the posts. I recently changed this to use actual post summaries of what is inside the post, rather than just a copy. This gives people a better idea of the content of my last handful of posts, by providing more understandable summaries rather than making people ‘read more’.
A Day in the Life will return this week
You can visit the linkup page to check out the dates for this year. January’s linkup will be on the 15th – that’s this Friday. Since some of the regular participants mentioned that they didn’t know what to write about, I’ll be including themes, or prompts/questions to answer to make it more fun and less chore-like. I might publish those on my blog the day before the linkup to allow people to take a look before participating, or publish them on the linkup page itself.
Some things that won’t change
- TBFL (The Best Friend Lunch) will remain ad-hoc and continue as normal, since I don’t see Lilian all that often anyway.
- NFQ (Nick’s Fashion Quarterly) will remain a quarterly and season-based series. We aren’t keen to make this any more regular, and it makes the series more well-rounded and reinforces the guest-post rubric. I’m only making a point, but this truly is my blog – not anyone else’s!
- Timeless Thoughts will continue to be hosted by both me and Tara (alternating each month). When she hosts, I am still able to post within the two-week period that the linkup runs, so there is no pressure to post on the same day every month.
Some things I have decided to change
- 2 minutes and 40 seconds has had an amazing run – but I have decided to reduce its frequency to once a month. I was thinking ad-hoc, but I might make it run more to a schedule (on the same day each month). I have plans to make it a more fun segment with an actual recording and a typed-up transcript – but I won’t commit to that until I feel comfortable with the time it requires. The nature of the segment will still remain as it is. I know it is quite unique and usually funny which is why I have decided against making the interviews more standard. I also know interviews are not the most fun thing for people to read.
- Live simply. I want to dedicate a lot more time to this category, as I have a lot of ideas and things that I want to write about. A few readers also expressed how much they liked the series.
- Reviewing subscription boxes – I am not subscribed to any boxes anymore, and I don’t think they are that interesting unless someone is interested in the content. I love reading reviews, but I’m pretty sick of subscription box reviews myself. I will still review products if a company has asked me for a review, or if I have a product that I want to recommend (disclaimer will be provided!).
- Best/recommended posts. For many months I have wanted to have a list of some of the best posts I have written. It might just be a more refined version of the ones I started to publish at the end of each year.
What may change
- Fashion Friday. It has been quite a bit of work doing this every two weeks. That is twenty-six outfits a year, compared to a mere twelve if I were to change its frequency to monthly. But twelve seems like quite little. I don’t think there is an in-between I can work with, but for the most part, I have enjoyed this series a lot, and it always seems to be getting better and less boring. I think it has really taken shape over the past year. I haven’t started it up again this year, but it’ll be back.
- Pop 101. It is a bit boring, I admit, and is just a summary of things, but I really want to improve it somehow. Not everyone likes music (or even the same music) but it is still one of my passions. It will still be ad-hoc but I may write about more focussed topics if I garner more ideas. Some of my readers missed me writing about music which is why I want to continue writing about it somehow. I have just been writing a lot for Casual Band Blogger so a lot of my music-related writing is over there.
The year just started but it’s already very busy, I actually haven’t posted as much as I have wanted! I think that everyone is busy – I am still catching up on all the blogs I follow. I think I have seen other people trying to do the same thing, as well as making changes on their blogs. Let me know what you’ve been up to with your blog or what you’ve decided to change (for the better!). 👍
Today, I got a haircut. And instead of going to the same cheap and crappy place where I often had to wait for an hour just to save a bit of cash, I went somewhere new, not too ‘upmarket’, and was in and out in a flash. 💇🏻
Oh, nice haircut! :) Glad you splurged a bit and was able to get in and out quickly! Sometimes it pays to pay more XD
Your plans are sensible. I think I’ve reached the same point with my columns/linkups where it’s practically dictating my posting schedule to where I can’t really blog about other things. But I don’t want to stop yet, and I figure that if I were to write my four regular ones (five, if you count my photo dump posts LOL), then I will write 2-4+ posts of topics that are more “personal”. That way, I’ll be blogging about 6-8 times a month.
Anyway, thanks for sharing your plans. It’s really making me think on my own blog!
I’ve been kind of lazy so far this year, in regards to blogging. I thought about something you said somewhere—only doing something if it’s enjoyable—and began realising some of the things I was doing was because others expected it from me rather than because I wanted to.
I haven’t reorganised my blog as planned yet (again, #lazy), but I’ve also been busy going through old boxes brought back with me from my recent visit to the farm…and it’s been consuming the majority of my time.
…and I also got sick.
I think the only commitment blog-wise I’m making right now is the ‘Day in the Life’ linkup, because I really want to share what life with allergies is like and kind of feel it would be the easiest way, and blogging weekly on each site. I didn’t realise you had so many series going on, but I’m also oftentimes oblivious by nature to patterns set by others unless I create my own visual.
I really like how you mentioned a typed-up transcript to an audio interview, because not a lot of bloggers are considerate like that…actually, only a select few are, in that you’re the second one I’ve come across in the past year.
Wow that is a lot of stuff to keep up with. I can see why you would want to clean it up a bit. I’ve never had structure when I blog. In fact I went through a completely dead spell for about 2 years and I’m slowly coming back. Good luck with all your changes, it sounds interesting. I will be coming back to check it out. :)
Thank you! I didn’t have structure until recently but I wish you good luck coming back and getting into some kind of routine. If you ever need some tips let me know. ☺️
I’m making an important change to my blog; I’m actually going to post occasionally! I know, weird, right? Everyone told me how time-consuming the fourth year of a degree is, and I didn’t believe them…
I’m certainly not committing to a strict schedule, uni just makes that too difficult. I do have a lot of posts in my head that I want to write though, so we’ll see if I manage to do a better job of finding time to write this year! I do genuinely enjoy running a blog, that’s why I’m still here 8 years after creating my first website (I suddenly feel quite old), but my life is so dominated by other things at the moment that finding the time is a challenge.
Just one and a half years of university to go…
Good luck! I don’t even remember how I managed to maintain my blog during my studies when I was working at the same time, but it can be challenging indeed. Keep notes and ideas on your phone or in a notebook – it really helps.
I really admire your honesty in this post! I can feel your thoughts and what your words mean and I totally get it. Sometimes it’s hard to maintain and keep up, and acknowledging to slow down sometimes is harder than it seems but I’m glad you’re going to go ahead and do it! You have some really great points, I do agree with your post excerpts, and it’s true! I even copy and paste, but you’ve inspired me to think about really summarizing my posts in a manner my audience will understand what it is about. :)
Glad you agree, Tess! The ‘continue reading’ link is dead – it’s time to give readers a summary of what they’ll get out of reading the post rather than making them read right into the first bit.
I am not sure if it has done wonders for my pageviews or anything, but I think more people are coming to read posts from a couple days earlier as well, not just the most recent. :D
I look forward to your ideas in the Live simply series! I also really like that one since I’m trying to declutter and live simpler myself. I’m glad you’ll still be doing Fashion Friday too, even if it’s less frequent. I can see how it’d be a lot of work!
Last year, I felt like I did too many posts that were a series, blogger tag, or a list-type entry. I didn’t do as many personal, free-form type posts, and I miss those. I’m hoping to do more of those this year :)
I hope you get to do more of those too! I know the feeling of doing lots of series/tags/lists. Feels kinda ‘filler post’. Hope you can flesh out more personal posts! :D
*Ouch* I do this all the time. Hehehe!
Honestly, I’m happy with whatever you write about. If it’s something that interests me I’ll write you a comment if I have the time :D
I had to comment on this because the pic of you and Nick is just unbearably cute haha :3 <3
I know what you mean about little things adding up and when you have as many things going as you did, it probably takes some of the buzz of blogging out of it as well?
Maybe you could have a custom theme page for the 2 minutes and 40 seconds, so that it could have a different font and whatever. xD Just random idea.
Yay, new haircut and that picture is so adorable. You both look like you are really happy.
It does take the buzz out of it a little bit. Though as of writing this, I don’t think I have written a post in four days, which is weird for me. I think I blog a lot more often than most people.
I think that is an interesting idea to have a different theme!