After 18 months of writing about branding and marketing, I hit the point of burn-out. So I'm making some changes that I hope will keep me interested and engaged in the blogosphere. I was inspired by a couple posts:
Jack/Zen: The Zen aesthetic has always been known for its simplicity - Zen gardens, poetry, and the like. It's communicating the essence, no more or less.
The question about creating simplicity in our life spaces, life styles, relationships, and work is the question: What is the essence of my life?
And therefore, what, if I took it away, would also take away a part of this essence? And what, if I kept it or added it to my life, would be unnecessary for this essence?
And from Evelyn Rodriguez:
...blogs are like places for me. Places for people. What is the place like? What types of people would hang out there? (Nope, not demographics, perhaps ethnographics work here.) For instance, I picture this blog as a salon, or an artist's colony...
As I ponder my withdrawal from blogging, I arrive at two conclusions:
1. Blogging hasn't been simple. Keeping up with all the information and ideas, getting inspiration to write the 'mandatory' 3x per week posts, rejecting people who asked to be included on my blogroll and feeling badly about it.... It became overwhelming.
2. If my blog is my salon, it should represent me... and it hasn't. Although I've tossed in my token "non-business" posts, my blog has felt decidedly one-dimensional. I don't know if I'd hang out in my own salon!
So I'm going to break some rules.
First, I'm not going to have a blogroll. I'll maintain a list of <10 links to blogs that I feel represent what's important to me, mainly on the business front (since this is mainly a business blog, of course). The people on my list have passion, occasionally challenge my thinking, and inspire me to see things differently. Or their philosophies agree with mine, so I feel smart. :-) Almost all of them I've met in person, and there's a depth to them that I appreciate. It was incredibly difficult to cut 40 links down to 8. Many of the blogs I cut I'll still read. Many of them I count as my friends. But in the name of simplicity and my sanity, I just have to take this step. Please accept my apologies if you're one of the blogs that I cut. I will continue to read blogs and link to/comment on interesting posts; IMO, that's more valuable than being buried in a list of links.
Second, I'm breaking my own rule and removing the stuffy business photo from my blog. It's been replaced (and will continue to change) to reflect more of my personality. I like to laugh and have fun! And if we're not having fun in our business, we should all take our marbles and go home.
Third, I'm probably not going to post every day... or even 3x per week. The beauty of RSS is that I don't have to make a "sticky" site. When I'm inspired to write, it will show up in your reader.
Fourth, I'm going to expand my writing to reflect my diverse interests. I will stick to branding as the core of my writing, because my blog continues to be my best new-business tool. Yet I've been too focused on other's brands at the expense of my own. Every good brand is consistent yet multidimensional. My company brand is myself. So I'm going to risk being politically incorrect and say some things that may cause potential clients to wrinkle their foreheads... but I'm not going to worry about it. I think that's the beauty of Hugh McLeod's blog; he's quite unapologetically himself. And it certainly hasn't hurt him.
Last thought: I really like Jack/Zen's quote, What is the essence of my life? I make it a point to reinvent myself every couple years... when I feel that small nudge in my soul that hints, "hey, sluggard... it's time to move. Explore. Grow. Reinvent. There's an uncharted vastness yet to be tasted." I'm in one of those transitional phases now where I'm asking myself, "Who am I? What is the essence of my life? And where do I go from here?" Evelyn's blog inspires me because she doesn't hesitate to document her soul growth. I've always kept it to myself, and yet it's such a gift to witness another's willful blossoming. So perhaps I'll begin charting my own new direction on these very public pages. And hopefully, I'll renew my engagement with this community called the blogosphere.