This is a difficult post to write, probably because I am still right smack dap in the middle of whatever this funk is. But it needs to be said, and you deserve to know what is going on.
To put it bluntly and get straight to the point: I’ve kind of lost my way with this site, things have changed, and I don’t really enjoy blogging anymore.
I’ve been feeling this way for a while, but it wasn’t until about a month ago when my site crashed for 48 hours with the possibility of it not being able to be restored that I was forced to actually think long and hard about my blog, its direction and my general unhappiness with it.
How’d We Get Here?!?
The blogosphere (I’m not sure people even still use that term today!) used to be a fun place to hang out, but that is not really the case anymore. There is barely any authenticity anymore. It’s all about writing robotically, with more emphasis on checking off a list of criteria to meet to like word counts, alt tags, and pretty images, to make sure your content appeals to Google, rather than connecting with readers. I know I’ve said it before, but I miss when blogging was fun.
I don’t know if calling this point in my blogging journey a “rut” is an accurate description because I don’t think that’s it. I’ve been in ruts with this site before and have worked my way out of them, or they just passed. I think what is happening here is the passion has dried up.
Blogging is hard…
I started Home in the Finger Lakes as a passion project, a creative outlet 6 years ago. As time passed my blog grew into its own business. I started working with clients for sponsored posts, advertising space on my site is actually valuable to companies and brands. I know what you are thinking; “stop complaining your site is making money, you should be happy”, and to an extent, I agree, I feel incredibly blessed that I have a source of income that doesn’t require me to leave my kids during the day. But with the flexibility of working for myself and at home also comes the constant battle to stay on top of all the technological changes and just the general atmosphere of the internet as well. There’s hashtagging on Pinterest, SEO changes, Instagram and Facebook algorithms, everyone is doing Tasty style recipe videos, and a lot of food bloggers I know are having to hire out for recipe videos, for fear of being left behind.
All the changes are exhausting.
And then there is brand work…
Bloggers place all this value on working with brands, and I see many new bloggers considering it the ultimate goal, and honestly, I was the same way. I couldn’t wait to work with my first big name brand. But after doing it for a while, I can honestly say I HATE WORKING WITH BRANDS ON SPONSORED POSTS, they are just not worth my time anymore because of the insane demands from clients. Too many times brands who “love your creativity and voice” will just hand over a script they want to be included in your post once you start working with them, or they micromanage every single detail because they don’t trust you.
Meanwhile, while I was working on my blog like a second job, because let’s face it living on a farm and raising kids is more than a full-time job, and dealing with the headaches from brand partnerships, things were changing for me in real life.
My family has changed so much over the past 6 years, and this stage of life is really a lot more fun than I could have ever imagined. I can’t wait to tell you about how life is going, more often. My kids are now 16 (with a learners permit!), 14, 12. I started this blog when my youngest started full-day kindergarten as a way to connect with people. As a stay at home mom and farm wife things seemed suddenly isolating when all the kids are all in school, it was a great hobby and I loved the interaction I got from readers when I published a post.
My oldest is now 16, and I see the next stage of her life quickly approaching, and the other 2 are not that far behind her. If I am being entirely honest, at this point of time in my life while I still love to bake and find local history fascinating, I am more concerned with capturing and documenting our life, and our memories right now.
My husband and I have discussed the current state of my blog and my lack of interest in it, and the topic of selling Home in the Finger Lakes and starting over has come up. But I am not ready to let this space go, I want it to enter the next phase of my life with me. I want it to be a place I am excited about again.
I think what this all boils down to is, This blog needs a pivot. Time has marched on since I first sat down to write my very first post, I’ve changed, and my interests have changed.
But the one thing that has remained constant is I truly value our connection here. I have met some of the most wonderful people through this site and the internet.
While some topics may change, and it may feel or look different around here. I’m pretty sure a pivot is what is going to make this blog shine even more and ultimately I think we will connect on a deeper level. You can tell when someone isn’t into something, and I haven’t been into this blog in a while.
I’m not necessarily stepping away from the blog or taking a break. It’s just going to continue to be quieter around here. I’m taking the summer and trying to regroup and see what direction I want to go. There will likely be more lifestyle posts because as I mentioned that is really where I am at right now. Recipes and local history will still make appearances. There will be no more sponsored posts.
There are a few things I need to work out during the summer, mainly my desire to document and share our life, and my hesitation to do so on a blog that is basically named with my address 🙂
I am planning on a site redesign in September when the kids are back in school, I think a new direction and look will re-energize me and breathe new life back into Home in the Finger Lakes. While I am not 100% certain what this next phase of the blog will look like I am excited to get back to meaningful blogging again, and I feel like this post is the first step.
I’ll still be around on Instagram Stories daily (stop by and say hi)!