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Anniversary Assessment

This week marks the second anniversary of Words From the Sowul. It’s come a long way since the first anniversary last year. I went from a niche book-review blog with a Blogger sub-domain name, to a lifestyle, etc. blog hosted on my own website with my personal domain name and over twice (occasionally three times) the audience. I built the website from scratch, even though I didn’t know the first thing about web design. I even caved and started posting/promoting on Twitter (find me @sowulwords).

As I enter my third year of blogging, I find myself asking a lot of questions. Among them:

Where do I want my writing to go? 

Who am I, as a writer?

What do I want my contribution to be?

Even after nearly 200 blog posts, I feel like I still haven’t quite found my “voice.” Since I opened up the blog beyond book reviews last August, I’ve written on dozens of topics and created almost thirty categories to hold them. (Check out the drop-down “categories” list on the sidebar.) I’ve enjoyed writing about everything from the joy of playing in a band to reluctantly implementing the Ferber method. I like the variety, and there are times when my head spins with several blog ideas at once. The opportunities for creativity seem boundless.

Yet, I’m not sure if “anything goes” is the right approach to blogging. My favorite blogs have a message. Laura Vanderkam writes about time management, organization and women “having it all,” a theme that comes across even when she’s describing vacations with her kids or buying a new wardrobe. Simple Mom posts about clearing away the stresses of parenting, work and everyday headaches to find the simple joys living beneath. I’d like to have a message, too. I want to give my readers something to expect beyond a well-thought-out post. I want to give myself a focus, so that I can become more expert at writing about a specific topic. I’d like people to be able to finish the sentence, “Leanne blogs about________ ” or “__________ is Leanne’s thing.”

So this Labor Day weekend, I’m planning to spend some time with my old-fashioned steno pad and pen. I’m going to brainstorm some ideas for structuring the blog and think about where I want it to go. I’m also going to write down the goals I’ve had in my head for a long time, about publishing my novel and entering short-story and essay contests. I’m going to see if I can clarify my writing work so that I can move forward with more focus and channeled creativity.

If you have a blog, how do you decide what your message should be? If you don’t, what do you think you would write about? Please comment below or send me an email. I’d like to know if any of you, my readers, think you could describe my blog or my writing in a word or two. That might really help me to clarify my message.

Thank you all for two wonderful years! Without you, I’d just be talking to myself. And what’s the fun in that?

2 Responses to “Anniversary Assessment”

  1. Ana says:

    oh my. wrote a ginormous comment that disappeared.
    in short—I write about whatever comes to mind and I read and enjoy a lot of personal blogs without clear themes. on the other hand, some bloggers do their themes very well (yes, laura vanderkam is an expert!) without seeming contrived.
    What should you write about? Words. Writing/reading. Tie personal stories into relevant books or into musings about the world of writing.
    I read a couple of blogs like that around food/cooking—wide variety of personal stories that eventually tie into a recipe that the author cleverly spins out of the emotional heart of the story.
    I enjoyed your short story, but at a loss to where it should go next! Poor girl, I felt for her.

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