Do I go in a new direction with my blog?

Even though I’ve just gone through a major transition in my retirement, I’ve started to wonder if I should change the direction of my blog! Many of the bloggers whom I follow have started to go heavily into prompted posts and challenges.   They will do monthly posts on books read, things cooked, what they are wearing, or apply the “currently” verb prompts.  They will do a weekly photo challenge or what-happened-this-week weekend share. My life is just not that interesting!  I doubt anyone is interested in my quite pedestrian reading habits, my photography is amateur at best, and my less-than-gourmet cooking is certainly nothing to emulate. My weeks are not full of photo-worthy walks, art creation, nor exciting day trips.  [Yes, there is a bit of Compare & Despair going on here. Maybe more than a bit!]

I have used my blog to share my learning about transitioning from being a pessimistic, judgmental workaholic to living a retirement lifestyle that makes me happy (most days).  I share both the ups and downs of this (ongoing) transition and daily trying to live the retirement lifestyle I’ve envisioned, because I have found that this sharing, especially the downs, allows us all to feel we are not alone in the feelings or the journey.

I found a definition of purpose recently that really resonated.  [Feeling like I have a Life Purpose has been an on-going challenge for me in retirement.] Paraphrased here:

  • If there is something you love to do — write, solve technical problems or cook — that is likely one of the gifts you need for your purpose. When you combine that gift with your passions/interests and values, there is the best indicator of your life purpose.

So, I am going to accept I find purpose through sharing my retirement lifestyle message with others through writing.  That my blog will keep sharing the ups and downs of living my envisioned retirement lifestyle, the things I learn to make retirement life more satisfying, and tools to make choices, to kick start habits, or to help others identify and create their own retirement lifestyle.  I might mention my tracking tools for books read and new recipes tried, but I don’t think I’m going to join in those prompted blog link ups. I’ll keep reading others who are following a different direction, too often adding to my too-long-already books to be read list, but also often being inspired to try something new.

And in the realm of sharing, this week I consciously focused on the positive, activating some things that have been on my to-do list too long, writing a “50 things I’m happy about right now” list (made it to 35), and getting outside to walk multiple days. It was a much better week – from wandering a local farmers market (masked), to gazing at the blue moon, to buying ponytail palms for my portico pots, to getting a new dining room chandelier installed.  I’ve been able to downplay the anxiety from the news and find a more positive outlook (even with too much Compare & Despair going on still!).

What did you find to enjoy in your week?

Picture Credit:  me, from a beach walk this week.

35 thoughts on “Do I go in a new direction with my blog?

  1. I enjoy your blog. I’m trying to find my way through retirement too. I relate to your feelings…Life is not always “sunshine and roses” and that’s ok. Keep up your honesty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Ann. I try to be optimistic (as a “recovering pessimist”), but also honest. I hope others then know their own days of not “sunshine & roses” (lovely term) are not just them!

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  2. Hi Pat, I always love reading what you are up to and considering in your blog posts. I think it’s because I understand from my experiences over time of some of the issues you cover. I have blogger for over 10 years and the purpose initially was (in my mind) to connect with others and share my experiences and expertise as an educator for both families and teachers. No-one really was interested. So, I changed that up a bit and wrote more to connect with other bloggers (always much younger than I) who seemed to find some of what I blogged about interesting. I am also very social and connected with these people at conferences and on social media which I loved. Then in 2015 onwards I blogged just as me, about my life (which I found hard) 365 days…and then got back to connecting via Australian link ups and formed my own. The thing is, for me, I have changed paths and topics but never my first intent.
    I blog to connect.

    Thanks for sharing the post for Life This Week. Loved reading yours. Next week’s optional prompt is Self Care Stories. Hope to see you there too. Denyse

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Denyse, Connecting was a secondary aspect of blogging for me as I was unaware of the community when I started. With continuing to blog, it’s become more of a primary reason! I like the link up’s like yours (even if I’m rarely on prompt!) .. I know I’ve started following at least one new blogger (to me) from your link up!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Pat, I don’t always read others comments on blogs, it slows me down, I guess, but I was interested to see what kind of responses you got. One of the things I got from your blog, it was one of my early blogs to follow, is that retirement does not have to be static, it can change. I did not think that was true on the other side of retiring. I do participate in some link ups, but i can’t handle more than 2 in a week. The only real challenge I am participating in is the reading challenge. It has helped me to be more focused in reading. I always have an audio book going when I am alone in t he car, but actually sitting and reading a whole book used to only happen on vacation. The topics in my blog vary from memories of my parents, and growing up in a bar, to my weight loss journey and my life in retirement, but I see it all is memoir, maybe like different sections in an umbrella. There are other things I write, that are mostly church related, but I do not blog about them (character monologues). Congratulations on getting to 35 things you are happy about. Sounds like you are still processing the transition, and are being hard on yourself, but also very honest about where you are and what you are feeling. Hang in there friend, blessings, Michele

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michele, Love the metaphor of the umbrella for a memoir. I’ve thought about trying to write some aspects of memoir, but always come back to, “who would care?”. I might come back to it, just for writing’s sake.

      Yeah, I know I tend to be really hard on myself…. that inner critic! In fact, putting things out there on my blog does help shut down that inner critic – external validation is something I still need. Thanks for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think there is a vulnerability to blogging, as well as all writing I suppose. But I have yet to send anything to a publisher, but publish on my blog. Sometimes I wonder if memoir, mine at least, is too self-absorbed. But I try to err on the hope that there is something of a universal appeal in the stories that may help people connect on their own. You never know what you write that may help someone else. Best and Blessings, M

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pat, I think the most important thing is that you enjoy what you’re writing or blogging about and the very act of doing it. I feel like I’ve lost direction a little and worry too much about my audience or others when writing my blog when – in the beginning – I set it up cos I like writing. And I have to remember… it’s my space, I really can (should!) do what I want there!

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    1. I have to tell you, I started to sing, “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” with your last few words in the comment. 🙂

      I started because I liked writing and I hoped to share my experiences with others – the sage archetype within me. I never expected a “huge following” and am always amazed when I get a new follower! You made me realize I do think about my readers when I write… I come back to my desire to be a “sage” to others. Thanks for inspiring that realization!

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  5. Hi Pat, I always find your posts interesting as I’m interested in hearing how others live their life, in retirement or not. I participate in challenges for several reasons, the main ones being they stimulate my creativity and as I’m no longer working that helps give me a purpose in some way. I feel like I’m being productive and i really don’t care if my posts don’t get read widely but I’ve managed to think of some creative way to interpret a prompt or a photo challenge and I’m often thrilled with the way I’ve done it. It helps me keep my mind ticking over, as does blogging.

    The number of posts people write shouldn’t matter if what they’re writing is authentic and of interest in some way. There’s no compunction for others to always read these extra posts. I go through periods where I post often, then I slow down, take a break but it’s the community of people I enjoy meeting that makes me smile and helps to make my world and my views, not so narrowly focussed. As with anything it’s up to the blogger to decide what suits them best. All the best in your quest!

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    1. Deb, thanks for that perspective on the challenges. I love that you’re using them to stimulate creativity (and yeah, I see that often on your posts). My continual challenge (I am learning) is a need to “be like everyone else” to feel like I belong. And by choosing to not do the challenges, I felt less than, like I wasn’t playing by the “rules”… as if blogging had rules and they changed. I’ll keep reading blogs on folks I like to read even when they do challenges – I too like hearing how others live and I’ve learned quite a bit about living in Australia from various bloggers! Just not joining in (and still hoping that’s OK).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve changed the focus of my blog a few times. When I first started writing I had began homeschooling my 3 boys and I focused mainly on that. Then I wanted a bit more of “me” on the blog and I added lots of crafting and cardmaking posts. I am not one of the bloggers you mentioned; with weekly wrap-ups some book summaries and just a lot of life in general posts as I am at the end of our homeschooling road and I too find myself wondering if I want to change the direction of my blog once again or stop it altogether. I think as long as we keep our writing authentic readers will always find us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Helpful perspective, thanks. I’ve considered stopping before and wondered about my theme, but I like how you articulated it, “keep our writing authentic”. That is something I do try for!

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  7. I can certainly relate to the anxieties that are occurring during this time. Just when we thought the pandemic was getting under control. Just when we thought we could begin to move about our cities, our states, our country, our world we are being told to mask up! The Taliban is attacking Christians and killing our troops along the way. It is difficult to “feel good” right now.
    I am notorious for keeping my rose colored glasses on and typically through out my life have worked to keep them off and see the world through clearer lenses. But, just of late, I have chosen to put my sweet, idealistic glasses back on. Not that I’m totally giving up on the news and what’s happening in the world but I am choosing to see these problems, pray for them and then be extremely thankful for my completely blessed life. I scroll a lot on Facebook! Past all the political stuff, past all the vaccination stuff, past all the weary world stuff. I am choosing to concentrate on my dance, my working out, my healthy family, my sweet little dog (sitting in my lap as I type. Truth is, worrying about all these serious things that are going on world won’t help them. I can only do what I can do, which isn’t much, and then I must go on with my life. And right now I’m going to go on with my life with my rose colored glasses on! I like the view through them! I have accomplished many things in my life and feel that I have adequately given to this world so I am going to feel blessed and truly favored and see the world as a beautiful place throughout my retirement. Or least for now. Let’s see how long I can keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Candyse, We are definitely gonna talk about how to feel blessed without feeling guilty. I’ve often had on rose colored glasses… often been told I’m too naive & trusting, have too high expectations for others, etc. And I worry I’m not doing enough to save the world. yeah, definitely gonna have a chat with you soon!

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  8. Ahhh – the old ‘compare and despair’ that seems to afflict all of us at some point.

    I’ve been mostly away from the blogging community for a year and half now. Some days I think I may never find my blogging muse again. But in the end, I believe that our blogs need to be what we’re comfortable with. We may test different ideas out, and it either feels right, or doesn’t fit as well as we had hoped. Our inner radar sorts it out and knows what feels good for us … and what doesn’t.

    Trust it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanne, trusting my inner radar is not something I’ve been known to do. I look too often for external validation. But, at least this time, I made the decision before looking for the validation. A step in the right direction (no pun intended).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Janis, I needed to rethink this because… I am prone to seeing what others do as being right and me as being wrong. I need to name that, it’d kinda Compare & Despair but different. Ah, awareness is the first step of change! And yeah, I’m sticking to my niche.

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  9. I am a reader not fellow blogger of Leanne’s, Donna’s, Widow Badass, Janice’s etc. I enjoy you all. I also have enjoyed Syd who was publishing way before all of you. I’d rather you limit publishing to when you have something to say and avoid the What’s on your plate or too many “Doors” though I do really enjoy the posts when multiples of you get together. Don’t publish just to publish if you have nothing new to add.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Pat, my blog, Picture Retirement, is as the title implies. It is a documented pictorial of our retirement lifestyle. When the things that are happening in my life ‘fit’ a challenge, i.e. Terri’s Sunday Stills, or Dan’s Thursday Doors, etc. I participate, but I rarely produce a blog post with that intent. I enjoy promoting the blogs of others in a way that feels supportive but not contrived.

      When bloggers begin to rely entirely on ‘challenges’, I assume it is to fill a gap until they are ready to resume their original purpose. They aren’t quite ready to fold, but they also don’t have much to say. That’s fine, but if it goes on for long they will likely lose me as a reader. I read blogs because I am interested in people; how they live and what brings joy to their lives.

      My way of dealing with burnout, (or nothing to say) is to limit the frequency of my posts. I don’t make a big deal about it, I just do it. Some bloggers see that as the ‘kiss of death’ to a blog, but I prefer quality over quantity.

      I value my long-time readers and those who are new to Picture Retirement, but ultimately, the time I spend here has to be on my own terms and for my own purposes.

      Your posts are always filled with useful information and insights into you as a person. I personally appreciate that you have taken the initiative to be a part of this community and look forward to hearing from you as time goes on. We are all in a bit of a ‘funk’ right now, rightfully so, but this too shall pass. Many blessings.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Suzanne, I love how you link into challenges if they fit! What a great way to think about it… I might need to change my thinking here. I’ve used the reduced frequency of posts before as well when I was truly in a blocked space. Or reading more blogs to find something that inspires me in some way (the case in this post in fact!)

        I find that my blogs also help me process things…. by getting other’s perspective on the topic! I agree with your “read blogs because I’m interested in people and how they live”. I realized I also read certain blogs because I like their style of writing and how they “see the world”.

        Thanks for commenting… one of the things I love about this world of blogging is getting new perspective on a topic.

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    2. Luisa, thanks for your support. I do try and post only when I have something to new to say. One thing I did notice when looking back at my blogs for Throwback Thursday, however, is I sometimes forget what I’ve said and think I’m saying it new! Oh dear! I can only hope if I’ve forgotten it, others have as well? LOL.

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  10. I am a reader not fellow blogger of Leanne’s, Donna’s, Widow Badass, Janice’s etc. I enjoy you all. I also have enjoyed Syd who was publishing way before all of you. I’d rather you limit publishing to when you have something to say and avoid the What’s on your plate or too many “Doors” though I do really enjoy the posts when multiples of you get together. Don’t publish just to publish if you have nothing new to add.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi Pat, I certainly hear you! I have had the exact same thoughts. Believe me, no one wants to read about my cooking. or photography either. I haven’t written a post all summer. My readership has fallen off drastically. I feel like I need to find a new community of readers, but I am not sure where to find them. I do enjoy writing and do like interacting with others through our blogs and I miss that. I have been thinking of posting on Medium.

    I like your blog the way it is. You always have good insight! I do think that others can benefit from your retirement transition journey. My husband retired in May. We are still figuring it out!
    My best, Michele

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Michele, I’d noticed a number of folks leaving the blogging space and wondered…I’ve missed your posts as I always find them inspiring! Figuring out retirement is all I post about it seems – join the club as you use your skills to help hubby figure it out!

      I’m not sure I (personally) need a new community of readers though… I still acquire 1-2 new followers a week (shocks me every time) and if I only have 200 reads on a post or 5-10 comments, I’m still thrilled. But that said, if you try Medium, do let me know how it works for you!

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  12. Hi Pat – I see all the challenges out there too, and I also feel like I don’t have enough going on in my life to want to try to generate so many blog posts to cover them all. I like reading for my own pleasure (and most recommended books fail to engage me), I’m an average cook, a non-photo taker, and I just don’t want the pressure of trying to keep up with challenges. I think I also like to imagine that people other than fellow bloggers like to read what I write – but I’m not sure they’d be all that interested in me posting several times a week – my life just isn’t that exciting! So I’ll be plodding along in my own little blog world too – that’s the joy of it all – we get to write about what resonates with us and what makes us happy. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne, The concept of what resonates, where do you feel resonance, has come up repeatedly this week for me. There’s something about that word I love and I’m going to think on it some more. I chuckled at the “plodding along in my one little blog world” also. I guess that is what I decided as well!

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      1. I forgot to add that I think challenges are great if you’re wanting to build your blog views or your engagement with other bloggers – the more posts you put out there, the greater your view numbers etc – but it’s hard work and unless the challenge ties in with something you love, I’m not sure it’s worth it.

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