A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Leaping Into My Blogging Future

I’ve started this post about 20 times in my head. That’s when I know I’ve got something important to say. I really didn’t plan to post here until June 1st, but my mind won’t rest until I get all this out of my head.

I love to write. I really do. From the days of teenage angst when I would stare out the window and write moody poetry or scribble in my journal–to my life now where I see the world in terms of blog post headlines.

My mental headlines have transitioned from titles like:

How to Minimize Self-Doubt

and Creating Family Vacations to Remember

to headlines like:

Wonder Woman Doesn’t Live at My House

5 Surefire Ways to Kill Your Passion

and Where Did All My Goals Go?

Not only had my mental viewpoint taken a negative turn, my writing had turned from something I loved to do, to something I had to do:

  • I had to post three times a week.
  • I had to write about only practical decluttering and minimalist-y topics.
  • I had to get back to work on finishing other sites I had started.
  • I had to write more guest posts.
  • I had to come up with something both funny and philosophical to say on Twitter.

But who had decided I had to do all those things? ME! I tend to be somewhat stubborn by nature and I know this much about myself: If someone tells me I have to do something, that’s the best way to get me to not want to do it. Turns out, even if the person telling me I have to do something is ME, it still has the same effect of shutting me down.

Where Did I Go Wrong?

I don’t know if it’s my background in counseling or just being a girl that likes to over-analyze things, but it’s been driving me nuts trying to figure out what went wrong. Because as we all know, if we don’t figure out our mistakes, then we’re doomed to repeat them. This hasn’t been a fun place for me to be, so I definitely wanted to get to the bottom of it all and get my blog luvin’ groove back.

I tracked down a few of my mistakes and here’s what I came up with:

  1. I was trying to focus on too many projects at once. Being exhausted is not great for being productive. It’s hard enough to try and pay your dues and get a project off the ground without spreading yourself too thin between multiple projects. I’ve had to learn to focus on one thing at a time to get it to a point where I’m content to move onto something else for awhile. Then I circle back and get back to that first project. I don’t think I’ll ever be down to just one or two projects but this circular pattern creates a type of mental break and seems to be working pretty well for me.
  2. I cared too much about what other people said about me. I admit it…I want people to like me. It always hurts to be left out of certain cliques whether you’re developing your high school image or your online persona. So whenever I would hear less than flattering feedback on a post of mine or on my book, it bugged me probably more than it should have. Here’s the thing…the Internet is huge and people have different opinions. I don’t like everything out there that I see and while I may not be as vocal about it as the next person, I can’t deny someone else their personal taste. Do I think people online should learn to keep their mouth shut sometimes? Yeah, sure I do…but that’s a topic for another day. So for now, I’m wearing anything negative I see about myself as a badge of honor.
  3. I lost sight of my purpose. Somewhere along the way, I think I lost some of my vision for this site. When I first started blogging I was so excited to be a voice for family minimalism. Lately I’ve fallen into the pressure to perform: to get lots of comments, subscribers, likes, hits, tweets, etc. It’s just crazy how fast you can lose sight of the WHY behind your writing and your life. I started this blog to be helpful and to give other people a window into my life so that in some small way it might impact their life in a positive way. While I want to be liked and to have my message spread, that’s not the real reason that I’m here.
  4. I imposed unnecessary rules on myself. Like I mentioned above, I don’t need to write posts three times a week, make sure I include lots of links to other posts, or even keep my blog looking a certain way. I started this blog as much for me as I did for you, so if how I blog needs to evolve with my journey, then that’s what it needs to do. The only constant in life is change so we shouldn’t be afraid of it.
  5. I paid too much attention to what other people were doing. I used to wear myself out trying to stay up to date with blogs on minimalism, simplicity, and reading how-to articles on social media, building my brand (whatever that means) and increasing my traffic. I felt this pressure to fit in with the crowd and try to do what others were doing. Even when you try to follow all the advice out there, you’ll find so many conflicting opinions that it’s hard to make progress or feel successful. I’m tired of trying to keep up with everyone else. I have a hard enough time keeping up with myself. I’m moving on and focusing on what matters.

Leaping Into the Future

I don’t really have this blogging thing figured out, but there are certain things I plan to do moving forward. Here’s what you can expect:

  • I will post when I have something important to say. Now that I’m removing the restraints I put on myself I anticipate being more free with my posting. You may not be able to plan on a post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But I can promise you this: if you see a post by me, you can bet that it’s something I feel strongly about. I won’t post just because I feel like I’m supposed to post. You might want to sign up for RSS or weekly updates so you don’t worry about missing a post. 
  • The price of my book will permanently be lowered. I could get into a discussion about all the research I did for pricing my book, how hard I worked at creating valuable content, or compare it to other books out there…but I won’t. I want my book to have the opportunity to reach more families so I’m lowering the price and keeping it there. ‘Nuff said.
  • I will be more open with how I share my thoughts here. I’m through with avoiding topics that didn’t fit the exact “minimalist mold” that I felt was necessary for this blog. I write to help you become a minimalist at home, but I also write AS a minimalist at home. So much of life ties into the foundational truths of minimalism that I won’t avoid posting it if it isn’t the perfect cookie cutter list post.

That’s pretty much it. You get the real me. Now you know where I’ve been and where I’m going. I hope you’ll stick around for the journey.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider signing up for weekly updates (in the sidebar), for RSS updates to Minimalist at Home or follow me on Twitter. Thanks so much for reading and commenting (hint, hint).

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Article originally published on 04/22/2011

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Comments

  1. Hi Faith, It’s so good to hear your true voice and know where you’re coming from. I completely understand all of the pressure you were putting on yourself to do all of the “right” things (I’m quite the over-analyzer myself — trust me, I get it!).

    Hopefully focusing on one project at a time will help. I have to work the same way, or everything I do is half-a$$ed and I become overwhelmed.

    Going forward I hope you feel free to speak your heart here like you did today. It’s great to have you back! 🙂

    P.S. I totally spent my angst-ridden teenage years writing moody poetry too. 😉

  2. Hi Faith,
    I’m so glad you found a balance & are going to continue w/your blog. I enjoy reading it. Take all the time off you need! I have you on Google Reader so I’ll know when you post again. Happy Easter!
    April

  3. nopinkhere says:

    Hope you keep posting when you feel like it! I’d much rather read something you posted because it was important to you than because you needed to post on a schedule. I use Google Reader anyway, so I just see your posts whenever. I especially like your point about anything you write being from the perspective of a minimalist.

  4. Hi Faith:
    I’m glad that you’ll continue to blog, even if it’s not on a regular schedule. That’s why I signed up for the e-mail notice. I only follow about a dozen “minimalist” blogs and you’re one of them! I hope you see that as a compliment 🙂

  5. It is so hard to find the balance between doing what is right for us, and following all the blogging advice that’s out there. Taking time to evaluate what’s working for you is essential, and I’m sure success can take many different forms.

    You’ll find your own form of success and that will be so much more rewarding.

  6. Hi Faith. I applaud your efforts. Your blog is excellent, very personal, authentic and expertly executed, an example to others. Blogging is as much about perseverance as anything and you blog about a subject that I think is very timely as humanity begins to wake up to the kind of world we have created and starts to ask about the kind of world they want for the future. Ignore the negativity – there’s a lot of it out there – and anything you do, always do it on your own terms.
    Love & Light,
    Jasper

  7. Good on you, Faith. I think you and your site have so much to offer. I’ve felt the same way in my blogging journey and, like you, came to the realization that it doesn’t mean anything if it’s not meaningful to you. While I can say I’ve honestly enjoy all of your posts so far, I look forward to more knowing that come straight from the heart. Thank you for what you do, Faith.

  8. I’m right there with you. The more I feel pressured to do so many things, the more I tend to back away. I’d much rather read something that you care about than a throw away post you put up because you felt pressured.

  9. It is amazing, Faith, how many of us who began around the same time are hitting some of the same brick wall! I was in quite a funk myself this weekend, but was able to settle some things within myself as well about my blog and how I will move forward. I am glad that I will still here your voice here from time to time!
    It is SO easy to get sucked into the “how-to get more traffic, followers, commentors, etc! I am going to have to unsub from many things myself to remove myself from that mentality! I think we all jst have to figure out what is best for OUR blog and OUR goals.
    Good luck to you Faith!
    Bernice

  10. AMEN. There are already too many bloggers who are obviously following some Magic Blog Formula (and then reselling it in an easy ebook format for $39.99). In the end, these bloggers wind up sounding more like self-promoting, name-dropping infomercials than actually providing information and sharing a part of themselves that might actually be useful to people who are just looking to share notes with others who are on the same journey. In the end, I think you figured it out: Be yourself!

  11. So glad you posted these thoughts. I HEAR you! I’ve been blogging for several years now, and I’m just not happy with it. I know in my heart there must be more to it than making money and pleasing people. I, too, am rethinking everything.

    So glad you are finding your center. 🙂

    Blog on!

  12. Sounds like your new, selective, personal blog will be great. I look forward to it. There’s a LOT out there about minimalism — I’m just discovering it all — but a lot of it feels the same. I’m looking forward to hearing your voice.

  13. I was so happy to visit your blog again and see your post! I’m even happier that you have found your stride. And while I know this post wasn’t meant to be a “teaching moment”, but it certainly reminded me of how I need to apply a similar mentality to other areas in my life.

  14. Faith-
    You have been an inspiration to me from the first day I stumbled on your blog. It is one of the only I keep up with as often as I can (even with Reader and email updates, I still delete many unread if I am having a busy week!). And the focus on Less Mess, More Life always resonated with me. It’s the reason I don’t have a twitter account or a Facebook page for my blog. All of the excess, the craziness, the pressure takes focus from what your ultimate goal was. I do not read your writing, because you have a top minimalism blog (honestly, I have no idea where you rank in the “list”) or because you are on some A-list out there. I read it because your voice, your wish for minimalism for families everywhere, spoke to me. So, as with all other commenters have said, I am already on email updates and am anxiously awaiting the next Faith Janes that comes into my inbox. Remember your focus.

  15. Cynthia says:

    I’m so glad you have decided to continue writing your blog.:) I’m also happy to see you are comfortable enough with your writing to mix-it-up a bit by not limiting yourself to minimalist topics only and not restricting yourself to must-post-on-certain-days. I love reading about minimalism (especially since I am just starting the journey myself) but also about other Mom’s/wive’s struggles with the day-to-day. We all have them. Sometimes I think you are sneaking into my household. Your topics are on the money for what happened on a certain day.;) Keep up the good work! As for telling yourself you must post on certain days, phooey. Post when the mood hits you. We’ll still check in!:)

  16. Oh my god you’re an absolute genius. The popularity of your post (this one, I take it) about possibly giving up your blog, because it strikes a chord about people hating to give up something they were attached to. (Suffering through clinging, any Buddhists relating to that? Me!)… Keeping up with the Jonses. Feeling envious for being left out of cliques — building your brand! You’re writing about me. Brilliant, I tells ya! You have a new fan.

    John

  17. Faith!

    Did you know that you are the VERY first person who ever linked to my blog? You and Scott (who no longer blogs/hopefully will come back) are my very first commenters and the very first ones who ever sent me any eyeballs.

    I am so glad you’re going to continue. Your message is beautiful, wonderful, empowering and completely you. You touch people. You make them laugh. You make them think. You help them change.

    You and I girl, we were in the exact same place at the exact same time, and I think we were both so busy we didn’t even notice that we were both going through the same soul-searching. I don’t normally link to posts in people’s comments sections, but I’m going to throw this one in Faith, because I wrote it right around the same time you wrote your “I might quit” post and if you’ve got a sec check it out. Where’s Your Authentic Self Hiding Out. Same exact thing!

    Well not exactly, I didn’t announce that I might quit blogging, but I took a serious hiatus around that time (that lasted until this week). I went from the “must do 3 incredibly perfect posts a week/tweet like crazy/keep up with a thousand other blogs” madness to completely saying F it. I dropped twitter, I dropped the 3 posts a week rule, I stopped writing in a people-pleasing way and said, “O.K. they either like my erratic schedule and outspoken/non p.c. nature or they don’t!”

    You my dear, are a real gem in the minimalist community. And I’m glad to hear your sticking with it. And one last thing, your book rocks. I really, really love it (everything except my guest entry in it, after reading it I wanted to do a serious edit job!) So whoever didn’t love it, don’t worry about them. They’re just in a different headspace than you. Not a bad thing, not a good thing. Just a different thing.

    • Faith Janes says:

      Thank you so much for that, Tanja! That’s the nicest comment I’ve ever received here (or maybe ever). 🙂 It feels awesome to have the support of faithful readers and fellow bloggers like you. The sense of connection is incredible.

      I’m so proud to have been one of first few to discover your awesome blog. Keep on being your authentic self…you rock!

  18. Always happy to hear from you, any time, any topic!

  19. Well written and well said. There are lots of places to get what minimalism is but I want to know how people live their lives. It is good to know when you get off track how to get back on and what sidelines you. Thanks for being you.

  20. I am so pleased to read this post! I enjoy reading your blog, have read your books and I applaud you for wanting to keep your blog as a blog for you, written by you and to interest you rather than under pressure to perform, gain followers, be the ‘best’. I have been blogging for 7 years now, and never wanted to be a ‘star blogger’ (good job, you might say) but just to connect with people all across the world who have something to say and use the internet as a platform to say it. I don’t mind if a ‘minimalist’ blog goes off message; I like the mixed up nature of blogs. It suits real life better.

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