State of the Blog (Sort Of)

I am being interviewed, and the voice on the phone asks me why I’m not very social on social. It takes me a second to decode his words, or even his intent. Social on social? What?

Is it not part of your strategy? he asks. You know, do you not see it as an essential part of your business plan?

And well, let me just start there, because folks, there’s no business plan here.

I know that’s terribly unpopular to admit. I know it’s not wise to say, that here I am flying by the seat of my pants, just hitting publish when the mood strikes. But I’d be lying if I told you otherwise.

Want to hear something top-notch selfish?

I blog for myself. It’s not a sales funnel, or a secret mission, or one small sliver of my thirty-year-plan. It’s just that I do it every morning because I’ve always done it every morning, and it changes me for the better.

I write daily, in a chilly room with big windows a scratchy wool blanket, space heater at my feet. It is quiet. There is coffee.

And that’s it. I open a new post and I write whatever is on my mind, whatever I want to – or rather, whatever I need to. I write about bruised knees and bruised egos, and I write what I want to remember most about this very season of raising children and raising myself.

I publish perhaps 1% of this, because the lines get blurry when my story edges into someone else’s, and because relevance is less important to me than reverence.

And it’s a gift to publish it, truly. It’s a gift to send it all out into ether and have it returned to me a hundredfold. It’s a gift to read your sweet comments, your kind and encouraging words. It’s a gift, it’s a gift, it’s a gift.

So I suppose I know what this interviewer was getting at. You have much to say, don’t you? So why aren’t you saying it? Why aren’t you playing the game?

And I haven’t uncovered the answer to this yet, not in my morning writing sessions, and certainly not in the span of 15 years online. But I want to, I do.

I offer many excuses: my hands are full. I don’t want the distraction. Twitter can be so loud, Instagram so carbon. Pinterest, a firehose. I quit Facebook ten years ago and found myself weightless again, no longer keeping up with the daily whereabouts of my high school salutatorian, now my mothers’ gynecologist.

I have, in the past, lived through seasons of robust social media usage and I have found those seasons to be the ones in which I am living the least. I have watched people leave the dinner table to get a wide shot of the spread, to post to their networks, to later return and find themselves having missed the passing of the gravy, the salt, an entire conversation.

I will not settle for such. (I’ve always wanted extra salt, after all.)

A few years ago, in a Jaipur tea house, I asked a friend how her culture defines success.

By the health of our relationships, of course, she says, as if it were the obvious answer, as if it were everyone’s answer.

I know that it’s not everyone’s answer, but it’s my answer, and I wish it’s the one I’d given the reporter that day.

Why are you not social on social?
The health of my relationships.

Of course.

I know what he meant now, the reporter. I’m not terribly social on social, no. You will likely not find me producing an Instagram story in which I open my mail, or walk you through my closet, or offer a tour of my hometown. I used to think this was because I was private, which I am. Or because these things were sacred, which they are.

But I think perhaps it’s those things, and also another:

We cannot find each other here.

We cannot find each other in the puppy filters, the self deprecation, the linkbait headlines. We are settling for a smattering of one dimension when we have three available to us, in ourselves and the next door neighbor and the grocer down the street.

If I cannot bring you a casserole when your dog is dying, how social can we be?

I suppose I am writing all of this to say how much I appreciate this quiet room, and how much I treasure the white space available to type longer than 280 characters, to offer something deeper than a hashtag. I am writing this to say how much I appreciate you.

You, who have never asked me to be a “good blogger.” You, who have never demanded an editorial calendar, who have never begged to see the contents of my closet, my junk drawer, my garage. You, who have never requested a giveaway loop, who have never once minded that my kids’ birthday parties come and go with nary a rainbow cake or confetti balloon. You, who consider me as a person, not an influencer portioning my life in the name of content.

You, who are ever-patient with my lack of bullet point lists, or product round-ups, or click-worthy headlines. You, who read these small words despite my lack of brevity, and certainly without want for ramblings. ;)

You, who if a post goes unpublished or a social media platform goes unvisited, have never once suggested I hire help, or scale up, to better manage my “work.”

You, who have never once made this feel like work.

I know this is a time of year in which announcements are often made, changes often outlined. I know it’s proper to shake things up right about now, to start capitalizing on rich SEO terms – keto meal plans and coatigans. I know I should be rounding up the top wallpaper trends to look forward to, or 20 parenting books to add to your arsenal.

I should be using this space for more, it is taught.

And yet: this feels like just enough. You and me and stories, the backbone of our everydays unfettered by fluff. It feels right to assume you need no help from me in determining your daily outfits, or how to care for your fiddleleaf. It feels right to think you’re here for the same reasons I’m here – to shove the rest to the side and return to the basics, or at least to make a crack at it.

And so, here, I suppose the state of this space is the same as it has always been: both mine and yours. I promise to write when I can, to publish what I can, to attempt to learn from the both of it.

Thank you for joining me, coatigans or not.

  • I was praying last night, confessing my worry about branding and a clear message and making sure my audience knows exactly what to expect and feeling so tangled up with these things. I don’t have a clear message or know exactly what to write about. I’ve just been called to be open with my life. To put words to experiences and maybe it will resonate and help a fellow sister see something beautiful and good and true. Why do we complicate it so? I am so encouraged by your confidence and resolve and peace to just show up as yourself without worry of funnels and optimizations. To invite and share and release. It’s beautiful.

    • Oh Emily, I get it. Thank you for being open to doing things a different way – it’s totally possible! I promise. I wish you so much peace along the way.

    • Emily & Erin, I’m wrestling with these same things too, feeling the pressure of “being social on social” and what my role is in branding and promotion as a first-time author. I’ve loved Instagram for so many years as a creative outlet, but I don’t want people spending time looking at my photos to miss the real flesh-and-blood lives around them. Nor do I want to use social media that way. Thank you both for sharing your hearts and encouraging me to just be authentic.

  • Your sentiments are beautiful reminders of what is important. Thank you for gifting me with your words.

  • Erin, thank you for remaining true to your heart and your gut instinct and sharing that with us. Thank you for encouraging us to live life and sometimes write about it, instead of needing to write in order to have something to live “about.” I am in the process of finding my writing voice and platform (whatever that means) and more and more I feel the need to step back and write for myself and only myself cuz batch brews and social platforms and brands leave my head spinning.

    I’m sitting in Starbucks right now, sipping my chai latte with a heavy heart as I watch the mobile order pickups, eyes glued to their iPhone without a single interaction with the humans around them. Maybe I’ll write a blog for myself about that today. :) Thank you prizing humanity and sharing from your heart. Happy Thursday!

    • Sara! This was really beautifully stated:
      Thank you for encouraging us to live life and sometimes write about it, instead of needing to write in order to have something to live “about.”

      I hear you on so many levels here. Thank you for your kindness this morning!

  • Thank you. I blogged a long time ago about my life. And then I quit. I didn’t mean to quit but, life. And I’ve wanted to start again but I don’t have one thing to tell the world. Not one specific message. You’ve encouraged me that I can write, just to write. Thank you.

    • You’re so welcome – writing just to write has never steered me wrong. Love to you, Kristy. :)

  • I am so glad I came to the blog to read the full content. Selfishly, I wish I could have you in my inbox every day, or even better as a neighbor ha!… but thank you for not being persuaded to produce just content. Your words are always a reminder of what is most true in life. I am so glad you do hit publish 1% of the time because it is ALWAYS what I need at that moment. Funny how that works. I am always excited to see a new blog post from you and I hope you know how much light you bring to this world so please please please, keep publishing.
    Ps. Love you just the way you are!

  • I cycle through many a blog, and yours is one of the few that stays on my feed, likely because of this refreshing honesty.

  • You’re still my fave and I like to think that if we lived closer than one state away, we’d be casserole sharing kind of friends. XO Always, Trina

  • Amen, amen, amen. I’ve always appreciated your calm, clear voice amidst the noise of “blogging for business,” and I’m so thankful you see the same value and honor in keeping it as your own. Thank you for you <3

  • Lovely. And encouraging. And relevant. Amen amen amen, as Tsh said.

  • Amen! Your posts are always a delightful treat and now I know why, because you do them for you. To that – I say “Hallelujah”! And I say they’re scrumptious because all that ‘self’ motivation for them makes them 1000% authentic and wholly satisfying home-baked goodness for the soul. You Rock! Keep it up sister! Chasing Slow is how I found you – you being you is what’s kept me coming back. Thank you for sharing you and reminding the rest of us who have slowed down (and continually re-state the boundary in our own lives) to keep it up. Savor your lives ❤️ Best wishes to you and all who come here in e-community.

    P.S. I think I need a snack (all the treat references) 😉

  • Oh wow Erin, this inspired my journaling for today, 4 whole pages on paper. Thank you. I felt this one in my soul.

  • This is why your blog is my favorite. I can feel you writing for yourself which makes it so much more intimate. This blog is like a friend, sharing something over tea.
    I blog for the same reasons. The words are for me, the stories are to remember, and perhaps someone will find something in my words like I find so much in yours to help with their day, or lives.

    And I am very much enjoying the journal prompts. Each Monday I can’t wait to open my email and read.

    • So so beautiful, Sabrina – thank you so much! I’m loving A Year of Reflection, too! It’s been so good for me. Thank you for joining!

  • Thank you for not being social on social. This is my first post of yours that I have read, I came here through another site. I remarked to one of my girls this week that you can’t look on any social platform without seeing an add or sponsor. The whole idea of social media was to keep track of people in your life that you don’t see on a daily basis. What happened to writing and sharing because you love to write and want to encourage the one who is reading? We do not have to have a brand to share our heart, we just need a heart to share.
    Thanks again..

  • AHHHHHH! My blog domain renewed today. I haven’t published much in years (because, “because the lines get blurry when my story edges into someone else’s” {{{PREACH}}}, but I continue to write, and it is SO refreshing to know I’m not the only one out there without the plan or agenda that “everyone” says we must have to be “successful.” Have read what you’ve been gracious enough to share with us for all the years. Keep at it, lady.

  • Erin – thank you for this. Every word of this. Tears in my eyes reading as it resonates deeply with so much of what I’ve been reflecting on lately in my own business. Thank you for taking a stand for the fact that there can be – and that there is – another way to do all of this. That we don’t have to play the game. That sometimes the quiet, gentle path can be wildly more impactful than the path of noise and force and scheduled posts and giveaway contests and recycled content posted in pretty packages – loudly – because it’s Tuesday and on Tuesday we post recycled content in pretty packages. Deep bow of gratitude – for this post, for you, for your work, and for modeling this way. xo – Sarah

    • Oh Sarah – thank you for this kindness to me. What a gift to read your words! Nodding right alongside of you.

  • Hi Erin! I started my blog a year ago, but was not consistent in writing at all. This year, I’ve made a commitment to writing more because I missed it and publishing content makes me feel better,too. I came across your blog by looking for inspiration, looking for someone whose writing style and stories I could learn from. This post was something I needed to read because I don’t want to run my blog for the influencer part of it; I want to simply share my stories with people. I’ve read some of your content and the comments as well, and I admire how much people enjoy your content. I hope I can achieve that with my content, too! I also subscribed to follow your life journey, I look forward to reading more of your stories! Thank you!

    • This is beautiful – thank you, Erika! Keep on writing! It’s been such a blessing over here. xoxo

  • Erin, thank you for writing this. You have put words to something I’ve been struggling to express — and felt alone in feeling — for the past few years that I’ve been trying to “make it” in the social media realm. I thought I wanted to be a blogger and influencer, but I struggle to hit that publish button as well if I’m not in the mood, often struggle even to sit down and write. I’ve never been one for listicles or quick tips (though I’ve forced myself to write them, and it’s always felt like the voice of an alter ego) or giving people glimpses into my daily life. To be honest, I wondered what was wrong with me; I thought I was self-sabotaging my potential success as an online personality. But when you said “we cannot find each other here,” my heart leapt. That’s it. That’s what I’ve been feeling. Any kind of social interaction for me is somewhat draining, even online, so when I do pour myself into socializing it needs to be real, there needs to be a connection. I’ve always been like that. As soon as it becomes something I “have” to do for growth or engagement, I want to run the other way.
    Let me say that I have always been so inspired by the format of your blog. Perhaps as a kindred spirit, I’ve always appreciated their rambling structure, their quiet meditative nature. Yours is one of the only blogs I come away from feeling as though I’ve just had a long, hot bath. At peace. Keep sharing your thoughts with us when the mood strikes. I’ll be patient. They’re worth it.

    • Ally – this comment is both kind and thoughtful. I so appreciate you putting such encouragement into words, as I know how many things tug and pull at our attention these days, particularly in this format! Thank you for such uplifting words, really and truly. I relate to them more than you know!

  • <3 <3 <3 Thank you for the gift you give when you write here. And the reminder that life is lived out there.

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