Reflections on life and making a living

When I first started this blog, I wondered where it might go. I started blogging for myself to track our journey as we moved to the farm. I also blogged for friends and family so that they could keep up with what we were doing. Another reason I started blogging was because I wanted a different kind of writing in my life, a new creative outlet.

However, when I started blogging, I also saw a lot of other bloggers, some of whom were making a full time living off their blogs. I wondered if that might happen for me someday.

It seemed like a wonderful gig: being at home, doing what I want, writing about it, and getting paid.

But it’s not that simple.

When I came back from Blogpodium two years ago, I let go of the idea of making a full time living through blogging. I loved the conference in part because it gave me clarity about what I did and didn’t want to do.

I didn’t feel like I wanted to seriously monetize my blog. I didn’t want to “hustle” the way I felt I’d need to. Writing for advertisers, writing for sponsors, writing for a huge community of readers with very specific expectations, picking and choosing the projects I worked on so that the site would get the most number of hits, promoting everything on every social media channel–it just didn’t appeal.

About two weeks ago, I listened to a podcast by John and Sherry of Young House Love. For those who don’t know, John and Sherry were the ultimate in DIY blogosphere–both of them making a full-time living off their blog, tonnes of projects on the go, top to bottom home makeover in progress. And then a year ago, they walked away. Shut down their blog. Went dark. Dropped out of the blogosphere.

The podcast is a really in-depth reflection on how their blog became their life and their life became their blog. There was no division for them, and that became really hard–more than they wanted to deal with. Even though I’ve not reached the heights that John and Sherry did, I completely get it. Kit at DIY Diva, a blogger that I absolutely love, has written about this in the past too.

This blog is a part of my life. But just part. I share what I want, write the way I want, do the projects I want. I don’t really want that to change.

Over the past month, I admit, I’ve enjoyed the little break that I’ve had thanks to the other bloggers who have written about their favourite tools. The past little while was a really busy time for me in the day job, there’ve been some challenges in my family, and not having to come up with three posts every week was kind of nice (although I know my three post per week schedule is totally self-imposed).

I still think it would be pretty nice to work at home. I looooove being at the farm. I feel so much guilt every morning when I walk out of the house and leave Baxter alone. And honestly, often the day job isn’t all that fulfilling. Sometimes, in fact, it’s downright draining.

So for little while now, I’ve been exploring some other options. I’ve been trying some freelance writing. I’ve reached out to some old contacts. I’ve tossed around some ideas with a few people.

I’m open to opportunities. I’m also aware that if I want a change, I have to work at it and not wait for it to come to me. As Sherry says in the podcast, “If something feels wrong or unnatural you have to change it because no one’s going to change it for you.” This isn’t going to happen right away, and I’m willing to be a bit patient. However, I’m also putting myself out to the universe. (Want me to write for you? I’m available!)

I’m not planning on changing the blog, and I know I don’t often get super personal here, but I felt like I wanted to put some of my thoughts out here.

Thanks for reading.

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11 thoughts on “Reflections on life and making a living

  1. More than 25 years ago, I found myself frustrated in my career path. I was pursuing a career in an industry that was cut throat and not aligned with anything I valued. I had created a resume that really only qualified me to work in this industry. After 12 months of trying to explore other career options, the ‘universe’ conspired to present me with an option that I would not have considered on my own. I made the decision to quit my job, move back to my home town and help my mother care for my father during the last 12 months of his life. It is a decision that I have never regretted. Those 12 months provided me with the time to think about what was meaningful to me. To realize that the needs and desires of my whole life must be part of the equation. From that day forward, every significant change I have made has always be made holistically. I knew that I had lived a very compartmentalized life with few points of intersection. Now, things like changing jobs, buying a new house, or committing myself to new activities are all considered in light of my values, my priorities and my vision of who I want to be. I live today, knowing that I am not my day job, but I can find more meaning (and I think add more value) in my day job by allowing who I really am to come with me to work every day..OK..let’s say most days! I can guarantee that you will find your ideal recipe too. Remain open and know that ideas can come from the most unlikely places (and frequently do). Listen to your intuition; it will lead you to your solution. If your experience is like mine, events will unfold as if by magic.

  2. I love following along with your blog, and seeing your projects. While my house is tiny, I still find lots of your projects inspiring. I was a huge fan of Young House Love and totally miss their blog. One of the things I loved about their blog was that I felt like we got to know them – it wasn’t just their projects. So, I think it’s great when there is some personal stories mixed in as well. Feel free to keep sharing, and we will keep reading (though I suspect that the personal side is what became too much for Sherry and Jon)…

  3. I can completely understand. That has always been a concern when I thought about blogging on my own, and even now, sharing on yours: how do I share, but not share too much, but still post something that is interesting.

    I think I was drawn to your blog by the real life stuff, how you got to know your new farm and learning along with you what it is like to own a large piece of land.

    I think when you decide how often and what you post about it has to be determined by how much you enjoy blogging. You should cut back when it is no longer fun and seems to be a chore!

    You mentioned two of my favorite blogs. I really miss YHL and I still really enjoy Kit’s adventures!

  4. I appreciate reading this too. I’m right there with you in some ways. I had an online business in for several years before I sold it in 2004 (I think! LOL). It did overtake my life in many ways, and I had small kids to raise. I loved knowing that I had created something from nothing, but there were drawbacks too. It was a valuable lesson in time management, delegation and clarifying true intent and purpose. If I had it to do all over again, I would not have done it any differently. 🙂 It’s cliche, but life IS short. Each life stage is like a little vignette.

    I’ll read whatever you write, whenever you write it. I’m glad that we that can get to know each other in the blog world.

  5. When I first started reading, I was afraid you were winding up! I’m glad you’re not, but respect and appreciate your position on what you do. I wanted to start a blog, in fact very briefly did, and felt so vulnerable sharing and so worried about that line between personal and public that I didn’t continue. If I were to ever do it again, I’d have to create a space where I could be myself, not where I had to appear together or always tidy and organized. But that would require a level of confidence that I don’t yet have.
    I spent many years building a business, a teaching studio, that grew and flourished when I lived in Alberta. When I moved here to V. Island, I tried starting again and it really didn’t do well for about 10 years. Part of it was because of a different social and business setting, but part of it was that I was burned out and didn’t admit it. I focused on other things, and really lost my nerve in the business and teaching areas. That showed through when I tried to sell my services, or do interviews or anything that required me to put myself out there. It was a horrible feeling! I thought I would have to change careers, and though I do have other of interest, all would require a lot of education first. I couldn’t decide what to do. That’s when I started nannying to supplement our income. That made me realize how much better teaching worked in my life, how much better paying it was, etc. Eventually I began to reinvigorate my teaching by bringing the concept of play from the nannying into the teaching.
    Now I’m back to teaching more or less full time; I have 30 students at present. I’ve worked hard on expanding my comfort zones as well as creating more effective advertising streams. A book that helped me a lot is the book “Start”, but Jon Acuff. It’s very good (if a little superly-overly-cheery-rah-rah-rah-ish at times..)
    Good luck in finding a rewarding career that you can do from home. I am sure you can find it! Your writing is lovely and you’re self-motivated and clearly have an excellent work ethic. Those are all good qualities when it comes to working from home. I love the balance between personal and projects on your blog. I also love the variety. From my point of view, I’d say don’t change a thing! But do so at the pace and frequency that’s right for you. 🙂

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