Last week, a couple of pigeons started building a nest in the rafters of my porch, and I named them George and Mathilda. They are just the cutest things. What’s odd is that there are plenty of ducks and crows in my complex, but almost no pigeons. Watching George and Mathilda build this nest for their future babies, and hearing them coo is heartwarming and is helping me feel more grounded since lately I’ve been feeling a bit unsettled.
Home is where the pigeons are
Symbolically, pigeons mean messages, home, and marriage. So, I take the presence of my new pigeon friends as a good omen. The timing of their presence I also take as no coincidence because my lease is up at the end of August and I have to decide what I’m going to do.
As well, I signed up at an online dating site because I’m ready to get back into the dating swing. I have my first coffee date this weekend. It’s been 11 months since Matt and I broke up, and my heart has healed pretty well, so it’s time to take the baby steps into a new relationship because I do want to feel the warm cuddle of a sweetie once again.
And lastly, I have been taking a hard look at what I want to do with my blog business because BlogHer and some activities around the conference really opened my eyes to some things I’ve never thought about before. The good problem I mentioned the other day was about growth pains. I’ll elaborate more in a bit later.
Putting Back in Skinny Jeans on hiatus
So, I need more time to think, re-prioritize, and be still. I am going to put Back in Skinny Jeans on hiatus for at least 3 weeks so I can have some down time to really think about what I want to do with my blog business, but mainly with BISJ. Instead of making any rash decisions, I’m going to let things just pause and see what happens.
Business-wise, some have advised me that putting this blog on hiatus at the height of its traffic and Google page rankings would be mad, and part of me has hemmed and hawed at making this decision because of fear of losing traffic and readers, but when I get to the heart of things, who am I writing for, Google stats or to make a difference in people’s lives?
Heavy lifting blogging: Post #1910
If I'm writing to help make a difference in people’s lives do they honestly expect me to write, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year without any breaks? Um, no, but part of me (Ms. Perfect Girl) did believe that which is why I really haven’t taken a vacation the whole time I’ve been blogging, and it’s been heavy lifting blogging. This post is officially #1,910 after 2 years and 9 months. What’s even more amazing is that most of those posts were 300-2,000 words of meaty substantial content. You’re getting greens, and turkey meatloaf (or veggie loaf for my Veg friends) when you visit this blog.
One big thing I learned after the relapse posts, is that you my beautiful wonderful audience would rather wait and have “Stephanie high quality” level writing than get “Stephanie cranky and tired” level writing which I go through from time to time because I just want to keep my page ranks high, and to do that you have to continually post. But again, is it better to have fewer posts at high quality, or to have frequent yet smaller posts just to keep activity going even if it isn’t meaty, just light and fluffy. To be honest, I’ve been feeling like I don’t have it in me at all to write at “Stephanie high quality” level at BISJ right now, and that is a dis-service to my readers, and to my own creative well being.
So this leads me to a cross roads where I need to think. While I’m on hiatus, some things I will be contemplating:
- Because of the outstanding growth, I have taken my blogs as far as I can as an individual. To continue to grow, I will either need to hire others, outsource work, get a business partner, or shut down one blog because doing two at the same time by myself can be too much. It's like over training for a marathon. You can also over blog and hurt yourself. When you are a Pro level blogger, writing is not all you do. Not only do you have to be the creative and come up with fresh, interesting content on a weekly basis, you have to play publisher, accountant, publicist, and technical support which is even more challenging when you’re level of web expertise is drag n’ drop. I get deer-in-headlights when I see code.
- How much internet fame can I handle or do I want? I got into professional blogging because I wanted to help people on a large scale and make a good living. What I never factored in was dealing with internet fame. Some people blog because they want to become famous, or at least feel famous. I do PR things more because I want traffic, not because I want to become some web celeb. I care about traffic because that is how I make revenue. However, when you have a blog that is associated with a personality, in my case Back in Skinny Jeans=Stephanie, it is hard to separate the persona from the brand as the blog grows in popularity. It’s like having Dooce without Heather Armstrong, or Huffington Post without Arianna Huffington. It could be done, but something would be highly amiss.
- In the post The Emotional Toll of Blogging, I spoke of how invasion of privacy and personal attacks are the primary things that emotionally drain me in blogging. Well, there is also, how much more do I want to share of my life online? Do I want to talk about my dating adventures? Do I want to elaborate more on my other health challenges like overcoming anxiety attacks and agoraphobia? Do I want to share more of my personal aging experiences in a youth obsessed culture? How much more can I talk about the ED recovery stuff because as I mentioned in my interview at Cranky Fitness, you are never “cured.” There is no fairy tale ending, it will never be a problem again. It really is one day at a time, and one life situation at a time. And what if I relapse again, do I honestly want to share that again…ever?
My motivation for exposing my life like this was to help others feel less alone and stigmatized because issues like mental wellness/illness, eating disorders, addictions, and depression can carry so much stigma and shame that it debilitates people and makes them feel like they are damaged goods...forever. Of course not true in reality, but in your head, that is how bad it can feel, and I want to help people to not suffer needlessly because of that kind of stigma. Like many of you, I enjoy reading how others are dealing with everyday life, true life, not “magazine pretty” life where things can neatly be resolved in 30 minutes like in sitcoms.
To live holistically means putting your bad foot forward along with your good foot, and that is not easy or comfortable to do. It’s not easy to be that vulnerable to others and trust that they will still like you, accept you, and love you faults and all. It’s easier to hide behind perfectionism, illusion, and idealization. We forget that those imperfections and life experiences actually make us more interesting as people like I described in “The Leather Jacket Metaphor: How Flaws Make Us More Interesting.”
But again, as BISJ grows and becomes higher profile how much of “Stephanie” do I want to share with the world? There is something to be said for having privacy, and being able to be human and not have every fault or fall down documented online or open to criticism by the trolls and haters of the mass internets.
- However, perhaps there is a way that I can take more of “Stephanie” out of Back in Skinny Jeans yet keep my message and spirit of healing and healthy living alive by bringing in other writers and doing more guest interviews. That would be like moving more toward a TV talk show format which could be done, but that takes time, money, and lots of planning. Which again, gets back into how could I make all that happen starting with the resources I have today?
- Do I even want Back in Skinny Jeans to grow? Admittedly, I really enjoyed BISJ when it was smaller and I was able to be more engaged with readers, and was able to get to know them better and go to their blogs to hang out too. I enjoyed getting emails from readers and being able to spend quality time responding. I had a smaller audience but a higher quality of interaction. Because BISJ has become a “business” and is getting bigger, I can no longer spend the kind of time or attention I used to on my readers, and the interaction with you all is one of the things I love the most. I miss the “social” part of social media. So, how can I be social yet manage a growing business at the same time?
So you see, I have lots to think about.
I’ll still be around the Internets
I will still be blogging at Noshtopia. My re-design is taking a bit longer than I planned, mainly because the emotional toll of BISJ has affected my ability to focus. By putting BISJ on hiatus I can better focus on Nosh, and it gives me time to work on Back in Skinny Jeans, the book. My book has to gestate on paper now, I’m told by the folks upstairs. I’ll also stay active on Twitter, so you are all free to follow me there. I’m user: skinnyjeans. And there’s email. If you need a Steph fix, I’ll do my best to respond to email.
Oh just to mention, my email is handled through Yahoo small business hosting, and it has put emails straight into the SPAM folder which gets deleted after 2 weeks. If you’ve ever written me, and I didn’t respond, your email may have gone into SPAM. Many apologies, but don’t hesitate to ping me again.
See you soon!
I will update BISJ on August 25 to let you all know what’s up. In the meantime, I'm open to any ideas or suggestions any of you might have. Enjoy the rest of summer, and we’ll see you back here in awhile ;-)