Writing It Out Loud (But Not Reading It Because Then I’d Probably Delete It.)

I’m sorry that I’ve been so inconsistent in writing here.
Every time I sit down to write, I am overcome with disappointment with what this blog has become. It used to be a place that I loved, that I was proud of. Not so much, anymore. I feel completely lost in this sea of New Blogging. I am not a brand, I do not have a “story” to sell. It’s just me, writing words, telling you stories about my life, about the family that I love. And I wonder if it’s worth writing anymore because of how much things have changed. I doubt myself. I doubt my place here. I doubt the value of the words that I type here and publish for the world to read.
I’ve been through this before. I’ve questioned not doing this anymore, but I always come back to this: This blog is important to me because it is a record of my life that I want to share with my children in the near future. I want them to know how much their words, their little lives meant to me, every day of my life. I want them to know that they made me laugh, that sometimes, they made me cry, but they always made me want to be the best human being I could possibly be.
One minute I have absolute clarity about this blog and why I continue to write here. Then, I stumble upon a conversation about SEO or traffic or Alexa ranking or “can I see your media kit?” And I’m all “What am I doing here?” again.
And so, I stay quiet.
One thing I know for sure is that I love to write. Another thing that I know is that I adore the people who read the words that I write.

101 thoughts on “Writing It Out Loud (But Not Reading It Because Then I’d Probably Delete It.)

  1. Allison Zapata

    LOVE THIS POST!!!!!!!
    I feel like a little tiny minnow in a sea of aggressive, hard-core bloggers. I don’t want to feel like I am in a competition. So, I won’t let myself anymore. I just posted something similar an hour or so ago…..
    Thanks for these thoughts and I’m glad you pressed publish :)
    XOXO

  2. Brandi

    I enjoy reading your blog. I love that you share so openly and candidly. And, if it’s something that makes you happy or serves a purpose, I think you should continue to do it until it doesn’t. Media kits, etc. be damned.

  3. Zoot

    Whatever motivates you, or doesn’t motivate you, I understand. But know this: I read every word you write. No matter why you write it. Your photography inspires me as do your words. I’ll take them however you feel comfortable giving them, and whenever you are inspired to do so.
    All of that said? I know what you mean. It’s weird, isn’t it?

  4. Mishelle Lane

    I so totally know this. Hell, I could have written this a couple months ago. I decided that I would continue to o it, for me, for my children, for our family.
    XO

  5. Elizabeth @ Table for Five

    My friend Lisa sent me the link to this post because she knows I’ve been struggling with the same problem. So many things have happened since I started blogging that I didn’t write about, things I’ve already forgotten. All we can do I think is vow to start now, make our blogs our own no matter what other people are doing with theirs.
    And if my opinion counts, I think you SHOULD be proud of this blog!

  6. divrchk

    Write for you. That’s why I love reading your blog. You write from the heart and it’s interesting, moving, funny, etc… I wouldn’t keep you in my reader, or pop over to comment, if I didn’t love your blog.

  7. jonniker

    Me, too. I miss when it was just about writing it out and being normal people. I hate the tweets about PR and the posturing and the AND AND AND of it all.
    It used to be just US, you know? And it’s still us, you and me and a lot of other people. I’m ignoring it all, and you should, too.
    It’s just us.

  8. Redneck Mommy

    I’m in yer blog, reading yer wordz. Don’t stop.
    I struggle with this too, daily. The need to write but feeling like I’m a square peg trying to squeeze into a round hole.
    In the end, I just do what I tell my kids. Put one foot in front of the other and keep on trucking. Or rather, in my case, put one word in front of the next and hope it all makes sense.

  9. Julie

    I don’t know SEO or Alexa score even mean. I read your blog, because I do like your story. Your funny kids, your horny husband, your religious background (very similar in some ways to my own), your sense of humor your honesty about your struggles with health, weight, finances, finding your place, etc.
    Why does it have to be a product? Why can’t it just be a record of your life? An outlet? I love to do several things that I am quite good at (cakes, quilts, pictures), but I don’t want them to be a job, because then the joy that they bring to me would be gone. I wouldn’t be creating, I would be working.

  10. Kerri Anne

    I love what Amanda said. Your site, your rules. And your lovely words.
    I think a lot of us who have been blogging for A Lot Of Years struggle with how much the electronic landscape (for lack of a million better ways to describe it) has changed over the years. I know I do. But I keep coming back to the same place you do: I need to write. To tell my story, as simple and inconsistent (and non-media related) as it might be. And I love the connections, the true and deep and no doubt life-long friendships, I’ve formed because I, like so many others, like to share my touchy feely feelings on the Internet.
    xo.

  11. Nancy P

    I’m sure I am not the only one who does not give a rat’s ass about your blog traffic stats. I read your blog because I love your words and the way you put them together. Your posts always seem reach a place inside me that could use the cry or laughter or ahhh that they evoke. So thank you for sharing your life with us. Thank you.

  12. amber

    I hope you continue to write, for yourself, your children and for those of us who are inspired by your words. I love seeing in my reader that there is a new post from you because I know I will come away from reading your post with a laugh or something that really makes me think, and something I can relate to.
    As someone who has had a blog that has really only been read by family and friends for 5 years I write for myself and my kids, so that one day they know how special they are and so that maybe they will come to know their mommy a bit better.
    It is the personal that I love.

  13. MargieK

    The way I see it, there are different kinds of bloggers, with different styles, different readership, different purposes. Some are narrow, devoted only to one subject, like recipes; some are fancy, some are modest; some are deeply personal, some are general-interest.
    At some point in our lives we learn that no matter what we’re good at (taking pictures, recounting a funny story, etc.), there are others who are better, or luckier, or more popular (even though you are better). You’ll never have or be it all.
    But you’ll always be the best person in the world at telling YOUR story, and being you.
    Just keep being you, writing about what you want, when you want. That is not only enough; it is just right.

  14. Y

    You people are making me all emotional. Thank you for your encouragement- I truly adore you and feel so lucky to have you in my life. /cheese

  15. mommabird2345

    I love your blog. You are awesome. I really hope you don’t stop writing. There have been many times you have written things that I completely get. The “I’m just a mom” feeling is a big one (FYI, you are so NOT ‘just a mom’, you are many things, including an AMAZING photographer.) You are real. The things you write are real. If all you did was “promote your brand”, it would feel fake and be very uninteresting. I don’t even know what Stumble upon, SEO or ratings are. They don’t matter because you are you and that’s what people want to read.
    Sorry if this is kind of rambly, my kids keep asking me a million things and I can’t hear myself think. I live in the I.E. and if you ever want to go window shopping, get a coffee or whatever, let me know. :)

  16. Amy M.

    I have no idea what those items were that you listed out that you stumble onto convos about those things. BUT all the words you write? I understand. A lot of times I identify with you. Your family is truly lucky to have you and you to have them! So put your pesky doubts aside and continue on with this blog. You do have a story. It’s your life. Plain and simple.

  17. alimartell

    I SO could have written this…only, well, not as good. Heh. Somewhere along the line, blogging changed. It used to be community to me. We all used to have the same goals…sharing our stories and writing. I was all over that. And then it changed…and people talked about money and ads and seo and stuff I know nothing about and, well, I didn’t change with the blogging. I’m still writing like I did in 2004. And I’ll continue to do so.
    And I hope you do too.
    love you
    xoxo

  18. James E.

    The important thing, I feel, is if writing is something you enjoy and, as you said, you want a record of events than do it for those reasons. Forget about SEO, targeted advertising, page rank, etc. and just write. If nothing else just for yourself. That’s what matters.

  19. Marci

    Y, I have been reading your blog for many years. I love your writing and your photographs. Everyone has their struggles. We will be here whenever you hit publish!

  20. Maggie

    I prefer reading a real blogs such as yours rather than one that has changed its essence while trying for stats.

  21. Julie

    I just wanted to let you know that I’m a new reader (found you a couple weeks ago) and I love your blog. I think you are hilarious. I am new to blogging and I definitely understand wanting to give up because sometimes I want to do it already. I feel like no one will care what I have to say. But I’m going to keep going, at least for now, and I hope you do, too!

  22. Colleen

    I think you’re going to get a page full of comments telling you to keep writing. Forget about those stats and SEO and Alexa and media kits. Keep writing. I think the most important thing is that you are here making honest connections with people. You inspire people. You let people in to see the good and the bad… you’re real. That will keep us all coming back.

  23. Angela

    Just so you know, I love your blog because it truly is YOUR STORY. So many of the blogs I used to love are just contest/giveaway porn. I read blogs to make connections, not to win things. Thanks for keeping it real!

  24. Overflowing Brain (Katie)

    I think that the whole branding thing has gotten out of hand. I don’t have a brand, I just write what I feel and if someone reads it, then awesome. If they don’t, then whatever. I read here because I like to hear about you, your family, not because of any brand or lack thereof.
    Write for you, then you’ll never be disappointed.

  25. Laura

    I am not a blogger, but I READ a lot of blogs. One thing you bloggers need to understand about your readers is that WE.DO.NOT.CARE.ABOUT.ALL.THE.MEDIA KIT/PR/BRAND.CRAP. We really, really, really don’t care. We read good blogs because they entertain us, they inform us, they inspire us, or whatever. I am so sick of sponsored posts and giveaways (except for Pioneer Woman’s which rock….but they aren’t sponsored and you don’t have to re-tweet, facebook, blah, blah to enter). The minute I can tell a post is about the ‘business of blogging’ or has a giveaway, or is part of some project (what is up with the gnome and the food blogging everywhere??), or talks about ‘how blogging has CHANGED’ — I close the screen and skip to the next blogger who is just talking about her life or whatever…with GOOD WRITING (hello Amalah, Sundry, Finslippy, Woulda Coulda….GREAT WRITERS, who probably make more money than the average blogger…I don’t know…but you don’t notice the ‘business’ like you do on others….who are often less talented writers). I used to really enjoy Dooce because of her great writing, but it has really lost its great vibe. I hardly ever just see a post with her writing anymore….not sure where she spends her time, especially since she’s a FULL TIME blogger.
    Anyway, didn’t want to bash any blogger, I just wanted to make my point the only reason any of that should matter to you is if you really are trying to make a bunch of money from the blog. If you are in it for the writing, just write and don’t worry about all the stuff. (I know this sounds naive…because I’m not in the business, but you need to hear from one of the majority of us readers out here who don’t care about ratings, etc.). Just write.

  26. Mom again

    We love you. I read you and care nothing about whether it is new blogging or old blogging. I read you and a reader and don’t see anything but your words and pictures. That’s what I come for.

  27. annie w

    Sweetie, i love you the way you are.. the way you write your blog.. please don’t change. Don’t cave to this new trendy path blogs are taking.
    You are awesome… love ya, Girl

  28. Gwen

    I often feel that way about my blog, and then I think, I have no interest in SEO. I changed my blog template about 6 months ago and I forgot to put in the code that keeps track of my anylitics, whoops. I only just found out, which shows how often I check my numbers.
    Please keep writing and forget about the SEO, brand and other stuff. It isn’t why we come to read you. We read you for you.

  29. JulieD

    You have a gift for writing with humour and love and in a way that is relatable for so many people. Keep writing for yourself and for your family and for those of us who read. Keep blogging. I would miss you.

  30. traci

    Y~ I’ve been reading your blog for a long time. I love it and I really miss you writing here. I can relate to so many of the things you go through that you write about. I love your humor in dealing with so many issues that I have as well. I don’t want to sounds like a total nerd, but I feel like if we ever met irl, we could be friends. I don’t have a blog myself, so I don’t understand all that goes with it. I just know I enjoy reading the 4 or 5 that I have bookmarked. To me they are a mix of entertainment and insight. Please don’t stop writing and get caught up in all the ‘business’ of blogging.

  31. Denise

    Y,
    I don’t blog. I read like 20 blogs a day, but I’ve never started my own so I don’t relate to what you’re saying. As a reader though, I just want to read and be inspired and relate, and feel connected. I don’t know about stats and all that. I don’t want something that is contrived to generate more readers or something like “Looking at my daughter wearing her new headband from Headbands Are Us (my new sponsor!), made me relive my own childhood when I wore only headbands from HAU”. I don’t fault a blogger when they make money off their blog but if that’s the purpose or intent of their blog, then pass, thanks.
    Anyway, I’m rambling but what I really wanted to say is every day I check your blog and every day I’m disappointed when there isn’t a new post. And that’s because I trust your writing. It’s real and honest and sometimes I cringe (remember I’ve told you that before about the F bombs and v a g i n a talk haha) and sometimes I don’t understand but I appreciate you and what you offer and I hope you will find your way back again because I will be here laughing, crying, nodding or shaking my head depending on the day.
    God bless you, Y!
    Denise

  32. Christina

    You wrote exactly what I’ve been feeling lately, too. It does feel like a new blogging world and I’m just an “ancient” relic, as one new blogger referred to me recently.
    Write for you and your family. If nothing else matters, don’t let it distract you from your story. Because even if you’re not running daily giveaways or maximizing your SEO or courting big name brands for sponsorships, your words still matter just as much. Your story matters, and so do you.

  33. Claire

    I’ve noticed how the blog has changed – in the sense it has become more serious and ‘self conscious’ in its writing style. That’s where you are going wrong, Y – you are trying to write like other bloggers, not yourself.
    I’ve been reading for a long time and when I started went through ALL the archives. Stop trying to be like other people and write overly sentimental, faux meaningful stuff. Get back to YOU – a stream of consciousness that is raw in its honesty and FUNNY. That is made made you so successful in the first place and its what we love and want to read. I hope you’re not offended – that is not my intention. I have enjoyed your blog for years and support you. I understand how difficult it must be and how insecure posting must make you- FORGET IT . There’s enough ‘Oh so touching and tragic’ blogging out there. Puke. Give me old Joy Unexpected any day of the week.

  34. kim

    i just had that exact discussion with a good friend of mine about all those “sponsored” blogs where you have to pay for a simple link-exchange and compete with each other through give-aways and the like. i feel the same way you do, Y. i never had even close to the number of readers/commenters you have but there were a handful of people who came back and were interested in my life and my writing. now i don’t think i have the time/energy to compete with the “new” and all “stylish” bloggers…. you either come and read my blog or you don’t. simple as that.
    i’ve been coming here since before you even found out about having gabby, when you still had a different domain. i’ve been enjoying following your family’s life so much since then, you’ve been a HUGE inspiration, made me laugh and cry in front of my computer screen. THAT’s why i come back. because your writing is amazing, you inspire and you’re REAL. thank you for that, Y and please don’t doubt what you’re doing here. i miss your regular posts, too.
    xoxoxo

  35. Emily M

    I love your blog for exactly what it is. Sharing in your family’s life from a distance reminds me what it means to be in a family based on love and respect. I didn’t always get a great example of that while growing up, so I use your blog as sort of a rudder for where I want to go with my future family.
    Screw media kits. Ask those guys whose lives they’ve changed.

  36. Jennifer

    Hi, Y, I don’t comment much, but I’ve been reading you for several years. I agree with Laura. (Even down to her examples of good writers who handle the business end well–that is, practically invisibly.)
    Also, I think you might be comparing apples and oranges. There are bloggers to whom blogging is a business venture, let’s say “professional bloggers”, and there are those who write to express themselves and their creativity. I’d call them amateur bloggers, except “amateur” has come to mean “not as good,” which is NOT TRUE at all in the world of writing. Let’s say, “volunteer bloggers”?
    If you don’t see yourself as a professional blogger using her blog to make a living, there is no reason for you to feel bad that you don’t care/don’t know about stats and whatever else you’re worrying about. It sounds like that’s what you’re saying here. You write as a creative outlet, primarily. So why SHOULD you care about the stuff that professional bloggers talk about? Sure, everyone wants to be popular and stuff, but if you have to change what you love to do, is it really worth it to you?
    I love your transparency…I love your humor…I love your photography….I don’t love your beating yourself up. Cut it out! ;) The comments here show that you are well-loved and cherished by your readers. Can Dooce say the same thing? Maybe she can, but heavens, she gets so much hate mail, precisely because she’s “popular” I would guess.

  37. daysgoby

    I know EXACTLY what you mean. It feels like after six years of blogging, I should be more….more everything. But I LIKE what my blog is. Usually.
    Honestly, I’ve stopped readng a few of my long-time reads just because they’ve gotten so self-important. (Which is a cruel word, but describes the indulgent double self-linking to same post, the constant conference news, the appearances – it WEARS on their words and dilutes their stories.)
    Please don’t stop. i love your still, small voice in the midst of all this SEO noise.

  38. annettek

    I love the way you write and I wish you would more often. The reason I still read you is because you HAVEN’T gone over to the dark side of blogging. Gag me with a media kit.

  39. katek

    i love your writing!…i appreciate your honesty and humour…i don’t know what all that blog stuff means and really it doesn’t matter…thanks for sharing here about your life….you write so much i can relate to (the family stuff, body image, adjusting your view) it really is inspiring…thank you

  40. Jessica

    I think you should be very proud of your writing and the moments your capturing for your children. I was directed to your blog right about the time you had your daughter, and I haven’t stopped reading since! You make me LOL at work, you make me cry at work, and you give me somebody to relate to and feel “normal”! Just be yourself and write what you want, feel, and think!

  41. BMom

    I wanted to stop in here and say, I read your blog for YOU and YOUR writing. All that other stuff? No idea what it is, but it sure means nothing to me. The blogs I read are because of the writers and the stories they dare to share. I’m always so amazed and inspired by the courage others have to share their life stories and think it’s a wonderful gift and amazing record to keep for your children. So I hope you’ll keep writing. You’re one of my faves (definitely!) and again, please know that the other stuff? So not important to me.
    Thanks for sharing, as always.

  42. IzzyMom

    I always feel like you and I are in sync with what we’re feeling. Maybe it’s a Virgo thing.
    And, like you, I’ve been fighting off yet another wave of self-doubt about my place in the blogging world. Things have changed so much and I just don’t have it in me to become this huge self-marketing machine.
    It actually makes me feel kind of dirty and so…I do nothing, have no media kit and I don’t take meetings or have conference calls about my blog.
    I mean it’s a PERSONAL blog…how does it stay personal when you’re having freaking MEETINGS about co-branding and leveraging readership and sponsored posts for some crap you’d never talk about otherwise?
    Unlike me, you seem pretty clear about your purpose for keeping this blog. I’m still grappling with that. Nonetheless, as someone who has known you and read you for five years, my best unsolicited advice is just keep doing what you’re doing and be true to yourself. XO

  43. Kari

    I know others have already said it, but I just wanted to encourage you to still write your blog. I find you hilarious and love reading about your family. I cried reading about your daughter learning to ride her bike because you perfectly described the balance of supporting and letting go. Thanks for being honest with your readers, but we’ll read you regardless of all that other blog stuff.

  44. ella

    You have a huge following. You have fans.
    Whatever you are doing, you are doing it right. Otherwise no one would be here reading.
    So keep writing.

  45. Jamie

    Look at all those comments already!!! You have to write FOR YOU, not for anyone else. And honestly, do you think any of the commenters above cares about SEO, hits or whatever the eff media kit you have?! That’s not your schtick, your LIFE is your schtick. We love your funny, poignant, deep, painful, loving, meaningful posts, not that other crap. Write for you and your loved ones, Y, not for anything else!

  46. Jessie S.

    I don’t comment often, but I have been reading since before you were pregnant with Gabby. I check it everyday and am always a little sad when you don’t post. I would be very sad if you quit entirely! Please don’t go.

  47. Andrea

    Who cares what the stats say or other people ask? Just be YOU, because it’s kept many of us coming back for years. Love your writing, your honesty, your bravery, your photos and photos of you too!

  48. jessica

    people who care about seo and media kits and all that probably ignore their children so their “friends” on the web will like them more and think they are popular…so, do what you do best, write WHEN and WHAT you feel like, no apologies.
    if someone needs to see that i have 5 gazillion followers to be my internet friend, they aren’t worth having any way.

  49. Cindy

    I liked your blog more when you were just throwing your life out there and not caring what people thought. It was beautifully raw and full of emotion. I think you should stick to writing what makes you happy and to hell with what the rest of the world thinks. It’s your blog, you own it. Don’t fall into the hype of needing to be a ‘brand’ to feel like you mean something. Love reading your blog Y!

  50. Paula

    “It’s just me, writing words, telling you stories about my life, about the family that I love.”
    This is EXACTLY why I read your blog. I like that your not pushing anything or selling anything. You seem to have no agenda other than sharing your life experiences. I don’t know anything about the “blog world”. I love to read your posts because I relate to you as a mother and I truly enjoy reading your words. Please take that to heart whenever you wonder why you’re still here. I may not be very vocal, but I look forward to every new post – no matter how few or far between!

  51. Leigh

    I have a blog that I only sporadically update, and NO ONE reads it but my mom and dad. But I don’t care–when I bother to write, I do it because something made me laugh or I have a memory I want to record. I write it for me, and I treasure each post because they’re REAL–real memories, real events in my kids’ lives–not something I wrote for exposure or ad revenue generation.
    Do it for YOU, because you enjoy stretching those writing muscles and recording your family’s life. And also do it for me, because I enjoy reading your writing. (just kidding) (not really) (please don’t stop writing!)

  52. Michele

    Love reading what you have to say. You are real, have such heart and talent and it shows. You have lifted me up when I felt I was in a pit of alone and I knew someone else felt the same way, for that I love your words. Please do not stop, you may never know how many people you touch each day. As for for me I am saying it now.

  53. hippittee

    i wished that i wrote as eloquently as those who author my favorite blogs (and as evidenced above, as their commenters) — bottom line, i hope that you continue to write, i enjoy your voice and the variety of topics that you cover.

  54. Marie Green

    I’m writing for the same reasons you are. I ignore the rest of it. I might or I might not at some point run ads on my blog, but for now I’m just doing it to DO IT, ya know. And fwiw, I don’t really want you to make up a media kit.

  55. Mindy Barker

    I think your last paragraph says it all, and as long as you feel that way, continue blogging. Who cares about all the rest of it?

  56. Cricky

    The people that are writing for those type of statistics aren’t writing because they like to archive their stories, they’re writing for notoriety.
    I wish we could go back 5 years or so ago when we all started this blogging community and it was a great thing. People wrote to express themselves instead of writing for monetary gain or fame.
    I’ve been reading your blog since capital G was a lowercase. Please don’t stop.

  57. Jessica

    Oh how I would miss you if you shut down shop on this blog. I’ve read for about 4 years and often I think about the battles you wage with lack of self worth, the difficulties of being a good mom/wife/writer/photographer etc, the health challenges, the body image challenges. And how you make me laugh. If your blog is somehow not good enough then I must be the most foolish consumer of blogs because I adore yours.

  58. Ash

    I’ve been reading you for years! I LOVE your site. You write from the heart. That’s what I love about you!

  59. Issa

    I love this post and I adore you and your writing. I have for years. One thing I want to tell say is this: do you care? Do you want to be that person who only talks about what they are pimping out for some company that they don’t care about? Or do you want this space to be about you?
    I don’t do reviews. I, after five years just got my first real paid writing gig…but it won’t be on my site and I don’t have to pimp it if I don’t want too. I write on my personal blog, for me. For community. Because I honestly love it.
    Brand. SEO. Traffic. It has it’s place. I won’t argue with that. However, personal writing then goes away. If you want this space to be your space, then I’d say keep doing what you do.

  60. Dani

    Yvonne, imagine me saying this nicely: Quit it. :) I’ve been reading you from way before you had G, at your old address. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think you’re worth it

  61. cj

    *sigh* I hope you don’t go away.
    I have a good friend who has been in my life for a long time who has recently started blogging and she is driving me absolutely bananas with all her “branding” and obsession about traffic and the what seems to be the endless search for more people to comment to tell her how awesome she is.. She started out just writing about her life but now its all about a dedicated website about HER and blogging to get a book deal and asking people to “VOTE FOR ME PLEASE!!” to be the…I don’t know…”10 best bloggers who live between 2nd street and 8th street who have poodles” and I AM SICK OF IT.
    jeebus.
    She’s got a friend who’s a little bit in the big blogging business (not that I’ve never heard of her, but whatever) and I’m afraid she things that you can only be a good blogger if you’re like that. Meanwhile I’ve started blocking her blog fan site on facebook because I’m really not interested in whatever product she’s trying to talk up to get marketing guys to notice her.
    ugh. I’m sorry I’ve vented here…I just needed to get it out. I don’t know what to do about her and maybe you can give me some advice.

  62. misty

    I LOVE your blog and hope you will continue writing here. I used to read about 20 blogs a day, I know read about 5. I got rid of so many because it seemed like all they were interested in was selling themselves in some way. I don’t hate them for it, and wish them well, but I like to read blogs that are real, with people who want to share parts of their life with us readers..good or bad. That’s why this blog is my favorite, and will continue to be for as long as your still here!

  63. jb

    Y –
    I’m a constant reader here, but I don’t think I’ve ever commented. But this one really struck a cord with me because….
    I have come to HATE the idea of bloggers as “brands.”
    I don’t begrudge any person’s decision to make their writing (via blogging) their job. I would never say that a blogger has sold out because they have ads. But I am starting to get a bad taste in my mouth when I see my favorite blogs starting to have such a high percentage of ad-related content (sponsored posts and the like, not actual ads).
    I love your blog because it’s you. Y. Not your brand, just you as a person.
    I love your blog like I love my own blog, on which I have no ads. I decided that I didn’t want ads because I don’t want the pressure — I don’t even want the pressure of knowing I have to write, that people are wanting to read. I blog for myself, and I love to read other blogs that are written for the same reason. I read your blog because I think what you have to say is interesting and important — to you, first of all, but also to those of us who have ever struggled with losing weight or who have doubted ourselves or who have enjoyed our families or who have been angry at a partner or who have been in love with a partner or who have been in restrictive religious communities or have seen ourselves growing up in a relative’s body.
    I frankly could not give a fuck about your traffic. But I care quite deeply about you, as a person, even one I’ve never met and probably never will meet. Blogging gives us the tools to reach our across the nation or world to touch lives we wouldn’t have otherwise touched. This, I think, is more important than anything else.

  64. Imelda

    Keep it simple. Keep to your original reasons why you started blogging. Do it for you and your family first and for most. Do it when you want to, not when someone tells you to. I have had some version of a web presence constantly since 1995. It has changed so many times but in the end I post what I want to post, when I want to post it, how I want to post it and where, all without a “media kit”! :D

  65. Maddy

    Your blog expectations are just that YOUR expectations, not what anyone else tells you they should be. If you love writing, keep writing. There are so many of us who enjoy reading whatever it is that you have to say. Be proud!

  66. Rachael

    I’ve missed you. I like your blog. I think there is still a huge world and community here for people who don’t care about media packets, SEO and sponsorship. I don’t blog to earn money or have a business. I do it to write, because I LOVE writing. I love connecting with the community online. Don’t feel lost, you can be yourself and there are tons of people out here who will still support you.

  67. kim

    I LOVE blogs that are only about someone’s life – that is the whole point for us old folks who remember the online journal – I actually stop following blogs when they become a “brand” – I read Pioneer Woman for years, and then all of a sudden her site feels like watching commercials. It’s the REALITY of life that connects people to others they’ve never met on the Internet – please go back to chronicling your own life, for you – and for us! xo

  68. Kyla

    I know. It is tough to be an old school blogger in this new wave of blogging for-profit and whatnot. I have way fewer readers than I used to, but I still keep doing it because I love it. And the blogs I read? They are like yours and mine…not mega-blogs full of branding and profit.

  69. Leah

    I have said this before and I will say it again, I love your blog. I have been reading for quite some time. You are real and honest. I love your serious posts, I love your funny posts, I love your in between posts. I love blogs that are real and I feel a connection to. So all this to say please don’t ever stop writing!

  70. Katie

    Media kit? Eeep!
    I haven’t commented in years (oops, sorry, that real life crap getting in the way is a PITA) but just wanted to say the internet would be a very sad place without you!

  71. Roxanna

    Hi Y,
    I don’t know what I can add that others haven’t already said – I love your blog (whatever you write), I think you’re great and you’re created an environment that makes me feel like I know you (and because you write so well, I do!) and like I could meet you for coffee or drinks anytime and it would be wonderful.
    You just keep on being you. Write whatever! This is your blog. Love you just the way you are!

  72. Erin

    Standing alone in the waves as the tides change course takes courage and tremendous willpower, but it can also leave you weary. Your blog has always stood out to me as a beacon of honesty — the kind of raw honesty that can make us squirm in our seats and see parts of ourselves that we don’t like through another’s eyes.
    I’m not going to tell you to keep blogging or to stop, but I will say that it will be sad day when you decide to hang up your blogging hat. You are a woman with immense talent and a capacity for love that is rare.
    Best of luck to you, no matter what you decide.

  73. Laura in Michigan

    We adore you as well. And you do have a story. I love your story and I love reading your blog.

  74. tsweeney

    For heaven’s sake – was there a national blogging conference recently, because yours is the second post I’ve read in as many weeks saying they’ve been told by an expert that “they’re doing it wrong” — that they’re supposed to find a narrow niche and market themselves and brand themselves and yadda yadda. I read blogs for the quality of story telling. You are gracious enough – and brave enough – to share what’s going on inside your head with a bunch of readers. In a world that is short on real community, you have helped to create a virtual community for folks who like you and – I hope – one another. Don’t let someone tell you you’re doing it wrong.

  75. Lena

    Well. I have alllllll the answers. CLEARLY.
    Keep doing what you’re doing. There is always value in – and an audience for – personal truth.
    And do you know why you can’t stay away? Because you’re not a brand. You’re a WRITER.
    I love you muchly.
    xoxo

  76. sassy

    I don’t come her to read you because I am interested in a brand. I read you because I love your heart. You share your struggles and the ups and downs of your family. You are married. I am single. You have 3 kids. I have none. And while you have the life I would love, I am on the other side of the country from you relating to your life and your personal struggles. I don’t want to read about a brand. I want to read about people. I want to know that you and I both struggle with weight and body image and depression. I want to know that I am not the only woman close to 40 (ok I am already there) that still has a sex drive. I like knowing that there are other adults that still have their youthful personalities. I love reading you because you are you. And I think you for sharing your family with me.

  77. Casie

    we’re here for you, not the other way around. Let them leave. and not eat cake, because cake is delicious and not for the jerks who leave.

  78. Rebecca Grace

    Why I Read Your Blog:
    1. You write about things I feel, things I struggle with alone, that I am afraid to say out loud. I read, I realize I am not alone, and I feel SO MUCH BETTER.
    2. Since I have only sons, I enjoy reading about the mother-daughter stuff that I will never get to experience first-hand.
    3. It’s not just WHAT you write about, but your perspective and your attitude about life’s ups and downs. There’s always a Big Picture and I love that you never lose sight of what’s really important to you as a mother, wife, and a human being with just one life to live who hopes to get it right. You are inspirational.
    You know, if we go in the book store, there are tons of books on the tables at the front of the store that are all about business and marketing and making a buck. Most of them are here today, gone tomorrow, and forgotten when the new hot titles take their place. But farther back in the store, on the shelves in Literature, Parenting, Spirituality, Biography — that’s where you find the books that were written because the writer just needed to get them out, for catharsis or for art or out of a desire to help others. The best ones endure for decades while the flash-in-the-pan titles come and go.
    I hope Joy Unexpected isn’t going anywhere any time soon. I really admire you and enjoy reading whatever you have to say.

  79. Kate

    I will never understand why people think they have to be “popular” or have a “brand” or get a media kit, or advertising or followers or a theme or blah blah blahhhhhhhhh. I think about 11 people read my blog. Probably less. I write when I feel like it. I don’t write when I don’t feel like it. It is a diary. The people who read are lovely, but I don’t care if no one reads. I like recording my life so I can look back and laugh at myself or remember certain events or see how I have changed. I could just write a paper diary, but my handwriting stinks.
    Stop writing for others, and just write for yourself – for your children, for shits and giggles. Stop taking it so seriously. The people that come here obviously connect to you, enjoy your writing, relate to your life. (me included). Isn’t that enough? Keep writing. You are good at it, and when you are old and wrinkly you will enjoy peeking back at your younger self. The end.

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