February 25, 2009

Dilemmas

It's been just over two years since I started this blog and sometimes I start to feel a little claustrophobic about how it's turned out. (Not going private, never fear. I would rather eat my own finger).

At first, I planned to write only book reviews and that was all well and good for around five whole posts after which I gave that notion up so I could write other pointless things like how I really loved Texas (have I mentioned that I really love Texas? Oh good).

And then, slowly, the book reviews fell by the wayside because they were easily my least popular posts and also, well, that would mean admitting that, yes, 90% of my reading is young adult and children's books.

Eventually, I decided I didn't actually care that all I read was aimed at people five to fifteen years younger than me, and I revived the reviews; their popularity has grown, at least slightly. I now manage to get at least a few comments on most of them (if you don't read them, no worries. Bart doesn't either (of course, he has the excuse that I make him listen to a page by page explanation WHILE I'm reading it)).

I write less and less about my day-to-day goings on because I fear they'll be boring ("today I went to the grocery store. I was happy that eggs were $1.19 a dozen, since last week they were $1.26. Milk still costs the same").

Whenever I write about The Way Things Were - how my parents dealt with Santa Claus or ear piercing or first kisses, I get a flood of response, some saying "awesome" and others being like "you are clearly destined for a sad soul-less life as a non-Santa believer."

I don't want to write just about books, and my childhood was not weird enough to generate post after post. And so I continue to silently freak out about what to talk about, and I write paragraphs about this party we went to over the weekend and how we stayed late trying to pick up plastic cups on the floor with our teeth while balancing on one leg and how I never ever would have been the kind of person to do those potentially-humiliating things as a teenager and now, married to a person far more social than I am, I find myself enjoying these kinds of things and being surprised that the mental narration has turned off and I can go about doing crazy things without feeling stupid. And then I declare it too boring, delete it all, and tear my hair out.

What in the world am I trying to write about here anyway? What fits and what doesn't? What does anyone even want to read?

In the interest of full-disclosure, this identity crisis is brought on by the fact that I bought a new swimsuit this week and I feel dumb posting a picture of it (and then rambling on about how it was 80% off).

Everyday Reading: Creating a crisis (and a lengthy post) out of absolutely everything.

36 comments:

  1. I want to read posts about how much you love me.

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  2. Janssen, just write about anything like you do now. Haven't you noticed that people respond best to your everyday life stories/questions? Believe it or not, you have an interesting way of writing. You draw people (well me anyway) in. As to your book reviews, I read them. But since I probably haven't read the book (and probably can't even get my hands on a copy), I don't always comment. Keep blogging, please. :)

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  3. Ah, the blog identity crisis. I have one too, it rears its head from time to time. In the meantime, I just neglect my blog.

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  4. I like reading about whatever you write. At some point I'm going to go get all those books you recommend. Probably about the time Logan's retired and the kids are out of the house! But still!

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  5. I never know what to write either. I feel like it's either angst or it's boring. For what it's worth, I love reading about your clothing shopping bargains. I have to live vicariously through someone!

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  6. I can relate to being anxious about introspective posts, but I think they're interesting to read. I also just like knowing about what you're up to. (I do usually skim the reviews, but I wouldn't miss them.) At any rate, judging by the number of comments you usually get, I'd say you're doing just fine. If you hit writer's block for a bit, hey, that's what Google Reader's for.

    Or you could post everything you eat. =)

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  7. I like the variety. And now I'm curious about your new swimsuit. :-) Lauree

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  8. I love all the posts...even though I don't always read the reviews. :) I think you are quite witty and funny and I always enjoy whatever you post! Keep 'em coming!

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  9. I read every word. I like the "daily life" stories because I know you and am interested in your life. I like the book reviews because if you liked a book I always check it out from the library and read it myself and then compare how much I liked it with how much you liked it. I like the random stories and the pictures and all the news and recipes (especially the recipes because.)

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  10. i too like the variety! keep it going! as for the book reviews, i read some of them but some i don't only because i don't want to feel bad that i don't have the time to pick up a book but i am sitting here reading blogs!! (hope that made sense!)

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  11. Guess I'm one of the weirdos who reads 90% YA/Children's Lit. I'd read your blog if only for the book reviews. I just read this morning in BYU Humanities alumni about how an essayist doesn't have to keep rescripting the ten dramatic events of his life over and over. Essays come from looking closely at life. At everyday events. And sharing. Thanks for sharing.

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  12. I so feel your pain! I've had my blog for 4 years next month and I often find myself in a blog identity crisis. Mostly what I've found is that if I blog what I want to blog rather than what I think my readers want to read, I'm more successful. But sometimes it is just so hard trying to decide what to write about.

    On a side note, I love your book reviews but rarely comment because I haven't read the book yet!

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  13. The very reason that I could not bring myself to blog for over a month.

    It's hard blogging everybody else. I love comments, but some of my most treasured posts got very little response. Also, it stressed me out worrying about writing often and maintaining an audience. It made blogging a chore, instead of something I loved doing.

    I decided to pick up blogging again and I am glad because I missed it. But I am going to blog only for myself. I am going to write fluff (if fluff is on the brain) and post pictures if I don't have anything good to say (which is often).

    BTW... I really like your blog.

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  14. Yankee Girl says her blog has a very narrow focus. "It is all about me," she quips. Indeed.

    I didn't realize a blog was meant to have a focus when I started 200+ posts ago. I will say, however, that I've developed a definite blogging "voice" that I slip into even when talking to myself--like when I'm trying to gain either a humorous or deeper look at something that has just happened to me.

    Like you, however, I've proven shockingly bad at predicting which posts will garner which kind of response. Entries I find well-written and fascinating get a bit of a "meh" and others where I'm just blowing off steam and don't edit quite as carefully get tons of feedback. I guess this inability to read an audience is the biggest thing hampering my publishing dream. Still, dreams are good, and at least with blogging you can psuedo-publish. I mean, that is what the button says.

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  15. Everything, please. I for one really enjoy your musings about money. Who doesn't get pleased at the store when eggs are cheap? Okay, not everyone, but there are many of us. And, even though some people only skim your book reviews, I depend on them, so don't change that.

    Josh says that he would like more pictures. I usually can't make it through long posts without pictures, but yours are an exception because you're so witty. Still, a picture of the bathing suit would be nice.

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  16. P.S. Does it ever irk you that people refer to frumpy looking women with no makeup as "looking like a librarian"? You're cute and not frumpy and the only soon-to-be-librarian I know. Maybe we should reevaluate that stereotype.

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  17. I hear you on this...I have a bog crises about once a week. Yes, really.

    Just write what comes to mind and be you. That's why we're here :)

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  18. I love your book reviews. I never comment because I'm a wuss. (I'm Kayla's friend, by the way)

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  19. Um, I want more posts with links to me.

    Also, I'd be more likely to actually read your book review posts (as opposed to quickly skimming) if there were some sort of ranking system at the top like Four out of Five Cupcakes or Somewhere Between that Little Boy that Sings Like a Woman and Josh Groban. Because then I'd really get an idea of how good or awful the book was.

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  20. I would blog about whatever you want to blog about. How insightful is that?

    I worry that people don't read my blog. I sure don't get a whole lot of comments. And if I stress about that, then I am unhappy. I have to remind myself that my blog is first and foremost for me. If other people enjoy it then that's a bonus. I'm coming to grips that I will never be wildly popular, but I can crack myself up and my friends think I am funny.

    And now back to you....(sorry about that)...I enjoy everything you write. I read the book reviews because hey, that is 90% of what I read too. I like hearing about the every day stuff too. And I like hearing that other people have identity crises. That is something I relate to. Keep up the good work.

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  21. I like the variety in your blog. I almost never pick up a book anymore, except children's lit with my kids, but I love hearing about what's out there, and wishing my library wait list was shorter. And you seem to have a pretty big-sized constant audience for all sorts of your posts because I never feel like commenting after you have already have 15-25 comments on there. So just keep doing what you are doing.

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  22. I have the exact same problem! And half the time, I open my blog and cannot think of one single thing to say. I usually just throw out whatever I happen to have on my mind (not always very much) and see what people say about it.

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  23. everyday life is interesting enough! :) just the way you would write about grocery shopping would be interesting enough to keep people glued.

    want to try your hand at politics? :) you've got the opinions - just be gutsy enough to offend people (and then maybe you can take some of my anonymous commenters away from me)

    i kind of feel a secret satisfaction that we share the same swimsuit. except yours is probably a size 0.

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  24. When I'm stuck, I look back at my 100 Things page and see if any of them strike up a memory or something that would be post-worthy. People seem to like Q&A, too, if you want to do that.

    Knowing that everyone goes through the blog drought doesn't make it easier, does it? Overall, I'm a big proponent of writing when you have something to say. So if you don't, it's okay not to say anything.

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  25. I read blogs because I love the different perspectives and living vicariously through those in different life situations than my own (and hearing about those in the same situations.) I love reading everything that you post. I started reading your blog because you were funny, witty, wrote great book reviews (though I never commented on them) posted great recipes, and got great deals on cute shoes. Don't worry about what we want to read, just write about what is on your mind.

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  26. I feel the same. Never knowing what to write. Even though my blog is a personal one, I still like to appeal to the people who read it and hope to generate comments out it, if I can. I think that the everyday life is intriguing. Everyone is different and there are different experiences and knowledge to be had and shared. I say, "Blog about EVERYTHING!"

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  27. Post more recipes. Like many others, I enjoy reading the reviews but rarely comment on those posts because I haven't read the books you review. I've gone back through your reviews many a time, though, to look for reading list suggestions.

    I've also gone through periods when it seems I have nothing to write. And then there are others times when I have tons of ideas. I think one of the great things about writing frequently on a blog is that it causes you to be more observant of those funny, poignant, insightful everyday moments and events that you can share with others.

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  28. You're a natural at this writing bit. You make the most mundane things sound exciting - seriously you could write whatever pops into your head.
    Secretly, I prefer your editorials on Santa and bandwagons! Okay not secretly, I really love them.

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  29. you notice if eggs go down by 7 cents? I can only vaguely tell you how much a gallon of milk costs...$2-something, right?

    Do you have an Excel chip in your head? Seriously, I am in awe. (Note: post could be created out of the price of eggs. ;o))

    xox

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  30. Did you post about what you had for breakfast once? I liked that if it was you. I'm a sucker for posts about food though.

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  31. I love your posts! I know your dilemma though- I share it too! I rarely get comments on my blog (maybe I should write more thought provoking posts) Hailyn always gets the most comments! AHH! Anyhow, keep it up- love your material (you santa-hating monger!hehe j/k!)

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  32. I like the random. I struggle with this as well.. what is interesting and what makes people want to click the next blog? I may not always comment, but for the record: I am always commenting, and always enjoying!

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  33. I actually like the reviews the best. I rarely go out to find the books and then read them because I am already reading 3-4 books per week of my own selection, but I like hearing about other books a lot. Then, when I'm browsing, I might recognize a title and think, "hmmm...I think I heard good (or bad) things about that" even though I don't remember where.

    To be honest, though, I wouldn't worry about what people want to read on your blog. It's YOUR blog, so write whatever makes you happy when you're writing.

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  34. Janssen, I read everything you write, mostly because I share many similar beliefs, so I resonate with what you say. Also because I love your writing style, it's most entertaining. You should definitely write a book someday. I don't comment very often because you have no idea who I am and my blog is VERY boring and all about my toddler, and I wouldn't want you to feel obligated to watch my blog.
    Anyway, keep writing about anything and everything, there are enough of us who really enjoy it, but mostly you should write to please yourself!

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  35. I think you need to post more pictures of you and Bart singing and dancing.

    Hey, I'm just saying!

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  36. I struggle with blog identity crisis on a regular basis. It is good to know that I'm not alone. I'm not sure there really is an answer other than to just write what makes you happy and about topics that you would want to read. Chances are if they interest you then they will interest others.

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