Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

— Winston Churchill

What the Heck is It?

When I started blogging several months ago, I was a complete moron. I had no idea so many blogs existed. I didn’t even know about Dooce, or Pioneer Woman or any of the other popular girls in the sand box. Talk about out-of-touch.

Political and news blogs, they were on my radar. Business-related blogs, yup. I’ve even helped create a couple. But mommy blogs? I had no idea what a mommy blogger was, or that there’s a gazillion of them out there. It freaks me out a bit that I could have been so unaware.

I’m still a moron but my awareness and understanding of blog mania has increased 12 percent. I’m perplexed with myself, though, and I can’t answer the question of what exactly is Shout supposed to be. Is it a mommy blog? Is it an ongoing mindless conversation about nothing specific. Is it a blog to promote advocacy related to family issues, with a little mommy stuff thrown in for good measure? Is it something else, and if so, what the heck is it?

People land at Shout in a variety of ways including “Goggling” unrelated topics, which then provides an actual statistical reference to my own personal insanity and inability to focus—from “kids pooping in the pool” to, “I can’t stop being violent to my wife“. The second reference reaffirms my belief in the power of words, shared stories and advocacy, but interestingly it’s the funny stuff or mildly heart-warming stuff to which readers respond the most…it’s the drizzle in my storm.

I don’t think of Shout as a mommy blog, and every time I want to register it somewhere, I’m perplexed when it comes time to choose a category in which to file Shout. Maybe this is a mommy blog and I’m in denial. Could somebody please define Mommy Blog for me? I’m a mom. I blog. Is that all there is to it? Why isn’t there a category titled, “Psychotic and Unfocused.”

I’ve become too conscious of visitor stats, which articles receive comments and which don’t, and I’ve found myself dismissing content ideas simply because I know they’ll crash-and-burn on the warm and fuzzy meter. If my real-life-friends thought I was trading opinion for popularity, they’d take me out for drinks and before I was completely numb, they’d slap me silly.

A post from Marie of Memarie Lane really captured how I’m also feeling. Although she wasn’t questioning her reason for blogging, she was questioning her inspiration…

“I’ve developed an odd relationship with my blog lately. It’s like I’ve graduated, seeing it in the glass darkly and putting away childish things. I look back at my archives and can’t believe some of the drivel I’ve written. And the more drivel-y a post is, the more comments it generates. Weird.

…But lately I’m starting to see aspects of its personality come through that have been there all along, only I haven’t noticed them. I’ve been too enamored with comment love and Stumbles and awards and all that bloggy goodness to see the more superficial aspects of Memarie Lane. It’s gotten kind of awkward. I sit in front of it, ready to post, and suddenly wonder what the point is. Not “why am I blogging?” but “why am I writing such drivel?” It’s like I walked in on it naked, saw it for what it is, and realized the wind beneath my wings was coming from the box fan in the doorway.

Last night I started to contemplate shutting down Shout. I’m developing a love-hate relationship with my blog, and I’m unsure which emotional army will wave a white flag.

I do realize that if I take Shout out of circulation, put it in timeout and threaten to remove all privileges, it means I’ll start talking to myself. Again.

When I started blogging, I wrote: “I really need to rediscover my writer’s voice. I’m not a dear-diary-kind-of-girl, but after spending the last several years writing for everyone else, I need to start writing for me. I need to kick start some creativity. Hey, I know, I’ll start a blog.”

Maybe I need to put a big, fat, sticky note above my desk and every time I look at metered ego eaters, I’ll remember the genesis of my inspiration.

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24 comments to What the Heck is It?

  • First, don’t shut down Shout! Its become one of my morning addictions, just like coffee!

    Second, blogging for me is about writing for myself. I completely ignore my stat counter unless it has something positive to say. I use to write all the time, and then I let other people’s opinions govern what I wrote and how I wrote it. I hated it completely and I quit for a long time. Now, I am starting to grin every time I see a blank piece of paper. A blog is not about the audience, its about the writer. Write because you love it, not to make someone else love it.

  • Well, you’ve got it right. Write what you want. I don’t think blogs need a category, do they? And don’t look at the stat counter. I never do. Seriously.


    Now I’m thinking I should.

    Cheri @ Blog This Mom!s last blog post..Brain Teaser

  • This is exactly why I haven’t been writing much in my blog lately – I’ve been trying to figure out what my blog is about. I guess you could call it something of a blog identity crisis.

    I never had kids before so it wasn’t really a Mommy Blog – but most of my readers seem to be Mommy Bloggers. But then I don’t necessarily intend to let my readers define me either.

    I just don’t fit neatly into blog catalog type categories.

    judy haley (coffeejitters)s last blog post..We Can Do Better Than This

  • Shiela

    Here’s a shot of tequilla for you, now brace yourself…


    Stop looking at the stat counter. You may be surprised with what gets responses and what doesn’t. Feed your creative self. I realize it is hard to take the marketer out of the girl, but let the creative out to play without restrictions.


    You’re welcome ;)

  • donna

    I agree with Shiela. Do we all have to slap you.
    Alot of people look forward to reading your blog, myself included.
    It is your way of expressing yourself.
    We can all relate to you. We all have been there and you put it into words for us

  • Even when you stop looking at the stat counter you still monitor your comment quantity. i’m struggling with blogging. why am i doing this? why am i putting part of myself out there? what do i want from these people? oh, i have to go to work and stop blogging. i have so much more to say.

    madges last blog post..Morning Forecast

  • Jen

    I think most bloggers contemplate this exact thing at one point or another.

    I’ve started censoring myself lately, because I’m getting more hits. I shouldn’t. At all. I also don’t know which category I fall into.

    I puffy pink glitter heart Shout (and you) so you can’t shut down. I’ll even read you if it’s drivel (not that you’re capable of drivel)!

    I’ve been doing this for three years, I have my blog ups and downs too. Hang in there!

    Jens last blog post..Nanaisms

  • Tricia

    WickedStepMom: Reading Shout is an addiction like coffee? That gives me even more goosebumps than when my husband calls me “Darling”. Seriously!

    Cheri: Back away from the computer. Don’t look, it’s an abyss of expectations.

    Donna, Shiela’s got you covered. She gave me three slaps (but only one tequila shot). Ouch! Thanks!

    I’m glad to know other bloggers hit a wall too and question the whole thing. I’m searching for a purpose…I keep moving my own damn bench marks and all that lifting makes my muscles ache.

    Jen: the puffy pink glitter heart…that’s going right beside the dumb ass sticky note above my desk as my new yin and yang.

  • I think it’s a trap we fall into. I figured it would be a good creative and intellectual outlet, but I quickly became hooked on stats and comments and began playing to that instead. Making the decision not to care about those things anymore was very liberating!

  • The stat counter can be amusing when you read the search terms, but they sure don’t mean much of anything else to me. The vast majority of repeated hits to specific posts seem to arrive there because of the post title only. That doesn’t say much for the content of my post, only that I’ve chosen a popular post title. :)

    I do keep some readers in mind. I care about what my regulars think because I’ve come to know them somewhat through their own blogs. They’re no long anonymous and I’m thrilled when they’re pleased with my photos and posts.

    The anonymous random search hits are people just passing through. Those that come back are there because they like your stuff. If you’re not looking to earn an income from your blog, that’s all you really need to know. If your reason for blogging is to give your voice a platform, you’re doing beautifully.

    Hilarys last blog post..The Great Blue – Yonder (and Beyond)

  • Whatever you decide to label your blog, is fine with me. I just enjoy reading it!

    And that StatCounter? It drives me crazy too!

    Mrs. Schmittys last blog post..Who Wants To Lose Some Weight?

  • I just keep throwing spaghetti at the wall with my blog, metaphorically speaking, and if anybody happens to visit? That’s fine too!
    So, basically, just be yourself with your blog?

    garys last blog post..September anniversaries:

    I’ll always write for my kids… even though 99% of what I write is nonsense, I hope by the time I’m done they’ll have a sense of who I was when I’m gone. I want them to know I loved ‘em, I was proud of them (even when they drove me batty), and I want to them to know that through it all I had a sense of humor.
    There’s a lot of drama in the blogging world, and I had no idea until recently… it’s crazy, and it makes me not want to be a part of it sometimes. That’s when I remind myself who I’m doing it for- I’m not doing it for them. Simple as that.
    I think it’s cool when other people read my blog and comment, I love it, but whether or not 5 people read it or 500, I’d still do it, because I’m doing for my kids.
    Just remind yourself of that whenever you feel the desire to scrap it. When it’s all said and done, your son will know what you believed in, what your hopes were, and he’ll know you a little better. Write about what YOU want to, and if people don’t like it, oh well… your son will love you for it.

    Sam (The Edge Of Insanity)s last blog post..“Sam, Do You Want To Play?”

  • Hey! You know, I check your blog every day but I always saw the “bully” article at the top and thought you weren’t updating! Silly me!! SCROLLLLLLLL! Yeah, obviously I’m pretty new to the blogosphere too!

    And dooce? Never heard of her until the big infamous show-down between her and The Bloggess. (if I had to choose sides…oh, never mind!)

    Anyway, my blog is pretty much random crap. I have no idea what category mine would fall in. Half would probably qualify as “mommy blogging” while the other half is pretty much just, uh, you know….crap.

    I often wonder about ditching it too, maybe I spend too much time in the blog world and not enough time with my RL friends? hmmmm…

    Oh well, it is a great outlet. I’ll keep it for a while at least.

    HeatherPrides last blog post..Biggest Disappointment of the Week

  • Jan

    #1 – don’t you DARE retire this blog. I’d cry then and you don’t want to be responsible for that, do you?

    #2 – My blog not only doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up, it’s downright schizophrenic. Is it a midlife blog? A food blog? A humor blog? A parenting blog? A political blog? It is, on any given day, any of those things, often all at once. The only thing I know for sure it will never be is a religious blog.

    #3 – You wouldn’t happen to know of some helpful 12 Step Program for the statistically addicted, would you? I wish it were only a stat counter – because of my incredible geekiness, I have full-blown site statistics, then installed that stupid Feedjit map on my site like a twit.

    Here, I’ll start. *Stands up* Ahem. My name is Jan and I’m addicted to my blogs statistics. I need help.

  • Totally feel you here. Don’t you dare shut down Shout though. Jen, I’m going to steal what you said in another forum we belong to. “I blog/write because I have to.” Writing creatively without a particular assignment or deadline is good for the soul. Let your outlet be what you wish. If you really want stats, just switch your content to porn.

    Lisa Ps last blog post..I Love To Talk

  • I had blog burn out. REALLY BAD. Then I started blogging less (WAY less) and I did it when I wanted to and that helped immensely.

    Don’t stop. Take a break. Hopefully that will help.

    My blog doesn’t know what it wants to be when it grows up either. :)

    MamaGeeks last blog post..A REAL Man Of Genius

  • kim

    don’t forget you have wings take your blog into the next generation

  • I started my blog because I wanted to get warmed up so I could write a book. Then I found that I really really like it. I write for myself, for my kids in the future, but also because I want people to read what I write. I want to feel like I have a voice.

    Don’t worry over which category you fit into. That’s not important. Just be yourself when you write. It doesn’t have to be something that changes the world. If it even changes/helps 1 person then you did all you could do. And sometimes mindless drivel is exactly what is needed to make someone realize what’s important.

    Wendys last blog post..More Glimpses of Tripp

  • Oh yeah, a “mommy-blog” is a blog about being a mother. In my opinion anyway. And that encompasses more than just telling stories about your kids. It’s all aspects of a mother who is a person.

    Wendys last blog post..More Glimpses of Tripp

  • Tricia

    Thank you. You all have humbled me and I’m not sure what to say, except thanks! I think I am in a bit of a funk, and as MamaGeek correctly diagnosed, I have blog burn out. Perhaps it’s like working for a daily newspaper, except the copy deadlines are self-imposed. I’ve always enjoyed more robust feature article writing than truncated daily journalism, and I know I need to carve out time to complete some writing projects and delve into some research.

    I like my blog neighborhood and I’m pleasantly surprised by the sense of community that develops so quickly.

    #1: Yahooo…I love seeing your image with your comments rather than the coffee cup.

    # 2 *stands up beside Jan* ahem…

    Stat Gods grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

  • When I first started blogging, I wanted to “keep in contact” with my friends cuz we had just migrated and it was getting very tiring to tell each and every friend what was happening in our lives.

    Though I was an infertile closet for some time, I just couldn’t handle the emotions that I was going through after a while and started blogging about it. And I started to get conscious of my stat reader as well cuz I was curious where my readers were from and wondered why they kept coming back to my blog.

    Like you, I am the author of my own story. And really, it is my journey and it is my own experience. Maybe by sharing with others about infertility, women out there, may feel that, hey, they’re not weird, they’re not alone. I felt a lot like that before I knew the infertile bloggy community.

    Besides, if I hadn’t blog about my f-ked up infertile experiences, I wouldn’t have met you, I think. :)

    My my, I’m rambling today!

    Anyhoo, have a great weekend.

    ps I think I’d define your blog in 1 word – COOL….yep, a really cool blog that I look forward to reading week after week :)

  • I try not to think too hard about content or offending people or trying to write things that people will like. It’s really hard not to get sucked into that. I would just write what’s on your mind and what interests you. It’s not always going to be a hit, but that’s not why we write.

    I didn’t know Dooce or any of those big names either and I try not to pay attention to what they’re doing. I find I start comparing myself to them when I really just need to do my own thing.

    Let’s go have drinks…I’ll slap you around a bit…

    Mama’s Losin’ Its last blog post..Dear Ellen (letter 3)

  • Well….I just blog for the enjoyment of it. Never thought about what the heck is it? And I didn’t know there are stat counters. Well, I don’t think there are at Blogger.

    I do enjoy your blog, Tricia. You have some great subjects. Keep on Shouting Out!


    Renie Burghardts last blog post..Twenty Five Years in the Woods!

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