There are some of you out there who have been hanging out with me since I first started this blog back in 2010, when it was From L&P to English Tea. Some of you have travelled with me as I moved overseas to England, as I travelled around Europe a little, as I eventually came home to New Zealand, adding the additional ‘And Back Again’ to the end of my blog name. Some of you have just found your way here to This Splendid Shambles in the past few months. Perhaps for some of you, this is the first post you’ve ever seen of mine (welcome!).
For those of you who have stuck around for that length of time – or any length of time! – then I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m so glad that you find what I have to say interesting enough to read, what I have to share inspiring enough to make you nod, encouraging enough to make you say ‘I could make that’ or ‘I want to visit that place’.
I thank you, because sometimes it’s hard.
Sometimes it’s hard when you don’t have a niche. Sometimes it’s hard when you see all these other fantastic, successful (often paid) bloggers who are making giant steps in their blogging life, even some making their blog their career, their full time job. Sometimes it’s hard sharing what I do and knowing that I’m not reaching as many people as perhaps I would like.
Sometimes it’s hard.
But you know what? I think the biggest challenge these days in the world of the internet is actually being yourself. It’s staying true to who you are, no matter what others may think, no matter what could be if you changed what you were sharing.
I’ve been thinking a bit lately about what would happen if I changed the focus of my blog. What would happen if I suddenly decided on a niche and just blogged about that? What if I only wrote about books? Or travel? Or perhaps I only shared DIY and craft ideas? Maybe I focused on reviews, incorporating my book reviews and my movie reviews with reviews of other products, or maybe music? What if I stuck to New Zealand related posts, and shared about the restaurants I went to, the places I flew, or the cities I drove through? Or I stuck to home decor, or only shared my photography hobby? What if I scrapped it all and became a blogger who only wrote about geeky things?
If I focused on one or two things, then I would have a niche. I could label myself a book blogger, or a travel blogger, or a reviewer.
What would happen?
Well, I suspect my traffic would increase, pulling in more people who were interested in that niche and wanted a blog where they could find makeup reviews or what to read next. I suspect my social media reach would greaten, and perhaps I’d have more comments and build a following that was up there with some of my favourite bloggers. Perhaps I would get noticed as I walked down the streets of Auckland city, or maybe companies would want to liaise with me about promoting their products.
Maybe. I don’t know.
I don’t know because that’s not what I’m doing. That’s not who I am.
I don’t have a niche that is recognisable. I’m not a beauty blogger like so many of the wonderful ladies that I know here in Auckland, or a book blogger like so many of my blogging friends. This blog is not a travel blog (although The Wandering Jandal is), nor is it a home decor blog. It’s not a food blog, or a DIY blog.
But it is my blog.
I am in no ways demeaning or degrading niche bloggers – the opposite. I am in awe and am always inspired by bloggers who have found their great love in blogging, who call that love home. I am in constant admiration of my blogging friends (and even those who I have yet to meet) who love something so much that that is what they share every week. I love that you guys love what you do.
Don’t ever stop doing what you do. Don’t ever second guess yourself and your blog like I have so often done. If you’re new to blogging, don’t feel like you have to pick a niche, a genre, a certain way of blogging because ‘that’s what blogging is’. Blogging is about you. It’s about your love of writing, of sharing, of making a community of like-minded people and doing life with them. It’s about staying true to who you are no matter the pressure to be something you’re not.
So what’s my niche?
My niche is my life. It’s everything I love all scrambled together in a splendid shambles. It’s who I am, it’s who I will continue to be, and while I sometimes long after blogs who have their stuff together, I know that actually, I’m doing okay. More than okay. I’m doing what I love, and I am, to the best of knowledge, staying true to myself in this crazy blogging world.
And I hope, dear friends and readers, that you are too.