Blogging and Social Media- A look back at 2016 and some changes

Happy New Year! Aside from the freezing weather, I really do love this time of year because I find it so motivating. A brand new year means brand new plans, dreams, and ideas. All things I love to do. Follow through is a bit more work for me but I’m working on that. But like any look ahead, I firmly believe you need to take some time to look back to see where you’ve been before you move forward. Which brings us to why I’m  here today…

 

Blogging and social media. A look back at what has and hasn't worked for me over the past year and what I'm doing differently in 2017. 24cottonwoodlane.com

 

2016 was a really terrific year for me and our family in so many ways. The boys were finally made Crown Wards (terminating parental rights for you US folks) which means the threat of removing them from my care is no longer in my face every single day. The agency also backed off on forcing adoption on us as it really isn’t a good fit at this time. Which means I can focus on long term fostering without fear and it’s made a huge difference all the way around. The stress I’ve been under and constant implied threats have taken their toll. I’m glad that piece has wrapped up.

Although we were forced to move over the summer, read those stories here and here, I absolutely love our new house. This space just works so much better for our family. PS….a few coats of paint can really make a huge change. Everything happens for a reason and all that good stuff. (Note to self the next time I freak out about change!) I will, eventually, get around to sharing some updates. No dramatic room reveals since I’m never really finished but some updates are in order.

New Websites

I launched two new websites last year. FASD Families has been a huge hit in providing practical (and sometimes humorous) stories and ideas for families raising children with FASD. Thanks to all of the readers who are so actively engaged and keep the love flowing. I wasn’t as consistent as I hoped to be in adding posts but I’m plugging away.

FASD families....supports and resources for families raising children with FASD.

 

Traveling Single Mom launched last spring and I’m adding material here and there. Our travels were much more limited than I’d planned since I went back to my social work career in early spring (part time), limiting the amount of time I have for blogging, travelling, and writing in general. Travel is my true love (next to sleep) so I have no intention of giving this site up. It’s just going to take some time to develop. Stay with us 😉

Travelingsinglemom.com- Ideas, stories, trips for single parents and kids

Which brings me to blogging in general. I love, love, love blogging. What I don’t love is the crazy pressure to be the biggest, the best, and having to be a social media guru. When I starting teaching college this fall, I took a huge step back from blogging out of necessity. It just wasn’t possible to plan, teach, and follow through on four courses and then DIY everything and write about it. The fact is, I’m not the biggest and most well known blog. I haven’t made a living blogging even though it’s more than four years. And as a single parent, making a living is kind of a big deal. Also, I’m pretty shitty at self-promotion so even if I made and shared something brilliant, the idea of being in everyone’s face about it just isn’t for me. Mad respect for you full time blogging ladies, but I just can’t. I need sleep, comfort food, and a fairly steady pay check…so back to work I went after my almost two year hiatus from social work.

 

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Social Media

Oh, social media. I love and hate it all at the same time. I recognized that I maybe had a social media addiction when we came home from Cuba (there’s no wifi at any of the hotels unless you pay for it and stand close to a computer lol) and spent two hours at 3:30 am scrolling through Facebook while my boys slept in the hotel bed next to me. I acknowledge, in full, my addiction to Facebook and Pinterest.

But social media also makes me feel overwhelmed and kind of lacking at times. And the pressure as a blogger to use social media to promote my blogs has proven too much for me. I don’t want to spend hours scheduling and promoting my posts nor do I want my Pinterest feed cluttered up with blogging idea posts. I want to look at pretty things, funny memes, and inspirational quotes. Pinterest became a chore and a responsibility rather than the inspiration board it was intended to be. So I pulled out of all the groups I was in to promote my stuff, scaled way back on who I followed and have just starting pinning things for me again. I don’t care how to get followers or how to promote anything on Pinterest. I just want to be selfish and inspired. My boards are for me but if you like the same sort of things we can be Pinterest friends. 🙂

Twitter…not even going there. It is like junk food for my already scattered brain so I’m pulling out. I might just use it follow really funny people.

Facebook. God, I need a break but I just can’t. I have people to stalk and friends to share love with. And that’s it. If my post publishes to FB, that’s great. But I’m done with the attention seeking, like my post, follow me thing that I’m not so good at.

Genesis Framework for WordPress

Instagram. Oooohh…Instagram. So pretty. Except in the interest of being polite and doing Instagram challenges where we all have to follow each other it became yet another site full of things I didn’t care about. I’m unfollowing just about anyone who doesn’t inspire me with pretty pictures. That’s all I want on Instagram these days. Pictures of pretty rooms, flat lays, and beach photos. Maybe some bullet journals but that’s a story for another day. To my friends and family, I already see your lovely photos on FB so forgive me for deleting you on Instagram. Sixteen photos of your kids skating is great but I want a picture with pink flowers on a marble background.  No offence. I’ll still like and love all your stuff on FB, though. Promise 🙂

Blogging

Interestingly, I got some negative feedback this year over a few posts, features on my link party, and lost a shit ton of followers over my last post, both here and on my social media sites. That’s totally okay. In fact, that feels great. It tells me that you’re not feeling my vibe and I get that. If we don’t mesh, or our political ideals and my cultural heritage makes you uncomfortable, it’s cool to unfollow. It’s not cool to make racist and hateful comments about me or why I’m not a Trump supporter. I get to delete those types of comments because this is my happy space and that’s just not helpful or something I need to see when I sit down to write for those of you that still like me. I unfollow stuff that doesn’t interest me, too. It’s all good.

I’ve never shared anything about my Native culture and ancestry before on this site, nor have I shared anything political. But I stepped out of the lifestyle blog last week, took a chance on sharing my history and feelings about this past year and I’m so grateful for the love via comments, and emails that I have received about that post. It felt good to come out of the well designed pantry closet and just chat. Haters gonna hate, but the rest of you made me weep with gratitude. Love you all.

Ah. The Blog.  I have no idea where I’m going with it, but with teaching college and doing court investigations for custody and access disputes, I don’t have the time to be creating 15 fun ways to make Valentine’s day special. Truthfully, I never really did, but I tried. And if I do find some time and inspiration to create something crafty, you’ll be the first to know.

I have a feeling we’re heading in a different direction around here… more in the moment things I want to share and less planning and stressing about holiday posts and all that craziness.  Right now I’m all about taking care of the age spots that have crept over my face (because I’ll be 49 this year and all), organizing my life, and bullet journals. If you like those things, too, that’s great. Love you all madly and I hope we can still be friends.

 

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Comments

  1. Almost everything you said here, I can relate to, have thought about, and have (am) struggling with. Four years into my blog, and I still don’t know what I want it to be! Whatever direction you decide to go in, I’ll be following!

  2. I too will be following and I like the new direction your blog is taking. I am surprised that so many people objected to your last post, and it always amazes me why people get nasty and post hateful comments on blogs they disagree with. I mean, it is YOUR blog, so you can write whatever you want. People can just not read your posts or unfollow you – there is no need to be nasty. Perhaps I am naive. Anyway, I admire you for caring for your boys the way you do and for fighting to give them the best lives you can. All the best for 2017.

  3. Thanks so much, Debbie! I’ve never understood the need to lash out over our differences. You’re right…unsubscribe, leave the page. Meanness is unnecessary. And thanks for sticking with me while I figure out what I’m doing here lol

  4. Jenna, know that no matter where you go or how you do it I will be behind you. I love the way you think and snd that challenges me to think about different sides of a topic. It helps me to grow and learn as a person. I find everything on your blog to be informative, fun, and thought-provoking. I love hearing about your journey with the boys and how you are managing life itself. You are doing so much to teach those of us who read your blog and those who are fortunate enough to spend time with you in real life. I wish you continued blessings for 2017.

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