Blog birthday (be)musings

Blog birthday (be)musings

"Childhood" by Michiev. Used with permission.

"Be brave. Ask your questions. Speak your truth."

I heard those words from BlogHer CEO and co-founder Lisa Stone during the first few minutes of my first official BlogHer14 conference week before last. Throughout the incredible weekend (see my Girls on the Grid post for more details and photos), I heard riffs on her ideas, especially constant comments about being "authentic," speaking "truth," and knowing your "voice."

At the same time, I heard a ton of talk about "monetization," blogging as business, tailoring messages for "audiences," and developing self-as-brand, all of which sound exhausting.

As a personal blogger, I've given some thought to advertising and sponsored posts, but given the wide variety of topics I write about--research, cooking, flying, family adventures, the wonder of growing tomatoes--I wouldn't know who to partner with really. And, this is embarrassing to admit as I just passed The Blue Muse's fifth birthday (woot!), I wouldn't know who exactly would be targeted by ads.

The thing I've realized recently is that I haven't worked to build community around these parts. I haven't a clue who's reading these posts aside from my mother (and even then, I'm not sure!). I (sadly) don't enjoy many conversations with readers (but I want to!). Aside from a long ago readership survey, I'm not even sure what people appreciate or get annoyed by. If this blog disappeared tomorrow, would anyone notice? Sigh.

So I got this wild hair* recently to split up The Blue Muse into three blogs in order to focus the writing, speak more truths that I care about, and hopefully maybe, build community. It also occurred to me that the people who enjoy the photos and life stories may not necessarily appreciate the OMG I can fly a plane now! posts, and vice versa. And the folks who like the research and teaching and writing stuff might be a different crowd altogether. (It also dawned at me, that oh wow, I am not the Pioneer Woman or Martha Stewart. I take terrible food photos and my gardening skills are aspirational at best.)

And so, as a belated blog birthday announcement (since I apparently didn't realize that milestone was two days ago, ahem), I'm currently working on three new websites! Or revamps, anyway. I'm moving the Blue Muse and my professional site (drmalviniredden.com) over to WordPress**, and starting up a new site for all things aviation.

More details to follow, of course, but I'm excited to focus this space on telling true stories, slice-of-life tales, rants and what I heard BlogHer speaker Deb Rox of Deb on the Rocks describe as "think pieces." (Worry not, there will still be a good bit of random.)

As I set off into the next five years of writing, do you have any special requests? Thoughts on subjects I should ax or absolutely keep? Feelings about advertising or sponsored posts? Any burning questions you're dying to have answered?

Do tell.

Leave a comment below, email bluestmuse(at)gmail(dot)com or tweet to @bluestmuse

xoxo,
shawna

* Thanks BFF Kristin for the encouragement!
** I'm learning all about self-hosting. Fun, fun.

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