This began as a single paragraph in the Roundup and grew into this, therefore, I felt it best to remove it from the Roundup since I already have a very long story about a pina colada I had in New York to bore you with.
What kicked it off was this post by Serenity about finding your place in the blogosphere when you have an established audience, but you've gone through a transition. In her case, she went from IVF to parenthood. While some stop writing due to time or desire, others do want to write and don't know how to leap over the chasm without offending readers or being untrue to their own experience.
This is my advice, but in terms of my own experience:
I am a diarist. A diary writer? A diarrheaist? Someone who keeps an online diary. And I think we'd all do better with transitions if we considered ourselves a diarist (and this is what I notice is the difference between those who cross the line from infertility to parenthood somewhat seamlessly and those who are still trying to find their new voice in a new situation).
Which means that we'll always be talking about what is in the forefront of our mind; what we notice, who we meet, what strikes us. When we're in the throes of treatments, it will most likely be treatments. When we're in the throes of adoption, it will most likely be adoption. And if we're parenting, it may be parenting or it may be cooking or a book that you're reading or a movie you've seen or an insane story of something that happened to you. And you will be a diarist and everyone else--the readers--will place their reading film over your blog and take from it whatever speaks the most to them in the moment. They may consider you an infertility blogger, but you will consider yourself a diarist.
Which means that as you cross from experience to experience, you will attract different people. You will always have with you a core group of people you've touched with your words; who remain with you regardless of what you are writing about such as Serenity for me. I will read her until the day she stops blogging (please don't stop blogging) because I have a connection with her; both on-blog and off. I'm simply interested in the way she views the world and she often makes me think or nod my head. Therefore, if she's writing about infertility, great. If she's writing about her job, great. If she's writing about her marriage, great. I tune in to get her thoughts; not necessarily on a single topic.
She will always be an ALI blogger because that was part of her experience and I think it probably still informs her present and future, perhaps to a lesser degree than it did in the past. But it's sort of like a scar that doesn't completely disappear even if the skin is technically healed. So I will always keep her on the ALI blogroll even if the letters IVF never pour out of her fingers again. But she is, at the core, a diarist. As we all are. And if I connect with your way of thinking, you will have me forever regardless of what you are writing about.
And you will pick up others and drop others over time as people change and grow and hold other interests. Readership is not your problem. You cannot control readership any more than you can control getting to parenthood. Yes, there are some things you can do to give yourself a chance to build readership and certainly things you can do that will guarantee that you will never have someone read your blog, but you cannot control another person's eyes or brain. So leave that out of the equation. Only ask yourself this when you open up the blank post: what do I want to write? What is important to me? Where do I want to connect with others and hear their thoughts? What do I need to process? What do I want to record?
If you are true to your own heart and what you want, the rest will follow. When people ask what I did to build my blog, I simply say that I gave others what I wanted to give myself. Meaning, I have only created projects that I wanted to have for myself and figured that if I was putting in the work, I might as well share it with others. I wanted a daily newsletter so I put together a daily newsletter and I share it with you. I wanted an organized blogroll so I put it together for myself and share it with you. I started the Roundup solely as a way to generate discussion on all the cool things I read on the Internet that week. I will keep writing it even if everyone else deems it unimportant and I never get a hit on a Friday. Because it makes me happy. It documents what I thought about that week. It reminds me of what I read and I always hope that others will find the post too and more often than not, they then comment over there or email me about the post. This is what I mean when I say that I write what I want.
And I write about what is important to me. The ChickieNob processing death? I want to remember what I said and what she thought. I put it out there publicly in case it helps another person, and because in writing about it, people step forward with more advice or ideas that I use in communicating with her. It is interactive and that is why I place my thoughts out there. Because it helps me to hear words back from you.
I keep in mind the audience as best I can in terms of trying not to be offensive. But, again, with so many people reading and not commenting, I can't always control that or even know what would be upsetting for a reader. So I just use my general circumspection that I carry with me in every other area of life. And I write as a diarist. Who happens to identify the most with the ALI community, but a diarist nonetheless.
My words of advice to anyone who is struggling with a transition--into the community, from one section of the community to another, wanting to remain in the community but unsure of your space--write for yourself. When people see something that resonates with them, they follow. And even if they don't read for a bit, even if you go through a dry patch in terms of readership, new people will always find you if you keep writing and putting yourself out there as a reader of other blogs.
Just my two cents, selfishly written because I want her to keep writing.