Fighting Misdirection

Fighting Misdirection

I started this blog… wait for it – when I moved to Texas – in 2010. Originally I wrote about whatever I felt like, which pretty much left it as a personal blog. Those early posts still exist in a sub folder I separated out, but I need to mix them all back together.

Anyway, SMTT was not my initial fore into personal blogging. I bought my first domain in 2001, uptonia.com (now a very outdated work portfolio) which I blogged on for years. Don’t worry, you didn’t miss much by not reading the blog of my 18 year old self. Here’s a highlight:

ahh! I woke up today and wished for something exciting to happen. This might have worked out a little bit better if I decided to rise before 12:00 noon, but alas… I did not. So I awoke sleepily from my bed, looked in the mirror, and once I got over the initial fright that one recieves when looking at themselves in the mirror after they got up, I realized that my hair was curly. That was about the most exciting moment of my day. I’m at the beach right now, which should prove exciting enough… but that just aint cutting it.

It goes on…

Me circa 2003
Me circa 2003

Despite keeping up a personal blog from 2001 – 2007, I’m not a big fan of the genre. My life has never felt that interesting even though I tried really hard to over dramatize things. It’s also hard to build an audience with a personal blog, as I discovered when I started SMTT in 2010. I shared the occasional post on my personal Facebook page, and family/friends would comment and read. The feedback I got from others was good, but organic traffic was painfully slow and I didn’t get much of any viral sharing.

After I got Simon, I decided to restrict my blog to a horses only. I figured centralizing the content would be my best shot and building a unified audience, and also hold myself accountable to an editorial schedule. As many of you know, this has worked reasonably well for me. I love writing about and photographing horses. My personal journey is mixed in, but I also have been lucky enough to learn a lot about the horse world in general and think of good things for us to read and chat about over here.

615044980_bcb4f63ee4_z

The problem is that there’s more to life than horses. I felt this way even before Tim died. Some days it’s a struggle to figure out what “horse topic” to write about, and I’ve never been the kind of person who finds extensive lesson/training recaps all that interesting to write or read. Though I’m no professional horseman by any means, this Chronicle Article by Rebecca Young resonates with me. There are just more things I want to write about than my horse, even though he is super important.

What does that mean for the blog? I don’t really know. My weekly Monday – Friday schedule is so ingrained into my life now that it would feel strange to abandon it, but I’ve also built up a reliable audience of horse lovers.

2189925637_9f207990e2_z

It’s not that I would stop writing about Simon, because he’s a huge part of my life… there’s just more to it. I’ve always been someone who’s been addicted to feelings. I love to feel things that are real, and while happiness is easier to experience than sadness… the dark times are just as important to me. In my writing, I try to leave people with a part of this as well. It’s a personal goal to share an experience with you – which can mean anything from giggling along with me at something silly or feeling a part of my pain on rough days.

All of that sure sounds like a personal blog to me, but I still feel weird about the genre. It takes a pretty big ego to assume that hoards of random strangers want to read your daily dribble, and I don’t think I’m there yet. At the same time, I know I can’t continue writing about pony-palooza all of the time. It’s not like this blog has been extremely pony-centric anyway these days.

768792765_b7364921f6_z

So this post is more of a thought process than a question. I won’t ask what ya’ll like to read most, because that’s not the only point of blogging for me. Still, I like creating content that people enjoy and look forward to… just don’t know what that means these days.

29 thoughts on “Fighting Misdirection

  1. Do whatever feels right for you. Even when it’s not pony-palooza, I really enjoy your writing and I think you do an incredible job of sharing your experiences. In fact, I think I enjoy your more personal posts more than pony posts (not that I don’t love hearing about Simon – I certainly do. But your personal posts are really something special).

    I know what you mean about not being a fan of the personal blog genre though – I’d classify myself as not a fan either, and sometimes I hate on myself a little bit for having one. It feels narcissistic at times. But at the same time, I’ve really enjoyed connecting with other bloggers and in that way it’s a bigger thing than just talking about myself and my horse – it’s connecting with other people. As someone who also enjoys writing, I also think of it a bit as a portfolio and in this way it’s actually opened up some neat doors for me, like writing for a local horse magazine! I don’t think I ever would have gotten into that if it weren’t for bogging.

    In the end, it’s YOUR slice of the interwebs and it can be want – though I know that sometimes figuring out what you want is really the hardest part 🙂

  2. I know you’re not asking for an opinion but I’ll give you one anyway. Write whatever you feel. It’s not what a person writes but how they write it. Whether it’s a horse related post or a random life event it doesn’t matter. I enjoying reading about the journey. It’s like a good book that I can’t put down.

  3. For what its worth, in the last year or so (seriously the last three months not included), your blog hasn’t felt much like a ‘horse only blog’ . You’ve got travel posts, posts about photography, stuff you’ve done with house, posts about blogging itself. Bringing some of your past stuff up like, art and ice skating. Let the blog serve you any way it needs to.

  4. I’ve thought of this myself some. Mainly because I’ve been contemplating sharing some areas of my house. I love DIY/home type blogs too, so I’ve been debating a fusion of the two. I think your writing will still interest be despite the topic (unless you take up something like spider farming. 😉

  5. I’ve dealt with the same struggles in the past year too. I feel like there’s more to me then just horses and I want to write about it all but then would I still be “the north carolina cowgirl” if I’m writing about more then just horses… It’s a tough decision.

    I vote for you to do whatever you think will make you happy and keep your creative juices flowing!! I love reading your blog and don’t just read it because of Simon..although it was the horse topics that got me to become a reader but over the months, I feel like an “online friend” so I like seeing how life is going for you and what you’re up too. 🙂

    Do what makes ya happy and write about it!

  6. I struggle with this same thing! I feel like people really only care about my equestrian-related topics, but sometimes I get burned out on them. So I’ve started writing a bit more for myself and stopped worrying so much about my numbers.

  7. Even though I stopped blogging recently, I still read your blog (and plenty of others) every day. Whether it has to do with horses or not, I enjoy your writing and like to read what you have to say. No need to put a “label” on your blog – just do what makes you feel fulfilled 🙂

  8. I like what Emily said- I feel like the blogging community is like having far away barn friends. Sure a lot of the things we talk about are horse related, but I really like hearing about other things too- traveling, house stuff, personal stuff, especially cool DIY or art posts because I’m not very artsy and they’re so fun to see. Once as I’m hooked on a blog, I’ll read almost every post because I find that I like the person behind the blog and am interested in what they have to say about almost anything.

    For the record, I’ll be reading whatever you post!

  9. The blog name is she moved to Texas, not she rides Simon. I’m in for the long haul and love to read whatever you write!

  10. The horses are certainly what draws me in to a blog, but I enjoy “getting to know” the blog author and once that happens I become more interested in the personal stuff too. Especially if they are a good writer.

    I’ve never really cared much about how many people read my blog (just so long as *someone* is), and while I often wish I was funnier, and a better writer, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m just not going to be that person. So I really just write about whatever I want and if people get bored and don’t read it, oh well.

  11. I feel like we are friends, both because I’ve read your blog for a long time, and because I’ve met you in person! (And you let me sleep in your guest bedroom!) I enjoy reading whatever you decide to write, because I care about what you have going on in your life!

  12. I’m kind of feeling the same way lately, only I don’t have half as much dedication as you do to keep the posts flowing. There are some things in my life right now that are big and exciting and more important than ponies to me. I just can’t find the motivation to write a horse post 4-5 days a week. So now I’ve just been writing random shit whenever the mood strikes me.

  13. I’ve actually always enjoyed the nonhorsey posts on your blog and will continue to do so. Actually one of the reasons I’ve always read it, because it wasn’t just “trot circles again today guys!”(I mean that’s basically what my blog was but I wasn’t trying to build an audience lol!) is because you’ve always dabbled into interesting other topics. Maybe it’s taken a more personal twist now, but I say, keep doing what you enjoy.

  14. I’ll echo whatever one else has said: its your blog; write what you need to write. I think a large portion of your regular readership is invested enough in you & your journey that they’ll keep reading even if you skew personal for the foreseeable future. How many things do your friends and/or family tell you that you are only interested in because of the source? Same thing.

    Is it going to be a good way to grow your readership? Probably not, but it doesn’t sound like that matters right now. I think part of the reason blogs like yours are popular (besides your excellent writing & wonder photography) is because as working adult amateurs who are not independently wealthy, we’re all fighting an uphill battle (albeit some steeper than others) to be successful in our equestrian pursuits and its interesting to peak into somebody else’s life and see how they deal with the finite amount of funds & time. The rest of your life plays into that too, so therefore I’m interested.

    It also gives us a way to connect in a way we often don’t have time to during our day to day lives. So anyway, write what you feel. You’ll still feel and write things about riding and people who don’t want to read about the other stuff won’t. But I will, and I think a lot of others will too.

  15. you’ve always had a fairly unique voice among the blogging community, regardless of whether the topic was horsey or otherwise. keep doing your thing and let your blog be whatever it needs to be for you!

  16. I’m a horse girl, which is what drew me to your blog. But i’m not just a horse girl… we all have other interests and hobbies. I’ll read whatever you write as long as you talk about Simon every now and then! 🙂

  17. When I start reading a blog, it is generally because of a specific topic. Yours I started reading because of horses, others were for crafting or photography or fitness or whatever. But what ends up making me stay with a blog is ultimately the person writing it, because eventually I feel like they’ve become a friend (whether I know them in real life or not, and usually it’s not). So do what you need to do, write what you need to write – I have a feeling that most of us will stick around.

  18. I enjoy all of your blog posts, be they pony related or not.
    I’ll start by saying I’m not an overly successful blogger. I get maybe 50-60 views on a good day. But when I started blogging, I decided to just write about the things I enjoy. I call it a lifestyle blog, rather than a personal blog, because I feel the same way as you… why would anyone care about what I am doing or wearing on a given day? I’m not a fashion professional nor a professional rider. I can clothe myself fairly successfully and I’ve survived some decently high jumping courses. But that does not interesting content make. Or does it?

    I don’t market my blog. I forget to post on my blog’s Facebook page. I haven’t done a giveaway to attract readers. So I guess it’s doing pretty well all things considered. Moral of my ramblings here: If you write it, the readers will come.

    I read a few blogs that review things like subscription boxes. I’ve found lately that I skip over a lot of the reviews and prefer to read the posts in which the blogger shares a personal anecdote or photos. Not to say I don’t still head to those pages to read reviews, I do but the other content is equally interesting. I think it’s pretty natural for blogs to morph from one thing to another. Some writers abandon the old one and start anew, but I don’t think that’s necessary really. I have a friend who’s blog originally was created to help our group get ready to run a Ragnar Relay. Eventually it morphed into a fitness blog (kind of a bore for me honestly…) and now it’s a travel blog. She changed the name on it eventually since Running A Ragnar didn’t make any sense anymore… But I think with your title you’re not held to any one topic.

  19. Evolving content is a sign of growth and how you view it should be up to you. If your readers don’t identify with you, that’s okay. Many still will and you’ll gain new followers too. I think as all blogs grow, they evolve and change content tunes slightly. My site is nothing like I had envisioned when I first started, but that’s okay. I actually always have this argument with myself about the english and western content I share on Horses & Heels. I am a western rider but I identify with aspects of english lifestyle so I have english readers. Some days I consider getting rid of all my english content but then I feel horrible because it will alienate some readers. Ahhh I guess you can’t please everyone, right?

Comments are closed.

Comments are closed.