Friday, October 26, 2007

Time for a Course Correction

I'm going back to the beginning, sort of. When I first started writing this blog it was with the purpose of improving my writing skills. I had no plan for what topics I might write about. Along the way I settled on photography and genealogy as frequent topics but I also continued to write about my writing (NaNoWriMo). I suppose it was inevitable that with time my primary topic would become genealogy. It is a primary passion of mine.

Then I got caught up in a numbers game. I started to care about increasing my readership and how many hits I got. I began reading the blogs about "how to write better blogs" and I took the information I learned to heart. I became convinced that as long as my blog was focused on one topic and I continued to write good content my readership would increase and I would drive more traffic to my blog. I also thought I would be taken more seriously in the online genealogy community if my blog wasn't "diluted" with other topics. So I did these things.

The thing is, the blogging wasn't so much fun anymore. Don't get me wrong, I truly enjoy writing about genealogy. But I enjoy writing about photography and creative writing too. And I miss that. Somewhere along the way I transitioned from writing a blog that I wanted to write to writing a blog the majority of my readers wanted to read (according to my statistics on which posts were most read). It began to feel like a job and wasn't so much fun anymore.

I started a second blog, Creative Genealogy. I enjoy being creative and I had this idea that having a second blog would satisfy my urge to write about things other than just genealogy. And it did for a while. Then I got caught up in yet another hobby, digital scrapbooking, and accepted an invitation to become a part of the creative team at Stone Accents Studio. It was an exciting time, and very creative. But I went too far and developed a repetitive stress injury in my arm. And that's when my house of cards came tumbling down.

I'd pushed beyond my limit. Web site design, blogging, and digital scrapbooking… Just too much time spent at the computer. It forced me to reevaluate my computer time. I learned how to use and appreciate voice recognition software, designing with a graphics tablet, and using my left hand on my mouse. But I'm still not as efficient as I used to be. Some things have to go.

I have resigned my position as a member of the creative team at Stone Accents Studio. I will continue to do digital scrapbooking here and there but not on a regular basis. I'm not sure if I will continue my Creative Genealogy blog or not. I'm still thinking on that.

Creative Gene will no longer be a focused topic blog. I am more than genealogy and I need to be writing about more than genealogy. I love my Polish heritage but I need to be writing about more than my Polish heritage. The kind of articles I like to write best are the ones like Genealogy and the Environment where I have to stretch a bit, challenge my thinking and writing abilities. And of course, the Carnival of Genealogy.

I've thought about Terry's H.O.G.S. moniker but even that feels limiting. I want to feel free to write about photography, sometimes in a technical way. I want to write about Alzheimer's disease, how it affected my life and what's being done in the field. I want to write about photographing Michigan, and Detroit, my hometown. I want to write reviews about books that have nothing to do with genealogy, history, or Poland. And I want to write hilarious stories about my dog and cat. I want the freedom to write about more than just genealogy. And the beauty of authoring a blog is, I can.

Having said all that, I'll still be writing more about genealogy than anything else. And I definitely won't forget my Polish heritage. But I will no longer feel the need to apologize for "going off topic" with a blog post. As far as I'm concerned, anything is a fair topic. So now Creative Gene will be about Genealogy And More! (I believe that would make me a G.A.M. blogger ;-)

I'm no longer reading the feeds of Pro-Blogger, Lorelle on Wordpress, or CopyBlogger. I'm picking up new feeds in new areas of interest in hopes that expanding my reading will make me a better writer. I'm looking for interesting blogs on writing, preferably fiction writing. If you can recommend any, please do. I will still be reading all of my favorite genealogy blogs too!

So it's a course correction I have in mind for the Creative Gene blog. I hope you will enjoy it.

I'm free!