I have been reading a lot of blog advicetutorial posts lately in my quest to become a better blogger. One of the most common tips that I have found is the admonishment to find your blogging niche. This makes me sigh. I sigh and grumble because I want to rebel against this piece of advice, mostly out of frustration that don’t know what kind of blogger I am.
The advice is sound. When I think of the blogs I most admire, they have a distinct focus. It isn’t for a lack of categories either because there are ones on food, humor, parenting, organization, education, politics, love, art, crafts, sex, technology, weight loss, health, reviews and the list goes on. At Little Bits and Pieces, I have actually written at least once on most of these subjects. If I had to pick one of these topics to write the majority of posts on, well… you might as well take me out back and be done with me.
I thought looking at my stats program and seeing what search terms brought people here would help. After all, I want to give readers what they want the most but to be honest, the top search term is IncrediMail Letters. While I may have a few more to share, I don’t create them any longer and have no interest in going back to it.
A few weeks back, I asked on my Facebook fan page “What do I write about that made you click that Like button and be a fan here?” and the few answers I received back (most in private messages) were all the same: my mental health posts.
That makes sense. I am a mental health advocate. I have a mental illness called major depressive disorder. I also have anxiety disorder and ADHD. I do write about these things as openly as I can and I do that for two reasons. The first is because I know exactly how important it is to know that you are not alone when you have this kind of invisible illness. Secondly is to be another voice helping to stop the stigma that comes with those two words: mental illness. It is important for people to know that these illnesses are just a part of me – not all of me.
To be honest though and probably in part because of the stigma, I question if this is what I want to be known as – Mental Health Blogger.
Within days of dealing with the idiocy of Dr. Phil and Brian Williams and the incredible rally of the mental health blogger community … I have to ask myself if I want mine to be a Face of Mental Illness in the blogging community. What will that mean if I move forward using that identity instead of Mommy Blogger or Author To Be Blogger?
And as the rebellion bubbles up inside me, I ask again if I really have to choose just one.
What if I am all three or even more? After all, my mantra is that these are just parts of me – not all of me.
Am I a mental health blogger? Yes. I will continue to write about the bad days and about hope and about daily life with this disease.
Am I a mommy blogger? Yes. I will continue to write about parenting, fun kid stuff, volunteering at their school and their favorite things.
Am I a writer who blogs? Most definitely. I will continue to participate in projects that hone my writing skills and share my struggles with never being able to finish one manuscript.
I briefly consider separately my writing out and giving each subject its own blog, but no. I’ve been there, done that and I know for sure that does NOT work for me.
I have to accept that I will never be a niche blogger and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that I am ashamed of my work that does focus on mental health. It does mean that I can write about my crock pot experiments, my favorite books, politics, or anything else under the sun and be happy with all of that.
At the same time, I can love that you have a great focus and readers like myself can depend on you when we want to learn about your area of expertise. And I am happy for you that your blog is like that.
xoxo ~ Melissa