This is the ninth part in my Start a Blog series about blogging. This post is relevant whether you’ve started your blog or not, but you might want to check out my other posts if you haven’t seen them since they lay the groundwork for starting your money-making blog journey. Also, keep in mind that some brands won’t work with you unless you have a dot com and you’re self-hosting (both easy things to do!!) so check out my post about setting up a hosted blog if you aren’t there yet.
This post is coming to you from Las Vegas, where I am attending the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference. It’s my first year attending this conference and it’s been about what I would have expected. Most of the people here either have or are seriously affected by food allergies so there’s a lot of story swapping and tons of brands who cater to people with special diets have come to share their goodies with the attendees.
One of the words that I’ve heard over and over again is advocacy. That’s a hot word in the allergy community, especially among parents who use the word “advocate” to remind themselves (ourselves) that it’s their (our) job to be as crazy overprotective as they (we) are. Obviously, since this is a blogging conference we represent only a sliver of all of the allergy parents out there so there has been a lot of discussion about how important it is to get accurate allergy information out to the public and our responsibility to accurately represent the stories of allergy parents everywhere.
This got me to thinking. I’m not one of those bloggers who has a dedicated mission, like the bloggers who raise money for specific causes or the ones who work tirelessly until legislation is passed in their favor on some particular issue they feel passionate about. I just write about my life. My blog is exactly the kind of blog that people roll their eyes about and wonder (A) who would ever read that drivel and (B) why I think I’m so special that every photo of my kids needs to be shared like nobody has ever seen kids before.
I am, however, an advocate. I’m an advocate for Eva’s allergies, of course, but I’m also an advocate for people who want to blog full-time. I’m an advocate for people who are just starting to get into the habit of running. I’m an advocate for people who have strict grocery budgets but enjoy creative meals. I’m an advocate for people who forget that there are vacation destinations out there that don’t involve the Disney Dining Plan. I’m even occasionally an advocate for people who are incorrectly parenting their children.
I don’t think that my blog has made a huge impact on the world, but I do feel good about the little contributions that I’ve made in my own way. Every now and then I’ll hear from someone who connected with something I said and ended up being pushed in some new direction because of it. I know that’s happened to me often, reading the everyday stories of other people. It’s grounding to hear about the experiences of others. I, for one, would be able to navigate this world much more easily if I could read everyone like a book.
It can feel scary to share your story, but getting all of those voices out there is how we’re building communities these days. I know that people come to my blog with judgement sometimes, but there are also a lot of people who show up because we’re on the same page and they can relate to what I’m saying. I guarantee that if you start blogging, your community will find you. It’s also a safe bet that something you say will make a difference to someone, although how positive that difference is is up to you and your words. So you can blog for a noble cause and a large purpose, but don’t feel like you have to. Normalcy needs advocates, too.
Go write this weekend. It’s a good season for it.
PS – Remember that you might not know the people who will value your voice the most, so if your friends don’t follow your blog that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth reading. Not even kidding when I say my best friends haven’t been on this site in years! Keep your head up and keep blogging.