Sometimes I think I am not that motivated. Of course, if I really examine that idea, it is ridiculous. I hold two college degrees, own a consulting business, am constantly starting new projects and learning new things, get excited about traveling, and I have been blogging here since 2007…consistently putting out content week in and week out, year after year. Clearly an unmotivated person could not accomplish all of this.
So what is it about climbing the blogging ladder to success that just makes me want to bury my head in another book and shut down my computer? This week Wallace at Unputdownables wrote a really great post which talked about the dilemma of monetizing her blog, changing blogging platforms and reaching higher to try to make money at the thing she has grown to love. I admire that kind of drive, but I have no desire to do it. The obvious question is: Why not?
Years ago, I was at the height of my career as a physical therapist. I had been working as a clinician in a variety of settings for quite some time and got the opportunity to take a high paying, high profile position as a Director of Physical Therapy for a rehab company in the San Francisco Bay area. The job had a lot of perks which appealed to me (great benefits, a new car, a travel budget), but I also thought I should not miss this opportunity to climb the career ladder. And so, I signed a contract and stepped into the job. I learned a lot in that job: how to supervise other professionals, how to navigate the financial maze of the medical field to help my company make a profit, how to rub elbows with hospital administrators and physicians at social functions where I felt oddly out of place, and how difficult it is to sit between upper management and the clinicians delivering care. I excelled in my new position…but I also was learning something else less tangible, but no less important. I missed being in the clinic, working one on one with patients, listening to the stories of their lives, helping them to achieve their goals, and wrestling with the challenges of developing treatment programs. In short, I hated my new job and longed to go back to just being a treating physical therapist again. I lasted as an administrator for nearly three years before I decided to find my joy again as a treating therapist. People asked me how I could give up a high profile position and a cushy salary. My answer was: “Because it did not make me happy.”
Why am I talking about physical therapy in a post which is supposed to be about blogging? Because I think my experience in my work might explain my reluctance to keep doing more and more here on my blog.
I love writing about books. I love blogging. I love the people I meet through my blog and the fantastic opportunities I have had to interact with authors, publicists, editors, and other bloggers. I am afraid that if I start to look at this blog like a business, I will lose my joy in blogging. Instead of something I look forward to, will blogging become an obligation? Instead of posting what I feel like posting from day to day, will I begin to feel that I must post certain content in order to maximize my blog? I struggle with that familiar voice on my shoulder telling me I should always keep climbing higher. “Go to the next level,” the voice whispers. And yet, there is another voice which comes not from outside me, but deep within me…and it is telling me to enjoy what I have created, and that more is maybe not better. I think I need to listen to that inner voice because after five decades of life, it has rarely steered me wrong.
I still admire those bloggers who are going for more – it takes a lot of effort and determination, and for many it is a dream they are eager to pursue. I wish them the best for success because when one of us succeeds, we all succeed. But, I won’t be climbing the ladder with them. I like where I am. I’m comfortable in the space I have carved out for myself here. I hope that I fill a need in the blog-o-sphere, a place where other readers can come and read honest reviews, and maybe get a glimpse into my life with my animals and quilts and home in the mountains. It makes me happy to put out those posts every week…and there is something to be said for the simplicity of just doing something because of the joy it brings.
What about you? Are you happy where you are in your blog? Do you feel the temptation to reach for the golden ring? What plays a role in how you make decisions about the direction in which to take your blog? I would love to hear your thoughts!