I'm sitting here right now with a big old sense of relief.
I just hit the publish button on my last review that I committed to do, and I feel like I've finally got the freedom to get back to the basics on my blog - to write for the reasons I began writing, and to not be bogged down by other obligations.
Recently I wrote about how I want to head in a new direction on the blog - stepping away from doing so many product reviews and giveaways (yet not being closed off to them completely), and actually sitting down to figure out exactly why it is that I have a blog in the first place.
I felt the need to establish a clear direction and clear set of goals for myself so that, in the future, I won't get distracted by all the other stuff that's out there that I don't necessarily need to be a part of.
Doing this final review on my to-do list was a huge wake up call to me. I agreed to do a book review, and it didn't take me long to decide that I was so not into this particular book. But, I was committed, so I invested my time in finishing it so that I kept my word. I love reading - it's one of my favorite things to do in the whole wide world, so to be spending time reading a book I did not love made me wake up and smell the coffee.
I realized there is no sense in doing something I don't want to do. My time is more valuable than that. So, I will only be writing about things that mean something to me and that do not cause me any more stress than I already have.
So, here's what I've come up with. I hope you'll stay along for the ride.
*Stick to the basics. The name Laughing Through the Chaos says it all. That's what I strive to do - to be able to laugh at myself and to be able to laugh through the tough stuff. And I hope I can help you do the same.
*Keeping it well-rounded. I may be a mommy blogger, but I don't always want to talk about all things mommy. There's plenty of other things that make me who I am, so I'll be talking about other stuff, too.
*Provide more information and resources relating to postpartum depression/postpartum mood disorders. I've become very passionate about this in the last year and a half, and I want this blog to be a place you can come for resources, support, and information.
*I want to use my blog to make a difference when it comes to certain social causes. I've been honored to use my blog as a way to get the word out in the past about an amazing non-profit group called The Fresh Air Fund (a group that provides inner-city kids with the opportunity to experience things they may never have the chance to do otherwise, such as fishing, chasing butterflies, or camping in the woods), and I hope to bring awareness about other organizations that mean something to me as well.
*I'm cutting way back on product reviews and giveaways, but - at the same time - I am not going to close my blog off to them completely. I am aiming to make product reviews few and far between, and they will only make it on to the blog if I'm absolutely crazy about them, and if I think they will benefit you in some way as well.
*On a related note, I am hoping that by cutting back on reviews and giveaways, it will allow me more time to create a sense of community among my readers. That could mean more interactive discussions in the comment section, actually having time to respond to some of your comments on an individual basis, and being able to visit some of your blogs. I continue to be amazed by the sense of community there is when a few of us all say that we've gone through the same thing.
So, that's where I'm headed. Those are my goals, and I think it's good to step back and re-evaluate them from time to time.
Thanks to all of you for actually caring about what I have to say and for sharing your own experiences along the way as well. You rock my face off. :)