I Am the Acorn: What I Learned at BlogHer '10
"Hi, I'm Megan. I blog at An Acorn Dreaming. What's it about? Well... um... I write about, you know, my life and my kids and, um, stuff like that. It's a personal blog. Kind of a slice of life thing, you know. The acorn? Oh, that's a symbol of potential, you know, like the possibility to become something big like an oak tree. So, uh, I'm the acorn, you know, growing and stuff..."
Yes, I actually said that. I actually said that countless times at BlogHer, and it sounded stupider each time.
"Why do you need a pitch?" Neilochka asked.
Why do I need a pitch? I don't really know why I need a pitch except that all the panels I had been attending talked about needing a pitch and a niche and a platform. I felt like I needed an easy way to explain this blog. How do I explain this blog? What is it anyway? What am I doing?
I spent some time at a session on monetizing your blog. Then I attended a session on the changing publishing ecosystem.
Could my blog make money? Could I make I turn my blog into a book? Do I need to find ads? Do I need to do reviews? Court marketers? How do I drum up more readers? Do I do giveaways? What am I doing with this blog?
It wasn't until I was sitting in a panel discussion called "Little Fish in a Big Pond: Loving Your Small Blog" that I remembered what I'm doing with this blog.
I don't do reviews and giveaways because I'm not a reviewer. I'm not a marketer. I'm not a salesman hawking goods out of my internet cart. "Step right up, ladies and gentlemen. Step right up and see this wonderful new product." I'm fine with other people who do it, truly. I mean, free stuff is one way to get a bit of a return on all the time and energy a blogger expends writing their blog. But it's not me. It's not what I'm doing here -- even if it means I don't get the best swag or invited to the fancy parties or free tours. Even if it means my stats aren't high. I'm not a salesperson.
I'm a writer, and this blog started as a place to practice writing, as a place to rediscover my voice.
I didn't even start it. IT Guy started this blog. I stopped writing for years when my kids were little. After years of writing journal entries, essays, poems and stories, I just stopped. It was too hard to find the time to think, much less write. Writing requires a quiet space in your brain where words can shuffle aimlessly, somersault and bounce off each other until they fall into place. Kids, at least my kids, took up all that space for years and the words could only skitter and stutter, crash into walls and fall into tangled, meaningless piles.
IT Guy looked at me one day and saw those piles and piles of letters just behind my eyes, and he set up this blog.
"Here," he said. "I made a place for you to write. What do you want to call it?"
"An Acorn Dreaming," I said without pause, like I had just been waiting for a blog, a space, a voice.
IT Guy made me a place for my words and I let them out. I dropped them into the "Add A New Post" box one at a time -- slowly at first and then with increasing speed until the letters were like rainfall in the text box. I was writing again.
And I haven't stopped.
As I sat in the "Little Fish" panel, I realized I know exactly what I'm doing with my blog. I'm writing my stories. My blog's purpose is to be the space for my words, my stories, my life.
It's not about ads or money or popularity. I forget that. As long as I'm writing, my blog is a success.
That's why I can't pitch my blog. My blog is a life built of words. Life is layered and messy. A life doesn't lend itself to niches or platforms or pitches. A life can never be a brand -- unchanging, always consistent and easily understood.
This is a blog about a life -- my life -- in all its beautiful chaos.
I am the acorn, and I have a blog so I can write about it.