Whenever I think about re-designing my blog’s look, I think the deeper question I need to ask myself, besides new template design or font, is why I’m wanting a new look: is it because I ‘m tired of the old look, or is it that I’m just tired and finished with writing?
I began blogging 15 years ago, starting out on Live Journal (remember that platform?) then switching over to Typepad before struggling with the years-long decision of Blogger vs. Wordpress, finally landing on Squarespace where I’ve been since 2015. Over the years, I’ve written thousands of words, posted thousands of random snippets of my days and logged hundreds of stories. I’ve posted just as many pictures; it was blogging really that spurred on my journey to become a better photographer: I wanted my blogging pictures to look like all the other beautiful images I came across as I read various websites and blogs. I’ve used single column templates, double column and even triple column templates. For a few years, I was under the thrall of widgets and used all sorts of them on my blogs (my favorite was the “Log Your Run” widget where I could show how many miles I’d run per week with the times. It made me feel cool and slightly badass.).
I don’t really blog to gather new readers (although that’s a lovely added bonus). I blog because I have words that need to get out of my head and flow through my fingers and out to the universe. I believe that words can take a moment and make it last an eternity much better than a click of a camera’s shutter. I do like to share my pictures, too, but with Instagram and Facebook, I can share my photos and the stories that go along with them in five minutes and go about my day. A written story or poem calls for time to slow down to let the words sink in and be digested. In this day and age where everything is swiped though and liked in nano seconds, don’t we all need an excuse to slow down?
So what is it that I want to do here? Do I want to keep this site generic, meaning that I use it as a way to report about the races Dave and I shoot, portraits I take and the like, keeping my emotions and personal thoughts to myself? Do I make this site a place where I only post photos without the stories to go along with them? Do I make my corner of the web impersonal and safe?
Or do I want this place to be like it was way back when, a place where I wrote to write, to share stories of growing up, stories I remember my dad telling us of growing up on a rural farm in the Arkansas Ozarks? Ive tried my hand at writing Deep Meaningful posts, flirted with how-to-behind-the-scenes posts, Why I Do What I Do posts, passionate posts about what it is to Make Photographs, but with all the other sites out there telling you how to do such and such, Why I Make Photographs and Not Just Take Photographs, how to attract more followers (write/share more meaningful content), how to do you better, everything just got so noisy and exhausting that I don’t really read blogs anymore. They don’t mean anything to me like they once did.
What happened to the virtual “bookshops” that you can just go to and relax without being hit over the head with Authentic & Passionate & All The Other Hip catch phrases of the year? Where are all the good story telling blogs and websites, where I can go and put up my feet and be entertained for a few minutes? Not think or ponder Life’s meaning?
I think that I’m going to return to what I love doing best, telling stories and random moments of my life. I’ll probably throw in a few race recaps and portrait sessions, but I love telling stories. Writing was my first creative outlet long before I ever dreamed of photography. I still get such a rush when Back-To-School season rolls around and I can stock up on spiral notebooks, pencils and pens. I had stacks and stacks of notebooks growing up filled with poems and stories and (not very good) sketches of horses and landscapes. Writing helped me grow up.
I want this place to be relaxing and fun, a place where you feel like you’re having coffee with a good friend and having a good catch up, sharing bits and pieces of your life with each other.
A place to relax and let your imagination color in the word pictures I write.
Plain and simple.