The internet is a weird place. I often wonder to myself what I can offer on this blog that is different from what has already been offered on another corner of the web. I'll think I have a new idea, a unique experience or an unusual thought, but 0.26 seconds after I hit return on a Google search I find there is nothing new that I can offer. I then wonder why you, my dear readers, come here. Is it because you knew me in high school and are in shock and awe that I have now kept my child alive for six whole months? Is it because you know me now and enjoy hearing me retell how Mike and I fumble though marriage, parenthood and homeownership? Is it because you don't know me at all, but found me somewhere in the Internet-rabbit hole and have stayed for a reason that - although I'm grateful for - I don't really understand?
I know there is nothing new on this Earth. No matter what I do, how I do it, how I feel about it and how I talk about it, it will not be new. It is both a point of discouragement and encouragement for me. I am discouraged because it then feels like I have nothing to offer, what good are my words, when they are not unique? I fear that someone can say the same thing, but better, so where is the place for my thoughts?
But I am also encouraged because I can be sure I am not alone, and my words can identify with another person. I may be saying the same thing another person has said, but I have never said it, in my own way, with my own words. It may be new to someone out there, or maybe it's not new, maybe it's just a reminder, but one that is still needed, still encouraging or entertaining or informative or whatever it is to that person in that moment.
I've been thinking a lot about this space. My own little bubble of the great big internet world. There are going to be some changes coming soon and I want to be upfront and honest with you all about what they are. I've been blogging for three years on and off as of this month. I write to document our lives, because I'm a chronic over-sharer, to process big, massive thoughts and emotions into tiny little blog posts, and because, well, it's fun. It's honestly always just been a hobby.
As readership has grown, I've begun to think more about what Oakland Avenue is and what it could be. I've started getting a few inquiries from businesses for giveaways and product trials and while I'm absolutely floored that I've even been considered for such things, I've turned them down because I wasn't sure if that was something I wanted to do. I felt like I wasn't that serious about Oakland Avenue, so how in the world can I do serious things like advertisements, giveaways and product trials?
A friend recently asked me, "What are you afraid of?" I told her I didn't know, and she asked if I was afraid of failure. Or maybe success. And now that I think more about it, I think it's a bit of both. Fear that if I start acting serious about the blog and it goes nowhere that I'm a failure, or maybe because I know I have nothing new to offer, my words swim among many, and most are better and more shiny than mine. And I fear that if I succeed, I'll drop the ball on other things and my mistakes will have that much larger of a platform to live on, or that I'll have to be committed to the blog for what feels like forever with no way out.
While I'm still wrestling with what exactly it all will look like, I know it will start with a few sponsors and affiliates hanging out on the left sidebar and I'm also planning on a few design changes that you'll start seeing in the next couple of days. Some of you may have already noticed that I changed the "about me" page already (just click on my mug up there on the left). I've been working pretty hard behind the scenes on the blog during nap times, and I am genuinely excited for the changes ahead.
I feel like I must say, I want you to know that my goal isn't to "grow the numbers." In fact, the idea of getting serious about Oakland Avenue is one that has been festering for a long time, but I let it sit, simply because I didn't want to get caught up in the numbers and I was afraid if I actually began being intentional with blogging, I would lose the joy of it and write not for me, or even for you, but for pageviews. And that, is not - and will not be - what this space is about.
As far as content goes, I'll still just continue to do what I'm doing. Blogging about motherhood, parenting, and a little DIY as well. If I have to classify it, I'd say this is probably a mommy-blog, but it's also a lifestyle blog with a hint of DIY - a mishmash of posts that just makes Oakland Avenue, well, Oakland Avenue.
Thanks for joining me in the ride. On to the next adventure we go.