The Evolution of a Blog

Between the time I launched my original bloggity blog in August 2010 and now, it’s gone through no less than three major redesigns (I don’t even have screenshots of the original layout because it was just so atrocious) and header updates. I’ve written and re-written and edited and re-edited my “About Me” page, I’ve created landing pages and reworked navigation menus, I’ve moved widgets and installed plugins and worked and zonkified and given myself heart attacks by accidentally inputting wonky code and crashing my own blog.

Indeed, this blog is no stranger to change.

First blog header

Whether it’s because you desire some stronger, more professional branding…

… or you’re just itching for a fresh new theme…

HISTG header

… updating and refreshing your blog is something I’d consider both healthy and necessary for most bloggers. But then why, one might ask, did I decide to take things a few steps further this time and change my entire blog — title included?

Gretchen IB Header

The obvious answer is that I had lost quite a bit of my blogging mojo over the past few months… half a year… whatever… and needed a change in scenery to help me get back into the groove. Which, of course, is true, but it bears noting that all my past blog updates have generally yielded the same result. I mean, getting a shiny new header pic, changing a fontset, or installing a new theme is usually enough to stoke the flames of my blogging fire, so why’d I have to go so far as to change my name, my URL, my blogging identity?

Well, the truth is that I wasn’t just unmotivated to blog. It’s not that I didn’t want to write, to keep up with you guys, to be able to bear my soul (and/or vainly force you to look at pictures of myself) on a regular basis. It’s that when I did try to blog, I felt disingenuous. After all, I had a weight loss blog and I really wasn’t into losing weight anymore.

I tried to keep it up, to kick my weight loss efforts back into action and utilize the accountability that this blog has always provided me, but something just wasn’t right. It felt forced, it made me resentful, and thus, I continued to get worse and worse about updating this blog.

Of course, I know that not all of my readers were coming here solely for updates on my weight loss progress, and that many of my awesome internet friends actually (bewilderingly) seemed to enjoy posts simply about the goings-on of my daily life. But even when I did write about that stuff, I felt like I was ignoring the mission of my blog. Which made me feel like a fraud.

I felt like, because of the specific focus from which my blog was born, I still had to address my body and my attempts at losing weight. So, instead of being able to truly blog about whatever I wanted to, I still had to somehow fit in a line about my weight loss attempts… which had become nonexistent… which just meant I was coming up with excuses… and that made me feel lousy.

So. Where did that leave me? In a very sad place, of course! I was a blogger without a blog, essentially. At least, without one she wanted to contribute to. And so, after a few weeks of soul-searching and a few failed attempts at journal-writing (I mean, hello, what’s the point of baring my soul if people can’t comment on my thoughts?!), I decided that what I most definitely did not want is to stop blogging all together. But maybe I just needed to broaden my horizons a bit and open up the focus of this blog.

Now, let it be said that blogging without any kind of focus is really, really hard. A lot of people (myself tooootally included), say that they want to start a blog, so they go ahead and do just that. Only, their blog isn’t really about anything specific, so it becomes very difficult to think of things to blog about. And so, inevitably, they give up after only a few posts, because it’s just too hard to decide on something to blog about on a daily basis. (Again, I’m speaking from experience here. I must have tried to start at least 10 different blogs between my Xanga, Livejournal, and WordPress attempts combined.)

I liken it to being given a writing assignment in class. The teacher says, “Write a story.” And you spend an entire week just trying to figure out what you want to write about, let alone doing the actual writing. But when your teacher says, “Write a story about a kid who discovers a time machine,” your brain is immediately alight with ideas. You’ve got a focus, a direction, and you still get to figure out all the details on your own, but you’ve got a good place to start.

So when I started Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen! as a weight-loss blog, it was great. I had a never-ending slew of inspiration for posts because, even if I ran out of ideas or things weren’t particularly exciting in my life that week, I could always bring it back to one thing: my weight loss efforts. I could blog about what I ate the day before, or I could report on my latest weigh-in, and that was that.

Until, of course, I didn’t want to blog about those things anymore, as mentioned.

So, here we are! I made the executive decision to rebrand my blog, which has had the simultaneous effects of rejuvenating my blogging mojo (because, y’know, it’s all shiny and new again) and also refocusing my blog mission to more accurately reflect my interests. And while I am taking a bit of a risk, since my new focus (body acceptance and love, partially, but mostly just my life) is much broader and less specific than my last one (weight loss and health), so far it seems to be working out pretty well! After all, it might be harder for me to think up interesting topics from time to time, but at least I won’t feel like a bit fat phony when I do.

0 Comments

  1. Kristin Ksays:

    I love your old blog and your new blog 🙂 I just think you are super fabulous and inspire me.

  2. Jamiesays:

    I’m just glad you’re back to blogging! I long for the day I can commit to blogging again because I miss writing. I changed my blog so many times because I felt trapped in the theme I chose, so I understand this feeling. <3

  3. I echo Kristin and Jamie 😀 I’m just glad you’re back to blogging!! For a long time, I was a member of the Livejournal community, and then I moved to BloopDiary.com, and when that started to fizzle, I opened my WordPress.com account. The thing I miss the most is the feedback from my posts–hardly anyone comments on my blog, probably because I’m inconsistent about writing lol!

    Back in the days of Bloop, I’d get 2-3 comments per post and I made a lot of really good friends there. In fact, when I go to New York in a couple weeks, I’m getting together with a Bloop Buddy. My best friend’s wedding in Michigan in October? Yep, another Bloop Buddy.

    Blogging has the benefit of getting things off your chest and letting your muse speak to you through the keyboard, but it has the added benefit of helping you to be a part of a community. It can build bonds and friendships that might otherwise not be available.

    I heart blogging and I’m glad that you’re back 😀

  4. I’m so happy to see that you’re back to blogging. I jokingly call mine a “healthy lifestyle” blog, but its more that I’m trying to be healthy and have a life. That works, right? I love the new concept though, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

  5. I like the direction it is going, and it making me realize that I can just blog however and about whatever I want. I’ve been so concerned about finding the “right” niche, but I think just being me will do it. =)

  6. holy cow! i must be channeling your wavelength without even knowing it. i wrote a very similar post earlier today and only now just discovering yours (& the new re-design too)!

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