This personal blog has suffered an identity crisis for a couple of years.
It started as a place to share writing advice, but then I became so heavily focused on writing projects that I neglected it. (Which is fine. Novelists-in-the-rough with limited time should spend that time on their novels, not blog posts, or those novels will never be completed.)
I then refocused this blog as an online portfolio for my drawings, but then I became so heavily focused on drawing projects that I neglected it…
See the pattern?
Meanwhile, my passion project, The Invisible Scar, turned one-year-old recently. In that year, it has maintained its tone, focus, and passion. The amount of regular traffic it receives and its growing combox community let me know that The Invisible Scar is making a difference, filling a gap, and providing hope and information for adult survivors of emotional child abuse.
This personal blog, though? Not so much.
But how can The Invisible Scar do so well in engaging an audience yet this blog flounder in finding one?
I thought about the answer to that and came up with lessons I’ve learned so far from managing The Invisible Scar and what I need to start applying to my personal blog.
1. A blog needs a specific purpose for its existence
When the idea for The Invisible Scar was born, I didn’t act on it immediately. First, I wrote down the reason why I would start such a blog.
All I knew is that I wanted the blog to focus on emotional child abuse. I’ve been researching and studying this topic for several years now, and I wanted to share what I’ve learned and what I am learning. So, the topic was set.
However, emotional child abuse is a heavy subject, and I wanted to make sure that I had a defined path for the website. I wanted the site to be a place where adult survivors of emotional child abuse can gather information that equips them on their path from awakening to the truth of what has happened and healing from it.
I did not want the site to be an online journal, a dumping ground for complaints, or a depressing collection of personal stories.
The Invisible Scar’s driving force is awareness of the little-discussed topic of emotional child abuse and the giving of information, hope, and resources to face the abuse, stop it, and grow stronger and healthier.
2. A blog needs to fill a need
After I had a why statement written, I checked online to see how other sites were handling the topic. I studied myriad psychology websites that discuss emotional child abuse, tons of personal blogs written anonymously by adult survivors of emotional child abuse, and online forums.
Only a small group of websites exist that have the same focus. I felt like The Invisible Scar could contribute greatly to the conversation online and view those other sites as allies in the fight for awareness of emotional child abuse and its effects on adult survivors.
3. A blogger needs to have an editorial calendar
Before launching the site, I wrote down 12 blog posts ideas. Having 12 blog post ideas meant I’d at least have a blog post a month for it. That gave me a year to work hard at this passion project and see whether the topic resonated with an audience.
Since the site launched, I’ve added to the editorial calendar and also expanded some ideas. For example, “From the Editor’s Mailbox” addresses common concerns that pop up in the emails from readers. A series of posts under the theme “Types of Emotional Child Abuse” is also underway.
4. A blog needs a source of fuel to keep it running
Though The Invisible Scar is (at this point) run only by me, I am always scouring books, articles, films, etc. for ideas. I also bounce ideas off my husband and close friends. And because they know I focus on this topic, they come to me sometimes with ideas as well.
“I heard so-and-so mention on the radio that emotional child abuse isn’t real,” a friend recently told me. “They said it was just how parents are… Can you write about that on your blog?”
Also, I check book sites to see what authors have written books pertaining to emotional child abuse, then I contact them and ask if they are interested in interviews for The Invisible Scar. They usually are.
Being passionate about a topic helps, but that passion needs to be balanced with research and a course of action.
5. Bloggers need to adapt to small changes when necessary
The Invisible Scar was going to be all about emotional child abuse… which is a huge topic.
But after a couple of blog posts, I realized that readers were mostly adult survivors of emotional child abuse.
Moreover, my research showed that almost all emotionally abused children do not realize they are being abused. Having grown up in such an environment, they do not realize how devastating and how abnormal their childhood was until they are adults. Even then, the chances of an adult child of an emotional child abuser accepting the reality of their childhood is rare.
So, the people reading at The Invisible Scar aren’t emotionally abused children nor teachers wanting to help. Readers are adults who suspect or who have awakened to the reality of their childhood and need to understand the topic better and have hope that they can heal from such devastation.
The Invisible Scar’s focus shifted towards the adult survivors of emotional child abuse.
6. A blogger needs to be professional in his or her approach to blogging
As managing editor of The Invisible Scar, I take the website’s subject matter and content very seriously. The site isn’t something I threw together haphazardly. It’s not a mishmash of an experiment. The readers have taken time to visit the site, so the content needs to be useful and well-written, and honor readers’ time.
I approach the site with the same dedication, purpose, and passion that I approach the editorial section that I manage in my full-time job. In fact, what I’ve learned as an editor for the Opinions section at work is what helped me focus, launch, and create content for The Invisible Scar.
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Now, I’m taking time to revisit this personal blog and find a clear mission for its existence. I’ve a new idea (which explains the new blog header), but I need to think a little more.
All those lessons above need to be applied to this blog as well…