Please welcome Lightening to the blog –
When I first contemplated taking part in Life in the Country’s “out of your niche”, I discounted the idea on several levels. The first of which was my own confidence in my ability to write something that anyone else would want to read. That’s kind of a funny attitude for a blog writer to have really. But when I first began my blog I wasn’t considering the fact that anyone would actually read what I had to say. It was more for me than for anyone else.
It wasn’t until I began venturing out into the wider blogosphere (wider than myself and a few friends) that I read the idea that a blogger should really decide exactly where their “niche” is if they’re going to have a successful blog. The idea of a “successful blog” did appeal to me somewhat. I liked getting up of a morning and discovering that people had actually visited the blog. Even better, some would take the time to stop and leave a comment. I even got a few “thankyou, you really made me think” or “thank you, your post today made me smile” type comments. Wow! What a buzz!!!!
But having a “niche”???? The concept continues to allude me. My blog isn’t JUST about being a mum, or cooking, or gardening, or someone on the path to recovery from a nervous breakdown. It’s not really about simple living or frugality or making others smile. I can’t really claim to have menu planning down pat or say that my blog is mainly about home organization (okay, it’s not even a little bit about home organization lol). It’s all of those things and more. The only common denominator I can put it down to is “me”. My blog is about “me”. Is that a niche? I have no idea!!!
So if I don’t really know what my “niche” is in blogging terms, how can I really write a post that is “out of my niche”? Hmmmm…… maybe I was overthinking this idea just a tad (who me??? LOL).
After some thought it occurred to me that I could write what I DO know about a “niche”. To me a “niche” is a place where I feel comfortable. So, I consider the idea of “stepping out of your niche” as being similar to stepping out of your comfort zone.
Well, I certainly stepped out of mine about 12 years ago. I took pride in my standing as a “city girl”. In fact, it never occurred to me that I might be anything BUT a “city girl”. I spent my teenage years in Melbourne (the capital of Victoria in Australia) and it’s a place I’m still very passionate about. So how did I end up living out in the middle of nowhere on a farm? I married a farmer!
The day I met the man who is now my husband, carries with it quite a funny story. In the first conversation I had with him, I told him point blank that I didn’t want to be a farmers wife. I have no idea why! I don’t usually make comments like that to blokes I’ve just met. It wasn’t some premeditated decision I had made at some point in my life. In fact, I wasn’t even AWARE that I didn’t want to be a farmer’s wife until those words flew out of my mouth that day.
Admittedly, like many girls, I had wonderful visions of a knight in shining armor galloping into my life and whisking me away to a life of beauty and luxury. Never once did said knight come wearing a dusty old Akubra and a blue bonds singlet!!! LOL. But still….it was a rather strange conversation to say the least. If nothing else, it made good speech fodder for the wedding reception!!!
I’ll skip over all the boring bits of the past 12 years. I did suffer withdrawal symptoms for MANY years over the fact that I couldn’t just pop out for a few hours shopping. BUT I was rather relieved to discover that the farm did indeed have electricity and even a TV! Hey, these days we even have Broadband internet access – we really do live in the real world! (well….. almost).
I stepped out of my “niche” and married a farmer. Am I glad I did? Every day! Mostly because he is the most awesome man I could ever imagine being married to. But there is more to it than that. I love the open space, the beautiful views and the peace and quiet that we have out here. I love the way my children have plenty of room to move and run around and numerous places to explore. I love many parts of the lifestyle that living in the country has to offer.
It has occurred to me that had I not been prepared to step out of my comfort zone, I would have missed so much that life had to offer me. Yes, it is scary to take that step away from the comfort zone but many times it is oh so worth it! It is at these times that we learn and grow so much.
To me, that is what life is really about – learning and growing every day! In fact, if you visit my blog you may notice that one of my own definitions of the word “Lightening” is “to learn and grow daily”. It has become an important part of my own purpose in life (and therefore in blogging) that I learn and grow daily.
Recently I took another step out of my comfort zone when I took up Snoskred’s offer of moving my blog to a self-hosted site. This also meant switching from a blogging platform I had become very familiar with (blogger) and moving to the unfamiliar (WordPress). I am enjoying WordPress but I can also say that it is stretching me in many ways. I sure am learning EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. But oh, what I would have missed out on had I not been prepared to take that step. My blog looks like a million bucks in comparison to my tired old Blogger blog. It far surpassed my wildest expectations. And the options now available to me with my blog are so much wider than what I had before. Well, I have to learn how to use half of them first, but that’s okay….that’s good in fact! :)
I could have stayed with my old blog where I was nice and comfortable. But to have done so would have meant I’d have missed all the wonderful things that my new blog has to offer me. I have gotten so much MORE than a new blog out of this experience. My confidence in my own ability to learn new technical stuff has grown in leaps and bounds. I have met some wonderful bloggers and discovered the generosity that abounds in many sections of the blogworld. I have learnt that some people don’t mind when you ask them questions. That in fact they LIKE to be helpful. Every day when I open my blog, it makes me smile. That in itself is a wonderful gift.
(When I first planned to write this piece, I hadn’t yet decided to switch my blog to a self-hosted site. But it has ended up working in just nicely with what I was planning to write about.)
I want to encourage each one of you reading this to have the courage to step out of your comfort zone today. Whether it be deciding to take your blog to the next level, applying for a new job or promotion or simply saying hello to a neighbour you’ve never spoken to before. Take a step away from your comfort zone and watch how you and the world around you grows. Spread your wings and fly. It’s time to get “out of your niche”. ;-)
I cannot remember how I stumbled across Lightening’s blog originally. The amount of times I have just been surfing around clicking on links and found someone who eventually becomes such an important part of my daily internet life still amazes me. Lightening is one of the people I truly adore – though this may come to her a a surprise because I don’t normally tell people that.
I watched Lightening struggle with Blogger for a long time. The truth is that Blogger is not the most user friendly when it comes to wanting something unique and special. Sure, you can install your own template and change the colors but you really have to know what you’re doing to make it work. Those like me who didn’t have the confidence or technical ability found it much harder. Sephy was the one who made my Blogger theme work – I messed with it for days and just ended up angry and frustrated.
So I’m thrilled you made that move Lightening – and I do think you are probably finding self hosted WordPress to be a lot easier than you expected? I know I am. People often think I am this technically capable person but the truth is – I often have to find how to guides, I often have to ask for help from The Other Half, I’m always learning how to do new things too. So to find now that not only can I do website design to the level that I’ve recently managed, but I can also do graphics that I think look incredible.. If I can do it, anyone can. :)
Remember, you can get out of your niche too – all bloggers are welcome. Just contact me.