Once upon a time, a girl attended a coding bootcamp. As part of that bootcamp, she had lectures from and meetings with the career success department. One of those lectures was about blogging, and she was encouraged to write a blog post about herself and how she got to the coding bootcamp. That girl was me, and that first blog post was shared with the world as an introduction to me and my story.
After sharing that initial post, it took me a while to write my next post, but I eventually shared a recap of my experience in the first half of the program, and the post was picked up by HackerNoon. At that point in time I knew I was on the right track and wanted to keep writing. I posted a few more blogs during my bootcamp, some technical-focused and some human-focused, including a recap of the entire bootcamp experience, which I published shortly after graduation. That recap is still one of my favorite blog posts that I've written, and writing it was a nice reminder to myself that my story has value.
Over the next few months, I blogged about my job search and the events I attended, which helped keep me focused and energized as I was looking for my perfect first developer job. I was open about my struggle (including one post that some people thought was a bit too open) but also optimistic about the future, and after I accepted an offer and started my first job, I knew I wanted to keep blogging and sharing my difficulties (and triumphs) with starting my career. But after a bit it got to be too much, and I decided to take the summer off from blogging (which worked out well with my baseball schedule).
I started blogging again when I knew I wanted to start looking for a new job because I wanted to make myself more marketable. Some of my blogs were about my experiences (particularly after I transitioned to full-time job searching), but others leaned more towards the "tips and tricks" or "learn from what I did/what happened to me" type of blogs, which can be super interesting, but just aren't reflective of who I am and what I want to share. For the last year and a half or so, I've been blogging regularly (at first every week, and then more recently every other week), posting a mixture of my story and things I think people might want to know.
When I reflect on the blog posts I've written, the ones that I connect to the most, even now, are the ones that felt like I was sharing my story without any expectations that readers could draw conclusions or apply what I said to their own lives. The process of how I ended up in my current job is not super relevant to most people, but it was one of my favorite blog posts to write and I even got some positive feedback for it from my new coworkers. Occasionally I'll go back and re-read older blog posts for inspiration, and the ones I go to are almost always the posts where I was sharing a part of my story with no expectations or conclusions. Those are the ones I'm most proud of and the ones that I feel are best written.
Which brings me to where I am today. Would you be surprised to know that writing blogs has become a stressful activity for me rather than an enjoyable one? I sit down in front of my code editor and rack my brain trying to find a topic. Then I write out an outline of some things I want to cover. Then I slowly convert the outline into paragraphs (not necessarily in order) and try to pull it all together (not always successfully). To be honest, it feels a bit like writing essays back when I was in school, and while I love to write, essays aren't really my favorite. At the end of the week, I'm left with a collection of paragraphs that may or may not make sense. I usually post it when I'm done (often because it's already too late to write something better), but most weeks I'm not particularly proud of my blog posts and I'm not excited to share my writings with the world. And that's a problem. I shouldn't be blogging just for the sake of blogging, I should be enjoying it, and these days I rarely feel like I am. That needs to change.
So where do I go from here? I don't know. I want to say that writing this post and reflecting on my blog journey has reinvigorated me and I'll be back to writing blogs that truly reflect me soon, but that's not true. I don't want to walk away from blogging, even temporarily, because I'm worried I'll never come back, and I do enjoy sharing my story and my experiences (and the act of writing itself). But I also don't want to post blogs that don't reflect who I am. I know there must be a middle ground, a way to write regularly without forcing myself to write about topics that aren't the deep core of who I am, but I haven't found that place yet. But I know I want to, and that's a start.