Having a blogging identity crisis is much more common than you may think! It’s easy to get burned out and not know where to go next. We are so excited to have Rachel Singleton here with us today to give you some amazing tips on what to do when you feel stuck and have no idea which direction to take! The founder and creative director of Pencil Shavings Studio knows a thing or two about this feeling. With two cute kiddos at home, a blog, and a graphic design career in full bloom, Rachel can definitely relate to having a blogging identity crisis! This inspirational woman started her career from nothing and has evolved into a successful businesswoman, balancing her personal life with her very busy work schedule. Read on below for Rachel’s advice:
Adding major life change involves identity shifts, whether subtle or drastic. If you’re in your twenties or thirties, you’re most likely going to experience some serious changes to your life: careers, moving, relationships that come and go, marriage, parents aging, the birth of children. Never again in your life will you experience so much change as you do in these two decades so it’s only natural that you experience a little bit of an identity crisis. It’s defined as “a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their unexpected aims or role in society.” I’m willing to bet that we’ve all been there.
When I started blogging nearly eight years ago, I was sitting at home with a teeny tiny baby and felt like my graphic design career was completely over. I was wrestling with so many new identities on a daily basis. Who was I now? A mom, a newlywed, a homeowner, a graphic designer (wait, was I anymore?). It was a full-blown identity crisis. I didn’t know who I was or what my purpose was. Luckily I was able to find my voice and hone my style and design work through blogging. When I had my second baby in early January of this year, I anticipated another minor identity crisis and sure enough, it happened again. I suddenly felt insecure about myself as a designer and as a writer. Who am I and what am I doing here? What do I keep writing about? What is really worthy of my time? Why am I even doing this? Here’s how I got through it:
1. Assess your values. Who are you at your core? What do you value most? Do you recognize what your purpose is?
I’m willing to bet that while some circumstances around you may have changed, your core values haven’t. Yes, I’m a new mom to two (!) kids, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not still me: I’m still as in love with color and pattern as much as ever. I’m still interested in bringing beauty to the world in whatever way I can. Does my purpose manifest itself in different ways? Absolutely. But the core value remains the same.
2. Stop paying attention to what everyone else is doing and focus on what YOU want to do.
It’s really easy to get caught up in everyone else’s collaborations, followers, overall engagement. Recognize that in an identity crisis, by its very definition, you are feeling vulnerable and insecure. This is not the time to compare yourself with everybody else’s highlight reels. Dig in to the work YOU are doing and build yourself up by listening to interesting podcasts, engaging in outside-of-blogging hobbies, etc. Nurture yourself and your creativity.
3. Do some hard work and edit yourself.
This part can be kind of painful. Look back at your past work and get real about what you’re spending your time on. It’s really helpful to take a planned hiatus from blogging, say maybe two weeks so you can step back and gain some clarity. Maybe you do this on a vacation or by attending an industry-specific conference. The point is this: rest is invaluable and can bring some major clarity. When I took an extra long maternity leave from my shop, I was able to better evaluate what was working and what was definitely not working. I really wrestled with where my shop was at and the next level that I wanted to take it to. It was hard to look objectively at the places where I hadn’t done my best work, but it was maybe the best thing that I could have done for myself and for my business overall.
4. Know that it won’t last forever, and that you will regain your footing.
Keep doing the work and showing up. Every time I’ve had bumps along the road of my career path, it’s led to something bigger and better than I ever could have imagined. Knowing who you are leads to greater security and opportunity down the road. Like Glennon Doyle of Momastery says, “Carry on, warrior!”