From the time this blog was created until now, it has been a lot of different things. It started off as an accidental side-effect of my desire to have my own website. I bought a WordPress site when I was 19 in order to tell the world who I was, and I attached a blog to the end of the navigation bar just in case I ever decided to write anything meaningful. I wrote a few short updates when I felt particularly inspired by something I experienced or saw, but the blog wasn't really a priority to me.
When I switched the site from WordPress to Tumblr the next year, my enthusiasm for blogging was revitalized, and the blog became something completely new. Instead of consisting only of random text posts and a few videos, my blog became the hub that all of my social media accounts pointed to. It was also promoted to the main page of my website instead of a side one. I wanted to create a one-stop shop where people could out everything I was doing at any given time. So I blew up my Tumblr with photos, Vines, YouTube videos, tweets, quotes, and short-form text updates. It was cool, but it was kind of a jumbled mess.
Fun fact: At one point, my blog became exclusively dedicated to counting down to the release of a feature-length film my friends and I made. Let's just say the movie took up most of my creative energy at that time.
But a couple of years ago, in the midst of a difficult time, I wrote an article called Feel Something, and it set the stage for the next phase of my blog. I found that I actually enjoyed writing long-form content, taking a theme or idea and expounding upon it over 600 to 1,000 words combined with a high-quality image. I started writing these types of posts every week, and it was really good for me. I took whatever I was thinking about that week and hashed it out on a keyboard. It was therapeutic, and people really seemed to enjoy reading what I had to say. This blogging routine became a central part of my identity and my online presence.
I even expanded into multiple posts per week. I started posting Stuff Devon Likes reviews on Saturdays to complement my deeper, more thought-provoking posts on Tuesdays. Things were going well. But over time, constantly having a writing deadline began to weigh me down. I went back to one post a week, but I struggled even to keep up with that. I would find myself scrambling on Monday nights to come up with something meaningful to say. I was rarely satisfied with the content I put out. And the technical limitations of the platform I was using were frustrating me and holding me back creatively. I got to the point where I wasn't even sure why I was doing this whole blogging thing anymore.
So I decided to take a break. Just for the summer. I thought it would be good for me to rest, recuperate, and spend some time re-thinking what I wanted my blog to be. I spent the first two months of my break ignoring my blog completely. I didn't even want to think about it. I dreaded going back to a regular writing schedule and kicked myself for ever promising to return to that commitment in the first place. It was starting to look like I might be done with blogging forever.
But then I started traveling for the month of July, and I suddenly had a strong urge to share my experiences with my online community. I started posting photos and tweets marked #WhereIsDevon as a fun way to keep people posted. And as I was taking pictures of the places I visited, I thought to myself, "This is going to look great on my website." By the time I got back from my first trip, I couldn't wait to start blogging again. So I sat down and wrote a blog post about my experience, and I had a ton of fun doing it. I did the same thing when I got back from my next two trips and found that I had eased my way back into my love of blogging.
As a result of my blogging hiatus, I learned a few things about myself, my blog, and what I want this site to be going forward. First of all, I learned that I can't come up with creative, interesting, sharable ideas every week. My blog can't just be about the things going through my head. Secondly, I learned that what I'm really looking for in my blog is a way of sharing life with people. Yes, I want to share my thoughts, but I also want to share my experiences, my preferences, my inspirations, and more. And I want to hear about these things from other people as well. Finally, I learned that I couldn't deal with the technical limitations of the platform I was on any longer. I want to spend my time thinking creatively about my writing rather than trying to work around the limitations of Tumblr and writing new code for every post I write.
All of that to say that the blog is back, but it's going to look a little different from here on out, both aesthetically and content-wise. Here's what you can expect:
- I moved my website from Tumblr to SquareSpace. It looks a lot better, and it's way more flexible. This switch will allow me to share more types of content in ways that are more enjoyable to read. For an example, check out the way I was able to integrate photos into my travel posts this summer and include a full gallery of other pictures from my trips below each post. SquareSpace will also allow me to use my Tumblr as what it was meant to be: a social network.
- Even though I changed hosts, everything is still intact. All the old links still work, and every article I ever posted on my old site is still available. SquareSpace made the transition easy and compromise-free. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
- My blog posts are going to be a little more varied. I'm creating different categories for different types of posts. Some of them will basically be tags from my old blog carried over with new names, but I think this new system will give me opportunities to share with you in new ways. This blog post is categorized under What I'm Making since it's in reference to content I create. I'm hoping to add some video content and some creative writing to this category in the future. The types of posts you're used to reading on my blog where I reflect on what's been going through my head will fall under What I'm Thinking. Stuff Devon Likes will now be split into What I'm Watching, What I'm Using (software/hardware), What I'm Reading, and the all-new What I'm Listening To. That's right. I listen to music now. There will be categories for What I'm Doing (life updates), What I'm Learning (mostly theology and biblical studies), and more as we go along. I'm really excited about this new category system because I think it will allow me to share my life with you in really meaningful ways that I've been missing out on in the past.
- I will start with one blog post a week at first and see how things go. If I really get into it, I may try to do more than that, but I don't want to burn myself out from the start. As usual, these new posts will go up on Tuesdays.
- From now on, every post on this site will include a comments section! This is something I've wanted for a long time, and I'm really excited about it. I hope you guys will share your thoughts on my posts either in the comments, through the Contact page, or on social media. I really want this site to be about engaging and sharing our lives with one another. I think that's what this whole social media thing is all about, and I hope you'll try it out with me.
I know that's a lot of information, and I apologize for overwhelming you, but I've put a lot of thought, time, and energy into this, and I want to do it right. I think I really am a writer at heart, and I want to put myself in a context where I can explore and share this passion in a meaningful way. To all of you who have been reading my blog for a while, thank you for sticking with me through my hiatus and giving this new incarnation of my blog a chance. To any new readers out there, welcome! I look forward to sharing my life with you and hopefully being able to share in your life in a meaningful way as well.
That's all I have to say this week. I'll be back next Tuesday with a post entitled, "Where I'm At." It's my way of catching you guys up on what's been going on in my life lately and letting you know where I am on a lot of levels. Until then, I'd love to know: How do you feel about fostering true, meaningful online community? Are there certain things about an online community that make you feel more connected to it? Are you interested in sharing the deepest parts of your life with others online, or are you skeptical? Let me know in the comments!