For the past year and a half, I’ve been trying to unravel this whole blogging thing.
At the beginning I just wanted to write. I wanted to try to get into a writing schedule and find the spark of passion that has, quite honestly, eluded me since the end of college.
Some context: I have a Bachelor’s degree in English, Creative Writing. It’s the one thing I feel like I know how to do better than anything, and the one thing I’ve been avoiding since graduation.
After college, I decided to take some time to “detox” from the academic mindset toward writing. As much as I enjoyed most of my classes, and although I have gained extensive knowledge on writing, I needed to take a step back to let my mind breathe.
Fast forward two years. I got married to my high school sweetheart and we decided to move to Europe to do youth ministry with American military teens stationed overseas with their families.
March 2015 we arrived in Europe and jumped into ministry in Brussels, Belgium. The next few months were tumultuous with host country visa issues and a backlogged paperwork nightmare, but things were back on track by the end of the summer, just in time for the start of the school year.
During our paperwork nightmare, we were restricted from ministry work, which meant that we had little to do other than wait . . . and we were also brand new to Europe, itching to experience new cultures. We took a few short trips (like this one and this one) while waiting for clearance to resume ministry, and we fell in love with travel.
And I thought to myself, what better way to keep up with my writing skills than by documenting our travels? Hence Sunshine Wandering was born.
As time has passed, we’ve continued to fall more in love with traveling and things have continued to be complicated in the overseas-American-military-ministry-world, but we’re still here.
So this whole blogging thing, it’s great. It’s also SO much more work than I thought it would be. I don’t mind the work, except I’ve struggled to find a way to connect with my audience, which is minuscule, to say the least. With the amount of research I’ve put in about blogging successfully, I’ve known what the issue was—finding a niche.
Professional bloggers across the board recommend (usually as the first step before starting a blog . . . oops) figuring out what your niche is. As in, figuring out who your audience is. I think I kind of hoped that my audience would present itself to me, but alas, I’m learning that’s definitely not how it works. I’ve mentally revisited the topic of a blogging niche at least once a month since I began Sunshine Wandering, and each time I find myself at a loss.
I’m wondering if, perhaps, it’s because I haven’t been quite as vulnerable as I should have been when I began. Maybe posting more things like this—more personal stuff—will help you, dear reader, connect better with me. Youth leader 101: earning the right to be heard. Also, if you’re still reading this, you’re wonderful—thanks for hanging in there.
Oh, and that blogging niche thing? I think I’ve finally figured it out. It’s not exactly revolutionary, but it’s a start. "Travel tips & inspiration for overseas Americans in Europe.” What do you think?