The tagline under the title of this blog states, “Full-time RV life – random, moody, and quirky – but always straight from the heart.” I apologize to the readers who have been here since day one. The random, moody, and quirky part is constant (a personality flaw I can’t help but project), but there’s been a huge lag in “always straight from the heart.” For that, I’m truly sorry.
Random Bits started out as a place to record our adventures for our family and friends. It was a platform to update our location, share our experiences, and record our feelings and personal growth as we travel this beautiful United States. I wanted to form a network of fellow travelers to possibly meet on the road someday–fellow nomads and seekers–to share conversations around a campfire. I have accomplished this goal in many ways–we have met wonderful friends in our travels, made many memories in new locations, and formed a deep happiness and fulfillment in the life we’ve chosen.
Here’s where my apology comes in. Something switched along the way in my posts and I got off track. My subscribers started to grow and people I didn’t know started following our journey (it’s a small-time blog, but the numbers are HUGE to me). That’s not a bad thing; in fact, that’s what every blogger hopes for and some even seek wholeheartedly and full-speed-ahead–me included. I got caught up in all of the increase-your-traffic stress. I read articles, blogs, and on-line courses on how to grow a blog and make it profitable. I had ridiculous visions of going viral and supplementing our income so Mike could retire, too (insert eye roll here).
I did all the crazy things like research and concentrate on what titles would come up on Google search and increase reader traffic. I even wrote one of those silly “top 10” lists that are generally click bait and have absolutely no statistical evidence to make the items “top 10” except personal opinion. I wrote blogs on subjects in the RVing world that really didn’t matter to me because it had the potential to get more ‘clicks.’ Truth is, nobody can tell anyone else what rig is the best, how to pick it out or organize it, or what kitchen/tool/organizing/cleaning/bathroom/basement/you-name-it gadgets are necessities for everyone, because each family is different with unique needs. Simply living this life does not make me an expert on anything about it. We’re learning from trial and error–and the only sound advice we can give is from our own personal experience.
I joined Facebook groups, one in particular, “Little Houses, Spaces, and RV Blog Audience Builders” (that’s not the correct name–I didn’t care for the moderator, so I’m not giving it mention)–the sole purpose of the group was to have people click on social media pages simply to build traffic. At the time, I thought it was a good platform to introduce readers to my blog until the group started to dwindle on posts. The moderator asked why it wasn’t taking off, and a hugely successful blogger with thousands of subscribers said:
“While I really want more people to read my stuff, I don’t have the time to read other bloggers’ work unless I have a personal relationship with them.”
Whoa–back the truck up. Her statement resonated with me. Our goals are obviously different. I don’t want to be an impersonal business–it’s not me. I want a personal relationship with my readers. Every single one of them.
The biggest lesson I learned in discovering how to grow a blog and attempt to make it profitable was how it’s more time consuming than working a full-time corporate America job. I was busy writing content and peddling it out over social media and saturating the market with a blog post that has been covered by countless other RV bloggers–and making very little (repeat, very little) to show for it. Some people have become successful and grown by thousands of readers. Me, not so much. The more I delve into the blog-for-money blogosphere, the more I know it’s not for me. I want to write from my heart–not for everybody else. I don’t want to fill my posts with proven keywords for Google search until the subject doesn’t even make sense. I don’t want to spend hours in front of the computer getting my work “out there.” That’s not freedom to me–it’s definitely not the freedom I envisioned when I quit my 9:00 – 5:00 job to live a life with more freedom. I want to write and record our memories and lessons along the way. If someone can glean something from the experiences I share, it will make this endeavor even more worthwhile.
“I don’t want to gain the whole world and lose my soul.”
“You sit idle, while we teach prosperity. The first thing to prosper should be inside of me.”
…TobyMac (lyrics from “Lose My Soul”)
So, no more top 10 lists for me. No more click-bait titles to lure in readers only to disappoint them by weak and unrelated content. I’ll continue to post the practical side of RVing when Mike uploads YouTube videos because those are valuable to the new full-time RVer, and I may even gravitate to those subjects myself occasionally. However, I’m a writer and a regular, everyday person simply navigating this lifestyle one journey at a time. That’s what I’ll be concentrating on in the future. Writing for me once again–only things that “prosper inside of me.”
“I’m a writer and a regular, everyday person simply navigating this lifestyle one journey at a time.” …Dawn
Is one of my goals to get more readers? Of course! I especially want to meet and follow fellow travelers, those curious about our nomadic pursuits and how we maneuver this lifestyle, and those whose interests fall in line with mine. I’m also an Amazon affiliate who relies on reader support to pay the yearly fee to run this blog. If someone follows me, I follow them. I read their posts. I get to know them. I interact. It’s all about camaraderie–I want to make human-to-human connections, not simply gain numbers.
This is probably not a practical stance because it’s dog-eat-dog out there in the blogosphere, but I’ve never been one to follow the popular crowd. I hope my readers are here because they like me. I hope they stay because they can relate to what I have to say. I hope they understand I see them as friends and not a view number.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for your support. To all who comment and interact, I deeply appreciate the relationships we have built over the life of this blog–from back in the Blogging 101 and A-Z challenge days to the direction it has taken to full-time RVing and traveling. Thank you for being my sounding board, my virtual ‘listeners,’ and my deep gratitude to the many who have offered sound advice and honest feedback. It has been an honor to read your posts and learn from you.
For the first time in a long time, this is truly from my heart,
Amazon Affiliate Link: Click here.
No apologies necessary. Keep the wheels turning, share your adventure and take me along on the journey from my easy chair. Semper Fi
You got it. Thanks so much for stopping by and reading! I can’t say it enough–thank you for your service! Dawn
I love that you intend to write from the heart! I think that is so refreshing! It is very difficult to find, and generally what I, personally, look for when I follow a blog. I am not a fan of the top ten lists either, although I’ll admit when my creativity is low, I might resort to one. Good Luck to you Dawn! If more of us took this approach, I think we would be the better for it!
Thank you, Melissa! I enjoy following your blog. I love your posts and stories and I also admire how you came to the decision to RV/not RV. I think you have a very bright future ahead and am honored you’re taking me along for the ride. Dawn
Love you girl! ❤️
Love you most! 🙂
It takes a genuine person to write a post this honest. Good for you Dawn. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to increase subscribers and viewing traffic, I’m sure it came across all bloggers’ thought at some point. It happened to me. However, It’s important to stay true to who we are. It’s more important to me to post what matters to me, what I love and enjoy. If others can benefit from our experience, all the better.
I agree. I always appreciate your advice and encouragement, and I love, love, love your posts–such beautiful photography and wonderful adventures.
No worries..I sort of wondered about that top 10 posting, but have done it myself occasionally and thought “oh why not?” I only WISH I had a fulltime rv experience like you two. I love reading your words. I love following you around and seeing places I too have seen, or places I wish I could see someday. Stay safe on those roads…too many potholes, ya know!
Oh, we watch for those potholes, alright! Thank you so much for reading and the kind words! Dawn
Great post. I really enjoy following your blog.Thank you
Thank you so much. I enjoy following yours, as well. I hope we get to meet on the road someday! Dawn
What an amazing post! I’m saving the link in my favorites to read regularly as a reminder of why I started blogging. Your experience mirrors my own so closely, I feel like it could have been written by me (except I wouldn’t have been quite so eloquent). I started the blog to replace my hobby of scrapbooking. Then was led to the idea of blogging for profit too. I feel like the effort has been sucking my soul dry instead of nourishing it. You have reminded me that I am doing this for FUN, not for profit. My husband, Sean has convinced me to write a couple of how-to books based on our experience, and I’ll still do that. But as for my blog, it will be for fun again!
BTW, can’t wait to meet you and Mike one day! I love reading your blog and seeing your Instagram pics. I do already feel that I have a personal connection to you. 🙂 I only follow a handful of blogs and yours is on the top of my list.
Julie, your words mean so much! Thank you. I think the books are a wonderful way to go–I’m entertaining that myself, not on RVing but a couple of novels I have in the deep recesses of my hard drive that I need to resurrect, update, and edit. The hardest part is getting started.
I feel a connection to you, too, and hope that we can meet on the road someday (we are going to Nomadfest for the movie premier, but it would be great it was before then). It would be awesome to be staying close by so we could adventure together–although I think you are way more badass than me! I love keeping up with your exciting activities.
Thanks again, Julie! Safe travels.
Yes, yes, and more yes…. I see so many blogs popping up, but there are few I really commit to reading because of exactly the things you’re talking about. I hate when I feel like I’m being marketed to.
I write my blog because it is my hobby. It’s fun. I enjoy it. And I LOVE when people comment and I LOVE when people ask me for my advice about this or that. I love building a community and meeting other RVers and I love learning about new places through the blogs I follow. It is a LOT of work to write it, but it’s what I enjoy spending my time doing. Of course, it would be lovely to make money off it, (or to even break even on it), but I just think the minute you start down that path, it can quickly become a job….and the minute I turn my hobby into a job, I will be very unhappy.
I think you should write about whatever you want to write about whenever you want to write it. The readers will come… or they won’t. Who cares? It’s your blog. You get to decide what’s in it and that’s the beautiful thing.
You’re 100% right! I’d love to break even, but I don’t think that’s ever gonna happen. I’m okay with that, though. I’m going to get out of my own head and concentrate on the adventure at this point. I love your blog–humor and gorgeous photographs and great times! You keep adding to my “I wanna go there” list! Safe travels!
I entered the blogworld over five years ago with no expectations of anything other than writing what I felt like sharing, on that particular day, with no one in particular. I didn’t check the boxes that purported to make my blog more wide spread or to make any money in any way. This took the pressure off, and I must say that I have had a great time with just posting a picture of an animal, or our lunch, or whatever I came across that I wanted to share. No schedule; I could post when it suited me, or when I had a WOW (at least to me) picture or idea that I wanted to share.
We each find our own voice.
Thank you, Judie! I love your recipes and photos–they look so delicious. Thank you so much for reading and your kind words. It means so much! Dawn
I enjoyed all your posts because you are a great writer, and you are genuine. No apology necessary here!!! It has been so much fun to read about your experiences. I have no hankering to live in an RV, but I love knowing about it from a person who is actually doing it. Where else would I get this??? You are invaluable and a lot of fun.
Thank you so much, Anne! You know how much I love your posts. They remind me of my husband’s parents–their house is the hub of all the activity with grandkids coming and going, grown children stopping by to say hello, stories, and great food! You just have a knack of recording the big events and, at the same time, pointing out the smaller blessings and bringing them to the forefront. I love your posts! Dawn
You are kind. Isn’t life exciting? I appreciate your real adventures in contrast to my low-key existence.
I love your low-key existence. It’s the place where ‘north’ is constant and is always ‘home’ in the heart.
I have been reading your Blog because I am always looking to learn something new to make life easier or more fun. I write my blog primarily to keep family and friends aware of where we are (so I don’t have to write multiple emails). Keep on being yourself!
Thank you! The reasoning for your blog was mine, as well, and I can’t wait to get back to that. I always love your pictures–you have such a interesting eye and such wonderful adventures. Where will you guys be spending the winter? Your Colorado adventures are amazing.
Thank you, Dawn, for your truly honest writing. Not just today but always. I follow blogs for the information, humor, and relatable episodes. Yours are always that and more. Some day I hope our paths cross.
Thank you! The feedback means so much! I hope our paths cross, also. We love to meet people in our travels–it gives such a sense of community. Thank you for reading! Safe travels to you! Dawn
Great post Dawn and keep up the good (great) work. Yes, we’d all like to make money from our blogs (think I’m up to like $17 so far!), but you are spot on when you say it’s about the relationships and that’s what we’ve loved about this full time lifestyle .. all the folks we meet and new friends we’ve made along the way. You’re doing great, just keep on keepin’ on
Thank you, Herb! We enjoyed meeting you and Kathy in Michigan. You’re way ahead of me with your $17! I’m up to $11. LOL! We also made a whole .60 on Amazon so far, too. Guess it will be awhile before it pays for the yearly WordPress subscription, but I can live with that, I guess. 🙂 Hope y’all are enjoying Texas. We are still in Louisiana, but headed that way in a few days. Hugs to you guys! Take care. Dawn
Great post, Dawn, and honestly, I never felt from reading any of your posts that you were using overkill to get noticed. I look at it as traveling without leaving my home. Thanks for sharing your adventures. Keep em coming! Your second batch of cards is being mailed tomorrow. Thanks again!
Thank you so much, Janet! Your cards are absolutely beautiful. I plan to build up an arsenal so I have them on hand to send to loved ones. You are so talented! I’m glad we met through the blog and hope to meet you if we are ever in the San Fran area (maybe early next year). Take care, my talented friend!
I am new to your site, but can appreciate what you have stated. When someone comments on a post, I love that I have made a connection with another person who understands what it is like to age in our society that values youth. Even if I am a random hit by someone, I am ok with where I am in this blogging world. I love that I have connected with a few bloggers and look forward to hearing from them as we comment from time to time on each others posts. Writing from the heart is what I love to do, it gives me an outlet and a voice. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.
I am new to your site, also–I think it might have been through the Senior Salon, but I’m not quite sure. I run across posts that I thoroughly enjoy sometimes and follow because I want to read more. I’m glad I ran across yours. Thank you for your kind words. Dawn
Love this. So proud of you Dawn! Look forward to crossing paths and sharing stories.
I can’t wait to meet you guys. I love your posts and am so excited you are finally on the road!
Hey Dawn! This reminds me of a song by Nadirah Shakoor. She has a line that said something like she doesn’t make music for money, she makes music for her. (She is a member of Jimmy Buffett’s band) Please write whatever makes you happy and the rest will work itself out. 🙂
Thanks, Mike! I just looked up the song and listened to it. It’s perfect! 🙂
Discerning readers can tell whether a blogger is writing for money/numbers or for the joy of it. That you are directing yourself back to your intended purpose shows your strength. Write with your distinct voice and the genuineness of your blog will continue to draw readers.
I blog because I am passionate about writing and photography and sharing my discoveries with others. I did not expect the side benefit of new friendships formed. But that happened and I now have some new, wonderful close friends. I’ve also sold rights to many of my photos via my blog.
Keep writing if this truly remains a passion of yours.
Thank you so much for your advice and thoughts. It means so much coming from someone with your experience and knowledge. I truly love your blog–informative, heart-felt, beautiful, and descriptive. I love each and every post. Thank you so much for reading mine! Dawn
Hi Dawn, Thank you for your candidness. While I don’t always find time to read all the other posts of the bloggers I follow, It’s not because I don’t want to get to know them. It’s simply lack of time. But I want to because I agree with you that this seems to be a wonderful outlet to develop virtual friends in the RVing world – or the country in general.
You have a wonderful spirit and I hope to meet up with you sometime in our travels. I may only have a couple of “fans” but those treasured people/friends make it easier to put the time in to keep posting! The biggest benefit I get out of blogging was unexpected – a memoir of the places we’ve been – because Lord knows I can’t remember where we were last week, much less last month!
Thank you for all of your wonderful blogs – even if you don’t think so, I think your heart comes through in all of them!
Peace & Love, Joy
Thank you, Joy! I hope our paths cross in the near future, too. We’ve deviated our “out west” plans to “back east” at the last minute, so I don’t think we’ll make it out there as planned. Hopefully, we can meet somewhere out there soon. 🙂 I agree that the blog posts make a sweet memoir. I enjoy going back to old posts and feeling those emotions from the time. Thank you so much for your comments! Take care and safe travels, Dawn
Thanks for the follow and ‘likes’.
My pleasure. Thank you!
I’ve spent those same hours pouring over ways to make money at blogging, I feel somewhat vindicated by the fact you came to the same conclusion. It’s doable if you want a full time job but not if you want to truly enjoy it. I love that you were honest with yourself and with us. I think my time would be better spent taking a creative writing class so I can write with as much honesty, humor and skill as you do. Blog on! Hope to see you on the road some day!
I hope we meet on the road, also. Since I’ve redirected my energy into doing more creative things with writing, I’ve become much happier! Marketing, selling, and self-promoting is not my thing! LOL. I love making friends the organic way. So happy to read your posts and interact–and can’t wait until we can meet real time. Dawn
Great post. I knew I never wanted to blog for money because of the time commitment, the competition, the hustle, and not being “a writer”. Yet, I still feel jealous at times of the popular, successful bloggers out there. I do want people to read what I write, because I spend a lot of time on it, and because I want to develop relationships with readers and other bloggers. But, I try to remind myself that my blog is for me to remember and reflect on the great experiences I’m having. If others read, great! If not, I understand how hard it is to find the time. I enjoy your blog!
Thank you! It’s been so different since I’ve redirected my efforts to what makes me happy. I’m back to doing it for our memories and adding some creative writing elements to it for my own outlet. It makes such a difference and I’ve gained a lot of free time! The best part about doing the blogs and reading others are the relationships–we may not be close in miles, but we have experiences that are fun to share, sometimes advice to give and/or ask for, and new friends whose paths we hope to cross for real on the road. Safe travels to you! Dawn
What a great post! It truly spoke to me and is making me do some of my own thinking about my blog and what and why I started it. I just came across your blog and will be following from here on out.
Thank you for following, Michelle. It’s been nice just doing posts about our travels and adventures instead of trying to gear it for market. Although I would love more readers to interact, I hope it grows organically instead of forcing it. I love meeting new people through the blog and on the road. I’ve got a post up about submitting videos for RVers (Drive-Powered by YOU) that my husband is doing on YouTube–trying to get as many RVers in different stages to introduce themselves. If you are interested, please consider submitting a video and all of your social media information to post along with it. There is also a facebook page by the same name if you’d just like to keep up with the RVers who are participating. We’d love to meet you! Dawn
Thank you, I really appreciate it and will look into submitting the video. Sounds like a great idea! I recently realized I was having such a hard time coming up with posts because I was trying to follow to many rules/practices. Then I stumbled across your post and thought wow that sounds like me 😊.