I’m not saying readers can’t get anything out of this, but mainly this is directed at my fellow country bloggers who may read this and get something of value from it. I’ve seen blogs shut down, go on hiatus, change format, question themselves, whatever you want to call it, in some form or fashion, quite a lot these past few months, and I took a break for most of 2016. I see so many people who have come to be friends in this little world questioning where they go with their blogs and trying to find themselves and figure out what works for them. And I definitely don’t have it all figured out; Country Exclusive is so much different than it was when it started in 2015. Back then, it was much more structured and scheduled; we covered charts and had scheduled opinion pieces, and you know what? That sucked the joy right out of it for me.
The key part of that? For me. So I had to come back and figure out what parts I enjoyed. I love the reviewing, and I love talking about random topics such as this, but not on a scheduled basis, where I feel pressured to come up with something. It may be different for all of you, but my point here is find what makes you passionate, and then do that. Be yourself.
I was originally going to write a post this week on the value of honesty and criticism in music, and how we shouldn’t give up on the mainstream and/or the negative viewpoints. Country exclusive was founded on honesty above all else, and there’s a reason my Twitter handle is @honest_country. With that in mind, be yourself when it comes to review. If you have something unpopular to say, say it; we won’t ostracize you for it. And let’s be blunt here, growth is a big concern for all of us–Saving Country Music is perhaps the most hated institution in all of country media/journalism/blogging, and it’s also the most unflinchingly honest, and yes, the most viewed–with maybe the exception of stuff like Taste of Country, but certainly when it comes to independent country music journalism. Trigger is nothing if not himself, so if it’s growth you’re worried about, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
But back to the main point…just be yourself, and find what makes you passionate about this whole thing. You started doing this for a reason, just like I did. You all obviously loved it at one point, and I hate to see so many people lose that part of it as they copy other styles or try to be something they’re not. All of that’s hard though, and it comes with time, and I’m speaking as someone who went through it, and has come out, mostly, on the other side. Just get back to doing this because you love it, or else it’s not worth doing.
So, I’ll get back to reviewing music now, I just thought I’d share that with you all, and maybe you can get something from my personal experience.