This may come as something of a shock, but my blog turns a year old this month. I dread to think how many thousands of words I’ve thrust out there into the ether in the hope that someone might take pity on me and give me a book deal. Still waiting for that, as it turns out.
But it HAS generally been a marvellous time. I’ve learned quite a lot about t’internet and social media, I’ve made some amazing new friends, and I’ve found a little corner where I can just write and write. I remember thinking when I published my first ever post that it genuinely didn’t matter to me if three buggers read it, the main thing was that I was finally writing. I still feel like that now, although I have realised that sadly, written content only counts for about 50% of the work involved in keeping a blog going.
My friend Bridget over at Bridie By The Sea recently wrote a post about why she started her blog and what lessons she’s learned, so I thought I’d do the same. I pretty much started because I was terrified that my brain would go to ratshit while I was on my second round of maternity leave, and I wanted to go back to work knowing that I’d achieved something. I know, I know – raising a baby is a massive achievement. But when I returned to work after having my first daughter, I felt like a cretin in the office. I’d barely typed for a year, I couldn’t remember long words, and my attention span had decreased to that of a dead worm. I didn’t want to feel like that again.
So, I wrote. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote, and a very kind friend offered to develop a website for me so that I’d own my domain and be able to do it “properly”.
Hey you guys guess what….when I went back to work I still felt like a cretin. I still had a horrific attention span and felt trapped in my office. I still wondered how in the hell I’d managed to do the same job previously because suddenly nothing made sense and I couldn’t even remember how to fill in a timesheet. I cried, every day, for probably the first six weeks. It got so bad that at the dinner table my eldest would sigh, pat my hand, and say “Daddy, look, she’s off again.”
But I had my blog. I could still blog, it was still mine. It is still mine.
What do I wish I knew back then? Probably the main thing is the time involved. Jesus CHRIST I can’t tell you how much it can sometimes feel like a full time job. The world of blogging is reactive and it moves incredibly quickly, and soon enough you’re sucked into all the social media platforms and a million support groups on Facebook. This means that your phone goes off all the time, and that’s probably the thing I struggle with the most. I do have a life, beyond blogging, and it’s a fairly hectic one.
So, when I’m busy being a mum or an employee or just trying to be me, I do get a sinking feeling when I glance at my phone’s lock screen and see alert after alert. It means I’ve been tagged in things, or something useful has been posted into one of my groups, or that I’ve been contacted by someone that I’ve been waiting to hear from. Don’t get me wrong, it’s brilliant to be so involved in a bustling community, but some days I wish I could chuck my phone down the loo.
I’ve also learned that I love Instagram. I know, this is old news. It’s all about Snapchat (is it?! I’ve never snapchatted). At first, I wondered why on earth anyone would want to follow the photo feed of someone they’ve never met, but now I totally get it. Once you realise the sort of feed you like to see (er, I do have a thing for unicorn cakes and seascapes), you can work out which accounts to follow and absolutely lose yourself scrolling through hundreds of gorgeous photos. My feed is a bit “eclectic”, but my friend Bridie’s is stunning so if you’re an Insta fan, please do follow her.
Anyway, thanks for reading over the past 12 months, you rock.
-SJW May 2017