I’ve just passed my 6 month blogging anniversary and what an unexpected 6 months it’s been. My blog, like my children had quite an unexpected birth. It stands to reason therefore that I was just as unprepared for the world of blogging as I was the world of ‘newborn’. I had wanted to start writing a blog for a long time, but it was only when having my first child I really thought about it. However, sleep deprivation and the new baby whirlwind swept me up and I just didn’t make the time for it. Following the premature arrival of our second (some 11 months later) and having gone through so much in the preceding year or so the urge to put pen to paper, metaphorically speaking, grew that bit stronger. It was only when we were on holiday in Butlins (of all places) last October I sat down the night before we were due to travel home and just word vomited onto my iPad. I very much doubted anyone would give a shit about our family holiday, or that they would even read it but I didn’t really care, I just wanted to write about it. I am to this day not 100% sure what made me do it but 6 months in am so glad I did. I have learnt a lot in the last 6 months so here’s some things I have learnt and what I might done differently.
The start up and research (or lack thereof)
Given how the blog started it won’t surprise you to learn that I didn’t do too much research when it came to starting a blog. I opted for WordPress but only because I’d tried and failed to set up a blogger account 12 months earlier (Incidentally I am glad that I ‘ended up’ with WordPress – see below and tackling going self hosted) I didn’t know what a theme was, what a Linky was, I didn’t even have Twitter or Instagram. I was well and truly running before I could walk by writing the post first. In hindsight it might have good have been a good idea to look into this whole blogging thing a bit more, in fact I would certainly recommend doing just a little bit of research, or in my case reading the entirety of Aby’s from you baby me mummy Blog Club before starting, take my word for it, some bloody brilliant advice there. Turns out blogging is rather like an alternate universe. When I get my blog out of an evening and head toward a Linky I feel like I’m re-opening a good book and delving right back into the story – I am so immersed in a different world. It is a whole other world that I wish I had known more about when starting. I have quite literally learnt on the job, my blog has evolved with me and whilst it is still very much a work I progress it has come a long way from the early days.
Anonymity or selfie blogger?
In an ideal world I think would have liked anonymity, it would have given me a little more freedom to write things I may sometimes hold back given that I publish my content on my personal Facebook page. However, due my lack of research I didn’t know how else to initially publish my blog, so Facebook it was. I must say there have been positives to this, it has reconnected me with people I hadn’t spoken to for a while. Unexpected people who have read my posts and enjoyed them. It also gave me confidence, I generally kept myself to myself about personal tales and life in general, particularly when it came to social media, but since starting my blog I worried less about people’s opinions of my choices, my content and my photos and just got on with it and wrote and posted what I wanted. So all in all I am not unhappy with how it has it has turned out.
The alternate universe
The blogging world really does feel like a totally different place. A secret club that so many are in yet so many are not, and I am really quite late to the party, this world has long since existed. People have been sharing antidotes, funnies, thoughts and feelings for so long I don’t even feel fashionably late, more like I am sprinting as fast as I can to keep up. I now have a group of blogging buddies thanks to the lovely and brilliant Katie who blogs over at Mummy in a Tutu, they are people like me who sit behind a screen and connect with another over our shared hobby/profession. These ladies are friends to me, we talk daily and share in each other’s trials and tribulations. It is strange to think I have never actually met them (welcome to 2016 ey) but hey ladies – BRITMUMS..who’s up for it? There are also those in the blogging community in general, a super friendly and helpful bunch who all seem to have each other’s back. If you’re looking for acceptance then this a good place to start.
It’s just so technical.
I had no idea why I didn’t think it would be technical it is after all internet based, but oh my I was not prepared for the level computer literacy needed. My ICT GCSE did not stand me in good stead. It wasn’t so bad before I went ‘self hosted’ but I used to look at other blogger websites and have blog envy so I just had to go self hosted. Talk about mission. It took the best part of week, lots of contact with the support team and lots of googling technical terms. Again had I researched my blog properly I wold have started up self hosted and I would have saved myself the trauma of moving my blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org. Now I am self hosted I much prefer the aesthetics of my bog and the freedom it gives me, but still find myself facing technical challenges and what feels like insurmountable hurdles however I have come to learn that I generally get there in the end. It seems so many bloggers have mastered the technical art I can’t help but think I can too…eventually…
The biggest challenge
For me the hardest part about blogging is without doubt time. It takes so much time and for me time is the one thing I do not have in abundance. With two under two my days are full and my blog is generally reserved for the evenings (chances of them napping at the same time is slim). You could fill a 39 hour working week with blogging (we can but dream) because there is just so much to it. Somebody was said to me, ‘so you just write then?’ Ironically this couldn’t be further from the truth. I had a naive fanciful impression that I would sit at my laptop (don’t know why cause it’s dying a slow death, I’m generally swearing at my iPad and the crap keyboard) and let my creativity run away with me and just publish post after post. Wrong. I actually read a lot more than I write – a lot more. I would love to post more than I do, but even that takes time. Writing, editing, proof reading, editing photos, cover photos, which takes a particularly long time on the chuffing iPad or flailing laptop. When you do then publish, you have to get the word out over multiple social media platforms, reply to comments take part in links, which in turn requires you to comment on other posts – when you only have a few hours a week, they are easily filled. Now don’t get me wrong, I have said this before it is a labour of love and I enjoy all aspects of it, I just simply don’t have enough time to give all that I feel I have or want to, not yet anyway
I know my blog hasn’t grown as much as some do in 6 month and I haven’t achieved as much as many do in that time, I feel as though I have spent a lot time playing catching up and not actively driving it forward. Whilst I am proud of this little space that I have developed, I still feel I have a lot to give, I have post ideas flying around in my brain that are forming an orderly queue to get written. I know the type of posts I want to write but they don’t always end up being the ones I actually write, not well anyway. I started my blog spontaneously and for me, the last few months however have seen a spike in my traffic and I have started to generate attention from brands and PR companies. Whilst this wasnt initially my intention I have started to own up to the fact that actually this is an exciting direction I would like to take my blog. I would love to generate an income and have some element of professionally it’s about it. So over the next six months I am going to try to give my blog more attention (sorry mr TM), whilst I doubt I’ll over take the world with my blogging prowess I certainly would like to see where I can take it, at my own pace.
So for any and all of you that have read my blog over the last six months I want to say a massive thank you, I hope you have and continue to enjoy.