21 posts in and 10 weeks later, and boy, do I feel like a newbie?
It’s a good job that I love learning, as I think I might have just underestimated this blogging gig a little!
Seeing that the time of year when everyone asks you what your New Year’s resolutions are is nearly upon us, this week felt like a good time to stop and think about what I’ve been doing with my blog and where it’s heading to…
I gave my notice at my job in July, and when I did people obviously assumed that I was moving onto another job: “So where are you moving to?”
While they were expecting me to hit them with the name of a big, fancy company, I’d say (gloating): “Nowhere. I’m taking a break”.
I was a bit smug, I must admit.
Taking a break. How blissful.
But The Universe was listening (you should always be careful with your words).
And so a break I took. In fact, my leg took one.
But that’s another story entirely.
Starting my blog
So thanks to (!) my leg breaking and causing an earlier-than-planned departure from my office job, I was able to set up my blog sooner than I thought. Hurray!
And there’s me being smug again.
With The Husband’s input I had already decided on a name and a logo, and after months of reading blog posts to try and work out how you even go about actually starting a blog, I bought a domain name and decided on a hosting company and package. All. By. Myself.
Super impressed at that point that I made all these decisions without bugging him!
And then I actually got the website going too!
I published some content, and created a Facebook page.
Granted that the website could have looked a thousand times better, but I figured I needed some time to work out what I wanted my blog to look like, and I didn’t want to rush that decision, so the new look only came last week (and I love it!)
Me and the blogosphere
But, going back to how and when it all started, it’s fair to say I was the only reading my posts for about a month. I see that a lot of bloggers report their mum being the only one reading and commenting on their posts when they first started out. Well, I don’t even have my mum reading and commenting, as she doesn’t even speak English and doesn’t quite grasp the whole idea of a blog anyway! (I love her lots though).
It’s only when I joined a couple of groups on Facebook about a month in that the doors of the blogging world really opened for me.
And BANG! (No, luckily, I didn’t smash my head on a bus window again). The BANG was the realisation that that I had been very naïve in thinking that the biggest bit was actually done!
It was like everyone was speaking a different language… DA, Linkys, SEO traffic lights, daily traffic, post views…
I didn’t even have Twitter or Instagram accounts! And Bloglovin’, StumbleUpon and SocialOomph still sound like they might be things from a far-away, exotic land (although I now am on Bloglovin’ – yeay!)
My to-do list exploded
So, soon enough, my to-do list filled up. And the best thing about it is that once I cross something off, I find out about something else that more established bloggers do, and that I feel I must try out as well!
The goal-post is always moving, and I’m chasing a to-do list which probably won’t ever get fully ticked off. So it’s really easy to get discouraged sometimes and feel a bit of blog envy for the amazing established bloggers out there that have been going for a few years. Equally, I also feel that same envy for the ones who started around the same time as me or not long before me, and yet seem to have achieved so much more!
Why am I even doing this?
But… I have to stop and look at my own achievements and really be grateful for what I have learnt in a short space of time.
I have LOTS to learn, and that’s part of the excitement of the journey ahead. I’d probably lose interest if I didn’t feel challenged.
This blog has the potential to change my life (yes, a bit of an exaggeration, but in a way, it’s true). I re-discovered the love of writing in the last couple of years and started this blog as ‘an outlet’ but also wit the aim to ‘find my voice’. It’s only through practice and trial and error and doing things (i.e. writing) that I will find what my style is and what I really want to write about.
I’ve already had some lovely comments – people have used words and phrases like ‘powerful’, ‘emotional’, ‘inspirational’, ‘eye-opening’, ‘beautifully written’, ‘from the heart’ to describe some of my posts, and to be honest, I cannot ask for much more.
Yes, I do want my writing (if not my blog alone) to create a small monthly income for me, and my plan is to achieve that in the next couple of years. I do see bloggers achieving this a lot quicker, but I also realise they put in a lot more work and hours than I do. My bi-weekly posting schedule may seem laughable when other bloggers post daily, if not twice a day! But, it’s what is right for me at this point in time (seeing I can only work when my youngest naps!), and this feels like what I need to really focus on.
Books and the internet are full of advice about you having to find your audience, your niche, solving problems, give valuable information etc. And it’s all great (and obviously true). Maybe I will get there, but for now, I’m really happy to for people to be able to relate, to stop and think, to feel like I’ve touched a chord and to feel like we’re all different and travelling a different path, but at the end of the day to really all feel like ‘we’re all in it together’.
So, watch this space. Right now, I do feel like a newbie, but my New Year’s resolution is to carry on finding out about all the good things that are going to make my blog better and me a better blogger, but in the process, I still want to have fun, ‘be me’ and hopefully never lose the love for writing.
And last but not least, I wanted to take a couple of minutes to thank all the lovely bloggers who have helped me on this journey so far.
So a massive THANK YOU to:
- Franca, for taking the time to literally talk me through how you link up to a Linky and for hosting the amazing #KCACOLS.
- Sian and Hayley for hosting #SundayBest – I’ve also learnt lots about blogging thanks to Hayley!
- Becky, Clare and Debbie for hosting #BloggerClubUK and always taking the time to comment on and share my posts.
- Trista for hosing #Momsterslink and featuring my post in her latest linky.
- Hayley for giving me a chance to talk about what mindfulness means to me
- Kris for including me in her blogger outreach series.
- Fiona for inviting me to talk about my experience as a working mum returning to work
- Donna, Mark and Susan for all the tips and advice!
- Aby for all the tips on blogging that I find on her website and for including me in the November BritMums Newbie round-up.
- Laura and Amy for never failing to make me a little emotional with their writing!
- Everyone else who has given my social media accounts some love, taken the time to answer questions over on the UK Parent Bloggers group and to comment on my posts!
Much love to you all!