Tag: writing

I could have had a baby!

Today is my 9 month blogging anniversary.

Wow! In that time I could have made and given birth to a baby! <<shudder!>>

Baby on blog

(image from fullcirclewomenshealth.com)

Here are 5 things I’ve learnt during this gestation period:

1 – I like blogging. I enjoy it. I like the writing process and committing my thoughts to paper a computer screen.

2 – I don’t have a niche. I’ve blogged about this before. As time passes and my post count increases, it becomes ever more apparent that I just couldn’t stick to one topic. I have too much to say about everything!

3 – I hoped it would be more successful. Ouch, that’s painful. Not successful as in I’d be snapped up for a full time writing career with a magazine! Just maybe…more followers? More interaction? It kind of feels like I only have a handful of “regulars” (to whom I’m very grateful and love exchanging comments, so please don’t think I don’t appreciate you). But I don’t have time to build a community and Twitter presence and promote it and myself while also engaging with other people. I’m not part of the blogging community because I haven’t made myself so.

On the flip side, it’s ok that it’s not as “successful” as I hoped. It proves that I’m in it for the right reasons. I remain dedicated to creating and posting content, and I’m proud of it as my corner of the internet. It’s very me.

4 – It potentially needs more time than I have to offer (or am willing to commit). Layouts and themes and coding all take time that I don’t really have. But it was never supposed to become a burden. And maybe that’s part of the success bit as well?

5 – My husband is never going to get over his embarrassment at me taking photos of food when we go out to eat!

So happy “birth” day in the truest sense, to my little rambling blog of stuff!

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What I look for in a blog

I posted a few weeks back about my experiences of blogging so far, and not having a niche, and lots of other potentially whingy stuff about followers and the like. I’ve seen a few things in the past couple of weeks that have made me revisit those thoughts – not in terms of myself, but in terms of others. What makes other people’s blogs attractive to me.Blog image

The first thing was this post from Misha Khan. I was drawn to it via one of her tweets, and she sums up a lot of what I feel about blogging. It’s the writing that I love, and writing is kind of different to being a blogger. And that’s ok.

The second was a Twitter exchange with Suzie81, based on a post I’d made about it being harder to make a success of a blog (in traditional “success measuring” terms) without a niche.

Twitter screenshot

Suzie commented that I should go with how I feel. Which is exactly what I’m doing anyway, as I can’t do anything else!

And the third was this from fashionbeautyacne, which sums up what I tried to say previously about numbers and followers and whether they’re that important. The answer to that one, I suppose, is what you want from your blog personally.

Niche blogs seem by far to be the most popular. I suppose some people want consistency, and like that in depth knowledge/opinion on one subject.

Me? I’m the opposite. I’m nosy. I want to read about people and their lives, their everyday comings and goings, their thoughts and opinions on everything. Not the fancy “I wore this and went here and received XYZ from such and such PR”. Sure, they’re ok in moderation. But being a bit of a cynical, critical and slightly bitter person (I’m nothing if not very aware of my shortcomings), they piss me off. Do they make me jealous? Maybe! (ouch).

I’m not a model, a clothes horse, a beautician or a professional photographer. I’m too self conscious to pose for photos to share with the world. I’m not knocking anyone that does. But I have too much of the “who do you think you are” mentality to do it myself. Sure, I’ll share pics of myself here and there. But I couldn’t build a blog on it. I couldn’t go to a public place and pull a multitude of poses then add filters and whittle down scores of snaps to just a handful. I don’t have the time or patience. It’s also just not me.

And perhaps that’s the reason I gravitate to blogs that I do. Because humour and experiences are way more up my alley. I like to read anecdotes. What people have been up to. What people think about a current issue (doesn’t have to be deep). Look at pictures of clothes, not 7 very similar perfect pictures of a person wearing those clothes. Read about travels and days out. See real accessible people talking about real accessible stuff, like a bargain lipstick or a new pair of sandals.

Maybe I’m just too old for the aspirational stuff. I’m never going to be flitting around to fancy locations in fancy clothes that have all been sponsored.

But that’s the beauty of blogland. There’s something out there for everyone. And that can only be a good thing.

On that note I’m going to name check a couple of blogs. Both of which I have found very recently, and both of which I genuinely love and look forward to new posts appearing.

Ellen Marie Writes. Lists. Always in 10s. Always brutally honest, with humour and real life language. Love it.

Disasters of a Thirty Something. Real life laugh out loud experiences. I love reading about funny stuff happening to people.

I see a lot of myself in both of these blogs – both content and writing style. Which leads me to believe I’m a blog narcissist. I actually want to read about me! (tongue firmly in cheek here, for anyone not getting the humour).

Oh, and apologies for sounding like a bitch! II’m really not! But I always promised myself that the blog would be true to me, and I like pondering stuff on here. I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts too.

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My blogging experience so far

I’ve wanted to write a blog for a long time. Why? Because I love writing. It’s that simple. It wasn’t to use as a platform for self promotion, or to get freebies or recognition, or even necessarily to engage with people. It’s purely for me.

Which is a good job really, because gaining followers is tough! I’ve been blogging now for coming up to 4 months, and I’ve posted a lot of content, but there doesn’t seem to be any regularity of followers, much growth in numbers or a lot of interaction. Maybe it’s because there isn’t a lot of consistency. I flit from food to clothes to travel to music. There’s not a lot of beauty because I’m not that into it (not to say I don’t wear make up or want to look good, obvs, I’m just not a product junkie). Seemingly it’s the beauty side of blogging that people seem to respond to most. But, because I blog for me, the feel of my site is very much like the inside of my head – all over the place!

A lot of blog advice columns suggest finding your niche so that people know what to expect. What if you don’t have a niche? Or an angle? What if there isn’t one thing that you want to be known for? Does that mean you shouldn’t blog?

Of course it doesn’t. But I guess it does mean that you should be prepared to wonder whether you’re talking to yourself! And that, if you are, that’s perfectly OK.

As a Twitter virgin, I recently moved into a job where I have responsibility for the company social media. That meant a crash course in Twitter, and how better to try things than to set up a personal account? And so I have, unwittingly, found myself trying to promote my personal blog and, I guess, myself. Shamelessly tagging blog promoters in the hope that they’ll retweet me and I’ll reach a bigger audience. And every time I do it I feel like a number hungry desperado. Even more so when my blog traffic doesn’t increase anyway!

The other thing I wasn’t prepared for? How having a blog has changed my outlook on things I do. I take a lot more photographs now. Only last Friday my husband told me off for taking photos of our food in a restaurant. I look at things in terms of how they’ll translate onto the blog. I think about it a lot – way more than I probably should!

My Mom “doesn’t get” blogging and that’s probably the case for a lot of people. I’m sure to many it comes across as vain or self centred. Not at all. Twitter has made me more critical of myself and my appearance. Seeing other Twitter accounts, shamelessly promoting their blogs, obviously leads to curiosity, nosiness and comparisons. Younger, prettier, cooler, with better hair and photography skills. And that’s dangerous.

Beauty

Asking myself, am I too old for this, when the average age seems below 30? Also dangerous, not least because I can’t do anything about how old I am!

Getting older

Forget your age

Anything that brings out negative traits and self doubt should be discouraged, surely? But yet I still enjoy it. Maybe not the Twitter side of things so much; the need for validation and the constant stream of people linking to their blogs, the elitism amongst well established users and the seeming exclusion of newer kids to the block. But the writing, yes I enjoy it. I enjoy composing my blog posts; organising my thoughts into words and articulating them accordingly. So what if my photos aren’t magazine quality and I don’t review the latest MAC lipsticks? So what if I very rarely get comments and don’t really know if anyone is even reading most of the time?

Because, ultimately, it shouldn’t matter. I know, deep down, that I’m doing this for my own personal enjoyment. I write about the stuff that I would want to read elsewhere, in my own voice, in a way that reflects me. And, because I can’t be anyone else, or think in any other way, that will just have to be good enough.

PS – if anyone is reading and would like to let me know, feel free to do so! But if not, that’s fine too; I’ll just carry on doing this for li’l ol’ me!

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