There’s a general perception that bloggers are all a little narcissistic. We have an unquenchable need to share our lives with the world and seek approval from strangers – strangers who tell us that our outfits look gorgeous/ our kids are cute/ our homes are stylish/ our lives are fun. We document our daily outings through Facebook, share our every thought via Twitter, and upload photos of what we’re about to eat on Instagram. And we rate our success on how many likes, comments, retweets, page views we get…
The truth is, before I started blogging I was quite a private person. I was pretty useless with social media, preferring to browse other people’s feeds rather than update my own. I didn’t have a desire to share my life with the world – I was too busy enjoying it and never felt the need to let other people know just how much.
I always say that I started this blog because I wanted a creative outlet during my maternity leave. I wanted to keep my brain engaged and knew that I would miss writing, which I did every single day in my PR day job. But perhaps a part of me (a teeny weeny part of me) also didn’t want the world to forget about me.
Before becoming a mum I went to the office every day where I would chat with colleagues about my day to day life, I could go out for drinks with friends for a ‘catch up’, or go and visit family for advice at the drop of a hat. Becoming a stay at home mum changes all of that. And yes, whilst I was changing nappies, doing night feeds and wondering where my next sleep was coming from, perhaps there was a small part of me that felt like the world and everyone else in it was getting on without me.
So yes, perhaps there was a part of me that didn’t want you to forget about me.
And I didn’t want to forget either. I wanted to record these precious moments – being pregnant, having a baby, being a new mum, watching my baby grow – as I knew I would never get to have them again. I also took comfort from reading other parenting blogs and realising that in fact, I wasn’t just a useless mum. New babies are hard work! And I wanted to provide that comfort to others through my own posts.
Does the fact that I share and record my life on the internet mean that it’s no longer private? I don’t think so.
I’m still a pretty private person. Yes, you can read about my life online and view pictures of my family, but I have a general rule that if I wouldn’t tell/show these things to somebody I’ve just met, then it doesn’t go on here. You can go one step further of course and choose not to share private photos, or further still and choose to remain completely anonymous (or just keep your blog closed to the public for that matter!) I totally respect why some bloggers take these routes.
But for me, I’ve always enjoyed publishing as myself. Not because I want everyone to know what I’ve created (okay, perhaps a little) but because I’ve always wanted to stay completely true to myself and publishing as myself means that I really don’t have anywhere to hide. I always have to ask myself if I’d be happy for my parents, old friends, daughter (once old enough) and future boss to read my blog? Yes. Because it’s the part of me that I don’t mind people knowing. My better part. It’s the moments of our lives I want to remember.
We all know that blogs share the sunnier side of life. As Alison Perry fantastically puts it in her post ‘My life isn’t really this pretty’ – we filter our lives online and only share what we choose. You have to choose what you’re comfortable sharing online and if it doesn’t feel right, don’t publish it.
I know that some bloggers use their blogs to vent or rant – and that’s fine, if that’s what you’re comfortable with. Your blog is yours to do with as you please. But personally I don’t tend to write posts if I’m feeling angry or upset about something. I don’t want you to know about it. It’s private. I don’t want a post on the internet in my name that may make an employer think twice about hiring me, may upset my family, or embarrass my daughter when she grows up. There was one post I wrote when I was feeling upset and it did feel good to write. But it made my hubby feel sad and I did make a few tweaks to it afterwards. I don’t regret writing the post, but I discovered that I have a limit to my outpourings.
Blogging for me isn’t all about sharing my life online. It’s become an art form. It’s something you can get better at every day, but also something that I feel you never completely master. That’s why it’s totally addictive. There is always something to improve or create. I’ve always loved writing and the written word and I find it cathartic putting pen to paper (okay, words on a screen). There’s something very satisfying about creating a post that didn’t exist on the internet before I put it there. I’ve also discovered a passion for photography through blogging which I always knew was there, but never had anywhere to channel it. And who knew that I would be able to build and manage a website? All by myself.
And yes, I do spend ages getting a good picture for Instagram (although my feed is most definitely not perfection). But not because I want the perfect selfie, but because I want to create a picture that makes people feel something and I want to create an online photo album of the best parts of my life that I can look back on. I want to write posts that people can relate to or that inspire them in some way. My blog really isn’t about me at all. It’s about my need to create and communicate. And I suppose to put my tiny mark on the world. Hi, I was here.
Every blogger blogs for different reasons, but having a blog doesn’t make you a narcissist, or someone that craves acceptance and admiration. It makes you a creative. Whether you want somewhere to record your life, you want to earn extra money or you just need somewhere to channel your frustration with the world you live in. Your blog can be as private as you make it, you just have to decide what you’re comfortable with and always remain true to yourself…within reason!
What are your thoughts on blogging and privacy? Do you have a limit to what you share online?