It’s been over three years now since I sat at my kitchen table, eight months pregnant with our first child and pressed publish on my first blog post. I never really had a clue what this space would grow into, and nobody is more surprised than I am that I’ve managed to keep it up all this time.
Blogging has blown up since 2014 and I’ve seen a number of my favourite bloggers turn their blogs into ‘full-time income’ streams. I’ve also seen other blogs disappear completely, as their owners decided for one reason or another that blogging wasn’t for them after all.
There was a time when I thought I wanted to join the ‘pro bloggers’ and poured my every spare minute into trying to turn my blog into something I could call my full-time job. I became obsessive about posting regular content, growing my social media following, planning beautifully edited photography. I even launched a YouTube channel – something I never thought I’d do.
But 2017 has been such a momentous year for us with the arrival of Harry and upping sticks to our forever home in a new city, and somewhere along the way, my view on what I want to gain from blogging has changed.
I took some time out this year and realised that my blog didn’t need me as thought I thought it did. I can go without posting for days at a time, and readers will still be there when I return. I haven’t checked my visitor numbers for months and I no longer care about how many followers I have on Twitter, or how many likes my photos get on Instagram.
Sometimes I don’t like blogging very much…
Because these are the elements of blogging I realised I don’t like very much. Measuring my ‘success’ by likes and page views I mean. I love the writing, I love producing content and I love engaging with others who inspire me. And I’ve come to realise that’s enough for me.
Because when I start obsessing about everything else, I become a little resentful towards my blog.
Comparing myself to others
I start to compare myself to other bloggers who I think are better than me. Who are more witty, more interesting and more intelligent. Their Instagram accounts are prettier than mine and they never seem to struggle to keep their social media accounts constantly active. And all of this with a tribe of (happy) kids and a spotless home.
And good for them (If you’re one of them, I salute you)…
The constant requirement to be online
But sometimes I don’t feel like writing a post or engaging with others on social media. Sometimes I’m just too tired, too busy, or just having too much bloody fun to stop and make time to post that photo to Instagram. I suppose this is my downfall as a blogger. I’m just not committed enough. And you know what? I’m okay with that. After all, if I’m not blogging for my own enjoyment, then what am I blogging for?
Sharing our lives
I admit that I struggle sometimes with this edited version of my life. I try and be completely honest in my posts, sharing both the ups and downs of motherhood. But I’m actually a pretty private person and sometimes sharing my whole life with the world doesn’t sit well with me.
There are times I’ve written posts that haven’t made me feel so good, and I often question whether my kids will appreciate their lives being shared online when they’re older.
The hours (and hours and hours)
Sometimes I wonder if I’ll come to regret all of the hours I’ve invested in this space. Perhaps in years to come it will be a laugh amongst family and friends as I say “I know, I can’t believe all of the time I put in to that! And for what?”
I totally get why a lot of bloggers become disillusioned and give up within the the first year. When you start a blog you soon realise that your vision of sitting writing a couple of posts and going viral is not going to happen. If you want people to read your blog and make money from it, there’s a whole load of ‘blogmin’ that quickly becomes the main task of running a successful blog.
Building a following takes hard work and sheer determination. From making sure that you post regularly (and often) to taking good photos, posting (and interacting) on social media and establishing your brand – it can all get a little tedious.
There have been times when I’ve looked at what I’m doing and thought how self indulgent and trivial it all feels. After all, there are far more important issues at large that I could turn my mind and attention to.
It’s at those times that I need to take a step back, perhaps take some time away from the screen and wait for the passion to return.
And up until now it always has.
Because I remember why I love blogging so much and what has kept me at it these past three years.
Why I’m still blogging…
Something to call my own
First and foremost, it’s my passion and it’s always been something for me to call my own – at a time in my life when I felt my own identity was consumed somewhere within my role as a mother and a stay at home wife, it provided me with an outlet where I could just be me.
It’s something I can feel proud of and something to remind me that despite spending the majority of my time with a toddler and a baby, I still have a voice, an opinion and I can put together a (relatively) intelligent piece of writing that other people get enjoyment out of reading.
I look at blogging as a hobby that pays me. Most hobbies cost money to keep up, whereas this one rewards me.
I make a nice amount of money from my blog. Nice as in it gives me spending money so that I can treat myself to a monthly shopping spree, save for a weekend away or spend money on things that I might otherwise feel guilty about if I was to take it out of the joint account that only one of us pays into (it’s not me).
The money I earn is nowhere near what I’d accept as a full-time salary, nor is it relative to the amount of time and effort I put into it. But it’s enough, as blogging for me has never really been about the money. At least that’s what I’ve come to realise.
It creates new experiences and opportunities
One of the things about creating a constant stream of content is that you need to have experiences to write about. This blog has pushed me to complete projects, visit places, attend events and seek new experiences that I would otherwise never have done. It’s also made me realise my passions, my strengths, and my weaknesses. In fact, it’s really helped me to figure out what makes me tick and I live a better, richer life because of it.
I’m constantly inspired
The blogging community is full of support and inspiration. Every day I read a post which makes me feel a little better or inspires me in some way. Whether it’s family issues, ideas for our home, places to visit, style tips or working from home, I’m constantly learning of new things which inspire me in my every day life.
It feeds my creativity
I’ve always been pretty creative and blogging feeds that need in me to constantly produce and create something. Blogging provides me with the creative outlet I need whilst constantly developing my writing, photography and design skills.
It provides a record of these precious days
This blog has meant that I’ve captured the lives of my children in a way that I never would have done otherwise. I have photos and memories that I’ll treasure forever thanks to this space. We have photos throughout our house that were taken as a result of this blog and I hope that my children will one day read these posts and understand how fiercely I love them.
So, after three years of trying to figure out what I want, I’m finally back blogging on my own terms. I’m sticking to what I’m good at, what I enjoy most and what inspires me.
And it’s not YouTube.