5 things I’ve learned in 2 years of blogging

A woman in an orange buttoned shirt typing on a laptop

I birthed this blog only a month after birthing my actual child, when I thought the concept of blogging about new motherhood was pretty clever and definitely not something that thousands of mothers were already doing way better than me.

In a way, I can’t believe that my blog is still going two years later. But in another way, I also totally can. While I’ve fallen out of love pretty hard with the whole DA/Klout/commenting pods/Facebook reach side of blogging, I’ve never been more in love with writing. Or my child.

The Popple is a much better toddler than she was a baby. Baby Popple was mostly furious; toddler Popple is mostly delightful, even when she forces me to have a dance party to Katy Perry. I can’t wait to write about all the weird and amazing things she does on her journey to threenagerhood.

Anyway, here are a few things I’ve learned about blogging over the past few years:

1. I’m never going to be a ‘big’ blogger – and that’s okay

To do blogging properly, you need to treat it like your job. You need to be constantly writing, tweeting, liking, pinning, commenting and generally shouting about how great you are.

And I’m never going to do that.

It’s not only because I already have a job that means I spend all day writing, tweeting, liking and all that stuff, though that’s part of it. It’s also because I want to spend what little free time that I have hanging out with my kid. Spending time with my husband. Reading books. Watching TV. Exercising. (Yes, I actually enjoy exercising.) SLEEPING. I’m not willing to sacrifice any of that to get a few more likes on Facebook.

To those bloggers who put in long hours after their children have gone to bed, who stop watching their favourite TV series in order to have more time to blog, who turn down social invitations because they need to finish a sponsored post – I think your dedication is awesome, but I just don’t have it. While you’re busy typing away, I’ll be over here binge watching Orange is the New Black and feeling pretty great about it.

2. Sometimes you need to take a break

If you’re frustrated with blogging, just…stop. Probably not forever, but for a little bit. Rediscover the world outside the screen. Think about why you started blogging in the first place and what you’re really passionate about, then come back to it when you’re ready.

Never apologise for taking a blogging break because:

A) No one is waiting with bated breath for your next post. Even your biggest fans probably won’t notice if you don’t post anything for a few weeks, because their social feeds will be so crammed with other people doing the shouty shouty thing, and
B) It’s your blog and you can do whatever the hell you want with it. Post every day. Post once a month. Who cares? You own that space.

3. Write about what you love

Forget SEO. Forget reach. Forget ‘your brand’.

Or maybe don’t forget them completely, but don’t let them drive you. Let your passion shape your blog. Sometimes it helps to step back and ask yourself what you love.

I did just that recently, and here’s what I love:

So that’s what I’m going to write about this year. You won’t find product reviews, recipes or pinnable images on my blog, and you certainly won’t find any information that’s actually useful. There will, however, be posts that sound useful but aren’t really (like 5 tips for a Scottish seaside holiday) and my new Flexi Mamas series, which shares stories about the barriers that women who want to work face.

4. Techy stuff gives me all the fear

SSL certificates, 301 redirects, FTP files, htaccess, caching plugins, all those Ukrainian hackers who try to get into my site on a daily basis – it all kind of freaks me out. The technical aspect of my blogging is my least favourite part – and that includes Instagram. And I REALLY don’t like Instagram.

I’m kind of nostalgic for my pre self-hosted days, when all I had to do was type a bit and then hit the upload button. But now I have JetPack now so…yeah. Winning.

5. It’s all about the people

One day when I was feeling particularly fed up with blogging, I asked myself what I would really miss if I stopped blogging tomorrow, and the answer was clear:

The people.

I’d miss the banter on Twitter, the inappropriate GIFs, the way that people who you never met will rally around you during good times and bad – birth announcements, miscarriages, engagements, house moves, cancer diagnoses, award wins. The community is kick ass, and I’m so grateful to be a part of it.

Bring on year three.

Rhyming with Wine
Tammymum

23 Replies to “5 things I’ve learned in 2 years of blogging”

  1. Ah I could have written some of this! I too feel the same about not being a ‘big blogger’ – though this feeling fluctuates a lot depending on my mood. Like you, I like my sleep and real life (tv?!) too much to work til 2am for some extra likes! Look forward to reading the next year x

  2. Completely agree with all of this. I have the luxury of not needing to blog for an income so my blog comes from a love of writing, a desire to capture the little moments and very little else. I think it’s great that blogging gives people a flexible way of earning money, but it’s not for me. I’m happy to just twiddle away in my little (and it is little!) corner of the blogosphere. Would I like to have 1,000 views a day? Of course I would. But I’m not driven by the need to do so, and that’s fine by me. 🙂

  3. I’m almost made speechless by how much I needed to read this right now and I’ll be back to read it again. I’m going through a bit of a “what to do…” phase with the blog myself at the mo and reading this has literally made my brain sing. You’ve hit the nail on the head with “the people”. The community is incredible isn’t it? Love this so much. xx

  4. I left blogging last year because I had exhausted myself trying to be the biggest best blogger that I could be and failing miserably.
    It took me about 6 months to get back on the blogging horse and it was the other bloggers that made me come back. Like you I love the chat, banter and support from my blogging besties. I am no longer (quite so) bothered about the rest of it.
    #dreamteam

  5. Totally agree with all of this! I started to get so wrapped blogging that I forgot why I was doing it in the first place, I was obsessed with getting it out there and how many people had read my stuff. At the end of the day I love to write, it’s therapeutic for me and helps me raise awareness about Down syndrome. That is why I started blogging and I need to remember that and not get carried away. Thanks for this! #dreamteam

  6. Love this post so much! I am feeling a little overwhelmed with blogging at the moment. It’s not that I don’t want to do it anymore – it’s that I have so many ideas and I enjoy it so much that I do not have the hours to keep up! So your bit about taking a blog break really jumped out at me and reminded me that a massive amount of the pressure I feel is self-inflicted and, if I want to take a break, I can and must!

    Thank you for speaking logic into my blog-tired brain! #dreamteam

  7. This is the most inspirational ‘5 things I’ve learned’ that I’ve read in a long time! I’ve been trying so hard to be the best and reading all the bits on how to be the best. And then I read this post and realise that I don’t actually want to do anything other than enjoy it! Thank you for giving me the permission to just sit back and have fun with it all #dreamteam

  8. I have been blogging for 6 years and it is now my full time job and I am still learning new things everyday. I hate all the SEO stuff it turns my brain to mush #FamilyFunLinky

  9. Brilliant! I’m all about number 3 but then you know that! I also love number 5 and the people. It’s the writing and the people for me all the way. Anything else and I don’t think I’d be me anymore but I too have so much admiration for those bloggers who choose deadlines over Love Island! #DreamTeam

  10. back from #FamilyFun

  11. So true. I love writing and doing that is enough. I love that no one will care if you don’t post or even notice. The community is great though and I’ve stumbled upon some great articles and some bad. #FamilyFunLinky

  12. agree with all of this. I know all the things that I can do to increase my “reach’ and “prescence” and all that stuff. Instead I’ll finish up my commenting and hit the pool! #familyfun

  13. Argh me too I am useless at all the technology and it really freaks me out. I am a head in sand kind of person when it comes to the technical side and just bumble along partying nothing goes wrong. It’s also absolutely necessary to take a break or a step back every now and then, same with everything in life I think. Thanks for joining us at #familyfun

  14. I love your blog – congrats on your anniversary

  15. this is fabulous. I am still not self-hosted and after reading this I think I’ll stay where I am for a bit. It’s too easy to forget the real reason why we started. Don’t get me wrong, if I could make a bit of money out of writing I’d be over the moon but the reality is a lot of hard work and I don’t think I can be bothered!
    #Dreamteam

  16. Happy blogiversary! Mine was last month – 2 years too!
    Like Tim, I have the luxury that my blog isn’t my income. I do it for the love of writing and for therapy. I hope that one day I could earn from it, through my writing but I am happy just having it as a hobby.
    Well done for all you have achieved. #stayclassymama

  17. The people are definitely the best part of blogging!
    #FamilyFun

  18. This is great. I am a complete technophobe too. I just can’t get my head around anything even slightly techy. Im surprised my blog has been going for almost a year actually! Haha. #FamilyFunLinky

  19. I read this at the right time. I’ve only been blogging since January, but it’s become way more successful already than I expected but in return I’m feeling overwhelmed, I’m putting literally, too many hours into my blog and sacrificing my life, my family life and my sleep. at times I feel stressed for not having spent time on blogging when-in reality- it’s not a job and not why I started to begin with so wish I hadn’t got myself into this position of feeling like I HAVE to do so much! #familyfun

  20. I could have written this. (In fact, in this week’s post I almost have!) Like you, I know what I’m meant to be doing, but all those episodes of Father Brown won’t watch themselves, my daughter needs a cuddle and the cat seems to have done something unspeakable … It’s the people and the opportunity to be creative that keep me at it.

  21. Yay to year 3, and as you say… bring it on! I love this post and your sense of freedom when it comes to blogging. Wise words about taking a break if you need one, and even if readers are waiting for the next post, they will be there when you get back. #DreamTeam xx

  22. popping back from #StayClassyMama

  23. Katie I love your attitude, this is definitely the way to go with blogging otherwise it becomes very stressful. I find it way too difficult to manage all the tweeting, commenting, liking etc so I think I have (not on purpose) taken a step back, my real life job is very demanding so it’s quite difficult managing this and let’s not forget about Bear! I would have zero time for him and he’s obviously much more important. Lovely post I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks for sharing with #Stayclassymama

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