5 things I’ve learned in 2 years of blogging
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:
- Writing funnyish posts about weird things my kid does
- Calling out Trump and other stupid politicians
- Advocating for better support for mothers – especially around childcare and flexible working
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:
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.