So, BritMums Live had a truly wonderful effect on me this year. Not only did it remind me of the wonderful community of bloggers out there, it also kicked me up the butt in terms of realigning my blog with the reason I started blogging in the first place.
One of the sessions I went to was called How I Did it: Success stories from the blogging front line. I hadn't really planned on going to this session because I had fooled myself into thinking I didn't really want success from my blog. I mean, I've been blogging since 2006 and have been quite merrily pottering along at my own pace. To be honest with you, it was all a lie because of course I would feel good if my blog reached more readers, but you know it's easier to live in denial!
So thanks to my fantastic fooling of myself, the only reason I stayed for this session was because Spencer from @ADadCalledSpen was on the panel and I desperately wanted to meet him. And I'm glad I did stay, because Spencer asked the all important question about what makes a successful blog. It turns out that one indication may be that if you can write down 5 reasons why you write and realise that you actually do all 5 things, then you may be on the right track.
I haven't really had chance until this morning to truly sit down and hash out the 5 reasons I think I blog, but here goes:
- To connect with others and be part of a community
- To give me a place to hash out all my inner thoughts so that I don't drive my husband mad
- To support others who may be going through similar things
- To share the things I am passionate about
- To make a record of our life
Looking at these 5 things I can see areas where I am doing okay, but others where I am lacking.
- I am part of a community but I need to interact more
- Sometimes I hold back on certain things and so still drive my husband mad!
- My HG work is on it's own blog now, I don't write enough about the Endo, and I honestly don't know whether this should still be a reason for this blog anymore…
- This is where I am really lacking… I don't share my kids' stories, have no link to my novel, I rarely blog about crochet and I most certainly censor a lot of my thoughts. They just don't feel "good enough" for the blog and so I hold them back and this needs to change.
- This is where I excel… I may not blog about the small bits and bobs, but I do have a record of our journey to becoming parents and the choices we have had to make along the way. I don't want to record every step of Little Man's progress in public, but I have the family stuff on here.
So what do I take from all this?
Well, for starters I need to share more. I don't need to get any more intimate as I feel I am pretty honest as it is. But what I do need to do is start sharing more of my passions. I need to pick up all those projects I planned and actually finish them. I need to write the stories to go with the Woodland Alphabet my mum painted at my request during my pregnancy. And I need to share the stories I already have written in an easily accessible manner.
I need to share more about our family home and life, even if that includes showing you how truly unorganised I am and how my dreams for this home of ours are often beaten by my sheer lack of time and energy. And I need to share how this truly makes me feel like maybe, just maybe, having the one child really could be a good move for us. I feel stifled when I cannot write, create, and bring all the dreams and ideas I have to life… and stifled is how I feel right now. I can perhaps be a better wife and mum if I have the time and energy to create the home I want for my family, rather than having a larger family and feeling frustrated all the time.
I guess the biggest thing for me is that I need to rewrite my 5 reasons for blogging to better reflect what I want from my life. Things have happened that have changed my life in massive ways since I started writing back in 2006. Back then I was a recent graduate, living in a house share, and had yet to meet my husband. Of course my reasons for blogging were different, I just need to recognise this and make that change.
One of the other sessions I went to was called Style blogging for fashion, beauty and home and had one of my all-time favourite bloggers, Cherry Menlove on the panel. To be honest with you, I love these kinds of blogs but I am never going to be the writer of one. I'm just not that cool. But despite starting our blogging journeys in the same year, Cherry has always seemed to know what she was doing and I just fumbled along. And it was great to hear her say that she "set herself a brief and stuck with it". For her this was 'home and garden' and though my brief would be different, hearing her say this made me realise I have no brief and that creating one may be really helpful in guiding me along the next few steps of my blogging journey.
And so that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to set myself a brief and write out 5 new reasons to blog. If I can stick with them for a year and come away from next years BritMums Live knowing this, then I'll be happy!
Family Life (I mean, it's called The Family Patch for a reason, right!)
My 5 Reasons for Blogging – The 2013 Edition
- To be part of a community
- To share my children's stories
- To write about life as a parent
- To be inspired to make changes in my life
- To keep myself (and my husband) sane!
These may seem quite different to my old 5 reasons, but that's okay. I need the change and actually they still encompass a lot of what I had before, only in a slightly different way.
I still want to support others, but not necessarily so directly. I moved the HG stuff off my personal blog so I had a space to do that without overshadowing the rest of my passions. I'll still write about things that affect me and my family, but I won't actively be using this space for informing & supporting others.
I am also hoping that numbers 3 and 4 will allow me to explore aspects I have only touched on briefly before. Things like spirituality, the advantages of only having one child, or my frustrations at never managing to get on top of the housework etc. I mean, let's be fair – if I tell you guys I am going to try and follow a chore planner, or plant some seeds, or paint the bedroom then I'll be more inclined to actually do it rather than letting it fall away without anyone knowing!
But number 2 is the biggie for me. I need to work out the best way to share my stories with you all. Do I just put them into blog posts? Do I create free downloadable eBooks? Do I just create a PDF file? This is going to take some thinking about, but I do hope it will be worth it. I've held on to them thinking that one day maybe I could edit them and bring them to a publisher… but that just means they sit on my computer, lonely and unseen. They are never going to make me money, so why not share them freely? After all, stories are meant to be shared, aren't they!
And that's that… it'll be fun to see where this leads me and the blog. Thanks to Spencer and Cherry for making me think about this.
So, tell me… what are your 5 reasons for blogging and have they changed?