I love blogging

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It’s taken me a while to get to this point, but I can now happily say that I love blogging. I have had a few teething problems and worried excessively about making some of my innermost thoughts public, but I’m now sure that it was all worth it. I know I’m several years late to the game, but who knew there was such a fantastic sense of community amongst bloggers? Obviously not this little Luddite, or I might have started sooner ….

I wasn’t even aware that there were blogging conferences and even blogging festivals and now I want to attend them all. Blogging has given me a voice and a chance to express myself, mostly without judgement. More importantly, it has given me a community of potential new friends to connect to. Every time I blog I gain some more followers and that makes me a very happy bunny. I have also had some wonderful comments made on my posts, which reminds me that I am not alone. When life occasionally hands me lemons, I have people ready with the proverbial Tequila!

Even when I published a post which barely made sense to me, losing my religion, I received two very helpful comments. Even though I had admitted, I wasn’t really sure whether I was coming or going, with the whole religion conundrum. (How can anyone miss, what they never really had?) Both commenters seemed to understand, exactly what I was getting at and offered me sympathy and understanding. Plus some great advice – exactly what I wanted from my post and my blog in general.

Then there are the lovely comments I get in private, inevitably life seldom turns out as expected and when things go wrong, its amazing to get such a show of support. These ones are mainly from family and friends; but when the going got tough for me, I certainly learnt who my friends were and how much I meant to them – thanks guys!

There is also something wonderful about blogging that I hadn’t been expecting – the support shown to newbie bloggers from the old hands. Everyone I have asked for advice, has been happy to help. None more so, than my lovely friend who blogs here. She’s the one who started me on my whole blogging journey and has patiently answered all of my inane questions, including ‘how do I use a hashtag on Twitter?’ We have made a pact to attend BritMums Live next year and I’m counting down the days already …. If you get the chance do read her blog, even if she wasn’t one of my dearest friends, I would wholeheartedly recommend it to you. She writes beautifully and inspires me with so many of her posts. I have been meaning to link to her blog for a while, but have only just learnt how to do so. I also now know what to do with a hashtag 😉

Help from complete strangers was unexpected. I was absolutely delighted to not only receive some much needed blogging tips from this blogger extraordinaire, but also a guest blog spot on her blog in March next year. A mere glance at her blog, shows what a busy lady she is, but she kindly took the time to respond to my email. Goodness only knows what I will write for my spot, but I have a good few months to worry about it, so big thanks to Victoria Welton who blogs here. She also runs the marvelous #pocolo linky every Friday, plus several others.

I love the like minded people that I meet through my blog or indeed through their blog. I have considered myself to be a feminist, from the moment I understood the meaning of the word. Well duh, I’m a girl therefore I’m a feminist, was my teen-aged self’s way of thinking and to be honest it still is. I love the strong undercurrent of feminism that runs through many of the blogs that I read and although I’m not sure I’m confident to blog about it just yet (need to read a few more books first) you can expect a post soon. I hadn’t expected blogging to inspire and motivate me to improve my education, I certainly underestimated the power of a great blog.

Blogging makes me feel better about myself and when I get the chance, I love clicking on the same tags that I have just used on my own post. It really does make life, just that little bit easier when you realise that you are not the only one suffering with a health complaint or from a loss of religion. Where else could you connect to fellow IBS sufferers of Mums who also have four boys and learn how to cope with life’s little/big curve balls?

There is a down side to social medial and I am mentally writing a post on that as I type, but I wanted this post to concentrate on the up side. I blog for fun, for answers, to participate in discussions, for advice, to vent, but also to make new friends. I wasn’t sure exactly what I would get from blogging and to be honest, I certainly wasn’t expecting much. Thank goodness I persevered because it really has had a positive impact on my life. I have learned so much about myself and about life in general, that I would recommend blogging to anyone

Finally a big thanks must go to my number one fan (ok, my only fan) who reads every single thing that I write and happily tells me it was amazing. I might test her one day and write something truly dire, just to see what she says. Then again she’d still support me, because she’s my sister and I’ve told her it’s her job, thanks sis!

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To blog or not to blog? My first few months as a newbie blogger.

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So far my blogging ‘journey’ has been short and not always sweet. I started a few years ago, a rather half hearted attempt, that lasted only four posts. Rather stupidly I thought it would be a good idea to post every single day, but with four boys to look after, I was being over optimistic to say the least. I also panicked that I was being too honest and open, was I really ready for the whole world (or the few reading my blog) to know about my struggle with panic attacks? This time, I ummed and ahhed for a good few weeks, before I decided to express myself in such a public way.

Being 40 years and 15 months old I had just (!) missed out on being part of the social media generation and for a long while thought that even Facebook was a strange phenomenon. I firmly believed that texting/tweeting whilst in the company of others was bad manners and nothing else. I couldn’t, and still can’t if I’m honest, understand why people would go on a day trip or night out and then spend the entire time on their phones; telling everyone about it or taking photos to show them. Why not let everyone know you are going somewhere, then put your phone down, enjoy yourself and tell everyone about it afterwards? That’s living your life, surely?

So to this Luddite, the idea of baring my soul in such a public way, was an anathema. Then I decided to research it, so I read a few blogs and joined Twitter and slowly I began to think that it might be a good idea. I enjoy writing and I could see how much friends and other bloggers enjoyed the process. Why not give it a whirl? It could be honest, but not necessarily completely public or so I thought ….

If you have read my blog before, you will know that I hit a few snags almost immediately, it is very difficult to keep things private online, unless you remain completely anonymous. To a newbie blogger/technophobe it was a big shock how easily you can be found, despite your best efforts. Your blogging life and real life should sometimes be kept separate, particularly if you intend to be honest as people will interpret your honesty in very different ways. In fact you can be blogging about one thing in your head and viewers can read it as an entirely different thing. For example, when I blogged about my religious views, or lack of them, I was careful to point out that they were my views and not meant to hurt anyone. I had to learn my lesson first though, mere weeks after I began this blog, my blogging life collided with my real life, in ways I had not foreseen. There was fallout and that was that, I wanted nothing more to do with blogging.

It was something of a knee jerk reaction, but I couldn’t have known the impact it would have on me personally. In hindsight, perhaps it was bound to happen. I am slightly naive to say the least and I should have gone for complete anonymity, if I had wanted to write with absolute honesty. I’m also something of a daft bugger, for want of a better phrase and these sorts of things do keep happening to me. From the relatively minor getting my knickers stuck in my skirt, a sadly quite frequent occurrence, to inadvertently offending people and I could go on; but the misadventures of Naomi are perhaps best saved for another post ….

How could I carry on then? I wanted to blog honestly and most certainly didn’t want to upset anyone further. Did I really have any other option other than stopping? My next thought, was to do what I should have done and blog under a nom de plume and tell no one. Yet I worried this still wouldn’t be a safe environment. I thought I had done a relatively good job of keeping this one under wraps, how could I be sure I wouldn’t be found again?

As time went on, I thought I would just carry on blogging and try not to upset anyone again. It hasn’t been easy, once bitten, twice shy! Would I upset readers, if I blogged about my loss of faith in Christianity? If you upset, offend or even annoy people with your posts, they won’t keep reading. Why on earth would anyone waste their precious time reading about someone, that has either annoyed them or simply has a viewpoint that didn’t gel with their own?

If no one reads your blog, are you no longer blogging but simply talking to yourself? I tried not to worry excessively, at least if no one was reading, no one could be offended. So I wrote a few more careful posts. Then I hit a few more snags, probably the same ones that almost all new bloggers have…..

What on earth can I blog about today? I have nothing to say! I’m a stay at home Mum with a chronic stomach condition, I don’t get out much. Who on earth wants to listen to my rants about IBS or whether or not I should be taking morphine for my stomach pain. Does anyone really care that sometimes my life is an endless round of child care and cleaning my house?

Then there was the problem that rears it’s head for many bloggers, or writers in general. You have a great idea, but you have absolutely no idea how to write about it – writers block. I’m normally verbose to say the least, but I want to write well on this blog and I want it to attract at least a few readers. Preferably not just the odd insomniac, who finds my blog so boring, it is more effective at sending them off to sleep than an entire box of Ambien! (Please don’t actually compare the two.)

Next I worried that my blog was too diverse, will readers who enjoy my weight loss posts, be equally thrilled when I write about being a stay at home Mum? Do I have enough time to devote to being a proper blogger, when my children, husband, friends and trash TV addiction take up so much of my time? Then I took a deep breath, calmed my mind and it’s often ridiculous worries and thought ‘balls!’

Big round bouncing balls to all of this! Does it really matter? If I inadvertently upset readers, I can apologise, realise that I may have lost a reader or two, but I will be more careful next time. I can blog about religion and it might be my least read post, but it was read and it did help me address my own feelings on the subject.

I may never have many readers or win any prizes for blogging but I really am starting to enjoy blogging and it has opened my eyes to a whole new world. Something I will blog about in my next post, because at least for a few blissful days, I won’t be panicking about having nothing to blog about!

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