The True Value of Blogging

The True Value of Blogging

Despite my very best intentions I have found myself starting this year in the same reflective state that I finished last, which means that so far I have managed to fail on more than one of my New Year's resolutions.

The irony in this is that I actually fall into the camp of people that dislike New Year's Eve and the inevitable flurry of better than thou individuals that suddenly appear like a swarm of locusts on New Year's Day, with their proclamations of giving up all they love and enjoy in favour of a period of gratuitous misery and self-loathing.

If you are reading this and are one of those people - please don't take it personally, I am of course simply jealous of your will-power!

So I finished last year with a farewell to all that made 2018 a rubbish year for me and my family with a commitment to myself to be positive about where I am now compared to last year and to get on with embracing all that life has to offer, in whatever guise it may arrive.  So how come I have failed so miserably so early on?

Well it is not just that January is a grey and gloomy month and that like December is filled with memories of "this time last year" stories but that I actually enjoyed the period of blogging abstinence over Christmas so much that I am struggling to find my rhythm again; although rhythm and its inference of regularity is not really how I would describe my blogging personality.

In my short blogging life I have read countless posts about why people blog and what it is it brings to their life - most common of all is a creative outlet whereby they can indulge their love of writing.

Just over two years ago I plunged into the unknown with a very basic blog on issues related to midlife and parenting teenagers.  This was not because I was bursting with creativity, but because quite simply I wanted to get back into the workplace after a long break and of all my career based skills writing was not only the most self-indulgent in terms of enjoyment, but also the one which would if managed successfully, allow me to continue being at home.

My ambition at the time was not that my blog would earn me money but that it would act as a window for me to showcase my writing offline. It is the ideal portfolio there is no doubt of that and it has, as I have written previously, not only introduced me to some fabulous like-minded individuals, but also presented other opportunities outside of writing.  So all good then really?  Well yes and no.

The positives are clear but the negatives are the huge amount of effort required to sit down and write, to promote and so on and so forth and all of that is a full-time job which is what I was trying to avoid and it is that commitment of time which means that the uber bloggers deserve to be applauded and why blogging really isn't for the faint-hearted.

I realised this very early on in my blogging journey, but rather than tie myself up in knots about it, decided to ignore the rules, and just keep plodding on, after all there is room for minions in the blogosphere too, but after two years of just plodding on, I am forced to ask myself if that is what I want going forward and whether it is actually enough?

The beauty of a real-life crisis smacking you in the face is that it does make you re-evaluate your priorities on a monthly if not daily basis.  Last year my illness gave me the excuse I may have needed to kick the blog into touch and focus on my real-life - ie of the non-virtual kind, but actually I found the opposite to be true.

On returning from hospital after an operation that my surgeon had told me on 7th January 2018 on a scale of 1-25 with 25 being the most serious was in the upper twenties, I found my blog to be the perfect refuge.  My husband, my teens, my parents, my friends saw me getting on with it, because like all of us when we are faced with adversity we put on a brave face for those close to us, when what we really want is to curl up in a corner and lick our wounds.

My blog provided me with a place of solace away from the "real" searching questions and eyes of those close to me.  My virtual buddies didn't question, they listened and when you are hurt and scared sometimes that is exactly what you crave the most.

So following my natural thought process from here, does that imply that blogging is actually the pulpit of the self-indulgent of the New Year kind that I rubbished so early on?

As founders and editors of our blogs we can write what we like, we can edit comments we don't like and install walls of security that obstruct the most canny of intruders.  In creating our blogs we are in a sense building our own little empire, a pseudo autocratic state of sorts.

But of course as bloggers we all know that is not really the case, because blogs are by their very nature a forum for engagement, for sharing and exchanging views and opinions on a myriad of topics and dare I say it "making new friends".  Yes this bizarre social media world that we endeavour to protect our children from, is the very one that entices us outside our comfort zone into a brave new world of opportunities and one that by all accounts we all enjoy.

Just 48 hours ago I was sitting in a hotel room nursing a glass of wine and asking myself "where to now" and as if by fate I fell upon a piece on twitter from Suzanne at Inside, Outside and Beyond that acted as a perfect reminder of what really matters when it comes to blogging - you.  Don't sweat the small stuff and don't stress about blogging regularity or views.  Whatever itch blogging scratches, if it helps you - just carry on and for now that is exactly what I intend to do.

What are your thoughts on blogging?  Are you a blogger or someone who enjoys reading them?  What is their value?  As always I love to hear your comments..

 

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24 Comments

  1. January 28, 2019 / 12:15 pm

    I’m with you Jo. I’m finding blogging a chore that was once a need. Blogging has to be what you make it but after 2 years, like you, I questioned ‘why?’ was I blogging. Why was I struggling to find ideas for posts? It has to come from within but if it doesn’t what then? I’ve changed direction slightly but I still feel a bit worn out.. You had a hell of a year in 2018 so why not take a break? Find out what drives you and make that the main part of your life? I love reading your posts and I expect others feel the same but it’s not who reads our posts that really matters to bloggers does it? It’s what we write that is important and I think the love of writing has to be the main motivator. Whatever you decide, your blogging friends will still be here -Instagram, Twitter -we can just meet on a different platform.
    I possibly won’t be linking to #tweensteensbeyond anymore as I’m taking my blog in a different direction or I may stop -I’m not sure yet. I just wanted to say that I have loved being part of this community! I feel we could be friends in ‘real’ life and I’m so glad I started blogging so that I could find this lovely and supportive community. You take care and lovely, Follow your heart. Xxxx
    Sophie recently posted…A Peep inside my Pad on Instagram January 2019My Profile

    • Jo
      Author
      January 29, 2019 / 3:21 pm

      Sophie what wonderful advice and actually since writing the post last month I have been doing some more soul searching about the why’s and wherefore’s. Blogging and those I have met through it hold a special place in my heart but something has changed. Last year was tough for me and my family and this last weekend was the first anniversary of my op which brought a lot of suppressed emotions and questions to the surface. I am lucky to be one year down but the journey is not finished yet and I feel the need to re-evaluate and refocus on the real world around me. Maybe a break from everything whilst I do that will help. Thank you for your kind and supportive words as always Sophie. It is as always, valued. Much love xx

  2. January 28, 2019 / 4:21 am

    Very interesting, Jo. Blogging for me is very special. It launched my career in writing. Today I work as an Editor and writer. Blogging has also got me accolades and makes me money. But it is hard work. I try to keep my parenting blog non-commercial. I write from my heart, and my kids continuously egg me on if I slacken my writing there. I also have a cooking blog that reflects my passion for home cooking. This is the one that is more monetized yet from the heart. So, in effect, though I maintain a schedule for regularity, I don’t sweat much in case I skip posts sometimes. At the end of the day, blogging for me is joy of sharing and interacting. I want it to always be that for me. #TTB

    • Jo
      Author
      January 29, 2019 / 3:26 pm

      Sharing and interacting is something that keeps all of us firmly hooked to blogging and that for sure would be the difficult thing for me to walk away from. I have learnt so much from everyone I have connected with not just about blogging but life and that is invaluable. It is wonderful that you have launched a successful career on the back of your blogs. I have always enjoyed reading your posts and will continue to look out for them whether I continue to blog or not. Thanks for your pertinent comment as always.

  3. January 24, 2019 / 3:37 pm

    Yes we have all come to this junction at some point during the blogging career! On more than one occasion. I now look at it from a broader perspective in term of benefits. An outlet, a community, the learning and the opportunities that come about as a result of blogging and where they may lead. As I’ve said before to you and Sharon, it’s a constantly changing landscape which I find incredibly interesting. I think we are now at the stage where we know what we like and we know what doesn’t work for us. We also have the benefit of choice without pressure and deadlines. If I look back, the learning and development opportunities have been huge and they have stood me in good stead in many other areas of my life. I think it’s good to take a step back and acknowledge those things sometimes. I no longer align it with making money as that will only serve to increase frustration and despondency. If you look at your journey as a whole, Jo – I hope you are also able to see what an incredible amount you have achieved. You can’t put a price on that x

    • Jo
      Author
      January 29, 2019 / 4:00 pm

      As I said Nicky blogging has enabled me to get back into the swing of writing after a long career break but its true value lies in its role as a facilitator – introducing me to like-minded people that I probably would not have been lucky enough to meet in real life, otherwise. I have written before about the value of online friendships and that is without doubt what has surprised me the most on this journey so far. I was ignorant and naive when I embarked on this adventure and I feel honoured to have learnt so much from so many wonderful people. x

  4. January 23, 2019 / 12:30 pm

    I have been blogging for 10 years now. I’m not famous or rich from it. I think I’d take the rich–those who make money certainly share how they did it, so why didn’t it work for me? I’ve ridden many ebbs and flows with blogging over the years. Twice I’ve come this close to quitting. If I had more time and know how, I’d probably ditch my blog and work on my writer’s website. But now’s not the time.

    The upside is the writing, the plugging along, the community, the expression. In the end I keep going and I don’t regret that.

    #tweensteensbeyond
    Katy recently posted…Girl Scout Cookies In The NeighborhoodMy Profile

    • Jo
      Author
      February 1, 2019 / 2:42 pm

      Katy the blogging pond is a big on and those of us who don’t do it to be rich or famous are in the majority for sure. It has been quite a cathartic process writing this post and thinking about what it is I love about it and like you and the majority of people who have taken the time to share their views it is the sharing – the community, the interaction and that’s enough. Thanks for popping by. x

  5. January 23, 2019 / 11:01 am

    It’s really interesting to read your thoughts on this Jo. I have reached a point now where blogging has become more of a chore which I could put up with if it made me some money…but it doesn’t. Having said that, I woke up last night with an idea for a post which I have drafted this morning. Without the blog, what would I have done with those ideas I wonder? I really do hope that you continue, I love reading your posts and they always make me think. Whilst it’s clear that the ‘high octane’ type of blogging would not suit either of us right now, perhaps we can continue with our more laid-back approach! xxx

    • Jo
      Author
      January 23, 2019 / 11:50 am

      Yes I feel we are pretty much on the same page Sharon to be honest. I never expected to make money from the blog to be honest, for that you do need to be on it full-time and I just don’t have the time or the level of commitment for that. Nevertheless blogging does satisfy my love of writing and aside with helping me with work offline, I have fallen in love with it and the wonderful friends and relationships that have developed as a result of it – you included of course. There is room for us all for sure and for now I like you and many others will I hope continue to scratch that itch and share our ideas and thoughts with whoever is inclined to read them. x

  6. January 21, 2019 / 9:38 am

    I’m glad your blog helped you out last year with your thoughts and feelings. I blog as an online diary, I don’t know half the time that there are rules I should be following, but hey ho! I love finding blog posts that I can relate to and get support from and if my blog supports others than that’s a bonus also #tweensteensbeyond

    • Jo
      Author
      January 22, 2019 / 1:39 pm

      Similarly Suzanne what I have loved and what has surprised me the most has been the discovery of so many wonderful blogs and writers and I have totally loved the engagement which is why I think it would be a hard thing to walk away from to be honest. It’s like everything in life there are always down sides but as long as the good outweigh the bad that’s all that matters. As for the rules – I have always hated them quite frankly!x

  7. January 13, 2019 / 10:30 pm

    As a newcomer to your blog ( my friend Laurie from vanity and me recommended I take a look. I applaud you on your blogging stance. As a blogger myself I find the only time I don’t enjoy it is when I feel pressured Into it with deadlines!
    So this year I am relaxing my rules xxx
    Here’s to a good blogging year for us all !
    Bestest wishes Ashley x

    • Jo
      Author
      January 14, 2019 / 11:11 am

      Hi Ashley and how lovely of Laurie to point you in my direction. Yes there is something about deadlines that adds unnecessary pressure to what is supposed to be a source of enjoyment and it is made even worse by the fact that those deadlines are actually self-imposed. If I have something to say and time to write it then I tend to go for it and at times have published three times a week, I have said a minimum of once a week to myself this year but I have already failed so “no rules” seems the best option. Good luck with your more relaxed approach and thank you for taking the time to stop by. Jo xx

  8. January 12, 2019 / 10:15 am

    I started blogging as a sort of on-line diary (and as a fall-back place to store photos). Somehow I got hooked, and having made lots of new friends through it, wouldn’t want to stop #tweensteensbeyond

    • Jo
      Author
      January 12, 2019 / 3:43 pm

      A blog and blogging are different things to different people and that is probably why it is so wonderful as a vehicle for connecting a range of individuals but all with the common thread of loving connecting with people and for me that has certainly been the most valuable element of the whole experience so far. Long may it continue and should that disappear I know it will be time to throw in the towel.

  9. January 11, 2019 / 1:00 pm

    I’ve really enjoyed blogging. I feel it has helped others, even if it is in a small way. #TTB

    • Jo
      Author
      January 12, 2019 / 3:45 pm

      Yes Wrae I think you are right, we all help each other in different ways and I certainly found the love and support of my online buddies to be so valuable last year and I hope that if someone should ever be unfortunate enough to find themselves in a similar situation to mine that my blog will provide some support in whatever guise that may be.

  10. Enda Sheppard
    January 8, 2019 / 12:10 pm

    Great post, Jo. I think blogging, and the act of blogging, is all that you say it is, for good or not so good, but as I also think you have discovered it can be whatever you want it to be for you, and that is what makes it fun, if that’s the word, for me. I need the discipline of posting once a week, even if I don’t really enjoy the promotion bit much, except for the lovely interactions with fellow bloggers I enjoy, and like sharing with. #tweensteensbeyond

    • Jo
      Author
      January 12, 2019 / 3:47 pm

      It is those interactions with fellow bloggers that make it all worthwhile and I certainly would miss that, it doesn’t really matter if it is via the blog or elsewhere on social media or even face to face – it all helps to make it more real and valuable.

  11. January 7, 2019 / 7:43 pm

    Happy new year Jo! I gave up making resolutions years ago when I realised I am just who I am! I did actually miss my blogging over Christmas it was the longest break I have taken. I can relate to your delving into blogging during your illness because that’s exactly what I did when mum was ill. As I said, I would escape to my blogging world to lose myself and it really helped.
    I’m so pleased that you are here to tell the tale of your year. It sounds like a real scary time and you won the battle xx
    Laurie recently posted…Perfect Timing – A Cosy Teddy CoatMy Profile

    • Jo
      Author
      January 12, 2019 / 3:52 pm

      Sounds like the right mindset to me Laurie. When I was younger I was all for a New Year’s resolution but now it is very much a case of “what will be will be” and a diminishing willpower and interest in pursuing change. Oh the joys of midlife hey! I noticed that you said you missed your blogging and that is the lovely element of taking a break too that it defines what you really couldn’t do without. I know I would certainly have missed it over the last year but have found that I am happier if I just don’t pressure myself but of course in doing that it does force me to ask the question why bother more often than not. Maybe addressing that should be my resolution! Look forward to catching up with you in 2019. X

  12. January 7, 2019 / 1:09 pm

    This is such a great post Jo, thank you for sharing your thoughts. I can identify with so much of what you’ve said – I regularily ask myself whether there is any good purpose to my blogging, apart from the buzz of self indugence, but it’s interesting that when you wrote the very personal accounts of your illness I found you were approachable and authentic as well as inspiring. The one thing I have realised about the blogsphere is that you can make virtual friends with amazing people (including you! 🙂 ) across the world who you might never have met in real life and these friendships give you the fuel you need to get through the day sometimes.
    Liberty Henwick recently posted…Big World, Little Changes – a BlueRock ReviewMy Profile

    • Jo
      Author
      January 12, 2019 / 3:56 pm

      Ah thanks Liberty a bit bolder than my normal posts but that was the mood of the moment and after all as the founder and editor of my blog I am at liberty to say what I like! A bit of brutal honesty never hurt anyone every now and again. I know what you mean about my posts re my illness, I think they were a real turning point for me in turns of letting people in if that makes sense and giving a glimpse of the personality beneath this cloak of anonymity as the Mother of Teenagers. Blogs are a diary of sorts after all and maybe there is an argument for me to embrace that a bit more. Thanks for your fabulous support as always. X

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