My personal blogging story began 10 years ago. I am going to reflect back on how it changed for me over the years and to share my lessons in the hope they might inspire some new bloggers because we need to hear women’s voices loud and clear.
The blogs that never got a single comment
When I first started blogging, I was in a mess. I did not know what I was doing. I just knew I was miserable, had no idea how to juggle 3 children with anything approaching aplomb and I hated having somehow ended up being a nobody. So I would start a blog, rant about household and parenting disasters and then give up a few days or weeks later.
The anonymous blog
I blogged anonymously for a few years with a blog called Giggling at it all. My mother could see I was suffering from post-natal depression. One morning when she was celebrating Christmas at our house, fuelled by whisky, she told me in a way that she should be obeyed, that I should start writing. She did not say it was for therapy but I think that is what was behind her advice. She knew I had always wanted to write and I think she felt it would give me a sense of identity. Within a few weeks, she announced that she was terminally ill with cancer. Now let me tell you when you covet statistics, let it be known that these are often got through blogging openly and honestly about horrendous times and loss. Be careful what you wish for is my advice when it comes to statistics! Ditto awards for being inspirational – the come with a price tag!
I had no ideas about the bells and whistles of the tech side of blogging and did not know that blogging networks existed. If you are at this point in your blogging journey, know that it is OK to not know anything and that this will be looked back on as one of your most joyous times of blogging. Once you know about stats, review opportunities and monetisation, you can never blog quite as freely again, My blog at this time did not even have photographs on it as I am very much the wordsmith.
The lovely thing was that people started to want to know who was behind the blog so I felt I had to come out. I posted a photo of myself thinking everyone would comment on my ugliness but our greatest fears rarely happen.
Kate on thin ice
Kate on thin ice was born in 2011 when I was having issues with Blogger that I could not be bothered to work out and ever one was raving about WordPress so I made the switch. By now I knew about blogging networks, linkies and awards. I set up my own linky going by the name of Groovy Mums. People came to this as if by magic and it touched a real nerve with people who were a little lost perhaps due to confidence issues, depression, relationship breakdown or just the stuff that shows up when we become mums. I loved hosting Groovy Mums and have always felt I gained more from it than the beautiful women taking part. I learned that women are not always as they seem and may not be revealing the very real personal torments they are going through. I learned to take risks and we got Groovy Mums trending on Twitter when I hosted a Twitter party. Of course I was clueless or I would have collaborated with a brand and made some money out of all this. However, I made what money can never buy in terms of heartfelt friends that are with me to this day.
Blogging events were totally outside my comfort zone as it meant meeting people in real life. Offline I am shy and introverted often found in the loo or trying to disappear into a wall. I actually volunteered to speak at BritMums Live as I knew that was the only way I would not bottle it completely as I had done the year before. As for the speaking, well I was never invited to do it again so I will leave you to draw your own conclusions. I have now attended a handful of blogging conferences and facilitated at BritMums Live usually to be found working out if my underwear will stay up and keep everything in place.
My blogging story was emotional
It was not planned but my blog covered emotions right from the start partly because I was so immobilised by post-natal depression and partly through the sense of loss before and after my mum’s passing. I found out people seemed to find it helpful when I told the truth warts and all so I shared my memories of childhood, my adoption, my martial issues, my parenting troubles and my grief when my Dad passed away.
I had always joked with my husband about the fact that some bloggers had gone on VIP trips to Orlando. I knew I did not have the profile for that type of thing so it was easy just to use it as an example to where blogging might take you as my husband saw my blogging just as a hobby. Never ever write yourself or your blog off! In 2013 just when my son was really struggling to come to terms with my Dad’s death and was having troubles in school, we were invited on a press trip to Orlando. I said yes because my friend Polly told me I would not have hesitated to go when I was 21 and because my Dad would have said “Go because they would not have invited you if they did not want you there!” which was always his advice when I was invited to parties and trying to convince myself that everybody hated me. I was out of my depth with proper journalists and bloggers when we got to Florida with my cheap camera and lack of notebook. I will be forever grateful to Jen, Kirstie, Sally and Kelly who were so lovely with us. That is another lesson – if you tell other bloggers how you feel they will do everything they can to help with a couple of exceptions and we don’t talk about them because they have their own issues going on.
It was years before someone offered me a review and I did not know they existed so did not ask for any. Our first review was a toy hamster that chatted away. There must be some deep meaning in that! Lovely things followed and I particularly remember a Christmas hamper from Marco Pierre White partly because we were skint at the time and it made our Christmas special.
Working for BritMums
It was probably in 2012 when I started working on the charity round-up for BritMums that my profile went up but along with that came the idea that I had more confidence that I did. I moved on to being social media manager before the amazing Aby took over to show how it is really done. I have said it a few times but Susanna and Jen at BritMums changed my life in such a positive way even if they still don’t quite understand my Yorkshire accent.
What next in my blogging story?
I have found my niche which was staring me in the face all the time. I asked what I was all about and my husband said “supporting women obviously.” It was a light bulb moment and my focus from now on as the blog covers self-care, parenting and the troublesome challenges like debt, housing, employment and family stuff that can hit any of us at any time. I will be offering free advice on the stuff women struggle with so if you have a problem/issue you would like me to tackle let me know via my “Contact Me” page. You can also subscribe to my blog to access freebies of the useful variety throughout the year.
I believe in myself more than I ever did and will proactively seek out exciting opportunities. I always was far braver than I made out. I just needed to feel it for myself and the reasons for my insecurity are pretty clear seeing as I spent the first year of my life in a convent waiting for adoptive parents to show up. When they did they were superb and my blogging will always be my mum’s legacy and what a lovely one it is too.
Watch this space – the next 10 years are going to change the world or at least one mum’s life that needs a little support.
Happy Anniversary Kate on thin ice – you did not slip as many times during your blogging story as you thought you would and you are a writer just like you always wanted.
If you would like to share your personal blogging story please leave a comment or you could feature your story on my blog and let others now what blogging means to you.