Wednesday 17th October 2007 was a pivotal day for me and yet I didn’t actually realise it at the time. That was the day, when pondering the meaning of life whilst having a bath as the six month old baby slept that I decided to start my blog. I’d been considering it for a while as I was very conscious that I might lose some skills whilst off on maternity leave. At the time I was still very much engaged with the Museums Association CPD scheme and was (or so I thought) headed for a good career within museums. Its funny how things have panned out isn’t it?
Anyway, in seven years of blogging I’ve seen lots of changes. The emergence of Twitter, Instagram and Facebook pages spring to mind. The rise of WordPress over Blogger. Funnily enough I started out with both WordPress and Blogger pages for this blog, but blogger was always much better indexed and more popular so I stuck with it. On reflection that might not have been the best decision.
Blogging has in many ways changed my life. Its become an income stream, given my family so many different opportunities and has lead me down new career paths. However, at times it has been all encompassing; the number of photographs of the backs of children’s heads rather than the front. I actually have to think about making them recognisable in shots for us rather than the other way around. The number of hours I have spent toiling away on the Internet blogging, doing work or answering the never ending stream of emails could probably have been spent in a much more worthwhile manner sorting out the house, gardening or preparing activities for the children. That’s life I guess.
Things could have been a lot worse though, I know bloggers who have become so obsessed that it is the first thing they do in the morning and the last thing at night. Some people sit on Twitter all day and have notifications set up for every bit of social activity and a lot of people place a huge amount of emphasis and in my opinion pressure on themselves to engage in the ‘social’ side of social media. That means hours spent engaging people on Twitter and Instagram, liking other peoples posts and commenting on other peoples blogs, and answering comments on their own. The fiercest advocates for this are usually people with a vested interest of some sort, usually making money in some capacity.
But what have I learnt in all this time? Well, I know I’m not the most successful of bloggers and I’m well aware of all the things which I could do to make my blog look much better, be read by even more people and to generally be more successful. However, I think I’ve reached a happy medium of happy stress free blogging and these are my top tips:
- Sit back and enjoy the peace! Turn off the computer, read a book, go for a run. Do not check Twitter or Facebook every five minutes, that route leads to comparison with others which is a bad thing.
- Really think about what you agree to review or write about. Would you consider buying it yourself? If not then don’t bother reviewing it as not only will you end up with a house filled with ‘stuff’, you’ll also find it quite hard to write the review and put it off until it becomes a real worry.
- Blog as and when you want to, blog about what you want and don’t worry about the stats. Over time a well indexed blog will retain the stats that potential advertisers are looking for anyhow.
- Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, what they are invited to, what they are reviewing and what they are writing about. Don’t feel pressured into joining linkies just because others are. Do what is right for you and enjoy what you are doing and where you are with the blog.
- Spend a little time looking back at old posts, the ones which resonate most with you are the best ones and the type of blog that you should be writing more of!
- Perhaps my biggest tip though is to take a break every so often. Its great to refresh your batteries, clear your mind and provides some head space. The posts you write after a break will be much better than those before.
- I’m amazed by the amount of time people seem to spend social networking these days. Try to remember that your real life actual friends are the most important, they are the ones who really know you. Don’t get sucked into blogger cliques and avoid Facebook groups like the plague as they inevitably implode.
- I always try to keep a low profile at blogger events. This has served me really well over time and means that I can write more freely and I’m not constantly cornered by people meaning I can enjoy the experience. I’m not in cliques or groups of bloggers and I don’t feel that this has made any difference to the amount of opportunities I’ve been offered or who engages with me long term.
I’m trying really hard these days to cut down the amount of time I spend blogging, on Twitter and Facebook and spend more time reading, sewing and crafting. The result has been a massive increase in the quality of my life. That’s the thought I’d like to leave you with.