Like that big birthday you have been anticipating for months before, my blogging anniversary has come and gone. When I started on this journey, I had grand plans for this milestone. Balloons, champagne, surprises and your odd performing circus monkey. But recent decisions to spend time doing those trivial things like talking to my husband, playing with my daughter, catching up on work and embarking on too-ambitious home projects kind of got in the way. The good thing about this period of absence means that I did actually spend time reflecting on this last year and I feel like I have learnt some interesting, and slightly unexpected lessons. Here they are: the top 5 things I’ve learnt about blogging in a year.
1) Write about retainers. Craft blog? Psh! Food blog? C’est tres blasé. War? Politics? Charity? I’ll tell you what the public really want to know. The country, nay, the WORLD is all too interested in those instruments of torture, the retainer. It is far and away the topic that leads the most people to LOAEP. Apparently, there are quite a few who are either dying to get their snaggles fixed, a-like moi or for the poor soul who found me by searching for “How to remove a retainer” – I feel your pain and my teeth are screaming for you.
2) Weigh what you write. Before you click “Publish” consider if those you love will appreciate what you are about to share with whichever Tom, Dick or Harry come across your site simply because they were looking for retainers. There is a way to write about what you care about and still to protect the most valuable things in your life. Your relationships. I’ve been pretty careful about what I’ve shared, but have had the occasional slip-up. And usually that slip-up is because I want you to be interested in me, dear reader. While I like you, I really like my husband, my daughter, my family, my job and I don’t just want them to be interested in me, I want them to trust me.
3) Back off of Billy’s Mum. This is specifically for the parenting bloggers and blog readers. Billy’s Mum likes walks on the beach, knitting, baking and Gina Ford…. Wait….what?! Gina “The Devil Incarnate” Ford?! Well, Billy’s mum doesn’t know it but she better start selling those knitted jumpers because she’s going to have to save for therapy if she continues on this path. Billy is bound to be a detached, traumatised basket-case by the age of 23. People can write some pretty nasty things when there is a disagreement and they are safely behind a PC. I will blog about how I parent from time to time and you don’t have to agree with me (ahem:: We’reNotDoingTheSantaThing ::ahem). That’s okay. Let’s talk about it civilly. We can wear fascinators and sip tea while we do, if that helps.
4) Marry a web guy. Is the spacing all wrong on your post? Do you need advice about the intended use of Twitter? Tips about tags? Do you need someone to do a banner for you? It’s blogging without the headaches. Why learn it when you can pull your spouse over to sort it while you pack away a whole pack of Caramel Digestives and catch up on the latest episode of The Newsroom?
5) Stop trying. You are going places. You’ve got things to say. You’ve got time on your hands and as many social media accounts as you do pennies in your purse. I stepped back from blogging in August, I tweeted less, I didn’t promote LOAEP and moved up 151 – ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-ONE – spaces in the UK parenting blog charts. Who knows why but I kind of like that I can’t figure it out. I know that it is a business for some. I know that your livelihoods depend on it. I get that you’ve got to invest to reap the benefits. But if you are not one of these people, stop killing yourself. Go hug a kitten. Get some fresh air. Live life without thinking “I can blog about this.” Know that it will be okay if you don’t post today. You may even find that you are writing because you really love it rather than because you’re trying to chart hop. I promise it’ll be freeing.