Ever since I started blogging just over four and a half years ago now, it has most definitely become an ordinary moment of mine. In fact it is such a part of my everyday life that I couldn’t imagine ever not doing it. My blog has gone from a well loved hobby, a hobby in which I adored being creative and having a little space online just for me, to being a business and one in which I managed to leave my previous career for. I have never been known for my sticking power when it comes to hobbies, but I am thankful every day that I stuck it out and am still loving being part of the blogging community almost five years later.
Lately though I have been thinking a lot more about blogging and the direction I should be going in with my blog. There is no denying this has been brought about by the fact that I have been feeling so poorly and overwhelmed recently due to the first trimester of my third pregnancy really taking it out of me. Being freelance isn’t like other jobs, if I don’t work I don’t get paid, it is as simple as that. I haven’t had as much of a chance to write, take photos or generally immerse myself in the blog world as much as I usually do, although of course I am still there to an extent. But it has definitely made me think a lot more about my blog. I am slowly starting to get on top of the deadlines I have going on, but I really want to start picking up my camera and enjoying my blog again.
I am not one of these people who can shout about my achievements from the rooftops. I am quite shy deep down and I am certainly not very confident really. I think with blogging there is often an element of people thinking that you are really over confident- how can someone who posts selfies, or writes about themselves, or films videos talking to camera not be? But while I am confident in certain respects, the one thing I lack is feeling confident about myself or my achievements. Sometimes I wish I could promote myself a little more, shout about the fact I have done this or that with my blog, or been featured here, but it is just not me. Of course I do promote my blog and the amazing things that happen through it, but it never sits particularly well with me to constantly reshare or promote them. I always worry people will think I am being arrogant or bigging myself up unnecessarily and that makes me shy and feel awkward. I have had some incredible opportunities through blogging and I am now making a nice income out of it, but I am not someone who will shout about these things, or how much money I earn, or this incredible email I just got. It is just not me at all. But then I wonder whether I should be shouting more about it, do I look ungrateful for not doing it more?
The blogging world has changed so much since I started and that is not a bad thing whatsoever, in fact it is a good thing, as there are so many amazing opportunities out there for bloggers. But there is this new wave of constantly self promoting, or sharing endless links on twitter, taking part in comment rings, doing blog tips, or writing about blogging. And I really admire these bloggers who are able to do this, to be that savvy and to share their knowledge with others, there is more than enough space for us to all write about different things or do things in a different way. People like Kerry who writes some really amazing blog tips and shares her fantastic knowledge, or Aby who is so organised and proactive when it comes to promoting her blog. But it just makes me wonder whether I should be doing the same. But that just it isn’t really me, I find it hard. And then I wonder if eventually my daily life and photos of my family will get a bit boring for people to read?
I am so proud of my achievements through this blog and sometimes I wonder if I don’t say it enough. I am incredibly proud that this blog is multi award winning, I am over the moon that I get to work on amazing campaigns with brands and I am thankful every single day for the fact that I was able to give up my previous career as a senior travel account manager to work on this blog while being there for my babies while they are young. It really is the dream job for me, I can honestly say that. In fact most of the time it doesn’t really feel like a job at all. I am proud that I have taught myself how to design and develop my blog (or rather my long suffering husband has), I am proud that I went from not even having a clue how to take a photo to having photos all over the walls in my house that I took and that I adore, I am proud that I have been featured in the press and I am amazingly proud of the friendships I have made through blogging too.
And that is the thing. I am just one of lots and lots of us doing the same thing in our own different ways. We should definitely be celebrating our achievements more than we do. My amazing friend Alice has just been commissioned to write a regular column for The Telegraph, my friend Lucy is getting photo commissions left, right and center through her beautiful instagram page, my friend Sian has started a business helping bloggers with the techy bits they aren’t sure about, my friend Alison is an incredibly talented writer and one of her posts still pops up on my Facebook every now and again after it went viral last year, my friends Morgana and Fritha used blogging to help start their own amazing online businesses, and just this week my friend Penny gave a talk to a room full of people at the World Travel Market about the influence and success of family travel bloggers, while my friend Lucy went to London with a TWO week old baby and filmed a video for the NHS on Flu jabs with Dr Ranj. (A list when you are a Mum!) I don’t think I left the house for at least a couple of weeks after my daughters were born, let alone going on camera for all to see. Just because they aren’t constantly promoting themselves doesn’t mean that they aren’t incredibly talented women and I wanted to shout about them myself. They are amazing.
And these are just a tiny percentage of them- every day I do a little cheer as I see bloggers and friends writing about what they have done, where they have been featured, or who they are working with- there is more than enough space for everyone and it is only growing more and more. It is such an exciting thing to be part of. I really am proud of the campaigns and unique projects I have been a part of and I am proud for my friends too.
I don’t know if other bloggers get this, but I get a lot of people tell me I am lucky. And I agree with them completely- I say to my husband how lucky we are every single day. We are lucky to get to work from home, we are lucky to get such amazing opportunities and I know I am so lucky to be able to be at home with my babies while they are young. If I could choose between this and my previous job where I was working ridiculously long hours in an office and being contracted to travel away a week of every month, I would chose this hands down. But while an element of it is luck, about being on the right PR list or being the person a brand thinks of for a particular campaign, it is also really hard work.
I, like many, have worked on this blog way more than full time hours give or take every single week for four and a half years. Sometimes it is incredibly hard to switch off, like any job I guess. Plus that isn’t to mention all the things that go on behind the scenes too- the constant networking, editing, promoting, sharing etc. I would hate to paint a portrait that being a blogger is just about getting free stuff, promoting it and being paid for it. It can also be stressful surviving on a freelance lifestyle, some months we make more than enough money and we get to treat ourselves to amazing bonuses like we have just had the time of our life in Florida and treated our girls to gifts and nice restaurants all week, but some months I worry that there won’t be enough. Blogging and earning a living online is really unpredictable. But when I say hard work, hard work is relative, I am not a nurse working long, endless hours to help save peoples lives or a teacher working helping children learn in a primary school. It is and amazing thing to be part of and we are so lucky so I can see why people say that, but like with any job it can have its harder moments. We all work so hard, whatever job we do. I never ever take it for granted, so I hope I never come across that way. I am so thankful.
Over the last few weeks I have had to pinch myself at the things my blog has bought myself and my family and I am so proud of that. My blog has been earning a good income for four years, even more so the last year but blogging as a way of earning an income isn’t for everyone and also just cause people don’t talk about what money they make doesn’t mean there aren’t lots of us doing an incredible job of supporting our families via working online. There are some gorgeous blogs who literally just do it as a hobby and a way of being creative, or there are some who are happy to get a couple of lovely opportunities while staying at home and looking after their families. There are some who do it on top of working full time. There are so many different blogs out there for everyone and that is the beauty of blogging.
So I am going to take a few moments to celebrate my blog and all those others that I read and love. I don’t write about blogging a lot, but I just felt like I wanted to take a few seconds to feel incredibly proud of my blog, not be shy about it and feel thankful that blogging is such an ordinary moment of mine and so many others. We should definitely be celebrating our blogging achievements even more than we do now. One day the opportunities may run out, or the blogging world may change, but I will still be here writing and taking photos. As ultimately that is why I started. To record the life of our family and my little girls early days.
That has and always will be my main focus. Every thing else is just a bonus.
A very unexpected, happy, life changing bonus.
(Normal service will resume next week!)