This week marks a year since I started writing this blog. I actually signed up for my first free blog account in 2012, but only wrote two posts before I lost interest, bottled it and shelved it for a few years.
It was in March 2014 that I decided Rainbeaubelle needed to be resurrected and I set about deleting all my old posts, redesigning the layout and thinking about what I wanted it to be like. It was really a distraction from what was going on in my real life – as my husband had at that point only been out of hospital for a few months after a life-changing operation to remove a blood clot in his bowel, among other things – and was recuperating at home. My blog was going to be a place to touch on the good stuff, the lovely little everyday things that made me smile.
It still is that place, but I now pepper those happy posts with writing about what’s happening in our lives as a family, as so much has gone on it would feel strange not to talk about those things. Rog is back in hospital, we have just been told he has bowel cancer which is seemingly unrelated to his previous problems, and we are working out how to deal with it all. Blogging about these experiences has helped me massively, and taught me a lot about how to give myself some space and help myself cope.
Aside from this, blogging has taught me so much that I thought I’d share, in case any of you feel you would like to start your own blog, or current bloggers feel they can relate. So here goes, this is what a year of blogging has taught me…
1. That blogging is sociable. When I started off, I was writing for myself and only really sharing it with my husband and a few close friends and family. When I saw a few, I mean literally maybe two or three! I didn’t have the confidence to share my posts with the world, and just kind of hoped they would be discovered and people would like them. It was Roger who urged me to go public, as after all, isn’t that the point of writing a blog, so that people can read it?! A few months later, I started sharing my posts on Facebook and was overwhelmed by the positive messages I got in return. I then began sharing posts and chatting to fellow bloggers on Twitter, and realised just how many people are into it. Since then, I’ve got to know lots of other blogs and found there is a whole community of like-minded, wonderful people who are all passionate about this hobby as I am. So making friends is a definite plus side of blogging. It’s taught me that people are so bloody good, kind, and wonderful and the blogging community is incredibly supportive
2. That writing is therapeutic. Writing down your thoughts really does help to organise them, and is a lot cheaper than counselling! Laying your feelings bare is pretty scary sometimes, but feeling that fear somehow helps me feel stronger, if that makes sense. .
3. That I love being creative. I write for a living, but working in news doesn’t always allow for the same creative freedom you get when you have your own blog. One of my favourite blogs is actually one that encourages creativity called Studio Mothers. Each Friday there’s a new message to spur you on and remind you that a regular creative practice really is so good for the soul.
4. That it’s not just putting pen to paper. I’m a bit of a slow blogger, posting usually once or twice a week and I always spend a few days at least on each post. I find it difficult to sit down and write the whole thing in one go, I’d rather half-write it, then come back and finish it with a different perspective later on. This is partly out of necessity, as I usually start a post on the train on the way to work, and finish it before I go to bed that night. Some posts linger half-written for days, even weeks before they are published.
5. That there are thousands of us spending our free time writing down our thoughts for all to see. As in my first point, there are thousands of bloggers out there and there is so much to learn from one another.
6. That blogging is addictive. I’m still here after a year, so there is definitely a sense of addiction there. I always feel better after publishing a post too…then spend ages having a look to see how many people are reading!
7. That you secretly think more people should start writing one. I often hear someone’s story and think, you should write a blog about that! There are so many people I know who would be amazing bloggers, so maybe they will read this and decide to give it a go!
8. That it’s nice to get recognition. A year after I started blogging and I have made it into the top 200 on the Tots 100 parent bloggers index. I’ve just sneaked in at 199, but it feels good!
9. That it’s fun. It’s a bit of escapism and a secret world to retreat to – and beats doing the ironing in the evening or watching rubbish telly. (Actually I still do those things too, just badly).
10. That it’s free! (You can take the girl out of Yorkshire, etc etc) When I started my blog, I signed up for a free site with WordPress. I actually now pay a very small amount to have the site hosted for me and to keep my domain name, but it’s less than £10 a month.
So go on, if you haven’t started writing yet, what are you waiting for?