I appreciate that for most people, the last two or three months have actually been a holiday period – traditionally if not in reality. For me, though it has been one long first term at a new school. The Blogging Academy.
What have I learnt?
It is a real commitment
There is no question that to blog well you have to do some homework, work hard and put your heart and soul into it. There is a lot to learn: from the technical side, to the etiquette and publicising your posts - it is a steep learning curve. I imagine that there are many blogs out there, started with good intentions and then abandoned for want of time or lack of inspiration. One of them is an old one of mine. This time I was determined to make a real go of it, and put the effort in.
It is addictive!
It certainly is! I toyed with the title ‘Is blogging more fun than sex’ but thought perhaps that would look like a shameless attempt to get traffic to my site. However, it is an interesting question. The answer is of course a resounding ‘No!’ but blogging has highlighted what my husband has always suspected – where he is a ‘lark’, preferring to get up early and get to work, I am the ‘owl’, always seeming to find inspiration at about 11pm. As he plaintively calls up the stairs ‘bedtime tea darling?’ I curtly shout ‘just five more minutes!!’ and then carry on for at least another hour. This inevitably means opportunities for late night swinging from the chandelier have been fewer and further between. Thank goodness for a fortnight in Suffolk.
It is great writing practice
Even in the short time I have been posting to my blog I have learnt so much about how I write and what I can write well about. It has been a while since I have written anything verging on creative, and the opportunity to write on diverse and frankly random topics, from mental health and breast cancer, to allotments and Asda has been invaluable. I can point people to individual posts when pitching stories and I know that for many ‘work at home’ parents it has led to the chance to review products and make money directly from their blog.
It is a proper community of many different interests
To blog successfully, you can’t be selfish. I really appreciate comments on what I have written, and I believe therefore that others want the same. This is a tough one though – you can’t read every blog out there, so what kind of filter can you use? Twitter is a great way to find blogs written by people with similar interests and if someone takes the time to check out my post I will look at their site, and if what they have written interests me I will comment. However, I can’t say I empathise with something if I don’t; I won’t pretend to think a photo of a child is cute if there is something of the night about it; and if a piece is written in a style I don’t enjoy reading then I can’t plough my way through it to be polite. I would expect anyone reading mine to feel the same way, otherwise what is the point? However, I do believe you have to treat everyone’s writing with respect. We are all blogging for a reason purely our own and I can’t judge anyone simply because they are not writing with me in mind.
Blogging is an opportunity to make a difference
When I started blogging I was lucky enough to have the support of my friend Jo of slummysinglemummy fame. She writes brilliant posts – humorous, often moving, saucy and right to the point. Through her I learnt about ‘mummyblogging’, something I have mentioned before in my posts. Recently mummy bloggers have been to Bangladesh withSave the Children and have had the opportunity to raise awareness of issues we might other wise have been blind to. I have also found that posts I have written on mental health issues have reached an audience I never anticipated through the great work of Linda and the Breaking the Silence blog.
I can’t give myself a grade at the end of this first term of course, but having posted 36 times, had getting on for 2000 views and nearly 300 comments I am surprised at how much I have achieved. And although it is very easy to get caught up in Blog Stats (and I do on a daily basis-how do you avoid it?) this is the first time I have actually looked at all the totals.
So if anyone out there who isn’t already blogging bothers to get to the end of this rather self-indulgent post then what is stopping you? It is good fun, and I can guarantee there will be people out there interested in what you have to say. Especially if it contains the word ‘sex’….