Hello. Exciting news, I just hit 200 posts! Now that collection may have come over a few years slow progress but to me, that is a big number and something I’m very proud of. It’s essentially 200 happy memories I’ve been able to share on here, one of my happy places.
As this will be my 201st post, I wanted to write about something that has been on my mind a lot lately. I’ve been inspired by Gem’s post about the competitive side of blogging (read her post Blogging: Room 101 here) to actually put something down and share how I feel about blogging, my experience so far, what it means to me and how my approach to my blog has altered.
Last night, I found myself trawling through the internet looking for ‘UK based lifestyle blogs’ and ‘lifestyle blogs Scotland’ for some new reads. Although it has taken me a long time to build my blog content and design in to a way that I’m happy with, recently I’ve felt more confident in sharing my posts, networking a little bit and getting more interactive with the (awesome!) blogging community. I’ve been working hard to make my posts a lot more regular and consistent and I even took the step to get my own blog domain last week. Looking through other sites last night made me realise how much these small steps mean to me, but not after a certain amount of self doubt.
I spent a couple of hours browsing through beautiful sites with really great content but, rather than feeling impressed and inspired, I felt kind of fed up and deflated. I kept thinking how my design will never look as great as that or my readership will never get to be that large and interactive. I know I should really have been thinking things like, ‘wow, what a great post idea?!’ or ‘man, these pictures are stunning, I should go out and try getting a similar effect’, and usually when I read other blogs, I do. This time, however, I struggled to look past the negatives. I think that even the most confident or optimistic person can find it hard to look beyond their flaws or weaknesses or struggles sometimes and when it is something you really love and work hard at, I think it becomes even harder. So I kept thinking, why can’t my blog be better? Why can’t I have readers like that too? Why can’t I do this thing and that thing and the other thing?!
And then I remembered. This blogging malarkey? It’s just a hobby. I started it as a hobby, I still do it as a hobby. I am a student and I have a part time job and I have a boyfriend, friends, family who I want to take time to see. I created this blog because I wanted to share special moments in my life, not because I wanted to force out memories and experiences just to make content. As I thought more and more about this, (and I thought about it for a long time!) I read other posts on this topic and turned my negative thinking around. I began to focus on all the reasons why I started blogging. To have a career? To make money? To be the best and most established? NO! Those things certainly never even crossed my mind.
I created this blog because…
- I wanted to inspire others. Even if one person sees a recipe, an outfit or a post they want to recreate or can relate too, that’s one more person’s day that I’ve been able to touch and hopefully make a little brighter. That’s what blogs do for me anyway.
- I wanted somewhere to share my memories with loved ones, as well as having a diary for myself in the digital world.
- I wanted to encourage myself to be far more creative and challenge myself to learn new things. My Dad has taught me so much in the way of photography. Along with his help, blogging and a desire to document memories has given me the confidence to pick up my camera, go out and give it a go. Now, I feel like I’ve actually got my head around shutter speed and aperture, would you believe it?, and I’m taking photos I am proud of.
- And most importantly, I wanted to blog because from the first time I balanced my little digital camera on a huge pile of books on my bed and posed in a flowery dress that was ‘Vintage Thought #1’, I loved it. I loved the process of taking a photo, editing it, writing something to go with it and putting it out there in to this huge online space with the hope that it would maybe reach even one person.
They are all the reasons I began blogging and they are the reasons I get motivated to continue doing so. Sometimes you just need to focus yourself on the reasons you started something because it all gets a little muddled with options and alternatives and potential to do something else. Mum always says to me ‘nothing has changed.’ When I was stressed and scared and overwhelmed with my last year of school and first of university, that’s what she’d tell me. And she’s right. Underneath all the choices to make and options to consider, nothing has changed. As long as you always remember the reasons why you do something, it’s okay to aim for something bigger.
I don’t know what I am going to do in the future. I don’t have a clue what job I’d enjoy or thrive in or even where to start looking. At the moment, there is only one thing I can think that I’d love to do as a career. Blogging. Creating a foundation for a business out of it, watching it grow and develop and become something that is inspiring and beautiful to be a part of. However, I aspire to have a successful career in any area that I love and to have a family one day. I know that blogging is not the only outcome that would make me happy but I do know at the moment it’s the one I imagine and dream for.
But I’m realistic. Maybe it won’t happen. Maybe there are too many blogs and YouTubers’ and internet professionals out there to compete with who have done it all before. But to me, when I really take my time to plan and think about things, that doesn’t matter. Nothing can actually take this blog away from me. It may not grow, it may not become anything more that a hobby blog with occasional readers (who I am so, so grateful for, each and every one) but that doesn’t matter because I still have all the same reasons I did four years ago. And while I learn and have fun, I can still try to achieve my ultimate goal and love what I am doing in the mean time.
That is why I’ve been thinking about how I can make my blog look more professional, talking to other bloggers (thanks, Cat!) who have given me tips on how to do this without taking drastic measures. I’m not really one for quotes but I can see why people relate to things like ‘stop saying I wish and start saying I will’ and ‘shoot for the moon, even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.’ I debated over investing in my own blog domain for about an hour. Do I really need to spend money on my blog? Will it ever be worth it? Is it a bit risky? Then I thought, if I have any chance of meeting my dream goal, then I need to take steps to get there, no matter how small. So I did! And I feel good about it, and that is what it is, once again, all about.
I love my little corner of the web. It makes me smile when someone comments or likes a post. I feel so overwhelmed when I get someone saying they think my content it really good. I get excited when Paperchase or Tiger UK tweet me because I mentioned their products in a post. All of these rushes of happiness and excitement are what it’s for and that is why I do it. But I won’t completely give up on that ultimate dream goal until I’ve done everything I can to try and get there.
I really hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any questions on anything I’ve said, let me know! And tell me, how do you feel about blogging? What attitude do you take to it to ensure it is still good fun for you?
Thank you for reading my 200 (and one!) and I look forward to writing so many more.