Why I Blog

10 Nov 2018

Why I Blog

I’m sat in Costa working on my novel chapter-plan and Elton’s John’s Step Into Christmas just came on.

I am here for it. It’s making me itch to dig out the Christmas bedding when I get home but I have a feeling G would spout something about it only being November.

Anyway, yes, blogging.

If you pay attention to the world of blogging then you probably have a definition as to what a blogger is. And, by that definition, I am a rubbish blogger. Because blogging these days is about so much more than writing a blog post. It’s an entire industry full of ‘influencers’; bloggers, youtubers, instagrammers. It’s a living. An entire career. It’s Instagram themes and scheduled tweets, engagement and stats, sponsored posts and hashtag #ad, hashtag #gift. There are bloggers who have become celebrities, magazines dedicated to the world of blogging and an entire online community of brilliant, like-minded people.

I was, unbelievably, unaware of all of this when I set up my own blog. In my defence, I’d just spent three years in a university bubble and another year in a what am I doing with my life bubble. I’d been kinda distracted okay.

In a way, I have always blogged. I’ve kept diaries, on and off, my entire life. I’ve had diaries that lasted for approximately 2 days, diaries that lasted months and are full of details of school crushes and diaries from most of my holidays (the time I'm most consistent when it comes to diary-keeping). I think it was the delight that was MySpace where these diaries first started taking an online form and there have been various other online-versions of my diaries since. So, along with the fact that writing is my biggest passion in life, it was hardly surprising that I would decide to start up a blog; my own ‘corner of the internet’.

And then this whole new world opened up to me. I discovered that there were a lot of bloggers, that it was an entire flippin’ industry that had somehow passed me by. Honestly, I was thrilled. Not so much about the fact that you could earn money from a blog although that was pretty darn cool but about the fact that there were all these voices out there that I could turn to every day. I now can’t imagine a day where I don’t check into my bloglovin feed and check what new articles my favourite bloggers have uploaded.

And after a tough 18 months trying to find my way post-uni – where I barely wrote a word – I finally felt like I had a creative buzz again. Here was something that allowed me to write, take photos and just generally be creative with no limitations. I genuinely believe that blogging has improved my writing, my photography, my editing and taught me a load of new skills as well (although quite frankly, html code will always be a permanent headache).

I didn’t even tell anyone I had a blog for a good while (shout-out to G for being my solitary reader). And then one evening, after a few months, I nervously decided to share my blog link on Facebook. And some time after that, on twitter. And so on. These days, I couldn’t care less who knows I have a blog and am finally used to family and friends knowing details of my life before I’ve got around to telling them.

But I’ve never really gone much further than sharing my blog on social media. And, quite frankly, I’m becoming pretty poor at that. I could write an entire blog post on why I barely go on twitter these days but that’s probably one for another day. I forget to promote my blog most of the time, I’m rubbish at engaging with other bloggers (even when I think they’re marvellous) and the idea of me having an Instagram theme is laughable (just the thought of the restriction stresses me out).

It’s not that I don’t find the fact that blogging has become an entire industry really interesting and I find it freakin’ incredible that we can now make a living and work for ourselves just by setting up our own online space. I particularly love seeing my favourite influencers* doing well for themselves.

It’s just, that’s not why I set up this blog. I set it up because my creativity felt stilted and I needed a release. And I’ve kept at it for over three years because I have this desperate need to keep a record of everything; to capture memories. And for some reason, putting it online forces me to keep going. And, yes, I’m selfish about it. It’s all for me – I’m not writing things that I know the reader wants. I’m writing what I want. And I could do that and never show it to anyone, sure. The memories would still be recorded. But putting it somewhere that I know others can read it; well, that keeps me in check. Like there’s something to hold me to account if I don’t do it, in a way there wouldn’t be if I was just scribbling into a journal; no one’s going to ask me why I’ve stopped scribbling into the journal should I stop for months on end because life.

I’ve had a couple of gifts as a result of being a blogger, and have even earned myself a small amount of cash. And, yes, I found it pretty cool. But to get to a stage where that became a regular occurrence, I would have to work really hard in an extremely saturated industry. And a lot of that work would involve things that are not blogging. And honestly? I struggle to find the motivation to do those things when all I’m really interested in is putting pen to paper (or words on screen). And blogging is such a small part of my writing; there’s a lot of short stories and novel chapters that never make it anywhere near the internet. I don’t spend enough time on them as it is so I struggle to move away from them for things like scheduling promotional tweets or considering how to make my Instagram stories interesting.

In the world of influencing, I’m not really nailing it. I have no brand, am awful at self-promotion, I never comment on other people's blogs as much as I intend to and am starting to shy away from social media more and more, for the sake of my own sanity.

But I still love blogging. I still keep reading. I still think it’s incredible that people are forging entire careers from their online spaces. I still keep typing away for the pure love of it and, right now, I can’t see a day where that will stop. Even if my page views grind to a halt because I’ve not shared my links on twitter *shrugs*.

So yeah, if you just want a blogger that rambles away for no other reason than to ramble, that writes and photographs for no other reason than because, then hi. I’m your girl.

Oh maaaaan, Last Christmas just came on. Shout out to Costa’s festive playlist for helping me craft this essay.

*Some of my favourites include Hannah Gale, Charlotte Taylor, Love Taza, The Anna Edit, The Little Plum, Father of Daughters, Susie Verrill & Sophie Cliff.