Teaching Mum turned one in April. According to my statistics, I have written and posted fifty blog posts and I suppose it’s a nice even number to round off the year. Fifty posts in a year doesn’t sound bad to the non-blogging individual and when I scroll through my archived posts, it’s nice to remember the hidden little gems I had forgotten about. However, upon entering this mysterious world of blogging, a place where you can grab a little piece of internet for yourself, I have learnt that fifty posts isn’t really that much; the majority of bloggers I have found myself mingling with in cyber space post three or four times a week. I don’t even possess the amount of vocabulary needed to post that often.
In the last year, I have found myself lost in the Twitterverse with a thousand followers; wondered through Pinterest looking at and guffawing at perfect crafting ideas for children; opened two Instagram accounts (one as me and one as the other me) and bugged friends, colleagues and family to ‘like’ my Facebook page. For every post I add to my Facebook page, I post in numerous ‘blogging’ groups on there also. I also Tweet the *New Post* ten times over and send messages to the Mummy Bibles that are Mumsnet, Netmums, Tots100 and Britmums in the hope that they may read my posts, find me hilarious and put me on their front page. The thing is though, there are thousands of bloggers on the internet and the majority of them are bloody fantastic. They have better websites than me, they have blogging buddies, most (not all) have the wonderful gift of time and they execute excellent grammar skills. (Much to my annoyance because I thought my ability to use grammar correctly might give me that edge, but as it turns out, a lot of people know how to use grammar correctly because they were taught it at school – huh, who knew?)
To those wonderful people I know who have read my posts and indulge me in my dream of being a writer, thank you. I can assure you that every time I press publish on a post and post on Facebook (where my actual real friends exist), I cringe and fill with self doubt. Therefore your comments are always appreciated and I love that I can sometimes put a smile on your face.
Having spent three hours writing and editing Tunnel Vision last week, I felt somewhat demoralised by the fact that it was viewed by fifty-five people and I felt my blogging mojo slipping away from me. In all honesty, I have found writing very difficult of late because I have had no stories to tell. When I started writing, I wanted to have a niche. I read countless blogs about how to wean your baby, about how to keep your baby safe, about whether to use dummies and whether a boob is better than a bottle. That kind of writing just didn’t appeal to me because I didn’t want to give advice, I wanted to tell stories. So that’s what I did. The first few posts flowed easily because I had some stories to tell, I was on maternity leave and I was up at night feeding The Dude so I tapped and tapped away on my app. The idea behind my writing was that I wanted to highlight my imperfections; I wanted to show that being on maternity leave wasn’t all baby massage and drinking coffee so I wrote about how one afternoon was spent at the local tip and therefore ‘My Day Trip to the Tip’ became my first post. No one knew that I had written it – I was anonymous and when I read it back now, I still think it’s funny because, upon refection, my total and utter d*ckheadness and slackness that day is something that I can look back on and smile about.
It was on May Day 2015 when I finally told my friend JC that I had started writing and asked her to read it. That evening I sent her a link to my then Blogger account and an hour or so later she text me to tell me that she thought my posts were funny. This was and is by far my greatest compliment because in real life I don’t think I am funny. I am awkward, shy and a bumbling idiot, where as I find JC hilarious, fun-loving and a, now how shall I put this, a social butterfly. This encouragement was all I needed to admit to the Other Half that I had taken up blogging and that he may appear as a character in my stories. “Don’t write about me,” was his response and in a year he has yet to read anything I have written. That’s why encouragement from my little audience is so lovely because it’s not something I really get from home. He is however, a well liked character in some of my stories because he too, like JC, is incredibly funny, but in a very different way. If JC is the social butterfly, then rip the wings from it and lock it in a room filled with UFC on TV and packets Tangfantastics strewn all over the floor and you have the Other Half – he is the master of his home and he doesn’t like to leave it. From our day out to a theme park to the time he bought me bed socks as a birthday present and then when he buggered off and left me to go skiing for a week, my partner is a major character in both my life and blog and long may it remain that way, but don’t tell him, okay?
The more I wrote, the more I thought opportunities might present themselves. Being a member of countless blogging communities, I often read statuses exclaiming that they have been contacted by PRs and major companies. ‘Have you all received the email from The Super Dooper Pram Company?’ (I may have made that name up) they ask. Excited, I rush to my emails only to be greeted by a spam message telling me that I have received a £10 voucher for Primark if I just click here and fill out a survey, which is the metaphorical equivalent of opening your wallet and a moth flying out. That’s when the self doubt kicks in. I wonder why I don’t receive the emails from the companies and realise that it’s because I am a tiny fish in an immense pond where there will always be bigger and better fish and I have to accept this, move on and write another story about my family and friends as they are my inspirations and not the PR lady who sent me a free bottle of Zoflora disinfectant to review and didn’t even thank me afterwards. ‘Ooh, it smells of cinnamon I cooed’, but the acknowledgment of my writing just didn’t come and I worked hard to make my review fit the story telling niche of my blog.
Last night I took to Twitter and complained about my failure at blogging. There has been a couple of times where I have received an over whelming response to a post and for an instant I thought I was good, I thought I had this blogging mama sh*t down, but as it turns out, I don’t. Feeling disheartened, I reached out to my 1000 followers and one person responded. Just one. A fellow blogger called Mummy’s Writing Darling metaphorically shook some sense into me and sent me a link to a post she had written that day and it inspired me to write this piece celebrating the fact that I have been writing for a year (while totally dropping in links to old posts – have you noticed…), but also admitting that it’s hard. It’s hard to write sometimes, it’s hard to be original, it’s hard when you have very little time and are knackered from lack of sleep, it’s hard to write funny stories when the only thing I really do on a weekend is mark thirty exercise books, shove clothes into the washing machine and try to empty a Dyson vacuum that contains at least three Peppa Pig socks each time it is emptied. Above all though, it’s bloody hard to be consistent in a space so vast like the Internet – in a space where there exists a plethora of bloggers and PRs who, if you dare sit back, relax and step away from the laptop for a moment, will forget you in an instant. I must come to accept this fact.
Last April, a Facebook message from friend and blogger Educating Roversi inspired me to start writing and the stubborn mule in me won’t stop. I will continue to write for me; I will continue to document my stories about my children as they are the beating heart of my blog and I will continue to dream of being a mega successful author one day.
And if I do, I will give each of my Facebook followers a £100k each.
That might make my Facebook likes increase…because the Facebook page is a bugger to grow.
Apologies for the self-indulgent reminiscent style post; it is my ‘Blogaversary’ after all!