It was hardly a crisis, but a year ago, I was feeling a bit stuck.
A to-do list that had been all-consuming for the previous few months was done. We had moved our family to the other side of the world. Nursery and playgroups were sorted. We met some wonderful people. Writing this makes it sound as if it was just one big tea party, doesn’t it? One with happy polka-dot porcelain and a multi tier cake stand.
Anyway. The move was over. At last I could do one of those long “phew” sounds, while wiping my brow and elegantly collapsing into an armchair, taking care to end up in a flattering sitting position.
But something was missing. I was no longer working, no longer planning a big move, no longer researching areas to live or stalking those in charge of school admissions. While not wanting to minimise the importance of my role as a mother, I needed something else to do.
I decided I’d start a blog. That day, without having a clue what I was doing, This Mid 30s Life was born.
That was twelve months ago today. I have got more out of blogging than I ever thought possible. It’s fun. From time to time I am asked about starting a blog. For what it’s worth, here is my advice if anyone is interested:
1. Just do it. Think too much about it and you’ll either chicken out or over-complicate matters. It’s not rocket science. It’s a blog.
Although I love the idea of someone thinking this is clever stuff. With that in mind – it is absolutely rocket science. You need the IQ of Dr Sheldon Cooper.
|Same actor. Different stylist.|
2. It’s your blog, so write in your own voice. There is a great article on Netmums about finding your blogging voice. Yes, yes, it’s vain putting the link here when this blog was used as a good example… I know. But it was a bit exciting which I’m sure you understand. Anyway, I love being told by friends that reading this blog feels like they are talking to me. Although if I’m honest, it’s probably just because I’m happy someone is reading this.
3. Use Twitter. It might take some getting used to, but it’s worth it.
4. Accept that not everyone is going to like what you write. Would I enjoy reading about how to make a papier mâché Jesus? No. Will anyone else? Absolutely. We’re all different. Some of us, for example, might think it’s OK to wear teeny white leggings with a crop top and undies that are too small.
5. Your blog is not a stand-alone entity, it’s part of a community. Read other people’s blogs. Bloggers lurve comments, so if you especially like something, or you have something to add – leave a comment. Also, feel free to comment if you disagree. Just remember that if you wouldn’t say it to them in person, don’t write it in a comment.
6. Memes are themes that originate from one blog,and these can be good fun. They’re not for everyone, but they are a great way of finding new blogs and of getting new readers too. For example, Listography asks bloggers to come up with a “top 5” list every week. And – of course – right here we have Frock It! which is fabulous, amazing… and currently has zero mates. Not that I noticed or anything.
7. Put some thought into your blog name. Before you decide on one, do a search to see if someone else is already using it. It’s a tad “Single White Female” to go and copy someone else’s blog. I have to admit I didn’t think of doing this, in fact I put no thought into this title at all. So either it’s luck that no-one else had it, or it’s a really crappy name.
8. Don’t start a blog because you want to make money. Chances are it will only disappoint. Instead, if you are lucky enough to make some money or be paid with products, see this as a bonus.
9. Include some information “About Me.” When I had an “About Me” page, I used to be amazed that it got so many** views, but then I realised it’s usually one of the first things in a blog that I read. So really, I shouldn’t have been amazed.
**When I say “so many views” I mean “views.” But I’m saying “so many views” to talk myself up. See? This is clever stuff.
10. Join a bloggers network, such as BritMums or Digital Parents in Australia.
Thank you so much to everyone who reads this. It’s an absolute pleasure having you here and I hope you continue to enjoy it.
Happy birthday blog, and here’s to the next 12 months.