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The True Value of Blogging

Despite my very best intentions I have found myself starting this year in the same reflective state that I finished last, which means that so far I have managed to fail on more than one of my New Year’s resolutions.

The irony in this is that I actually fall into the camp of people that dislike New Year’s Eve and the inevitable flurry of better than thou individuals that suddenly appear like a swarm of locusts on New Year’s Day, with their proclamations of giving up all they love and enjoy in favour of a period of gratuitous misery and self-loathing.

If you are reading this and are one of those people – please don’t take it personally, my inner psychotherapist suggests that I am probably just jealous of your will-power!

So I finished last year with a farewell to all that made 2018 a rubbish year for me and my family with a commitment to myself to be positive about where I am now compared to last year and to get on with embracing all that life has to offer, in whatever guise it may arrive.  So how come I have failed so miserably so early on?

Well it is not just that January is a grey and gloomy month and that like December is filled with memories of “this time last year” stories but that I actually enjoyed the period of blogging abstinence over Christmas so much that I am struggling to find my rhythm again; although rhythm and its inference of regularity is not really how I would describe my blogging personality.

In my short blogging life I have read countless posts about why people blog and what it is it brings to their life – most common of all is a creative outlet whereby they can indulge their love of writing.

Just over two years ago I plunged into the unknown with a very basic blog on issues related to midlife and parenting teenagers.  This was not because I was bursting with creativity, but because quite simply I wanted to get back into the workplace after a long break and of all my career based skills writing was not only the most self-indulgent in terms of enjoyment, but also the one which would if managed successfully, allow me to continue being at home.

My ambition at the time was that my blog would act as a window for my writing and potentially lead me by my technologically ignorant nose to opportunities of work.  It is the ideal portfolio there is no doubt of that and it has, as I have written previously, not only introduced me to some fabulous like-minded individuals, but also presented other opportunities outside of writing.  So all good then really?  Well yes and no.

The positives are clear but the negatives are the huge amount of effort required to sit down and write, to promote, to engage and so on and so forth and all of that is a full-time job which is what I was trying to avoid and it is that commitment of time which means that the uber bloggers deserve to be applauded and blogging really isn’t for the faint-hearted.

I realised this very early on in my blogging journey, but rather than tie myself up in knots about it, decided to ignore the rules, and just keep plodding on, after all there is room for minions in the blogosphere too, but after two years of just plodding on, I am forced to ask myself if that is what I want going forward and whether it is actually enough?

The beauty of a real-life crisis smacking you in the face is that it does make you re-evaluate your priorities on a monthly if not daily basis.  Last year my illness gave me the excuse I may have needed to kick the blog into touch and focus on my real-life – ie of the non-virtual kind, but actually I found the opposite to be true.

On returning from hospital after an operation that my surgeon had told me on 7th January 2018 on a scale of 1-25 with 25 being the most serious was in the upper twenties, I found my blog to be the perfect refuge.  My husband, my teens, my parents, my friends saw me getting on with it, because like all of us when we are faced with adversity we put on a brave face for those close to us, when what we really want is to curl up in a corner and lick our wounds.

My blog provided me with a place of solace away from the “real” searching questions and eyes of those close to me.  My virtual buddies didn’t question, they listened and when you are hurt sometimes that is exactly what you crave the most.

So following my natural thought process from here, does that imply that blogging is actually the pulpit of the self-indulgent of the New Year kind that I rubbished so early on?

As founders and editors of our blogs we can write what we like, we can edit comments we don’t like and install walls of security that obstruct the most canny of intruders.  In creating our blogs we are in a sense building our own little empire, a pseudo autocratic state of sorts.

But of course as bloggers we all know that is not really the case, because blogs are by their very nature a forum for engagement, for sharing and exchanging views and opinions on a myriad of topics and dare I say it “making new friends”.  Yes this bizarre social media world that we endeavour to protect our children from, is the very one that entices us outside our comfort zone into a brave new world of opportunities and one that by all accounts we all enjoy.

Just 48 hours ago I was sitting in a hotel room nursing a glass of wine and asking myself “where to now” and as if by fate I fell upon a piece on twitter from Suzanne at Inside, Outside and Beyond that acted as a perfect reminder of what really matters when it comes to blogging – you.  Don’t sweat the small stuff and don’t stress about blogging regularity or views.  Whatever itch blogging scratches, if it helps you – just carry on and for now that is exactly what I intend to do.

What are your thoughts on blogging?  Are you a blogger or someone who enjoys reading them?  What is their value?  As always I love to hear your comments..

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