This is a blog post about blogging and blogging with heart. If you aren’t a blogger you might not relate to this post but I’d really love you to stick around. You might like to have a Monday laugh about the secret beauty & fashion life of mothers.
Still here? How lovely.
When Sarah and I launched this blog late last year, I considered myself a newbie. New to words reaching beyond family and friends. New to blogging communities. New to schedules and editorial calendars, optimised images, social media promotion and SEO. New to blogging courses, blogging super-stars and blogging competitions. But not new to actually writing a blog. When my middle son died suddenly and unexpectedly as a baby, I found solace in words. When my youngest son was born, I felt confident enough to place those words online. I created a blog called Chasing His Sunshine. I wrote and write that blog for the primary purpose of mothering my middle son. I wasn’t a part of any blogging communities when I started that blog – I didn’t know they existed. The blog was a visible and creative space for him in my life. Visitors to that space are always welcome, but they don’t validate the words. I have been thinking about the way I write at that blog, the way I write at this blog and the things I am in danger of losing sight of. Here are the lessons my old blog can teach my new blog.
Purpose is an anchor that gives a voice confidence & detachment can set you free. I never second guess my words at Chasing His Sunshine. Never worry that my voice is one of millions straining to be heard. Statistics go unchecked and I am unconcerned as to reach. I do not ask myself what value I am imparting to readers. I seldom edit what I write. Once the words have flowed from fingertips to screen, I do not linger over them. I do not worry about negative comments. I write to express my love and motherhood for my son. I write to work through grief. I write for catharsis. That blog has a very clear purpose in my life. Sometimes another parent who has lost their child will stumble across my words find comfort. That is an amazing and wonderful thing – that those words have life beyond me. But even if no-one read my words, they still would have achieved their purpose. When I write, I am completely detached from outcome and expectation. There is freedom in that.
For me, blogging is about writing. Here is how I write at Chasing My Sunshine: an idea turns around in my head. It morphs into a blog post. I write it down. I publish it. Here is how I write at the Mummy and the Minx: I have a set topic per month and I brain storm ideas for each topic. I try to be two weeks ahead in terms of posts. I publish a blog post on Mondays and on Wednesdays and I schedule those, along with social media. I agonise over images, over SEO, over keywords and titles. I share my writing in blogging groups and hope that someone will be interested enough to click through. Writing, the part I enjoy the most, sometimes seems insigificant in comparison with everything else. But I blog because I love to write. That is the creative need blogging fulfills. Sometimes I am in danger of being so swept up in all the other bloggy to dos that I forget.
The only rules are the ones somebody else has made up. There are a lot of blogging rules – when to post, how much to post, how often to post, how to comment, how not to comment, what to reveal, what not to reveal, what images to use, what images not to use, stick to a niche, give things away, don’t give things away. I didn’t know about any of those rules when I started to write Chasing His Sunshine. I just did my own thing. And my own thing was okay. I think I need to remember that from time to time. That the only mandatory blogging rules are kindness and respect.
Not everything needs to be a blog post. A strange thing happened to me as I started to blog with regularity. I started to narrate experiences in my head as they were occurring. Draft posts constantly bump around my mind. But when I do that I am being pulled away from enjoying the present. I need to stop looking for metaphors and meaning in every experience and just bask in the moment itself. Sometimes the best moments are the ones that go un-shared.
Comparison is the thief of joy. There are some amazing blogs out there. Incredible writing, astounding imagery, sites that make you weep with their prettiness. I love design and I have always wanted this site to feel pretty and elegant. I like to code and to play around. Generally, I am quite happy with how things look around here. But there are days when I look at other blogs and wonder how my blog could ever look so lovely. What is the point of that? I never looked at other grief blogs and considered mine lesser – I was just grateful for the words and comfort offered. For the stories that mirrored my own and for a community that I could not have reach any other way than online. Comparison was never the point. Shared experience was. Something to remember.