Long time no speak! I'm really having trouble committing my thoughts to paper (or website, as it were) at the moment, so I decided to revisit a topic that has been on my mind for a little while...
I started reading blogs way back in 2009 and have been a happy part of the community ever since. It feels as though being part of the online blogging world is something I take for granted, that only really becomes apparent when speaking to people who don't blog themselves or read any online. Chatting to other bloggers always gets me thinking though - I actually started jotting down thoughts for this post after our blogger day out at the Web We Want festival way back in May last year - just shows how long it takes me to put my thoughts together! Listening to the panelists there made me consider exactly what I've gained in knowledge from my blogging and blog-reading (equally important of course!). I felt it was quite insightful, so thought I would share the main things I've learned from my time in the blogosphere (remember when this word was bandied about all the time?!)
If someone had told a 20-year-old me that I would posting close ups of my face for all the world to see, I would have laughed scornfully. Or shuffled away awkwardly, to be more exact... Now I post regular pictures of myself, including my make up free face, without batting an eyelid! I feel like this change in confidence may have happened organically with the advent of the selfie, but taking pictures for my blog has definitely improved my image of myself. Okay, I still have days where I want to crawl behind my hair and hide... but doesn't everyone?
Before I started blogging, my forays into the world of photography consisted of some half-hearted "arty" snaps for my Livejournal icon, in which I draped coloured fairylights on my crappy Ikea wardrobe, and all the ubiquitous drunken-night-out pics whilst at university... Now whilst I'm not suggesting I am in any way, shape or form a decent photographer now, I actually really enjoy getting to grips with the technicalities involved, and I love taking photos! I would never have considered buying an entry-level DSLR, had I not read many blogger reviews and realised that "proper" cameras aren't as scary as I had always believed. My camera now accompanies me on all my travels and nothing pleases me more than taking a snap I can be proud of. I've even done some photography work for our catalogue launches in the office! There's still heaps for me to learn but I'm really having fun doing it, and I know that documenting our lives in this way will help cement some great memories for the future. It's also changed the way I view the world around me - I find myself observing little details, or the way the light falls just so on the pavement, and it makes me happy because it feels as though I'm really taking the time to enjoy the little moments!
Motherhood and having children is one of those things that is beginning to become relevant to my life with Jon. Nothing imminent, of course, but with our recent wedding and thirtieth birthdays looming in the not-so-far-away future (when did that happen?) I suppose it's inevitable that people are going to start asking us about our plans for procreation.
I used to be very anti-children. Having babies never featured in my life plan, and even when I met Jon and realised he was set on being a father, it was a struggle to change my mindset. I wasn't sure why my dislike had developed - I did (and still do) mother my younger siblings so I thought for a long time that I felt like I'd already played the role of a mum to some extent, hence my reluctance to do so myself. Then I thought it was a general fear of growing up and taking responsibility for another person (which still is terrifying, don't get me wrong!).
After a long few years of introspection and self-analysis, I realised I just didn't want my world to revolve around children. I didn't want motherhood to change me, my relationship with Jon, my relationship with the rest of the world, my relationship with myself
How does blogging come into this?
Quite simply, it opened up my eyes to different types of mothers. Working mothers. Stay at home mothers. The lovely Franky, who epitomises #mummygoals for me, blogged about her experiences of doing an MA whilst raising two young children. It revolutionised my way of thinking. It sounds ridiculous, but it made me realise I could still be myself and be a mum one day. I too want to fit in a part-time MA around motherhood - I still haven't quite got over the disappointment of starting full-time work instead of doing a masters straight after university, and I'm determined to achieve it one day. I guess it also helps that some of my friends have children now too, but I think I'd still have been very nervous about children had I not been able to follow different bloggers and their approaches to having kids.
This is just one, very specific example, but reading blogs, interacting with other bloggers, meeting them even, has really widened my view on the possibilities out there, not just in terms of balancing children with work, but also on making the best of your circumstances. There's nothing more inspiring than reading about someone else's journey, someone who started off where you did and achieved happiness through determination.
Communication & friendship
This is such an obvious benefit, it seems superfluous to mention it! But for an introvert like myself, blogging has not only put me in contact with so many lovely ladies, but through attending events I've become more confident and am more likely to start conversations with people now! I used to tremble at the idea of speaking to strangers, but now I suppress the fear and just start chatting. Social media makes it so simple to keep in touch, the only thing I'd like to keep working on is leaving blog comments - because I read blogs on the Bloglovin' phone app, it's difficult to comment sometimes. So every now and then I try to comment on as many blogs as possible to let the blogger know I appreciate their work! There's a small group of people I've been chatting to since the early days, such as Michelle, Jennie, Franky and Laura, and it's really lovely having the ability to build bonds with people over blogging. Nothing pleases me more than having a good old natter about blogging with my fellow office blogger Becky, and I've met so many great people at events (such as Charlotte and Emma), so I'd definitely recommend starting your own blog just for meeting more lovely likeminded people!
What have you learned from blogging, or from reading blogs? Anything similar to my experiences? Please let me know, I love hearing from other people!