Thoughts ~ on blogging & inspiration
I've had these thoughts buzzing around in my head for quite some time. But I've never sat down and started writing about them until now. I've forced myself to do it as the topic has been pushed somewhat to the front of my brain. In the very near future, I've been asked to give a talk on blogging to a group of creative women in cooler than cool Sheffield who juggle motherhood, work and life. My first thoughts when asked was, why me? What have I possibly got to share? Surely they've made some mistake? I even messaged them with that very question and back came the reply that it wasn't. They want me to chat about where I find inspiration and how I use my blog as a creative outlet. Okay I thought to myself, I can do that, can't I? I am a Mum too, although my son isn't a little one as he's almost a teenager. Of course, that comes with it's own parenting worries, issues and toxic smells. Essentially, it's the same thing. I'm a Mum and I'm a Blogger, but I have a packet of Rennies in my handbag instead of wet wipes. I do however, suffer from what I call 'panic chatting' and when I'm nervous I can't stop talking. If you've met me, you'll probably know this and for that I apologise. I'll have to rein in my waffling, babbling, potential dribbling and try to conquer my nerves when speaking in front of an audience. Or I could simply write this blog post, send it in, ask them to read it and then I don't have to turn up.*
If you've been reading this blog since it started, and I'm talking about the good old days back on Blogger and not here on Squarespace, you'll probably know that my original posts were all about Scandi homes and lovely finds. My son was young, I was working pretty much every day and my husband was also doing long hours in his job. We didn't go out much and weekends became about housework, shopping and getting ready for the week ahead. The blog was my creative outlet - the prettiness of a beautiful home took me away from the daily grind. But after a while I found myself tiring of trying to find new ways to write about white walls, great lighting and wooden floors. Many others were sharing those kind of posts too and have since gone on to be very successful interior bloggers with book deals and huge followings. I love to still read and take inspiration from the homes they write about, they are way better at it than I ever was. But I needed something else. I bought a second hand camera from Ebay and I wasn't very good with it at first. I didn't know what I was doing, what any of the features were or what anything meant. But I went out and played around with it and now it makes me see my world in a completely different way. My blog moved away from interiors and became more about nature, the seasons and where I lived. Last year I moved to Squarespace and got my own domain name. I redirected from my blogger site to this one for a couple of days and then I deleted the old site. Most of my referrals through blogger came from people searching for the house posts and more often than not via Pinterest. In changing to my new domain I lost over two thirds of my readership overnight. And you know what, I don't mind at all. Numbers don't matter to me. Creativity and content do.
This leads me back to why I have been thinking about the topic of blogging a lot recently. Well, there are now so many blogs out there who write about nothing other than whatever freebie they have received. I can't relate to that. I don't find them inspiring or honest, they are trying to sell a dream that isn't real, yet have risen to be hugely successful and powerful. Sadly the majority of them can barely string a sentence together and don't even get me started on the photography. But if that's your dream, then fair enough, we're never going to be best chums. There are of course, plenty that balance good original content, sponsored posts, product reviews and giveaways who do that side of blogging really well. Most of the ones that I read didn't start out writing with the intent to work with brands, it just happened and it is now a great way for them to make a living. I've no issue with that and wish them well. But it's not what I want to do on here.
My real love (apart from my family) is now exploring and taking pictures on my camera or on my phone. I like to share those photographs here and over on Instagram and most of my blog referrals come from there now, usually because I've shared somewhere in Yorkshire that people want to find out more about. I get asked a lot of questions through social media from people planning visits here and where I would recommend to get a coffee, places for vintage shopping or even book somewhere to stay (seriously, I should be on commission from Welcome to Yorkshire). But I'm super proud that I'm known a little for my love of exploring this county. And that's the goal for me - sharing beautiful places, a country cottage, a gorgeous cafe, a new camping spot, a wildflower meadow, a bookshop, or a little village by the sea. That's what motivates me to keep writing here. I don't make money from this blog and I don't do sponsored content. I do occasionally review products or places but they have to be the right thing, somewhere or something that fits with who I am and what I value. And they must challenge me, frighten me a little, in order for me to do as good a job as I possibly can.
Which leads me to my future plans. What are they and how will I make them happen? Here's the truth. I have no real future plans other than to keep doing what I'm doing. I write when I have something to share. I love taking photographs and I want to develop my skills more. I'm enjoying the relationships I've developed with other bloggers here in Yorkshire and further afield and the long lunches we have had together. From those friendships, we've got some nice collaborations planned which I'm really looking forward to - from floristry workshops to foraging days. These are all ways to keep inspiration flowing and learn something new at the same time. I want to continue sharing my favourite places and spaces on This is Your Kingdom and I've got several new posts lined up. I've no longing for Instagram or Snapchat** domination - I just try to take a nice photograph for me, mostly using my iPhone as I love the camera on there and the challenges that brings. I don't follow the rules on social media - I don't plan or post at specific times of day. My images reflect what I'm doing or where I am. And I'm way too lazy anyway for that kind of thinking. I prefer to bake and eat.
Blogging can be many things to many people. I can only write from my point of view. But I do believe in honesty, support and originality. Write from the heart, support and nurture other bloggers, think about ways to collaborate, strive to be better and most importantly of all, don't steal ideas and images from others. They've worked hard on those, it's not right to do that.
And that's it. My inspirations, thoughts and my ambitions laid bare. So really, you don't need to come to the talk now, do you?
**What the hell is Snapchat anyway?