Six months today since I took my iPad to my biggest boy’s climbing session, holed up in a corner of the cafe, and set up LearnerMother on a WordPress site. I’d blogged before in a work capacity, but never anything personal, and I really didn’t know how it would pan out, whether I’d enjoy it, whether it’d be even feasible to write regularly given that free time just doesn’t happen to me. But here I am, six months on, which seems a good point to take stock of what I’ve learnt and to think about where I want LearnerMother to go from here.
Here’s my blogging observations…
- First and foremost, people are incredibly generous with their help. I’ve asked the most basic questions on Twitter, sometimes several times in a row because I didn’t understand the answers the first time, and someone has always taken the time to help me. When I decided to go self-hosted, I ended up in a real pickle, but people were so quick to reassure and advise that the process was much less stressful than it could have been. I hope that I’ll be able to repay the favour, just as soon as I know the difference between DNS and URL. Or perhaps I should stick to offering help of a less technical nature, in case I end up collapsing the internets. In any case – THANK YOU if you were one of the many folk to help me!
- I don’t write about our family activities as much as I thought I would. This is because I can’t imagine anyone being interested in them – however one of the reasons I started blogging was to provide a shared memory bank for our kids in future years. I also quite enjoy reading about other families’ activities as it gives me ideas for what to do with the kids, so the lack of family posts is something I’m going to rectify over the next six months – please don’t feel obliged to read if you don’t want to!
- I’m not sure how my kids will feel about the blog as they get older, or whether it’s even fair to be blogging about them at that point. I guess it’s something I need to review on an ongoing basis.
- Being an ‘out’ (ie not anonymous) blogger comes with responsibilities. Several posts have been discarded half way through writing because, although they are amusing/worthy of comment, the adults or kids featuring in them could potentially be identifiable within our local community. Not that the posts are necessarily negative, but I figure it’s my responsibility to err on the side of caution. If anyone feels that I have overstepped the line, it goes without saying to call me out on it.
- Being an ‘out’ blogger is definitely not as therapeutic as being anonymous would be!
- I think I need to be a bit braver in writing about stuff that matters to me. I have held my tongue on my (extremely ranty) thoughts on certain issues, from religion to second home ownership, because I am wary of offending friends and family, who make up a fair chunk of my readers. Which is a bit daft really, since if I was sitting opposite them with a beer I’d most likely feel comfortable in disagreeing with them and leaving the pub still friends. I am going to try and have the courage of my convictions from now on.
- Stats are great, and it is nice when a post gets retweeted and shared, and generates discussion. But when I’m thinking that I need to write a post on holiday so that I keep my page views up, then I’m taking myself and my blog too seriously.
- There are too many great blogs out there to keep up with them all; I have to limit myself to my favourites or I’d never get off the computer. In no particular order, hese are the ones I read without fail: Mummy Never Sleeps, Premmeditations, Living with MND, Dr Kate Granger, Be Brave and Look Up, Mumblings on the Verge, Ojo’s World, Free Falling into 40, My Daft Life, Motherventing, MammyWoo. An eclectic bunch – check them out if you haven’t already -they all make excellent reading.
- I have a long way to go to write well. It’s (whisper it) eighteen years since I wrote anything for academic purposes, and although I like to think I was good with words back then, it’s going to take me some practice to get back into writing to a decent standard. Reading through old posts, I overuse certain words and phrases, I drift away from my point, and sometimes it is horribly obvious that I’ve wrapped up and hit the publish button because I’m being overtaken by sleep, rather than because I have finished what I want to say.
- But – I have rediscovered that I love to write, even more than I knew. It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is – I find the process of starting with an idea, and creating a post around it, incredibly satisfying. So I’m going to use the next year to try and work out how I might be able to integrate this into my – ahem – portfolio career. Any pointers gratefully received!
So there you have it – that’s what I’ve learnt in 6 months. Enough to know that LearnerMother is well worth the effort, for me at least – you may disagree! In any case, thank you for bearing with me as I’ve mumbled and bumbled on…and hope you’ll come back for more!