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What does being a blogger mean to me? It’s a question that I often ask myself, and it’s one that doesn’t have a simple answer.
At the beginning of the summer Chantelle over at Seychelles Mama tagged me in a meme that asked this question.
I’ve spent time over the summer thinking about it. Wondering at how important it has become to me, at how much time it takes. Wondering how to achieve that elusive blog-life balance.
I’ve realised that before I can decide exactly where my blogging journey heads next, I need to really understand what it is that motivates me.
Is it validation? Is is expression? Is it capturing moments?
What does being a blogger really mean to me?
I started this blog to record our time in the US. It was an adventure, that was going to last for two years, and I wanted us to be able to look back and remember all that we had done. Three years later, we’re still here, settled, and not planning on moving again in the near future. The blog has become a journal, a way of capturing all those simple moments that you forget. It has become a way of creating an online photo album (on steroids) for each holiday, outing and adventure. It has become a means of encouragement to take that next adventure! But, it has become so much more than all that, changing and evolving in ways that I couldn’t have imagined when I hit publish on my first post back in December 2012.
I started blogging six months into this expat life of ours, and I won’t lie; I was lonely. It quickly became a means of connecting with people who understood, who were supportive. My online friendships blossomed as my blog grew and I discovered the wonderful parent and expat blogging communities. I honestly find it almost impossible to imagine my life with out them now; they have supported me, comforted me, made me laugh and cry. And, more, my online friendships gave me confidence in the real world at a time when I really needed that boost.
Writing has long been a middle of the night dream for me, and without quite realising it at first, I finally had an outlet for all the words in my head. What started as a diary quickly became much more than that. I began to write for me, about my thoughts and experiences, not just about our days out and activities. And, I began to write creatively for the first time in many, many years. That, along with taking photographs, designing my blog and creating content, gave me an outlet for my artistic side, that had long been pushed aside by work and practicality, and life.
It has been a huge learning curve, one that I am very much still on. How to take better photos, how to write HTML and even a bit of CSS coding, how to optimise SEO, how to publicise and use Social Media? And, of course, what makes for good content?! Much of this can be frustrating at times, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I have loved learning new skills, and finding a hobby that will potentially lead me in the direction of a new career.
And, speaking of careers, blogging does bring opportunities. Again, something that I had never considered, and to be honest haven’t taken huge advantage of to date. But, the opportunities are there to be grabbed and that is my next challenge!
I’ve said it before; I am someone who needs a bit of validation in my life. My career gave me that, and stopping work was a huge knock to my confidence. Writing, and knowing that people read; feeling productive and challenged; meeting people, trying new things and creating a successful blog. All these things have been instrumental in making this new life of ours work. Without my blog I think that I would find some days very hard indeed.
But, it’s not just technical skills, a pat on the back and the potential to make some cash. Writing has given me pause, time to reflect. Reading other blogs has led me to consider, to assess and to make decisions about what I want my life to be like; what I aspire to, and what I wish for my children. It has shown me the many different paths I can take, and has allowed me the privilege of joining others on their journeys, while I navigate my own.
What does being a blogger mean to me?
Friendship, creativity and challenge; with a healthy dose of external validation thrown in.
But, most importantly, opportunity. An opportunity for self-reflection, for growth, for a new and interesting direction; the opportunity to create the life I want, for me and my family.
And, the inspiration to be better, live better, love better.