Evaluating your blog • Being forced to switch off
People often say how a time of reflection is good for you. A time to refocus and be refreshed. And there are times when I absolutely agree. When you write a blog it can become all consuming. You fall in love with writing and sharing and the interaction and engagement from readers and followers encourages you to keep writing and keep sharing.
But it can take over your life! And not always in a good way. I see more and more bloggers talking about "technology free nights", days which are no laptop days and self imposed restrictions to help with the quest for a balanced, happy family life. There is always something to share or someone to share it with, strangers, acquaintances and friends online, who at any time of day are there to talk through your worries or celebrate your successes.
It's hard to switch off.
And the most frustrating thing of all is being forced to switch off. We moved house a little over 3 weeks ago and it has taken almost that long for our internet to be reconnected. 3 WEEKS! When your work relies on staying connected this feels like a lifetime and I can tell you that tag team trips back and forth to the Waitrose cafe, whilst trying to juggle childcare, has been a challenge!
But it's given me time to think, time off the treadmill I was on of feeling under a self made pressure to post several times, often more, a week.
Being a successful blogger doesn't mean you have to spend every waking minute blogging. I know I couldn't. I've tried that in the past and I ended up feeling like a busy fool. The boys don't want to spend weekends being photographed for a blog post and Sammy starting school meant my model assistant suddenly had better things to do in the precious couple of hours after school than holding something or playing a "game". (Which was really a blog idea in disguise.)
I've realised in this forced period of quiet that I blog at my best when I am sharing the things I love the most, taking my time to create quality content, rather than chasing traffic. We all define our own terms of success and ratings and rankings are not the same as readers.
I've been terribly guilty in the past about flooding my site with seasonal posts, I'm sure my most loyal readers have rolled their eyes during Halloween season at yet another pumpkin related post! Posts I can pin, posts that I can submit to Foodgawker or Craftgawker or another collective site I know will boost my traffic figures for that week. But those figures are fickle.
Cue some themed photos... Psst these photos are for a lovely party company, Feather and Grey, I had the pleasure of working for recently!
I feel very fortunate to have been recognised by the blogging community for the blog I have established and developed and winning awards helps you build a platform to help and inspire others. And that's what I want to do going forward.
Yes I still want to involve the boys and journal our family life, I want to share some Christmassy ideas in the festive season but I want them to be real. There are times when it's easy to make life one big blog post opportunity, getting swept up in the comparison craze and drawn into silly spats on Twitter.
And then it takes you and your blog away from what it really is. For every blogger their goals will be different and I respect that. For me, it is my living CV, a digital record of our family life and an opportunity to hopefully inspire the people who take the time to read it.
I get to promote companies with lovely products who value my time and it has led to creating long lasting commercial relationships with photography clients. So whilst all work and no play has made this blog a quieter than usual place, (Watch out subscribers for the longest overdue issue of my huh hmm weekly newsletter!) I have been quite busy, snapping away.
My blog is a huge part of my life but for a while it became our way of life and that's not quite right. I want my it to be my creative escape, part of my working life and something that enhances our family life, rather than rules it!
I love being able to share my work on my blog and let my readers be part of my journey to become a photographer. Eek.
I feel very proud that my blog has been and continues to be, the reason I get to introduce myself as a working mother, consultant, blogger and product photographer.
So I have a few ideas for the coming months. A #backtobasics photography series, taking us all right back to the start, building our knowledge of our cameras through to composition, styling and techniques and tips I have learnt to help your editing processes. And put new life into old ideas, to get everyone even more excited about photography. I also want to blog our house renovations.
It's fair to say we are in a bit of a muddle. This house is going to be a labour of love! There are a few more things than we originally thought that need attention but we will get there... in time! I can't wait to share our ideas and I love that there's a whole wealth of interiors loving people out there who can help give us some advice and inspiration!
First up is our family/dining room and the boys' bedroom - I'll be blogging our ideas later this week!
Oh and for anyone wondering when my range of backdrops (I am producing a range of blogger friendly vinyl backdrops) are going to be available... I am working on them now, in time for Christmas presents ;)
Happy healthy blogging everyone!