A Lesson in Letting Stuff Go

a lesson in letting stuff goI’ve been feeling a bit meh lately, especially at things I see on social media. I blame the kids (as always) and think that there must be some sort of correlation between the number of years I’ve been a parent, and the number of fucks I give about so many things. Being a pro-blogger whose sole income is made through online activities this is a bit of a bind. First world problems eh?

Usually I’m upbeat. Ms. Positive. I genuinely try not to dwell too much over the things I can’t control, but it can be hard when everyone else’s best bits are continuously in my face and on my feeds. I’ve known for a long time now that me and social media aren’t best buds – in fact I have written a few times about my love/hate relationship with social networks. In my book I directly advise a social media break to anyone struggling with life.  

So perhaps it’s a simple case of needing to take my own medicine, because if I’m being honest, I know that I’ve slipped into bad habits. I’ve been logging into Facebook and Instagram way too much considering I have the needs of three children to meet. I can convince myself all I want that it’s fine to ignore the kids whilst looking at my phone, but I know deep down that it’s unfair on them.

I’m not advocating chaining myself to the kitchen sink, but there has to be a balance. If the little ones end up kicking lumps out of each other so I can upload my latest anecdote or photo, then there is something seriously wrong with that picture.

letting goI can’t even pretend to be a present parent if I have half an eye on social media the entire day! 

So it’s time to let go of the notion that I need constant SM presence to be a good blogger. Building up a truly engaged following takes up more time than I have spare. 

I did two things earlier this week which have had a massively positive impact. First was un-installing the Facebook app from my phone, which has cut down the time I spend on FB by about 90%. The second was putting my phone on silent, not vibrate, silent. I’ve still been posting, but only once or twice on each FB and IG, and I’ve been able to completely ignore notifications until it’s convenient for me to check them.  

So simple, but oh so effective!

Anyone that follows me knows that I’m a useless photographer; I’m just as rubbish at putting together snappy infographics; and I never edit my YouTube videos either. Why not you might ask? Well, because it all takes bloody ages that’s why.

My blog isn’t even a fraction as polished as most of my parent blogging peers, but I made my peace with that a while back. So far it hasn’t stopped me from collaborating with brands or being commissioned to write sponsored posts (which all help me pay my rent). Touch wood this will continue. I need to make blogging work for my entire family, otherwise what’s the point? 

I’d also like to use my blog for some greater good, such as raising awareness for campaigns like #SeriouslyAwkward for The Children’s Society. My lovely friend Fiona of Free Range Chick hit the nail on the head on this very matter in her recent post.

You won’t hear that I’m taking a blog break any time soon

I’ve learnt over the years that I need to write, otherwise I start feeling as though I’m going mad. Writing is my creative outlet and ‘thing for me’. I can bash out 500 words in less than ten minutes if I have a flash of inspiration, and I never run out of topics. I don’t really have trouble making space to do the actual writing.

What takes the time is what comes next – as the fabulous Prabs wrote recently “if only blogging was just about blogging!” It can also end up feeling like a popularity contest at points, which doesn’t sit right with me. 

My blog is all about the words. It comes straight from the heart; always has and always will. I’m hopeful that this will mean more than thousands of followers and hundreds of likes on everything I post.   

Ultimately I’m crossing fingers that substance over style will eventually win the day.

If it doesn’t then I’m screwed πŸ˜‰

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31 thoughts on “A Lesson in Letting Stuff Go

  1. I’m shaking at the idea of removing my Facebook app, but like you I’ve cut down the amount of time I’m checking social media, it was making me feel rotten about my life and that’s no way to live. Here’s to a healthier relationship to social media for us all

  2. If it helps you write a lot of quality stuff that touches people’s lives. Like mine. Rather than all the tosh I fill my blog with. I intend to try and make some sort of time management for myself in regards social media as you are right in that I too spend too much time on it and it’s not good for anyone.

  3. Oh Leigh thanks so much, what a lovely thing to say. Totally agree about notifications, I quite enjoy only checking in a couple of times a day and ‘catching up’. Glad you’ve found a better blog/life balance xxx

  4. Oh Leigh thanks so much, what a lovely thing to say. Totally agree about notifications, I quite enjoy only checking in a couple of times a day and ‘catching up’. Glad you’ve found a better blog/life balance xxx

  5. I do too my lovely! I think the full package is great if you don’t have kids, but the reality is that takes up more time than us parents could possibly put in. As long as we find our own balance, and are happy with what our blog does that’s a win in my books. You might like this post I wrote about not ‘having it all’ xx

  6. Oh lovely you are so kind to me, I hope you’re right re: substance over style. I really dislike the addictiveness of social media, especially facebook, and I think it causes a lot of problems in society. That said when used for good it can be amazing. Such a double edged sword (as with most things in life) xxx

  7. I suspect your substance will win the day – regardless of the time you spend on social media every time I come to your blog your FB likes seem to have leapt upwards and I bet it’s the same on other social media. You’re doing great. And social media sucks giant balls a lot of the time really. I’m rubbish at it despite being far too addicted, especially to FB. I can’t even write blog posts fast so from my perspective you’re awesome there too. I’m ponderous by nature, and that fits the fast-paced modern world like a surgical glove on an oak tree. You’re fab.xxx

  8. I do feel as if we are cut from the same cloth in many ways; I definitely feel as if the substance of my blog is much more of a priority than the style. That’s not to say I don’t envy those with slick sites and their finger always on the pulse when it comes to the whole social media thing, but I know that I’ll never be the “full package”. x

  9. Fabulous, Renee! Your point about things taking bloody ages made me chuckle – for example I love Instagram but I really can’t be bother to faff around with it. Fair play to people who take great effort with it but for me it’s a bit of fun. I’ve taken to replying to notifications when it suits me, especially on Twitter – I realised I was being a bit of a slave to it. Far easier to just reply to everything in one batch – I need to control it, not the other way around! Blogging for me is about the writing, and you’re a bloody good writer – that’s what’s most important.

  10. Social media can be tremendously a addictive and I admire your move to uninstall facebook. I need to be that brave sometimes. I’ve found new baby E has just automatically made me step Away simply as I have no time and need sleep right now. Your blog is brilliant though and it’s always always a good read x

  11. You’re very well my lovely, glad it helped. I can’t recommend removing certain apps more, I always come back to this when I’m feeling a bit meh and it always helps xxx

  12. Great post – I definitely need a lesson in letting go, and your post amongst others this week, have helped me get into this mindset. So thank you. I could also do with removing social media on my phone or at least having a rest! xxx

  13. Ahhh hon delete it…right now…it will make SO much difference I promise you! Really looking forward to reading your post (next Monday evening?) and hearing your views, although I’m pretty sure I’ll be sitting there nodding my head.

    Thanks for your lovely compliment. I’m so fortunate to have had the opportunity to properly connect with some amazing bloggers. It was a stroke of luck with Fiona being spitting distance away. Mainly I just chat to people online, and when I meet them (like when we met) it feels like they are old friends who I’ve known forever xx

  14. True, blogging can be done when the kiddos are asleep but SM is an ongoing thing. That’s probably why I’m not so good at it: I’m basically on it when everyone has gone to bed he he! During the day, Instagram is the one I tend to use a bit. How about emails??? I can find opening my mailbox quite daunting when I know hundreds of emails are sitting there…

  15. Oh my darling friend, you really do write the loveliest comments, and by contrast my reply is going to seem pretty lame. Just wanted to say thanks for all your support xxx

  16. Haha! That’s what I could hear last night πŸ˜‰

    We are bombarded with information on how we can be better, but I think (hope) that when a blog has real substance the words will always be more powerful than anything else attached to it. On saying that you’re pretty awesome at the snappy infographics, so perhaps you could start creating them for other bloggers and making some cash that way?

    I honestly have no idea how the PR side of it all works… some weeks I get ten emails with opportunities, other weeks none. Go figure?!

  17. Oh my word that is so true, but makes it sound so much worse! There really is no excuse for half-absent parenting, if the reason is looking at FB or IG is there? Finding the balance is so tricky. You tend to be up until the small hours every night, I get up in the small hours of the morning, that’s how we get the blog written (it was 4 something when I got up for the day), but the SM side of blogging is what takes up all the time…

  18. I was so glad hen I read the words “You won’t hear that I take a blog break soon.” From the start of your post, I thought that was what was coming, and I am so glad it didn’t. I agree with you 100% about the social media aspect of things. If blogging was only about blogging, it would be so much easier… I also have a love/hate relationship with social media and I haven’t got the FB app on my phone either. I have to stop checking Instagram every 3 minutes though. Seriously, what would happen if we ignored social media for a week??? NOTHING! Exactly! I always try my very best not to do any of that during weekends but I’ve been struggling lately, and I hate that half-present parent (ME). Let’s face it, that parent is half-absent…

  19. This is exactly how I have been feeling recently. I really want my blog to be successful, but I really feel like immersing myself in it benefits no-one else in my house right now. Which is fine when you’re inspired to write an amazing post, but not so good when you need to spend ages promoting your inspiration. A brilliant post. x

  20. ReneΓ© I had this weird deja vu reading this because I wrote a post quite similar today – as yet unpublished – (but focusing particularly on my love hate relatioship with Facebook) and also referenced Fiona’s brilliant post on proactive thinking. I think I should probably delete the FB app from my phone too – it’s a bit too easy to just click that little blue square and, on a pretty regular basis, it doesn’t do anything for my self esteem and is a massive time-suck. Also, as you say, the kids get ignored and then they start acting out attention seeking in a negative way – it’s a cycle of despair!! πŸ™‚ I also know what you mean about needing to write but I struggle a bit more with the whole inspiration thing. I guess I’m a second guessing over-thinker… If blogging is about popularity then I think you’re doing pretty well as you seem to have bonded and managed to find a great online/offline balance with so many of the most lovely people within this world and I’m a little bit sad that I can’t be more like you in that respect – both distance and “other” issues make that so difficult to achieve. Xx

  21. I’m not so sure about people tuning out Fiona – I think of blogging like hard copy magazines – there will always be people who just keep buying ‘Chat!’ and the ilk but our blogs (I’m including myself in this for the positive spin πŸ˜‰ ) are like the Sunday Times Magazine to someone else’s Cosmo (without the glossy ads…) – there’s an audience for both but I certainly know which I’d rather work for! X

  22. Right, so let me get this straight. You’re saying that it’s NOT ok to have your head buried in your phone while you’re supposed to be looking after your kids?

    So glad you posted this, my love. I don’t think I could possibly agree with you any more than I do. As amazing as it is to have the platform to write a blog, all the stuff that is attached to blogging is so tiring. And you know what, I don’t even think that it all HAS to be attached to blogging. If you choose to be highly-polished and surgically attached to social media – then fine. Perhaps all of that does help boost rankings, putting you in more lucrative position.

    But you’re right. At some point substance will win over style. I’ve been thinking about it since yesterday, and it must do. There’s only so much superficial BS that people can take before they tune out and realise it’s just fluff.

    As the saying goes, you can’t polish a turd.

    I’ll leave you with that and thank you so, so much for mentioning me in this super post that is once again hitting many, many nails bang on their heads xxx

  23. Can you hear how LOUDLY I’m yelling “I couldn’t agree more”…???!!!

    There’s so much I ‘should be’ reading to increase my Twitter following by thousands or whatever, in the space of a nanosecond. Won’t. Do. It. I’m far more interested in real meaningful relationships with people who enjoy my writing and whose blogs I genuinely love.

    Meanwhile, I’ll be coming to you for tips on how to make money out of this gig!
    Thanks for the mention love.

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