When my husband and I sat down over the Xmas holidays to discuss our home education plans, he told me in no uncertain terms that the blog was distracting me. He said that if I wasn’t prepared to make some changes, and it prevented me from putting 100% into home ed, then I’d be losing him as my biggest cheerleader. Not only that but I would kick myself for it in the future.
As always he was right!
I don’t think he was being out of line whatsoever. When we’re so close to a situation it can be difficult to look at it objectively, and once I took a step back and reflected on his words, I completely agreed with him. I have chosen to educate my children myself, which is a huge responsibility, and needs to be taken very seriously. Our chat was the wake up call I needed to put a few things into perspective. With that in mind, I thought it might be useful to share some of the things I do these days to ensure that my blog doesn’t interfere with my family life.
Don’t get sucked in to social media
I’ve written about this several times, and always come back to the same point. Present parenting and social media cannot co-exist, it really is as simple as that. Most bloggers can bash out a post quite quickly, and it’s easy to chuck it into a scheduling service to auto tweet, etc.
Promoting it to an ‘engaged audience’ is a whole other ball game. Many pride themselves on their follower numbers, and the amount of likes they get on FB and IG, but that takes up a truck load of my most precious commodity. Getting hundreds of likes isn’t on my priority list, and I’m comfortable with that.
Knowing when to say no
For a multitude of reasons, when I created Mummy Tries I did so anonymously, and blogged incognito for the first eighteen months. This naturally ruled out quite a lot of PR opportunities and event invitations. When I came out I started getting offers, mainly for reviews in exchange for products, and my first few paid collaborations were for peanuts. I made a pact with myself pretty early on that I’d only say yes to products we genuinely needed; and set myself a lowest fee I was prepared to work for.
I’ve mainly stuck to this like glue, but around Xmas had so many offers I ended up saying yes to way too much. It was exhausting, the work I produced was not my best by any stretch of the imagination, and it left me feeling meh. Since then I’ve completely stopped taking on reviews, and am only working on quality collaborations. I might not be making a ton of cash, but I am so much happier.
Don’t get too distracted by the online community
I consider myself privileged to have met as many lovely people as I have through this blog, and I chat to a sizeable amount of fellow bloggers when I can, online and offline. Towards the end of last year though I was spending all my allocated blog time either chatting, reading / commenting on other blogs or replying to the comments on my own.
Something had to give, so I made a bold move a few weeks ago and disabled my comments function. I’ve also completely stopped participating in linkies, and leaving comments for the sake of it. I subscribe by email to all my favourite blogs and still read tons of posts. If I feel compelled to and have the time to comment I will, if not I’ll give the post a like or I’ll share it. Far from alienating me from the bloggersphere, it has actually cemented my real friendships, and I cannot tell you how liberating it’s all been for me.
Don’t compare your blog to others
It’s been said so much, but I really do feel that not comparing is absolutely vital for your own success. There are some big fish in our small pond, and they work tirelessly for all they have. Comparing my blog to theirs would be like comparing myself to my friend who teaches languages for a living, and getting upset because my Spanish isn’t as good as hers. Think about it for five seconds, and how utterly absurd that would be.
We all know how crap comparing ourselves to our friends and acquaintances can make us feel, but honestly folks, the grass is very rarely greener on the other side of the fence.
Never stop enjoying it
My first ever post was my life in a nutshell, and I think it was pretty obvious from the outset that my writing was all about the catharsis. This is still very much at the centre of my blog, but I also use my little piece of cyberspace to express bite sized chunks of creativity.
When I was writing Become the Best You, it was brilliant to be able to share snippets of it, and get feedback from my readers. I’m now writing a novel, and feel exactly the same. The day I stop enjoying my blog, or it starts feeling a bit too much like hard work, will be the day I hang up my blogging shoes for good!
Ultimately, it’s a blog, not a nobel peace prize. I genuinely try not to take it too seriously 🙂