This picture was taken on a family holiday back in October, when I was desperately trying to get a photo of both my girls with me and my sister. As you can see, the baby wasn’t keen and neither was her big sis. And this, lovely people, is what it’s often like behind the scenes of this blog. For every lovely photo there are at least ten that didn’t work!
People who don’t blog are often surprised when I tell them the amount of work that’s entailed with running a blog that’s successful(ish) like this one. I don’t mind admitting that I’m a grafter and I don’t always find it easy. I wish I could be one of those bloggers who makes it all look really effortless, whipping up a viral post in one hand while they make the kids’ tea with the other. However, that wouldn’t be true.
I write this blog as a labour of love. Over the years it’s given me a space to write honestly about my experiences of life as a mum, alongside more light-hearted topics like interiors and family travel. These days it’s not just about the words though. Photos are an increasingly important part of this site – just as much for my own memories, but also because I’m rather shallow and like my blog to look a bit pretty. I make no apologies for that.
This post has been triggered by a few things, not least the fact that in the past three weeks I’ve had multiple strangers email me asking for advice on how to set up and run a blog. I always like to hear from new people but I’m also the first to point out I’m no expert. Everything I’ve learned has been self-taught and like lots of other bloggers I know, I continue to hone these skills and learn new ones every single day. So yeah, I’m not going to give you the formula on how to create a good blog that will break the internet because, truthfully, I don’t think there is one.
Another trigger for this post is that I’ve had to explain to a few brands recently what goes into creating content for this blog and making sure it’s read by at least a few people other than just my mum. Again, maybe I’m really not a very good blogger but I have to work hard to make my blog what it is. It’s not always easy and it often involves late nights or juggling things in between mum life.
Take review posts, for example. Our recent trip to the Isle of Wight was a fantastic experience – but make no bones about it, it also required a fair amount of hard work. During the trip I filmed every single day, I took lots of photos (both for Instagram while we were there, and for this site and Roost for when I came home) and then, when I came home, I spent hours editing videos, photos and writing about the trip and the house. I loved doing it – this isn’t a moan at all – but it WAS work. That’s why I hate the notion that products or experiences provided for review are “freebies”. They’re not. If they were “free” they wouldn’t require anything in return.
Another important side for me as a blogger – a side that you won’t get to see as a reader – is the stuff that goes on to engage with people and keep them wanting to come back to read my words. I’m always thinking up new ideas for engaging content that I can put over on my YouTube channel or on Facebook, for example. Instagram is a love but also a beast all on its own. Talking to other bloggers, chatting on Twitter, answering comments – all of that is just as important as writing a post but is kind of invisible from a reader point of view. Anyone who reads this blog would be totally forgiven for thinking that I just swan in a couple of times a week, sit down for half an hour and bash out a quick post about X, Y or Z, before swanning off again. Ah! If only it were that simple!
Writing this blog has formed a hugely important part of my work life for the past two years. Not only do I make a little bit of money from this space, but it leads to other work opportunities. Work opportunities which mean I get to be a work at home mum (not always as lovely and “perfect” as it sounds, believe me!). It’s not all I do though. I also run the interiors site and YouTube channel Roost, write for the BabyCentre blog and write for magazines too – around being a mum to two busy little girls.
The purpose of this post isn’t to boast (there are many who are way, WAY more successful than me) or to moan (I love what I do) but to give you an idea of what goes on behind the scenes of this blog.
Are you a blogger? Can you relate to any of this at all?