Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Time for some blogging confessions

This week, I realised my blog has been hanging around the blogosphere for six months now, so I decided it would be a nice idea to celebrate its half birthday ...

Do you like the ugly cake I made to celebrate? I thought I'd better point out that it's supposed to look like a ½ , seeing as certain members of this household couldn't work out what it was supposed to be! Hmmmph.

I'm linking up late with Kristy for her I Must Confess blog hop and also with Jess and her IBOT team for  I Blog on Tuesdays. I have to admit that I do have quite a few blogging confessions to make. Deep breath.

I must confess that when I opened up this blogger account six months ago, I really absolutely no idea what I was doing. Except for stumbling across other blogs through googling something specific, I had never actively sought out and read other blogs before. In the first weeks since starting to blog, I remember reading about the fact that blogging can become highly addictive. I remember laughing when I read that and thinking How? Surely you just write whatever you've got to write whenever you feel like writing it. What could possibly be addictive about that? When I think about that now, I realise how naive I was when it came to blogging because ...

I must confess that I am well and truly aware now just how addictive blogging can be. There is something undeniably thrilling about reading a positive comment that someone has left on a blog post. Over the last half year, I don't think a single day has gone past that I haven't thought about my blog in some capacity, even if I haven't had the chance to get on the computer every day. I can honestly say now that I would give up coffee, wine and chocolate all at the same time before I'd give up blogging. Heck, I'd even give up shaving my legs.

I must confess, that when I started blogging, I was a complete klutz when it came to technology. Not a whole lot has changed really but to put things into perspective, I still had a nokia pre-paid phone (I upgraded a few months ago so I could take photos for the blog on the phone), I had no idea how to do a 'link' within a blogpost, learning Hebrew seemed easier than learning the basics of HTML and I had only vaguely heard of instagram and pinterest. For about the first six weeks,  I thought a blog party was something you needed a specific invitation to. Seriously. A month after starting my blog, I remember saying to my sister, Rosie, on the phone "Have you heard on this pin-interest thing?" "It's called pinterest," said she, "and yes I have". She didn't say "and so has every other person in the Western World born after 1950". That's why I love her; she never makes me feel stupid.

I must confess that it was Rosie who prompted me start a blog in the first place. To stop myself from going insane in those isolating weeks after my daughter was born, I had picked up a pen and written two articles - one which I called The Washing Whine and the other The Problem with Prams. I told Rosie on the phone one night that I thought I might try to write a few more and see if there were any online magazines that might want to publish them. I didn't have any high hopes of becoming a writer, I was just craving mental stimulation and let's be honest, I would have loved to have seen something I'd written actually published. "You have to get a blog", she told me outright. "Why?" I asked her back. She'd told me this before, but it was never something I'd taken seriously. "Because wanting to become a writer in the twenty-first century without having a blog is like wanting to become a writer in the sixteenth century without owning a quill". The next day I started this blog.

I must confess that I have been a little disappointed at times by the reaction of some of my friends and family towards this decision and sometimes I wonder if I'm the only blogger out there who feels like this. Some people have been enthusiastic and encouraging and I am enormously grateful for that. I suppose I had sort of expected that once I told my nearest and dearest that I had started a blog, that they would follow the blog in some capacity, because that is what I'd do for them. Only a few of them did. When I told one friend that I'd started a blog, she said "about what?" I suppose it was a genuine question, but the way the words came out of her mouth made me think that I really had nothing to offer the world. I wasn't a marvellous crafter, an expert psychologist, an incredible cook or an award-winning photographer. It made me feel like I was boring and not passionate enough about anything and that the whole process would be a waste of time. I told another friend who I hadn't seen for a while that I had a blog and she laughed and said "Oh no, really?!" and I wondered do some people think that people who write blogs are nerds with no friends in the real world and nothing better to do? I was quite shocked because not only do I have an abundance of both things to do in the real world and people to share them with ...

I must also confess that blogging has really motivated me to live my everyday life to the full. It has pushed me to learn more about technology and to challenge myself to take better photographs. I have definitely become a better cook since I started, because I'm often trying out new recipes that I find on other people's blogs, especially things I found over at  Simply Sugar and Gluten Free with Amy, Everyone Eats Right with Eileen, Bake, Play, Smile  with Lucy,  The Veggie Mama with Stacey,  The Crafty Expat with Rita and Fresh Home Cook with Jodie. Most of all, blogging has helped me to start overcoming my fear of being judged. Pressing that publish button is not always an easy thing to do. You risk exposing yourself and putting yourself up for ridicule. I honestly believe that over the course of pressing publish 45 times, I have become a more assertive and confident person in my everyday life. Does anyone else feel that too?

I must confess that blogging has caused me to do some ridiculous things too, like running outside in my PJs to take a photo of the ground outside my letterbox for this post and setting alarms for one o'clock in the morning so that I can actually fit in some time to blog.

I must confess that I have inadvertently broken most if not all of the unwritten rules of the blogosphere. I really should have done my research better before starting a blog, but then again, if I had known what I was getting myself in for, I may never have been brave enough to start. I have well and truly put my foot firmly inside my virtual mouth on more than one occasion too. Once, I accidentally wrote in a comment box "I am not following you on bloglovin', instead of 'I am now following you on bloglovin'". You'd think I would have learnt how to proofread, considering I used to be an English teacher. Luckily, my sister checks my blog daily to proofread my posts for me. I am often rushing them to get them down before the baby wakes up or in time for a link-up, or I'm just so tired sometimes that my fingers write things my brain doesn't remember me doing later. You know the feeling?

I must confess that, at times, blogging has become a point of contention in our household. My partner can't understand my urgency to finish a post in time for a link-up or the necessity of commenting on other people's blogs. Essentially, it's a cultural thing. Many women in Italy do have blogs, but very few of these women are mothers in southern Italy. There are hobbies in southern Italy that are deemed honourable. These include knitting, sewing, embroidery and other crafts associated with home-making. I'm going to be perfectly frank: writing a blog for the sheer pleasure of writing does not constitute as a good use of a mother's time. Although my partner has accepted that blogging is something that I love doing and will often compliment a photo I've taken, I know for certain that if I woke up one day and said "I'm over this blogging phase. I now realise that it's all been a waste of time and I want to use the time I've been spending on the computer concentrating on cleaning the house" that he'd be secretly over the moon. I recently found a fantastic blog called I should be Mopping the Floor. What a great title for a blog. That's pretty much how I feel most times I sit down to blog

But don't worry, it still doesn't motivate me to mop the floor.

I must confess that, despite how much I love reading and writing blog posts,  there have been times when I've wondered if I have really been wasting my time. At the beginning of this journey, my sister told me that she'd read in several places that "it takes six months". So this week, I've been wondering: six months to what? Six months have gone by and my stats are still very ordinary and my following is still very modest. But then on the weekend, I checked my gmail account for the first time. I knew vaguely that when I opened my google+ profile attached to the blog that a gmail account opened automatically, but I never bothered to check it. Who would bother to write to me? And how would anyone know the address anyway? Well to my surprise, I found a handful of people had written me individual messages, including the editor of Mamapedia who told me she wanted to published my blog post Once, On Halloween on the site. I quickly wrote back to her, but she had written to me on 30th October and had wanted to published the post in time for Halloween and I got back to her three and a half weeks later and so I missed the boat. From a blogging perspective, I committed the mother of all muddle-headed muck-ups, but I learnt two valuable lessons: one, it pays to check your email and two, people out there may love what you're doing, even if you have no idea that they do, so never go thinking that you are wasting your time. If you love to blog, chances are there are people out there who love to read your blog.

I must confess that six months ago, I remember reading the words blogging community several times and thinking how can there be such a thing? I couldn't quite grasp the concept that bloggers could connect and bond across the blogosphere. I'm happy to say now that I know exactly how that can happen and I am delighted to have begun to develop relationships with many awesome bloggers, including these women, all of whom are incredible for different reasons:

Rita from The Crafty Expat

'Me' from My Journey

Janine from Janine's Confessions of a Mommyaholic

Lizzi from Considerings

Kristi from Finding Ninee

Emily from Mama Going Solo

Janet from Redland City Living

and many, many more. One day I hope to meet the women I've connected to through blogging in person. Living three hours from the most isolated city in the entire world might make that difficult, but if ever you guys find yourselves in the south-west of Western Australia, make sure you let me know.

And finally, I must confess that since I started to blog, I have experienced several major upheavals in my life. These are not things that I blog about. Not yet anyway. I'm pretty sure I would be right in saying that every blogger holds a part of themselves back from their blog. My blog has been my constant companion throughout these upheavals though, as a means of refuge and escapism. Everybody needs refuge and escapism I think, whether they get it from knitting or embroidery or typing strings of silly words together at one o'clock in the morning. And all this has brought me to the conclusion that

So what does blogging mean to you? What have you learnt since you started your blog? And what surprises did your blogging journey have in store for you? 

My Home Truths

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