The first rule

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

My personal struggle with blogging has been a long and drawn out process. You see, I've been blogging for about 6 years - even longer if we count all the years spent lamenting over LiveJournal, I mean it's all for an audience right? But for all intents and purposes we'll say 6 years since I quit making private posts about 'me me me' (and all of my Primark purchases at the time) and channeled it into a wannabe online magazine type blog. You know the types that were all the rage back in 2009/2010: pretty girls with all their new clothes on, posing in forests and on urban streets, writing whimsical words about their everyday life - and I decided I wanted to be one of them.

The problem was, I just wasn't very good or at least I deemed myself that way. I took most of my photos inside because I was too self-conscious to set up a tripod outside to try to get the perfect shot, and therefore relied on my words and networking. This was the bit that I revelled in as I love communicating (I've worked in customer-facing roles since 2003, go figure) and at a time when personal bloggers were benefiting from somewhat of a boom, it was easy to climb the ranks. But I lost my heart in it after about a year and began to feel like a bit of a self-obsessed prat taking selfies every single day, and began to focus more on bettering my photography. So I guess I took the natural progression of sliding into lifestyle blogging.

The problem was, once I'd transformed from a tighter niche into a much larger spectrum, it was easier to become unknown and therefore unstuck. I adored using my photography as a point of interest, tailoring intricate blog posts around them. And it didn't stop there; I published recipes that I'd put my heart and soul into, talked about trips that I had been on, and still had the occasional dabble in displaying some kind of personal style. But in a competitive world it can be easy to be left by the wayside and while I watched other bloggers overtake me, some of them coming out of nowhere, I did nothing about it. I let my posting become more and more sparse, and when I went through a break-up and subsequent massive upheaval in my life I couldn't turn it into blog-fodder. I'm way too private for something like that. So I had a bit of a break and turned up somewhere new a few months later, my typing fingers rough 'n' ready for action.

The problem was, by that point I had just lost sense of everything that I desired from blogging. What was once supposed to be an enjoyable hobby on keeping a documentation of my life - a personal journal, shall we say - had turned into something that I felt like I had to do. I felt like I couldn't let go of blogging, for my tiny little scratch on the world wide web would suddenly become redundant. But I couldn't muster up the mental energy to actually sit down in front of a computer and just let the words flow. It became a chore rather than a pleasure and no matter how much 'editorial planning' I did, it just wouldn't come to fruition. Added to the fact that I'm a shift worker with the worst shift patterns in the world, any free time to just ~myself~ I have is like gold dust and is usually spent with a cup of coffee and a couple of hours of Netflix, I'm almost sad to say.

Another thing that got to me was how much blogging actually became part of everyday life. Now, I don't begrudge spending lots of time indoors at your laptop working up a typing frenzy before hitting that elusive Publish button, I understand that is needed in order to, you know, have a blog. What I hated was the time I had begun to spend hidden behind something else, either tending to my social media on my phone (which I despise by the way, I'm no Tweet queen anymore) or trying to get the perfect shot for a photograph. I'd end up spending so much time behind my camera that I was no longer enjoying the moment as it actually happened, and surely that's what life is all about? I would hate to, you know, maybe show such photographs to my future kids and have all my talk about them be something I'd extracted from Wikipedia and not my own experience, because I'd spent too much time trying to craft the perfect post.

But, the problem is... I do want to document these things. I want to keep a record. I want to show my family who live far away from me what I've been up to and when I travel, show all my friends where I've been. And I'd love to provide a helpful resource for other travellers or hike-happy people. I just don't want to lose a sense of what I set out to achieve along the way. So, I'm just going to have to BE MYSELF.

I mean, isn't that what blogging is supposed to be about anyway? The trouble is I read so many blogs these days - most of them travel-orientated - and I can just tell that, for lack of better phrasing, it's all a load of bollocks. All of these amazing destinations, but do they actually get to enjoy themselves? How much time was spent behind that laptop, cooped up indoors, when really they ought to be out there enjoying it like the rest and best of them. And I'm the first to admit that yes, absolutely I would love to work for myself and travel at the same time, but not when the heart and soul has been stripped out of it. I was inspired, but uninspired all at the same time. Then I read this post by Ashlea of A Globe Well Travelled, which is possibly my most favourite blog - and I agreed with E V E R Y T H I N G. That, I found inspiring; inspiring enough to decide to jump back onto the bandwagon and try to make a go of it once more.

Because within all the corporate mess and affliction of affiliate links that make me think "Are you even for real?", there are some blogs out there that I radically enjoy. I've loved Adventurous Kate ever since I stumbled upon her, and not just because we share the greatest name that ever was. And Sabina, from Girl vs Globe who is more dedicated to creating a community of world wide women than anybody I've come across so far. And, of course, my homies Bee and Nick of Twenty Something Burnouts whose memoirs are so raw that you can't help but laugh and cry along with them. And let's not forget the non-travel bloggers and the ones that write for love not money, like my #sortasoulmate Gracie who has a way of dictating the dictionary like never I've known, or my longtime buddy Mel who posts pretty much every single day with a heart-bursting with pride for what she does. These people along with others serve to remind me that yes, you can do this blog-thing and not let it drag you down.

So here I am with perhaps an ironic first post, baring my soul to the world, asking you to come along for the ride and stick with me. It may be rocky in places, it may come ALLATONCE or have crippling gaps in the journey, but it'll be as enjoyable and real as it possibly can be. You can invite all your friends or depart at any time, I won't mind. Because I'm doing this for me. For you, too, but I promise not to forget myself this time

At the end of the day, my mum and dad will be always be reading it, and that's what I care about the most.

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