I have been mulling this post over because (in my usual fashion) I didn’t want to offend those who did enjoy it but in following my own advice, I’m blogging for me, so here goes …
I went to Britmums Live last weekend. Rather, I went to the Friday but not the Saturday.
Last year I had a great time, met some fab people and came away inspired. It felt like a much more creative experience for me last year.
This year I felt out of place. Like I wasn’t a blogging “professional”
During one break I got cornered by the Beko man in the refreshments area. He hurriedly backed off when I told him that the most hits I had ever got on a post was 165 (and that was a one off). I couldn’t tell you how many hits I get these days. I don’t check, because ‘Sod the stats’.
I prefer to think of my blog as a journal, a diary. In fact I’m about to start a new oneon Sunday which will be more of a diary than ever before. I suppose if pushed I would say my blog fell into the lifestyle category (ugh, I can see those ‘fingers in the air’ virtual quote marks now). I’m not a “mummy blogger” (although I am a mum and I do blog. My sons are 20 and 17, they don’t want me writing about them!). I don’t do recipes or reviews; I’m a keen amateur photographer but I don’t have a photography blog. I love Instagram but I don’t want to do that for anyone other than friends and family, I don’t need to “grow my followers”.
In reality, I just blog about what I feel.
I found myself pretty much apologising to the Beko man about how insignificant my blog was. I might as well have said “I’m so sorry for taking up valuable internet space (if that’s even a thing? Does one take up internet space?) with my stupid little musings”. And business cards? I don’t have them. I was embarrassed when “better and more important, proper” bloggers asked the name of my blog and just mumbled “oh, you wouldn’t have heard of it”.
Then I went to the session “The power blogging can bring to your life” with Rachael Lucas (RachaelLucas.com), Melinda (Her Melness Speaks) and Cherry Menlove (CherryMenlove.com). To be honest, if Mel hadn’t been speaking I probably wouldn’t have gone. But I love Mel. And I’m so glad I went.
These three ladies led a brilliantly relaxed discussion on what blogging meant to us all (they said that they hadn’t realised they were going to be “on a stage”, but it didn’t faze them) and were truly happy just to chat and answer our questions. 3 different ladies, 3 different blogs, 3 very different reasons for starting them. However, one message came through. Blog for YOU. Not for who you think is reading, not for what you think people want you to say, not for what you THINK interests people. We talked about losing your “voice” and how that can happen, how reading other people’s blogs can make you feel inferior rather than inspire you. Rubbishwife and I got to meet Rachel afterwards and had a glass of wine along with Amanda Jennings outside in the lovely courtyard.
The power that my blog brings me is that of writing how I feel, what I feel, when I feel it. If anyone likes reading it, if it helps anyone that’s a bonus. If anyone wants to tweet me about it that’s great. But ultimately it’s about me.
I absolutely loved listening to Keynote Speaker Emma Freud, who I have had a girl crush on for years. (Note to Emma, STOP READING THE DM SIDEBAR OF SHAME!). Resplendent in THREE tiaras, she was in turn funny, candid and passionate about Comic Relief, her life and, still after 25 years, her boyfriend (her words), Richard Curtis. I also attended the session on “Writing block and unlocking the creative process” with Amanda Jennings (Sworn Secret) Hannah Beckerman (The Dead Wife’s Handbook) and Rowan Coleman (The Memory Book). I’m not writing a novel, although god knows I’ve started a few. I decided I will never have good enough ideas, but I was interested to hear about how these women write ~ all very differently it turns out!~ and thoroughly enjoyed listening to them.
Incidentally, Rubbish and I spent a happy Saturday morning in Harvey Nics and then a happy Saturday afternoon at the V&A. Sorry for those we missed catching up with (especially the award winning Tom at Diary of the Dad, who had promised to buy me a drink!)
Following the Britmums conference this year Mel has launched the #post40blogger hashtag ….
“This liberation led three bloggers … to collaborate to form a blogging collective for ‘Post 40 Bloggers’ (#Post40Bloggers). A fledging network to assist bloggers (or wannabe bloggers) aged 40 and over in finding each other. And find each other we have started to do. The hashtag had barely been built yesterday and they came. The older blogger had found their people.
People who want to continue the conversation on the other side of sore nipples, sleepless nights and projectile vomit. That is not to say the older parent in the baby trenches is not welcome – just that the majority of #Post40Bloggers will have evolved past babydom. That said, as we will be looking for key editors across a range of topics, your experience as an older parent could definitely form an interesting niche within the network. (See how flexible people past 40 can be? I know.)”