It’s my three month blog anniversary! Yep, you’ve had notifications of new posts pinging into your email for three months. This is a big deal in the blogosphere. They say getting over the three month mark is monumental as a lot of bloggers give up after this short time. Blogging is intense and all consuming. It’s not as easy as writing something and throwing it up on the internet, well, it can be for some. For me, I want my website to look good, appealing and enticing. I want you to stay and read from page to page, not just single posts. I want to relate to you and share my experiences with you no matter how hard it may be for me to open up and be honest, sometimes brutally so. I’m hoping, that as you read my posts from day to day, that you’re nodding along and saying, “yes, she gets it, that’s how I feel.” I’m hoping that something I say strikes you and resonates with you. I hope it sparks a conversation with your friends and family. Sharing this intense journey of how parenthood has changed me has been amazing. It’s helped me understand who I am as a mother and a person. It’s helped me find myself in this journey that swallows you up like quick sand. There is a person behind this blog and I want you to know her and know that what she writes is from the heart. I want you to know that I write for you as well as for myself.
I had planned to write a follow up to Bamboozled by Blogging on my three month anniversary – a sort of celebratory post on all I’ve learned during these months. The first blogging post was one of my most popular posts in the early days, as my tips from one newbie blogger to another newbie blogger were read, shared and appreciated.
But today, I have to admit, that I have been feeling fairly overwhelmed with my blog and everything that it entails. There is a multitude of things to do from writing, editing, graphic design, seo, photography, reviewing and networking. The list is long. When I wake in the morning, I have a number of things that need to be ticked off already. So you can understand how overwhelming it is to keep a blog current and poignant.
On top of that, I work a four day week as a Medical Librarian so my brain is never off. I’m permanently bamboozled.
Bamboozled by Blogging
Today, I started questioning myself and where my blog should be at this stage. Have I acheived what I set out to do? Do I know where my blog is going? Why am I doing this?
I’m planning and being positive but I’m also nervous. “Nervous?” you say, “Why? What does a blogger have to be nervous about?” I’m a socially awkward person face to face. I worry about stepping my foot in it. And so my blogger self has the exact same quality. I’m nervous of offending, upsetting, forgetting or getting something wrong. I hold myself back on occasion for these reasons. And yet, the times when I write a post that is honest, open and brave I get the best feedback and interaction from you, my readers. Hmmm, best to do the math here I thought, and so Bamboozled by Blogging has gone by the way side and I will write that post another day. Instead, today, I want to share the why of Over Heaven’s Hill, why it’s here and why it is what it is. Why I worry, why I have self doubt and why I’m proud and excited.
Run Run Run Run Run Away
Things have been moving fast and admittedly, today, I feel like I can’t keep up. In such a short space of time, I’ve achieved quite a lot of suprising milestones. Milestones I thought would be a year or more down the line. But my blog has taken over and I’m amazed and proud of how the past three months have played out. It has, on the flipside, added pressure to keep up this momentum. Preassure I expound on myself. I am a perfectionist and I like to keep things a certain way and at a certain level. The bar has been set a little too high in such a short space of time. Am I complaining? Frick no! I’m ecstatic that I’ve achieved so much. I worry though – and worrying helps no one – I worry that the pace will surpass me and I’ll shimmy down lower in the ranks. Over Heaven’s Hill deserves to be up there with the best, I simply don’t want it to run away without me. I need to keep up with my blog but I’m afraid of running dry and running tired.
In three short months:
- There are 240+ subscribers to my blog and over 2000 followers through social media.
- I was selected as one of The Baby Spot’s Top 100 Mommy Bloggers of 2016.
- I made the shortlist for the LWI Blog Awards in two categories- Best Parenting Blog and Best Blog Post. And received amazing support from family, friends and colleagues with votes! Thank you all so much again! The finalists will be announced next week so fingers crossed!
- My In Conversation With weekly series with other parents has become way more popular than I ever thought it would be and is now booked up to November!
- I have articles being published in two separate parenting magazines in the next month or so – more on this another day!
- I have joined the newly established Irish Bloggers Agency.
- I was asked to set up a local charity’s wordpress site.
- I have ranked 529 in the Parent Blogger Club and 1130 in the Tots100 parent blogger listings. Both ranks I’m chuffed with and strive to pull higher in the ranks as time goes by.
Three Months In
My first month blogging was simply bamboozling. Everything was new, exciting and it was a massive learning curve. The second month was exhilarating as my head caught up with everything seasoned bloggers take in their stride. This most recent third month has been a turning point. I know why I blog. I’m a writer and badly missed that side of me as it disppeared and I no longer put pen to paper. What I needed were defined blog goals. I need to know where I want my blog to take me. The opportunities are there and I am willing and open to accepting them. I have goals which I’m working towards and I know exactly where I want to be in a years time. I have joined the Bloggers Agency in a hope that I will have support to help me achieve my blog goals and for my blog and my writing career to be a success.
Ultimate Blog Goal
Writing is my dream. Every guidance counsellor, every Aunt or Uncle that asked the question, what do you want to be when you grow up? were met with the same thing – a writer. Having written fiction and poetry for years, I still never classed myself as a writer because I wasn’t publicly read. I didn’t have the confidence to explore my dream outside of my home.
Blogging has given me a new voice, a voice I am proud to shout from the rooftops. I recently said to my Dad, wouldn’t it be great if I could call myself a writer! He simply said, “but Geraldine you are a writer.” I don’t need much more validation than that but validation is always nice nonetheless.
Sunday Sit Down
I also recently asked B in another of my self doubt moments, if he thought I should stop the Sunday Sit Down creative writing series on the blog. “Why would you?” he asked in confusion. “Because it’s not about parenting,” I replied. I love the parenting niche and A has given me a multitude of things to write about. My life has changed dramatically and my personality has shifted. I have found a voice I didn’t know I had when I write about my family. Creative Writing is different altogether and I delve into my personal fiction archives to bring you something different every week. The series is very close to my heart and I enjoy adding something unique and interesting outside of my parenting posts which can be serious and thought provoking at times. My creative writing is an outlet but it’s a longterm dream to publish a novel. Sharing my poetry and short stories with you keeps this dream alive. B is right, of course. Why would I drop it? It’s me. I hope you enjoy the randomness of it and the personal touch it brings to my blog.
A Name is Forever
On that subject of creative writing, Over Heaven’s Hill is named after a poem I wrote which is set deep in my heart. It says zip, zilch, zero about parenting and funnily enough, after I did a peek user testing, one tester thought that I was a religious site. Yikes. Not exactly what I’m about. I realise my blog name doesn’t advertise what I’m writing about and it may hinder me in the Mommy Blogger/Parent Blogger stakes but I think I’m slowly becoming ok with that. Chances are I won’t list high in the Google ranks because momma, mama, mother is not in my blog title but I’m sure I’ll find my way around this. Three months in, I don’t think I’ll change the name anytime soon. In a way, I’m hoping the obscure name makes me more memorable.
What’s In store For Month Four?
Three months in and I have a multitude of tips for new bloggers. Things I would have done differently from the beginning and things I now do naturally. Bamboozled by Blogging part deux will happen but for today, I’m happy that I shared an insight into my blogging world with you.
I have a to do list the length of Mary Poppins’ meausuring tape. Fourteen blog posts are waiting to be written with scribbles and ideas dashed into my beloved Filofax. I have three blogger events to attend this autumn alone which I’m hoping will make me a bigger and better blogger. And more reviews and collaborations are sitting up my sleeve. I’m hoping to publish articles in more parenting magazines. And as I say, the extras on my blog, In Conversation With is growing and Sunday Sit Down is here to stay. My blog is bigger than I ever imagined it would be at this stage. Despite the moments of self doubt and worry, I love blogging more than any other hobby I’ve dabbled in. I’ve given it more time, thought and love and I want to see it go far.
This post has been especially therapeutic for me. Whether you have read it all the way to the bottom or not doesn’t really matter on this occasion (although I hope you did!) It’s helped me focus my head for the C Section series I want to write. It’s helped me realise that this blog means more to me than I ever would have realised. It’s shown me that despite the self doubt, the fear and the anxiety that I write because I’m a writer and I love what I write about.
Thank you for coming with me on this journey. I really appreciate that every word I write is read by you. I hope you’ll still be with me in another three months… because I know I’ll still be here – that you can count on!
Care to give me a confidence boost and show me that I write for you as well as me? Leave a comment, even just to say “Hi, isn’t the weather a bit shit today?”