Sunday, August 25, 2013

Thoughts on blogging after 2 years.



My little blog has turned 2.

I've been reflecting on my blogging journey so far and thought I'd share some thoughts, particularly in light of all the recent chatter on how much blogging has changed and evolved over the years.

Two years ago I had never read a blog in my life and didn't even know what a blog was. I was in my 7th year of parenting and had been busy raising 4 little children and didn't have the time or energy in the evenings to get through more than a few pages of a novel let alone open the laptop to see what lay within.

Things began to change and more time was opening up for me to pursue creative endeavours. We were 16 months into our stint in Sydney when we made the decision to get ourselves back to Tasmania. We didn't know how or when or that it would only be 3 months down the track but I was already thinking about changes I'd like to make to our home upon our return. Namely, I thought the dodgy 30 year old oven which always wrecked havoc with my cooking (and still does!) would have to go. This prompted a google search of "Kitchens", "Subway tiles", "Tasmania" and "Ovens" which led me to this gorgeous blog. In addition to an image of a stunning white kitchen, what I also found were beautiful photographs that were accompanied by beautifully crafted words about a beautiful family in Tasmania - a visual diary of sorts which also had a lovely online community attached to each Post.

I just recall thinking it would be a perfect forum for me to document our own family life. I loved taking photos, yet had never managed to actually get any photos printed off since 2001. I also had a strong desire to write yet I had zero interest in scrapbooking or being locked away writing a diary. A void had been left after leaving an occupation where I spent the majority of my day writing as a solicitor and I wanted to share my thoughts and ideas with others again. The blog seemed a perfect fit. I had a fiddle around and set the blog up right there and then. I spent 10 minutes thinking about a name and then found a photo to upload for the header from the 40,000 photos sitting on the laptop. I took some photos around the yard the following day and pressed publish.

Of all the millions of blogs out there, I truly believe that I struck gold when the first blog I stumbled on was Hugo and Elsa. For me, it is a perfect example of all things I value in a personal blog. An authentic voice. Not over-sharing, not under-sharing. Just sharing. It was an absolute thrill to finally meet the lady I credit with inspiring me to start my own blog the week before last. Michelle is such a lovely person and it was great to meet her in real life. She is doing some very exciting things down her way, including writing a book!

I still love blogging. I am grateful for the friendships I've made and appreciate every single person who pops in to read and leaves such lovely comments. However, in contrast to my first year of blogging,  I've had a few wobbles during my second year, particularly over the last few months. There are just a few little things that have taken a bit of the shine off lately.

Firstly, I've suffered from the "it's all been said before" routine, both in what I want to write and also what I read. It's all led to a slump in inspiration on the blogging front. It's purely a symptom of having read so many great blog posts from a wide range of bloggers over 24 months. I can usually get over this by reminding myself of the original purpose of my blog and that although someone might have already written on the topic, they haven't told it in quite the same way that I would.

Then there was being named in the Kidspot Voices of 2013 Top 25 Personal & Parenting Blogs, an absolute honour and thrill yet ironically I feel I may have lost my voice in the process. I think I succumbed to a bit of stage fright, conscious that there may be a few more eyes running over my Posts. Couple this with the arrival of baby number 5 and I fear my rather tired brain has churned out Posts that are somewhat lacklustre and disjointed, feelings that don't inspire confidence in blogging.

However, the main issue I've struggled with is this issue surrounding monetisation of personal blogs. Pip wrote an insightful Post that simply acknowledged how blogging has changed over the years, from a time where blogging was very community focussed to now where there are a lot more blogs focussed on attaining commercial success. She made it clear that there were still tight communities to be found, and I consider myself fortunate to be part of such a lovely community, but she wondered whether maybe a bit of the spirit of blogging had fallen by the wayside lately. It is some of the comments and Posts that were written following Pips Post that have given me a bit of angst and compelled me to write on the topic.

I feel that so many important points have been missed.

It is my view that everyone is free to do what they like with their own blogs. Some choose the path of monetisation and others, like myself, don't. I couldn't care less what others choose to do and I continue to read and enjoy blogs that have taken both paths. Some of my friends monetise their blogs and I support them just as they support my decision not to.

My struggle is that I don't want to monetise my blog yet I feel that the real message out there is that commercial success equates to blogging success and that commercialising a blog is a "natural progression" and something that we should all aspire to.

I disagree with this view completely. There are so many reasons people blog and earning an income from their blogging is just one of many valid reasons to blog.

I just read something to the effect that "what Mum sitting at home with kids around her ankles doesn't want to earn money from her blog?". Um, me! Sweeping statements like these make me a little bit cranky, not least because it undermines the valuable contribution that many bloggers make to the community for free in the form of advice, tutorials, the sharing of ideas and inspiration, and friendship.

I accept that the nature of blogging has changed, that there are more opportunities to monetise than ever before and that some bloggers will take up these offers, which is terrific. Not a problem. But to suggest that this is the 'right' path or that it's a path suited to everyone is short-sighted. Suggesting that blogging to earn money is or should be the "end game" will only alienate those bloggers that don't choose that path even further.

There are opportunities to monetise my blog but I don't want to. It's not really my thing and that's OK. My reasons shouldn't be important just as I don't question why bloggers choose to make money from their blog. But because some of these views have come from new bloggers starting blogs to earn a living, I feel the need to outline a few reasons why some people may not be interested in monetising their blogs:

* Some people blog for pure enjoyment.
* Some people already have a job and don't want a second one.
* Becoming a professional blogger takes a lot of hard work, like any job, and some people don't have the time or inclination to put the required work in.
* Some people aren't interested in making money by being a conduit for advertisers.
* Some people have ethical and philosophical issues with accepting advertising because they don't like being "advertised to" themselves or they feel it's incongruous to support the activity of selling stuff to others when they are trying to minimise the effects of consumerism in their own lives.
* Some people aren't comfortable with gaining loyal followers only to then make money by these followers clicking on their Ads or links within their Posts.
* Some people don't think all the effort to monetise their blog is worth it.
* Some people aren't comfortable earning money by writing about their children.
* Some people value the real connections and friendships they have made and don't want their motives for gaining such a loyal following in the first place questioned when switching their blogs from a personal blog to a commercial entity.

I also think some bloggers are confusing "networking" with making real connections between like-minded souls. There is a big difference.

I know this is a rant. It's not the type of Post I've ever written before and it is not designed to polarise people's views on the merits or otherwise of different approaches to blogging. As I mentioned, I continue to read and enjoy all forms of blogs - monetised or not. There are awesome professional bloggers and awesome non-professional bloggers. I hope I'm not naive in thinking we can all just get along and support one another. I just felt that I needed to lend a voice to those of us who don't want to follow the path of a professional blogger. There are many other motivators for blogging (aside from commercial ones) that are just as valid and should be acknowledged and respected too.

Joining in this weekend with Maxabella's Weekend Rewind.

103 comments :

  1. I love your blog. Absolutely love it!

    It's interesting to see how many bloggers are talking about blogging - why they do it, should they keep doing it, is it worth doing, should they change how they do it, etc. I think that things have changed in the blogging world, but there are definitely still pockets of authentic community to be found. And I think we all need to cut ourselves some slack. Not every post is going to be a work of art, but there is a subtle pressure to "keep up" with some of the very polished blogs that are out there. I am not immune to feeling that pressure, and have to occasionally remind myself about why I blog so I don't feel discouraged. I think my recent angst over losing some followers was partly due to succumbing to that pressure.

    Your writer's voice is wonderful, and I love reading your blog. Keep up the great work!

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    1. Thanks Kristie, I think it's good to talk about these things :-)

      It's very topical here right now. It's easy to get discouraged but probably my main point is that there are messages out there (in the Posts I've been reading lately) that suggest that we should all be aspiring to earn a living from our blogs because we can and it's now considered a legitimate way to earn money, but it can make those of us feel a bit on the outer if we don't choose that path, especially when so many new bloggers start up blogs specifically to earn a living. I just want both paths to be respected rather than there being an "us" and "them" scenario take place.

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  2. dear mel,
    congratulations on two years of blogging, i am so happy to have found you (i think was shortly after you began), i love your wit and humor, the lovely photos you share and learning about a part of the world so far from my own. i think of you as a good friend.
    i have so many thoughts on what you've shared here, i wish i could sit with a cup of tea and discuss this instead of having to type in this little box. but i couldn't agree more. i have had all these thoughts too. soon after my blog began (five years ago) i woke up one morning going from one or two comments and five friends (followers) to hundreds, on one post. google had named my blog 'blog of note', i didn't know what that was, but soon found out. i felt like you, i literally ran away (my post was on a run i had done, and i closed up my computer and went for a run to get away!). that really changed things for me, and i worked through lots of feelings of being overexposed, and vulnerable. but the community kept me going by absolute kindness and sincerity (and a slight push from my husband). i've never added 'blog of note' to my blog page, it made me uncomfortable, much the same way monetizing did. i've had offers over the years. at one point i tried, even adding sponsors. but it never felt right, and so i stopped. i did think of it as helping friends, which i do really want to do, but i knew it wasn't for me.
    i feel the same as you, i have no judgement for anyone and i read blogs of all kinds. it is such a personal choice. i do it for the love of it, and nothing more.
    thank you for sharing this dear, and have a wonderful day!

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    1. Thanks Lori, "Blogger of Note" :-) I agree that it would be better to sit down over a cup of tea to chat about some of these blogging issues - sometimes the message in the written word can appear more forceful than a simple chat so I hope my post is read as I intended, just a bit of a reflection on my current thoughts on blogging, things that I am concerned about. I think it's a shame if we are too scared to share our thoughts on our own blogs. x

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  3. p.s. oh maybe i've said too much! i'm on a juice fast and my brain is a little foggy! mel, what i really wanted to say is blogging has been a true blessing in my life, i feel overwhelmed all the time by the friends i've met online and in real life, true friendships. once i understood that it was okay to stay true to myself, and not have to 'progress'(money, ads...)

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  4. I really enjoyed this post and I agree with you. I haven't done anything to earn money with my blog. I was floored when I received a few offers to peddle various products in the past few months. Someone thinks my blog would help them market anything?! In a way, it's flattering but it just doesn't seem like a good fit for me. I politely declined. My blog is small but it's still far more successful than I ever imagined it would be. I really enjoy blogging but sometimes it seems a little overwhelming to know that people are actually reading what I write. I appreciate it very much, of course. I have no idea what would feel right in the future, my plan is just to keep writing about the little things in my life and enjoy the friendships I've made in the blogging community. :)

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    1. It is quite a big ego-boost I think when you start getting offers to advertise, and nothing wrong with going down that path of course. I still feel self-conscious knowing people read my blog x

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  5. Mums sitting at home with kids, eh? Well I for one know that sitting and kids are not complimentary! I've hit a bit of a slump, coincidentally it's two years for me as well. I think mine is due to the feeling that I've stopped growing - we're done with our expat assignment, I've got nothing to say, and that's why I've been stuck at 97 followers for months now, despite my best efforts to get out there and make new friends. What keeps me going is knowing how I feel after sitting down and blogging - it's relaxing, me-time that I don't think I can do without. Thanks for your insightful post, it has given me much to think about.

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    1. I wonder if something happens around the 2 year mark? It did occur to me that I may need a blog break!

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  6. Congratulations on your 2 year birthday. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on blogging. I do sometimes wonder if I am boring readers with another picture of the sea. As you say it is up to the blogger to choose how they run their blogs. For me I have gained so much through blogging and I have found it wonderful to connect to people all around the world who share similar interests.
    Sarah x

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    1. That's what I love about blogging too Sarah x

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  7. Mel..well said and congratulations on two years of blogging. I think you have hit nearly all the highs and lows...says she who will have been at it for nearly five years. I have to say I have not drifted far off what I started doing all those years ago...I just write when the spirit moves and some days it moves more than others. I have taken two blogging courses and each time I stopped to ask myself why...I felt disconnected. It was clear I was not on the same wave length. There was a time when I wrote daily and seemed to lose all sense of direction in the process. It took up too much precious time. I let go, enjoy more, write less and the friendships and joy continue to flow. I am not selling anything...and I am thankful that I am not...I can not imagine focusing all my efforts and time into my blog...I would have little time for anything else. As I sit and think back on our recent purchase of Tahilla Farm and all that has transpired since we have, I thank my lucky stars...it was because of blogging that I found it. Someone reached out and it has made all the difference to our family. Blogging has enriched my life more than I could have ever imagined...and I have not earned a penny from it. The friendships found are my greatest reward...as you have already discovered. You have a wonderful blog...talent that is true and genuine...take time when you need it. I am sure you discovered when you wrote this very thoughtful post...that it felt good to say it. Just keep doing what you are doing...and enjoy. xx

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    1. "Enjoy more, write less" - I love that! Jeanne, thank you SO much for this lovely comment and for sharing your knowledge and thoughts. These are very encouraging words x

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  8. Happy blogiversary Mel! A very interesting post. I'm one of those who is not interested in monetsising - I'm way too lazy! I have enough stresses in my life too and blogging is something I want to be fun.
    Xx

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    1. Thanks Sarah, blogging is something I do for fun too so I'd worry about the fun being sucked out of it if I turned it into a job x

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  9. Congratulations on 2 years of blogging! I just love your blog, Mel. It's a beautiful snapshot of life in a truly beautiful part of the world, and inspires me so much, and if you are clear on what you want your blog to be, then I say keep on keeping on! I started my blog at the beginning of the year as I wanted to take part in Jodi's 52 project. To be honest I have struggled with exactly what my blog is beyond that. I have found a passion for photography I didn't really know I had, and I am not good with words, I hope that somehow my photography will start to tell a story, my story, and say what I cannot. I don't expect masses of readers, but it is truly lovely to connect with people from all over the world. Keep up the good work, and enjoy xx

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    1. Thanks for your lovely comment. That's so great you've found an unknown passion! I love blogs that tell their stories through pictures. I'm popping over for a look!

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  10. Happy Anniversary Mel! I'm with you...I write for enjoyment and each day I get numerous requests from companies etc to advertise on my blog. I don't want my blog to be like that. For me it has always been my creative outlet to express what I am doing in my life, what I am loving etc and I really don't want to loose that feeling or the integrity of my blog. I don't make any money from what I write and am happy for it to be that way.
    The voice on that space is unmotivated by any external motivation and writing this way is how it will remain for me.
    ...even if no one reads it, it makes me happy.
    Ness xx

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  11. Hear hear. Mel. Agree with just about all your comments except maybe that I think the most "successful" blogs are the real, authentic ones as they are the ones I enjoy the most. I am all for choice and have no issue with people earning an income from blogging but I personally prefer bloggers who write for the love of it and for the connection. I love your blog, it is one of my faves in fact. Keep doing what you do. mel x

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    1. Thanks Mel. I agree with you on the 'authentic' stuff, I love your blog too and still can't look at an Iced Vovo the same way! x

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  12. Congratulations Mel, and happy birthday Coal Valley View Blog! I'm working it out as I go too, I think we kind of all are. There shouldn't be any right or wrong way if the approach comes from the heart and is genuine. I really like it here lady, your voice is warm and strong and honest. And for me, the connections with this amazing, like-minded, supportive community is what it's all about. Thanks for being so generous in that regard Mel. Belinda x

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    1. Yes, shooting from the hip all the way! Thanks for your gorgeous words Belinda x

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  13. Excellent post.

    It is exactly why you will get more readers. And more and more.

    I was nodding to so many of the things you have said. Especially the bit for new bloggers, that if you are going to monetise your blog (I have only a little) it is hard work, time consuming work. This year I also found less enjoyment in the commercial opportunities offered to me. So I started saying no very regularly. It has made me much happier.

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    1. Hi Claire, It's so interesting to get your perspective on this, as someone who has taken up a few opportunities yourself. Yes, I think the amount of work involved is grossly underestimated. And I love your blog x

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  14. I've popped over from Carmel's blog where you left a comment about perhaps just committing blogging post suicide. I get what you mean about "stage fright". I've completely lost my "blogging mojo" (if I ever had one) when several people close to me a) discovered I had a blog and b) decided to pass rather unkind & contemptuous judgement as to the purpose of it. Talk about a kick in the guts & a slap in the face to self confidence all at once. I still don't think I've recovered, hence the very few handful of posts since then. Thank you for saying what I think.

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    1. People are funny aren't they. I remember feeling very awkward when I 'outed' myself as a blogger to family members but they love seeing what we've been up to. I'm sure your mojo will return soon x

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  15. well, there you go, you have just put into words exactly what I haven't been able to put my finger on lately, and why I have been sitting back a little. Like you, I enjoy all the different kinds of blogs, and happily read regardless of any blogger's choice to monetise. I just find such a greater satisfaction from the real connections, where dialogue about real life is exchanged. But, in our culture, money makes the world go round, and is the only true measure of success, right? When I first started, I thought the number of followers was a sign of success, then I realised there was sponsorship success. I'm going to make an active effort to claim back warmth, community, spritely discussion and the sharing of ideas as measures of success, too!

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    1. Thanks for your comment Sarah! The number of followers is a deceptive measure really as there are many other ways people follow blogs - different readers, feedly, bloglovin, e-mail or just bookmarking them on their computers. It is also very easy to get "followers" if you run many big giveaways where people have to "follow" to enter but you may never hear from them again and they may not be actual readers of your blog. You can purchase followers for your blog too! That would be a pretty pointless exercise though as they obviously can't add to the conversation but useful if you want Sponsors to think you're popular! x

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  16. Hi Mel
    Happy 2nd blog birthday! I do enjoy your blog for the very reason it isn't cluttered with adds and links to distract me. This, and of course the content! Some blogs I read are regimentally planned with scheduled posts on certain days. I do enjoy those sometimes (at least they help me remember what day of the week it is) but I prefer unexpected little glances into a small corner of someone's life. Please do continue with your heart warming, funny, interesting and often reflective posts.
    Christina x

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    1. Thanks Christina :-) And yes, for example Soulemama does her regular weekend Post on one of her Sponsors and she is still one of my favourite reads x

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  17. Keep doing what you're doing Mel. Your photos and writing are beautiful, as is your family. It's so easy to get caught up in what everybody else is doing (in all aspects of life), and I constantly have to remind myself that this is for no-one else but my family, particularly those yet to come, who I hope will gain a little insight into our lives. I have probably mentioned this before, but I print my blog in book form at the end of every year, and honestly, those books are my kids favourites. Take care.

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    1. Wise words as always Fiona. Love your book idea, although scary to think about "those yet to come" when I'm still dealing with the nappies of my own :-) One of the greatest gifts I've ever received was a little book my Grandmother had typed up of her life which was given to all of us after she passed away x

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    2. For my birthday two weeks ago my aunty printed out my blog thus far and bound it in a beautiful album. xx

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  18. I can so relate Mel. I never felt right about taking on sponsors - even when they were businesses aligned with the objectives of my blog. I recently made the decision to make my blog a sponsorship free space. I feel so much better. I love that you have listed so many reasons why people don't want to monetise their blogs.

    Happy bloggy birthday :-)

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    1. That's really interesting Tricia, thanks so much for popping over and sharing your thoughts on this x

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  19. Happy 2nd blogaversary - I also started August 2011!!!

    I agree that there are so many reasons people blog and no generalisations can be made. Take it as it comes for you. Interesting about your reaction to the kidspot 25 list ... Xxxx

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    1. I remember you starting around the same time Deb - Happy 2nd Blogoversary back! Sometimes I still feel like I'm only writing to the 20 or so people who comment here regularly as well as a few family members and still feel a bit self conscious when I find out someone I know has found my blog, even though obviously it's open to the public. So being in the spotlight a little bit with the Kidspot thing was a bit strange for me . Weird, I know. x

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  20. Mel,
    You definitely haven't committed blog suicide! I agree with you. I think people are free to do what they want with their blogs - earn money or not earn money from them. Having said that, some bloggers certainly have a heightened sense of their writing ability and subject matter to expect they can make money from people reading what they have to say!

    Keep doing what you're doing. Stay true to yourself and your children. You're creative, and clever, and well-spoken with a good measure of humour. Your children are beautiful. A sponsored post could never replace that! Carmel

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  21. A very thought provoking post Mel. I think we all wobble sometimes. I don't mind reading blogs with adverts in thesidebars but hate it when I realise half way through a post that it's sponsored and wish bloggers would make it clear from the start. I stopped following some blogs because nearly every post became an advert for something with which I felt no connection. For me, blogs are about community and sharing so those are the ones I choose to read.

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    1. Yes, completely agree. At least give your readers the option of deciding from the beginning whether or not they would like to read the Sponsored Post or not. Even worse is when there is no disclosure at all. I believe Google is penalising posts that contain the word "Sponsored Post" unless you put a "no follow" tag on the sponsored links. Companies don't like this because then they don't get the benefit of the link helping with their google page ranking and so they are asking bloggers to stop using the word "Sponsored Post" so bloggers are using other words instead. Messy stuff. Things are much stricter in the US and the sooner we get some laws in this country the better, I think, for everyone.

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  22. Articulated beautifully :-)


    Happy Anniversary to the blog
    and birthdays to the peeps xoxoxo

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  23. Can you hear me cheering all the way over here in the UK?

    I could write you an essay in reply! Suffice to say ... there are as many different ways to blog as there are bloggers, and I agree, that difference should be celebrated. And why, as is generally supposed, should pro blogging mean making money-making blogging? Shouldn't professionalism in blogging mean the same as it does in any other field ... that certain standards of competence and conduct are aspired to, and that whatever you do you do reflectively? In my view it takes a pro blogger to write a post like this x

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    1. That's an excellent point Annie, professionalism should relate to the adherence of certain standards of conduct etc rather than whether the blogger is making money. It will be very interesting to see what the future holds in this area, I wonder whether it will get to the stage where bloggers will somehow fall under the umbrella of the same or similar code of ethics as writers/publishers x

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  24. All of this, Mel. I'm clapping loudly here. Commercial success is the goal for some, but not for all. We should all be able to blog however we like, but I'm mighty sick of commercial success having the loudest voice!!!! x

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    1. Yes, yes, yes. I think that was my main gripe, that we all have stuff to say but us little bloggers have such a quiet voice that it sometimes doesn't get heard x

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  25. PS - keep blogging, 'cos you are much loved. Happy 2 years. xxx

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    1. Thank you, you were also one of my first blog reads x

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  26. Gosh you've had a really busy 2 years, I thought you must have been blogging much longer than that Mel - congratulations!
    This is a really interesting post, I hadn't given much thought to the monetary side of blogging & I just read what I enjoy! And I guess that's the main thing, each to their own.
    Ps I hope you don't take a blogging break! X

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    1. So much has happened these past 2 years that my head hurts if I think too much about it! I don't think there will be a proper break as such, I would miss it too much!

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  27. I've been blogging for over 6 years and I would have to agree with you (and Pip) it has changed, but if you look hard you still can find the communities, that's what I love. Just found your blog through Maxabella so looking forward to meeting you:)

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    1. Looking forward to popping over to your blog too Erin! Thanks for stopping by here x

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  28. Am new to this blogging biz. Started it as a sort of journal to make into a book each year, something for the grandies to read and hopefully enjoy one day.
    I thoroughly agree with your comments and say you must stay true to yourself. This comes shining through on your blog. And is why all your readers enjoy it so much.
    Happy 2nd anniversary to you and your blog. Dee

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    1. Hi Dee, Love the idea of printing it out into a book each year. And thank you for taking the time to visit here x

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  29. Hear, hear Mel, well said. Great post.
    There must be a blogging 2 year itch syndrome! So many bloggers seem to be questioning their blogs around this time. I have pulled back on mine this year, partly because of lack of time, but partly because I wasn't sure about what to write about anymore. Recently I went back and re-read old posts and I actually enjoyed reading about the everyday stuff. So I gathered that if nothing else I appreciate my blog for the record it keeps of my little family and what we get up to. Keep doing what you're comfortable with and you will continue to connect with like minded people.

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    1. Thanks Beth. I really do wonder if there is something of a 2 year-itch for bloggers as I also notice a few bloggers pulling back or stopping around the 2 year mark. I think you're right about doing whatever is comfortable.....I prefer blogging but I know a lot of bloggers now prefer IG so at least when someone stops blogging we can still all catch up with each over there too. My main problem is trying to keep up with all the different social media platforms, but that's another blog post! x

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  30. Congratulations on your Two Year Anniversary! When I first stumbled upon your blog, you had written a post about travelling across Australia. Your subtle humour and slap-happy way of dealing with kids in the car all day struck a chord. You have a special way of writing that is just so entertaining that I kept hitting "older post" to laugh a little longer. I probably read about your life for over an hour (does this creep you out a little?!). I'm glad I started following you as you remind me of myself when my kids were little and we just went out and enjoyed life. If we walked through the woods, everyone else would be on the path, but I would have my kids down in the creek wading in the water. I wish I had a blog when the kids were little because I would've loved to share it all with someone else who was of a like mind. I've often felt like the "oddball" because of the way I do things, but through my own blog I've realized FINALLY that I'm not alone. Lots of parents are actually enjoying the outdoors with their kids, enjoying knitting and crafts ... and no one is mocking them for it! I felt like a whole new community had opened up. I love to share stuff, and working from home I don't have daily contact with people, and it gets very lonely. Blogging is a way for me to connect with others and sharing comments and views has been great. I have a few followers who comment regularly, and I feel like they are old friends. All of this is why I blog. Some bloggers who have turned to advertising on their blogs don't really hold my interest. I find the content of the money-making posts are bland and I often don't comment on those because I'm just not inspired to do so. But their reasons for blogging are obviously different than mine. To each his own. I imagine if my posts didn't receive any comments, I would probably stop blogging. It's the connection with the blogging community that I've enjoyed so much. Wendy x

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    1. Yes, I'm cringing, as I don't even like to read my old Posts!!! Thanks for your gorgeous comment Wendy x

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  31. Well said Mel and happy bloggiversary. I so enjoy your blog and to be honest, the reason I do is most probably because it epitomises the values of life and that of motherhood. I am looking forward to sharing another two years with you xoxo

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  32. I love this post! Sometimes I hear so much about monetization that it becomes the norm. I always like to hear from the quiet voices. I actually wrote a post similar a while ago about my evolution over three years. I fell into monetization really - I started the blog in order to find a job writing online, and whether that was on my blog or elsewhere, it didn't matter. I took the attitude of "well, we'll just see where this goes", and I still feel that way! I do make a living from my blog, but I still am just going with the flow to see what happens. The only thing I get miffed about is when people make generalisations and say things like authenticity gets lost across all posts when a blog has sponsored posts, and that we don't blog for passion or connection if we are monetized. I do and feel exactly the same way as bloggers who don make money! Every word on that blog is 100% me. But the best part of all is the community - I hear so loudly what Pip was saying! It was an unexpected but very amazing side effect to what can be a lonely job (which is also a LOT of work!). I have made wonderful connections and found firm friends. Peeking into others lives and getting invaluable advice has meant my rookie journey into motherhood has been supported by a brilliant cast of characters whom I adore. Blogging is the bomb! And I'm so glad you do it, I hope your wobbles straighten up soon. And if its any consolation, I have had them too :-) xx

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    1. I love your blog Stacey! I agree that generalisations don't do anyone any favours, it's just that any generalisations about the bigger bloggers are usually stamped out by the bigger bloggers quickly and vehemently as they have a bigger voice whereas generalisations about smaller blogs (being unsuccessful because they haven't "made" it commercially) are harder to defend because we are a bit quieter. As far as the generalisation about authenticity, I would actually say that the majority of the big commercially successful bloggers are successful BECAUSE they have been able to keep their authenticity and passion and still connect so well with their readers. You nail authenticity! x

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    2. I think you're so right - maybe they're loud and vehement because they feel defensive? I don't know, it's a weird situation. We should all be more like Horton, who quiets down in order to hear the very important words of the Who people. Loudest doesn't always mean the most important - or even the most interesting! I think I like a mix.

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    3. Agree. A riot of different voices makes things interesting. And obviously I'm well aware that my Post here is coming from a very defensive standpoint! x

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  33. I'm a relatively new visitor to your blog, and really do love it. Having a voice can be scary when your first start out. In fact, I've been blogging for seven years, and only just finding my voice now! My husband thinks that it's everyone's right to do with their blog what they like, and I readily agree! He also thinks I need to turn my blog into a business seeing a lot of love goes into it. I'm not so sure! Anyhow, it's refreshing to have lots of honest posts like this. These types are always my favourites. Happy Blogiversary! xx

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    1. Hi Kym, thanks for your lovely comment. I seriously must have been living under a rock only learning about blogging 2 years ago as it still amazes me to hear others say they have been blogging for 5, 7, 10 years!!! Good luck with the decision-making moving forward, I'm sure you'll make the right decision for you, it's great that we have options! x

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  34. Hello there, just popped by to say hello and what an interesting read is here. I think I've been unusual in that I started my blog for commercial reasons - to publicice books - but find that the blog is a much more satisfying medium for me than books, mags and newspapers. I'll always be commercial and am delighted with that but LOVE the non-commercial blogs like yours, love the sharing of stories and especially looking at beautiful photographs.

    Blogging is so diverse that we can't all be lumped into a blogging category really... and each to his very, very own... and hooray for what I see as the 'pure' bloggers, creative sharing people. Also must agree with comments above that working commercially and especially earning a real living must be bloody hard work, and not something I could or would be able to do... too many kids!

    The big problem with blogging is that there are FAR too many good ones - impossible to keep up.

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    1. Hi Seana, I agree with everything above, especially the last paragraph!!! x

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  35. So refreshing to read this post! Like you, my blogging is two years old too and I knew nothing beforehand. And I blog just for me. Not all about the money!

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    1. Hi Kate, nice to meet someone else at the 2 year mark - it's like going through school with a peer group :-)

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  36. Mel, as a 4 month old blogger it's fascinating to read all of these comments. FOOD FOR THOUGHT!
    There are only a handful of blogs that excite me when they pop up in my feed, yours is one.
    Liv x
    ps I love the photo up top, the flowers are half in the light, half hiding in the shadows....a bit like bloggers!

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    1. Thanks Olivia, I deliberately made sure the water in the little vase was filled above the halfway mark :-)

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  37. Hi Mel, I stopped by earlier on the week on Maxabella's world tour and then saw you in the linky too.
    I love your thoughts about blogging, and it's value BESIDE "monetisation" which everyone seems to be jumping onto these days.
    I have personally gone around in circles with the whole thing, but keep coming back to the fact that I write because I want to share things that may have value to others. I have ideas, I am on a journey, I'm learning stuff, I mess stuff up. I share, my readers know they're not alone. We all benefit.
    I've been blogging now for five years (just had my 5 year anniversary) and I haven't run out of things to say... and long may that continue!
    Thanks for a lovely post. Have a great weekend
    xx

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Simoney. And 5 years - wow! Happy 5th Anniversary to you! Encouraging to know that you still haven't run out of things to say 5 years on x

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  38. Massive congrats on two years. I really enjoyed this post, learning a little more about you, and why you blog. I started my blog just four months ago as I felt there was something missing in my life and I had lost sight of me. Six months ago, I'd never read a blog before. Now I am caught up in this new world. So many great reads. I am overwhelmed by all of the great stuff out there. I hope I will continue to remember the reason I started and hope that I will have this feeling of excitement forever.

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    1. It really is very exciting when you first start out isn't it? A whole new world :-)

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  39. Happy anniversary! Great, balanced post covering all view points. For me, I just love writing. Would still do it everyday even if there were no readers and no bucks involved. I get an adrenaline rush when I write. The best reward ever.

    Xx

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    1. Thanks Mrs Woog! I've been reading your blog for 2 years and you are just as entertaining now as you were when I first started reading - love your work! x

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  40. Mel, I love what you've said about confusing networking and connecting with like-minded souls. I like it so much. I don't think people should assume that every blogger wants to make a career out of their blog either. I don't know about you, but I find myself drawn to reading what comes from the heart - some of which comes from blogs that are monetised and others aren't. It's all about who is writing/photographing/sharing and what they have to say.

    If someone writes about something that has been written about before (and really, aren't we all doing that anyway?), then to me it doesn't matter, as long as the voice it comes from is honest. That's why I keep coming back to see what you've got to say and always will, as long as you're happy to write your blog!

    Happiest blogging birthday! xx

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  41. Gosh this is such a huge debate, and yet increasingly I find myself stepping back and stepping out and working out what works for me and what feels right to me. I don't care whether a blogger has sponsors on the sidebar or not, if we have a connection and the words inspire me and make me want to stay, then that's all that matters. We're all so different, we're all on different paths in life and it makes sense that our blogs and our intentions are different too. I remind myself that I have to be happy and comfortable with my blog and that it's for me to feel creative and ground my thoughts and feelings. Similarly if I'm going through a rough patch and have no inclination to write, I don't. I try and avoid 'shoulds' nowadays! Great post and happy bloggy birthday. x

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    1. Thanks Vanessa! And can I say, your "staying in your own lane" Post kept popping into my head as I wrote this Post - I'm very aware of having been a bit caught up with what other bloggers were doing rather than just sticking to what I wanted to do and listening to my gut x

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  42. Happy 2nd Bloggy Birthday gorgeous girl .... That sounds like I just said Bloody birthday but I didnt... I promise.
    So.... I agree, every blogger should have the right to choose .. make money or don't. Whatever suits! I never set out to make money from the blog, but when opportunities arose, I kind of just went for it. That said I can only right about things that sit comfortably with me. I wrote a sponsored post a few months back that just felt so uncomfortable and strained.. I felt it and I'm sure my readers felt it and it still haunts me when I think about it.

    I too get disillusioned when I read so many awesome blogs and then I go to write a post and I'm all arrrrrgh I suck. Comparison is the pits and does us no favours.

    As for hearing the same story... well I love to listen to the voices, all the different voices and the same story told ten times can sound just as interesting on the 10th time if it is told in a unique and real voice.

    Love your work chick. Sorry that I just used up so much space with my essay :) xx

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    1. So glad to hear others have the same silly wobbles from time to time. You know I love your blog! x

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  43. Oh Mel, well said! Your blog is perfect as it is (it's one of my favourites) and each and every one of your posts is a delight to read. And if you did decide to monetise your blog I'd still like it - and you - and still drop by to read about your life. Blogging is about connections and friendship and community for me and every time Bella wears Eleanor's rainbow skirt I'm reminded of the generosity of a woman in Tasmania called Mel who I've never met but would still call a friend. :-) xx

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  44. Brilliantly said Mel. I love your blog, and I know from the little experience I have with my blog, if people want to read what you say, and like what you have done in the past, they will be back. Everything you said about why you started your blog echoed my reasons why. Except the solicitor part - insert teacher for me.

    Thankyou for all your words and your lovely photos. You inspire me!

    Tash

    x

    ps. I love that you reply to all your comments, something I need to spend more time on! x

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  45. This is my first visit, but it won't be the last. Found you via Maxabella Loves' and her Friday Rewind thingy. Great thoughts here.

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  46. Fantastic post. Fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

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  47. Wow what a great post! It's great when A blogger shows passion in what they write.
    I agree - there are different motivations for every blogger. There's no right way or wrong way.
    Thank you for being so honest and sparking discussion.

    (Popping over from Maxabella's rewind.)

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  48. Wow what a great post! It's great when A blogger shows passion in what they write.
    I agree - there are different motivations for every blogger. There's no right way or wrong way.
    Thank you for being so honest and sparking discussion.

    (Popping over from Maxabella's rewind.)

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  49. I've lost my treatise on blogging twice! Can't type it again! x

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  50. If I were still teaching and you handed me this blog spot as a piece of work, I'd be putting big ticks all over it!!! I love and agree whole heartedly with every word you've said here Mel and have enjoyed reading everyone's viewpoints above. I too enjoying blogging 'for me'. I don't want it to be my job as for me, it is my creative outlet and so enjoyable as is!! I love that blogging has enabled me to 'meet' so many like-minded souls and it is that sense of community which I feel so privileged to be a part of. Congratulations on your blogging milestone... I love your blog and it remains one of my firm favourites. I feel like I'm sitting down for a catch up with a dear friend when I visit this lovely space of yours xx

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  51. I've just stumbled across your blog and was immediately drawn into it, you write wonderfully, your photos are glorious and the glimpse you've given us of your life is unique, even if you do sometimes feel like it's all been said before. I too recently read about why I blog and where I want to take it all after nearly three years. Mine is a very small blog, I've never had the time it takes to really grow it and until recently my posting has been quite ad hoc. I'm okay with all of that and like you I would never want to go down the commercial path, it actually seems like a pretty hard way to make a living long term. I do enjoy the outlet for writing it gives me and I have now taken to writing for some local community papers because of this. That is something I'd like to pursue, but my blog is what I want to say without pressure from sponsors etc.

    And I think it's clear from comments above lots of people of keen to hear what you have to say.

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  52. love this post love your blog.....so pure!
    Bec x

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  53. I have been exploring all your past blog posts because I really need to get back to basics I think with blogging. Love this post about how to truly be authentic and blog from the heart. I love my blog but sometimes feel that if I shared more of my cute kids and their antics then I would be onto blogging gold. Except I have issues with their privacy and anonymity so my blog remain childless even though I have 3 kids! Your blog is very serene and relaxing but keep it real at the same time. Sorry rambling words are over. My long-winded way of saying I love your blog. xx

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  54. This is a very good and meaningful read for me as one who has just started blogging. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences about your time writing and sharing here, it's quite inspiring and grounding, too. Thank you!

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