And now a pause to reflect on blogging

The delightful Zeyna from Mummy On My Mind has tagged me in to answer some questions regarding how I feel about blogging.  (I highly recommend clicking over to Zeyna’s blog when you’re done here—she writes beautifully about motherhood and her life as a British expat in Dubai.)  So here goes:

How did you get into blogging?

I started mulling over the idea of blogging a few years ago, when my motivation for working on my PhD really hit rock bottom.  I’d finished all my qualifying exams, which is a common time to feel burnt out in graduate school.  There were some complicating factors that made my burn-out particularly bad: I’d been working with an utterly incompetent advisor on a directionless research project, and my department as a whole was having some very serious and semi-public issues about workload expectations for grad students.  I spent a lot of time on the internet when I was supposed to be working, bored and aimless and reading blogs that talked about quitting academia and criticized the graduate-school status quo.  It occurred to me that blogging myself might be a good outlet.

But I’m a nervous person—I don’t leap into new ventures.  I worry that starting something enthusiastically, then losing interest, will lead to judgment from others.  So it took a couple of years of thinking, plus a battle with postpartum depression and a venture into the utter insanity of mommy forums to get me to the point of actually starting to blog.  The final push came from another mother in my support group, who spoke positively of her experiences blogging.

What advice would you give to another blogger starting out?

I’m going to quote Mummy On My Mind on this one, because she says it beautifully:

Blog because you want to. Blog because you love to write. Write, write and write to your heart’s content.

On a more practical note, I’d say: do give a little thought to what your blogging goals are.  Do you just want a venue to write?  Are you looking to be popular on social media?  Are you interested in sharing sewing tips or deep, dark secrets (or both)?  I’m partial to using a pseudonym online and I’d recommend it for anyone who’s not completely sure about using their real name—you can always choose to reveal your identity later.

Also, don’t be afraid to play around with formatting and widgets and stuff.  Experiment.  Have fun.  WordPress regularly hosts Blogging 101 and other free mini-courses, which can also be a good way to meet fellow bloggers.

How has your blog changed since you started writing it?

Well, I post a bit less often—a few times a week is more sustainable than nearly every day.  And I learned the difference between a hyphen (-) and an em dash(—)!

The content is still more or less what I had in mind when I started, because it’s been influenced by two competing factors.  On the one hand, the longer I blog, the more I worry about whether certain topics are interesting and think about reader-attracting stuff like titles.  On the other hand, the longer I blog, the more courage I get to post about stuff that really matters to me.  It’s a balance.

What would be your dream campaign? & What advice would you give to PR’s wanting to approach you for a campaign?

I grouped these two questions together because I’m not completely sure whether “campaign” means “me advertising something” or “someone promoting my blog.”  For the latter: it would be really nice to have someone selecting photos to accompany my posts.  I don’t have time for that myself, but posts with photos do look nicer on social media and might attract more readers.

For the former: Baby gear, I guess.  I’d be happy to write honest reviews in exchange for free stuff.  Not constantly—that would make blogging super-boring—but, you know, once in a while.

Do you have a plan for your blog?

Uh… try to keep writing regularly, and work my way through my list of post ideas?  I have imaginary pipe dreams about going viral overnight, but those of course don’t involve an actionable plan.  In reality, I’d like to continue to slowly build followers through posting and interacting with other folks on the internet.

What do you think about rankings?

I have no idea where my blog would be ranked in any list, except to say “low.”  I see my WordPress view statistics every time I log in, and so have to have the “number of views doesn’t matter” talk to myself on a routine basis.  In the end, I’m unwilling to do anything clickbait-y, so it is what it is.


Part of the fun of these sorts of things is passing it on.  I’d like to highlight two blogs today:

  1. Unbeaten Mommy—Another mother coping with the madness of parenthood through blogging.
  2. Welcome to My Little Piece of Quiet—My daily dose of introvert inspiration.

Have at it!