The Unbearable Lightness of Blogging


Culture is perishing in overproduction, in an avalanche of words, in the madness of quantity. Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being 

Since the eldest started school, my years run from September. They are no longer split into quarters or months or tax year ends. It is all about half terms. In the first half term of 2014, I immersed myself in blogging.

The first four weeks of the 7 week half term, I took part in the WordPress Zero to Hero challenge – a blogging task for each day of January, designed to help us develop our blogging mojo’s. Here in the UK, the task was published at 5pm. I was hooked, and at 4.55pm each day I was hovering around the nearest wifi enabled device, awaiting the next challenge.

As a result I have tarted up my blog a little, learned some valuable techie bits, and found some wonderful blogs (Clare Flourish, War By Other Means and Domenica Rose for example). I also formed some great ideas around how I want to use tools such as twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr and even Pinterest (I didn’t think I was a Pinterest kind o’ gal – I am). I drafted whole publishing schedules, including thinking of tweets, status updates, and ways to grow my audience.

She loved to walk down the street with a book  blog* under her arm. It differentiated her from the others Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Come 31 January I was pleased with the overall look of Cogito Ergo Mum, and absolutely overflowing with ideas, material, dreams and aspirations for the blog.

Come 1 February, I thought, “What the fuck am I doing?”.

If you have read any of my previous posts, you will know my writing style does not really include the word ‘Fuck’ very much. But needs must.

I started to feel like a bit of a loser. Why was I spending all this time and effort on the blog? Why do I feel the world needs another blogger? How can I ever make this worthwhile, via making some money out of it? So many blogs are so much better than mine. Your blog gets 20,000 views a month?!?!?  – clearly, in comparison, my existence is futile. You get the picture.

In the midst of all of this, I commented over at One Cool Site. A wonderful friend to all WordPress.com bloggers, it is written by TimeThief. In a response to a comment I made on her post called Celebrate your Blogging Journey, where I summarised the low I felt after investing a months worth of time into blogging, she gave me a most wonderful, motivating response that included these words:

Aiming to publish weekly is a righteous choice for any hobby blogger and accomplishing that is worthy of a celebration weekly

I read the above sentence, and it was like being slapped around the chops. “A hobby blogger. A hobby? But this isn’t a hobby. It’s a need. It’s a potential career. It’s a…it’s a….it’s almost an actual calling.”

Then I thought a little more. I thought how I had gone to the Mumsnet Blogfest, relieved to have something to do with my weekend away from the kids other than go and have my nails done. I thought how nice it was to sit upright in front of the Mac once a week, rather than flop exhausted in front of the TV. I thought about how I’d always envied my husband his interests, and my friends with their knitting and their baking and their sailing and their never ending lists of great stuff-to-do that just are-not-for-me.  Then I realised I have not had a hobby –  a non competitive, just for me, thing to do hobby -since I was about 12. Perhaps tellingly, that hobby was writing poems.

I stopped writing the poems when I approached teenage years. Ever since then, it’s all been about achieving. Piano exams, competitive sport (competing as an individual, not as a team), academic exams – lots of them; a career where every year I got promoted or moved to a ‘better’ job.  And now, here I am 25 years since my last hobby, finally finding another one (or perhaps just continuing the old one).

Knowing it is a hobby, not a means to an end, not a route to cash, not a page-view contest, has been truly uplifting and calming in equal measure. It’s interesting that my hobby of choice is still one that demands the attention and recognition of others (I’ll cover  more of that in an imminent post on blogging competitions). But I’m not going to worry about that for now!

Right now, for this half term I am just going to enjoy my myself, celebrate this blogging journey, and keep in mind:

I have no mission. No one has Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Thank you TimeThief – (please check out her website. It is a gem).

And thank you everyone on the Zero to Hero Challenge and at WordPress (especially Michelle Weber, who blogs at King of States), for all of your help in getting me sat a little prouder on my hobby horse.

*Sorry Milan!

16 thoughts on “The Unbearable Lightness of Blogging

  1. Thanks for writing this post. In spite of my promise to myself that I am not going to worry about how often I write – and to write what I like, when I like, for myself – I do occasionally find myself thinking, “Man, Russ, it’s been a while since you posted.” And I wonder what people are thinking about my only-partially-active blog. It’s a different situation from yours, but I feel I can still relate. :)

    Anyway, your quote from TimeThief was awesome to read. My blogging schedule is all over the place – fits and starts, mostly – and so it’s good to read those words, and to take them to heart.

  2. Thank you.

    I establish friendships through this medium. I like to write, and some people read it- no-one but a blockhead writes, er, er, except to be read

    It can get addictive, staring at the screen, making those killer points. My mind races, and then with that new to me Chopin waltz- new to my fingers, not my ears- my mind works in a different way.

  3. Haha I am having a similar feeling at the mo. I had a post with loads of views (43 times as many as a usual day!) and got all excited and hyper about my blog, desperate for the next brilliant blog that would be shared as widely. But writing to get page hits doesn’t lead to good writing and isn’t fun!
    I very much needed reminding that this is a hobby not a competition. It’s hard when it is actually a competition though! Bloody MADs making me go MAD! :)

    • Yes, the MADs have confused me a bit. So pleased some bloggers I really respect have nominated me. Also, by checking out other nominees i have found some lovely new blogs to follow. But don’t want to get involved with pushing the blog stats and promoting the blog for the sake of votes, over the writing, if that makes sense. (But secretly wouldn’t it be Amazing if everyone in the blogging world voted for moi). Aaah. So needy!
      Glad i am not alone!

  4. Hi Abby,
    Sorry for the delay but we just dug out for a snow storm that resulted in 2 days without power and running water. I’m so pleased that my post and comment spoke to you. We all need a hobby and I have found the key to blogging longevity is to celebrate after clicking the publish button.

  5. So spooky to be reading this today. I am coming to the end of my own self imposed, blog for a day for a month challenge, and am rather anxious about where I go from here. So glad to know I’m not the only one fretting about readership and the next move. I have LOVED the experience but am terrified about losing momentum. Your post gives me confidence to relax and go with it, thank you!

    • That is so lovely to hear! Thank you for your lovely comment. Everybody who has a blog I really like has said that so long as you really enjoy it then everything else falls into place. They must know what they are talking about I reckon!

  6. I LOVE your blog Abby and think it’s really different from the crowd. Stick with it and your audience will grow. My blog has nothing like 20,000 unique visits but I enjoy writing it and get some lovely comments so that’s enough for me. It doesn’t stop me wanting it to be bigger and better, but then that’s the same with any hobby – you always want to improve. The course you’ve done sounds great – I seriously need to perfect my tech skills (which are completely rubbish!) Believe in yourself, and keep going because it’s worth it. If in doubt, listen to your readers as we know best! xx

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