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
bookblog* 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:
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.