Yesterday I went to a blogging workshop; my first ever. I have written a blog for over seven years and there I was, sitting around a table of contemporaries, talking about this strange thing I do when the thoughts in my head overspill. Blogs are such interesting things. For those of us who did it way back when (as I find those who read blogs tend to write blogs) there’s a nostalgia; pre-Instagram, pre-Pinterest, when a blogpost could illicit seventy comments and there were blog awards and guest bloggers and a rarefied few who had ‘made it’ but an underbelly of many who hadn’t. There was much forward-thinking. Blogging is a release for people who have something they want to say. And as terrifying at that is, launching your thoughts out in to the ether, it’s been a rewarding and fascinating ‘journey’. The word ‘journey’ was used a lot yesterday.
My friend Amanda took the session, along with the founder of the beautiful boutique ‘Hero‘, Laura. It’s Laura’s brainchild and I have to say she’s entrepreneurial in an admirable way. In the same day I chatted over text my other blog friend Simone and then in the evening messaged my other American friend Robin to talk dresses and politics. Then woke this morning to a message from my Australian friend Sophie (who incidentally also mentored my daughter in photography, long distance) suggesting a place where I could do some book research about houseboats! None of these women would be in my life had I not written a blog, so I think that is amazing and humbling. The world can be a small place. It’s a modern phenomenon.
Yesterday I found myself describing how my blog had historically been something I have kept hidden from people in my ‘real’ life; it seemed to me that there was something about it that I wanted kept back, so I never publicised it. I never monetised it. I just wrote it. And then that portfolio of work became what I used to get onto my Masters degree; I had years and years worth of ‘diary’ entries to submit. Albeit a slightly quirky hybrid of my inner thoughts, theories, fascinations along with occasional doses of shopping guilt, home renovations, parental challenges, teenagers and most of the preoccupations that face a British 42 year old woman. I suppose the point is you never know where things might lead you.
One element I thought was interesting, when we analysed it, was that the quality we liked most in a blog was honesty; the absence of an agenda. A certain self-deprecation. This is my life, read about it if you like, if not move on to the next, no commitment necessary. The same applies surely to all methods by which we absorb information. The media, friends, relatives, books, TV – we want an authenticity to it that feels hard to find. People don’t say what they really think. The beauty of writing an anonymous blog is you can say what you think, so I generally do, tempered with some pretty pictures. And don’t even get me started on what a ‘flat-lay’ is!
Of course there are exceptions and of course there is a degree of scorn, there are those who judge and belittle it as an activity. I remember my friend Mary telling me that someone had (rather offensively) described her blog as a ‘little hobby’ or such like. Infuriating! It is a little hobby but it can also be so much more. Judge at your peril but what I see is a group of diverse women making their way, thinking about stuff, getting things done, influencing habits, proliferating good.
Long may it last.