The one about blogging, how it used to be in the good old days….

The one about blogging, how it used to be in the good old days….

I have been writing in this corner of the internet for over seven years.  It is becoming my longest job on the CV I probably need to write.  It has been the source of some fantastic experiences for my family and I, and the archives hold some of my greatest memories.

It was never meant to be a job.

I used to read my lovely friend, Hollys blog – It’s a Mummy’s Life , and I enjoyed the beautiful stories she told of her family so much that I wanted to replicate it for my own.  I’ve never regretted doing so.

Looking back through the online pages, I can read some of my greatest parenting fails, our funniest moments, our medical strains, the end of my marriage and the beginning of my new life.

I love writing this blog.

Over the years the parenting blogging community has changed, evolved even.  It has gone from being a world of stories and tantalising tales to a more commercial platform; where it feels that stats, SEO, and gorgeous images have more meaning than the stories of people’s lives.

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We are branded, we work as advertisers, we get paid for our hard work – and all of this pleases me immensely.  What a fantastic way to earn a living with flexibility around your family.

But still, I do miss the early days.

When a Wednesday would involve a trip to Sticky Fingers, to see the theme for that weeks Gallery posting.  The image wouldn’t go on Instagram – because that platform did not yet exist.  The stories that Tara could evoke from other bloggers was humbling, emotional and beautiful.  I think my stunning friend Gemma won’t mind me sharing this post that she wrote many moons ago for The Gallery: the picture was not of the Instagram world we live in now, but the words were ones that I recall even to this day.  Mother Love is a beautiful piece of writing and one that made the blogging world was it was to me then.

Many of the blogs I read from the start remain my very good friends.  I think the bonds formed over reading each others lives online are pretty solid.  It feels to me, that when the community was smaller, it was closer, as you would always expect from a group with fewer people.  As an older blogger, I find it harder to get as involved in what is an incredible, but super large network now.

My favourite memories, from the good old days (Christ I am old), are all still online, available to be read.  I recall weeping when Merry announced the birth of Bene on Patch Of Puddles, and waiting for the next installment as Merry wrote with beautiful honesty about life with a new baby after losing her son, Freddie.  Sadly Merry no longer blogs, I miss her.

A best friend was found in the lovely Molly, from MothersAlwaysRight, when I discovered she too was a hairy toed mother.  Some of my favorite offline New Years have been spent with her, the gorgeous Gemma, helloitsgemma and the talented Emma from, Emmaand3.

Blogging led to more than work for me, it has gifted me with some of my oldest and dearest friends.  I have a support network of friends who have children facing the same medical issues my three face, which has made life so much more bearable in recent years.

Biking with Molly from MothersAlwaysRight

Again, a favourite moment from blogging was when I first met one of my pals, Helen, from ActuallyMummy, we met at a conference, and she whispered to me, “I love your blog.”  It was the first time a non family member had said that to me and it felt amazing.  As I beamed into this strangers eyes, I had no idea that fate would eventually throw us into 2am chats about our daughters blood sugars.  At that point in life, carbs were just merely something we should eat to soak up the wine.  Helen has become a lifeline, a friend and someone whose blogs I turn to when it can all get too much.

I started this post, thinking it would be so easy to name some of my favourite posts, but there are so many of them, so many talented women, that I find it hard to know where to start.  So many women who have been in my life for seven years, most I have met and others I still aspire to.

Through blogging I have met souls who have shown such strength through adversity.  Tamsyn, Jennie are two characters who have led lives that hurt to read, but are still inspiring in every way, supporting other people who face the same battles.

And of course you have the people in blogland who are simply good, the Chris Moslers and Emma Vanstones of the world, – amazing women, whose blogs I still rush to read when they land in my inbox.

 

Back in the day, I used to win awards for this space.

Mad Blog Awards

We went to a party to celebrate, that my funnier friend, Sally, used to host either on or very close to my birthday – which was terribly good of her to gather many of my buddies in one place.

And of course, not all of those blogging buddies are still with us.

I remember the way the community folded, grieved, and mourned the loss of an amazing woman.  Kerry, from MultipleMummy, taken far too soon, and missed by many.  When Kerry died, I realised the impact of the world I was writing in, how people who had never met could come together under the most tragic of circumstance to support each other and a family we had only read about.  I have no doubt this still exists in the parenting blogging world, I am just not as involved to know.

Is there a point to this post?

Maybe, maybe not.

I often feel like I am an outsider to blogland, an aged old timer stood on the sideline clutching a glass of Prosecco, too fixated on the words to join in the professional world.  But I still love the community, albeit I don’t know it very well.  I dislike the commericialness of the world, but also earn my living from it – a paradox I recognise all too well.

I miss the days when you commented on a blog because the words made you feel, rather than signing up to a comment ring.  When sponsored posts were rare and stories frequent.

I think I just wanted to do a throw back to the past, and there are so many other women I should have mentioned, should have recalled.  But it is testament to the community that there are far too many to mention.

How this world will evolve over time is a mystery to me.  We have so many platforms to promote our blogs that is can become overwhelming; am sure there is some talent out there writing some amazing posts but doesn’t know how to promote it.  Seven years ago, this was a hobby, now I seem to put my life on the internet to earn a crust.

I remain baffled how that came to me, and uncomfortable at times that, that is what it is.  But so eternally grateful that it is what it is; because I have yet to find another job that fits so well in around hospitals, school and the dog!

But, on a cold Sunday afternoon, I wanted just to remember how it used to be; with a smile on my face and a glass of alcohol free beer in my hand….

Ah yes, times have changed.

 

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26 Comments

  1. November 19, 2017 / 4:48 pm

    I think there are so many of us who have versions of this posts in our head.

    Who think it’s AMAZING and fantastic that over the past 5 years or so, a new industry of online content has emerged, allowing women to earn a good income, flexibly.

    What’s been lost a little is the story. When you’re writing posts about this product or that service or reviewing this holiday or that retailer, what happens to the funny stories and moments that make your family what it is, or the nights when you’re weeping over your computer and wondering how you can possibly go on.

    I do feel genuinely sorry for newer bloggers they missed out on that stage. Because it was wonderful. But I think you have to embrace what there is, and trust that people will find stories when they are shared, and also maybe someone you know will surprise you with a bit of a throwback. Maybe.
    Sally recently posted..Florida Villa Holiday with TUI: Review & Top TipsMy Profile

  2. November 19, 2017 / 6:56 pm

    I completely relate to this. And to Sally’s comment. On one hand, I love the way the community’s evolved and how it’s become a very real way people can make a living. And I love that I now take better photos and can edit decent videos – skills that might not have been honed had it not been for the kick up the bum to make my blog the best it can be so I can earn a living from it. BUT I also find the competitiveness around brand opportunities and the constantly selling of one’s life online a bit, exhausting?! I guess it’s about continuing to share our stories, engage with authentic content, create authentic content and being open to the changes which will inevitably happen. God that sounded wanky. P.S. Love you. When can we next see each other please? I need a Jane fix! xxx

  3. November 19, 2017 / 7:14 pm

    I SO relate to this! I’ve barely written a thing the last couple of years and I think it has a lot to do with feeling left behind in this new blogging world. Like silly stories or stories that make you rage are just not enough somehow. I still love reading your blog, and those of many of the women mentioned in your post – maybe it will come full circle one day and shiny pictures and brands will again be secondary to a good story.

    • northernmum
      November 19, 2017 / 10:56 pm

      Oh Anna I miss your blog, and I am a subscriber of old so when you do put pen to paper I know about it! Your stories can make me laugh and cry in unison x

      • November 20, 2017 / 8:31 am

        You gorgeous lady, you. That means so much to me! Thank you x

  4. November 19, 2017 / 7:37 pm

    Ah my beautiful friend who always finds the right words. I have sat and wept and laughed at your posts for years. The one in the changing room, a lettter to Davina I think. Utterly brilliant. I too wish sometimes for the simplicity of back then. However of course I love that I was able to leave teaching to be at the mercy of my accident prone kids instead. It’s certainly a funny old world.

    • northernmum
      November 19, 2017 / 10:57 pm

      A letter to Natalie! My good friend Natalie Cassidy!

      Love you x

  5. November 19, 2017 / 8:15 pm

    Love this post. The End.

    You lot have always been better with words than me 😉

    • northernmum
      November 19, 2017 / 10:57 pm

      “You lot?” You mean us oldies!!!!

  6. November 19, 2017 / 8:38 pm

    Yes, I have been wanting to write something similar too for a long while but I couldn’t have put it as perfectly as you have.
    I miss the old days but I also thank the earning possibilities my blog now brings. I’m determined to continue in my own little corner, I love it too much to give up.
    Mari recently posted..How to be cool grandparentsMy Profile

  7. November 19, 2017 / 10:25 pm

    Look at everyone who’s commenting here. We need to grab that cold Sunday afternoon, and fill it with us lot, if only for old times’ sake. I feel exactly the same, and though it’s right and wonderful that we’re all now able to make a living in our online spaces, and that we’ve improved on everything we do to keep pace, a little bit of nostalgia is also valid. So I think we should book a date, light a log fire, put on PJ’s and drink a smooth red wine together until we laugh and then cry. I suspect a few more will be along to comment soon. Give it a week, and there’s your guest list!

  8. November 19, 2017 / 11:09 pm

    Ah, this was just lovely. I miss the old blogging days too. I remember so clearly the first time I went to a conference and thought “hang on, who are all these NEW PEOPLE?” because I’d sort of thought that it was just going to be us lot forever. I love that a post like this brings us all back though!

  9. November 19, 2017 / 11:15 pm

    Jane your blog was one of the first I read. When you, Helen & Penny did your talk & Q & A at BlogOn in Manchester years ago I felt like I was listening to ordinary women with real lives who had something to share. I still think that’s the best session they ever had & sadly feel that ‘new bloggers’ are missing the point.
    Thanks for sharing your ups & downs.
    Lorraine x

  10. November 19, 2017 / 11:31 pm

    This is a lovely post. I think there’s a core group (of us?) that paved the way for the opportunities that are available to bloggers today. You can look at that in a positive or a negative way but it’s just the way things have evolved. I am guilty of not reading as many blogs as lots have been commercialised (guilty as charged in some respects) and we’ve lost the personalisation and the stories. I’ve been conscious of this for a while and want to make moves to change it back again.

  11. November 20, 2017 / 7:02 am

    You’ve eloquently summarised why I work full time! I’ve obly been blogging for just over 3.5 years, but when I was going more down the commercial route I hated my blog. I do reviews and the odd sponsored post, but only for the things that genuinely fit. Mostly, I write about us, from my postnatal depression to my fears at choosing my son’s school, our family trips to Center Parcs to our bike rides at Rutland Water.

    If the pro blogger life works for some then amazing, but I lost myself when I went down that route, and I can’t justify working until 2am every night to earn less than I do at work!

    Great post xx

  12. November 20, 2017 / 7:08 am

    So good to read this post and the comments too. I struggle with the new way of blogging – the SEO, the push for high DA, all the social media hoo ha – so I keep doing my own thing. I’m determined to keep writing stories although I have to add them to travel linkies in order for them to be read!
    Good to know you’re still here making us laugh and making us think.
    Trish recently posted..Inntravel Lakes & Mountains walking holiday in Austria: Dachstein MountainsMy Profile

  13. November 20, 2017 / 7:10 am

    Loved this post and felt my hand punch the air several times throughout. I find now when I go to conferences that saying you’ve been blogging for several years has been like admitting to something mildly embarrassing when those new at it gain instant success and SEO gold. I do miss the casualness of blogging but back then I guess it wasn’t my main job. I’m off to read your post again cos I loved it so much x

  14. November 20, 2017 / 7:22 am

    Your blog is still one of my favourites and I will always love reading your stories. I also miss the sense of community that made me feel so welcome when I first started out 6/7 years ago. I made some really fab friends both online and off.

    I think it’s brilliant how the online world has evolved and blogging has become a very real way for people to earn money. I was able to leave my full time job and work from home because of the skills I learned. I feel so out of the blogging game these days, but just keep writing my stories when I can and try not to put too much pressure on myself to be ‘out there’.

  15. November 20, 2017 / 7:24 am

    I miss it too. I am all about the words and will never be anything more than that. I struggle sometimes, trying to better myself in other areas, but that’s not really me. I don’t think we can keep up nowadays!

  16. November 20, 2017 / 8:21 am

    Lovely post, and I am nostalgic for the early days of blogging too. I’ve solved that by going back to blogging basics and stepping away from the high pressure world of SEO and DA and all the rest. But I still love it, I still enjoy writing, and I still enjoy reading the posts from those friends I made nearly 10 years ago now x
    Candi recently posted..The girl who livedMy Profile

  17. November 20, 2017 / 9:28 am

    I’ve been saying your blog name over and over like a mantra this morning so that I would remember to come back and comment – wasn’t working on my mobile, grrr. Anyhow I am one of those who still comments just because I want to! But you’re right, a dying breed. The MADS nights out were the best thing about blogging… well that and all the online friends of course 😉 Was worried for a second you were going to say you were giving up – you can’t do that! You’d still win the funniest blogger award, every time 🙂
    Steph Curtis recently posted..Siblings {November 2017}My Profile

    • northernmum
      November 20, 2017 / 12:01 pm

      Love that you have been saying my name!!! Was I Jane or northernmum?

  18. November 20, 2017 / 11:25 am

    It is such a double edge sword but realistically I do not think it could have remained as it was. Before I realised people actually read my blog I could pour out my heart and all my woes on it and really say the things I needed to. now my boys are older I feel censored as I do not want to tell their stories as one day that will be their job. Their friends read my blog and follow me on social media.

    I adore the fact that I have been giving the opportunity to earn a flexible living at home and be present for my children. I miss the community, the non-competitiveness of it, but I delight at looking back and reading and seeing the boys read and remember. Great memories and fantastic friends have come from me finding blogging when I did.

  19. November 20, 2017 / 11:38 am

    Ah lovely Jane, you know this is much as I have been feeling because you are my most faithful reader and you’ve commented over at my place. This post made me wistful, it made me smile and it made me even more determined to make sure that in amongst the stuff which brings me a living there will be a return to the story telling I love. I’m also resolved to make sure I am reading more of the blogs I enjoy and miss in the melee. Love you. xxx
    Chris @thinlyspread recently posted..Turning 50 and Pressing the Reset ButtonMy Profile

  20. November 22, 2017 / 9:15 pm

    I’m so glad I started blogging when I did though. We have paved the path for the new generation of bloggers out there now but I feel a bit sorry for them not knowing what we all once had. I don’t think that ‘community’ truly exists anymore it seems to be all about the stats and commenting rings blah blah blah. I am still blogging and I’m not going to lie, I enjoy being able to make a crust from it. But I do miss the good old days. The blogging your heart out stuff and being there for each other. But seeing all of these comments just goes to show that we’re all still out there lurking in the wings so maybe all is not lost after all x

  21. November 23, 2017 / 3:46 pm

    You know I’ve been a friend and follower of your blog for years and it’s incredible how much it’s changed. I still write away with my online diary and various different nonsense I write over on my blog. I’ve tried to stick to the good old days, but it’s not easy. I just chat away to myself a lot of the time over on twitter. I miss you guys. Hugs and come say hi lovely xx

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