It’s no secret that blogging has completely changed my life. I’ll talk about it to anyone I meet, and I know I will talk their ear off if they don’t stop me.
Before blogging my life was higgedly piggedly. What am I saying?! It’s still higgedly piggedly. However, now I feel a confidence and contentment with blogging in my life. It has become more than hobby, it’s my job and it’s a way of life.
Sounds nuts, eh?
But it’s true.
My blogging journey started back in 2008 (we’re not counting the email travel log I wrote to family during my 2003 backpacking trip are we?) when I embarked on my solo travels around Southeast Asia. I wanted to maintain a connection with home and share my story as I went along. I only shared the blog with my friends and family, who were super supportive reading it every day. And I did just that, blogged every day for four months.
It’s funny reading that first travel blog now. My writing was weak, my grammar was terrible, and I couldn’t always express myself the way I wanted. I guess I hadn’t yet found my voice.
It is interesting how my writing developed over those four months. As the habit wore on I became comfortable in my writing. I was happy to share. You can clearly see my blogging style changed.
Once back in the UK I decided to embark on a Masters degree (I’m a trained Anthropologist, you know). As part of that degree I had to conduct my own fieldwork research, so I hotfooted it back to Southeast Asia in 2010 to study the Hmong women in Northern Laos.
Again, I decided to blog about my time in Southeast Asia. Blog number two was born and I stuck to my daily habit of blogging every day.
I loved it.
I was full-on addicted to blogging by this point.
Just before I went to Asia I set up a little blogspot blog called Rosalilium (I guess that this was probably blog number 2 then, and 2nd travel blog was 3?). I was in the prep stage of my fieldwork and after the intensity of 6 months studying for my Masters I had grown accustomed to writing. A lot. It gotten to the point where it felt weird if I didn’t write something every day. So Rosalilium was just a small space to write something. Anything.
Once back from my fieldwork I threw myself straight back into blogging on Rosalilium.
I became ill.
Some unfortunate circumstances and bad luck meant I was wiped out from working or studying for a good year or so once I got back from Laos. It was devastating. So I took to my blog as a respite and it became a therapeutic activity.
I soon discovered loads of incredible bloggers. There was this whole community of bloggers who were creative, intelligent, interesting and fun. As I was stuck at home a lot I absorbed myself into this community. I would spend hours every day reading blogs, commenting, interacting and writing my own blog. I really was obsessed.
This period of blogging was beyond therapeutic for me. It literally changed to the course of my life.
During this time I had discovered Domestic Sluttery, a smart, funny and brilliant women’s lifestyle blog. It was one of my favourites and I devoured it every day. I added all the writers to my twitter and along with the rest of this blogging community I spent my days tweeting and chatting to them all.
A year later I got a job at Domestic Sluttery.
I was being paid to blog.
Dream come true.
From there I sought out opportunities, my blog grew, I kept learning and refining my craft. I made more connections and friends. I was so passionate about blogging, the community and industry.
By the end of 2012 I had written for other print and digital publications including Mollie Makes, 91 Magazine, More!, Laura Ashley, and GoodtoKnow.
In 2013 I founded Blognix as a response to many over-priced and low-value blogging events. I wanted to make a space for bloggers to come together, learn from one another and grow their blogs. But I wanted to do this in an informal and welcoming atmosphere. As a bit of an introvert, I wanted to create the kind of event I’d want to go to. And in June that year a group of amazing bloggers descended on Birmingham for a brilliant day of inspiration and creativity.
At the beginning of this year I decided to pull together everything I’ve learned about blogging and created my first e-course The Big Blogging Bootcamp. It was a surprising success. And what’s more, I discovered that I LOVED teaching. Being able to share my knowledge and insights with others to help them further their blogs is an absolute joy.
Along with running another, bigger and better, Blognix conference this year I’ve also run the e-course twice more. I have done several public speaking gigs, taught workshops on blogging, and now I have launched an evergreen version of the Blogging Bootcamp as three separate e-courses so I can more effectively help bloggers at different stages of their blogging journey.
This, along with several other freelancing activities in social media management, strategy and design, and it’s been quite the ride!
So, as I launch these brand new e-courses (do join if you’re keen) I just want to take the chance to reflect back on how far I’ve come, what I have learned and just how grateful I am to be part of such a supportive and brilliant community.