New dawn, new day

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But I think the biggest part of my inability to get this blog up and running is that I have convinced myself that there’s no point. That I’m no good. I mean, seriously, in this world of blogging, where blogs actually look good, really good, why would anyone want to read my stuff once, let alone come back again and again?

An abandoned blogpost that I rediscovered today really got me thinking. I spent last year feeling so excited about resurrecting this blog of mine, but I also spent just as much time sabotaging myself. I told myself that there was no place for me in this brave new world of blogging. I’m an old school blogger and I’m about words. I’m just not that great at beautiful pictures and styling and promotion so if I can’t do that, how will I ever be a great blogger?

It got me thinking about a post I’d read earlier in 2016 by Helen @bookishbaker. I read that post and immediately had one of those ‘Oh god YES, me too. Thank f*ck I’m not alone’ moments. Because until I’d read Helen’s post I hadn’t realised there was a name for this, at times, crippling trait. Imposter syndrome.

If you look up the actual definition of Imposter Syndrome, there are many references to high achievers, and while I am not one of those, I often wonder if this syndrome has prevented me from achieving everything I dream of. I am very well acquainted with the nagging voice in my head which tells me ‘you’re going to get found out, everyone will realise you’re not good at anything, that you’re not a nice person’. The voice which often pipes up when I’m starting to feel a little bit brave about reaching for my dreams. The voice which persuades me to shrink myself back down again to the smallest version of myself. The me who is much happier to avoid taking any risks. I remember telling a former counsellor about that voice. Those exact words that it repeats over and over ‘you’re going to get found out’. The thing is, if I told you that I knew someone who was always saying these things to another, constantly belittling and berating them, and chipping away at their self-esteem, you would call them a bully, or worse still a bitch. So why do I think it’s okay to do that to myself? I’m not sure I’ll ever work that one out.

And I turned 40 last year. And rather than gracefully accepting that I’d reached this amazing age, I didn’t take it very well at all. I was struck with an inertia which was fuelled by a ferocious belief that I have just not achieved much in my life. Without wanting to come across all cliched, 2016 was one of my worst years. My depression struck me more times in a year than I can remember, my husband lost his job, my nephew was diagnosed with a genetic disorder, my father was taken seriously ill (much recovered now), Brexit, Trump, deaths of childhood heroes…the world seemed out of kilter.

But here I am, and here’s 2017 sparkling with possibility. This is a new year. A new start. A new chance. So I’m going to try and be brave. I’m going to blog more, spend more time making and enjoy time with my family, and well, just generally try to be more positive. And whenever that weasly voices pipes up, I’m going to tell it to ‘shut up!’.

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Just blog!

I have been dragging my feet a bit. Well okay, a lot.

I really, reeeeaaallly want to blog regularly again. But I keep sabotaging myself when I see how amazing blogs are these days. Back when I blogged prolifically I was used to just gibbering away in the hope that somebody out there in the big, bad world felt the same way I did. I didn’t have to worry about revealing my name or whether my blog looked just so, or if I had an excellent social media strategy. I just wrote because I felt like it.

A few months ago, thanks to the power of social media, I reconnected with an old-school blogger pal of mine. Unlike me, she has continued to blog, established a successful career and has pretty much become a doyen of the blogging world. I was sharing my concerns with her and she said something pretty powerful….

It’s given me a bit of a lift and now I just need to give myself a kick up the bum and start writing again in earnest. Wish me luck!

Back to blogging

I started my first blog back in 2003. Writing (and reading) has always been a passion of mine and after getting a bit bogged down in the world of retail marketing I wanted something more for myself. A hobby maybe, something that would feed my need to create, something that would get me into the habit of writing regularly. A friend told me about blogging, and that was it, I was hooked.

Back then blogging platforms were pretty clunky and the templates were simple and definitely not aesthetically pleasing. But that was okay because blogs were all about words.

So I started writing.

I slowly built up a loyal following, became part of an inspiring and supportive community, met some terrific people and even got a mention in Marie Claire magazine. And the biggest bonus of all, I met met my husband through a fellow blogger. But meeting my husband meant that I didn’t really have anything to write about any more because until then my main topic had been the all-elusive love and my efforts to find it. So I stopped blogging.

I haven’t stopped reading blogs. And I have missed blogging like a long lost friend. I have pined for it and I have even tried to start it up again but I failed every time because I honestly felt that I couldn’t really sustain a blog without a central theme.

Over the years blogging has seen a total evolution. First you could include photos in your posts (deep intake of breath), then video (gasp) and most recently with social media you can turn your blog into your very own brand (total disbelief). These days even big brands have bought into the benefits of blogging and blogs can be about anything and everything but I still prefer the independent bloggers.

My favourite bloggers don’t focus on just one theme, and they’re not just about words, but instead they feature words and photos and tutorials and reviews and recipes. All the things that I love. I realise now that, maybe, just maybe, the time is right for me to start again. I am totally overwhelmed and frankly a little intimidated by just how good and how beautiful blogs are these days. And I’m not sure if I have anything interesting to say. But I’m going to give it a shot. Because if I don’t, I’ll only have myself to blame.