On 1st January 2017, I started this blog – all on my own, and admittedly without much of a plan. I wasn’t an expert in SEO, and didn’t have a social media background – but I’ve merrily muddled through. Found some readers (thanks, mum, dad!), and the best bit – I really love doing it.
As a fine art graduate, I like to create things: photographs, articles and paintings – this blog has given me an opportunity to do just that – sometimes you don’t know what you’ve been missing until you find it.
I don’t remember actively looking for a blogging network, but somehow WeBlogNorth crossed my path (or screen) and I knew it was too good an opportunity to miss.
Providing a platform for bloggers in the north to connect and share their work – there’s a wealth of expertise available, as well as training sessions, workshops, and a million hints and tips.
We all know networks are crucial – whatever field you are in, and earlier this month I found myself (OK – I booked onto) my first-ever blogging workshop.
Led by Kat Horrocks (who shared her goal-setting programme, as well as her own experience) – we nattered about our blogging hopes, dreams, and fears – dropping lots of encouragement BOMBS in the process.
It was completely new territory for me – the first time I’d branded myself a ‘lifestyle blogger’ and spoken to a group of (then) strangers about my ongoing treatment for a brain tumour. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying we all left with lots of ideas and plans.
Since joining I’ve made changes to my social media platforms and know much more about the technical side of blogging.
The comparison trap
After the workshop – left to my own devices, I found myself feeling under pressure.
Not just about delivering what I said I would (we are reviewing our progress officially in June), but also about doing more.
Reading blogs and looking at their amazingly polished layouts, slick social feeds, and high follower counts, I’ve found myself half inspired, and yep, I’ll say it – half anxious. Concluding that there’s a pretty big mountain to climb, and thinking I need to majorly up-my-game. There’s so much activity, the sheer amount of (brilliant) stuff to take in, has been overwhelming.
How I’m tackling it
Admission is the first step – once realised I was feeling worse instead of better, I could do something about it.
The aim? To strike the right balance of challenge and growth, whilst avoiding unhelpful rubbernecking – and the burden it seems to bring.
Sorting anything out has to begin with getting the desk in order. With that out of the way, I reviewed my goals – the long-term big ones, and the smaller ones in-between. I wrote it all down, acknowledging where I was being unrealistic – redoing my entire site and gaining 1K followers in one week, isn’t likely to happen when there’s daily physio to do, as well as numerous health-related appointments (and a life!).
I’ll be working towards only checking social media (otherwise known as noise) actively – spending less time scrolling; more time engaging with others and posting my own stuff.
Reflection helps – reflecting on why I started this blog: I never intended for it to be just another ‘brain tumour’ blog, but about what makes sense to me, living my best life, with the t-bomb firmly in it.
I’ve also been patting myself on the back a bit, *not so much that there’s a red mark or anything*, but enough. After all, I’ve kept this blog up throughout the entire course of treatment, and continue to do so – no mean feat!
Give and take
I’m conscious that networks work best when things are shared and I don’t want to be taking, without giving something back. So I’m reading other members blog posts, and sharing knowledge where I can. Going forward, I’m committing to reading at least 3-4 members work each week – not as a source of comparison, but for interest and to offer support.
As for my new WeBlogNorth mates, the truth, of course, is that they aren’t judgemental with sharp-elbows – far from it, they are cheering us all on, with really big pom poms.
How do you steer clear of the comparison trap?