Start with why

I've been reading a book called 'Start with Why'  by Simon Sinek. I'm only about 60 pages in, but already, its inspired me and made me focus on why I do things.

Why I blog is something I think about a lot. Its hard not to, I read other peoples thoughts on it fairly often, I read blogs where bloggers blog for money or as their living and blogs where they blog their interests very specifically. I guess my blog has become one of those, but I've struggled recently with the boundaries of being a photography blog, mainly because I haven't really felt like taking photos. Definitely a problem if people come here expecting photos.

So why do I blog? I thought about this a lot during my time away from here.

Well first, I love to type. It sounds a bizarre first reason, but its definitely my favourite way to record my thoughts - I started a written journal recently, and although I have enjoyed it, I haven't enjoyed it as much as typing my blog. Its faster I guess, it uses both arms, it feels more involved, I can think and type at the same speed... there are lots of reasons, but really, I just like typing my thoughts.

Second, I love sharing my thoughts and stories. I can be quite restricted in what I'm willing to share, but I like pulling my words together to tell a story to you, and I like beefing it up with photos. Sometimes the photos tell the story but lately, I've been more courageous with my words. Its easy to hide behind photos - you let the viewer make the connections and form their own reactions - but words are where the specificity is and ultimately my soul may be in my photos but my voice is in my words.

Third, I like making connections. With people, with blogs, with skills, with hobbies. I like connecting to others, sharing ideas, reading about peoples lives and blogging lets me do that easily. Thomas is often surprised by how much information I can tell him about the people who leave comments - the same with the blog friends I've met in real life. I like getting to know people and sharing in their life's, you might be surprised by how much I remember about the connections that I've made too :)

Fourth, I want to inspire people. To make people smile, to improve someone's day and its nice to think that my photos or words could do that for someone. I want my connections to flow both ways. 

I've been blogging for nearly 5 years now, and its only really recently that I've truly appreciated that I do blog for me without trying - for my peace of mind, for organising my thoughts - I don't really do it just to share photos. When I've been struggling, I've tried to pull my thoughts together into blog posts in my head to find solutions, ways I could share my thoughts and make them worthwhile. I like the structure of writing things out and forming a conclusion.

The worst part of blogging, for me, is the expectations I think - guessing them, getting them right, getting them wrong... you can never tell what will be popular with readers, why they are really here. And that inconsistently used to upset me. Especially when I had more readers yet didn't seem to get the page views or comments. I never really knew why my blog got so popular in terms of followers at one stage, I didn't do anything specific, in fact I don't feel like my blog really changed much at all. Similarly, I don't know why all those people disappeared either. Numbers are weird and you can't really rely on them. Unless you rely on them being inconsistent haha.

The numbers don't really matter to me now. I don't benefit from them financially or emotionally. Like I said before, I'd rather focus on the connections, on the real people, the comments, the interactions. 

Blogging for me has become a ritual, something I do most week days because I enjoy it rather than as a job and I want to keep it that way to be honest. I see people pushing their blogs forward and I'm happy for them - if that's what they want to do then they have my support - but what I've finally learnt is that if its not your own path - then don't take it and don't feel bad about it.

Blog for your why, not for someone elses. You have your own path, the hard part is recognising it as well as walking on it. Think about your why and focus on those when you make decisions, when you write posts - the why should be the only consistent thing and everything else - either expected or unexpected - will come from that. 

I'm intrigued now - whats are your whys for blogging? What really drives you to share, to tell stories, to connect with others? There are no wrong answers :)

Blogging is weird (and amazing)

This month my little blog is 4 years old. I wasn't going to post anything about it to be honest, but then I saw that Christina from Down and Out Chic wrote a really honest post about her four years of blogging, and I knew that I had something to say about it too. And the one thing that I've learnt in the past 4 years is that blogging is weird. (And I guess the fact that I love doing it so much makes me even weirder... but I'm OK with that.)

Blogging is weird, you can't deny it, but more importantly than that - I've also learnt that it is absolutely amazing and even with amazingness all around you, it is so easy to forget that.  In fact, both Christina and I wrote a post each nearly 3 years ago that still seems relevant to me now. I wrote...

I love blogging, I love my blog – I work incredibly hard on it – and I love the people who read my blog! I love the comments, I love the interaction, I love that I have made friends all around the world… and some close to home. I love that I made something from nothing and that I have found out more out about myself through blogging than I ever imagined I would.

Christina’s post focused on being kind, working hard and measuring your success through your own happiness and right now its nice to love my blog without worrying that someone maybe be judging it negatively…

Blogging is what you make it – there is always going to be negativity but personally I choose to ignore it – there is more positivity within me, my blog, my readers and the blogging world to concentrate on – so lets celebrate that instead!

In 3 years, this hasn't changed, blogging will always be what you make it. There will always be perceived pressures, but you can ignore them and that is totally fine. Sure there may be ways to blog better, to promote yourself better, or to protect yourself better even, but its up to you if choose to do them or not. Maybe you don't want to earn money or your blog... so, don't. And maybe you want to share a whole post of blurry puppy/baby photos... do it! (and send me a link haha). Or perhaps you do want to earn money on your blog, then do it but only if you really love it. Love every second of your blog because in 5/10 years time, you will be the one looking back on it and remembering how you felt at that time, not anyone else.

I truly love blogging because I've learnt that the best way to love it, is to do it for yourself (I know people say this all the time, you probably even say it too, but do you really mean it and really do it?). I started this blog because I was looking for something, but I didn't find it in earning money or fancy designs. I found it in other people, and more importantly, I found it in myself and what I could do. It's given me something to be passionate about, and I need that. As Christina said, blogging is about finding that balance, but its also about expressing yourself and learning who you really are... your blog is a reflection of you and you'll only be truly happy with it when you know what you really want from it, not what you think you want, or what you think others want from it.

In the past 4 years I have found a number of things I've been looking for through my blog, but I know that I'm still looking for something else and although I'm not 100% sure what it is, I think I'm closer to it than I've ever been before, and that is very, very exciting! So I could be here for another 4 years... or maybe another 10, you never know... but I'm starting to realise that searching for something, is just as fun as finding it.