Returning to an old way of blogging.

Margot and Barbara blog. A return to old blogging.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might have noticed something of an accidental shift in subject matter. In my head, Wednesdays have become ‘Over-Sharing Wednesdays’ …

When I first started writing my blog, roughly five years ago, I always used to write more personal posts. Look in the archives and you’ll find them. Then, as blogging became more widespread, I feel like I started trying to write the kind of posts that everyone else was writing. Lifestyle stuff, simple living, gardening pieces, reviews, travel guides and so on. Because that’s what bloggers did, I felt like I should be doing it too. And I do like it – recently I’ve especially enjoyed working with other people on Grow & Eat, for example…

But, as much as I enjoy writing about my allotment and my travels, and reviewing things that are a good fit for my personal values, there’s a need inside me to write more personal things. The overwhelming desire to write only truly comes alive with these kind of posts. It’s like I can’t rest until it’s written down. And they’re the ones that people are reading the most.

Of course, it may be the blogging equivalent of ‘car crash TV’, with everyone breathing a sigh of relief. Thank god it’s not happening to me… But I don’t think it is. When I write about my personal life, about my finances, or my living situation, I get empathy. Support from people who have lived like I am living now. Gratitude that I’m writing about real life. When I talk about ways I try to be positive, or how I build my resilience, I get such great feedback from readers. When I talk about selling my stuff to pay for travel, people are inspired to put their stuff on eBay! These are the posts that people are talking about and sharing. It’s really made me think more about blogging in the wider sense.

You see, for me blogging was always the way of reading a more truthful version of life. I’d buy glossy women’s magazines for their ‘perfect’ images and then look at blogs for a real version. More and more, some blogs are feeling like those magazines. The ones that I’d stopped buying, because they were full of adverts, sponsored articles and ways in which I will have a better life if only I buy this season’s ‘Must Have’ item. I’ve been a reader of Vogue since I was 14. (I know, it’s a shock, given my dress sense…) But over time, I realised that, far from being inspired by magazines, they actually made me feel worse. My self esteem has genuinely benefitted from me quitting them. Not to mention my bank balance. I haven’t bought a women’s glossy magazine in over two years. I get my magazine fix through travel magazines and a handful of other titles, all of which are bloody lovely. (I’ll share them with you, one day.)

There are many, many blogs in the world, and there’s a lot that I really enjoy. I love the ones that have managed to find harmony between beauty and truth. The ones that work with the brands they really love, but are still flawed, honest, and attainable. For me, that’s inspiring. You’ll find some of them in my blogroll at the bottom of the blog! But there are SO many blogs. And bloggers that arrive fresh on the scene these days have shiny, perfect blogs, instantly ready for success. Whereas mine is home-made. I even painted the logo myself. There’s a reason it’s not perfect round here…

So, where do I place myself in this enormous blogging world? Well, what I’ve come to realise is that I really enjoy feeling helpful. It’s not about trying to paint an aspirational lifestyle on this blog, obviously. I mean, you only have to read my latest posts to see that.  It’s not even about making the photos perfect, though I would dearly like to improve them. It’s about using this blog to make real connections. To provoke thought in people, perhaps to make them feel better about their day or their current situation. I like to share my perspective on things, and to tell you what I’ve learnt in the hope that it might be of use to you too – whether that’s about how to find optimism on a bad day, or how to travel as cheaply as you can. It’s about writing the things that perhaps not many other bloggers are writing about any more, as blogging seems to have moved into a place that’s far closer to those glossy magazines than I ever imagined. I want to be honest: flaws, failures and all. To be truly authentic to myself, and therefore to you.

My friend recently sent me some text messages. They’re the best thing that anyone has ever said about me, and they make me cry every time I read them. I share this extract to explain to you what I hope my writing can be about:

“You inspire me with your adventurous, curious spirit, and your vulnerability and dedication to finding your truth.”

(And, tears, instantly…)

This is what I want to write about. Finding my truth. Being honest, brave and true to myself as I continue to build the best version of my life that I can. Sharing that here, in the hope that it is of use to you, as you navigate your own way through this complicated world.

I casually posed a question on Twitter about whether I should carry on writing these kind of posts. And got an overwhelmingly positive response. So, I will. Over-sharing Wednesdays will continue. I should probably find a better name for them now… Although these personal posts started rather by accident, I shall formally add them to what I laughingly call my ‘blogging schedule’. I’ll carry on writing my kind of travel posts and I do have plans for more gardening posts, the casual continuation of Grow & Eat, perhaps dipping into some book reviews and continuing to honestly review things that are a good fit.

But the more personal writing feels important. It’s returning to where I started, back before I joined Twitter, back before anyone was reading at all. When I did it for the pure pleasure of recording my thoughts on life. It feels so right, because having a place to share my own, true voice is what blogging has always been about, for me. I do hope you’ll stick around to read more…

 

 

 

 

 

16 Responses to Returning to an old way of blogging.

  1. Of course I will stick around! I do love your style of writing, totally from the heart. You inspire me.

  2. Absolutely! This is a great post and I know I was nodding all the way through. Like you, I have no problem with lifestyle or review posts – I enjoy writing them and enjoy reading them on other people’s blogs too – but the personal is definitely the most interesting and from experience definitely leads to the most engagement (which means they are the best posts, I think). As we’ve said over on twitter, they’re the hardest to write as you have to write them as you are thinking rather than waiting until later or you forget what you wanted to say and how you wanted to say it, leaving you with half written slightly pants posts that aren’t fit to publish – well I find that anyway. I look forward to continuing to follow your blog, all the posts, but especially the ones that demonstrate your “dventurous, curious spirit, and your vulnerability and dedication to finding your truth”.
    Zoe x
    Zoe at Splodz Blogz recently posted…OnePiece for a Cosy Night InMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hello! Thank you for such a lovely comment – and twitter chat today! I think that’s one of the hardest parts – getting the thoughts unscrambled enough and written down in time so they make sense to you and really reflect what you’re wanting to say. Loving your podcasts – keep them up! x

  3. Bravo! I love this. I was just thinking the other day that I’m tired of reading a blog post to see at the end that it was all advertising. Myself I’m looking for the blogs with the feeling of real people and real life in them. That’s why I rally like Aidan’s blog, ivyleagueinsecurities.com. That’s what I’m trying to do on my blogs too. I need this sharing of my thoughts and how I fight the less pleasant things in my life. I hope that I can help someone with this oversharing, as you call it.
    Thank you for being here and being honest.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hello! Thank you so much for getting in touch; I really appreciate it. I shall have to have a read of your blogs and the one you’ve recommended as I don’t know it. Real life and real ways of fighting the less-than-great stuff about life is really important, I think. It’s how we connect as human beings. Thank you so much for reading xx

  4. Cerys says:

    Hell yeah, I’m sticking around…I was also looking forward to being squished into the back of a car with you at the end of the month, but you’ve since said you’re driving, doh! Ha! It’s Friday!!!! Go get em girl! X
    Cerys recently posted…{worn} The Best Bobble Hat in Town…My Profile

  5. hennie says:

    I would love to hear your recommendations for the inspirational but authentic reading material/magazines you mention

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hello! I’ll have to write a post about it – been thinking about this one a bit recently. I’ll do it 🙂 x

  6. I am loving your blog even more than I did before. And you are inspiring me to keep blogging, after a few months of wondering whether I should.
    Ruthy @ Minibreak Mummy recently posted…Why I’m quitting the magazine habitMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      Thank you so much Ruthy – that means SO much. Do keep blogging. I love what you write. And if you eve fancy a guest spot, there’s always a space for you here x

  7. I’ve really enjoyed your posts about travel and finances. This post very must resonated with me, I feel I’ve lost my way with blogging. I’ve been toying in the last couple of days with ways to find my way back, Annie’s post (which directed me here) – I could have written. It’s so weird. I feel a little odd now writing a list of “likes” or “good stuff” now, but I feel I need to find a way back to something more personal. Like you, I’ve done some great things but I’ve missed a bit of me, I used to share so much – for same reasons as you. You and Annie have given me much to think about. Thank you. X
    helloitsgemma recently posted…Intentions NovemberMy Profile

    • Elizabeth says:

      Hello Gemma, thank you so much for getting in touch. I’m sure there’s something in the air, isn’t there? A feeling of wanting to return to what drew us into blogging in the first place. It feels like this is resonating with quite a lot of us. I’ve loved your intentions series so much and that’s felt like a really personal way of blogging. I hope your thinking is successful and that you’re able to find ways back to the things you love to write about too. xx

  8. Esther Zimmer says:

    Hi Elizabeth,

    We ‘found’ each other on Twitter some weeks ago and I’ve been meaning to drop by for a proper read of your blog ever since.

    I’ve been studying the last few weeks though, so both blog reading – and writing – has gone by the wayside. However, having said that, now that I’ve finally made my way here this evening I wanted to let you know how much I really enjoy your writing and how much I love this particular piece! It echoes so much of my own thinking and I’m delighted to have found you because I grew tired of glossy magazine-style blogs long ago, I long for something personal and real which I can feel connected to.

    After an unplanned blogging hiatus you’ve inspired me at exactly the right time to follow my intuition and to go back to blogging from the heart, so thank you!

    Esther x

    • Elizabeth says:

      YAY! I’m so thrilled to read this comment. Blogging from the heart is the best. I’ve never wanted to write more than I do now. It’s been a lovely re-awakening. I look forward to reading your blog! Send it my way when you’ve ended your hiatus, won’t you? xx

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