Thursday 2 August 2018

Finding the motivation to blog

When I finished my (28,000 word) masters dissertation, I thought I would never write again. I’d spent months writing notes, writing the thing itself, writing emails to people begging them to let me use their name or their words in my work – by the end of it I’d pretty much forgotten how to spell, and I constantly had an achy wrist. But writing is, always has been and always will be one of my biggest passions, alongside rose wine and country music. So I’ve never been able to keep away, and I might not have written my novel yet but I’ll get there one day and right now, I’m happy with my writing. People always ask me how I find the time to blog regularly alongside working two jobs and maintaining some semblance of a social life and to tell the truth, it’s difficult and it’s non-stop but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

multicoloured tulips shot on huji app

My blog is my baby; when I first started it, under the name The Ol’ Razzle Dazzle (before I realised it’s probably a copyright breach to use the name of one of your favourite albums as the name of your blog) it was just something to do while I was at uni, because I could never really be bothered going clubbing after the first few months. The photos in my first post are too dark, and many of my early posts never surpassed 100 views because I didn’t know how to promote my blog and be my own cheerleader. I’m better at that now, of course, and my photography has improved *slightly* too. But when I wrote my first post 'A Brand New Blog' I didn’t see it becoming what it is now – I didn’t see brand partnerships, sponsored posts, PR parcels full of make up, books and haircare. I didn’t see friendships and relationships, networking with brands, hosting events for other bloggers in my city. I just saw a place to write and ultimately, that’s still what my blog is. My blog name, The Lilac Scrapbook, doesn’t give much away – and truthfully, this little corner of the internet is like a scrapbook of my life. So much has been documented on here: holidays, birthdays, experiences – my first escape room, that time I went to a church decorated almost entirely with human bones, and my VIP experience at V Festival.

I have made some amazing memories in my lifetime, and when I was younger I made physical scrapbooks with felt tips and pictures cut out of holiday brochures – so my blog is an extension of that, but also somewhere that allows my writing skills to flourish. It’s somewhere I can share my poetry, and it’s helped me get content writing gigs and really hone my writing skills. Sure, a lot of my posts are written in a casual and chatty way but with posts like this one, where I want to be a bit more serious, I have a place to do so. For me, finding the motivation to blog is easy because I love to write, as much as I hate the sound of my own fingers (or anyone else’s) hammering away at a keyboard. But it isn’t always fun and games – despite the fact that I’m not a “full time blogger”, my blog is almost another full time job in itself. It requires almost-constant work: a social media presence, sending out pitch emails, replying to PR companies and brands, writing content, scheduling promotional tweets, taking photographs, going to the post office to pick up a pile of parcels that I’ve missed because I’ve been at my day job. I’m steadily thinking of new ideas and new angles, and writing lists of posts I want to write in the future as well as churning out content that I think (and hope) is good, and trying to support others who are doing the same.

everything is better in pyjamas pillow case

So, it’s hard work. But of course it is – nothing good ever comes easy, and I’m happy to stay up until the early hours on Hootsuite pre-writing tweets to promote a blog post that won’t go live for four days because, ultimately, little tasks like that mean that somebody will read my writing. I know a lot of people say you should write for yourself and of course, that’s true. I don’t write blog posts that I wouldn’t want to read myself, and I write about things that I genuinely enjoy talking about: travelling, make up, books, food… but I do want people to read it. I don’t want to write just for myself – it’s not all about numbers but I don’t think any blogger can deny that seeing the views creep upwards on a post you’re really proud of, one that took a lot of time and effort, is an incredible feeling. Knowing that people are reading something that YOU wrote, and it’s not just a teacher or your mum, is exciting. People from all over the world read my blog, and you just never know who might see it.

I love to write; I have always, always loved to write. My dream is to be a writer, to write for a living, to make people happy/more informed through my words. And I guess that’s how I find the motivation to blog, even though sometimes it feels like swimming against the tide when you’re battling with algorithms, arguing with PR contacts and trying to create original content when so many of us write about the same topics: because, more than anything, I want to be a writer. When it is difficult to find the motivation, I try and remember the amazing opportunities my blog has brought me so far, and how much I want to get out of my miserable office job. I read other blogs, speak to my blogging friends, and even re-read my own posts to remind myself that I can do this.

How do you find the motivation to blog when it gets a bit tough?

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