Nowadays, starting a blog is something a lot of people think of. And in case you really feel as if you have something to say, then, why didn’t you start writing? What stops you. There are plenty of successful blogs and bloggers out there and you will meet one of them in the text below.
My blog MummyTries was born out of the need for catharsis back in 2013, and writing quickly became my therapy.
After dragging myself through mental breakdown (2006), rock bottom and changing every aspect of my life, I desperately wanted to be a mum. I was so ready for my new role when my eldest daughter came along in 2009. Here’s the thing though. Given what I’d already experienced, I had incorrectly assumed that I was strong enough to cope with anything motherhood threw my way. Oh, how laughable and naive my attitude seems now.
I aced those first few years, with one then two kids. There is absolutely no doubt about it. However, when I think about my third pregnancy, let alone the early days of being a mum of three, it makes me want to weep. I used to tear my hair out daily, was deep in the midst of sleep deprivation hell, and had massive behavioural problems with my then undiagnosed-autistic eldest. I used to question how on earth I would cope with yet another Groundhog Day, on an hourly basis.
Back then, words used to dance around my head and drive me nuts. I felt a real need to get them out and got real catharsis from it. But if I look back on those first 18 months of blogging, in a super honest way, I’d have to admit there was also an element of narcissism going on. I would get a thrill out of seeing my stats soar, or getting a hundred comments on a post. Four, five years on, with three kids to home educate, I can just about manage three or four posts a month. Oh, how things change.
Even though I’m known as a ‘warts and all’ blogger, there has always been plenty I don’t share. Certain things are most certainly been best discussed with a good friend over a coffee, or written about in a personal diary.
By the time I’d published my first book Become the Best You, at the end of 2014, my awareness of putting our lives online had properly kicked in. After all, there’s no way you can professionally edit a book (especially a self-help title) without learning some diplomacy. You absolutely have to know when to carry on speaking and when to shut TF up because you’ll start unnecessarily rattling cages.
Whenever I felt that desperate need for catharsis I would write blog posts and keep them in draft. I’ve come to see it like this: when the need for catharsis starts clouding our good judgment, then surely we should be looking for a counsellor, rather than publishing potentially harmful blog posts? Once a blogger presses the publish button, there is no going back.
Most parents I know are guilty of “sharenting”. Putting their kids’ tantrums on Facebook and adorable firsts on Instagram. Social media at its purest keeps us connected to our loved ones who live too far away to be able to witness these things in person. All parents are winging it, and as we develop as mums and dads, so should our understanding of what is and isn’t appropriate to share.
There have been several bloggers under fire recently, because their children have asked them outright to stop writing about them, and they have refused. For some people, their kids are their only source of content. But what’s the point in having a blog if your kids grow up despising you because of it? How can you honestly say you’re putting them first? My most popular blog posts have been the ones which were written in complete despair. When I was at the end of my rope and had lost hope, and yes, they include my children. After my first viral post, in October 2015, I realised that in order to have a huge following, who hung on my every word, I would need to write about the same things over and over. How exhausting my life was, how I understood the plight of others in the same predicament.
This is where that fine line comes into play because I actively decided not to do that. I have written posts about our challenges, but my blog isn’t full of them. Truth be told, those pieces suck me dry. They usually send me into a depressive mood, and if I churned them out week after week, not only would my kids (probably) end up hating me for it, but my mental health would suffer. When push comes to shove, hits to my blog are not worth the trade off for my integrity.
We are now three and a half years post diagnosis and my own education on autism. I don’t share very much about my eldest (nine and a half) these days, but what I do share I hope is useful to others. These posts come with her full consent, and she occasionally writes blogs herself.
Don’t sell out for a quick buck!I don’t take on a huge amount of collaborations, and I only work with brands whose products I would genuinely go out and buy. If a blogger is publishing daily sponsored content, and writing rave reviews about everything, it quickly feels disingenuous. How are we supposed to believe a word of what they are saying?
Write until your heart is content, under all the circumstances, using all the emotions to your advantage. BUT! Never ever press publish when drunk or angry.
Make sure the footprints you leave are nice ones. Everything we write, be it on our blogs or social media, has a footprint. Even if we delete it, who knows who has seen it or shared it before that point? In this day and age, there’s a massive chance someone, somewhere has taken screenshots, and those words will come back to haunt us.
As tempting as it might be to go on a rampage, telling anyone who’ll listen how rubbish xyz is, it rarely does anything but make us look bad.
Don’t feel the trolls. I’ve seen some nasty stuff on social media lately. People being threatened, and having abuse hurled at them. I find it quite shocking that anyone has the time for such petty behaviour, but I suppose not everyone has three kids to keep them busy like I do. If they can fit internet trolling in, it goes to show some people must lead very small lives. You’ll never win against a troll, and by engaging with them, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Three words: steer well clear!
Stay true to the things you genuinely believe in. There is only one you, which means there’s only one person on the entire planet with your original voice. Don’t be afraid to use it. Originality is especially needed in the parent blogging arena, where lots of blogs can start looking and sounding exactly the same. You only have to take one look at Instagram to see many are simply following the herd. Being a cardboard cutout could potentially lead to a little bit of short term success. In the long run, however, it’ll probably end up costing your happiness.
And If You Want to Know More About The Author…
Wife and Mum of three Reneé Davis blogs at MummyTries about the non-sugar coated ups and downs of family life. Among other things, Reneé is a home educator, autism mama, mental health advocate and real food enthusiast. As the survivor of a dysfunctional childhood, she has undergone quite a journey to ensure her children have a better start to life than the one she had. Her memoir/self-help book Become the Best You has lots of practical advice to help others break cycles of negativity and dysfunction. Reneé is currently working on her first novel When the Stars Weep, which details one woman’s roller-coaster ride through motherhood and mental health.