Blue Jay of Happiness has been going for 10 months now, so in the grand scheme of things, it’s a very young blog indeed. But, I’ve actually been blogging for 9 years. Almost a decade (sheesh).
For today’s post, I thought I would talk about how I approached blogging then, why I decided to start completely from scratch and how I approach blogging now. If you’re interested in blogging, are a blogger yourself, or are just a bit curious… keep reading!
A huge amount has changed in the blogging industry over the years, but I think I love it now more than ever.
How I approached it then
It was my friend Zoe who first said to me “Why don’t you start a blog?”. She knew how much I loved writing and was far more internet-savvy than me. I can’t remember how long it took, but eventually I took her advice and on July 10th 2008 I published my first blog post, “Arriving in Limbo”.
I called my blog “To Limbo and Beyond”, because that’s really where I was at the time – in limbo. I had moved back home after university, I wanted to travel and write – but had no money. So the blog would be a space for me to work on my writing while I searched for a job and figured out this whole ‘adulting’ thing.
Like most people who started blogs at this time, it acted like a journal for me.
I wrote about anything and everything, from various job ventures and fashion posts to my most popular post ever – cupcakes in a jar (I know, I tackled some big topics). I would share writings, ramblings and one year I even launched a separate blog to document a 365 photography challenge.
I went to a couple of blogger events, but full-time work made this tricky and I realised I just didn’t have it in me to be the ‘fashion/lifestyle’ blogger I was trying to be.
My posting was erratic. I could write 4 posts one month and 20 the next. I would have a flash of inspiration, write a post and publish it in one sitting. There was no planning. There was no ‘social media strategy’.
It was a hobby I fell in and out of love with over the years.
Why I decided to start from scratch
Towards the end of Limbo’s time, I had moved on from dreams of working in fashion and was working in marketing, writing about mental health and wellness. I was discovering what I was passionate about and introduced some of these themes into the blog.
After watching K-PAX (great movie) one evening, the phrase ‘blue jay of happiness’ stuck with me, and I thought it would be a good name for a new blog. I could see it in my head – no handwritten fonts, a clean aesthetic and more focused content. I could start again and write about the topics I care about.
Of course, I also thought “Jeez, that sounds like a lot of work.” so I put it to the back of my mind for another couple of years.
It wasn’t until I went to Devon with my girlfriends in November 2016 that the idea resurfaced. During that weekend my friends were talking about some new exciting changes coming up in their lives and I was utterly inspired by how brave and hard-working they all were. So I decided, if they can do all that… I can at least start a new blog.
So I set up Blue Jay of Happiness and spent December planning and writing content. I wanted to launch January 1st 2017 with a load of content ready to trickle out. I wanted a schedule (two new posts a week, Wednesdays and Sundays). I wanted themes to guide me (health, happiness and hope). And above everything else, I wanted it to be helpful.
Lettering by Belindalovelee
How I approach it now
After 10 months, this new space has been everything I wanted and more. I’ve managed to write at least two posts a week, every week this year. This is partly due to me getting ahead in those early months and having content themes to guide me, but it’s mostly because I have so many ideas.
I’m writing about the topics I’m truly passionate about. I have so much to say on these subjects, and having this focused space gives me endless inspiration.
I found a community. Between attending the Blogtacular conference and doing Sara Tasker’s Bloom & Grow Instagram course, I feel like I’ve found my people. They’re lovely and mostly interract on Instagram. This prompted me to up my game with my Instagram account and I’ve been posting daily for most of the year.
I no longer see it as a hobby. I see it as a platform full of possibility for future career moves. I see so many incredible writers in the blogging world launching their own businesses, podcasts, books – it’s motivating and I already have plans in motion for the future of Blue Jay of Happiness.
Blogging can be whatever you want it to be. Keep it as a hobby, use it to practise writing, document your holidays or use it to launch a new career. It’s more versatile than ever.
It’s OK to start again. We change, our tastes and interests change. Rebranding your blog or starting again like I did can re-focus you and reinvigorate. Don’t be scared to make a change.
Blogging is a tool. It can be used in so many ways. Tell your story, tell your brand’s story, show off your skills, help people, help yourself, sell your products, sell your services, make connections, entertain someone, piss someone off – it’s your call.
Fuck the blogger mould. You don’t have to look a certain way to blog, you don’t need fancy cameras and you don’t need to talk about certain topics. Blogging works when you’re true to yourself and you’re writing about what you care about. Stick with that and you can’t go wrong.
If you’re a new blogger or considering starting a blog, I really recommend checking out Lucy from Wanderluce – she has some great blogging tips, has a fab podcast and offers blog coaching services. She’s also just generally really lovely and supportive, so do check her out.
I hope this has been somewhat interesting and do let me know if you would be interested in seeing more blogger-related posts here, while I certainly don’t rake in big numbers or consider myself a ‘successful blogger’, I’ve been doing it a long time and am happy to share what I know.
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