As I write this post, I’m on a train, hurtling back towards the north of the country after an all too brief visit to London. Okay. I’ll be honest, I may be writing this on the train but I’m not publishing it until I get home. There’s no bloody way I’m paying for Virgin Wifi.
Anyway, for those of you who have only known me in my recent Fringe days, you might not realise that I’ve been a blogger for about six years now. Although I don’t always have time for it, often neglect it, and sometimes get frustrated with it, blogging has been a blessed existence in my life. Yes, I admit that there’s something narcissistic about sitting down to write about your own life and expecting others to dotingly lap it up (although, in my case, I’m much more likely to be shouting in to the abyss) but I don’t care. It hasn’t really been about that for me (okay, well only a little bit).
I just love writing my thoughts down.
And I’ve been writing my thoughts down for what feels like an eternity now. I’m lucky to have a space to go, a space that is completely mine, and just pour out the contents of my brain and heart. This blog is the rationalising force when I feel so angry that I might never be able to string a coherent sentence together again. It is the first place I want to come when there is joy to be shared or an adventure to re-live. That feeling of home, of catharsis, of therapy, of relief… that’s beautiful enough for me.
That’s why I feel ridiculously lucky in saying that this isn’t all blogging has brought me.
Today, I’m travelling home after being invited to give a lecture about the creation of The Olive Fox at the University Of West London. I was invited to practically wax lyrical about the gorgeous community we’ve created there, about the fact that we’ve developed a voice and an image that we’re proud of. I spoke to young people who are hoping to make exciting careers out of content development, journalism, or marketing and who are so far on the right track that I actually felt inspired by how much they already know. Me. I did those things. A girl with no experience in social media or PR or anything. All just based on being so passionate about something that I felt the need to constantly learn and develop and try to be better.
Oh, and that ‘we’ I just spoke about? A best friend. A girl who would have indefinitely remained a stranger to me were it not for this glorious online world which we now inhabit. Instead, we have been virtually inseparable since we met three years ago and we’re now on a fantastic adventure together, trying to weave a destiny that involves helping people, being listening ears and a supportive network for anybody who needs it, and creating content and events that inspire and empower people. She’s not the only one either; I wouldn’t have had drinks in Boston with Caitlin, dinner in New York with Courtney, or a day in London with my Czech friend, Gabriela, if it weren’t for blogging.
Not only that, this post is being written in a week where I am frantically running around like a headless chicken attempting to tie up all of my work so that it can be handed over to a colleague. That’s because I’m leaving my job in local government in favour of a job in communications. A job I never would have had a chance at if my blog and magazine didn’t exist and that’s CRAZY to me. This little thing I started whilst I was a student has snowballed into something that I may actually make a career out of one day. What on earth! That a beautiful opportunity has presented itself to me simply because I have a hobby that I love fills me with delight.
As we’ve already discussed, I’m a small fry and it’s unlikely that I’m ever going to earn millions from blogging alone. I don’t work with brands, I don’t have things to sell, I just like writing things down. So, whilst I’m not going to pretend that I don’t care about numbers and followers (I DO, FOLLOW ME NOW), I’ve learnt that, for me, blogging has somewhat transcended all of that.
Instead, it’s about the simple act of sitting down at my computer to write and the feeling of fire that gives me. It’s the genuinely incredible and inspiring people I’ve met along the way who support my endless love of sloths and who continue to buy me fox related merchandise for every special occasion. It’s the life experiences I’ve been afforded like the lecture today, or winning awards I had no business winning. It’s all of the things that I couldn’t have possibly foreseen when I innocently sat down to begin a brand new hobby in 2011. These are not easy things to take in without feeling like I want to burst with gratitude.
There’s no real point to this post except, I guess, just to remind myself to take stock of the wonderful things the simple act of tapping away at my keyboard has brought me. There will always be numbers to chase, followers to gain or lose, and strategies to learn (and get bored of). But, in this moment, I’m just grateful for what is here in front of me and I’m excited to see where it all goes.
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