A Mushy Love Letter About Blogging

blogging

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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  • Ksenia

    This is awesome Suzy. Congrats to you on your achievements and likewise to your Olive Foxes co-founder! Most of all really respect how it is something you’ve committed to working at and building up over days, weeks, months and years to where it is now. Often everything we see feels so instantaneous that you forget that creating anything takes A LOT OF HARD WORK + TIME. Wishing you all the best for your journey, work, blogging and everything in between! x

    • Thank you so much Ksenia. When I look back over it, it feels as though it has gone by in the blink of an eye but in reality it has been years! But getting to the stage where it feels like I’ve actually BUILT something is joyous. Thank you for your endless support, I couldn’t and wouldn’t do all of this if it weren’t for lovely people like you!! xx

  • I saw the post on fb and felt so compelled to drop you a little message because you are the heart of what blogging is all about. Writing and just putting yourself out there with no real intentions other than to write and write and write. Thank you for being a breath of fresh air in this terribly competitive, demanding industry.
    Bee | QueenBeady.com

    • Wow, thanks so much Bee! That means a great deal coming from you 🙂 I have lost sight of myself at times but I’m beginning to remember that writing is what it’s all about for me. I love it! Thanks for being a continuing source of inspiration.

      • Adaku Ikotun

        such a beautiful post, Susy! Keep sharing!

  • Jo

    Absolutely love this post, Suzy! And really, so inspiring. You may be “small fry”, but you have achieved so much. Really, I don’t even know how you and Beth got The Olive Fox off the ground, all the work that must have entailed, and what a brilliant place you’ve made it, as a platform for people like myself to reach a larger audience, but also as a place to feel less alone for those of us who read it. It’s awesome.

    And you’ve made me look back on my own blog adventure. I may have been blogging on Jo Scribbles for… over two years now (wow, I didn’t realise it was that long!), I’ve also had my book blog for almost eight years, and that has led to some seriously wonderful opporunities and meeting great people. It really is pretty awesome.

    I really love From the Fringe, too. Because it’s so genuinely *you*. There are some blogs I’ve read where the point of the post is to include a link about a product by some company, and although the post on the whole isn’t *about* that, rather something larger that includes the sponsored element, they’ve just felt really… ungenuine, I guess. The point is to share the link, not to talk about the larger topic – on the ones I’ve seen, it just doesn’t feel like they genuinely care about the topic or find it that important, just a means to an end. This isn’t all blogs that work with brands and have sponsored content, I haven’t read them all, it’s just based on the few I’ve seen, but I really didn’t like it. With From the Fringe, I know I’m getting you; your thoughts, your opinions, your passions, your joy, your adventures, things you actually care about. You’re not just writing for the sake of writing, you write when you have something to say. And that’s what I’m here for, and why I keep coming back. You and your words.

    So yay for blogging, and congratulations on all the brilliant things it’s brought your way! A lecture at a uni, that’s pretty damn impressive! 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Jo. I don’t know what to say haha!! Just thank you. Honestly, as I said to Ksenia below, it’s because of people like you that I carry on doing this. People who believe in words and are interested in my stories, not interested in how influential I am or how many followers I’ve got. It’s inspiring to have such wonderful support around!! So thank you for that.

      I had no idea you’d been blogging for so long!! That is a HUGE achievement. I’m glad I could make you look back on that and enjoy it. It can be a pretty awesome gig at times, especially since most of us do this in our spare time for no other reason than that we love doing it. I feel that we’re quite similar as bloggers and that’s why I also enjoy reading yours. I know you’re not going to pop up with some random product or whatever and that I can just connect to you as a person. That’s not a slight on bloggers who work with brands as many of those are great too, but personal blogs have always, and will always be, my favourites.

      Here’s to writing and making wonderful friends! 🙂

  • So well written! Am a fellow blogger – & sloth lover – here’s a pic for you from my recent visit to Costa Rica, which I will happily blog about soon 🙂 https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c6fa0bb5aea8b676317e21ff9566e4e15835378a8614947dfe73a95c24078e33.jpg

    • Oh Daal, thanks so much. I’m delighted you enjoyed it. I’m also INCREDIBLY jealous that you’ve been to Costa Rica!! Look at that amazing picture, thanks so much for sharing it with me fellow sloth friend 🙂

      • so happy you enjoyed it – & must add that indeed you are a success – you’re on Disqus after all – plus you’re making all of us readers happy with your posts.

        if you get a chance, Costa Rica is incredible. Since encountering my graceful furry friend, have concluded that sloths have many lessons to teach us – slow is the way to go! sort of like easy does it – the journey has to be at least half the fun, which applied to most everything

        wishing you the best, dear Suzy

        • That’s so lovely of you to say, Daal! Thank you! Ahhh I’d love to, it’d be amazing. I think you’re right, sloths are definitely on the right path!! Likewise, lovely 🙂

  • Gratitude is very important. I love this post, thank you for sharing!

    • I agree, gratitude is SO important! Thanks for stopping by Trisha, so glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

  • A great post! With the ride of other social medias I am glad some people still love blogging!

    https://azanah.wordpress.com/

    • Thanks Azanah, really glad you enjoyed it! I certainly do 🙂

  • Same. As Hugh McLeod said: “Blogs are like ham­mers. They are tools for building stuff.” http://www.wellsbaum.com/2013/07/30/blogs-are-like-hammers/

  • Hi! I’m so glad I found your blog, I share the same opinion as you, and I find your words very inspiring.

    I’ve been blogging for years (on and off), but I never had a successful blog because I always ended up abandoning them or just blogging about things that I am not truly passionate about (beauty or fashion).

    It’s not about fame or working with brands, it’s about the love of writing things down. Something that it took me years to realize.
    Happy Wednesday! =)

    theapprenticeoflife.wordpress.com

    • Hi Yasmin! So pleased to hear that you enjoyed this post. I’m right there with you, I’ve never been what you’d call ‘successful’ either and I tried to transform myself into things that just didn’t represent me. You’re right, it’s just the love of writing things down that’s important! Glad you’re feeling clearer about things and thanks for stopping by 🙂 have a great week!

  • Adaku Ikotun

    As a blogger myself, this post inspires me to keep going. Thank you for sharing this suzy!

    • So pleased to hear that Adaku! It can be tough sometimes when you get bogged down with numbers but there’s so much more joy to be had than that 🙂 thanks for stopping by!

      • Adaku Ikotun

        You’re so right about the numbers. Sometimes people get carried away by the numbers that they miss the whole purpose and vision of why they initially started writing the first place. Happy blogging and visit my site at adakuinspires.com when you can 🙂

  • Barbara Czerwonka

    I’ve only just started blogging and reading this has helped me a lot today 🙂

    • Ah I’m so glad to hear that Barbara! Thanks for stopping by and good luck with your blog journey 🙂

  • This is such a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing!

  • Suzy, I found this blog post in my inbox and as I read it, I felt you poured out your heart to writing. Thanks for sharing and yes, it is very difficult to write something you’re not actually interested in. Just created my new blog and wrote inspirational messages I learned. Thanks for the post. Keep going 😀

    • Thanks so much for stopping by, Shenna. I’m really glad you that you enjoyed the post! Good luck with your own blog darling! 🙂

  • nocturnaljen

    I think it’s super admirable that you just blog for the love of blogging. I’ve recently started up my blog and am just loving posting about all the different things I’m interested in. I feel it’s unlikely that I’ll ever really gain a following because I don’t have a specific niche that I’m ‘targeting’. Just writing about what I care about, but I already feel like it’s helped me with my confidence and just brightened my day when I’ve felt like things have been going to crap. It’s nice to have a hobby that makes me feel like I’m doing something productive, instead of just watching netflix. At least when I’m writing I’m exercising my creative muscles I guess haha. Really great post!! xx

    https://tenmoreminutesblog.wordpress.com/

    • The fact that blogging has given you confidence and happiness is the best possible reason to keep doing it! Followers might come, or they might not, but it’s important that you’re doing it for YOU. Flexing your creative muscles is also a great bonus! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with me and good luck with your blog! xx

  • Emilio Cortez

    Stumbled upon this wonderful piece as I logged into my account. I’m a recent college grad who started a blog because my roommate read my journal one day and convinced me to post a piece online. Still fairly new to this whole thing, but I continue to write because it’s fun. People like yourself keep me coming back for more and reading about the blessings that have come from your blog is inspiring. Definitely hitting the follow button after I post this!!!!

    • I’m so glad that your friend encouraged you to share your writing and that you’re finding it to be fun. It is fun! Glad I can provide a bit of inspiration and thanks so much for following. Let me know if I can ever be of help! 🙂

  • Wonderful blog. I have been blogging for the last 13 years and I agree with you that just sharing thoughts is a lovely thing to do. Furthermore, interacting and connecting with people from across the planet is even more beautiful. Spreading positivity is the way to go mate. Have a great day.

    • Wow!! Thirteen years!! That’s an amazing achievement, Pritish, well done! Totally agree with everything you said; thanks so much for stopping by to share your positive thoughts with me! 🙂

  • Tomboy

    Quite impressive. Keep going… http://www.shesatomboy.net

  • Just came over from Word Press Discover and really glad I did. I’m just breaking through the rookie excitement and settling in for the long haul. Starting to forge bonds and fine tune my “brand.” However, I can see the Blahs starting to edge closer as the weeks roll by and the promised internet famousness that everybody promises hasn’t materialized.

    It’s amazing to hear that there’s even more on the grown-up end of the table. Can’t wait for an invitation to join 😉

    Cheers

    • Ah, Gabe. Your comment made me smile, thank you! It can be really frustrating to get all of those ideas of blogging success in mind and then still feel as though you’re shouting into the abyss. I don’t want to dishearten you but six years later, I still feel a bit like that sometimes! But, as this post says, it’s less about the numbers and more about what it’s doing for your life so focus on that 🙂 It’s all relative, it’s so easy to compare ourselves to others but we’re all successes in our own way! You’re more than welcome at this end of the table!! 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing! I’ve been blogging for 3 years now, but have been considering shutting it down or turning it into something different. I’m in grad school and have been severely neglecting my blog and doubting it’s purpose. Is it a time suck? Should I be devoting my free time to something more profitable or to something that doesn’t require me to sit in a chair, typing at a computer like I do all freaking day? But something keeps bringing me back to the blog where I can write whatever I want, however I want.

    • If you just want to blog because you enjoy it then do that. There’s no pressure to commit to posting so many times a week or anything like that! Equally, if you feel that it isn’t serving your purpose anymore then perhaps you could think of a way to change it. But never feel like it’s a timesuck or that you could be doing something more productive if what you’re doing makes you happy! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      • runaway widow

        This was a good read for me. My blog has been therapeutic to me and I have received positive feedback. I’m trying to get more followers and monetize but I need to remember that #1. I do this for me.

  • jennifer ijeoma

    I have been worrying over my new blog lately. i have found myself wishing that people will not just like my social media post advert but actually click the link to the blog because i don’t see as much views as the likes i get. On the other hand i am happy that i found this new hobby that makes me feel like i am actually living out my purpose. Seeing this post on WordPress discover is just timely. I love how far you have come and thanks for making someone (me) find one more reason to keep moving.

    http://www.ijefinelivin.com

    • It can be really draining on your patience when you’re putting hard work into something and you don’t feel that you’re seeing results. However, there are so many bloggers out there now that it can be difficult to get the ‘success’ and numbers you’re after. I still have extremely low numbers of views! So focus on the fact that blogging is giving you something so much valuable; purpose! That’s an incredible reason to do it. I’m glad this post came at the right time for you and I hope you carry on doing what you’re doing!

  • detox24x7

    Hi everyone! It has been quite a while for me blogging in wordpress,but no one reads it except me.
    I have started learning to bolg.

    • Isle le Jetimate

      …bolg away!

      • Building a following takes a lot of time and patience! As long as you’re in it for the right reasons (i.e because you enjoy it) then you can’t go far wrong!

  • HannahTeaa

    This is such an inspirational post. I am introducing myself into the blog world for many of the same reasons you mentioned. I just love to write. I might not spell very well or have perfect grammar but writing is a passion of mine. I’ve always had a journal as soon as I learned to write but not necessarily spell. I hope to be as dedicated as you are in the future! Thank you for such an amazing read and for giving me even more confidence to get my page going!

    • Thanks so much Hannah, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! If you’re passionate about it then GO FOR IT! With practice and effort, you’ll get better at the grammar and details so don’t worry about that for the time being. As I said, I’ll definitely check out your page and I’m glad I could give you a nudge in the right direction. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts and good luck with your blog journey!

  • What a fantastically inspiring post! Love it.

    • Thanks so much! Delighted you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Sunita Rajwade

    How simply amazing. Sometimes I too find that my blogging life takes over my real life and I actually look forward to living in my virtual world.

    • It can feel like that sometimes! Even to the point where I forget that ‘real life’ people read this blog sometimes haha!

  • Ginger

    This is an inspiring post 🙂 I just drove into work this morning (I’m an English teacher) telling myself… “I’m just going to write for myself…” because my blog doesn’t meet many of the criteria of a “successful blog…” My readership is small, I don’t invest a lot of time in promoting it, I post inconsistently, etc. etc. And sometimes that gets me down. But I can’t seem to give it up because, as you say, writing for writing’s sake is “beautiful enough for me…”

    • Ginger, you’re exactly the same as me! We’re busy people, we don’t always want to spend the entirety of our free time doing scheduling and whatnot, and we don’t meet the criteria for traditionally “successful”. And you know what? That’s okay! Writing for yourself is the best thing you can possible do and I’m glad you’re not giving up. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story! 🙂

  • Arushi Vohra

    This is what made me start my blog! Thanks and make sure to check my blog too! saffiresite.wordpress.com

  • Iro+Co

    This is a great story, with a good moral.

    People can detect real intentions: if you fabricate a story to boost sales, that will comes across.

    The very best reasons to post are because you want to, and because you believe the audience will value it.

    • I think you’re absolutely right, people can tell when it’s false. All the more motivation to be real! 🙂

  • April Angela Pantoja

    This is such a nice post. I feel you here in so many ways. More power to you.
    Hope you can visit my blog: https://aprilanj.wordpress.com/

    • Thanks so much April! Well done on your 18k!!! Amazing work!

  • Lovely post, thank you. I am reasonably new to blogging (8 months in) and I agree about the need to write. I started thinking I’d just write about food and along the line, it’s morphed into writing about me, my family and how I feel about things. With food as well. I’m trying not to overthink things, but man there’s a lot to learn! I’m trying hard to just go with it.

    • It’s great to hear that your blog is changing along with your interests and the things you enjoy writing about; you’ll come to learn what suits you best and that’s really the most important thing! There is a lot to learn but you’d be surprised at how quickly you get the hang of it all. Good luck with your blog journey and let me know if you ever need a hand with anything! 🙂

      • Thanks Suzy. I appreciate that. All the best to you too (although you sound like everything is falling into place nicely) xx

  • Maggie Viox

    I love this. I often feel like I’m writing for no one except myself and honestly, I am totally fine with that! As long as I’m writing my thoughts down somewhere, it makes me feel unbelievably better. Check out my blog if you wish 🙂 I just started one after pondering over whether or not to for 2 years hehe http://www.maggieviox.com

    • So glad to hear that you share my feelings on this, Maggie! It’s so nice to have something that can help you feel better and work through things! Your blog is absolutely beautiful so I’m sure that you’re not writing to thin air! I’m going to follow now 🙂

  • Nancy Michaelis

    I really enjoyed reading your blog. Straight from the heart. I am contemplating blogging and yours is a real inspiration. Thank you.

    • Thanks so much Nancy! I’d definitely recommend it 🙂

  • Sanchali Hoare

    Hey loved it! I have just started blogging myself and feel horrible when I see my content go unappreciated. But in the end it’s the belief that I am writing for myself..and that one day I shall get there that keeps me going. 🙂

    • It can be really frustrating, Sanchali! I know that feeling well. But, as you say, keep that belief that you’re writing for yourself and the views won’t matter so much. Keep going! 🙂

  • Just-Clair

    I totally agree with your sentiments. I have only just started blogging. Many of the blogs that I have read have been really commercial full of adverts and product reviews. I started my blog as I wanted to write and hopefully to improve the way in which I write. I think it is important not to lose sight of the reason you chose to blog and people have different reasons. I only use my own photos on my blog and they are just snaps – nothing fancy. I love my blog and I am going to stick with it’s style and theme although it may not be as sophisticated as others. It is an extension for my writing, a step up to the diary that I used to write years ago.

    • I definitely lost sight of why I was blogging and it was a really sad time for me; it impacted on my confidence and I just thought “why am I doing this to myself?!” So I stopped the hustle for views and just started to write because I enjoyed it again and it has been a much nicer experience. We’ve got so many pressures in our lives, why add another! Glad to hear that you’ve got so much faith in your blog and where it’s going – that’s the way to be 🙂 good luck with your blogging journey!

  • Jazmine J.

    You said it perfectly, I 100% agree. Blogging is absolutely beautiful. Good luck with your journey and keep up the great work!

  • 100% agree

  • Hah! I just found this after publishing my post on the signs of a writing addiction! https://pamsfindinglife.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/writing-til-im-dead-4-signs-of-addiction/

    Very well written post, never stop tapping away!

    • Ahhh, that’s such a lovely post Pam! And I definitely do have an addiction to writing going off your criteria haha. Also, I totally SUCK at drawing… do you think the two are mutually exclusive? Thanks for stopping by fellow writing fiend! 🙂

      • Totally exclusive! Unless they are of the rare kind who can write and illustrate their books, but surely those people are a myth…

  • D.S. Lucas

    I am so happy that I discovered your post, Suzy. I blog because I want to share my stories and generate more content. I’m a full-time English teacher, mother, wife, pet owner, and a part-time sunshine. Thank you for the inspiration. I’ve only been blogging since October, but I’m having fun with it. If you are interested in checking it out, it’s here: https://parttimesunshinesite.wordpress.com/ Shine on!

    • Ahh thank you, lovely! I’m glad you found it too and I’m glad to be of inspiration wherever possible. Having fun is the most important thing, especially when you’ve got SO much other stuff going on (how do you fit it all in!) I’m a fan of sunshiney people so I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on your blog. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for sharing 🙂

      • D.S. Lucas

        For sure. You have some serious talent for such a young woman.

        • What a lovely thing to say, thank you! Hope you’ve had a great week 🙂

  • Courtney Diana Lopez

    Hi Suzy! I gotta say, this post is absolutely amazing! I just started my blog yesterday and am hoping I can make a change for people with anxiety/depression! This has really inspired me. I gave my reasons for creating my blog on my first post. I don’t have any special techniques or anything, I just want to share my experiences and stories with others. My blog isn’t anything big, but maybe one day I can reach out to more people. Thank you for posting this! I’m glad to be a new part of the blogging community!

    Here’s my blog: https://talesofahypochondriac.com/

    • Thanks so much Courtney! That’s such a brilliant motivation to write and it’s wonderful to have such strong voices out there for others to relate to. You don’t need anything particularly special, reaching out is the bit that matters so it’s great that you’ve got that in mind. I wish you lots of luck with your new blogging journey and welcome to this lovely community! 🙂

  • Jamie

    I’m so glad someone out there (you!) feels the same way I do. We shouldn’t need to justify what we write, why we write it. We just do! 😀 Hope we can edify and inspire each other!
    Here’s my blog address: jemehlee.wordpress.com

  • Prachi Lal

    Really awesome! When I was reading, i felt, oh someone who feels much like me ! I am a newbie in the world of blogging and hope to make it big here, and am inspired by your writing, it feels hopeful and exciting.
    Do check out my blog. https://ashtonred31.wordpress.com/

    • Aww I’m so glad you felt that way Prachi! Good luck with your blogging journey and do let me know if I can offer you any advice 🙂