Usually, I’m a super positive person – one of those annoying people who finds the silver lining in every situation – but so far 2018 hasn’t been particularly kind to me, and it’s having an unexpected effect.
I’ve lost my blogging mojo.
Maybe it’s the grey weather and the short days taking their toll, or the post-Christmas crash, or the fact I was bedbound with the flu over my birthday and New Year’s Eve. Maybe I’m subconsciously missing my family back in New Zealand – which is always felt more keenly in the holidays – or the fact I had to miss my best friend’s wedding in Australia late last year.
Added to that, we’ve literally just broken ground on our very long-awaited house renovations and while I’m SO excited that by the summer we’ll have a lovely new home (complete with obscene amounts of storage – yay!) I’m also aware that the next four months will be messy and loud and stressful.
Whatever the reason, I’m really struggling to find my feet at the moment, and it’s making me feel apathetic and unmotivated to blog. And I hate it.
Because I genuinely adore writing – from the age of seven I was telling people I wanted to be a journalist when I grew up, and I was lucky enough to fulfil my dreams with a 20-year career writing for publications such as Cosmopolitan, Red, Psychologies and The Guardian’s Weekend magazine. Besides that, I have so much to be grateful for in life that it doesn’t feel right to not feel excited about the year ahead.
So I’m going to do something about it: I’m going to figure out how to feel inspired and energetic again, how to find blogging motivation when I’m feeling a bit blah.
I’m going to start with a little self-care. I was very lucky to be able to spend a weekend at Champneys – a birthday do-over – and, while I missed the girls like crazy, it was lovely to get away and just concentrate on me for a few hours. I had the most divine treatments – including a facial and a hot-stone massage – but it was such a rare treat I actually felt guilty taking time for myself.
I think that’s what us mums do though – we put ourselves at the bottom of the priority list, and if time runs out our needs simply go unmet. We get so used to that state of existence that it genuinely feels strange when we do finally put ourselves first.
So here’s my action plan:
Get over that ‘mum guilt’ and spend more time on myself. I’m not talking weeks away – I’m talking a couple of hours here and there, just for me. I’ve found a local woman who runs a mobile beauty therapy business, so have decided to book a mini-massage once a month (which is particularly appealing at the moment, as I’ve also managed to wrench my back packing up the house for the renovations *eye roll*).
Explore London more. We’re just a 30-minute train ride away, so I’d like to go in more often and do my own little Instagram walks (like my recent visit to the neon fantasy land God’s Own Junkyard – I’ll be posting about it soon). I’m a bit of a history nerd and find the city – old and new – endlessly fascinating, and always come home bursting with post and travel ideas.
Work it out: after breaking a rib last summer (the latest notch in my accident-prone belt) I had to stop going to the gym, so I’ve signed back up for a course of yoga classes – one hour, twice a week when I can let my mind slow down and allow my thoughts to flow more organically. I always come away with a clear, calm idea of what I want to achieve that day.
Spend more time with the girls. Not those fraught, shouty hours when I’m pushing them out the door, and shuttling them to playdates, and home from afterschool clubs, but actual quality time where I can stop and really enjoy their company. We’ve got some stunning National Trust properties nearby, and now we can finally see the end of winter on the horizon I want to start going there straight from school and wandering through the grounds. Taking time to slow down and breathe in that fresh air has always been one of my favourite pastimes, and always makes me feel happy and relaxed. Plus, I pretty much take photos 24/7 so oftentimes our impromptu play dates end up with some lovely shots that give me inspiration for a post, like our delightful den making day.
Take advice from other bloggers. I’ve been blogging now for over eight years, but our industry has changed so much in that time and it’s important to keep up with new trends and directions. I’ve started reading more ‘how-to’ posts from other bloggers (how to pitch to brands, grow your mailing list, double your traffic, etc). Sometimes I get completely new ideas, and other times I just remind myself of things I already know but have totally forgotten about (which is why I’ve already pre-ordered a copy of Honest Mum’s Mumboss book).
Stop being so hard on myself. They say ‘comparison is the thief of joy’ which I kinda agree with, and kinda don’t. Yes, it can be a bummer when you’re working so hard, but the people around you seem to be achieving so much more. Rather than getting bogged down by what I’m doing ‘wrong’ I’m going to flip that around and use the success of others to motivate and drive myself forward. I want to spend more time feeling proud of what I have done, rather than berating myself for what I haven’t.
Rediscover my blogging joy: I want to take the focus off my stats, or where I’m sitting in the blogger charts, and really concentrate on writing posts I feel passionate about, regardless of whether they get 10 views, or 10,000. I spent 20 years as a true-life journalist; telling people’s stories is what I truly adore and it’s the thing I do best. So I want to add more real-life to my mix – stories like how Stacey Rodgers began campaigning for awareness after her son was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning, or how Nikki Smith was branded a thief for trying to make her girls’ dreams come true.
Travel more. I’ve always had itchy feet – growing up in New Zealand, so far away from anywhere else, I used to dream about visiting other countries and experiencing different cultures. I did a lot of solo travelling when I first moved to the UK, but my wings were clipped when the girls were born. Now they’re a bit older I really want to start travelling more: I’ve managed a few weekend jaunts to Bruges, Grasse and Champagne, and we’ve travelled as a family to Bali and home to New Zealand, but there’s still SO much I want to see and do, both in the UK and abroad. Travel energises and excites me, and I always come back dying to write all about what I’ve seen and done.
Appreciate the simple pleasures. It’s a bit hard to put into practice right at the moment, as we have builders and angle grinder and hammers and stuff EVERYWHERE, but once the work has been completed and I have my own office (first time I’ve had a dedicated workspace since I sacrificed my office for Big Sis’s nursery nearly 10 years ago), I plan to be ALL about the little things – scented candles, fresh flowers, snuggly blankets. When you’re a parent it can be hard to justify those ‘non-essentials’, but when I think about how much joy a bunch of fragrant narcissi brings me (OH thinks I’m completely crazy, but flowers really do make me happy!) it seems like such a tiny cost for the pleasure I get in return.
So that’s how I’m hoping to pull myself out of my new year blog blahs… what do you do to get back in the blogging groove?