It’s five years since I started my blog Lizzie Somerset and I couldn’t be more thankful. I thought it would be fun to share five things blogging has meant to me.
I can actually stick at something
I’m in reflection mode; and I’ve been walking on air to realise that I have managed to stick to something (that has been so hard and frustrating at times) and not given up. Five years is the longest I’ve stuck at anything.
As someone with the perfectionism trait, I’ve started and stopped so many hobbies and challenges in my life.
I started this blog on 13th August 2013, with two children under three. I thought it would be ‘fun’ and I so wanted to be as happy as all the other bloggers were (or seemed to be). Well, it wasn’t long until I realised that I fell short of the standard that was actually needed to blog successfully (and I so wanted to be successful).
It’s good to be vulnerable (& protect yourself at the same time)
I never thought in a million years that I would still be blogging today; to be honest, there are so many times when I felt like throwing in the towel and giving up. I stayed up late blogging and made myself exhausted (as if I wasn’t exhausted already with two kids at home 24/7). There were also times I felt like a complete fraud, totally vulnerable and uncomfortable with the need to blog versus the need to look after my children.
I really felt conflicted between wanting to blog and be creative and needing to do the mundane and lovely things with my children. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn’t seem to find a way to make it work.
And yet, during all of this, I was changing. This has been the personal growth I’ve encountered as an indvidual. I count blogging as the #1 reason that I started watching TED Talks including Brene Browns first talk on vulnerability and shame, a talk that changed my life forever.
It’s possible to blog, be ‘successful’ and do it your way
I started out without charging anything for my blog posts, but soon found out that you could charge and got far too excited about this fact. I got stuck down a rabbit warren of trying to become like other people’s blogs. In the end it stole my joy, I’d forgotten the reason I started blogging in the first place; to remember the small things that bought me and us joy in our very ordinary days at home.
I made a really hard decision to go with my heart, stop charging and reset. I’m glad I made that choice to reset and think about what I wanted the future to look like for myself and my family and how I wanted to feel when I blogged.
During my reset I worked with a life coach called Michelle Reeves who is also a friend, and who I highly recommend if you are stuck and/or overwhelmed. We worked really hard together to uncover what my actual big hairy goals look like and how I can achieve them.
She taught me not to look side to side (at other bloggers and how they’re doing things) but looking straight ahead at my goal and remembering my core values is to stay at the top of my priorities at all times. When we start to get out of whack, it’s probably because we’re working outside of our core values or not putting self care high up enough on our lists.
Success for me did not look like success for someone else. It’s my own personal goals that matter.
If you love writing and connection, blogging IS for you
Back to the actual writing now… the reason I started blogging in the first place. I have loved writing about my lifestyle here in Somerset with my little family of 4. It’s really spoken to my sense of adventure! I’ve realised that my values are heavily influenced by trying new things (while also sticking to some old things at the same time to keep me grounded); going to new places with my family has made us thrive.
If I’m invited as a blogger that gives me real courage to try new things because I know that when I’m writing about them for the benefit of others I will make sure to test out and notice everything. It’s a great way to stay in the moment with mindfulness too.
Although I might be scared and nervous going somewhere or meeting someone different it has helped me to go outside my comfort zone and to try new things. I never thought that I would run through a lavender field with my family with a photographer taking pictures of us!! I’m so grateful that we have these memories that we can put upon our wall to remind us that when we are courageous amazing things can happen.
When I think back to the milestone moments like BritMums Live, Blognix Retreat and meeting and interviewing notable entrepreneurs I pinch myself with what this blog has achieved.
Even going to London to support my friend at her book launch is a great success for me, I love to support others and seeing other people thrive makes me truly happy. I love it when people work hard with tenacity and determination and see reward for their labours.
No blog is an island, we need each other
I have realised that no blog is an island, we need the blogging community and to find our tribe. It’s become bit of a cliche but its true. However, I need you to know that my tribe are not one big group of people, but rather individuals who keep me going with small encouragements along the way. Your tribe doesn’t have to look like someone else’s.
The last 5 years have had a fair few down times and many highlights too. Up there in the highlights are being invited to the APEX Hotel opening in Bath (where I rubbed shoulders with Bath City’s great and good), possibly a modern day version of society meeting.
Opportunities that would never have happened, like being PR and content for Love for Somerset, an Instagram community of Somerset lovers, with amazing creatives Kim Stone, Rob Smith and Matt Spracklen on some incredible elevations, and we have so many exciting plans and goals for the future.
Moving forwards now I’m really excited about the future of my blog; sharing more about what I’ve learnt about faith and personal growth and how they can be intertwined.
I will write about women in leadership, about how we need to halt the impostor syndrome from stopping us from moving into what makes us come alive. I also will talk about self-care as individuals but also as women. Most importantly I feel God has put on my heart to be an ally for the LGBT QI community and to show them His love.
Some thank yous…
I know this isn’t an Oscar speech (although it’s turning into a bit of a Gwyneth?!) but I need to thank some of my blogging friends who saw my potential and have been my cheerleaders even when my goals and dreams look so different to theirs:
Karen from 365 Pearls of Wisdom, thank you for actually wanting to be my friend IRL, you have encouraged, cheered me on and been an amazing friend.
Vicki Psarias Broadbent from Honest Mum, you inspire me every day to be myself and stay motivated. You are the one person who still consistently comments on my tiny blog and I think YOUR kindness is greatly underrated by many. I’d thoroughly recommend Vicki’s book (affiliate link) ‘Mumboss: The Honest Mum’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home’!
Michelle Reeves from Michelle Reeves Coaching I am indebted to you more than you will ever know to the life I now live with joy everyday.
Ceri Gillett from This Welsh Mother, you are one of the funniest people I know, thank you for believing this blog could ever be a biz + I love your #accountstunes on Instagram Stories, best thing ever.
Rebecca from Mrs Jones London you heard my ideas and ran with them, I’ll love you forever for that and your smile is literally the best in the blogosphere. Thank you for being my sophisticated London friend.
Of course I need to thank my husband Jon, and our beautiful children Harry & Katie. Without my secure and nurturing home life I couldn’t be all I was made to be.
Many have encouraged and nurtured me and many haven’t. I’ve encountered jealousy, the ‘who does she think she is’ fraud comments (yup, irl). But the messages when a post or something I’ve said helped in some way are what keep me going, and that’s what blogging has meant to me!
I’m so grateful to everyone who has encouraged, liked, shared, and followed and I promise to keep providing great content of a high quality – this will always be my top priority.
Here’s to the next five!
To celebrate hitting five years, I’m giving away an Amazon e-card to the value of £20! To be in with a chance of winning, enter via the ‘Gleam’ widget below – there are lots of ways to enter, so good luck! (Full T&Cs available on the widget, giveaway ends at 11.59pm on Tuesday 21st August 2018.)