@ItsMostlyOkay talks to us about her journey as a blogger, how she got trapped in the numbers game and how she learnt to write for herself again.

Emma (the lady behind the blog @itsmostlyokay) and I connected over Instagram. I fell in love with her writing style, her candid honesty and her bravery in sharing her IVF journey. I was thrilled when she said she’d like to write something for my blog. I gave her carte blanche – to write whatever resonated with her and so she dug deep and decided to tell the story of how she started blogging. She tells the story of her lowest points, how she lost herself and her passion for writing, and how she found it all again. I feel it’s a great reminder to us all that we can get ‘lost’ to the random algorithm of social media. But by keeping true to our intention and our authentic experiences we reach the people we should, we build real connections and we can genuinely help raise each other up. There is a lot of negative press for social media and I understand entirely how it can breed constant competition and loneliness. But on the other hand if some of us can be a little more brave and bold, perhaps we can create a supportive community of humour, of real stories, of inspiration and hope and kinship. We have to stay true to our unique experiences and find the courage to tell our own stories. It’s not always easy and writing it can be soul bearing stuff. I am thrilled that Emma tell’s us all about her journey here and hopefully inspires some of you to start your own blogs. We don’t all do it for the attention, the freebies or the numbers. Many, MANY more of us do it for the self satisfaction, the connections we make and the cathartic process of writing our experiences and feelings down.

Take it away Emma

(Links to all Emma’s social media accounts and website at the bottom)

me and o grass

“Casting my mind back, a love of writing has always been there. I always had my head in a book and English was by far my favourite subject at school. I was forever writing stories, I was Enid Blyton obsessed and would spend hours reading The Famous Five, Malory Towers and pony novels too (yes, I was that cool) But then my teenage, University years and twenties all hit and this passion of mine got put on the back burner.  It’s safe to say I forgot about it.

Fast forward to the build-up to my wedding in 2011 and during one of my many (MANY) internet searches I discovered these amazing things called blogs. They blew my mind. Real life people sharing their stories, wedding details and pictures! I was hooked. When my husband and I decided to take a sabbatical in 2012 to go travelling, again I found blogs utterly brilliant in terms of recommendations for places to go, places to stay, travelling tips etc. And knowing that we wanted to try for a baby around this time too I soon discovered parenting blogs. I knew then that I wanted to start my own little space on the internet.

I finally started my site in November 2014 when my daughter was nine months old. I had also quit my job around this time and given that my daughter was still fairly small and immobile, I found myself with quite a bit of time to write. What happened next was a tad frustrating to say the least because instead of putting down how I was feeling – post-partum blues, sleepless nights, the challenges of being a new mum etc – I got sucked into the world that is BLOGGING. In hindsight, I think because I was already following a lot of parent blogs, I saw what they were doing, getting fabulous freebies, making money, courting huge numbers of followers – without really realising, this suddenly became my aim.

bZLPr76d_400x400.jpg

I found myself trying to do what everyone else was doing. I wrote the odd heartfelt post but spent the majority of my time churning out crap, quite frankly. Posts about ‘what to buy your new baby’ or posts that were a funny photo with a short story underneath, or posts that were ultimately a fluffy list of things I wanted, in the hope a brand would send you something for free (cringe). I’d also spend hours joining up to these things called ‘Linkies’ where you share a piece about a given topic and comment on other bloggers posts, the aim being to increase comments on your own post and site traffic, but ultimately a complete waste of time because I found I put a lot of effort in only to get very little back. I was doing what I thought I should be doing, I was writing but without putting my heart or much thought in to it all.

I then got drawn into the blog numbers game – there’s a site called Tots100 which ranks your blog, 1 being the best and bearing in mind there are thousands of bloggers, I always hovered around the 400-500 mark. Every month I’d check my score and despair slightly when I saw I hadn’t progressed. Every month I’d also put my (good!) posts forward to be shared on big sites like Netmums and Britmums, only to always be overlooked for the more popular bloggers. I’d read their posts and they would be incredibly similar to mine, so why them over me? I went through a period where this all really upset me.

me and her.PNG

A small perk of blogging was being invited to cool events where you’d get a nice goodie bag, free food or drink in exchange for a post. But after going to these for a while, I soon realised that I was often rushing to get into central London, only to leave two hours later to rush back to relieve the childcare that I’d sorted and I was also usually stumping up my own money to travel. I went along to a few big blog events and despite knowing a few people already, I always found them quite clique and it started to hit home that I wasn’t really interested in listening to talks on increasing your blog game, how to win followers or how to write 100 posts in a week. Slowly it began to dawn on me that I couldn’t care less about blog stats, SEO or anything that meant selling my soul. The lightbulb began to spark.

I realised I wasn’t enjoying my blog. Two years in and I knew something had to change. It was actually reading another bloggers post on her very similar scenario that made me see what I was doing and made me remember why I had started my site in the first place. I realised I’d massively swayed from what I’d wanted to do and had started writing for other people. I took a break, had some time out from my site and everything became much clearer.

From hereon in I promised to only write for myself and almost immediately I started to enjoy writing again. I unfollowed the big blog sites that never looked my way, I removed myself from the ranking site and it was like a weight was lifted. It’s a bit ridiculous how much time I gave to these external forces, just because I thought that’s what I should be doing. What I found was, when I began to write about myself, my daughter and what was happening in my life, I started connecting with people. Readers came across my site searching for the topics I was now talking about, like toddler problems, fertility woes, skin issues (that I had post baby) and IVF. I began to get some lovely feedback and I started to get a real sense of satisfaction and enjoyment from writing.

As soon I started to open up about myself and my personal problems, readers started to get in touch and tell me their stories too. One woman thanked me for writing about my miscarriage operation at Kingston Hospital because she was about to undergo the same thing. She said felt reassured by what I wrote and we have since become good friends. A guy who my husband works with reads my blog with his wife as they are experiencing similar secondary infertility issues, and they tell him that they find my posts really helpful.  Often there can be a real stigma surrounding fertility problems and I feel that in talking about what I am going through, if I can help one woman (or man) that can only be a good thing.

On a personal level I find writing incredibly cathartic.I feel like I’m lightening the load somewhat. While it doesn’t fix things, it does help shift a little of whatever emotion it is I’m experiencing. I use Instagram a lot tooand find that helps as well. The photo I posted and the post I wrote after my miscarriage got incredible engagement, and in that I don’t mean ‘likes’, I mean that I got some wonderful messages of support from women I’ve never met.  I still message some of these women now, it’s really nice to know there are people out there rooting for you.

I find writing far more satisfying now. It’s not a number or statistics game, I don’t care about  page views, SEO or blog rankings. Now it’s about writing because I enjoy it and I want to do it. It’s taken some time to find my groove, two and half years to be precise but I’ve finally got there. And in starting my blog I’ve reignited my love and enjoyment of writing. By taking the time out to become a stay at home mum I’ve had the opportunity to create my site and that’s something I wouldn’t have been able to do had I returned to work. I love it and I feel like this is my path now. Wherever it may lead me.”

You can read more of Emma’s writing stuff here at

www.itsmostlyokay.com

Instagram: @itsmostlyokay

Twitter: @itsmostlyokay

 

me and O.jpg

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s