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Writing your own blog should inspire you

How I’ve struggled with this blog! I started it because I wanted to start writing more, and share my experiences of moving to Ireland. But at the same time I started studying Italian at the university, and everything was so overwhelming that I couldn’t make myself write anything at all, other than Italian assignments.

After my exams I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do with this blog. What do I want with it? Why do I want to blog? Who is my reader?

I’ve been blogging in different forms since 2008, but haven’t been good at it. I’ve had my blogs all over the place, tested platforms, ideas and more but have never been happy with them. I’ve written some good articles in the past that I wish I had saved, but in general, my content was rather crappy. I was too ranty and negative many times and later I was too stressed out from work to write anything decent. But blogging had something that appealed to me and I knew I wanted to continue doing it. I just wanted to do it better.

But I’ve been hopeless with blogs, always.

I started this blog quite prematurely, shortly after we moved to Ireland, before knowing how much free time I would have. After some hiccups, I’m now back here and I want to revive the blog and start writing again.

Before lockdown, I was still in a post-university phase, trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. I didn’t lose my job or get more free time than I used to have. But it became important doing something that inspired me, that would help me improve skills but also that would help me stay distracted from the bad news out there. When Udemy offered enormous sales on their courses, I finally signed up to do online writing courses. Doing this, it was natural that I also started thinking about this blog and how to best use it.

After my Italian course, I was exhausted and unable to write according to the plans I had when I first started the blog. To keep it going, I decided to make it more photography focused. This was a bad idea.

I planned to still feature West Cork but through photography. Then COVID-19 happened, Ireland went into lockdown and I’ve been hiding away to stay safe. Now, the only West Cork related subjects I can photograph are the neighbour’s cows.

Cows in West Cork

After making this blog photography centered, I didn’t like it at all. Photography is a big part of what I love to do, but I much prefer to share photos than to talk about taking them. Also, exhaustion is fading away and I want to write again.

I want to go back to my original idea of sharing about life in West Cork, with photos as well as stories, but I also want to write about music – it suits the “life in Ireland” theme quite well, after all – and I want to include some posts about places in Abruzzo, Italy. Is that weird?

What are your thoughts? Do multiple topics in one blog turn off readers? And I want to hear YOUR thoughts. Forget about all “blogging how-to” posts you’ve ever read!

My opinion is that writing your own blog should be inspiring. If it isn’t, why do it? I liked the way blogging used to be… like sharing thoughts with friends. I read on someone else’s blog that reading blogs used to be like visiting friends, sitting down on their beds and hear them talk about their day. You would have a good chat and exchange ideas. I couldn’t agree more! I really miss that kind of feel in the blogosphere. Nowadays it’s more like visiting someone’s shiny office for a business meeting!

While there are good and interesting niche blogs out there, I love storytelling and personal stories. When I grew up, I consumed an enormous amount of books, and I loved writing. In recent years, content on the internet has become more and more easily consumed, in list form, short videos and similar. I love the written word, and I miss a good read. There must be other people out there who feel the same.

During the last few weeks, I’ve struggled with how to get this blog back together in a way that will inspire me to write but also that won’t be too confusing to visitors. What I really should do is to stop worrying about trends, stop listening to so-called dos and don’ts, and care more about improving my writing, creating something I’m happy about, and to continue writing. It’s hard to become good at writing if you don’t write. And to continue writing… it has to be inspiring.

7 Comments

  • Sandra
    21st April 2020 at 12:08 pm

    I think finding inspiration from your blog is a personal preference but I do agree that you’re supposed to enjoy it! Why else would you do it? I think a lot of bloggers do get caught up in trends and what other popular bloggers are doing but just remember that as long as you write what you love, you’ll be fine.
    I’m very glad you’re trying again with your blog. I wish you the very best!
    Sandra x

    Reply
    • Susanne
      21st April 2020 at 12:19 pm

      Thanks Sandra! What I really meant that the actual writing should be inspiring and that writing articles for your blog should be something you enjoy. We all have bad days but the type of articles you write should be articles you enjoy writing – and that you enjoy reading too.

      Reply
  • Anne
    21st April 2020 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Susanne, I am so happy to hear that you plan to write more! I came to your site a few days ago and was a bit worried when it said you’d be back soon. I love blogs that are like you described – like visiting friends, finding out about their lives, and what books they’ve read, where they’ve gone (well, pre- and post-lockdown…), things they are loving. I’m trying to move my own blog in that direction but it’s hard for me to be that open. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try, though!

    Anyway, I would love to read about your daily life, things you’ve discovered in Ireland, books you’ve read, meals you’ve cooked – all of it! Please do keep writing -and I will keep reading. Take care, and stay safe.

    Reply
    • Susanne
      21st April 2020 at 1:08 pm

      Thank you so much for coming back, Anne, I really appreciate it!
      I was worried about my blog myself. But after I started to work more on my writing, I knew I wanted to continue what I started on this blog last year.
      Nowadays it’s hard for me too, to write about personal topics. I’ve realised I’m simply not very good at writing about more personal happenings and do it in a good way without oversharing and that is interesting to read. But I’ll definitely write more about places and activities I love, reflections on life here and a bit about what happens around the house. We have big plans for the garden this year.. if it will be possible to get compost.

      Reply
      • Anne
        22nd April 2020 at 10:34 pm

        Oh, hearing about your places and activities would be great, and I would love to live vicariously through your garden (apartment, no garden, sigh). I am trying to work up the courage to do a day in the life post… seems like I’m putting myself out there with that kind of writing, but it’s not really that revealing. Just goes against my grain in terms of how much I tend to share about myself! Hoping that all is well in Ireland and that spring is helping you deal with the lockdown…

        Reply
  • Kirsten
    2nd May 2020 at 7:16 pm

    I don’t think there is such a thing as being good or bad at blogging. Blogging, especially a personal blog about experiences is just that, a personal thing, so you dictate everything and the rest of us are just along for the ride. I personally have enjoyed reading your blog over the years and the friendship that has developed out of it. I do agree that you have to enjoy blogging otherwise it’s really not right for you. Right now, COVID-19 is making it difficult for blogging about experiences and photography since we are all pretty much stuck in the house. I personally love blogs that don’t focus on any one particular thing. I like blogs that are more personal in nature rather then niche-based, but that is just a personal preference. I think blogging about multiple things is only natural as everyone has multiple interests, multiple things they care about, and are good at. To me it only makes sense. I also love the way blogging used to be sharing thoughts and things among friends that you develop through blogging. To me, it is a type of friendship and can be healthy at that. Sometimes people who are to close to you in real life are looking at you through rose-colored glasses as the saying goes. You’ve given me perspective both in your blogging and your comments on my blog that I never would have gotten otherwise and I have always enjoyed your stories and photography but I agree with you, I much prefer seeing the photos than the how-tos. If I am curious about how you did something, I would normally just ask in a comment or email. I feel everything you are saying here 100% and have been thinking a lot of the same things. I am concerned a little about blogging while taking a full course load at school but I feel I just have to set aside the time like anything else.

    Reply
    • Susanne
      5th May 2020 at 3:05 pm

      I don’t think you can be good or bad at blogging as such, but that you can be good or less good at the actual writing. I love writing, reading good articles (or books) and different aspects of the use of the written word fascinates me enormously, so I really want to get better at writing. As for content, some people don’t mind more personal content but looking back, I’m not happy with much of older postings. I love personal stories though and good storytelling, and I want to continue with that but to do it in a way that makes me proud of my own writing.

      I’m so grateful for how our blogs have connected us too, you have been such a loyal reader over the years!! Thanks for always coming back and for your support! And thanks for your always kind words about my blog. 😍

      I hope you can continue blogging while going to school, you don’t have to write long posts, just show up and tell some news once a week or every fortnight. I’m sure your visitors will appreciate that and I know that I definitely will.
      I’ve been reading a lot lately about writing as a job and many other aspects of writing and blogging, and one advice hit me particularly, that can be helpful to you. “Treat your blog like a client”. You say that you need to set aside time for your blog, and that’s the thing. Think of it as a client you need to work for a couple of hours a week or so.

      Reply

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