I think my first ever blog post must have been in 2001. I was this eleven-year-old (nerd) with my own dot com. The done thing among those of us without a special invite to WordPress (oh, WordPress, how you’ve changed) was to use a platform like blogger and insert the blog into an HTML-coded website as an iFrame. The website’s background – including the nagivation – would be an image, with links positioned using an image mapper. I actually had some success with this, and one day when I was reading Mizz magazine, I found my website mentioned in an article. This was my first experience of PR.
I decided to resume blogging as a university student, just before my year abroad in New Zealand. When you are 13,000 miles away from home and up-side down, and in the opposite time zone, and – quite frankly – busy travelling, attending parties, and sometimes attending classes, it can be difficult to phone home. So I blogged instead. A lot of it was written quickly, and often badly, but it was actually quite an efficient way of keeping everyone updated. My grandparents even used to receive printed versions from my parents. Also, I enjoyed it.
This, collectively, had the unexpected side-effect of leading me into the world of content-driven marketing after graduation. Somewhere along the line, I had learned quite a lot about various strands of digital, and so I began, again, but this time professionally. I still find nothing more satisfying than curating pieces of content that weave their way around the internet, climb to the top of Google and become quoted in other – sometimes printed – forms of media.
I enjoy thinking strategically about blogging, but it does have one unfortunate consequence. That is, it is hard to simply write like I used to, because I know the rules. I know that your blog needs a clearly defined subject area; a brand. You need a newsletter, active social media accounts and those attractive rectangular images for Pinterest. Consistent posts. Editing. SEO. A content calendar. Etc.
I’ve made a number of failed attempts to start blogging again in the past two years. Ironically, it’s because I now know what I’m doing. It doesn’t feel like a hobby any more. I’m overthinking it.
I wrote my first ‘year abroad’ post on the train from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. I’m currently travelling by train from St. Ives to London Paddington. For some reason, it feels like the right moment to start again. I’ve hidden all of my old posts, because at the moment, I’m not sure where the continuation is. Or the direction, in general.
But no plan, some say, is better than a bad plan.