A very dear friend recently said goodbye to the blog for which she is known and loved. A brave step, but the right thing for her. We discussed this together, at length, in June and she stuck to her guns. Seeing her 'take the plunge' prompted me to think about this, my own family lifestyle blog, which has been largely ignored for the last year.
Whilst I adapted to life in a brand new area, away from the on-hand help of my parents, the small amount of child-free time I possess has been thinly spread. Volunteering at both children's schools (a great way to settle into a new area and meet local people), keeping on top of all of the normal day to day running of our home, administrating the endless rounds of appointments and chasing professionals to ensure J1 has everything for his special needs and finally, planning, researching and writing the first draft of a novel.
Blogging has become such a huge thing now, much more so than when I tentatively started out four or five years ago. There are some absolutely amazing family life bloggers who have taken it much more seriously than I ever did, and flourished and reaped the rewards for the time and effort they put into making their blog work. It is heartening to see.
But a career was never why I started my blog. Mine was born out of a pure need to get all my mixed up thoughts out of my head. That coupled with a desire to write again. After turning from a single mother with a busy full time job in London, to suddenly being a new wife and stay at home mother to my seven year old son with disabilities, and a new born, I found I was still constantly on the go, but had no one to talk to about it anymore. When I stopped working all I could think about were the things I would not miss; the long, temperamental train commute; the cold, dark, early mornings and often late nights; sitting in an airless office with the sun shining outside; saying 'Yes, of course.' when what I really thought was 'Do it your bleeding self you lazy arse.' I hadn't taken time to consider that as you grow older, friendships are mostly work-based and if you are not working ...
Let's just say it took me a while to adjust.
Blogging helped me to do that. I not only found the therapy I needed in writing, but also a wonderful community. Online acquaintances become real people, and I am lucky enough to say, real friends after being brave and attending the Britmums Live weekend that first year. And for the next few years it became our annual get together. But peoples lives move on, including mine, and suddenly I do not have a baby / toddler at home to constantly be entertaining and keeping ten steps ahead. A window of opportunity opened.
I came from a successful career I enjoyed but had never had a real passion for. I grew up in an area where people were workers, no doubt about that, my whole family have toiled their whole lives - but no one said to us 'What do you really want to do?' Work was to earn money and keep your head above water. Choose a job you could do and maintain. I did well, flourished in my roles and climbed the ladder to having a career, rather than just a job, and that is when I realised, I could have done anything had I known.
I am not saying University was frowned upon, not by any means. I was quite academic and I was one of the few encouraged into further education, but I still didn't have any idea of the opportunities, I have since discovered, would have been available within the literary industry had I really taken the bull by the horns in my younger years.
But I digress. I guess what I am trying to say is I love my blog, it was my baby and it has been lovely nurturing it and watching it develop. But in the main scheme of things, it is run of the mill, one of many, not one of the best. I have sat and looked at it, many times, over the last year and thought I just don't know what to write? I suppose because I have now adjusted to how our family unit works, I don't need to write posts to try and straighten out the thoughts in my head. Well, apart from on one thing.
The disability section of this blog, The Disability Diaries, for which I can probably say has been it's most successful part in terms of 'blog success', is still something I do find myself needing to write about. I probably always will.
So, I am not closing this blog down. But, I am making it purely about The Disability Diaries.
I always wanted The Diaries to help raise awareness of the challenges faced by those who share disability within their lives in some way, and I want to continue to do that, it is as vitality important to me as forging myself a new career involving the written word.
Which, by the way, I am also planning on doing.
I am launching a new blog in February called The Very Pink Notebook, dedicated to all things bookish. Reviews, releases, author interviews, tours. As soon as the site is live I will be posting the link. If you love the world of books as much as me, please follow and support. I hope it gives you as much enjoyment to read as I am hoping it will give me to write and develop.
Of course, I continue to pursue the big dream too. The novel. I am having a wonderful time exploring and learning all about the industry which I hope to one day be a part of in some way. There is a blog prepared for that too. I will document my journey - but now is not quite the right time for that launch. When it is you will be first to know.
No, when I was young no one really ever asked - What do you want to do? So I decided to ask it myself.
Wish me luck.