Sunday 6 February 2011

Welcoming Qwerty Mum: A Journey into Blogging...

Welcome to Day 1 of the New Bloggers Fortnight and I am really pleased to welcome Paula from Qwerty Mum to the blog.  She is kicking us off with a lovely, from the heart account of her journey into blogging over the last few months. I'll let Paula introduce herself to you...

My name is Paula Virgo. I've been happily married to husband number two for nearly a year and I have two children with him - a little girl rapidly approaching her third birthday and a baby boy of 7 months. I also have four fantastic daughters from my first marriage. They are all grown up young ladies now ranging in age from 14 to 23 years. I love the way my life has turned out. I never dreamt that at the age of 46 (actually very much closer to 47 now!) I would be a mum to two gorgeous little ones, especially a most unexpected male of the species, and I am enjoying every minute of it. My husband is quite old fashioned in the respect that he likes to be the one that goes out to earn a living while I stay at home and care for the children. It suits me perfectly ... and gives me the time to pursue the latest passion in my life - my blog.

To All New Bloggers..

Six months ago, I would never have imagined that I would come to think of myself as a "Blogger", or that blogging would come to take up so much of my spare time and even change the way I see the world. But I do and it does and it has had an enormous impact on the way I live my life.

My interest in Social Media was born as a result of breastfeeding meaning that I was forced to sit down for significant chunks of time. I didn't want to fall into the daytime TV trap so I did a lot of crosswords but then my sister started having a great deal of success entering competitions on Facebook. She encouraged me to have a go and although my luck never burns as brightly as hers, I did have some small wins that spurred me on.

I discovered blogs through the Giveaways that are hosted on them. It was a slightly alien world that I was entering into but I had the time (my baby was a hungry little man!) so I decided to jump in.

Setting up my blog on Blogger was easy, apart from thinking of a name for it. My mind goes completely blank. I am the same when I have to make up security passwords. The keyboard helped me choose QWERTY Mum. It seemed to fit.

I do love writing - painting pictures with words, weaving tales, making some sort of sense out of the kaleidoscope of nonsense in my mind. The only writing I had done recently was the odd slogan for a competition entry and my numerous "To do" lists. The cursor flashing on a plain white page invited me in and I was hooked.

I also love photography and here was a forum for my photographs which brought with it the motivation to get my camera out more often. Whatever I am doing now, I think about how I can blog about it and what image I could capture to illustrate it.

I had no idea what direction my blog would take. There were some significant moments and turning points that have shaped it to what it is today (and I'm sure the evolution is organic and endless).
I remember my first followers - family and friends - but their presence on my page made me feel accepted into the world of blogging. As I write this, my following stands at 50. I never dreamed I would even make double figures but here I am halfway to a hundred. Now reaching a hundred followers would give me a day of celebration. My sister, who started her blogging adventure (Inside the Wendy House) at about the same time, is already nearly there. I can't help but feel a little envious!

Joining British Mummy Bloggers was another key moment for me. I remember hovering my cursor over the button that would submit my membership application for a stupidly long time. I felt like an impostor. Who did I think I was wanting to join such a well established and important group of people? Well I was a mummy and I was blogging so I guess that did qualify me. Becoming a part of that community opened my eyes to my blogs potential and possibilities. Stay at Home Mums like me had been given a voice, and people were listening.

I had read lots of reviews from other bloggers. Starting to do my own has been a self validating experience. I love to look at my Blog Stats to see how many page views I have had and I love when people leave comments.

Giveaways are always good. I have discovered some great blogs through the Giveaway route and even been lucky enough to win a few lovely things. Thanks to some product reviewing I had been doing for Nuby, whose marketing initiative this year had been to connect with bloggers, I found myself in the position to host my own giveaway. I can't even begin to explain how great that felt!

From the comfort of my office chair I can write about anything and everything - air my views, reminisce, link up with other Bloggers to take part in some of the weird and wonderful Memes hosted on Blogs I follow, share and dream and even heal myself by exposing some dark and ugly truths that suddenly seem less dark and ugly in the soft light of my computer screen.

My latest big step has been to draft a pitch to potential sponsors looking for representation at the Cybermummy Conference. I would love to be able to take my blogging story to the next level and get to meet the real people behind the blogs that have become a part of my everyday life. I doubt if my blog, still only in its infancy, is likely to attract the attention of any major companies but it is worth a try and besides, there's always next year.

I have come such a long way in the few short months since I breathed life into QWERTY Mum. Doing this guest post feels like an enormous honour and I thank Michelle for the opportunity. My advice to any new bloggers out there is definitely to jump onto the roller coaster and see where it takes you.

Thank you Paula, Don't forget to come back tomorrow when there will be a super post from Metal Mummy about creating your bloggy brand.