Sunday 6 September 2015

A Season for Everything

Autumn Park provided by Shutterstock

When it comes to blogging I've been feeling a bit washed up just recently. I started my blog in 2008 on a whim and here we are seven years later and I am still going strong. Or am I?

I suppose if you were to look at the stats you would say I am still going strong, I pull in around 45-50K readers a month, I earn decent money from my blog, I'm consistently ranked in the top 10 mummy bloggers each year by Cision (now Vuelio). My placing currently with Teads for parenting is 28 and 'll quickly pass by my Tots100 ranking where I have plummeted to 76 (from the top 30 where I have consistently sat for the last four years or so).

But things have definitely changed and I don't want to sound like a whiny baby but I'm not known in the way I was previously. Go back two years and I was often referred to as a big blogger (yes, in more ways than one), or a top blogger, or an inspirational blogger and now new bloggers have no idea who I am. What I have to figure out is if that matters to me? and if it does, why?

Was my desired outcome from blogging to be known? No, or certainly not knowingly, my desire has always been to create a wonderful treasury of memories of my kids growing up whilst also demonstrating that Christians are regular, imperfect people too and hopefully inspiring a few people to investigate their own beliefs and faith further.

I've come to the conclusion that my season as a prominent parenting blogger has come to a natural end. There are now tens of thousands of parenting blogs and it is very different to how it was three or four years ago when I was running a mega linky, speaking at conferences, being a finalist in all sorts of award categories, trawling BritMums for the new bloggers and encouraging them all and travelling abroad working with charities.

As a Christian we often talk of seasons and the bible says -

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace." (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 NIV)

I don't believe my blogging season is over, no way. It brings me far too much joy and besides God has made it quite clear to me that I am to continue waxing lyrical about my love for him and his awesome effect on my life. What has come to an end is my need to be one of the big bloggers. It is OK when I am at a conference and the person I am speaking to has never heard of me or my blog.

For years I have struggled with pride and since moving to East Sussex two years ago the Lord has been stripping away all the things that feed my pride - my paid work, my earnings, my title, my influence on people and now too he is stripping away my sense of being known and bigged up within the parent blogging community.

Of course I still need to be known, we all have that desire but now what I seek is to be known by the Father and by my family, friends and community. They can keep me accountable and real, grounded in his word and all that is true for me as a Christan, because as I have said before, following Jesus is what is most important in my life. That is the key that will change everything.

But still I am only human and it did make me smile when I noticed Julie (Mama Owl) had mentioned me as her blogging hero. She went on to talk about me helping and supporting her in the early days and it is true, that is what I loved to do. I still do.

Some of the writers I featured in the three years I ran the New Bloggers Fortnight are now super successful uber bloggers and I am so pleased to have been with them on their journey since the early days. So now it is time to acknowledge that it is good to allow others to be the supportive blogger, the one coaching new bloggers and helping them in their early journey. I forgot that what I have been doing is paying it forward, I can't keep being the mentor forever but I can smile when I look at the success of those bloggers that I helped early on. I can feel joyful when I see them helping others and being hailed as blogging heros, as maybe they wouldn't have been quite so giving and helpful to others if people like me had not modelled that willingness to give, without reward in the first place.

Bloggers really are an awesome bunch in the main and I am so glad to be one of them.


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