Though I didn’t realise it at the time, I blogged my way out of a career I hated.
Five years ago, I went from HR into freelance writing. At the time, if anyone asked me how I did it, I’d say I listened to my instincts and went from there. But looking back, I know my career change wouldn’t have happened without my blog.
I started said blog, which I called ‘Fake Blonde Procrastinator’, back in 2010. I didn’t plan exactly what I was going to write in it or think about who might read it. All I wanted at the time was a fun outlet for the random thoughts that buzzed around my head on an average day. Setting them out in words was the equivalent of swatting an irritating fly. No more, no less.
I updated my blog regularly over the years that followed, in the process casually and unwittingly honing the voice I would later use as a professional writer.
(Fake Blonde Procrastinator became a book in 2018, which is something I’m rather proud of.)
It goes to follow that I’m an enthusiastic advocate of blogging. There are so many wonderful reasons to start your own blog. Not only do you get to write about anything you choose to write about, but you also get to write completely as yourself. That feels like a genuine gift when you spend the rest of your time being all things to other people, or you usually write fiction or copy, which involves borrowing other people’s brains and wringing them out for new words.
Recently I was asked to present a talk to a writers’ group about blogging. Their questions about reach and audiences and SEO and purpose made me realise that back in 2010, blogging wasn’t the behemoth it is now.
If I chose to set up a blog from scratch in 2021 then I think there would be pressure to pre-attach a sense of worth to it, even if I wasn’t using it for business. I’d over-think what to include and who I’d want to read my blog and whether it’s even good enough, and then I’d obsess about the best day to post for people to see it and comment on it and share it with their friends on social media.