The blogging journey

Finding the courage to use social media and
start the blogging journey

Many hot air balloons taking off over the hills to illustrate a post on the blogging journey

Photograph by Daniela Cuevas

This is my first blog post – the very start of my blogging journey – and I have to admit that it’s tricky. Not the writing bit, but the idea of publishing my thoughts in a place where anyone – anyone in the whole world! – can read them. Some people love the idea of sharing their lives and thoughts with the public, but me? Not so much. I wouldn’t say I’m shy, but I’ve never enjoyed the limelight. So… what on earth am I doing here?

I ignored social media for a very long time. The rise of Facebook coincided with the birth of my first child and, safely ensconced in my baby bubble, I let the whole thing pass me by. The concept was so unappealing that I convinced myself it was just for exhibitionists and people with far too much time on their hands. I mean, why would anyone want to tell the world what they’d done at the weekend or what they were having for lunch? Why ruin your favourite TV programme by tweeting your way through it? Why compromise your precious right to privacy by uploading family photographs into the public domain? And who, really, has the time for any of it? Isn’t life busy enough without scrolling through pictures of your second cousin’s goddaughter’s wedding? I didn’t get it. At. All.

However, moving to a new city and changing career meant seeing social media in a new light. As a self-employed freelancer I needed to get my name out there and it slowly – embarrassingly slowly – dawned on me that I needed social media to make that happen. I was so far behind the times that I actually had to take a course to find out how it all worked (I went to the brilliant Social Media School, which runs courses in Bath and Wiltshire), and that enthused and inspired me enough to start taking the whole thing more seriously. I realised that if you actually had something to say, a product or service to offer, or a community you wanted to be part of, then social media was both essential and invaluable. Late to the game, yes, but better late than never…

Once I began to see social media as a professional tool, rather than an online stage for egotists, it made so much more sense. It saw that it had (mostly) moved on beyond its early days and had evolved into something slicker and more grown up. So I tentatively joined Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and – many deep breaths later – decided to start my own blog as a platform on which to discuss my favourite topics: language, literature, stories and meaning, and the way in which we can harness the power of words to help us connect with others, effect change, tell our stories, build our confidence and, ultimately, make sense of our lives.

So here I am, at the start of my blogging journey. If you’re new to social media, or to writing, I would love you to come along for the ride. I’m still not entirely at ease and it feels a little like one of those anxiety dreams in which you find yourself on stage in front of an audience and have no idea of what to do or say. But what I’ve realised so far is that there are so many people with you on that stage that you don’t have to draw attention to yourself if you don’t want to. As in life, you can seek out those people who share your interests, and have conversations or just hang out with them instead. Now, along with the nerves, I’m also excited to become part of a dynamic and thriving online community of people who love writing, language and sharing their stories, and I want to reach those who find writing tricky and could use some help. As time goes on, I’m hoping to gain in confidence and really find my voice. That’s what I believe writing can do for other people – I just have to keep believing it for myself.