I’m frequently asked by my non-blogging readers (yes, I’m as surprised as you are that there are people out there without blogs who are actually reading my stuff!!) why and how I got into blogging and so I thought I’d write a little post about it to fill you all in.
I’ve always enjoyed writing, but I’ve never had a lot of confidence in my ability. For years, I’d written and submitted short stories to competitions without success and so there was a backlog on my computer of writings that had only ever been read by judges (or very, very occasionally, by friends and family).
Sensing that I was looking for an outlet for my efforts (or perhaps realising that I was in need of a really good push), my friend set up a Tumblr blog for me as part of a writing-themed Christmas present back in 2010. The blog, titled Leah likes to write, was a wonderful gift, but one that I was a bit clueless as to how to use. I’d heard of blogging, of course, but I didn’t really understand how to interact with other bloggers and I was concerned about how easy it would be for other people to potentially plagiarise my work (if you have a look at the stuff that’s on my old blog then you’ll realise that that wasn’t an aspect worth worrying about!!).
So, I uploaded a few bits and pieces here and there and then eventually Leah likes to write fell by the wayside. In my head, however, the idea of blogging never really left me and, in 2014 when I was seriously feeling as though I should just knock my writing on the head and get back to real life, my husband convinced me to give it one last stab.
Don’t ask me why, but when I decided to start blogging for the second time it seemed absolutely imperative to me that I start again from scratch rather than attempt to revive the old blog. This time round, I thought long and hard about the kind of posts I wanted to publish (rather than randomly uploading whatever thoughts came into my head) and eventually I decided that arts and literature would become the core subjects of my new blog. After that, I set myself up on WordPress (thinking that perhaps this would be a better platform for me than Tumblr) and finally, after what seemed like a ridiculously long period of time, I settled on a suitable name – Bellyful of Art.
Once a week either an art, book or film review or a short story or poem would be published on Bellyful of Art and with each new post my confidence in my own ability seemed to grow a little stronger. Eventually, however, life started to get in the way and slowly my posts started to drop off. At the start of 2017, I decided that it was best for me to take a break from blogging altogether rather than attempt to shoehorn writing time into a schedule that already seemed overwhelmingly full and so for a good ten months Bellyful of Art lay dormant.
At the time I felt like a bit of a failure, but looking back I realise that taking a break was probably the best thing I could have done for me and my blog. At the end of last year, my circumstances completely changed so by the time I came back to Bellyful of Art at the beginning of 2018, I had a renewed energy and focus. My life was still pretty hectic, but I was happy to squeeze blogging in where I could (generally during my toddler’s nap time!) and, after much deliberation, I decided that Bellyful of Art was in need of a little overhaul. I didn’t want to be limited by my chosen niche anymore, instead I wanted to write about anything that took my fancy and so it seemed only right that Bellyful of Art should become known as something that was more reflective of the new direction in which the blog was headed. And so, just a few months ago, Bellyful of Art became My Bellyful. (You can read all about this change here.)
Since then, the blog (and my determination to keep it going) has gone from strength to strength. A steady stream of new followers as well as kind comments from both non-bloggers and fellow bloggers alike has lifted my confidence to new levels and, although it can still be difficult to fit blogging in at times, I love knowing that there’s a place on the internet where I can showcase my creativity and openly express my thoughts.
So, if you’re still deliberating over whether or not to start up your own blog, here’s a few reasons why I think you should take the leap. Firstly, it’s super easy to set up a blog. Do a little research into blogging platforms (Tumblr, WordPress and Blogger were the three that I looked into) and decide which one’s right for you, then follow the simple steps to get started. Secondly, it’s free (so it won’t cost you a penny to see if you like it or not) and thirdly, the blogging community is particularly supportive and it’s a great way to meet people who share similar interests. Finally, can we just round back to a couple of my points above? Blogging not only offers you a place where you can showcase your creativity and openly express your thoughts, but it’s also a great way of finding your writing voice and boosting your confidence.
If you’re already blogger, I’d love to hear how you found your way into the blogosphere! If you’re a non-blogger wondering whether or not to dip your toes into the water, let me know in the comments below and I (or someone more experienced, I’m sure) can try to answer any queries you might have.