A Midlife Pity Party

A Midlife Pity Party

I’ve been struggling lately, trying to work out what to post on here. But you probably knew that already.

I moved away from my family lifestyle blog (of 4 years) for various reasons and last week I finally re-routed the URL to land directly here instead.

But 6 months in and I’ve kind of come unstuck.

Have I fallen out of love with blogging? No. I think my biggest problem is that I’m constantly trying to figure out what I have to offer that isn’t already out there.

Comparison.

It’s an ugly word, right? It’s the thief of all joy and I’ve let it sneak up and bite me on the bum.

I’ve lost confidence on social media (not helped by my teenage daughter who has a habit of mimicking every single darn thing I put out there) the backbone to a blogger’s success. Apparently.

Everyone else seems to be increasing their followers daily, producing photographs that always look heaps better than mine and getting all the right hashtags in all the right places (as opposed to curves – shout out to Mika).

On top of that, there are thousands of amazingly beautiful pristine blogs with stunning photographs, written by younger, prettier, more inspiring people who have travelled the world, shared dinner with the latest celebrity chef and seem to be invited to all the fancy book launches. Oh and they always have hair to die for.

What does little old me have to offer in the light of all that? Who wants to read a blog written by a 40-something mum with greying roots, looking to find her place in the world now that her teenage offspring are spreading their wings further and higher as the days race by?

In short, comparison has got the better of me and that has seeped into this blog, robbing me of any kind of joy that it used to bring.

Because that’s what comparison does. And it’s probably the main reason why most people stop blogging, quit trying to better their photography skills or give up in that quest to bake tastier cakes.

Someone else is always doing it better, right?

Unique.

Whilst in the midst of this midlife pity party, something came to me….

The only thing we all have to bring to the world is ourselves, that person that God created us to be with the unique voice/view of the world/likes and dislikes/opinions and experiences. That is the thing that will set us apart. Admittedly not everyone will like it but that’s life – we aren’t everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ and neither will our blog/photographs/opinions be.

Does the world really need another pristine white blog with black font and moody looking pictures, or the same regurgitated drivel that is written entirely for click bait or to raise a profile on google? I don’t want to see it, let alone write it!

The blogs I like are the ones where I get a glimmer of someone’s true self whether that be through heart-felt words, a unique sense of style, their personal opinion on a topical debate, a favourite room in their house (assuming it doesn’t just look the same as everyone else’s). Anything where a little bit of their personality shines through.

I want to see the real person.

Just be you.

So the answer to my question ‘What on earth do I have to offer?‘ is simple: me, my life, my home, my thoughts, my style, my words, my opinions.

When I started this blog, I wanted a complete change of direction but guess what? I’m still me!

We can get so caught up in being shiny, making sure that we are showing our ‘best side’ and that what we present is perfect, that in the end we stop sharing anything at all.

I think that’s what has happened to me and I don’t want it to happen to you.

So this is my challenge to us all: let’s give comparison the boot. And by the way, this little motto applies to any situation in life…

So here’s a couple of questions that I am hoping you might take the time to answer:

  • What would make you want to return to a blog again and again, or sign up to follow regularly?
  • What makes you go off a blog (let’s hope it’s not whinging!)?
  • Which kind of posts do you enjoy reading on my blog?
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39 Comments

  1. March 29, 2017 / 2:33 pm

    I completely relate to this Blogging has shifted so significantly. I try to focus on why I started which was to “write” and connect. I may connect with less people, but I do still enjoy putting a post together. I’ve come to accept I am not a writer and that audience shift and I may not longer be relevant. But I didn’t start out to be relevant.
    I’m not sure what makes me return to a blog, again and again. I guess it is quality content and something personal. Your ‘little loves’ posts are great and I love reading about other peoples interests and recommendations.

    Things I hate: posts about how to blog, gain followers etc etc. I’m sure you know the type of post. Churning out posts for the sake of it. None of that is you.
    If it makes you happy keep at it.

    • March 29, 2017 / 3:16 pm

      Thank you for taking the time to comment Gemma and I’m happy that even one person reads my blog. As a writer, you have no idea, do you? I think it’s about getting back to why I blogged in the first place and I’ve lost that a bit by looking around to see what others are doing and why they are so successful (and I’m not lol!). But I never wanted to be a success (whatever that is) so I’ve gone off on a tangent. Time to brainstorm I think. I love writing the ‘Little Loves’ posts but doing them every week they are starting to feel like a chore rather than a pleasure.

    • Jenny
      April 27, 2017 / 3:51 pm

      Hiya!

      I just stumbled on your site having seen a link to it on a forum about having three children. You were sited as you have older children so I thought I would take a look.

      Personally I love reading blogs that show the human side of the author. Your writing is enjoyable to read as you are not afraid to talk openly about your thoughts.

      What would keep me coming back to s blog? Having something there that I can relate to and because I enjoy the style of writing.

      I’ve read nearly everything on the web that comes up about having three children. I’m surprised there isn’t more info on it.

      Jenny 🙂

  2. March 29, 2017 / 2:34 pm

    Yes, yes and yes to that!
    I don’t like blogs that look like all the other blogs. I don’t much care if photos are beautiful, because I prefer words. Words that entertain, make me nod my head in recognition, make me think and make me laugh.
    And you know I’m still going strong after 5 and a half years. I’m not young, I don’t go anywhere cool, get paid any money or get nice stuff to review. I just blog for the love of it and that’s all that really matters!
    I go off blogs that have too many reviews and sponsored content or too much stuff that other people have written about 100 times before. ‘Why I’m not going to beat myself up about bottle feeding… ‘ Really? Like that has never been written before! Bore off.

    • March 29, 2017 / 3:08 pm

      I do appreciate good photography and I think that’s ok as long as I don’t try to emulate it – it’s not my thing, words are. I think I’ve tried to hard to be everything to everybody and to make this blog a success. The only thing that’s going to do that is me and just writing what I love because that comes across doesn’t it?

      • March 29, 2017 / 8:09 pm

        Suzanne, I think Sarah says it well. Do what comes naturally to you and write about what you want to write about. Don’t think too much about what people want to read. I love blogs with gorgeous photography BUT I tend to flick through them, sigh at how pretty they are, and then move on quite quickly. On the other hand, mentioning Sarah again, I read every single post she writes and have done for years. I love reading about her daughter’s ballet exams and cheered for her when she beat her parkrun record. The right people will find a connection and read your blog. Don’t overthink it x

        • March 30, 2017 / 9:03 am

          Thanks Rachel. I think I’ve definitely fallen into that trap of ‘what does someone want to read’. Sarah is brilliant at just writing whatever the hell she wants and making even the smallest things sound interesting. I love that about her blog. Overthinking is my downfall for sure! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. xx

  3. March 29, 2017 / 2:55 pm

    The sooner more bloggers have this realisation, the better. Blogging for the sake of blogging is why a lot of blogs eventually die off. When you’re only blogging for yourself, about yourself, your life is the inspiration and there’s never a shortage of things to post about (from the mundane to the miraculous). Chase numbers and hits less and journal more, I say!

    The vast majority of blogs I read these days are those who loosely follow this principle. As long as the grammar/spelling/punctuation is OK (I know, that’s a bit snobby) and the fonts big enough (apparently I’m turning into my mum in my old age) it’s all good.

    • March 29, 2017 / 3:11 pm

      I think I’ve started focusing too much on what people want to read, rather than what I want to write about and as you say, people tend to come back because of the writer. Journalling was my first love and I would like to get back to that. Err and yes to good grammar! That would instantly turn me off. xx

  4. March 29, 2017 / 2:57 pm

    Hi, I’ve been a follower for a couple of years now and I love what you write both here and on your other blog. I love to see content that is honest and true, I hate the “how to find the best energy supplier” sponsored posts.

    Keep doing what you’re doing lovely, I think your little corner of the web is ace!

    • March 29, 2017 / 3:06 pm

      Aw this has made my day! I didn’t write this for recognition (well, only partly ;)) but I LOVE it when a reader takes the time to comment and I know that anyone is actually readying because they want to. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m a total hater of sponsored posts too – unless they are cleverly weaved into some interesting content. Onwards and upwards eh?!

      • March 29, 2017 / 3:31 pm

        I’m useless at commenting but I couldn’t just read and run with this post. The odd sponsored post or review is great but when it’s all the blogger does then I lose interest.

        Big hugs x

  5. March 29, 2017 / 3:07 pm

    From one 40 something, greying blogger trying to find her place to another, I love what you have to offer. I want to read about a person I can relate to and that is relevant to where I am now.
    I don’t enjoy blogs that are full of click bait lists (7 ways to blog like a boss etc) or about rearing small children because they are not relevant to me. I think slightly over 40 readers are a great untapped market. Keep up the good work!

    • March 29, 2017 / 3:09 pm

      I like the ‘slightly over 40’ reference! I’m quite a long way but will grasp that with both hands 🙂 Ah it’s a hard one isn’t it? I don’t want to be super successful but I think looking around has made me lost my way a little. Social media doesn’t help! It’s time for me to brainstorm what I love writing about, doing and sharing then get a better plan together. Thank you for commenting x

  6. March 29, 2017 / 5:37 pm

    I think to hear the unique, honest voice of the writer is crucial. I often feel confused when bloggers intersperse sponsored posts with their own. The sponsored posts feel forced. There seems to be a thin line between blogging and being advertisers.
    Read one the other day which I think was meant to sound like the blogger, but it didn’t. Must have been written by someone else. Not even the right subject. Made me question her other posts. I think when we write from the heart, then readers warm to the writer and, I know for one, I come back for more. So from another over 40 year old, who is embracing the silver hair, I think you are heading the right direction. Be you. Be your unique self. Also like Louisa’s suggestion that we are an untapped market.

    • March 30, 2017 / 9:01 am

      I know the kind of sponsored posts you’re talking about. I would never just copy and paste someone else’s writing but I guess that’s because writing is the part I love. I think part of my issue is that I wanted to move away from children and family but I don’t do a lot else lol! I’m working on it and humour is always a good one for me 🙂

  7. March 29, 2017 / 7:22 pm

    Whenever I create a post for new bloggers or contribute my advice for new bloggers it is always to be yourself, Be the very best you that you can be and make sure you have your own original voice, that is what people will be drawn to. and you’ll always be a poor second when mimicking others.

    You have a fab way of sharing on your blog, keep with it, we all go through stages of love and hate.

    Mich x

    • March 30, 2017 / 9:02 am

      Yeah it’s a weird one. Had a complete mental block and just not sure what direction to take it in. I think because it has no clear niche, there’s almost too much choice! I need to site down with a pen and paper and brainstorm I think. Thanks for your encouraging words Mich. xx

  8. March 29, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    Suzanne the first part of this made me laugh, not because it’s funny, but because you are those things to me. The stylish blog, lovely design, fab photos and well written posts.
    I have lost my inspiration and don’t know what I want to write about but I think you are doing well in your new direction. I do know that ‘small child’ related blogs are no longer of interest to me and am now reading more about home & fashion just like the magazines I buy but more personal. I’ll admit i’ve even tried to emulate your theme! without the fab photos obvs. Carry on as you are.
    Lorraine x

    • March 30, 2017 / 9:05 am

      Ah you’re very kind 🙂 I’m a little the same with young family blogs, except I do have a few favourites that I come back to time and time again. I think I see my blog as a bit of a magazine and as you say – all the things that I enjoy about a magazine. But because it has no ‘niche’ the choice of what to write about is almost too wide! With family I think there was always inspiration if you know what I mean. I’m flattered that you tried to emulate my blog by the way! xx

  9. March 29, 2017 / 8:18 pm

    Suz, I just love how you write! You have such a genuine voice – honest and full of integrity. I think there needs to be more of that in this blogging world. I’m the same as most of the other commenters here – tired of the rigmarole of sponsored content being churned out. It doesn’t put me off a blog necessarily (we all need to pay our bills and I’d be hugely hypocritical if I judged, seeing as it’s how I make a living too!) but I think post after post of it makes for a blog that lacks a connection with the reader.
    I’m also finding, as I get older and my kids do too, that family blogs aren’t really my thing any more. I mostly read lifestyle now, and if I have two minutes spare would rather read about fashion or food, or travel or interiors. Someone on Instagram said to me a while back that they look to blogs for escapism. That they can look at their own kids if they want to see children, but sometimes a blog is the only other adult content they see in a day. I really took that on board. It’s lovely sharing family moments, but I think when you get to our age you also want to reclaim a little of yourself as well.
    That’s a very long, rambly way of saying I think you have the mix just right. Your teen may mimic what you do but she will be at our stage in time too. There are plenty of women for whom your writing is so very relevant! 😘 Xx

    • March 30, 2017 / 9:09 am

      I do think that we get to a certain age and actually want to escape all the humdrum that goes with family life – I felt the same which is why I started this, like a breath of fresh air. I think I need to get back to that and not be so self-conscious worrying about how I will come across. Really appreciate your positive encouragement, thank you. xxx

  10. March 29, 2017 / 10:27 pm

    I love reading your blog because I love you, your family and your life. So, whatever you write about I will keep reading. I think I’ve answered part of this before but what makes me go off a blog? Endless sponsored posts. You’re fine as you are 🙂 x

    • March 30, 2017 / 1:00 pm

      Yep me too on the sponsored posts. I what an injection of someone’s personality or I get bored. I even get fed up if I think the topics are always the same which is why I’ve gone a bit mad and done a little bit of everything on here! Leaves the door maybe too wide open, I don’t know. Anyway thanks for your lovely comment and for bothering to read my ramblings 🙂 xx

  11. March 30, 2017 / 7:45 am

    It is you that makes me return! Your honesty and the fact it’s not the same as all the other blogs out there.
    Personally I am fed up of seeing all the “perfect”‘family blogs with pretty children smiling all the time and lots of emotional writing about how wonderful kids are. Maybe I’m just more into whinging 🙂 I like a bit of personality and humour personally. xx

    • March 30, 2017 / 12:58 pm

      I know what you mean Louise, after a while it all becomes a bit much doesn’t it? Personality and humour all the way here too! Thank you for sharing and being so kind. xxx

  12. Jill
    March 30, 2017 / 9:06 am

    Don’t want to be facetious but in a few years’ time you will have plenty of new material to write about which people will relate to because you will have hit – the menopause! I remember endless conversations with other sufferers at the time and there were a lot of hilarious aspects to it too. Of course I love to read your posts because I am your Mum, and would miss them very much if you decided to stop.

    • March 30, 2017 / 1:00 pm

      Can always rely on my mummy to cheer in my corner! I’m hoping that the ‘M’ word is more than a couple of years away….

  13. March 30, 2017 / 12:59 pm

    Suzanne,

    What makes me go off a blog? Too many reviews and sponsored posts; unwanted pop-ups; humorous anecdotes that seem highly embellished or downright fictional. And yes, whingeing does make me go off a blog — but you’re never guilty of that.
    What kind of posts do I enjoy reading on your blog? Just about all of them. I’m looking forward to reading lots more of your posts!

    • March 31, 2017 / 12:03 pm

      Ah thank you so much! Such a lovely comment to read 🙂 Ha ha you’re pretty fussy about a blog so I’m glad you still come back to read mine! x

  14. April 1, 2017 / 3:24 pm

    I think you know I’ve had the same dilemma/crisis over the last while! But, as one greying 40-something to another, we’re still here and I think that alone says something. I continue to write my blog because I love it and right now I would miss it too much if I stopped. But, I have so many other things to do that it’s no longer a priority, which is no bad thing (unless I do decide to try and make some money!!). I write much less about the kids now, sharing some of our adventures and marking special days, but not much else. It does leave me wondering what to write about, and I’m not sure I’ve quite worked that one out yet, but I do think blogs naturally evolve, as do their authors. I love your writing, because it’s genuine and relatable. I may not comment as much as I used to, because I just don’t have the time, but I do read 🙂 Just keeping being you, that’s what brings me back. I stopped reading the sponsored/review heavy blogs about babies a long time ago!

  15. April 2, 2017 / 10:41 am

    What drove me to your blog Suzanne is the fact you have teenagers. There seems to be a lack of people who blog and have teens. and of course I appreciate how much harder it is to feature them as they get older. You and Sarah I class as the ‘ older bloggers’ and I don’t mean in age. You have probably seen blogging change so much over the past few years. But you write for you, you don’t churn out endless sponsored posts and I absolutely love to read both your blogs. Keep doing what you are doing, as reading all these comments you are definitely doing everything right x

  16. April 4, 2017 / 2:50 pm

    Oh gosh, that really was a pity party wasn’t it?? I’m so glad you managed to give yourself a talking to and turn it round! You’re so right, you’re unique and I love your blog. And look at all those comments from other people who love it. I hope that made you feel better about it all. Keep doing what you do and I’ll keep reading 🙂
    Nat.x

  17. Katherine
    July 7, 2017 / 6:57 am

    I love your blog ! As a Mum of teenagers, myself being a similar age to you and being at the same stage in life I relate to the things you blog about, links you provide, books you recommend etc. I like your style of writing, chatty and not condescending, you are not afraid to write about the things that most of us are going through or thinking – good and bad!! So that is what makes me return to your blog and the opposite of all of that puts me off others – perfect lives, perfect homes (although I love getting house ideas), and people that never acknowledge the rollercoaster that life can be.

    I love all things you put on your blog so please keep doing the same!!

    • July 10, 2017 / 9:49 pm

      What a lovely comment! I think I shall print this off and keep it someone safe for days when I’m having a crisis in confidence! These are all the reasons why I blog 😊

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