Back in the day when the internet was still dial-up and not something I had access to at home, I would write. I’d sit in front of the old computer which took up half of the dining table and transform a blank word document into what I would describe as a literary masterpiece but what others would call word vomit. I’d write short stories where my cats could fly, stories about a lonely Russian sailor who discovered how to make vodka, and I’d type out holiday diaries – an entry for each day of the trip – finish them off with some hip-looking clip art and print them out. Then I’d bind the pages together and stick in some photos to make my own real-life travel blog.
Flash forward a few years to 2014 and the internet had evolved. People were writing about their holidays, their lives, their pets just like I was but they were doing it very publicly. I was stumbling upon blogs written by strangers who soon felt like friends, despite having never spoken to them. Doing what they were doing looked like fun and I was doing it anyway, albeit privately, so why not share what I had to say with the world?
So opened up wordpress.com and created my very own blog.
I’d spent a bit of time jotting down ideas for posts, niches and, most importantly, blog names in a notebook but I’d decided that now was the time to take the plunge. My blog was originally going to be called something like ‘dreambigshinebright’ and all I have to say about that is thank god somebody else had already taken the name before I could! I settled on Puttheworldtowrites because I knew I wanted to write about my life, the world and throw in a bit of creativity and share my writing.
Also, I thought I was hilarious at the time for creating a pun and didn’t imagine that I’d stick with blogging for this long…
I originally wanted to focus on creative writing; I’d just rediscovered my love of writing short stories and wanted to share them with other people. I also read a lot of blogs by writers (some of which have gone on to become published writers and/or successful bloggers) and wanted to throw in my 2 cents. Photography didn’t matter; I’d use stock images or my not so great scenery photos that had nothing to do with what I was writing about (if I used images at all).
But then blogs started to take off. Zoella became famous and people realised that they could make something of themselves from the comfort of their bedrooms. Blog photography improved and writing became more professional. Not being one for following a trend straight away I shied away from making my blog more business like as I was still having fun just writing when I wanted to, engaging with my favourite bloggers and seeing them do the same with me. I had loyal followers who would like / comment on every one of my posts without fail, and I’d do the same for them. The little sound the wordpress app makes when you receive a notification quickly became one of my favourite sounds and hearing it filled my heart with happiness.
Often I miss those days of old-school, super supportive and non-competitive blogging and sometimes I really regret making the decision to go self-hosted. I decided to buy my own domain in 2016 as I had a lot of stories to tell from my summer in the USA and people seemed to be enjoying reading them. But going self-hosted was like starting again from scratch. Those loyal followers had either decided to pack in blogging for good or couldn’t see my posts on their wordpress readers any more because I was no longer a wordpress.com site. Sure I had some posts which absolutely banged like this one which got over 1000 shares in an hour, and this one which, two years after first posting, still gets a couple of thousand views per month, but I lost some of the fun I was having before.
So would I change anything? Maybe. I’d probably put more effort into being more consistent with my niche and posting regularly in those early days, although I don’t think I would have stuck at it for this long if I’d never experienced how lovely it was in those early days. Other than that I think I would have stayed on wordpress.com so that there wasn’t so much self-imposed pressure on myself to write for others instead of my enjoyment, or to build up a bigger following or get more engagement. But I’ve learnt a lot in these four years – both about blogging and about myself as a person. I’ve learnt to accept myself and be more open about what’s going on in my life. I’ve graduated from university, started and quit jobs, travelled alone and gained and lost friends along the way.
This isn’t a post slating the blogosphere as it is today, by the way. As much as I dislike the competitiveness and the snobbery from some bigger bloggers and the unconditional support some people get just because they have a large social media following despite the fact their writing is terrible, I love how it’s open to anyone and that people can and are building very successful businesses for themselves. And I’m glad that I’ve stuck around long enough to see the blogging world evolve – even if my blog hasn’t quite caught up yet.
I’m still having fun sharing my stories and my life with whoever wants to read it. I’m still enjoying writing whenever inspiration strikes and reading other blogs on a lazy Sunday morning. Blogging might not be what it was when Puttheworldtowrites was born on that summer afternoon four years ago, but it’s still a great place (and, more importantly, it’s still a thriving industry) and I plan on sticking around.
Here’s to the next four years!
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