WHERE IT ALL STARTED
My first ever blog post was published on 19 September 2012, 10 years ago today! Here it is in all it’s embarassing glory – Introductory Blog Post!
It was on my first blog called ‘MinsMash’ that I closed on 5 November 2014, just over 2 years after starting it. MinsMash was a free WordPress blog where I fumbled my way along and learnt so much along the way. I’d left my corporate job, had crashed and burned, and was in the process of rebuilding myself and discovering who I actually was. It was this blog and my 365 Grateful Project that led to my love of photography and to completing a Diploma in Professional Photography, and so many more interests stemmed from this blog. It’s where I discovered the ‘blogosphere’ and met so many other bloggers across Australia and the world and where opportunities opened up to me that I could never have predicted.
I started the blog to share a 365 Grateful Project that I was doing. I was taking a photo every day for 365 days of something I was grateful for. By tuning into something I was grateful for each day, the hope was that I would reconnect to life, be more present, and become happier. It worked! In fact, on reflection, I really must do this again!
Of course, MinsMash eventually evolved into more than its origins as I discovered the blogosphere and learnt so much more about blogging and myself.
By the way, If you click on either of those links above and go to visit MinsMash, please note that it doesn’t appear quite like it did during its hey day. Many of the features and settings have fallen by the wayside since its no longer being maintained.
WRITE OF THE MIDDLE
I decided it was time to draw a line in the sand and move on from MinsMash and thus Write of the Middle was created.
The first post published on Write of the Middle was ‘Hello and Welcome’ and was published on 22 October 2014.
Since then this blog has offered me more learnings about myself, technical stuff, the world around us, other people, so many things! It’s covered a wide variety of topics based on where I was in life at the time and what my interests were. Here’s a little look back at some of the topics covered:
- There were Wordless Wednesdays – a link up for bloggers to share mostly images and very few words
- There were Mindful Mondays – where I posted on topics around Mindfulness
- There was the time where I created Marguerite Louise Photography thinking that since I had a Diploma in Professional Photography that I should start a business. I put so much pressure on myself that I totally lost all interest in photography for a while there. I learnt quite a lot about myself during this process.
- My first ever Taking Stock post was on 13 November 2014 and to this day I still do four quarterly Taking Stock posts each year
- Over the years I’ve interviewed some inspiring women. A highlight was when I interviewed Tracey Spicer over the telephone. Here’s me interviewing a professional interviewer – a well known Australian journalist. How did that happen?
- I shared our trip around Tasmania – and you know what? I never finished! There’s still a day or two at the end of the trip that I haven’t yet got to!
- I attended ProBlogger events and shared those with you (here, here, here, here and here) – warts and all! Oh my gosh!
- I wrote a lot of posts about ‘Self Investment’. Self-investment is about tuning in to you, really making the effort to understand yourself and identify what it is that you need in order to feel happy, healthy and fulfilled in every way: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
- I re-shared the story about how I got my nickname of Min. It was first shared on MinsMash.
- In 2015 I lost my mother-in-law ‘Betty’. I shared this post to honour her and to share her famous Chocolate Pudding recipe.
- On 16 May 2016 I lost my beautiful dog Chelsea.
- I’ve written a lot of posts relative to those of us in mid-life and many posts around health and wellbeing.
- The Gorgeous 50’s was a series of posts I wrote based on the book ‘Grown-Up and Gorgeous in your 50’s’ by Pamela Robson. The posts were around the subjects of Beauty, Wardrobe, Body, Health and Living.
- I’ve shared many of my travels with you and have so many more to add (that I haven’t got around to yet)!
- In 2018 I became a BUPA Blog Awards finalist and thus was welcomed into Bupa’s Alumni and joined Bupa’s exclusive Influencer Program, with free webinars, workshops and insights from those who had successfully navigated the influencer space. I was thrilled and so excited! My mind went into overdrive though because there were some big name bloggers amongst the alumni and I could not work out why I was there amongst them. So low was my self esteem and confidence at the time. I know better now. Success is measured in many different ways and noone is better than anyone else. They said I was there for a reason and so I should’ve believed them. I was there for a reason. This whole ‘Bupa’ experience was so wonderful. I attended the 2018 Bupa Blog Awards evening in Melbourne and I had other trips to Melbourne and Sydney (and one event was in Brisbane) as part of the Influencer Program. I miss it very much. Here’s the one and only paid post I wrote for Bupa on Ageing Fears.
- I started the I REMEMBER WHEN series – a series of nostalgic posts for people of my vintage.
- The most painful thing I’ve ever endured – in December 2017 I shared that I’d lost my Dad.
- I shared our Kitchen Reno during 2018 – here, here and here.
- I started my ‘Gems of Zen’ series (formally called Zen Tip Tuesdays) where I invited guest posts on topics around lifestyle choices that help you achieve a sense of zen (enhanced sense of balance of mind, body and spirit). I have published some of my own posts as part of this series. This is still open for genuine guest posts written on personal experience. You can see more here and here.
- I shared my adventures of fostering kittens (though short lived) in The Kitten Foster Files.
- In April 2020 I started Corona Chronicles to document my thoughts as we navigated our way through a global pandemic.
- I shared my 15 minutes of fame where I was featured in Prevention Australia magazine. Ok maybe not ‘featured’ but certainly mentioned and quoted.
- I discovered that I enjoyed art and embarked on The 100 Day Project and shared my creations and learnings along the way.
- Following the completion of The 100 Day Project, I decided to create an Art Chat series to share my creations and discuss various topics around art.
- Recently, since discovering I’m an empath, I’ve decided to start a series of posts for Empath’s Corner based around what being an empath means. It’s still in its infancy at the time of writing this post.
- … and there a many, many, many other miscellaneous posts!
WHAT HAVE I LEARNED FROM 10 YEARS OF BLOGGING?
I’m not going to impart pearls of wisdom here on how to be successful at blogging. I’ll leave that to those who have made a business from it. I will, however, impart some pearls of wisdom that are relevant to blogging for the love of it.
- You need to love blogging or you won’t be doing it for long. It requires a lot of time and commitment.
- There will be some learning along the way. There’s technical stuff you will need to learn. Some examples: html, widgets, meta tags, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), and much more. Don’t let it overwhelm you though. If you’re thinking of blogging – just jump in and learn along the way as I did. If you wait till you know and understand everything, it may never happen!
- WordPress is the best platform on which to set up your blog in my opinion. Start by having a look here and here.
- Blogging can be an alternate form of journaling. It has been for me. I have no pull to sit and write in a journal but writing on the blog provides the same benefits. It’s like therapy. It’s helped me to learn lots of things about the world, other people and myself. It’s helped me learn who I am, what I like, what I’m good at and more, and that continues to this day.
- There is a blogosphere out there. Blogosphere is a term to describe the huge amount of bloggers out there in the world of the web. When I first started blogging the Aussie blogosphere was large and vibrant and welcoming and happening and wonderful! Sadly it’s not that way anymore. I’ve also met bloggers in many countries across the world.
- There is a thing called blogging etiquette. Blogging is all about community and engagement. When you publish a blog post on your blog and people comment on it, keep in mind that those people have taken the time to read your carefully written post and leave a comment on it, so it’s good blogging etiquette to reply to those comments. If you’ve linked a post up with a link-up it’s good blogging etiquette to follow the link-up rules. Always comment on the host’s post and read and comment on a few of the other posts linked up, especially those who have commented on yours. If you never respond to comments or comment on other posts then it’s unlikely you’ll get the engagement you might be wanting and you won’t get known within the blogosphere and be part of its community.
- Your blog is a reflection of you. You have a right to write about whatever you want to. Don’t feel pressured to find a ‘niche’. When I first started blogging I felt enormous pressure to find a ‘niche’ as that is where you supposedly found success. Of course that is true for those that do have niche blogs like fashion or travel blogs or specific business blogs, but for more general personal bloggers finding a ‘niche’ is quite impossible unless a niche finds you – for example if you develop a passion for photography and your blog then starts to steer solely in that direction, then you’ve found your ‘niche’.
- You will change and so will your content and that’s ok! Nothing ever stays the same and that includes our lives and interests.
- Remaining anonymous is difficult! I started out blogging with determination that my surname would remain unknown. I wanted to be anonymous, BUT it didn’t last because people who knew me would tag me on my blog’s Facebook page with my personal Facebook page totally giving away my full name or they’d comment on things revealing my children’s names and my name. I think some have managed to remain ‘kinda’ anonymous but don’t count on it!
- Blogging can be very time consuming so set your limits and work to those. Don’t be too rigid though. Move those parameters around to suit you when needed. Be careful not to be swept into the abyss like I did when I first started. I was consumed! These days if I need a complete break, I take it.
- Aesthetics are everything! Keep your blog looking uncluttered and clean and easy to read. Personally if I see a dark background colour and difficult to read text I don’t bother. Also – nice clear photographs look great whereas blurry images or images too tiny to see are a real turn off.
- Content is everything too! You don’t need to be a walking encyclopaedia educating everyone with every post published but you do need to keep your content interesting and relevant whilst always writing in your own unique voice. Be authentically yourself.
- Blogging can provide opportunities you might never expect. It certainly has for me. Keep an open heart & mind and expect the unexpected!
HOW HAS BLOGGING CHANGED SINCE I STARTED 10 YEAR AGO?
There’s no doubt about it, the Australian Blogosphere has diminished. There’s not as many blogging anymore. There’s not as many collaborations or link-ups. There’s not the plethora of blogging conferences and meet ups that there used to be. Time marches on and change comes with it. Some have stopped blogging altogether. Other’s have created businesses where blogging is a small part and the business is main priority now. Some have switched to Podcasts. I’m not sure if the huge Australian Blogosphere community I discovered back in 2012 will ever return but it was a lovely experience I was fortunate to have had. Regardless of the diminished Aussie blogosphere, I still enjoy blogging but I put so much less pressure on myself now. I no longer seek ‘success’ and that is such a load off me so that I can simply just enjoy the blog now.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
First of all I’m super proud that I’ve stuck with and been committed to something for 10 years and that I still love it!
HAPPY 10TH BLOGIVERSARY TO ME!
Where to from here? Well, life is a little different for me these days from what it was when I first started blogging, but I’ll keep on blogging when I can. I’ll endeavour to keep my content interesting and my audience in mind at all times whilst remaining authentically myself. I will continue to let my blog evolve as I do. I will embrace any opportunities that might come my way that speak to me. I’ll take breaks from the blog when I need to, and I’ll keep on loving my little space on the internet that I created here at Write of the Middle.
Ciao for now,
Linking up with Denyse Whelan’s ‘Wednesday’s Words and Pics‘
Happy 10th blogiversary, Min! Your pearls of wisdom are spot on. I’m happy you still love blogging and intend to continue. Thank you for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare. Have a wonderful week!
Thanks so much Natalie! I can’t believe how quickly 10 years has passed by and how much has transpired during that time. Hope you have a great week too!
Congrats on a great milestone. Many people I started following when I began my own blogging journey are no longer around, so yes, keeping at it for 10 years is a big deal! It was interesting to read about your evolution. And your learnings. Thanks.
Hi Patricia, and thank you! Yes there are many, many, many bloggers that I met (mostly virtually but some in person) back in 2012 and along the way that no longer blog. I’ve decided that a pat on the back for still being here 10 years later is deserved and worthwhile. Thanks again for reading and for your lovely comment.
Congratulations on your blog anniversary! If you enjoy blogging, you’ll be surprised by how much time has passed!
Thanks so much Julie! Yes as the saying goes “time flies when you’re having fun”! xo
What an achievement Min – 10 years of blogging! I bet you have seen many changes in the blogging world. I particulary enjoyed your Zen series. How did you feel looking back at all of your work? It is amazing how much we write isn’t it? Congratulations and here’s to more happy blogging. Take care xx
Hi Sue and thank you so much! Yes I’ve seen many changes to the Australian Blogosphere in particular. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the Gems of Zen series. I’m not sure how I feel looking back on all the work I’ve done but I guess there’s some pride there to have been brave enough to be open and vulnerable and share so much of myself publicly and of course to have remained committed to my blog for a whole decade! Cheers to more blogging and learning and growing! xo
Wow, 10 years blogging, well done! I loved reading about everything you’ve learned and they were all such important points. I’ve been blogging for about the same time but never consistently, never in the same place. Maybe I will with my new blog because I’ve learned to not take my blog so seriously! I’ve always worried too much about not having “good” posts and that’s why I’ve never stayed in the same place. But I love blogging and the community it can give. I guess that if the community disappear, I’ll quit blogging. Nowadays it’s mostly about the linkups with Denyse and Natalie.
I wish you all the best for the next 10 years of blogging!
Thanks so much Susanne! Though I started out blogging so innocently just to share my grateful snaps, I soon became swept up in the blogosphere that I discovered and all the blogging advice and must do’s for ‘success’. It meant there were times I blogged what I thought I ‘had’ to and in a style that was apparently the right ‘formula for success’. It’s so easy to lose your own voice when this happens. I don’t care about any of that anymore. I’m not seeking success. It’s important to me that my blog is authentic to me and as long as I still enjoy blogging I’ll keep on doing it! Community certainly makes it more fun so hopefully though it’s smaller these days, it’ll stick around longer. xo
Congratulations on 10 years blogging Min. I loved reading about your experiences and your great advice. I agree with it all. I’m amazed at your huge body if work on the blog. I’m at a point where I’m not sure which fork in the road to take re the blog. Reading your post today has helped me to clarify a few things in my head.
Thanks heaps Jennifer! I’m so glad you enjoyed the read. It’s amazing how much work accumulates over 10 years isn’t it?! I’m so pleased to hear my post has helped you to clarify a few things in your head. Wishing you happy blogging days ahead! xo
Hi Min – congrats on 10 years, I’m coming up to 8 years soon and a lot of the things you’ve learnt apply to me too. The main difference is that I’ve stuck with the same blog on Blogger – I love that it’s free and does all I need it to. I’m also pleased that I make a little side income from sponsored posts here and there (I call it my lolly money). You’re right about blogging evolving and the number of people who start and then fall by the wayside. I’m happy with where I’ve evolved to and the friends I’ve made in the process (yourself included!) It’s been an absolute joy for me to have discovered blogging, but it’s still a hobby and I think that’s why I haven’t burnt out like many others have over the years. I hope we’ll both be around the blogosphere in another 10 years time!
Thanks so much Leanne! I earn a little on the side occasionally from sponsored posts too. You call it lolly money, I call it pocket money! lol I’m so glad you see me as one of your friends you’ve made through blogging because I consider you one of the lovely friends I’ve made through blogging too and we’ve even met in person once! I think the fact that I’ve scaled back the expectations I place on myself with the blog, let go of ‘seeking success’, space out the frequency of blog posts to suit my life commitments and take breaks when needed, has stood me in good stead as far as still being around! Won’t it be interesting to see where we are in another 10 years?! xo
Congratulations to you Min, you have summed it all up very well! I agree that blogging is like journaling and I love sharing snippets of life, travels, adventures, photos like you do. The changes over the years haven’t worried me too much as I tend to do my own thing and evolve time goes by. I still enjoy blogging and the interactions with others like yourself, it shows in how you blog for yourself and not march to other people’s drums. I wish you well as you continue your blogging at your own place!
Thank you Deb! It’s wonderful to still enjoy blogging 10 years down the track. I certainly do march to my own beat these days. It makes life a lot easier for me as I navigate life’s twists and turns. xo
congrats on 10 years blogging. i am heading for ten next year. the time has gone so quickly. luckily i still love cooking and blogging. I have seen many people drop away from blogging and i miss the conferences etc that used to happen. I still have a good community though even tho most are overseas bloggers. All the best to you in the years ahead.
Thank you Sherry. Wow ten for you next year! Yes many have dropped away from blogging and I think it’s only when you’ve experienced how the blogging community used to be back then can you understand how different it is now. Doesn’t stop me blogging or enjoying blogging but gee it was fun to get together with a bunch of likeminded souls and talk all things blogging wasn’t it? xo
Happy anniversary! I began blogging in June of 2012 and I too have learned so much! I had to laugh at your blog etiquette part because that is something that really took me years to “get.” I definitely replied to any comments on my blog and linked up with parties following the rules but for some reason did not want to comment and just sort of assumed they somehow knew I was reading their posts?! LOL. I’m not sure what I was thinking there since I certainly had no idea who was reading mine if they didn’t comment. But it has been so fun “meeting” so many wonderful bloggers from around the world and I’m so curious where my next 10 years will take me. Best of luck to you in the coming years!
Thank you Joanne! I’m glad you worked out the etiquette stuff LOL It’s wonderful meeting people from all over the world isn’t it and getting a glimpse into life where they live? It’s really quite special. All the best to you and happy blogging! xo
10 years! There’s so few of us left. I was June 2012 (which is weird because I’m sure you were already blogging when I started). It has definitely changed over that time and the community is not what it was. I too use it as journaling really now, and a creative outlet for photography, which brings me great joy. I’ve started a gratitude project (#OneSmallThing on Thursdays as a way to improve my outlook, which was spiraling into ‘woe is me’ at small things. At Fodi Alok said one of the way they kept positive against all the bigotry was to keep a gratitude journal so I think it’s something worth doing when the world seems too much.
Anyway, Congratulations! A decade encapsulated. Well done! #WordsandPictures
Thank you Lydia! I certainly remember you being around in blogging circles all my blogging years and yes the Aussie blogosphere is very different now to what it was back in 2012! I love photography too and all my other creative pursuits – crochet, art etc. I love sharing these things on the blog. I will have to check out your gratitude project. I’d really like to do another one myself. All the best to you and cheers to many happy blogging years ahead for us both! xo
And look at us..still here and my blog probably was started about 2-3 years before. However it wasn’t til I got some professional help in setting up in 2012 that I started understanding more too. How did we not ever meet?? I went to so many things – 2011-2012. Then other priorities in life took hold until I needed to get back to connect in 2015. And yes to all those link ups and we would blog almost daily….
I know my link up is small but people like you mean a lot to me and I value our blogging friendship and connection.
I remember some of the events you highlighted too.
Your blog is a treasure Min.
Keep on blogging…your life needs to be recorded.
So good to have you link up this week for Wednesday’s Words and Pics Link Up.
Looking forward to connecting with you more again soon.
It’s a weekly link up and I know it’s still new getting used to Wednesdays!
I am grateful for your presence as a blogger and one who enjoys the connections we make.
Hi Denyse, such kind words from you as usual! Thank you so much! It really does mean a lot to me. I didn’t go to anything much in 2011/12 since I only started blogging in September 2012. I probably went to a few local things in 2013/14 but it was 2015 that was my big Problogger adventure year where I went to the big one on the Gold Coast and I went to a smaller one here in Brisbane. Then of course I had quite a few trips to Melbourne and Sydney with Bupa, a trip to Sydney with Princess Cruises, and a variety of blogger meet up thingy’s here in Brisbane over the years. We may still meet! I have family in Sydney and the Hunter Valley so if I’m ever down that way I will try and wangle it! I’m loving your link up being on a Wednesday as it gives me more time to get a post ready after being away from home at Mum’s. Take care and thank you once again Denyse. xo
Ten years have wizzed by in a minute.
Congratulations on all the wonderful posts that you have shared, your words, your art and your photography are of a really high standard. I truly feel that the reason for that is that what you blog comes from your heart.
Here’s to another ten years of blogging.
Thanks so much Patrick! I can’t believe it’s been 10 years already but then in other ways I can. I’m not sure whether I’ll still be here blogging in another 10 years but time will tell!