Say what? My blog is 10 years old today! That’s a whole decade of me blogging the heck out of my life here and it’s making me feel OLD! I started this blog at 29 and next week I turn 40!!!! So much has changed, not just my hair colour and the lines on my head but back in 2010, very few even knew what a blog was!
I took the plunge and published by first post on honestmum.com on November 10th 2010 as a distraction from the pain I was experiencing after a traumatic birth with my first son, Oliver. After encouragement from my close friend, the ever pioneering filmmaker and now blogger, Amancay Tapia, I set up this site, frankly scared sh**less to be putting my life out into the public domain but hopeful that writing again would help me to heal and regain my voice.
No one I knew of was blogging as a job in the UK then (many were of course smashing it in the US ) and my sole intention was to carve out a space of my own where I could exercise my creative muscles after feeling numbed by trauma and paralysed with fear, unable to return to my screenwriting and directing career after having my baby, or frankly even walk to the local shops without feeling anxious. My confidence was completely shattered but my blog was a safe space which allowed me to focuse on the lighter parts of life as a means of escapism. It took 5 years for me to eventually write about my traumatic birth experience, something I’m proud to have shared at a committee meeting at the House of Commons and an NHS mental health event respectively, and which has helped many others suffering.
I did get back on set a few months after setting up the blog (discovering I was a finalist at the BritMums Brilliance in Blogging Awards was the catalyst to directing again) but I found practicalties of filmmaking, challenging now I had a baby and we were forced apart as I worked in another city and on a different schedule to him. It was heartbreaking.
Luckily, the advent of the digital world was experiencing a huge trajectory, and I soon realised I was earning more blogging in my side hustle than directing, making it a no-brainer to make the transition into a digital career, not just financially but emotionally.
By the time I’d had my second son, Alexander, I was blogging full time hours, flexibly, around raising my two children. It felt wild. It still does, to be honest.
To have veered from being at the mercy of traditional gatekeepers who would decide whether I would be commissioned or not in the TV and Film industry to suddenly finding myself in complete control over what and when I published and with whom I would work with, felt liberating.
A dream come true.
Blogging has provided me with a remote, flexible, financially stable, enduring career which allows me to work without compromising on being a mum.
I’m often asked how I define success, and for me, it’s always been following my passion in a way that aligns with my values and not compromising on those. Exercising boundaries, taking on projects that are meaningful and collaborating with other who share my vision. Money has never been a driver, security yes, but never wealth.
This past year has seen me reach my greatest goal: working 2-3 days a week, part time while continuing to grow my business and expand my freelance team. I still write every single word you read today but I have a regular video editor, two assistants and a social media manager.
I work more smartly than ever, prioritising what brings me joy, something I realise comes with building a business up over a long period, where you have greater freedom and choice over what you do. Jezz Bezos said, ‘All overnight success takes about 10 years’.
Freeing up my time now, has meant expanding my creative horizons and being able to work on projects that were previously sidelined as I built my business in the early years. During the first lockdown, I finally picked up a paint brush again after decades away from painting and exhibiting and I wrote the first draft of a screenplay I hope to adapt into a book one day.
I feel grateful that work has been consistently busy for 10 long years, something I could have never have anticipated back in November 2010. It just shows that risks can pay off and we must embrace veering out of our comfort zone.
There are so many highlights over the decade I could share but I’ve listed a few stand out moments below to remember for posterity:
I gained a TV broadcasting spin-off career thanks to the blog and I’ve collaborated and interviewed some of the most talented individuals and thought-leaders in the arts from Seth Godin to Kim Cattrall, Jamie Oliver, Ava Duvernay, Brad Bird, Westlife and many more.
My family and I have experienced magical holidays to Jamaica, Finland, Spain and France thanks to the blog and we are grateful for the car partnerships we’ve worked with over the years, where we have been gifted long term car loans.
There are so many perks to my job of which I am immensely grateful for and want to add that to those vieweing from the outsise, it’s important to remember the hard graft that has come before the rewards you see people like myself reap, online.
…What excites me the most about my blogging career (which spans social media) is how quickly the online world keeps evolving and changing, forcing me to continuing learning and upskilling. Boredom comes easily with me, it always has, so the endless evolution of digital media has retained my attention and continues to fulfil me. I’m a storyteller but I want to be empowered in knowing how to use every aspect of tech to achieve my goals. I picked up a VHS camera at age 7 and made films throughout my childhood and beyond, and would always love fixing the TV and video recorder as a kid, my Dad looking on in amazement.
I break things down so as to work out how they operate.
Knowledge is power.
…My only goal for the next decade is to continue creating art both on and offline and to feel as happy as I do today.
Without creativity, I’m bereft and directionless; without purpose, just how I felt the day I started this blog.
My greatest success in a decade is seeing the joy my children experience thanks to my blog and being able to provide for them. Ditto to forming long-lasting friendships with fellow creative parents I’ve met along the way, many of whom started their own digital journeys in 2010 alongside me. My Day oners, you know who are you and I’m grateful for all the laughter, tears and unconditional love we have for one another. It’s rare and precious and I’m thankful every day the internet brought us together.
I hope if you’re reading this and are perhaps considering starting up a blog for yourself, that you go for it, right now, today, as it’s never been easier to build a personal brand and grow a community online in 2020. As traditonal press continues to decline and digital media accelerates, those who take action promptly will be duly rewarded. Take it from me.
Your dreams are there to be realised, they are within reach and tangile thanks to the democratisation of the internet and you will discover quite how bountiful the rewards are once you commit to your craft and become consistent with your work.
I want to end with what my blog has taught me. I trust my voice and know that the most impactful writing relies on rewriting, in the same way it always did when I was a screenwriter and I must continue to hone it. I have realised my strength of character and self-worth.
Thank you for your support and for being by my side whether it’s been since day 1 or you stumbled upon me today, I see you and I value you. A huge thank you to my family (particularly my Mum who was my first reader and hasn’t missed a post yet), my close friends and everyone I’ve collaborated with and continue to,