No, not that annoying dental advert where she speaks out of the corner of her mouth. I mean me finally deciding that I'm a professional blogger. In the past few months, this blog has taken a few strides forward, in several different ways. They may not be obvious, but believe me they're there. My freelance portfolio has also upped a gear, which I'm delighted about.
When I first started attachmentmummy.com way back in 2010 after Lara was born, I intended it to be a record of family life. Those first few posts are long since gone, but even when I re-started properly, and consistently, after Sophia's birth in 2012, it was still mostly a family tale and photography blog. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength, with a wide circle of clients in many industries, followers and fans worldwide, and a stream of wonderful opportunities offered which greatly enhance mine, Steve's and the children's lives.
We currently reach over 133,000 people a week through direct hits, social media, subscribers etc, and to be honest with you that slightly blows my mind! This organic development has completely taken me by surprise truth be told, especially having made the decision to give up work to be at home with the children full-time. Yet what started as a hobby evolved into a part-time job, and in the past couple of months we have taken the decision that it makes sense for me to work more hours and make this (still slightly weird) new online world my full-time job.
As I have mentioned before, attempting to explain this career to people can sometimes be tricky, but at the end of the day it is a creative endeavour I enjoy, it pays the bills, and it fits around family life perfectly, even when working fairly long full-time hours. So what am I? Freelance writer, professional blogger, consultant, with a bit of social media stuff on the side (by no means an expert). Hmm, not sure I'll fit all that on a form! Maybe we have reached the point where jobs don't always fit in boxes. Many people have multiple roles these days, even within the same company. I guess I'll just have to stick with self-employed writer.
In actual fact, I have always written. From stories and plays as a child in the vein of Alcott, Wilder and the Brontes, to essays and dissertations during my degree and Masters, and on to published articles, academic pieces, and even a start on a novel or two. To now have this outlet is ideal, with no editorial expectations (most of the time), the freedom to write about what I please, and yet tricky commissions to challenge me from time to time, is pretty much perfect.
As for the future, well I had no idea we would get to here, so I can only strive to get better at what I do and, if the past three years have taught me anything, keep saying yes to things.
I love being my own boss. I love being able to work in my PJs, in fact some of my most productive times are mornings when Steve has taken the girls out. I sit here looking out on my balcony vista, cup of tea to hand, and tap-tap away. But equally, you'll often find me working till the early hours of the morning to meet deadlines that are fast approaching the whooshing past point. Or slaving over a hot laptop at the soft play centre whilst the girls climb and whoop with Steve or new-found friends.
Having the opportunity to set your own hours is ideal when you have young children of course, especially when following an attachment parenting and home education lifestyle like ours. And I do consider myself lucky to be in this position, but as I explained in my post on how to have a better work-life balance, none of this is luck really, it's down to choice, and hard work to achieve the lifestyle we want. Any happy happenstance is an added bonus to that.
In my past lives, I have been a researcher, an academic, a teacher, and much more, and in many ways all of those roles have contributed to where I am now. The skills acquired over the years are now being channelled in a different direction, and added to with SEO, social media and technical expertise (coding?!) I never dreamed I might acquire. But what an opportunity it is!
Recently, I have received a number of e-mails and messages from people asking how to start blogging, make money from blogging, maintain a career in blogging, grow a blog etc etc, and I have started a series of posts along these lines. Suffice to say though, it is hard work and a lot of time is taken up with admin stuff, promotion, audience building etc. But your brand, which is what your blog is, can become an incredible voice, and create amazing opportunities. First find your voice and create your content, the rest will follow. It can become a great career. But more on that soon.
Have a lovely weekend, and send some blog love and lots of good vibes my way - I'll be reading my poem about living with a child with SPD at BritMums Live this afternoon. Wish me luck!