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Why Blogging? {Blogfest 2015}

22/11/2015

In the last few weeks, as the return to work has started to make itself felt in the long days and the late nights, I’ve started to question why I’m blogging, not spending the evenings sitting on the sofa knitting. Am I truly writing my children’s baby book if I’m just not with them as much as I used to be? Is my story of motherhood still valid if I’m spending more time with my colleagues than actively mothering? And most importantly, am I truly motivated to blog, or have I just got myself onto a treadmill and forgotten that an off switch exists.

So I took a day out. A day to not even think about work (OK, to try not to think about work, that’s the best I can offer), and a day out of the precious time that I do get to spend with my family to give my brain proper space and time to unravel, to think and to be inspired.

I went to Blogfest. And hard though it was to leave the family (and miss the school Advent Fayre which sounds like it was completely incredible) it was a wonderful thing to do.  I’m writing this on the train home having spent a day with incredible insightful creative women (and a few men) who were funny and touching and knew a lot about YouTube and if I knew morse code I’d have been clapping out “yes, this!” every single time.

Space for the Butterflies - Blogfest 2015

the Mumsnet team had put together a truly phenomenal line up, and it’s not everyone that could persuade the Margaret Attwood To be on a live video link from Toronto at 4 o’clock in the morning and that’s before we’d even got to the rest of the first panel; Bryony Gordon, Meera Syal, Bridget Christie, Polly Vernon and Catherine Mann discussing the balance between motherhood and creativity and whether the two can ever happily co-exist.  The general consensus was that yes it can but maybe not all at the same time, and that it requires determination, planning and a little bit of a ruthless challenge to the “good mummies sacrifice themselves” myth.  Food for thought and I could have listened to them, and laughed with them, all day.

The tone was set for the day, from the main panel speakers to the smaller practical sessions; we want you to think and we want to challenge you just a little bit.

Space for the Butterflies - Blogfest 2015

Sandi Toksvig spoke of her vision for the political party that she co-founded, The Women’s Equality Party and the unlikely inspiration for making it a political party not a lobbying group (Nigel Farage if you’re curious),

Space for the Butterflies - Blogfest 2015

David Baddiel shared with such humour the trials and tribulations of putting yourself out there on Twitter and other social media, and the fact that, as he put it, “raising a little flag of self” opens the floor to other people taking your agenda and trying to supplant it with their own,

Space for the Butterflies - Blogfest 2015

and the very wonderful Val McDermid spoke about the importance of story telling, the fact that it is by stories that we make sense of the world, that stories existed long before writing, and possibly my favourite quote of the day:

“Creativity is the way we fight back against the people who would oppress us”, which has never seemed truer when we look around at the unquiet in our world.

The final panel discussion, about how much we share in public of our private lives was about so much more than should you share pictures of your children in the bath or whatever is the latest Instagram controversy, but was beautifully chaired by Fi Glover to cover issues of authenticity, the fact that none of us are ever sharing the whole picture of our lives, and the degree to which we write for ourselves and write just to process things, versus what is fit for public consumption right now.

And as I sit here on the train home in a happy buzzing glow that has nothing to do with the small glass of prosecco at the drinks party (honest) and everything to do with having used and stretched the really creative bit of my brain, the answer seems so obvious.

Why am I blogging? Because quite simply, I love it.  I love to write, and I need to write.  I love to take photographs and video and I love that through blogging there is a whole world out there of people who completely get it; the lovely friends I got to hang out with in person today, a whole heap of new faces, and you.

And I know that this seems a strange choice for an ordinary moment, because I don’t get to spent every Saturday listening to award winning comedians and internationally acclaimed novelists and it probably wouldn’t seem as special if I did.  No, the ordinary and everyday treasures that I want to cherish and celebrate are every other day of the week, the moments on trains spent tapping away at my iPad, or evenings playing on the computer after the children have been tucked up in bed, the snippets of daily life that Instagram captures and the conversations with friends on Twitter, and most of all, the memories and the milestones recorded over the years.

I might not have quite figured out how it is that I can fit blogging into this brave new topsy turkey world that H and I have made, but that I am a writer and a blogger, as it turns out, was never even a question.

 

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  • Christie 22/11/2015 at 7:23 am

    Lovely thoughts. The last sentence is the heart of the matter, isn’t it? xx

    • Carie 23/11/2015 at 9:46 pm

      thank you 🙂

  • Chloe (Sorry About The Mess) 22/11/2015 at 8:02 am

    It was lovely to see you yesterday, Carie. I replay enjoyed reading your thoughts about the day. I was really impressed with my first Blogfest, will definitely be back next year.

    • Carie 23/11/2015 at 9:47 pm

      And lovely to see you too – I think it’ll be a regular for me too – a very grown up sort of conference 🙂

  • Donna 22/11/2015 at 9:50 am

    I love this post – you are so full of energy and love for blogging! I was so sad to miss BlogFest, next time hopefully! x

    • Carie 23/11/2015 at 9:48 pm

      Oh you’d love it – do come next time 🙂

  • sustainablemum 22/11/2015 at 2:39 pm

    I don’t think I would be brave enough to attend such an event but it does sound amazing ;). I hear you on the whole wanting to write and connect. As you will know I had to stop for a bit this year and I really missed it. I missed the connection and the writing. I spent so much of that time starting posts in my head and then stopping as I realised they wouldn’t be written! I hope you can continue to make a pace for it in your life 🙂

    • Carie 23/11/2015 at 9:50 pm

      Well that’s the plan – I’m just not sure I could give it up either and I was so glad to see you back writing, I love reading your posts 🙂

  • Alina 22/11/2015 at 4:35 pm

    Beautiful post! You obviously do it because you sincerely love it. And when we do things that we sincerely enjoy, we become better people for those around us.

    • Carie 23/11/2015 at 9:50 pm

      Aww thank you 🙂

  • Mary 22/11/2015 at 8:34 pm

    What a lovely post Carie! I know what you mean about life sometimes and I love things that remind us of our interested and priorities and help us gain confidence and clarity!

    I have never heard of blog fest? Kinda sad I missed it after seeing all the instagrams about it haha x #ordinarymoments

    • Carie 23/11/2015 at 9:52 pm

      This is the first time I went and I was really impressed by it – definitely one for next year if I’m free!

  • Emma T 22/11/2015 at 10:01 pm

    Sounds like it was a really inspiring Blogfest. I know what you mean about blogging – it really does get under the skin, and it is hard to let go of everything it can bring you. #ordinarymoments

    • Carie 23/11/2015 at 9:52 pm

      Totally addictive and wonderful isn’t it!

  • Katie @mummydaddyme 24/11/2015 at 7:58 pm

    It was a great day wasn’t it Carie and I am sorry I didn’t get to see you for longer. I found it really inspiring especially when it comes to You Tube. I can’t explain what keeps me gravitating towards blogging, but I just know I could never give up now, I love it too much. x

    • Carie 25/11/2015 at 8:43 pm

      Oh I love the YouTube session – there’s so much I need to go and tweak now but I feel I’ve got a much better sense of what I want to do now 🙂

  • Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely 24/11/2015 at 9:16 pm

    Some days when the boys haven’t slept, my to do list is longer than ever before, and I’m surrounded by chaos, I really do question why I blog. It takes up time that could be spent sleeping (mainly). But I find even though I sleep less, it actually gives me more energy. There’s something about writing and taking photographs and interacting with like-minded people that fires up the creative part of my brain that wouldn’t get used otherwise. I’d be unhappier for it (but maybe more rested).

    • Carie 25/11/2015 at 8:45 pm

      Oh I think I’d definitely have more sleep without blogging, but I agree, not so creatively satisfied!

  • Maddy@writingbubble 24/11/2015 at 9:34 pm

    Having read this post I wish I’d met you at blogfest! It was a fantastic day wasn’t it? It was my first blogging conference and I found it SO inspiring! I’m glad it made you realise what you knew all along – that you are a blogger and a writer. Same here. xx

    • Carie 25/11/2015 at 8:47 pm

      Oh it was brilliant – it was my first Blogfest but I’ve been to a few others and I loved it! Lovely to meet you online even if not quite in person 🙂

  • Maddy@writingbubble 25/11/2015 at 9:42 pm

    Thanks so much for linking this post to #WhatImWriting. Have just read your ‘about me’ page and I love the reason for your name! We should always have space for the butterflies in life I think. xx

    • Carie 26/11/2015 at 9:46 pm

      thank you and you’re welcome

  • Susie F 27/11/2015 at 2:52 am

    Sounds like you had a great time. What a fantastic line up. It’s clearly inspired you to put finger to key. Never forget that having an outlet just for you is a perfectly valid use of time and a way to buy sanity. Sometimes the kids/work/gym/knitting has to wait! Thanks for sharing! X

    • Carie 27/11/2015 at 11:06 pm

      This is true – but it’s the easiest thing to squeeze when life gets busy isn’t it!

  • Marija Smits 27/11/2015 at 2:14 pm

    Blogfest sounds as though it was fun and inspiring. Keep on calling yourself a writer because you are one!

    Best wishes x

    • Carie 27/11/2015 at 11:06 pm

      Aww thank you very much 🙂