Having a blog is by turns, both great and draining. I imagine it to be a bit like a child; demanding of my time and energy, yet at times it also makes me immesely proud. Blogging is great because it makes me want to go out and find things to write about; it forces me to find new ways to say things; to find new places and to improve my photography. But it is also draining because, at times, there are moments of doubt when I look at the lack of commenters (there are some posts, back in the day, that had upto fifty comments!) and the lack of ‘direction’ for this blog. But at the moment, I feel a little directionless, so maybe it’s just a reflection of who I am at this moment in time. Who knows.
I was watching television the other day when a ‘professional blogger’ was being interviewed. She had a book deal from her blog and hundreds, nay thousands, of people reading it, which discussed her life as a military wife. It wasn’t thrilling stuff; it certainly wasn’t a new topic, but as she explained, her PR manager (!) had advised her at the start of blogging, to find her ‘niche’ and fill it.
I don’t have a niche. I started VintagePretty as a way of exploring my new life as a very young housewife. I think it started out very well, because it was my niche and I filled it. It was all about natural housekeeping and gardening, urban smallholding and chickens. But then my life changed and VP had to change with me – mainly because I don’t have the same kind of ‘household’ any more and I, unfortunately, no longer have a garden (well, long story short, we do but it’s in Northumberland and we are elsewhere!). The photography got better, the scenery changed and what I had to write about has changed with me. It’s not that I no longer want to be that person who started this blog all those – eight! – years ago, but it’s more that I don’t have the choice anymore.
My niche now is, I suppose, a tad more narcissistic. It’s inward-looking out of necessity – not choice. If I could, I would spend my days out in the countryside and blog mostly about that, but I know that the appeal of such a blog is limited (and repetitive) and my ability to get out into the countryside with any regularity is also limited. I liken this desire to be one thing but having to be another as like going to your school careers guidance person, saying what you want to be and then them handing you back something completely the opposite (“I want to be an astrophysicist!” she shakes her head “I think you’d make a much better primary teacher!”). As much as I love being in the wilds, that can’t be this blog’s only focus. My blog is esoteric and fills many niches – because I am interested in many things, but haven’t committed myself to one (literal story of my life). I suppose, therefore, that this blog reflects everything that I am; which includes my fascination with wildlife and nature, love of baking and food, ethical issues that we encounter, how to be a satisfied house-keeper, a few crafty endeavours and a bit of great music and literature thrown in.
I am, however, deeply proud of this motley collection of posts because they encompass eight years of time, effort and commitment to doing something. I am not great at commitment to things over a long period of time. It stems from me not being a ‘joiner’. The only thing I’ve stuck at this long is my marriage and breathing. Really. Some posts are better than others; some are great, some are just fleeting, day-to-day posts. I know, with time, that the lack of commenters doesn’t mean that people aren’t reading; the numbers simply don’t tally with the amount of people that I know read this blog regularly. I also know that commenting is mainly reciprocal and it has been difficult to comment on blogs because of a lack of time on my own part. I understand. But I am proud that some people still read and that this little corner of the Blogiverse is still alive. I don’t want to ever stop blogging.
One fellow blogger, whose blog I’ve been reading since 2007, has decided to stop blogging entirely in a few months’ time. The brutally-honest chronical of her life has gone through its tumultuous times and I think she sees that her blogging journey is, finally, at the end scene where she can sail off into the sunset with her new and generally-happy life complete. Her blog served a purpose and helped her, but she has no larger use for it now. I understand that, too. I’ve seen so many bloggers coming and going. Only the other day, I went through my links bar and clicked on all the people I used to follow and who used to follow me. Most of their blogs had disappeared into the aether. It gives me some pleasure in knowing that I am still writing here, though it is also sad to have lost quite a few of the blogs that I used to love.
I began blogging, under a different pseudonym, for a brief while as a teenager but only VintagePretty has endured and has meant anything to me. So as much as I wonder whether what I say is necessary or relevant or even very interesting, I am a stubborn mare (Mr VP will very honestly concur) and the thought of leaving VintagePretty and not blogging is simply Not Possible because it has become such a part of who I am. I keep thinking that what I am saying is (to quote arty people) ‘derivative’, and I get that there are elements of repetition on this blog, but I must not be too harsh on myself because other people repeat things too. It is bound to happen when you have a blog of this age, whose focus is the domestic life. I run in cycles; the world runs in cycles and so does this blog. Those cycles ground me and remind me what made me create this blog in the first place.
I did entertain a (very) brief thought of changing my ‘brand’ (PR terminology = bleh) but I know that VintagePretty, whilst not really representing what I do now, is still where my heart is. And I am hoping that, in a few years, I will be able to show you some semblance of a new and different life – the life that I know is waiting for me. Until then, you’ll have to bear with the fragmented posts about the beauty of nature, the downright joy that can be found in Middle English literature, the glorious concoctions that come out of my kitchen, the blankets I crochet/scarves I knit and the other odd utterances that make their way from my mind to this blog – because that’s who I am: a little bit random, very talkative and genuinely inquisitive about the world in which I live. Most of all, I want to share all of these things with you guys: those faithful readers who have been with me since my early days, through ups and downs. Thank you for continuing to read and comment.
I think this is also a good place to mention that this blog is not me in my entirety, instead it contains only the cliff-notes of my life. It doesn’t go into personal detail (anonymity rocks!) and doesn’t describe the oft boring, sad and frustrating parts of my life because this blog has a focus and that kind of personal information isn’t it. However you can be sure that what is written is written honestly and with every good intention possible. That is how I roll as a person – truth comes first – because I detest lies. But for my sake, I omit hearty sections of things that I don’t think are blog-suitable. But that’s just me.
But here VintagePretty.org still stands: a bohemoth of some 930 posts, 3000-odd comments (not counting the 90,154 spam comments that have made me laugh over the years!) and more words than I can count. It’s an outpouring of love, energy, time and passion and one that I am, like a proud parent, very pleased to have created. Of course, I don’t know what the future holds, even though I wish I did. But I hope that for many years to come, VintagePretty will still be going strong, still marvelling at the things other people take for granted; still taking a stance and fighting against ethical problems and still just being an everyday presence in my own life. Because I really am rather fond of this little space of mine.
If you do read VintagePretty, whether new or old or just passing through, perhaps you could say ‘hi’ and let me know who you are, so that I can thank you for reading and also link to your blog on my sidebar. I’d invite you over for a slice of cake, but unfortunately it doesn’t send well though the internet and some of you are a very long way away (apologies for the icing, it was a bit of a rush-job and my first attempt in many, many years – I must work on straight lines!). It is a very tasty lemon cake, though, with lemon curd filling. Yum.
So, having taken up over 1600 words (almost as much as a first-year essay!), I want to wish this blog, this little entity who (to me) has a beating heart and a kind soul, a very Happy Eighth Birthday.