Thursday, 22 August 2013

Taking a step back from the internet ...

I am back from my holidays in Turkey. Just pretend you missed me, even if you hadn't actually noticed I was gone ... Anyway, for the last 2 weeks I have dropped off the face of the world wide web having made the conscious decision to leave my phone, lap top and so on at home.

Yes, you read it right ... I left everything behind and settled down to 2 weeks of blissful ignorance of all things internet. I lay on my sunbed and read 8 books, only pausing to swim to the pontoon in the bay or drink another bottle of rose. Occasionally I forced myself to don a snorkel and goggles and head off round the rocks along the coast or meander through a spice infused market ( in a dress, I hasten to add here, not snorkel and swim suit...), but most of my time was just quiet, thoughtful and unconnected to anyone other than my husband and boys. It was delightful.

It has made me question my dependence on all the things I hold so dear ... Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Blogger. I didn't need them when I was away and I didn't miss them. I loved, instead, being able to appreciate the gentle rush of the sea, the scent of jasmine outside my hotel window and the chance to chat with my family, face to face.

I have come home to email after email from brands and PRs asking me to review products, accept sponsored posts ... all this in spite of the fact that on my contact page I state that I write for pleasure only. I am, of course, flattered. Its nice to have people wanting you ... Its lovely to think that people like my blog and appreciate my style of writing. But ... do they? Do they really?

When I started writing this little blog of mine nearly 8 years ago now it was just for me ... to keep me sane. I didn't worry about such things as PR and advertising and whether I should mention one internet company in the same breath as another. I just wrote about what interested me or worried me.

Now I seem to be in a world of networking and ratings. There are blogging superstars and people who open their whole lives to the internet via the various social media. I have been tempted to join the melee in what I realise is actually a desperate  natural desire to be appreciated. I would love, love, love to be recognised as a "writer". But, who am I kidding? Obviously I am a sort of writer because I write words that other people read, but I'm hardly a J.K Rowling or a news journalist am I?

I have allowed myself to travel down a road that is littered with the bodies of ordinary people like me reaching for the crumbs thrown by PR companies. I have written the odd review, usually for books and only because I love books, but I have been tempted to sign up for companies that put one forward for other "jobs" ... The only reason I can think of that I have been tempted by all this is purely for the appreciation ... purely because I want people out there to think I am good at this and because I want to be liked, admired. Its like being back in the playground and wanting the cool kids to notice you and let you in their gang ...

Some bloggers are great at all this. Some are better than others and some have blogs that are just one long advert. Each to their own, obviously and I am not going to point the finger and say that this is wrong. Everyone has different reasons for why they write. The hypocrite in me will, no doubt, post this piece of writing to Twitter in the hope that lots of people will think "Gosh! How fab! What a great point she's making..." I like being liked. I really do.

I just want to be liked for the reasons I started writing. I want my writing to be liked because its good and interesting and about more than washing powder or holiday parks. I don't want to be the freebie answer to a PR company's prayers ( mmm right ...) Apparently bloggers are the great new way to reach the buying public. Apparently our reviews are honest, from the horse's mouth and, most importantly, as I said .... free. Chuck us a packet of nappies and we'll write about how great they are.

Well, that's my blogging/PR suicide fully complete I think. No more bursting inbox for me any more.

I don't want you to think that I am criticising other bloggers here. I really do think that everyone should just do what they want to do, but its not for me. Also there's a difference between a post that is informative and helpful and one that has been written just because you got sent a free gift that you quite liked.

There are so many bloggers out there who are writing good posts and I'm afraid I have begun to slip. I need to get back to who I really am and write because I'm interested in something or because something has moved me or just damn well pissed me off. I also need to spend more time doing what I did on holiday ... reading, walking, swimming, thinking, living in the real world. I love interacting with the people I meet online, but not if it means not interacting with my family and friends ...

So ... that's my new direction. I want to write honestly and well and I want to be loved appreciated for doing a good job. I would love people to enjoy what I write and connect with the feelings I express. Perhaps I have to face that I will never be a blogging superstar following this road, but as my good blogger friend Urban Cynic once said "Its about quality, not quantity" when it comes to followers and readers. I can't try and squeeze myself into a box labelled "Parent Blogger" or "Allotment Blogger" just to make friends and please demographics needed by advertisers. I am me... Secret Housewife, Sarah. You either like me or you don't. And if my posts are not as frequent as they have been, at least, I hope, they will be posts you want to read.


joy said...

Great post, Sarah, now can I interest you in my product . . .
Really, I love your blog, just because its how I would also like mine to be. Keep it up (and I did notice your absence).
Joy xx

Older Mum said...

Well come back!!!! Great post, and I so hear where you are coming from! I really enjoy reading your blog! X.

Ps. I am about to take a two week break from blog commenting - just thought I should let you know :o).

Inkling said...

I not only like you, I happen to adore you. I'm glad you don't plan on prostituting your blog to be one ad after another (those are so boring to me). I love hearing you write out what is happening in your life and garden.

I've recently been contemplating the fragility of life, watching my grandpa and an "adopted mom" type person in my life both grow frail and close to leaving this earthside life. And I've been thinking about what matters most to me, what I want to do with this one life i get here on earth. Tonight's visit to your blog crystallized one thought in my mind.......I'm putting England and your garden on my bucket list. =) And I'll bring a bottle of rose with me when that someday happens. If it can happen to Helene Hanff and her Charing Cross Road adventures, it can happen to me someday. ;)

Orli D said...

I got here through #mbpw, so it's my first time on your blog. I liked everything you wrote. I feel the same, I wrote some of the same, so I guess it doesn't matter how long you've been writing, you get the same feelings sometimes. I am guilty of writing a few sponsored reviews but to be honest it's not my favourite part of blogging. Writing is. And I reached the same conclusion as you - write how and about what you love.
I will be back to read your blog, because I did like what and how you wrote :)

sarah at secret housewife said...

Hello Joy, Older Mum, Inkling and Orli!!

Thank you all for taking the time to comment!I am so glad all your comments are so positive - I wasn't sure whether I was perhaps coming over a bit sanctimonious about all this!
And Inkling ... how amazing would that be??? You, me, a bottle of wine and the world to talk about!! I'd love it!
Welcome Orli - nice to meet you! I like your blog too!
Older Mum - hurry back!! And Joy ... thank you for noticing I was gone!!

love Sarah xxx