I’m writing this blog on a Sunday, which is unusual for me because Sunday is normally all about me and the children. However, this Sunday things are a little different. Firstly, it’s my birthday! Hurrah! And secondly, I am attending a remembrance service later this afternoon for my Mum (organised by the funeral director), so the kids are at their Dads. For the first time in a week I have the house to myself. No children, no workmen banging in the kitchen, just the sound of the tumble dryer and the occasional clicking of the warm radiators.
So, usually I like to post something on a Tuesday (which is when this post will go live) that is helpful or instructional for those wanting to live a simpler life. But I’ve been thinking a lot recently about making my posts a little more personal. I often talk about personal details from the past, but I don’t usually go into what is happening in my day to day life so I’ve decided to make this blog a little more journal-ish going forward. I still want to continue with the guide-type posts because I believe that a simpler life can benefit pretty much everyone and I love it when people get in touch and tell me that what I have written has helped them. But I want to put a little bit more of me in here too.
So I thought I’d start (and end the year!) with a year-in-review post, along with my plans for 2019.
2018 Year In Review
This blog didn’t even exist until July. I had a pretty hard first six months of the year, during which my marriage ended and I lost my Mum. As you can imagine, during that time not a lot got done. I had also scaled back my freelance work (I provide web hosting, email and design) at the start of the year, possibly with some intuition that there were going to be difficult times ahead. I wasn’t comfortable with the amount of work that was coming in and whether I was going to consistently be able to deliver what my clients needed. All in all, the first six months of the year were very difficult.
However, in the way that hard times often bring unexpected benefits, I started this blog as a means to share something that had made a huge difference in my life. My journey started out as much-needed decluttering, but it has morphed into a commitment to a more simple life where I have the space and the time to focus on what’s really important. After losing Mum I decided that it was time to stop worrying about what other people thought. I love to write, and this blog provides an outlet for that. It’s a way for me to get my words out there with no pressure to be perfect, have a publishing deal or write stories that everyone is going to love.
By being really consistent I have seen this blog grow over the last six months from a site that pretty much nobody visited, to today receiving a modest average of 400 sessions per day. Here’s my google analytics from the first 5.5 months of blogging:
The sudden rise in September is where I first started using Pinterest (even though I honestly had absolutely no idea what I was doing at the time). The big spike at the end of November was traffic from a guest post I wrote on No Sidebar about losing my Mum.
What does blogging entail?
First off, let me say that creating and running a successful blog requires a LOT more time than most people would have you believe. I don’t like to see articles that say things like “Start your own blog today with this affiliate link for only $3 a month!” It makes it seem like all you have to do is start writing and people will flock to visit you.
In my experience the most successful bloggers work extremely hard on their blogs. Most of them do everything themselves with only minimum outsourcing for things like development or graphics, as well as generating content, and the workload is not light. Most blog owners are not making any money. Blogging really is a labour of love.
I feel that this year, in particular the first half of the year, there was very little in the way of personal growth. The second half of the year was better, but I think it has only really been in the last month or so that I have started to feel more like ‘me’ again after everything that has happened. I have chatted with some of my closest girlfriends (all busy working mums like me), and we have decided between us that our collective self-care is being sorely neglected.
We have promised to each other to change that. I have started keeping a self-care journal – we all got a copy of 365 Days Of Self Care. I love using it as a daily reminder of the fact that I need looking after too. If you are interested to know more, you can follow its creator, Jayne Hardy, on Instagram.
In the 30-something days I have been writing in mine, I discovered that sometimes the only form of self care I could check-in and say I had done was “had a shower”. It has prompted me to think more carefully about how I spend my time and the value I place on my health and wellbeing.
It’s been a year of good and bad. But at the end of what has been a journey through rough seas, I can honestly say that I am feeling positive – even excited – about what’s to come.
Plans for 2019
This is where I get to talk about my big dreams! I love the start of a new year, and I love the start of a new academic year too. There is just something about the untapped potential of a new start that is so exciting and motivating.
We had a great discussion in the Facebook group last week about setting a word as your intention for the year instead of making New Year’s resolutions. I LOVE this idea and for the first time in a long time I am not making any specific goals this year. Instead I’ll be focusing on self-care as a theme for the year, and making sure that I always have the resources and energy to do all the other things I want to achieve. Some other great words that the group members came up with were ‘Nourish’, ‘Calm’, ‘Pause’ and ‘Relax’. We’re a very friendly and supportive group, so please join us if you want a team to cheer you on in your simple-living efforts.
DECLUTTER IN 2019
As you know, my brand new course, Declutter in 2019 – Modern Minimalism (to give it its full title!), begins on December 30th. I have spent countless hours creating the videos for this and I can’t wait to get started with the people that have already joined. The doors close on 5th January, and I will be running the course again in June next year. I am really hoping that what I have built will enable people to take the steps they need to take to declutter their own lives and move successfully towards a life with less stuff, less commitments and less overwhelm.
I am going to spend the first six months of 2019 finishing the book I started on Modern Minimalism four years ago. I am hoping to be able to draw on people’s experience in the course I am running as well as a huge amount of my own experience in changing from an overwhelmed hoarder to a… less overwhelmed hoarder, lol! In all seriousness, the change between now and five years ago really is huge for me, and I have been through every emotion under the sun in letting go of things I don’t need.
I love to write and I really want to complete this project, so I’ll be posting about how it’s going and sharing a sample chapter with you as soon as I can. Please join the mailing list if you want to hear more.
I want to continue to grow this blog and I’m contemplating upping my posting schedule to twice a week. That way I can do a guide/how to type post and a more personal post about what I’m up to. It think this will work quite well, but it is double the amount of writing. I won’t be building the Declutter course next year, only updating it, so that will free up a lot of my time and I think it will all balance out quite nicely as long as I can get into a routine.
And writing on those days when you don’t feel like writing anything is a discipline, that’s for sure 🙂
I’m hoping 2019 is going to be a great year. I want to share the message to live with less with everyone who is drowning under a collection of things that they have created.
I want you to have the space and freedom to achieve your goals and to enjoy your days without the burden of caring for possessions, commitments and being sucked into company-created profit-driven activities that you don’t need in your life.
Wishing you all a very happy, restful and beautiful Christmas, with those you truly love.