Reflecting on a year of blogging

It's a now just over a year since I wrote my first post and what a year it has turned out to be!

Why did I start writing a blog? I had never previously thought of doing so. I was happy just to enjoy reading blogs, some of which I had followed for a few years. Then suddenly, last November, one of my favourite blogs went off air. I suddenly realised what this particular blog meant to me and how it had helped me through difficult times, when my Dad's health was deteriorating. It had given me a means to escape what was happening around me - and had made me smile. I realised then that I wanted to give something back by hopefully brightening others days too and so, gingerly, I wrote my first post.

I would never have imagined that a year later I would have over 120 followers and  had so many visitors to my site - so thank you very much for sharing this journey with me. What have I learnt in a year?

I think my original plan of giving something back seems rather lame now. It feels like I have been the one who has gained the most out of this experience ! Through the process I have met so many lovely people and learnt so much about so many different things and countries. Annie from Knitsofacto. recently in her blog started a debate about commercial blogs and my type of blog called "vain blogs" in the trade. I would prefer to call it a "friendship blog" or "a chat over the garden fence while hanging out the washing" - even if that garden fence stretches over to the other side of the world!

If you write a blog, why did you start and what advice would you give someone just starting out?

My top tips would be :-

1) Write about what you enjoy and are interested in, and write it for yourself - if others enjoy it that is a bonus.

2) It can sometimes take a while to get some followers. Although I didn't realise it at the time, joining in with joint blogging activities bought in new readers and followers. I joined in with making a winter blog hop, following a tree and photo scavenger hunt, because they all appealed to me.

3) Commenting on other blogs. I rarely read comments in my pre-blogging days! I now find that they are the best part, with people interacting with each other and the same names appear on many of the blogs I read, thereby creating a friendly community.

Do you have any further tips? If you are considering doing it why not give a blog a go? There is not much too loose and such a lot to gain. One of the best parts of this journey was the blog that disappeared re-appeared a few months later under a different name and I had the chance to thank L from Tales of simple days. for the respite from my concerns that she had given me over many months.

Sarah x


  1. I would add that the blog shouldn`t be too long winded and accompanied by lots of photos and yours meet both criteria, happy new year, all the best David

  2. Love this post Sarah! Like you reading other people's blogs has helped me through some pretty tough times! I started my blog because I wanted to join in the party...and I'm so glad I did, it's such fun, I've 'met' lots of new friends, been inspired and inspired others, well so I'm told! Love it!
    My tip would not to take it too seriously and enjoy yourself! :) x

  3. Thank you for this post today - blogs do take us out of ourselves and teach us so many things - one of the important one is how alike we humans are and how so many of us can find beauty everywhere even if we are enduring troubled times.

    Your posts and photographs are very beautiful.
    Thank you!

    1. Toby is a miniature long haired dachshund. His coloration is known as piebald. Some people call them pinto or dappled. He is our first ever dachshund and we wonder why we never had one before. He is funny, very smart, loving, cuddly and protective. We have always loved Westies too. Our previous dogs have ranged from "Pound" dogs to Tibetan Terriers - our last one, Johnnie, lived to be almost 17! We lived in France for several years and Johnnie crossed the Atlantic 6 times! As you can tell, we are dog fiends!

  4. Dear Sarah - Is it vanity to show things on our blogs that we have enjoyed, are enjoying and hope others might too? This has caused me to rethink what blogging is all about. I thought before it was about having shared friendships from around the world who also have shared interests.
    I have read knitsofacto's post and also several of the comments. In particular the Anonymous one. When people have got so much to say on a particular subject I would value their opinion so much more if they revealed themselves rather than hiding behind an anonymous persona.
    I am in a quandary now, Sarah, trying to figure out what my motives really are.

  5. Meine liebe kleine Meerjungfrau,
    es ist gut, dass du eine Bloggerschwester geworden bist, denn sonst hätte ich dich leider nie kennengelernt. Authentizität ist sehr wichtig für mich, du bist authentisch, mitten aus dem Leben, herzlich, ehrlich, das mag ich so an deinem Blog. Ich hoffe die Weihnachtsüberraschungen aus Deutschland haben dir gefallen, vielen, vielen Dank für die Kalorienbomben (ich genieße jedes Stück) und die wundervollen Cath Kidston Geschenke. Ich freue mich schon auf das nächste Jahr mit wunderschönen Fotos von dir in deinem Blog.
    Sei lieb umarmt mit den allerbesten Wünschen für das nächste Jahr, Babsi

  6. Hi Sarah, I'm glad you started your blog, as it's given me joy over the last year. I still haven't worked out why I blog and who my "audience" is!! So I do it for myself and it's an added bonus when lovely people like you comment, so thanks for doing so.
    So keep on taking those great photos and sharing your posts. Have a wonderful 2013, Sx

  7. What a lovely reflection. I enjoyed reading about what blogging has given you. For me it too has given me friends all over the world, a place in which to be creative, and a forum in which to write words and release them from my mind. I hope I'm giving readers a lot, but I know for sure that I am gaining from this little community too. I love them (and you are part of that). I think finding your comfort zone in blogging and sticking to it is important so as not to be swept up by other blogs and doing/sharing things you don't really want to. Happy happy new year!

  8. I enjoy you blog very much and wouldn't consider it "vane". I like seeing the photos from a different part of the world and how you live. Thank you for blogging.

  9. Until I read that post on Annie's blog I hadn't ever heard of the term "vanity blog." When I think through the list of blogs I read and enjoy they all fall into that category! I want to read about real people with real lives. To me, a good blog is one that makes you want to sit down with the blog's author and have a nice cup of tea. I feel that way when I read your blog. :-)

  10. Wishing you a Happy New Year Sarah & I look forward to "following" you in 2013 x

  11. In January it will be 1 year since I began my blog. I started the previous year with 1 post and then deleted it. Finally I just did it and it has been fun. The best part is "meeting" people from all over the world. It is fun to see what others are doing and learn about the places they live.

    I enjoy reading your blog and your comments on mine despite the fact that we are across the ocean from one another.

  12. I too live the friendship aspect of blogging. I especially enjoy being taken along on walks and adventure, the photos letting me see and the words the chat that "we" might have shared if I could have tagged along in person.

  13. blimey!

    I went to read knitsofactos post. she quotes her pro blogger as saying that there are or shouldnt be one man bands in blogging. i would scream from the rooftops that that is wrong. Surely it is each one of us, blogging our own unique, personal experiences that make the blogosphere what it is? whatever happened to individuality? who wants to be a clone, a lemming, only following laid down rules and guidelines as to what someone else deems interesting?
    I have been blogging for 6 years, and now on my third blog name ( same blog, different names) First and foremost, my blog is for me. A chronicle of my life, but one that is online. All ups and downs are there, all experiences good or bad. i dont care if someone I have ever met would judge it vain, who are they to judge me? No one is forced to read it! I value all those who do, all those regulars who enhance it by their visits, by their comments, and i value the friends I have made through blogging. But if no one ever visited again, i would still continue... because primarily.. its for me!

    i hope that all makes sense. you would think after 6 years i would be able to express myself more eloquently!!

    Leanne x

    1. What you have written makes perfect sense to me. I don't view any of the blogs I read as being at all vain. It is through your blog that this one was created, so thank you again. George's antics always made me smile!
      Sarah x. I

  14. I started my blog (three months ago) for the very same reason as you - to give something back. And, like you, I feel I have gained so much. For me a great bonus is that I've 'met' people with similar values that I would never had met if it hadn't been for blogging. My tip to newbie bloggers would be to keep at it even on those days when you think you have nothing to say.
    Keep up the great work Sarah and I look forward to reading more in 2013 xo

  15. How is a personal blog like yours vain?

    Whenever I land onto one commercial blog to another, I think to myself, "What am I doing wrong? Why can't I make a living out of my blog like these bloggers do?", and then I hit rock bottom and feel bad about myself. I enjoy visiting "real" blogs like yourself -- non-pretentious and hardly vain at all. You may see that I have caught the "commercial" bug recently. Will see to de-bugging that in the next few months, because, it obviously isn't working out for me! :)

  16. Congratulations on a beautiful blog Sarah and lovely reasons for having a blog, certainly not vanity, you share a taste of your life and thoughts and therefore it's lovely to read and to look at. Any blog which lightens or brightens someone's day is all it's about for me, When I worked in an office I loved to take a look at blogs to remind me of my life outside! I have become so much more creative through blogging, and indeed it has played a part in changing my career - I say blog from yourself and your life, keep it positive as much as poss and enjoy connecting with your readers!

  17. Good morning sweet Sarah!

    On Jan. 1 2013, it will be FIVE YEARS that I started my blog. I cannot even begin to tell you all the positive things that have happened since...all because of COMMUNICATION in a creative forum andn CONNECTING with other people. It has been the best thing that has happened to my creativity, EVER. An audience is so important (I have the mindset of a writer/artist) but for just about anyone who simply wants to share what they are passionate about, the fact that we connect is the most important. BRAVO TO YOU MY DEAR, and I have enjoyed watching you and sweet Daisy on your journey. HERE'S TO MANY MORE MY FRIEND! Anita

  18. Dearest Sarah--
    never heard of knitsofactos. Not sure if i do want to read it.! from what i have read from the comments.
    For me blogging has given me a new lease on life.. that might sound silly..but its true.
    I live here in the middle of nowhere.. now and again visit the family.
    I paint as you know.. but blogging I have made and met such wonderful people. All have been kind in commenting on my posts . Its social communication..
    This I think is very important in the blogging world. There are lots of people out there.. that just want to receive comments and dont have any interaction at all with others. This I have no time for. You will see that i have the same amount of followers that i have had for some time now. I Have had a lot that want to join ..and then i dont hear from them. I just block them. I think it only polite to reply to the comments that a blogger friend leaves.
    I think what you wrote is perfect..
    For someone to put your blog in a catagory. who are they! .
    I write about what i like.. No one is forced to read blogs..
    I think also.. one of the main things one must do before becoming a follower.. is to read about that person.. read about their likes and where they live and what they are about.. it helps.
    I have made so many friends.. In Feb 2013 I will have been blogging 2 years.
    looking forward to more blogging days.
    val x x x x
    wishing you the best for this last weekend in 2012.

    I love your blogs Sarah.
    You have always followed me and left lovely comments.. and its been a pleasure to exchange them.
    Your blog takes us beyond the horizons... anything but vein!!

    1. Hiya ... please don't think it was me saying ours were vanity blogs ... it was something someone said to me that I shared with my readers ... if there is such a thing then mine is one too!

  19. Hello Sarah
    Seasons greetings to you..I think the same as you, I get so much out of my blog...
    I must admit I started it as an online diary (still do really)
    but I have been amazed at the warmth and kindness that has been shown by everybody who has passed by..
    it is one of those times that you can say as much or as little as you wish,
    Iam so glad I have "met" you my friend
    All the very best for 2013
    Thea x

  20. Another benefit to blogging is what I am doing at the moment - I have been following farmlass for few years and one thing led to another and we began snail mailing parcels to one another. I live where it very dry and she lives where it is very wet. When she wrote to say she was going to eastern Canada for the holiday season she asked if we wanted to stay in her house for that time. We jumped at the chance to be in a place where ferns are bigger than some of our trees and where a river is really a river and the seacoast is wild and beautiful and deserted this time of year.
    I also met face to face another blogger from New York City and last year she and her two children came out West for a visit. We feel like we have known each other forever.

    So, you never know where a blog will take you either in your imagination or in reality!

  21. Oh sweet Sarah, it has been a lovely five years of blogging for me because every so often I get to meet new and lovely friends like you. Many thanks for wisking me away on your blog to a land of sea air and such beauty!!! Anita

  22. Congratulations on completing your first year Sarah :D And of course you've given something back. The way I look at it every new voice, every new place to visit, adds something to the great bloggy conversation. Why would we all visit here if we weren't enjoying popping by. Just keep doing what you do and here's wishing you many more happy blogging years. (And thank you for showing me some of the much loved haunts of my childhood)

    PS I hope none of your readers imagine that I was describing our blogs as vanity projects!

    1. I can't think that anyone would have imagined that you were describing any of our blogs as vanity projects, especially if they know you.
      Sarah x

  23. Hi Sarah, as you know I'm fairly new to this blogging business! I started one after realising what was 'out there' and I'd been totally oblivious to. I was overwhelmed by the talents, humour,honesty, support and friendships made that I wanted a piece of it too! I'm still deciding what my little blog is about really but I thought it was a superb way of recording my day to day life to look back on. I find I can hardly remember what I was doing yesterday let alone last month so this will help I'm sure! Thank you for your lovely supportive words to me over the last few months and keep doing what you're's great! xx

  24. Hello, Sarah, You echo my thoughts on blogging, with this post...
    Thanks for travelling through the year along side me with your kind and supportive comments and for being just a lovely friend!Sending you kind regards and very best wishes for the new year!
    Love Maria x

  25. i started blogging as i wanted to keep a diary like i did when i was young. I like to write and read and i love the creative side. I've made some fabulous friends along the way who i keep in touch with 'outside' of the blogging world and people look at me stangely when i talk about 'my friend who lives in Australia' or Devon or wherever. They just don't get it!
    I've also learned which blogs to stay clear of. Now i'm quite good at 'judging a blog by it's cover' as it were...rightly or wrongly...i can usually tell after reading only a couple of posts if they are the 'vain' commercial type.
    Having said that i do follow a couple of commercial type blogs just because i love their content!!
    Keep up the good work!! :)

  26. I love my blog, but have a couple of 'holidays' from it each year too. I love looking back over what I've made and where we've been. I've just posted my first giveaway post too, to celebrate the New Year - a calendar!! Congratulations on your first anniversary - it's my 2nd in January - time flies when we're having fun!!

  27. A 'vain' blog - what an odd concept. I'll have to check that out. This blog? The photographs are fantastic - and it gives me another view of my own area. You'd think I might not want to see the familiar - but I do. It's all so beautiful here I sometimes wonder whether it's really 'true' - whether this really is England or somewhere else, maybe I've been transported somewhere exotic by mistake - so this blog reassures me and makes me feel at home.

    Thanks for it - and congratulations on its popularity and success.

  28. Congratulations on your year of blogging, and thank you for such thoughtful post. I also went to Annie's blog and read what she had to say and that long list of interesting comment. You both inspired me to do a little post of my own about blogging and linking to you and Annie and a few others I enjoy visiting, just because.

    Wishing you another great year of blogging in 2013, and may the year be full of good things for you and yours.

  29. What a wonderful sense of space your seascape photos give. Thank you for blogging, Sarah. Happy New Year!

  30. I really think 'vanity blogs' is a terrible name for our sort of blogs - they are far more about friendship and shared interests.
    Have a happy and blog-ful 2013.

  31. Thank you for the advice. I am a new blogger and sometimes feel that i don't have enough to write about.

  32. What a lovely post, so personal and touches my heart. I love the sentence "I would prefer to call it a "friendship blog" or "a chat over the garden fence while hanging out the washing" - even if that garden fence stretches over to the other side of the world!"
    Yours is the kind of blog that touches the heart, makes me relax and reflect and inspires me to be more and write more. I struggle with every single post I make and couldn't begin to offer any tips. Thank you for your inspiration. Best, Kim


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