Happy Two Year Blog Anniversary!

imageI’ve just had a notification from WordPress saying it’s my 2 year anniversary today! I remember being so very nervous of putting myself into the blogosphere, never having even read a blog before. I barely used social media, having left Facebook a couple of years before and only recently joined Twitter, more to follow the news and a few sports people than to actually write anything insightful.

I had written a few recipes for The Raw Chocolate Company (for free) and my son suggested I start my own blog. It must have taken me 2 or 3 months to pluck up the courage and then to look into how to go about it. I had a few false starts with other companies, usually to do with incompatibility with iPads, before I tried WordPress. I floundered around trying to choose a theme – I had no idea what that meant – and eventually discovered the Blogging 101 course, which was very helpful and was where I met some of my first followers.

I soon found myself staring at a blank screen awaiting my first words of wisdom! I wrote what eventually became my Home page and my About Me pages, lost and rewrote them several times, eventually realising that what was supposed to be my first post was in fact several posts and resembled a novel. I was still writing in essay mode. It took a long time to find a more informal style for blogging – and I still haven’t mastered brevity!

imageFinally I wrote Pears But No More Parsnips: In Which I Confront My Parsnip Phobia! as a way of explaining the title of my blog and introducing my readers to juicing at the same time. I thought it was worth providing a link to this original post so that new followers can have an opportunity to read it and stop puzzling over my name 🙂

At the outset, I thought I would be answering questions about juicing and health. I thought my posts would be responses to requests from people seeking information about food- and health-related issues. I certainly wasn’t going to reveal anything personal. I didn’t even have a profile picture. In my blogging innocence, I never imagined I would have to come up with self-generated topics and send them off into what seemed like a vacuum, in the hope that someone would read them. I also never intended to write recipes! I didn’t want to write a food blog. It’s been hard marrying the two together and finding a balance. At times, I have felt that the balance has shifted too far over into food and away from health and wellbeing, hence the introduction of Monday Meditation, posts on mindfulness and creativity, kindness and gratitude, as well as the occasional post about struggles with my own health issues and about chronic pain, mental health and disability.

For a long time I had difficulty finding a balance between producing enough to keep people interested and not letting posting schedules take over my life. I feel more relaxed about my output now, but I do occasionally have a bit of a panic when my ideas/draft folder shows signs of haemorrhaging!

Thank you to everyone who has supported my endeavours, I never thought I would have a core of regular readers still cheering me on from the sidelines two years later. It has made a big difference to my life and I have ‘met’ so many people from such different places and walks of life. I am truly grateful. Namaste.

image

Copyright: Chris McGowan

Happy Anniversary To Me – & A Big ‘Thank You’ To You!

img_2202Today, we are 1.

I’ve just received a message from WordPress, it seems it’s a whole year since I registered and tentatively, nervously began blogging. I had no idea what I was doing or if I was doing the right thing. It had been suggested a couple of times some time before that I write a blog, but I couldn’t imagine what I would have to say that was of any interest to anyone else.

Two things changed. I had been contributing recipes to The Raw Chocolate Company  blog for a few months when my son suggested I set up my own blog and I had also completed a couple of courses in raw nutrition and naturopathic nutrition. Now I felt I had something to say! I hoped I could pass on the knowledge and experience I had gained through decades of researching food and health. So many people are struggling with lifestyle health issues, perhaps I could help in some small way?

I have always needed to write, even if it was just a letter or a journal entry. I loved the old days of Compuserve where I was a regular contributor and in some instances Section Leader of various forums. I loved writing amusing anecdotes about our family as well as helping people with problems of one sort or another. Perhaps a blog could be an amalgamation of all that.

When I first wrote my About page, I was focused on juicing and raw food, providing health and nutrition advice, answering readers’ questions and so on. I categorically stated this wasn’t going to be a food blog as such and I wouldn’t be posting recipes other than juices!

Well, who knew!! Here I am a whole year later, and my blog is chock full of recipes! I quickly found they were the posts that garnered most views – people are obsessed with food photos, just take a glance at Instagram! – and I tried a different tack of including the health and nutritional information within these posts.

Therein lies the dilemma for many new bloggers: do I write what I want to write about or do I provide the content people want to read?

I also didn’t intend including any personal information – it took some time for me to pluck up the courage to even include a profile pic – however, after some months I was itching to return to family anecdotes, I really enjoy writing those, but I have to ration them and reign myself in because in the olden days of Compuserve, my family were either too young, too old or just not interested in forums so I was quite safe in the knowledge that no-one would ever read them. It’s all very different now! Every time I take a photo I hear a moan: Oh no, it’s not going on your blog is it?!

Today, twelve months down the line blogging takes up most of my thinking and writing time. I’ve also expanded to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook too, I am slowly taking over the world. You can’t get away fom me!

imageI want to say a bigthank you‘ to you all for giving me a reason to  do this, for all your kind comments and encouragement, with a particular thank you to those of you who have been here since the beginning when it was all a bit clunky and earnest at times.

Here’s your opportunity to give some feedback and let me know if there’s anything in particular you want me to include or you want to ask me about. Any constructive criticism? Do I post too often, for instance? Are the topics too diverse or too similar? Too many smoothies?

I realised recently that I tend to assume people know what certain items and terms are, so if there is ever anything I mention that you don’t understand, please ask me to explain.

I thought it might be fun to revisit one of my earliest posts: Pears But No More Parsnips: In Which I Confront My Parsnip Phobia! It explains in a light-hearted manner the origins of my blog title. It might give you smile.

Enjoy the video!

Copyright: Chris McGowan