It has now been a whole year since I began blogging. In fact just over a year. Where has that year gone? Time certainly flies as you get older!
I began my blogging journey around the middle of November 2014. I experimented with a couple of blogging sites until I settled on using WordPress. I don’t know why I chose WordPress, I think it was because it made sense to me and was user friendly in a way that I would understand. I need technology to be intuitive. I have never been a fan of setting up computers, or loading software, or coding, or whatever technical stuff you have to do to get a computer, software, or a page on the internet to work. With that said I will have a good go at trying if I have to. I like to have something easy to use so that I can focus my energies on using it rather than building it. Basically I am a plug and play kind of girl!
My first blog post went live on 23rd November 2014 and was just called “Good Afternoon”. A very basic blog post. In fact quite a shy post when I look back on it today. There was not the confidence in my writing back then, like I feel I have now. I wasn’t even sure I liked the idea of blogging. I just knew I wanted to give it a go. I even posted my first photo that day too.
One of my motivations for starting to blog was a trip of a lifetime that I had just booked about a month before I started blogging – a berth on a tall ship taking part in the tall ship races 2015. I wanted to share my experiences of this trip with others without being to overbearing on my Facebook page. I wanted something stand alone that people could follow if they wanted or just completely ignore. I also needed something where I could write more than just a couple of lines text. My blog was to become my journal, or more appropriate my own personal ship’s log, of my exciting adventure. I know, you are thinking “what’s the matter with good old fashioned pen and paper.” Well with pen and paper it is harder to share your experience with others, there is only one copy usually, and it is not as dynamic as being able to use modern technology. My thoughts were that whilst on the voyage I could blog on my phone each day and instantly post it so that my family and friends could share in my excitement and hear about the voyage first hand and as it was happening.
Did this happen? No! I found blogging on my phone to be cumbersome and awkward. It was hard to tag posts, it was too small to read more than a few lines at a time, and as to making changes to a post it was near on impossible without messing it up completely or losing it. Plus, as I was soon to find out, uploading my posts to the internet would not be a daily task. In fact I was only able to upload my first day on board Lord Nelson before mobile phone signal was no more. All was not lost I could continue writing on my phone and upload the posts when I did get signal. Then I found that with the motion of the ship, getting the right word out of predictive text was difficult, I would go to touch one word and something entirely different would appear on the screen, so I began to write gibberish. I moved on to good old fashioned pen and paper and extremely scruffy writing due to the roll and bounce of the ship. At least I had gone prepared!
Writing with pen and paper only lasted a day or two before I was back on to using modern technology for a couple of days – the voice recorder on my mobile phone. Without this I would have missed about four days of my journal because I was too seasick to write. The motion of the ship and trying to focus on writing was too ghastly to attempt, every time I tried my stomach churned, my head went woozy, and bile rose in my throat. At first I thought I would have to abandon my journal, then I had a bit of a brainwave and began to record it instead. I was able to lay on my bunk with my eyes closed and just talk into my phone. I was able to keep the journal going this way and it had the added bonus of not making me feel ill!
I am up to Day 5 of my tall ships race journal titled – Sunshine, starfish, St Kilda, and falling over! and in the new year I plan to get on and add the rest of my adventure. I have been unable to complete my project due to struggling with ill health in recent months, however I am determined it will be complete in the early part of 2016.
Another of my motivations for writing a blog was to reach out to others going through tough times with health issues similar to my own. I recall how lonely I felt when first diagnosed with CRPS, and the profound effect that chronic pain has had on my life, along with the difficulties that living with a chronic pain condition brings. I wanted to be able to share my experiences with others as I know how much I have gained from reading blogs of a similar nature to my own. There have been a few blog posts over the year where I have written about what has helped me to survive living life with chronic illness, such as Flares and Pacing, or Christmas, Chronic Pain and Spoons (written last Christmas), or more recently in this post about the glorious indulgence of Flotation Therapy.
It has not all been tall ships and health that I have written about, I have blogged about the weather in Feeling a little like Dorothy! Ponderings during a storm, the Aurora Borealis, and a place I truly long to visit.
For a while I had themes running such as Sunday Spirals, Wednesday’s Word, and Monday’s Minions. Just type in Sunday, Wednesday or Monday into the search bar in the top right hand corner of my blog (it’s just above the Blogging University Writing 101 badge) and you will be able to find each of these themes.
Then of course, in a blog where the writer’s pen name is Sailing Penguin I had a theme running on tall ships – all the ones that were taking part in the first leg of the tall ships race 2015 – to find these just search for Thursday or Tuesday using the search bar.
And finally my blog would have been incomplete without the mention of penguins in it somewhere – to find these stories either click on the penguins tag or search for penguin in the search bar.
I am proud to say my blog has been nominated for three awards by other members of the blogging community – The Versatile Blogger, The Creative Blogger and Liebster Award, thank you to those who nominated me and I feel really honoured for my blog to be recognised in this way, especially as I never thought I would get one person read my blog let alone have 106 followers on WordPress! That’s not counting my followers and likes on Twitter and Facebook. Also thank you to everyone who has read my blog, and to those that have taken time to comment and like what they are reading.
In reflection, blogging has been good for me. I have been able to offload feelings, bounce around ideas, and share some fabulously great memories. I have gone from being a very stilted writer to being a more relaxed and open writer – I think it helped with me taking part in the Blogging University Writing 101 course, I certainly learned a lot from this and it encouraged me to think outside the box with my writing. Plus I have helped, inspired, and encouraged others who have read my blog, which is one of the objectives I set out to do.
Will I continue writing my blog?
You will just have to keep watching this space!
After all I have not yet finished my voyage journal!