Here’s this week’s instalment of Blogger Behind the Blog where I interview a blogger all about their reasons for blogging and what it means to them. This week I’m joined by Jane from HodgePodgeDays.
Here’s Jane with more about her blogging life:
Where did your blog name come from?
I knew before I started my blog that it wouldn’t just be about one thing, it would be a hodge podge of many things and four years later it’s still a hodge podge. I was, still am and probably always will be HodgePodgeDays.
When did you start your blog and why?
I was recovering from a couple of major surgeries and I was bedridden for about 8 months. Around month seven I knew if I didn’t do something soon my brain would either explode or melt through boredom. I set up my blog not thinking anyone would really read it and for a time it was mainly a place for me to write out my feelings and rant out my frustrations. My blog gave me some focus and an outlet for my feelings at the time, I was coming to terms with chronic pain and a loss of mobility as well as what was at the time fairly worrying mental health problems. Four years later, mentally I’m in a much better place, largely thanks to my blog.
What did you do before you blogged?
Many things, I’ve always worked in the public sector, mainly in project management. The last 8 years of my working life before my accident in 2012 were spent working for the NHS, which was a privilege. I had to retire on medical grounds in 2013, so blogging is my main source of income now.
What was your first post?
I am relieved that my first post wasn’t too embarrassing. I was a recipe for a skinny homity pie. I might tidy it up because its actually a lovely recipe and deserves more clicks that it’s had.
What inspires you to blog?
Life really. I am frequently disappointed in my lack of planning and balance and I wish I had the time and inspiration to write more posts about me and my family and our home life. But when I blog something I’m proud of, it’s usually something funny or heartwarming about my family.
What post has had the best response, which post are you most proud of and which post did you enjoy writing the most?
My biggest ever post is about an aloe vera drink, I have no idea why this blog post took off but it gets so many hits every day. I also write about mental health and this blog post about anxiety and the full moon gets a massive spike of hits every full moon, I’m pretty pleased with that one. The one I liked writing the most was my take on a school newsletter, it seemed to strike a chord.
Have any of your posts not had the response that you expected?
Yes probably. Sometimes I write something which I think is pretty good, something which I think my readers will find relatable, but then it gets a handful of views. Sometimes I find it hard to figure out what will fly and what will dive.
Where do you see your blog in a year’s time?
Probably in about the same place, but with a couple of hundred more blog posts on it. I’m not much of a planner, but I do have a thing about saying yes to things which I might have usually said no to, so who knows where that policy will take me (well, I know, Transylvania, it’s taking me to Transylvania).
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
My friends. I’m not much of a joiner, I don’t have a clique as such but I have a small handful of trusted friends who I bounce ideas off. I’m pretty friendly with almost everyone and I try and keep away from drama, who has the time?
…and your least favourite? Honestly?
The financial uncertainty. This is my job, my only source of income and it’s feast or famine. I have tried (I really have) to feed my family on retweets, social shares and exposure, but they’re still hungry afterwards. Go figure.
What’s the best blog post you have ever read?
I didn’t even have to think about this. Dear Elspeth by Jenny from The Brick Castle three years on I still can’t breathe when I read it.
What blog do you love to read and why?
Claire is incredibly underrated, she blogs and bakes the most amazing cakes and has an enthusiasm for food even I struggle to match.
Do you do anything differently now to when you started blogging?
Yes, I’m more guarded with how I write about my feelings and emotions. At one time I’d blog weekly or more about my mental health, which was helpful at the time. But I’m stronger and more in control now, s I don;t do that as much.
Is blogging what you expected it to be?
Yes I think so. I trained as a journalist so I had an inkling about what I was letting myself in for. I’m a bit of a geek, so I enjoy figuring out website problems and stuff. It’s basically my dream job, but without the monthly pay and pension pot.
What’s been your favourite blog collaboration to date?
Oh gosh, oh gosh so many. Am I allowed two? There was a trip to Cornwall with Sharps Brewery earlier this year which involved a barbecue and a few hours with Chef Nathan Outlaw. There was Lapland UK last Christmas which was just so magical and I think it made my son’s year,
Are there any brands you would love to work with, why?
I’d love to work with a travel company, someone like James Villas perhaps, we’ve been on quite a few holidays and breaks with my blog, but never a nice villa holiday in the sun. I’d really like a fairly long-term collaboration with a food brand, someone who I can work with creating recipes and using their products in my kitchen. I’ve done something like that before and really enjoyed the challenge and having that relationship over a number of months.
Have you had any blogging fails so far?
Probably millions. Every day has wins and failures. I think I’m disappointed that I’m just pootling along doing my own thing and not really knowing how to take things to the next level, nor what the next level really looks like. I’m doing ok, but you know, could do better.
What is your biggest blogging hope, dream or ambition?
I could do better. I hope that one day I will level up in the blogging world. I have no wild desire to write a book or turn into a superstar vlogger, so I’m not sure how a middle aged mum can level up, but an old girl can dream.
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
I’m also a freelance writer, so I write for magazines and other websites. I also like to take the dog for a walk and go to the pub for a pint of lager. Apart from that I’m mostly busy being a mum to a six year old.
and lastly, tell us all a random fact about yourself.
It’s not just a random fact, but it is the best fact of all. I am a judge at the International Cheese Awards (the largest dairy industry event in Europe).