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 Chloe from Picture Taker Memory Maker.
Here’s Chloe with more about her blogging life:
Where did your blog name come from?
I thought long and hard about the name and tagline for my blog. I brainstormed pages and pages of ideas and in the end came up with ‘picture taker, memory maker’ as a tagline, purely because that’s exactly what I wanted to do through the blog – take pictures and make memories with my girls – though I still hadn’t decided on the main name. I knew I didn’t want ‘mummy’ in there anywhere because as my girls grow up I know the emphasis of the blog will shift and I wanted something that could grow with us as our situation changes over the years – it had to have longevity. In the end I chose to make that the main name and settled on ‘the calm, the chaos and all the moments in between’ as a tagline because that pretty much sums us up as a family!
When did you start your blog and why?
I started blogging at Picture Taker Memory Maker two years ago, though I’d blogged through my therapy business website for years previously. There were a few reasons really. I’ve always been a fan of taking photos, writing stories and keeping diaries ever since I was a kid and I was getting fed up with only really having Facebook as a place to share them – I wanted somewhere where everything could be held together in one place. And I’d lost my Dad very unexpectedly the year before – realising how few photographs I have of him, and how little I know about him made me become even more obsessive about documenting our family story – I was (and still am) absolutely determined that my girls will know everything and have a tangible record of their childhoods for when they are older.
What did you do before you blogged?
I worked as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist (and still do!), helping people overcome issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, OCD, panic attacks, self harm and low self esteem/confidence. I love the work I do – there’s not much better than seeing a client go back out into the world feeling better about themselves having let go of all the negative beliefs and behaviours they once carried around with them. It can be heavy work though and hard to put down at the end of the day, so blogging and shooting photographs gives me a positive, creative side to my life that balances it out a bit.
What was your first post?
An introductory post! It was so scary to hit ‘publish’ on the first ever one but I’m so glad I did.
What inspires you to blog?
Anything and everything really! Conversations with my girls, the things we do together as a family, random little thoughts that I have, big events that go on in our lives, travel, hopes dreams and ambitions… I’m always scribbling down ideas on scraps of paper that I find weeks later under a pile of paperwork somewhere and that usually then sparks off other ideas. I do most of my thinking whilst I’m washing up or out walking, so I often ‘write’ posts in my head and then once I’m done with whatever I’m doing I’ll scramble onto my laptop as quickly as possible and get it all down before I forget it.
What post has had the best response, which post are you most proud of and which post did you enjoy writing the most?
I think my posts with our ‘Top Ten Things To Do In Bude’ have had the best response. I find that it’s often other bloggers that comment on and respond to blog posts, but these two got a big response from members of the public as well which I was really pleased about.
We love Bude in North Cornwall and consider it to be our ‘home from home’ so to be able to share that with other people and for them to fall in love with it as much as we do feels
With regards to which post I’m most proud of… I’m not sure. I’ve written about some difficult, personal things on my blog and I’m proud of writing them in a way that honoured the events that had happened and how I/we felt about them. It’s tricky putting aspects of your life online – it can make you feel vulnerable and raw and I guess having the courage to do that is that makes me feel proud of them. The ones that come to mind were about my eldest daughter being so poorly when she was tiny, the grief I struggled with after losing my Dad, and most recently our beloved boy Pumpkin passing away after being hit by a car last November and how much of an impact that had on the whole family.
Out of all the posts I write, my favourite ones to put together are definitely my monthly ‘moments in between’ posts. They get barely any response but I love seeing the photos I’ve taken collated together, telling the story of each month. I also LOVE writing our holiday posts, looking back over
all the fun we had, the memories we made, the cool stuff we did, the experiences we had… it just makes me feel happy
Have any of your posts not had the response that you expected?
I’ve not had any negative responses so far thankfully, though I’m sure that will come at some point. Plenty of my posts don’t get any response at all but I’m ok with that – I don’t post for other people, I post for me. If other people like it too then that’s great, but if not then I don’t mind because I do it primarily to record our memories and tell our story, parts of which probably just aren’t that interesting to other people! I let go of being bothered about what other people think of me/my work a long time ago and am much happier for it.
Where do you see your blog in a year’s time?
I’ll still be doing what I’m doing now, though I’m working towards having more of a focus on family travel. I’d love to have a few more brand collaborations tucked under my belt, a few more followers on each channel and to have created more little videos for Youtube as I find that quite fun even if it is super hard work with all the editing etc that’s involved. I don’t have any specific numbers or targets in mind, I just want to keep challenging myself, keep growing and keep doing what I love.
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
The people that I’ve met both online and in person. In person: I met Lucy from Capture By Lucy at Blogtacular a couple of years ago and she was so encouraging and lovely. Penny from Parentshaped and I have met up a few times for a cuppa now that she’s moved a bit closer to where I’m based and whenever we get together we talk for ages about anything and everything. Kerri-Ann from Life As Our Little Family and Jenny from Lets Talk Mommy are both so generous with their guidance. And spending an afternoon with Laura and her daughters from Little Ladies Big World felt like I’d made a real friend. Online (hopefully to meet in person one day!) there are too many to mention – so many people have been so kind with their words, so genuine in their feedback and so supportive with their advice – it really does feel like a community.
…and your least favourite?
None that I can really think of! I do occasionally fall down the rabbit-hole of comparing myself to others and consequently feeling down about how ‘successful’ they are compared to where I am in my blogging journey, but I’m usually able to get myself out of it fairly quickly and remember why I’m doing it – for my girls.
What’s the best blog post you have ever read?
Ooh, tough question! I honestly don’t know. I’ve read so many different blog posts about all kinds of different topics and usually get something from most of them. I don’t think I could pick out one stand-alone one and call it ‘the best’ post I’ve ever read.
What blog do you love to read and why?
I’m sure quite a few people say this but I love Katie Ellison’s blog Mummy Daddy Me. It was the first blog I ever read years and years ago and I love how honest and authentic she is in her writing, whilst still coming across as so positive and genuine. Her travels and work with brands are something I aspire to (in my own way of course) and it was her blog which inspired me to begin my own. If I ever get to meet her in person I’m pretty sure I’ll blush and not know what to say!
Do you do anything differently now to when you started blogging?
I do a lot more self-promotion than I did in the beginning. When I first started I’d just write a blog, publish it and leave it at that. Now I’ve realised that no-one is going to find me and want to work with me if I don’t make an effort to be seen, so I make sure I share it in as many places I can, use hashtags, point people in the direction of it, pitch to brands etc. I do find it hard – I’m an introvert and not at all comfortable with putting myself ‘out there’ but it’s challenging me and stretching me and that can only be a good thing, right? Otherwise it’s pretty much the same as when I first began – writing is my form of therapy so if I’ve got something on my mind I’ll write it out and hopefully
other people find it useful / encouraging / uplifting / inspiring too. If I can help even one person with my words then I’m happy.
Is blogging what you expected it to be?
Mostly yes. There is a lot more behind the scenes work than I initially anticipated, plus so much to learn about all the different social media platforms, how they work and how to use them for the best advantage. And it’s taken me longer to create paid-for work than I imagined at the beginning – I was definitely a bit naïve about how easy I thought it would be to earn money from it compared to how it actually is. But it doesn’t feel like work at all and I enjoy every aspect of it which is definitely a good thing.
What’s been your favourite blog collaboration to date?
Last summer we attended an event in London (my girls first ever trip to the city) at the Foundling Museum and got to meet Dame Jacqueline Wilson. My eldest daughter is a huge fan and has pretty much every single one of her books – seeing her dream of meeting her idol come true was just the best feeling ever.
Are there any brands you would love to work with, why?
I would love to work with Coolstays and Canopy & Stars – I really like that they’re unique and quirky and I think my family and I fit well with the demographic they’re marketing towards. Plus there are so many gorgeous places in the UK that we (and I suspect many other people) haven’t explored – it would be great to discover new locations and encourage others to visit areas that are right on their doorstep.
Have you had any blogging fails so far?
Firstly I don’t believe there is any such thing as failure – there’s only feedback. If something doesn’t work out or doesn’t go as well as expected, it’s not a failure, it’s just a learning experience to help you figure out how to do it differently or better next time. So no blogging ‘fails’ that I can think of – nothing has gone horribly wrong and I don’t think I’ve screwed up majorly anywhere. At least, I hope not!
What is your biggest blogging hope, dream or ambition?
I have two – is that allowed?! One is personal: to create something that documents our lives in such a way that the girls love to look back on it when they’re older and have (maybe) children of their own. They love watching the little videos of our holidays and I really want it to be a source of happy memories for them, telling the story of our lives. Two is professional: to break into the family travel industry and work with some top brands that have the same values as us – creating memories that last a lifetime through special experiences and quality time spent together as a family.
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
I still work as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist seeing clients and supervisees. I’m also working on creating and building my photography business ‘Moments In Between Photography’ (website coming soon!), offering family photography with a difference. Plus the usual juggles of family life: raising my girls to be kind, positive and resilient; focusing on my marriage to my lovely supportive and encouraging husband; attempting to keep the house and life admin in some sort of vaguely organised manner; doing yoga whenever I can; and constantly adding to my ever-increasing bucket and wanderlust lists.
and lastly, tell us all a random fact about yourself
I travelled around Australia for a year (sleeping in a car for six months of it!) and hitchhiked my way around New Zealand for three months. I would happily give up everything, take my kids out of school and travel the world with them if I was brave enough. The travel bug is strong and it’s an itch that I don’t think I’ll ever fully scratch no matter how much of the world I see.
Now that you know all about Chloe from Picture Taker Memory Maker make sure you go and read her blog. Make sure you follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram too. Thanks so much Chloe for being involved!