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 Sally Akins.
Here’s Sally with more about her blogging life:
Where did your blog name come from?
I never really intended to use my name as my blog name. But I was really struggling to find a name that I liked and was available, so I thought I’d use my own name as a placeholder until I found a better option. That was over 5 years ago, and I think I’m going to stick with it now!
When did you start your blog and why?
I started my blog back in 2012. My son was playing a lot of tennis at the time, so we were doing a lot of travelling together. I wanted a job that I could do from anywhere and as I’ve always loved writing, blogging seemed to fit the bill. He’s since stopped playing tennis, but I still love blogging.
What did you do before you blogged?
I used to work in IT, but I gave up working outside the home when my second son was born in 2001. I ran an internet store for a few years as well, but I definitely prefer blogging to retail.
What was your first post?
Oh dear…I haven’t looked at this for a while… It’s here. There’s so much wrong with that post now that I look at it with hindsight. But I’ve left it there just as a reminder of how much I’ve learned over the last few years.
What inspires you to blog?
Travel, good food, good living – all the things that I love in life! I tend not to blog about my family though, because my sons are all in their teens or older now. They do appear in my vlogs and photos, but I don’t specifically write about them.
What post has had the best response, which post are you most proud of and which post did you enjoy writing the most?
My posts about skincare tend to get a great response. I’m very honest about the flaws in my skin and how good skincare is really important to me now that I’m over 40. I think there’s a lot of people out there who feel the same. The post that I enjoyed writing the most is also the post that I’m most proud of. And ironically, it isn’t actually on my own blog at all! In 2017, I was invited to spend 5 days travelling around Scotland by Scotrail, and my write up of that journey appears on their blog here. It was a fantastic opportunity, and I loved writing up the post afterwards. It made me realise that when my sons leave school, I definitely want to do more travel blogging.
Have any of your posts not had the response that you expected?
I try not to have expectations about my work, that way I can’t be disappointed. I try to make sure that every post is as good as I can make it, and then I send it out into the open. What will be, will be!
Where do you see your blog in a year’s time?
That’s a really good question, because I still don’t know exactly where I’m heading with this blog! Although I’d like to think that in 12 months time, I will have a better idea of that. I’d like to see the blog continue to grow, and I’d definitely like to have travel featuring more regularly. I’ve also started doing video content this year on my YouTube channel, and I am really enjoying that. So I hope that continues to grow as well.
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
I love writing and feel a real sense of achievement when I hit Publish on a new post. I still can’t quite believe it when I look at my stats and see that people are actually reading my work!
…and your least favourite?
Scheduling social media promotion, but it’s a necessary evil! As soon as possible, I’d like to employ a VA to take on some of that side of things. Actually, that’s where I’d like to see my blog in 12 months time – I’d like to be able to hand over some of the admin work.
What’s the best blog post you have ever read?
Back in February 2015, Sam at SoBadAss.Me wrote this amazing open letter entitled “To the woman who tutted at me using the Disabled Toilets” I remember seeing it pop up on my Twitter feed when it was originally published, and I just thought it was the most amazing piece of writing. So powerful! And so I shared it, and it seems like half the world did, because that post blew up and went viral. It was all over the mainstream media, and really sparked a discussion. Sam has done so much campaigning and public speaking since then on behalf of people with invisible disabilities. It just goes to show how a blog post can really have an impact.
What blog do you love to read and why?
I love reading posts by Melissa over at The Diary of a Jewellery Lover. It’s a fab mix of lifestyle posts, and she has some really great travel content as well. She’s also another blogger in her forties, and we have to stick together!
Do you do anything differently now to when you started blogging?
It’d be quicker to tell you what I don’t do differently! At first I used to just write a post and hit publish, thinking that the world was going to come to my blog. Now I know that I have to take my blog posts out to the world, if I want anyone to see them! And there’s a lot more involved behind the scenes now, than when I first started blogging. I spend more time planning my content, and more time on taking and editing the photos as well.
Is blogging what you expected it to be?
It’s so much better than I expected it to be. When I started blogging, I had no idea of the fantastic community that I was going to be joining. I might work on my own in my house, but I have some great blogging friends who I chat to on a daily basis, so I never feel alone.
What’s been your favourite blog collaboration to date?
Definitely the work I did with ScotRail, and it was fantastic to be invited to stay at Taunton Castle by Classic Cottages. I’ve also been very lucky to get press passes to some wonderful events, like the RHS flower shows.
Are there any brands you would love to work with, why?
I would love to work with more travel brands on my blog. I tend to cover travel to Europe mainly, but it would be great to feature some more far-flung destinations as well.
Have you had any blogging fails so far?
It’s still painful for me to think about this, but changed my blog theme at the start of this year, which took ages to do. And then over the next three months, I found problem after problem with my site. I ended up changing back to my old theme (with some design tweaks to freshen it up) and I don’t think I’ll ever change it again now!
What is your biggest blogging hope, dream or ambition?
My youngest son will leave school in three years time, and I’d like my blog to be my full time job then. I don’t need to be making millions, but I’d like to be able to say that it’s paying a full time salary. And I’d like to have a full time assistant by then as well, so that I don’t have to do all of the tasks that I don’t enjoy!
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
Sorry, I don’t understand the question… If I’m not blogging, vlogging or looking after my family and dog, then I try to find some time for relaxation as well. I like being out in the fresh air whenever possible, especially by the sea, but I also enjoy a good binge watch on Netflix or Amazon.
and lastly, tell us all a random fact about yourself
When I was at school, I sang in the choir for a professional tour of Joseph and his Amazing Technical Dreamcoat. It wasn’t the Jason Donovan/Philip Schofield version, but it was a fantastic experience!