You know in thank, u next when Ariana Grande says “look what I got, look what you taught me…” well, it gave me inspiration for a blog post to celebrate one year (and a week or so) on from opening my blog, Diary of a Spanglish Girl and what exactly it has taught me in the past 12 months.
Looking back, it doesn’t seem a year ago since I was sitting in our bedroom in our old apartment toying with the idea of opening a blog. Normally, people have these rather inspiring reasons about why they opened a blog, wanting to inspire others, wanting to share ideas, wanting to have an outlet, wanting to support their mental health. But, mine was for none of those reasons, I don’t think. It was purely because I was bored.
I was working much fewer hours back then and I spent a lot of time doing not an awful lot, except playing Supercell games. It seemed pointless. There isn’t any goal, per se. I’ll never be the best supercell game player, so what’s the point? So, then I’d go shopping. Something to do. Or buy a coffee and sit for an hour in a coffee shop on my phone. It all seemed pointless.
I was also aware of the talk of others. The stigma of Benidorm. The stick it gets and the back talk we’d have to put it with from other people because we’d chosen here. People had this impression of us and our lives, when they hadn’t even been to Spain, let alone Benidorm. People see what the media shows them and construct their own views. We’d get talked down on, we’d get judged on how we live our lives. For why? Because the media share the negatives.
So, I wanted to change it. I wanted to show everybody that we don’t live how you might have thought we did. We don’t sit in an English pocket and hang around with English people all of the time. We have Spanish friends, we have English friends, we have Russian friends, the list goes on. Benidorm is multicultural. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again: Benidorm is only trash if you head to the trash area. Every city has pockets, imagine if London was judged purely on Peckham? Imagine if New York was based on Tremont?
I think I changed a few opinions along the way. So, taking everything else out of the equation, I achieved what I set out to do. So, am I a successful blogger? Yes. Maybe not in the same way somebody else would define a successful blogger. But, I did what I wanted to do. I know there are people who have visited Benidorm who used to ridicule me for visiting Benidorm. I know there are people who have come to Benidorm who when I first opened my blog were sceptical and then carried on reading. I have people message me saying they would have never visited Benidorm, but now they would. That to me defines success.
If you set out to make money and get freebies – you will more than likely never become a successful blogger.
So if you are considering starting a blog, do it for the right reasons.
But enough on that, I wanted to talk about what blogging has given me over the past 12 months, which by the time this posts, will be 14 months. I also wanted to find out what other bloggers have gained from blogging. I’m not talking a fancy press trip to somewhere exotic, or a pr package from a company or two, as nice as they are, they’re materialistic things. Perks of the job, I guess.
It’s always funny to me when people ask why bloggers get so many freebies. Or people message you and say “You get loads of freebies, I’m going to start a blog, any tips?“. First of all, hello – it’s been six years since we last spoke, right? Secondly, doesn’t every job come with perks? I see travel agent friends jetting off to Mauritius to test out a new hotel before the travel company decides to add it to their hotel umbrella or so that they can give first-hand recommendations to customers who walk in the door. I see friends who work at high-end businesses heading off to fancy business events with big fancy dinners. But never do I message and say “hey, your job looks easy! I might start!“. So why do people do it to bloggers? Bizarre.
The amount of blogs I see open and close within months, sometimes weeks, when people realise it is harder than it looks. It is not a case of writing a quick post and pressing send. There are photos to take. Editing. Promotion. More editing. Technical Setup. Bug fixes.
Nothing worth it ever came easy.
This one is fairly recent because if I’m honest, blogging stripped me of time management in 2018. But, since getting myself in gear this year – my time management has been exceptional. Granted, it might be something to do with a pr gift or two that got me into gear, but effectively – it was my blog.
Now that I set alarms for each activity, I have been so productive in terms of writing, housework and general life. I used to spend each weekend on the computer for hours on end and every weekday. It was too much. Now, I have an alarm in the morning where I have breakfast. I spend no more than two hours in the morning on either my blog or pitching to brands. Then, it’s time to turn off, clean the house, walk the dog and just relax before heading to work. The computer doesn’t get turned on in the evenings or at the weekends anymore. That’s time for us. Time to go out. Technically speaking, the weekends are research time now.
My blog has given me so many opportunities to get outside and try different things. Not even necessarily as part of a blogging assignment. But, people would ask questions about different bars, hotels, activities, so I have a list of different things to try. If the company says no to sponsorship, we go out and do it anyway. We have found so many nice spots thanks to my blog.
Perseverance and Determination
Anybody will tell you that I don’t stick at things. I think everybody that knows me is as surprised as I am that I actually still have a blog. I used to go through so many phases, cheerleading, acting, singing, wanting to learn the piano, netball. You name it, I’ve probably tried it. But, for some reason blogging and social media have stuck.
I used to always want to work on social media. I mean, when I first got my job at 15 at Tesco, I used to always ask to be the person to take over the social media. Granted, I didn’t know you needed a degree in it and that there is far more than just dropping a tweet or two, but since opening my blog, I have managed to take social media management and add it to my CV. Incredible.
People are Interested in us
This one sounds quite egocentric but I promise it isn’t supposed to come across that way. But, I was always convinced that what I had to say was boring. I tend to stay fairly quiet. I have a lot to say and a lot of views, apparently. It’s so refreshing and inspiring to hear that people love to hear what I have to say and trust my opinion, whether I’m rambling on about a fairly decent meal or writing chapter and verse about a couple of gifts that are cute or sharing what we did on our travels, it’s lovely to receive such lovely feedback.
I always try not to get hooked on numbers. Something I vouched not to get caught up in 2019, but it is nice to see the numbers grow and grow on social media and on my blog when more and more people are clicking follow to see what I get up to. I mean, there are 8,000 people who will receive this rambling into their email inbox. Another 700-800 will click on it from social media. It’s scary and exciting at the same time. Thank you for caring what little old me has to say.
Enough about me. Let’s see what a few other bloggers had to say when I asked them what their blog has taught or gave them:
As a vocational writer, my life has been dominated by the unavoidable fear of judgment. For a long time I was too worried to share my work — would others like it, hate it, or feel the most devastating lack of interest? After working on the copywriting industry for a while, I finally decided to give my creative side a chance and planned my blog launch. Blogging has provided me with some perspective. It is true what they say: it is not about others but about you. Be passionate about your work and do your very best. You will never regret it and on time, it will be rewarded.
Blogging has enabled me to be assured about my writing. It’s allowed me to explore different topics and styles, and writing my blog alongside working for a digital marketing agency and studying an apprenticeship in this field has allowed me to understand the wider picture from each viewpoint, whether I’m approaching a brand myself or approaching as a brand. Blogging has helped cement my knowledge on these topics and I am now confident to share this with others.
“Have you read it yet?” Five simple words that have stuck with me. We had a weekend-long family get-together and there was one topic on everyone’s lips – my latest blog post! Writing anonymously was easy but knowing family, friends and colleagues would potentially read this had left me in two minds about publishing it. The feedback was overwhelming, I was blown away. It had vindicated the decision to post it. It’s hard putting yourself out there but blogging gave me a realisation that people are really supportive if you give them the opportunity.