There was a two hour break after the close of yesterday’s sessions at the Digital Parents Conference before the dinner and drinks were scheduled to begin. I went upstairs to change in the bedroom of some girlfriends and I happened to mention something about the day that particularly struck me: the emphasis, as it ever should be, was of telling our own stories, in our own way; of not sugar-coating and smoothing-over; on being the correct embodiment of our internal struggles (and victories). And if that means celebrating the poop sagas, the non-sleeping, the ever-shifting calibration of our daily lives – then so be it.

And my voice caught in my throat, and I struggled not to cry.

Because it seems like that was my blog, only so long ago. So long, and yet… not. Simultaneously.

I get a little embarrassed about the quality of my early posts but, as I’ve said before, I’ve not deleted many. They’re indicative of their time, and that is nothing to be ashamed of.

And then I think thank God – thank GOD – they’re there. That I’d written them. That I’d taken the time out of my otherwise frenetic and at times horrid mental state to take note of my day. What we’d been doing.

Because five and a half years later, even if many of your original readers have gone, and some of you are still here, that that is an unshakable legacy. One that you have made. It is to be treasured and commended.

And then I thought – so, where does this leave me now? Does it mean I’ve come so very far? Just because the kids are older, doesn’t mean that a whole lot of the reasons why I began the blog have changed – in fact, they’ve crystallized. Solidified into an ethos that enables me to say with conviction such things as, “I will not underestimate my value; I will not blog for you for conditions that are less than satisfactory; my blog is my space, to use and charge for as I please.”

My priority is storytelling, and I love people who tell theirs. Moreover, they are making money from it. That’s what bloggers want – heck, that’s what writers want.

Another major point that stuck with me was the issue surrounding career and branding. This became apparent after I did my ‘Blog to Book’ panel: in the breaks, in the bathroom, over drinks, people were coming up to me with questions and a general curiosity about self-publishing. It was wonderful, and I enjoyed it immensely.

I also felt like a bit of a disappointment.

It’s been almost two years since Miscellaneous Voices came out (April Fools Day 2010, to be exact). Since then I’ve had ideas for other projects, most recently An Equal Task, which I had to let go because I didn’t receive the number of submissions that I felt would have made a strong book. To clarify, the submissions I got were strong – I just didn’t get enough. My friends – publishers and writers alike – know how I second-guess myself a bit and agonise over decisions, but this agonizing may be a part of a cover up of the fear of failure, perhaps.

This is all without yet even delving into the world of the ebook.

However, by year end, this will change. I’ve been quietly putting together a collection of work to self-publish, poems, short stories, essays and quirky little bits and pieces. It’s not got much of a form yet, no unifying themes, or a structure. Those things will come. I just have to get stuck in.

And after yesterday, I feel like I can.

*

Surprise! was in the ‘swag bags’ of the attendees yesterday and I cannot say how uplifting it is to already hear happy reports back of how children have responded to it (and may I say, well done for reading it so soon! I’ve not even read to my kids yet!). I’ve also been requested to write some posts about self-publishing, which is kind of providential seeing as I sat down during one of the sessions and wrote about a half-dozen post ideas about that very thing. I’ll get to these soon. Another thing about yesterday was the sponsored content debate (Yes, do it? No, don’t? Sponsored posts are the spawn of Satan?). I was interested to listen to this, as I have had sponsored posts in the past – and will have one this upcoming week, FYI – and I think the tide is turning more in their favour so long as you keep true to your own voice and intent. I’m cool with that.

*

Best of all, this morning, after not seeing the kids for almost 48 hours, I was treated to snuggles in bed.

Life is pretty damn good.

karen-portrait

Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is On The Many Shapes Bodies Will Take (March, 2017).

Shop ad