“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
Somebody asked me about my motivation to blog lately. My answer focused really on why I started to blog. At the time my professional life was characterised by an unusual level of negativity and I really needed some kind of positive space to escape to. I had toyed with the idea of blogging for a while but had been scared to take the plunge. Sylvia Plath was right when she wrote, “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” Up to that point I was scared to write something public. But suddenly my need for a form of escapism was heightened and unfortunately I couldn’t afford a career break and a round the world plane ticket. So I wondered – could a blog be my virtual alternative?
While I was procrastinating, the coaxing (some might say bullying) of a friend also came into play. And one day there was a template for a lifestyle blog, it just needed a name…. Champagne in a Teacup was born.
In case you are interested (and even if you are not) the story behind the name is quite simple. Tom Waits once described a woman as “whiskey in a teacup” – elegant and ladylike on the outside, strong and intoxicating underneath. I wanted to create a similar dichotomy with my blog – on the surface a place to celebrate elegance, beauty and life’s positives but always with a bubbly, fun and effervescent core. A slightly tipsy blog that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
But I recently realised that the reasons why I started are not the reasons why I continue. As a form of therapy, the blog became somewhat redundant as clouds passed and days brightened. Yet still I write. Why? There is no question but that blogging takes a lot of time. It consumes a lot of lot of head space. It influences a lot of my day to day decisions. So why do it? What’s in it for me?
1. A great creative outlet:
I had thought about writing in some creative form for a long time before I wrote my first blog post. I felt that in relation to writing, I was in danger of proving there was truth in the old, and exceptionally annoying adage, “those who can do, those who can’t teach”. I encouraged creativity. I taught writing. I had the audacity to edit and correct. But when did I write myself? What did I do to make sure I was a proficient writer? How often did I engage the creative side of my brain? Not often. Not for years. Never for fun. Blogging was a way to change all that and it has. It is writing for pleasure but with feedback and an audience. There is no brief, no pressure, no remit – I write what I feel like, when I want to and wherever I get the urge (once there’s coffee and a wifi connection of course).
2. So many experiences I would never have undertaken:
Lifestyle is probably the blogging genre of the commitment-phobe – the Tinder of the blogging world. You want to dip your toes in the water of food, travel, health and fitness, fashion and beauty but not be tied down to any one genre. You swipe yes to lots of things but you can’t quite commit to going steady with any one area. It is superficial and fun and largely about the aesthetic.
I admire the monogamous blogger – the one who is all about the make-up (and tries 295 foundations a year) or the mother who is faithfully recording her journey out of the fog of new motherhood (just in time to do it all again – cue hilarious posts about juggling 2 under 2 – btw motherhood blogs are the world’s most under-rated contraceptive!!!) or the fashion blogger who has 365 different OOTDs per year. Now that’s commitment to the blog.
Me, I just can’t quite choose one niche, but I definitely have leanings. Don’t we all. Where some girls only click on tall guys, or ones who don’t wear sunglasses in profile pics, I find myself naturally drawn to writing posts about food and travel. And so how do I create this content – quite simply I eat more, travel more, try new recipes – you get the idea. When that’s not happening I still have lots of scope – I can review a beauty product, indulge in a little stream of consciousness writing like this post, or record what I eat in a day. Blogging makes me eager to embrace as many new experiences as possible – if I do nothing I have nothing to write about – and that’s a large part of why I love it.
3. Observational Skills and Reflective Moments:
A friend remarked recently on how good my memory was after I chronicled a day out we had enjoyed. That is purely a blogging trait. I am a natural blonde (in the most offensive, stereotypical sense) in everything but hair colour. Half the time I don’t know what’s going on around me and I never know simple things like date and time. Let’s not get started on left and right. People who know that automatically never fail to amaze me!!!! But now when I am doing something new, I am very present. I am actively looking for the detail. I am taking mental notes and physical photographs. I am evaluating things. I love this. I love being more tuned in – searching for the hidden flavours, noticing the aesthetic, reflecting on places and spaces and the people who populate them. And then searching for the words to paint the picture for someone who wasn’t there.
4. Positive Mindset:
I write positive to think positive – and it really works. Of course I stay in dodgy hotels, get served sub-standard restaurant meals and buy food or beauty products that I hate. But this is not what I choose to blog about. If I have a bad dinner because the waitress forgets to tell me about the 6 tempting specials and the water tastes of disinfectant, I just don’t blog about it. They didn’t rob me or poison me. She was inexperienced not spiteful. Nobody died. I write balanced reviews but not predominantly negative ones. My intention is not to trash local businesses because I didn’t have a perfect evening – it is to celebrate life’s little pleasures and share the things that make me smile. Try typing 1000 positive words, sprinkling in your favourite photo memories and finishing in a bad mood. Not possible, I promise.
5. Positive feedback and engagement:
I never told anyone about the blog…. I guess I was embarrassed or nervous in a way. But from the start there was online feedback. And there seems to be an unwritten rule about what you do if you don’t have anything good to say. That was a confidence boost.
As time elapsed, people, at varying speeds, figured out who Champagne in a Teacup actually was. That was fun too, if a little mortifying. I really enjoy the reaction when people spot themselves in the words, relive experiences they were part of or hear their home-place in the colloquialisms. I find it hilarious when friends ask, “will we be on your blog?” or almost instinctively wait to pick up the cutlery until I have taken a picture.
Yes, my father in law considers all this online lifestyle sharing a little childish, a gentle rebuke proffered as he watches old videos on YouTube (unfortunately not listening to Alanis Morrisette, “don’t you think?”!!) And my husband longs for a simpler time when he could just “ate the dinner without having to take twenty bloody photos of it” but generally all blog related discussions have a healthy sprinkle of the feel good factor.
So there you go, some of the great reasons why I blog. Why do you? And if you don’t, why not give it a whirl? xo