February Reflection: The Perks of Being a Blogger

For a year, Follow Your Sunshine was not much more than a hobby – an activity undertaken purely for the sheer enjoyment of it. Posts were written sporadically in snatched moments between work and seeing friends, usually from the sofa in front of Downton Abbey, with laptop perched on knee and mug of tea in hand. Back then, writing my blog was much like writing an open diary: a therapeutic release of thoughts and feelings for me; an update on my life and world for those that cared enough to read.  


It was around October last year that this started to change. Over the course of several months I developed a schedule of themed posts that I now stick to most weeks, a set of blogging goals that I’m ticking off one by one, and a new website and brand that I could be proud of being seen in the public domain.  All of this took painstaking planning and hours of work to set up and maintain. So why did I do it?

Quite simply, I had started to realise the perks of being a blogger.

You feel part of a supportive community online

On the whole, the numerous people that make up the ‘blogging community’ are pretty damn lovely. Whether you write about food or make-up, fashion or life, you’ve got to be open, honest and sharing to build a successful blog – attributes that are also required to be a good friend.

I have been lucky enough to ‘virtually meet’ some awesome bloggers and all-round wonderful people through social media, weekly Twitter chats and exchanging emails, all of whom have made an impact on my blogging journey in small yet significant ways.

The best thing about the online blogging community? They understand that Insragramming your plate of food before you tuck in is absolutely necessary.


You have the opportunity to build a community offline too!

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t all sit hunched over our laptops 24/7. Blogging opens up opportunities for all kinds of gatherings and events, allowing bloggers to get together to socialise, to learn from one another and to speak about the kinds of things that send everybody else to sleep. The intricacies of SEO and the pros and cons of Hootsuite? Keep talking!

Last night I was invited along to my (as well as Qatar’s) very first bloggers meet-up, along with 20 other established bloggers, and several more blogging workshop attendees, organised by the lovely ladies of Blogging ME. 


We congregated in the courtyard of Il Teatro restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel for a couple of hours while the restaurant’s new Italian chef, Marco Alotti and his team showered us with delicate canapes, hors d’oeuvre and Prosecco (a.k.a. every blogger’s dream).


It was so lovely to meet the faces behind some of the blogs that I had been enjoying for months, including the gorgeous Rosalyn from Dream Days and Doaa from Hungry Birds Doha.


With contact details exchanged and dates already in diaries, I am looking forward to building on these new blogging friendships in the weeks to come.

The best thing about the local blogging community? Meeting up with them gives you a great excuse to try out new restaurants “for review purposes”.




You learn new skills

Blogging requires hard work and determination, self-belief and creativity. You have to develop conviction in your words, your beliefs and the way you tell your story. You have to become organised enough to fit your blogging around the rest of your life, and dedicated enough to maintain this. You can’t be too selfish, or insular, or nobody will ever read your writing – reaching out to others and helping them will make them want to help you in return. You need to have integrity so that people believe what you are saying; inaccurate details or embellishments will always be found out.

Blogging has encouraged me to learn new techniques like photography and web design. It has helped me to be more reflective about life, experiences and feelings. It has taught me to use my brain in a way I never have before.

The best thing about learning new life skills? The better you become in all these things, the better your blog becomes. It’s cyclical and it just keeps on buildin’!


You get much more out of life


Blogging makes you look at life with fresh eyes. You think more carefully about who you are and what you do with the time you have. You make better life decisions and your writing helps you to appreciate the little details that you would normally miss.


Photographing my daily activities as I go along for instance, helps me to notice things that I wouldn’t normally see, like when my local coffee shop’s barista has produced a particularly pretty piece of latte art, or when the sky is looking particularly blue.




I also create new opportunities for myself, as nobody wants to hear about the same old activities and places week after week. I’m constantly researching new restaurant openings, entertainment options and travel opportunities.

The best thing about getting more out of life as you blog? You can appreciate it all over again when you read back over your blog in years to come.




What are the perks of blogging for you?



I have posted this as part of EmmaKelly and Rebecca’s February Travel Link-Up. Head over to any of the girls’ blogs (or to guest Sara’s) to add your own post on the topic of The Unexpected Benefits of Blogging.

36 Comments

  1. February 1, 2015 / 5:37 pm

    I absolutely agree about seeing things through new eyes – spot on with that comment!

    • February 1, 2015 / 7:57 pm

      It just helps you to appreciate everything so much more doesn't it?!

      Polly xx

  2. February 1, 2015 / 5:50 pm

    A great post. I'm sure our blogs will be brilliant to look back on in future.

    • February 1, 2015 / 7:58 pm

      Thanks my dear! I'm sure they will. I wonder if in years to come, we'll be bringing up our blogs to show our kids rather than old photo albums?!

      Polly xx

  3. February 1, 2015 / 6:32 pm

    It just makes you think of doing things that you would have never thought of, doesn't it? I love blogging!
    Lots of love,
    Angie
    SilverSpoon London

    • February 1, 2015 / 8:00 pm

      It really does! I love you blogging too so please don't give it up any time soon!! 😉

      Polly xx

  4. February 1, 2015 / 6:36 pm

    Absolutely amazing post…can't wait to catch up again over the weekend 😊😊

    • February 1, 2015 / 8:01 pm

      Why thank you lovely lady! That's so sweet of you. Me toooo! Breakfast is so the best meal of the day. Can't wait!

      Polly xx

  5. February 1, 2015 / 7:52 pm

    I love this post! I totally agree that blogging helps us enjoy life more. I'm always on the lookout for interesting places to visit and keeping my eye open for pretty pictures to take. I love reading your blog and following your adventures!

    • February 1, 2015 / 8:03 pm

      Thank you so much Carolann, I'm so pleased you're enjoying it – and right back at you! I hope that we maintain this way of looking at things long after we stop blogging (actually, scrap that, I hope we just keep on blogging forever!).

      Polly xx

  6. February 1, 2015 / 8:35 pm

    The thing that made me start blogging is exactly the community, it's so interesting to talk about everything and anything with people all around the world! Obviously it needs time, but I like my current very quiet "schedule".
    And I agree to the adding skill bit! Considering English is not my native language I started with a challenge 😉

    Eithne on the Moon | Lifestyle, books and travels!

    • February 2, 2015 / 6:59 am

      It's a definite perk isn't it? I have learnt so much about other countries and cultures since I started blogging. Great to challenge yourself, I'm so impressed with the level of your English! 🙂

      Polly xx

  7. February 1, 2015 / 8:52 pm

    I have only started blogging but I have to agree with this. I look at everything I do with new eyes and am appreciating even the small things. Great post.

    http://www.freedupgirl.com

    • February 2, 2015 / 7:00 am

      Ahh I LOVE your snow photos in your latest post. Looks like a great day with the family. Blogging is by far the best thing I ever did for that reason alone. Enjoy it darl!

      Polly xx

  8. February 1, 2015 / 11:32 pm

    Blogging has definitely pushed me to try new things and to look for new everyday adventures. It's also made me a much more organized person. Well, most of the time anyway 😉

    • February 2, 2015 / 7:01 am

      Haha, we can't be organised all of the time – where is the fun in that?! But the adventure side of it is a definite perk.

      Polly xx

  9. February 2, 2015 / 7:29 am

    We had an event here and couldn’t have asked for anything more than what we got with the chef and event coordinator. The coordinator did a wonderful job. Every little detail they took care of.

    • February 2, 2015 / 1:45 pm

      It is such a great hotel and lovely restaurant! Chef Marco Alotti is getting people talking in Doha!

      Polly xx

  10. February 2, 2015 / 11:23 am

    You've got a gorgeous, happy, positive blog, Polly (mine wasn't even close to how lovely yours looks when I first started!) and it looks like you're having so much fun with it too. I totally forgot about how rewarding it was to learn new skills – that's a great aspect I hadn't thought of (though it's been subconsciously there).

    • February 2, 2015 / 1:55 pm

      Awww, that's such a lovely compliment! That's exactly what I would like this space to be – a little happy space where I try to bring out the positive things in life (and spread a bit of sunshine…cheeeesy!!). Thanks Jaime 🙂 The skills thing is really great but also pretty geeky (I'm secretly proud that I've taught myself a bit of coding but don't tell anyone).

      Polly xx

  11. February 2, 2015 / 12:03 pm

    Great article and your photos look gorgeous! I too have experienced some great rewards of being a blogger – hoping to get a post up on it in the next few days.

    • February 2, 2015 / 1:57 pm

      Thanks so much Elizabeth! Looking forward to reading your post 🙂

      Polly xx

  12. February 2, 2015 / 3:24 pm

    Nice article Polly, I definitely agree about the photography as I take way more photos than I used to and have learnt how to improve them too

    Suze | LuxuryColumnist

    • February 3, 2015 / 6:44 am

      Thanks love. I have been admiring your photos – they're always so clear and colourful! Particularly loving the dramatic skies in your latest Kenilworth Castle pictures.

      Polly xx

  13. February 2, 2015 / 7:39 pm

    Great post Polly! You definitely see your home through a new set of eyes when you start blogging and that sky is the perfect shade of blue. When I head out to Abu Dhabi this year, I will definitely be popping over for a cup of sugar (i.e. afternoon tea so that i can meet you, even if its only for a few hours!) xx P.S. You look gorgeous in that photo pretty lady! xx

    • February 3, 2015 / 6:49 am

      You are such a sweetie, thank you! Yes, you are SO popping by Qatar on your way or way back, I would love that! Let me know dates and I will get a sugar date in the diary and show you around. I'm being serious 🙂

      Polly xx

  14. February 2, 2015 / 8:12 pm

    I love that first picture! That is basically me on a Sunday, pjs, drink, journal and lap top in bed. Love love love your blog, keep up the great work x

    • February 3, 2015 / 6:51 am

      Ahh that's what Sundays are made for! Wish I could be in that spot right now actually… Thank you so much darl, you liking the blog makes me feel all warm inside…I have a hell of a lot of love for yours too!

      Polly xx

  15. February 3, 2015 / 6:20 am

    Just like you, blogging was therapeutic and a hobby. That's where I normally write my thoughts which I won't be able to say out loud. As it got bigger, I became more cautious on writing because a lot more people I know (and would/might know) are reading the blog. I love the anonymity which blogging gave me in the earlier years but I enjoy meeting new people who may or may not eventually become my friends more than that. Yes, I do enjoy this perk of being a blogger too. 🙂

    • February 3, 2015 / 7:08 am

      I completely get what you mean about being more aware of all the eyes on your content. I think blogging in Qatar is particularly difficult for this too, because you're constantly aware of what you 'should' and 'shouldn't' be saying. Loved meeting all those lovely faces at our BloggingME event at the weekend, it's great to know there are so many potential blogging friends out there. I'm also over the moon to have discovered your lovely blog! Have been reading up on reasons to visit Greece and things to do in NYC…you're giving me the travel bug!

      Polly xx

  16. February 3, 2015 / 1:13 pm

    So true how blogging makes you notice and appreciate the 'small' things. Being in London for a couple of years now, its easy to start taking things for granted, but this helps pull me out of it.

    • February 3, 2015 / 3:44 pm

      I know, you start to appreciate what you have a whole lot more! It's very easy to get used to a certain way of living in London without really appreciating it properly, but writing down your experiences really helps!

      Polly xx

  17. February 5, 2015 / 10:26 pm

    This post is lovely! I am only just getting started with my blog, I started a long time ago but think it is now the right time to try it again properly and this is great encouragement.

    • February 6, 2015 / 12:25 pm

      Thanks Emily! Keep at it, I promise it will be worth it 🙂
      Polly xx

  18. February 8, 2015 / 6:38 pm

    Could not agree with this more! For me the main benefit has been being able to see how many exciting things I do on a day to day basis that I've never really appreciate before. It sounds silly, but even just going for coffee with friends allows you to showcase where you live, what you're wearing and how important friendships/coffee/anything is in your life!

    Lauren xx

    • February 9, 2015 / 10:41 am

      It's funny how writing it all down makes you think about it and appreciate it more right? You also remember small details that you wouldn't normally notice because writing about those details makes your posts so much more interesting!

      Polly xx

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