My blog is my happy place! :-)

A while back Kathryn McCullough asked her readers why they blog, what they get out of it and what their favourite things about blogging are. I told her I’d write a post about it. So Kathryn, this is it!

I have been blogging for 6 months now. When I started I thought to myself that I’d probably run out of things to say. I haven’t. As my brother said when I asked him about his blogging, “I’ve found I’m just as opinionated as the next person!”. Well, I have plenty of opinions about a lot of things, but I tend to steer clear of the controversial ones like politics and religion. Although I have been known to venture an opinion on other bloggers’ posts! My main thing though is to share. I am interested in a whole lot of things, and like to share them. This way I get to do it in a fun, creative way without (hopefully!) boring anyone. And they can just stop reading if I’m going on and on about something, and boring them to tears. Unlike people in my “real” life, who have to at least pretend that they find me fascinating, even if they don’t!

I’ve been through several really tough years health-wise. Chronic daily headaches and migraines were so bad at one stage, that I could barely function. There were a couple of years, I have very little memory of. My world became very small. In those years my brain turned to mush. Not literally, but it might as well have for all the good it did me! I lost a good deal of confidence in myself and I lost my “sense of myself”. Things are going somewhat better now (thanks to the help of a great doctor, and the support of family and friends), although I still struggle with chronic pain and depression.

I originally started blogging to have a place to tell my “stories”. Which is what I call my sharing of fascinating books, podcasts, films or ideas that I’ve come across. I found myself repeating things to various family members and friends in individual emails. So I thought it would be good if they had a place to come to, when they had time to read. And they could also avoid if they wanted to! I really didn’t expect a whole lot of other people (who were not related to me) to be interested in what I had to say.

So what has blogging has done for me?

  • It’s provided a creative outlet for me. I’m not good at arts and crafts, but a love putting together a pretty post.
  • It allows me to practise my writing skills. I was delighted to find I actually have some!
  • I’ve discovered a new hobby: photography. When I first started blogging I was mostly sourcing photographs from the Internet to illustrate my posts. Since then I’ve found it fun to take my own photos. Sometimes, I take photos first and the “stories” develop from there.
  • It’s a way for me to document my life. I don’t mean that in any formal sense of what I did on particular days. I really don’t lead that fascinating a life! But just to take note of interesting things I come across in my daily life. I can look back at my archives and know what I was thinking or doing at a specific time.
  • Blogging has brought back my sense of humour (it was gone for quite a while). I sometimes still find conversations with more than one person at a time overwhelming. My brain can’t keep up with the conversation and by the time I think of something witty or interesting to say, the topic has changed. Writing down my thoughts gives me an opportunity to express myself at my pace.
  • I’ve been able to connect with people worldwide who have similar interests. Who knew there were so many nature/bird/animal/spider/plant/sunset etc lovers out there!
  • Within WordPress, there’s a definite sense of community. And no, it’s not just “Facebook with more writing” as somebody I know (but who, for their own safety, will remain nameless!) said.
  • It’s been a place for me to escape out of my limited world. I love reading the blogs of people who live in other cultures. Whether they were born into them, or are just visiting them. And I also like reading the blogs of people who are living less conventional lives “off the grid”.
  • I’ve discovered some wonderful South African bloggers – there’s some excellent local writing out there! I include here the “honorary South Africans” – people who weren’t born here, but love South Africa just as much as I do, and have let me see it through fresh eyes.

I’m sure I’ve left out something, but those are the things that come immediately to mind. To put it all into one sentence: My blog is my happy place!

Thank you to all my readers! Please keep on visiting.

My other happy place: Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (©2008 WMB)

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Categories: Random

Author:lisa@notesfromafrica

I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)

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27 Comments on “My blog is my happy place! :-)”

  1. January 21, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    I feel the “happy” when I come here – keep up the great blogging 🙂

  2. January 21, 2011 at 8:22 am #

    I find a lot to relate to here, Lisa. I, for one, am very glad that you started blogging. Your posts are an inspiration to many, I’m sure – it certainly is for me, so thank you for sharing. Long live your Happy Place! 🙂

  3. January 21, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    Amazing – when I read your list of ‘What blogging has done for me’, I kept nodding my head and going, “yes, that’s true for me too”! Particularly the new emphasis on photography. You’ve summarised it really well.

    When I started my blog in January 2008, I did not think that I would keep it going this long – not because I didn’t have anything I wanted to write about or tell people about (it seems like there’s *always* something interesting to share!), but because I still find it a little difficult to justify *blogging* when I *should be* putting all my energy into *working for a living* and finding new clients. Sigh… A tricky balance.

    • January 21, 2011 at 9:14 am #

      Thanks for your comments! I’m glad to hear that others identify with me.

      Yes, if only one could make lots of money blogging . . . 🙂

      • January 23, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

        Oh yes, I second that! I’d love to get paid for visiting places, taking photos, speaking to people, doing some reserach, and then writing about it. A sigh of longing…

  4. January 21, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    I’m glad you started blogging, Lisa, as that’s how we found each other! I love the sense of global community that blogging brings, don’t you?
    I so enjoy your blog – it’s always interesting and I love getting a taste of home too.
    Sunshine xx

    • January 21, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

      Thanks! I just feel like I keep making you homesick. You’re right the sense of community does make it fun.

      • January 21, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

        Lisa, I’m just homesick. So much makes me miss home and long to be there … you don’t make me so, promise! I love your photos and familiar stories xx

  5. January 21, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    I find you very entertaining! I’m also a fellow migraine sufferer and science nerd….well, you’re probably not a nerd like I am…..

    • January 21, 2011 at 12:33 pm #

      Sorry to hear about the migraines – not something I’d wish on anyone else. I think I’d give you a run for your money in the nerd department! 🙂

  6. January 21, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    I´ve just moved in here (WordPress) but I come from other community that worked for me the same way this one works for you. And I so relate to some of the things you said about blogging. It´s nice to know that we are not alone in the world

    • January 21, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

      Thanks for your comments. I hope the WordPress community is treating you well. You’re one of those “foreign” bloggers that I’d like to know so much more about. But maybe I should read your archives before I ask too many questions!

  7. bagnidilucca
    January 21, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    I started the blog to help inform visitors to our place in Italy about the village and places to visit nearby, but it has grown into something else. Like you, I discovered that I love to photograph things and happily discovered that I am not bad at it. I have never written anything before, but I don’t seem to run out of things to talk about. I decided from the start that I want the blog to be positive. Generally if I don’t like something, I don’t write about it.(There have been a couple of exceptions) And, like you, I really enjoy comments from some of the delightful people I have met through the blog. I’m glad I found yours – keep on blogging.

    • January 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

      Thanks for your comments. I agree that having a blog with a positive tone is good – not only for the readers, but for the person writing it. I never really understood the value of a “gratitude journal” until I started blogging. Looking for the beauty and the positive things in one’s daily life is uplifting. I loved your recent post about the post-flood clean-up in Brisbane. The community spirit and positive attitude of the people of Brisbane (and no doubt elsewhere in Australia) was inspirational.

  8. January 21, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    Oh, Lisa, thanks so much for this post!!!!! I had no idea you’d only been doing this for 6 months.

    But I can’t tell you how glad I am you started blogging, cause I don’t know what I’d do without my regular fix of Africa, something I didn’t even realize I needed till I found you. I think I feel a kinship with Africa living in Haiti, and your insights into the cultural and policitical dynamics there have helped me better understand situations here.

    Plus, you have helped me add elements to my blog it desperately needed, by noticing and suggesting–that kind of friendship means a LOT to me, Lisa!

    Thanks for friendship. Your blog is indeed a happy place! (By the way, I too struggle with depression and a chronic illness, so I understand.)

    • January 22, 2011 at 6:17 am #

      Thank you for all your kind comments! And for finding me – I still remember you emailing me and suggesting I check out your blog! 🙂 Your encouragement has meant a lot to me. I’m glad that my meddling and constant questions were helpful to you! 🙂

      Really sorry to hear that you are also struggling health-wise. I find taking one day at a time, and surrounding myself with positive people and beautiful things helps. As does having pets – as I’m sure you know.

  9. Oregon Sunshine
    January 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    I love your blog because I get to escape to some faraway, exotic location each time I stop by!

    I’ve met several people I now call “good friends” because of my blog. My social circle has expanded because of it. We maybe haven’t met in person, but we comment on each others’ blogs, email and call each other. I love how the internet has helped “community” expand beyond that which it was before.

    • January 22, 2011 at 6:41 am #

      Thanks for your comments! Not sure about the exotic bit though – seems very normal to me. What attracted me to your blog was those photos of your Dane and Sterling, the cat. Anybody with such happy, content animals, must have a happy blog too!

      • Oregon Sunshine
        January 23, 2011 at 6:35 am #

        Aww thanks! South Africa seems exotic to me because it’s so far away. And everything is so very different there. Vegetation, animals, etc. It’s nice to get to see other parts of the world outside of travel magazines.

  10. January 22, 2011 at 7:15 pm #

    Lovely post. I know what it feels like to suffer from migraines and chronic daily headaches. I hadn’t associated with my trouble with memory until reading this blog. I am so excited to see a “happy blog”, I will definitely be following it and Africa is a continent I would love to visit (specifically the countries of South Africa, Ghana, and Egypt).

    It is nice to see that people have made so many friends through blogs. It has never occurred to me to see it as a “community”. But that is due to the fact that I have never really been a consistent blogger although since I’ve moved to WordPress from another blogging site, I have found that blogging can be fun and not tedious.

    • January 23, 2011 at 5:32 am #

      Sorry to hear about your migraines and chronic headaches. It’s really difficult to function with daily pain, isn’t it? My memory and concentration problems really started when I was at my worst several years ago. Things have improved in that the migraines aren’t usually as intense anymore, and my memory and brain function has improved as well. But I still do use the techniques I learnt then to cope.

      Thank you for visiting my blog!

  11. January 24, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    I agree – blogging gives me a happy place and an escape. And your blog is always fun and interesting to visit. Even the posts about spiders, which creep me out a little.

  12. January 28, 2011 at 4:54 pm #

    I relate on so many levels — I also started blogging about six months ago and had no idea how much I would get out of it. If I’m feeling frustrated or down, I write a blog post and suddenly all seems right with the world. Anyway, thanks for introducing me to all kinds of interesting things in your blog, and for reading mine!

    • January 29, 2011 at 7:36 am #

      Thank you for your comments. Nice to know that others can relate. You’re one of the “honorary South Africans” I referred to. You do such a great job of promoting South Africa in your blog, and reminding South Africans how lucky we are to live here.

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