When I arrived in Australia, I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was a freelance writer, without any gigs, and I didn’t know anyone or have any leads.
My children had left home. That left me as an Empty Nester.
I was initially occupied with picking up the pieces and sorting out the details of our new lives, easing my family into their new life situations and occasionally picking up the emotional debris from their stresses and challenges.
Apart from looking after their relocation needs and settling us all in I was without purpose, and I knew I had to find something to occupy me for the rest of my life.
No different I suspect to an army of other Baby Boomer women in Australia.
What to do next?
But what to do? Retrain? Find a part time job? Put my hand up for voluntary work? Importantly, I wanted to do something that would put me in a position to get to know people in the community and more widely to help others in some way, but I also wanted to do something I would love which would give my own life some meaning.
Big call, huh?
I was in a quandary, knowing that the decision I made now would likely be the one that stuck for the next 10 years or so.
And to tell you the truth, after years of being a stay at home mum I lacked confidence. Sometimes I felt really down and useless because I felt old, and thought it would be difficult to find a new job in a new country at nearly 51.
Maybe it was time to capitulate, take up knitting and wait for grandchildren to arrive?
A techno dinosaur reinvents
Sometimes things happen for a reason, and the Universe steps in, because suddenly on the horizon within my vision, blogging presented itself to me as a concept.
I knew nothing about building websites, I was a techno dinosaur and I’d only recently learnt how to use a smart phone – surely this new thing called blogging couldn’t be for me? Yet something pulled me towards writing and creating a blog like a moth attracted to a lightbulb.
As Theodore Roosevelt said, “I did what I could, where I was, with what I had,” and as I worked with what I had, the dream gradually took on its own form and became a reality.
So doing what I could I got out my computer and learnt everything possible about how to build a blog and what to write on it.
Some of my go-to sources for blogging know-how include: Problogger (Darren Rowse), Boost Blog Traffic (Jon Morrow), Copyblogger (Brian Clark), Jeff Goins Writer (Jeff Goins), Blog Tyrant (Ramsay)
How blogging can change your life
- It’s a great hobby or even a full on career.
- It could help you stay ahead of technological changes as you get older.
- It could earn you some money.
- It could be an effective way to promote your current business and products or services.
- It should bring you in contact with a tribe of helpful and nurturing people.
- It should give you confidence to go out and try new things and meet new people in real life.
- It could offer the opportunity for increased travel, or the chance to do product, hotel or restaurant reviews.
- It can give you the chance to learn a whole lot of new things about creating dynamic websites, writing, photography, and how to use a blog to promote your existing business.
How blogging changed my life
I soon found out that blogging meant I could write about our adventures and our days out in Western Australia and soon I received feedback that people found my posts on ZigaZag, my travel blog, helpful and interesting.
It’s offered an outlet to share my photography, and given me a new passion, to improve my photography.
It’s given me the chance to experience things I wouldn’t normally do – at no charge; such as occasional travel, overnight stays in fabulous hotels, and dining at wonderful restaurants.
It’s taught me tons about social media.
I’ve met amazing people, from business owners to entrepreneurs, PR people and made wonderful new friends.
It’s given me the chance to write guest posts on well-known blogs about fashion, to be interviewed about travel, to write about blogging and also writing, and oh so much more, including writing for The West Australian newspaper’s travel magazine … things which have increased my personal confidence enormously.
And now, after 10 years of finding out everything I could about the art and mechanics of blogging via the internet and via blogging conferences in Sydney, Melbourne and The Gold Coast, it has given me the chance to coach and mentor others as they build blogs for their own businesses or hobbies.
Yep, from small things, bigger things grow.
I may not be Mia Freedman (Mama Mia) but now I can say that blogging is more than just a hobby, it’s a passion, something that inspires me to be the best I can … and the best bit? It’s given me the chance to help others in lots of different ways.
And you know what? You could do it too. Blogging is a fabulous online business if you’re serious about it, or it’s the most creative hobby you can imagine. Either way blogging once started, is very likely to change your life.
It certainly has changed mine.
I’ll be leaving in a few days time for the three day ProBlogger Conference at Surfer’s Paradise, followed by a three day adventure to Townsville and Magnetic Islands with Tourism Queensland, all because of blogging. And I’m so excited about that!
If you’d like to find out more about how blogging can change your life, or how to go about it, I’m currently offering Skype-chat calls and online mentoring for anyone interested in starting a blog or improving their existing blog. Please send an email for more details via the online form on the Contacts Page (above) or let me know in the Comments section below.
Do you think blogging could change your life – has it, would it, could it? Do tell us in the comments.
Life Images by Jill
thank you Jo for reposting this. I need a boost right now to believe in myself and pursue my dreams.
Thank you. You really are an inspiration. I just have to believe and keep believing and remind myself it won’t happen overnight.
You are an inspiration to me Jill. With your skills and talents it’s only a matter of time.
Janet aka Middle Aged Mama
Was just reading the latest “Yours” magazine and whose photo did I spy but my lovely bloggy buddy Jo!!!! How exciting! Loved reading your story here of how blogging has changed your life. I love anything and everything involved with blogging too xxx
Thank you Janet. If it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t have known it was published! And thanks for your kind words about my own bloggie story … I think we are of similar mind … both loving blogging especially 😉
Blogging not only changed my life (for a while) but it saved it. Long story and one I never blogged about. I blogged a lot in 2008 and 2009 and more infrequently since. However, I never will give it up entirely. This post was fantastic and I hope you enjoy your conference. I stumbled on your blog from a link somewhere and glad I did. It is hard to find other bloggers of similar ages (or is that not the case do your think?). I shall be back.
Thank you Lily. Lovely to ‘meet’ you too. Yes I’m always happy to meet others of a similar age … we are not overpowering the Internet yet but as a band of boomers we are growing! Please pop back often and I look forward to your blogging story one day.
Johanna, I agree with you 100%. Blogging is fun and fulfilling. I love it.
Thanks for your support Corinne 🙂
Neva @ Retire for the Fun of it
Wow, you have five years of blogging under your belt. No wonder you have such an expert handle on blogging. Reasons for starting my blog? I don’t have time to make my blogging a money-making business, since I’m supposed to be retired(?). It’s been a way to put words to the photos we’ve taken through the years. If I can document the fun details of my trips, this will be my digital scrapbook to read on a night when there’s nothing on the boob tube. Jo, I so cherish our friendship from across the other side of the world. The many friends I’ve made and may never meet is my favorite perk.
Ahh thank you Neva! Yes, I also treasure our friendship from across the globe and I love reading your words, engaging with your photos and marvelling at your Grandma projects (which I bookmark and keep for my ‘one day’!) I don’t think blogging is a money-making business for the vast majority of bloggers, it’s such a wonderful creative outlet though and a way to meet other people with similar interests.
Blogging filled a gap in my life when I retired two years before my husband. I originally found the world of blogging when researching trips overseas. I started reading blogs because I liked finding tips and suggestions that weren’t mainstream to utilise when overseas. Then I decided that I could do the same thing and share what I knew of the world with others. Blogging is a great way to share things, learn things and meet new friends.
I so totally agree with your sentiments about blogging Jan, and the fact that it’s firsthand knowledge is so important. I love your description that it’s a ‘great way to share things, learn things and meet new friends.’ Well said.
Irene S. Levine
What an inspiring post! Blogging is a wonderful creative outlet that can also have it’s social rewards.
Thanks Irene – I like that – ‘wonderful creative outlet with social rewards’ – so true 🙂
Bright Side of Life
Hi Jo, I am a Kiwi living in South Africa!! Sounds like life is really good for you…. and I agree, blogging is great. I tend to blog a lot about autism because of my son. I find it easier to write it all down as I get everything out of my system plus I don’t have to bore my friends! Enjoy your time away.
Hello lovely Kiwi living in South Africa! Admirable you. I’m glad that you blog about autism, firstly because I’m sure there are a lot of other people in the same boat who I’m sure you help, and who relate to your circumstances, and secondly because yes, I also agree that blogging is great therapy for writing things down which otherwise get bottled up inside. Keep blogging and supporting your son.
Life Images by Jill
Jo you are such a fabulous writer I am not surprised that your blogging has taken off and literally taken you to places you never dreamed of. Thank you for your support of my blogging, writing and photography too. I wish I had the courage to take that leap of faith. And yes, blogging has helped me sell some of my photography, so, even in a small way, it is helping me earn a few extra $ to pay for my next holiday or camera!
Thank you Jill, and I’m so glad that blogging is working in the background for you too. One day soon I know that blogging will take off in a much bigger way for you because of your writing and wonderful photography. Please keep believing.
So awesome Jo! You’re one of my favourite people I’ve met because of blogging. I just love your journey, your gentle spirit and the amazing stories you have to share. You help inspire me oodles. Can’t wait to catch up when we hit Perth. I’m so happy to see how far you’ve come You truly deserve it.
Hello Caz, Thank you so very much 🙂 I am deeply touched by your lovely comments. You and Craig have also inspired me tremendously, being such inspiring go-getters creating a business from the germ of an idea and running with it hell for leather! What you do is amazing. Living the dream of many people (although I don’t doubt for one minute the energy, passion and hard work that involves). Keep on doing what you do and yes can’t wait to catch up when you come to the South West and Perth 🙂
Great to hear you are heading up our way Jo. I guess you will be busy with your Tourism commitments but look me up if you have some spare time for a catch up.
Hello Jan, It would be awesesome to catch up if I can squeeze time from Queensland Tourism – nearer the time I’ll know more and will let you know if it’s possible.
I love blogging as my hobby and I am so looking forward to the #PBEVENT, see you then xxxx
And you do it so well Rae … I always leave your blog with a smile on my face 🙂 Yes, can’t wait to see you soon x
I love blogging and it has certainly filled a big void in my life. I don’t even care if I never make any money from it because it has been my ‘artistic outlet’ and that is therapy for me. I can identify with all of you points and I admire you for taking on two blogs. If you have any spare time while you are on the Gold Coast please let me know as I would love to meet you in person.
Hi Kathy, I love hearing other people’s reasons for blogging and so many people blog as an artistic outlet and I think that’s wonderful. I’d love to meet you in person one of these days too, and maybe we can meet up when I’m over soon – not sure when you get back though?
I’ve been blogging since 2007 and adore it.
I think we met through the Blog Tyrant blog when we were both commenting and now we follow each other – tres cool.
Loved your story of how you got into blogging and delighted at your work/holiday coming up.
Have a great week and good luck with the blogging mentoring.
Thanks you Liz – and yes we did meet via Blog Tyrant in the comments! It’s funny how this bloggie life roles! I think we’re destined to meet in Australia soon though 🙂
You are inspirational Jo. In so many ways. Blogging and writing may not be my thing but seeing you make the most of every opportunity/challenge motivates me to find my own way, beyond the daily grind.
Ohh, thank you Kim 🙂 I’m so happy to hear this! Inspiring women to live life away from the matrix makes me so happy. Thank you for taking the time and popping by to comment today 🙂
Great ideas Jo. I think I am heading in this direction.
I’m so glad to hear that Jenny. Keep us in the loop about how you go, and can’t wait to hear more 🙂