Friday, 24 July 2015

My Co-Blogging Story and Why I Went Back Solo

When I approached Stacie in 2014 about the prospect of co-blogging, the adventure sounded exciting. It meant I'd be able to hold back a little on my daily posting, I'd have time for other things, for other people, for something aside from my blog, and no matter how much I loved Book Badger, I realised I needed more in life, and co-blogging provided that for me. So why, 6 months down the line, did I decide that co-blogging was no longer for me, and what have I actually learnt from the experience? I intend to answers those questions today.


I would like to make something clear before I go into detail about my experiences - co-blogging, while fun and exciting, is not an easy out for people looking for less responsibility, it's just as demanding and requires much more organisation and planning than blogging alone, neither is it something you should be afraid of pulling out of; if your co-blogger(s) appreciate you and everything you've done together, they will understand should you wish to take on a solo adventure. Remember this when deciding which blogging route is right for you.

Co-blogging with Stacie was a one of a kind experience.


Was it without it's issues? Of course not. The minute you start mixing things together, whether that be colours, chemicals, emotions or people, there's bound to be a few stumbling blocks, and while I wouldn't say that Stacie and I encountered stumbling blocks, we definitely learnt the hard way how co-blogging can not only impact your blogging experience, but also your real life ones too.

It's hard to upkeep a co-blog when a co-blogger goes MIA.


As I mentioned earlier, sometimes, life just infers and gets in the way, and for Stacie, that came about ten-fold, leaving me to take care of all blog content, rather than just my half, maintenance and design. The first few weeks came and went I didn't bat much of an eyelid, it was one of the benefits of planning ahead and usually being full of ideas, and then life hit me hard too, knocking my confidence, my private life, my mood and my general motivation, even leading me to fear being online. That's quite an issue when you've just started taking full reins of what was meant to be an easier blogging experience, but co-blogging is just as time consuming, if not more, for a number of reasons;

  • You and your co-blogger(s) need to be in regular contact to function well together
  • Any changes to the blog, from graphics to fonts, to direction and design need to be discussed
  • Organisation and planning is key to making sure everyone knows what they're doing
  • Being able to respond as quickly as possible should anything happen is a must -

and so much more. It sounds easy, but when Stacie and I first started co-blogging, we emailed constantly, talked almost all the time on Twitter and I shared absolutely everything she could possibly have needed to know down the line, anything from design to functionality, what to do should anything happen, helping her plan and bounce ideas off, we relied on each other just as much as we did ourselves, and it was extremely demanding. Positive, wonderful, really fantastic, but demanding.

When I took the reins and blogged again on my own on Beautiful Bookish Butterflies with Stacie MIA, my blogging attitudes began to change of their own accord, as did my own personal blogging direction. I began to care less and less about how much content I published (what was one more empty day going to change amongst Stacie's missing days?) and started taking more time for myself, and when I did blog, there were less and less reviews and more and more discussions and advice, I made changes to Beautiful Bookish Butterflies without consulting Stacie first because I didn't know when I'd next speak to her (our graphics, the redesign) and eventually, we rarely spoke. We feared what the other would say in response to our actions. We were scared that we were failing the other, changing what we'd created together, and altered our friendship in doing so.

The good news is that our friendship is still in tact, in fact, since I mentioned Nellie and Co, I feel as though we've become closer again; we're in contact more often, we open up to each other a little more again, and generally, we're feeling much more positive than we were, but we are the perfect example of how bad things can get should a blogger go MIA.

The two months of solo-blogging I experienced pushed me to create better content, come up with new ideas and be a blogger.


When you come to realise that people are expected you to publish not only your own content, but also fill the gap others leave behind, you either start to stretch yourself thin, or grow to accommodate the new space, and I did the latter. I pushed myself to search for fresh content ideas. I searched my favourite blogs for ways I could challenge myself and target other interests that I feel I'm knowledgeable in. I paid close attention to what blogs I was reading, what content I was reading, and noticed that my own personal blog direction had somewhere along the line, changed.

This change is most noticeable through my lack of reviews lately, but also hugely noticeable through my monthly community wrap-ups featuring posts I've loved. If you try to balance out blogging vs books, you'd find that I link up more blogging related content than I do books, and it's coincidently, the content I was writing when Stacie was MIA. I became influenced by the blogs I was reading and changed the type of blogger I wanted to be, and the type of content I wanted to publish. I was no longer really feeling the book 'vibe'. I didn't feel like a 'book blogger' anymore, just a blogger, just someone that wants to share everything I know with people who can learn from it all, just someone who wants to push myself to be better at what I'm already great at. Beautiful Bookish Butterflies didn't feel like home anymore, so instead making it accommodate my changes, I decided a new home was in order. This home, Nellie and Co.

Nellie and Co. is my open door to anything and everything I may want to do and be. Nellie and Co. is my fresh start.


I talked briefly earlier this year about how its natural for you and your blog to change with time, and I stand by that post passionately. Everybody changes with time, as do peoples aims in life, as do the things we hope to achieve, as do the people who have in our lives, as do the things we do and the things we and dislike, so really, it was to be expected that myself and my blogging experience would change with me.

I've become interested in growing myself and my blog into something much bigger. I've become more interested in dedicating myself to the things I'm most passionate about - teaching other Blogger users how to get the most out of their site, giving advice to other bloggers, talking about subjects I feel most passionately about and subjects that relate to me on a personal level. I want the ability to grow, and develop into whatever and to wherever my body, mind and blog take me, and I want to be able to do that with complete control, choosing my content, choosing my subjects and choosing the right place for me to do that, and that's here.

Co-blogging was beautiful, but I'm excited to be in control again.


Over the last few weeks on social media, you've seen how much time I've already dedicated to Nellie and Co, and you've probably seen me happier, more positive and excited than I've been in a long time, and that's because I'm ready for this new adventure. If and when things get tough, which they probably will, I'll ride the wave and see where it takes me. If I realise I want to expand into something new and different and take my blog with me, I'll be doing just that, but right now, Nellie and Co. will be my safe haven, my new home, and I'm extremely excited to share what I've got in store.

Co-blogging can most definitely be the best thing for some people, but for people who are constantly creatively looking for new challenges, being inspired by others and feeling the pull of new and exciting directions, much like me, it's probably not where you should be. The experience of co-blogging has changed me, my attitudes and made me feel much differently about blogging, both positively and negatively, and it's helped put me on the path I'm meant to be on, so please, whatever you do, never be afraid of the co-blog, and never be afraid to leave it behind. Blogging is always a personal and special thing, whether it's for business and pleasure, and you should always, no matter the circumstances, but your blogging needs and wants first. Explore, find your niche and where you're meant to be, and love every moment. I know I intend to.

Hold the fort, it's not quite over yet though..


Stacie was, in my opinion, the best person I could have co-blogged with, and she without a doubt has been a fantastic support throughout all of my blogging endeavours, so I wanted to treat you all a) with a belated giveaway as funds were tight when I opened Nellie and Co. and b) with one of Beautiful Bookish Butterflies most popular reviewed books, both as a nod to my old home, and a thank you! Here's what you could win..

   

Giveaway is international and prizes will be shipped via the Book Depository. Please make sure TBD ships to your area of the world before entering. Duplicate entries will be removed, as will any 'giveaway only' accounts. Please check the full terms and conditions before entering. Giveaway closes 16th Aug. 2015.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you ever co-blogged, considered or left it behind?

35 comments:

  1. This was a very interesting post. I've actually considered co-blogging, but I feel that I'd enjoy it more just by myself because then it can be all me, and it's nice to look at it and know that all the work put into the blog is mine. I look forward to seeing more of you and your posts in the future. :)
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

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    1. Thanks Krystianna, it's great to see how much people have liked checking out this post.I think it's you're better working on your own, then solo is great for you - you've just got to go with your gut, you know? :)

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  2. Really fascinating post Amanda, thank you for sharing with us your honest co-blogging experience. It makes me stand by my decision in continuing to solo blog, it is difficult having to maintain that contact with another person, especially when they're in a different time zone or have different priorities to you. I'm glad it was an experience that you learnt and grew from as well.

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    1. Thanks Jeann! It's definitely an experience I learnt a lot from, and I'd definitely never try to put someone off, but there's a lot involved isn't there, you know yourself? We've just got to do what' right for us :)

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  3. This is now the third blog I've followed you to! So I definitely feel like you're still a good blogger :) I have participated in group blogging but never co-blogged with someone else mainly because, as an author, my blog is my brand, so I can't really share it with anyone else. Still I see other people do it and succeed! So it must work for some.

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    1. It's crazy to think there's been three isn't there? It's great to know I haven't changed too much in the long run, you know? I can understand keeping your brand as just yourself, as an author, that's a top priority, defining yourself and being easy to find and relate to. Great co-blogging blogs are rare, and how they work will always be a mystery and something very special, because it's very much a personality thing :)

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  4. I'm glad Stacie and your friendship is on the mend! I TOTALLY understand how destroying co-blogging can be without the communication. I mean, I co-blogged with my sister. So that's different in the way that we could actually talk face-to-face and we've always been pretty in sync. It worked beautifully...until she got other interests and I wanted to make our blog a BOOK blog instead of just a whatever blog. Aaaand yes. We had to call it quits. Because it really was super stressful. I haven't really wanted to co-blog with anyone else particularly after that because I AM A CONTROL FREAK. ahha. JUST KIDDINg. (Okay, totally not.) But I really like my blog being my space. XD And I do think it's important to let your blog change you and to change with your blog. It confuses me when people blog about a topic because they "have" to (I've seen it before!) I don't think we should be afraid to change to suit ourselves better. :D

    Yaaay for this epic new blog of yours and your awesome, honest posts.

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    1. As am I Cait, as I am! I remember when you co-blogged, but I only really came along when you were alone, which is a shame, but it also means I couldn't see you doing co-blogging again, you've got real control over what you do and what you say, and another voice might ruin that, you know? Going with the flow and where your blog goes is a BIG thing to consider, you blog for yourself, and then for others, you know? :)

      Thank you though Cait, I'm loving sharing what I am these days - it's just amazing!

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  5. Thanks for being so honest about your experience!! Co-blogging definitely seems to go through phases of popularity. Sometimes it feels like everybody is teaming up to co-blog and sometimes it feels like there's less than there's ever been. I don't think I could ever co-blog. Unless I kept my original blog and did group blog on the side. I could handle that because no matter what I could always do WHATEVER I want to do on my own blog.

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    1. Thanks Michelle! I think you're right - there's a definitely style surrounding the community right now, and just as it comes in, it comes out, and people realise that it's maybe not for them, but we have to learn these lessons don't we, so I'm not sure I can blame them all you know? I don't know if I could do two blogs!

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  6. My blog is supposed to be a co-blog with two other people, but most of the time I end up taking the brunt of the work. One of my co-bloggers has been on and off for the past year and I am honestly starting to question if she is going to come back full-time. I would definitely love to have her back, but a lot of things have changed. Like with you and Stacie, it would be hard to try and catch her up on everything. My other co-blogger is better at communicating. We talk about the blog a fair amount, but I am really the main content creator. Somehow, I also manage most of the social media accounts and do most of the commenting. So, I know what you mean about how stressful coblogging can be with an absent partner(s).
    I really enjoyed your work at Beautiful Bookish Butterflies and I thought you did an amazing job, even in your situation. I cannot wait to see where you take Nellie & Co!
    Tessa @ Crazy for YA

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    1. I definitely felt like that myself Tessa, and it's a shame, because you want it to be equal you know? I think you should have a proper chat with your co-blogger, ask her what her thoughts are and whether she wants to come back, and then you'll have a better chance at knowing. I'm glad you enjoyed following Beautiful Bookish Butterflies, and I'm pleased you've followed me here too - it means a lot to me, so thank you! :)

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  7. Thanks for the honest opinion! I totally get where you're coming from - since I'm the least busiest, I tend to have more time to post compared to my cobloggers. One of them is currently MIA, so I understand where you're coming from in that direction as well.

    I've always felt more comfortable doing it solo, so I'm currently winging the whole coblogging spectrum with Ella and Lupe. I'm glad you're still on friendly terms with Stacie, even with all that's happened. :)

    ~Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

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    1. I'm pleased you liked it Sophia! I think it's really important to share this information with people, it's a decision people shouldn't make lightly because it can affect your entire blogging experience. Sometimes, winging it is okay, it make you more productive and think of the demand more, which means you consider your content more, so there's nothing wrong with that - as long as you're happy, that's what matters :)

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  8. So interesting... I just had to part ways with my co-bloggers... I started my blog with co-blogging, this will be my first time solo... we shall see how it goes.

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    1. Make sure that you don't let the fact you're alone get you done, use it to your advantage! Make people aware your blogging solo, and take the time to share your voice and personality, it'll make you memorable and bring the followers coming back again and again! :)

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    2. That's great advice. I am enjoying it for now... I've thought about bringing other people on... but I am doing just fine... I think you right... It's time for me to establish my voice.... My husband said the same thing.

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    3. I second your husband. Finding your voice and using it as an important feature on your blog is a very easy way to market yourself in the community. Don't forget to be social and use your voice on social media too - your blog is only half the story, get your voice out there lovely! :)

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  9. Awwww If I ever get a co-blogger I wouldn't know how to let go of her if we've been together for a year or so. I have attachment issues but I see what you mean.

    www.lite-rate-ture.com

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    1. I think it comes with wanting, or needing your own space, your life giving you another road to travel you know? I think you know when it's right, there's nothing wrong with that really :)

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  10. Great post, nice to see you share all your thoughts on co-blogging and why going back to solo blogging was the right thing for you. I always wondered about co-blogging and whether it would be right for me, but it just has never felt like it would. I like having control and not having to rely on someone else or have them relying on me. I like being able to blog when I want, about what I want and not have to answer to anyone else. It seems like that's what is going to work best for you too. Nellie and Co. is going to be awesome!!! :)

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    1. Thanks lovely! It turns out you made the right choice not to come with us in the end, but it was the whole, me being back on my own that did it for me, you know? The control is nice! Thanks :)

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  11. Really interesting post! I think I hit the jackpot when I applied to coblog with Alise at Readers in Wonderland. We just meshed immediately. Our personalities are pretty similar which helps, and we each have similar tastes and goals, and we talk on skype basically everyday about anything and everything, not just blogging. I can't imagine blogging now without Alise helping me with everything (I say helping me, but really she does everything)

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    1. I think and Alise are one of the best co-blogger teams I've seen. You're so similar (in a good way) and what you do and say and how and what you post is fabulous! You should be very proud, I think Readers in Wonderland is a wonderful blog, and you should never stop, okay? ;)

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  12. I love solo blogging. It was interesting to read about your experience with co-blogging though.

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    1. Great to hear you liked checking it out Karen, stick to what you know and love :)

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  13. I would never try to co-blog, sounds like your experience was time of learning.

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    1. I definitely learnt a lot during the six months I co-blogged, it was a great experience!

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  14. I absolutely adore this post. Thanks for sharing your jurney and experience. I considered finding a co-blogger in the past. But after some thinking, I realized that I need to be in 100% control of my blog content and do it my own way. And that is not possible with a co-blogger.
    I wish you all the best with Nellie and Co.!

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    1. Thanks Lucia! I think if you struggle with control and can't share, and do honestly need the extra support, consider guest posters. They know they're not in charge like you are, and it works best for all involved. Pleased you liked checking it out :)

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  15. As long as you feel you've made the right decision! I'm glad it's no longer a strain on your friendship. Co-blogging can be hard work, but for me it works out. I don't feel as much pressure to post as much because I've got two co-bloggers backing me up.

    I used to notice a bit of strain when Karolina went MIA in the beginning, because she took me on due to law school taking up way too much of her time. And, well, that's true! Sometimes she doesn't post for months because she's so busy studying, and in the very beginning I kind of felt like I'd been thrown into the deep end, because I was just starting out. But now we've made it work!

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    1. I do think it can be demanding, but I'm much happier, and our friendship is much better I think. As long as you can it work for everyone involved, co-blogging can be so much fun, so I'm pleased you gotten things working, you can see that Bookshelf Reflections is a great blog! :)

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  16. Great post, especially helpful to read as I had been thinking about co-blogging recently. Thanks for sharing your story and why you decided to go solo again. It was an interesting read and it's definitely made me think more about co-blogging and how it's not for everyone. Also, I didn't know you'd started a new blog, so I'm glad to have found you again!

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    1. I was hoping I'd be able to help some people who were considering the change. So glad you were able to find me again and join me here at Nellie, it's one of the problems of moving blogs, losing people in the move, so I'm happy you're here. Hopefully you'll make the right decision for you Rebecca! :)

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