WHY I STARTED BLOGGING & MY HAPPINESS PROJECT

I started a blog in February for two reasons. The first was that I’d just come back from a long weekend in Lisbon and had what I felt were lots of good tips that I wanted to pass onto others (it’s such an overlooked gem of a city; you can read the post here – do go!). The second reason was that I was feeling a bit stale, a bit in a rut and had the urge to do something outside of my job (being a lawyer) which was totally different and a bit more creative.

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I can safely say that knew/know very little blogging. However, I do love writing. I took the little technical skill I had to set up my blog using som me extremely helpful advice from Rosie Londoner whose own blog The Londoner I have followed for years. Then, with an enormous amount of help from the lovely (and extremely patient) people on the WordPress helpdesk, I started to develop it.

I named my blog The Eclecticity as I wanted to write about the things that interest me and it quickly became apparent those those things weren’t in one genre but a little bit of one thing and a little bit of another. I love travelling but I don’t travel enough to write purely about that. I like clothes and fashion but I’ll happily admit I’m not trendy enough to be purely fashion focussed (plus I wear pretty much the same dresses to work every day of the week – but I can tell you where to get a good work dress). Similarly, I love eating and try to be healthy but I’m not such a foodie or so into clean eating to take that angle. I’m sporty-ish but not super sporty, like art but not arty. And so on and so forth.

Quickly it hit me like a ton of bricks that I don’t have a particular flair for anything. What an utterly sobering thought!

Then to make matters worse when I was researching blogs (the lawyer in me) one thing stood out in article after article. Blogs need a clear theme. I did not have this. It seemed I had fallen at the first hurdle – a mix of things could never really be a clear theme! When I mentioned this to my boyfriend he bluntly confirmed my concern, “To be honest Katie who is going to want to read about terrariums one day and a Segway tour in South Africa the next?” Ouch. “People like me?” I retorted both meekly and weakly. But I got his point. So much for sugar coating it though.  It was clear I needed to refine.

I then spent the next few days completely stumped because I don’t have any sort of niche whatsoever! For fifteen years I have studied and trained to be and have been (and still am) a lawyer, and let’s be fair, I neither want to write about it nor am I sure anyone would want to read about it.

At a complete loss I pondered it for a while feeling rather demotivated by the whole thing and then three days ago it came to me after the following things happened:

♥I remembered Sir Ken Robinson’s TED talk where he argued that creativity is stifled as you get older but actually it can be learned. Hurrah! I (I hoped) was not a totally lost cause!

♥ The previous week I had read a fantastic, truly inspiring blog post entitled A Little Life Update: On Blogging Alongside A Career from Briony of A Girl A Style who is a political advisor by day and blogger too. She has just taken the decision to work four days in her political role and dedicate the remaining day to her blog. There in front of me was a woman who was doing what she wanted to do and making it work for her. I was filled with admiration and then felt really encouraged by a really kind message of support from her – I really want to make this work!

♥ Then I picked up off my bookshelf and re-read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project after I was reminded of it in another fantastic blog post by Briony. The book made me question what was I trying to achieve? I, like Rubin, just wanted to get the most out of every day, I wanted to shake that feeling of ennui and malaise that washed over me more often than not. I didn’t want to fundamentally change I wanted to improve.

I had seen the answer over and over again. It was in block yellow capitals two feet from my face on the bedside table. I needed a Happiness Project.

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Little things had been irking me. There were areas where I hadn’t been fulfilling my potential. I took a long hard look at myself and realised:l and this is only a few:

  • I have nice things but don’t use them
  • I have a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear – particularly true for casual clothes at the weekend
  • I want to learn more about history and politics – there are things that I really would like to understand better.
  • I rarely do my makeup properly unless it’s the weekend and I’m seeing people
  • I fritter a lot of time away.
  • I’d love to be fluent in French but I never keep it up
  • I can get bored easily and find it difficult to see a venture through to the end
  • I dress very similarly to how I did 10 years ago but I’m now in my early thirties I want to be chicer
  • I am terrible at exercising on a consistent basis and instead go through periods of exercising and not exercising with the latter tending to prevail
  • I want to spend more quality time with the people I care about

So I have resolved to each month do as Rubin suggests and dedicate a different month to a different aspect of my life. I will distill that aspect into one word. If there’s one thing I can do its motivate myself and I do love a project. It will also enable me to retain the eclecticity of my blog whilst permitting consistency. The theme is, what I knew it deep down to be but I hadn’t been able to put my finger on it, self-improvement. I love a makeover show of any type and with the next day being the start of a new month it is perfect timing.

Keep your eyes open for April’s theme and wish me luck! I’d love to hear from you if you’ve undertaken a happiness project and the results you’ve had.

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