30 April 2018

April Profile - THE BLOGGER

Just in the nick of time, it's April's monthly profile!

Over the course of twelve months, I am interviewing a range of creative, enthusiastic and dedicated professionals, passionate about their respective areas of expertise and willing to share the love for their subject with you all.

I hope that these interviews will be inspiring, helpful for those wishing to pursue similar careers, and most importantly, an interesting and insightful read.

April's profile is someone I happen to know very well: a lifestyle blogger and writer who can often be found with a cup of strong coffee in one hand, and a chocolate digestive in the other - it's me!

T H E  B L O G G E R 

April Profile - THE BLOGGER Maggie May

How did you initially become interested in blogging and writing?

I think I was actually quite late to the game when it comes to blogging - I didn't really start reading blogs myself until I was at university, and I found The Londoner's recipe for Slutty Brownies on Facebook. I then realised that the internet was full of wonderfully diverse, rich and exciting blogs, from travel, fashion and food, to interiors and living. It wasn't too long before I thought, why don't I give it a go? I've always loved writing, and quite enjoy messing around on computers {without really knowing what I'm doing} so I started up my own blog The Secret Life of Maggie May in May 2014.

Writing however has been a much longer affair. From a young age, I always had my nose in a book, and would often be found scribbling down stories, and as I got older, the beginnings of my 'novels'. In a way, it's a surprise that I didn't start blogging earlier! 

What effect do you think your blog will have on women? {Question from February's Profile, Sarah Elizabeth Butler - THE ARTIST}

I have grown up with the most exceptional female role models in my life, in particular Mama Maggie May. The example, support and advice she has given me is something I am forever grateful for, and I hope to emulate that as much as I can through the posts on my blog, so I can help women who find themselves in similar situations and having to deal with those emotions. But whilst I am passionate about women's empowerment and gender equality {I touched on it here}, many of the issues which are important to me - mental health, for example - affect men too, and so I hope that Maggie May reaches out to them as well.

April Profile - THE BLOGGER Maggie May

Are there certain places or topics which inspire you? Is there a particular genre that you like to focus on for the blog?

Travel is always guaranteed to get me writing - new experiences, flavours and cultures provide fresh material that I haven't had the chance to write about before, so I'm often whipping a notebook out of my bag to start noting down thoughts straight away! I also tend to get new ideas for blogging when I'm on long journeys, either on the train or if I'm a motorway passenger, so I try to keep my blogging pad or laptop with me for this reason - if it worked for J.K. Rowling... [She first got the idea for Harry Potter on a delayed train journey]

When I first started The Secret Life of Maggie May, I didn't have a particular focus - I thought I would cover a bit of everything, with a large emphasis on fashion and beauty. As time has gone on, although the brief still remains general what with it being a lifestyle blog, I mainly write about travel, baking, our adventures in the Cotswolds - and more recently, weddings! I don't want to be restricted to one fixed genre - I like the freedom of writing about what inspires me at the time.

Do you get to meet many interesting people as a result of your blog? {Question from March's Profile, Emily Brown - THE DANCER}

Blogging has led to me becoming much more active on social media, mainly Twitter and Instagram, and through this I have met some fantastic fellow bloggers, writers, and generally brilliant people. The internet can be a dark and depressing place, but nestled away are pockets of utter joy and creativity. Whether it's a food writer sharing a delicious recipe, a travel blogger giving a personal recommendation as to where you should stay on your holiday, or a reader supporting you and discussing your latest post, it's a hub of activity which can be incredibly rewarding if used in the right way. 

April Profile - THE BLOGGER Maggie May 

What does a typical day's work look like?

I don't blog full time, but I try to set aside quiet days or evenings for working on it. If I have the whole day free for blogging, I'll start by making a coffee and going through blog-related admin - mainly emails, advertising and PR requests. I'll then brainstorm some ideas for upcoming posts; I've got lots of Notes saved on my iPhone with paragraphs of written text that I might have jotted down on the bus, or in the middle of the night! So I try to group together these thoughts and arrange them into a collection of posts. 

I'll then spend the rest of the morning and early afternoon writing, as well as editing photos, which can be very time-consuming. Sometimes I get a bit of writer's block, so will stretch my legs and do a bit of housework to give my brain a break. I'll spend the rest of the time scheduling posts for my social media feeds, researching ideas, and also reading other blogs, as they can be a great source of inspiration.

Do you see yourself moving into other kinds of writing, or are you happiest writing in a blog format? {Question from Mr MM, Maggie May's fiancé}

Blogging is definitely a very different skill to creative writing, and strangely I quite often find that if I'm struggling to get inspired with one, I'll have no problem with the other! Blogging is obviously a lot more personal; you're sharing your own thoughts, beliefs and life experiences with nothing to hide behind {other than a pseudonym...} It can then feel very free and safe to switch back to writing novels or short stories, as your words can be shaped into those of your characters, shifting the judgement away from you. I would like to spend more time working on my novel {it's in the extremely early stages and has taken me about 8 years so far}, but I love the blogging too much to let it go.  

April Profile - THE BLOGGER Maggie May

Where would you like to see yourself and your blogging in a few years' time?

I would love to increase my readership, and see more people visiting The Secret Life of Maggie May from across Europe and America. It's so rewarding to see when your posts are being read, shared and commented on, but I'd love to see even more people talking about it! I'd also like to collaborate with more brands which I'm passionate about, such as Boden or Joules {who I've worked with before and were excellent}; I think their social media campaigns are wonderful, and their aesthetic ties in nicely with Maggie May.

Finally, do you have any advice for others looking to pursue an interest or a career in blogging? 

It can feel very daunting writing your first blog post - what if somebody reads it? What if nobody reads it?!  Start off slowly; don't worry about the design and graphics side of things to begin with, and just focus on the writing - it's all very well having a beautiful website for people to land on, but if your posts are lacking then they won't be staying on it for very long. 

Blogging for most is not a money-making mission; I do it because I love it. But it is possible to make an income from it, if you work hard and have lots of time to dedicate. There are some incredibly helpful bloggers on Twitter who will be only too happy to share their tips and tricks on this. If you're just looking at blogging as a hobby to begin with though, then sign up to Blogger or Wordpress {I use Blogger}, have a read of your favourite bloggers' posts to see how they do it, and have a go - you have nothing to lose!

Maggie is a lifestyle blogger based in the Cotswolds, and writes the fast-growing UK blog The Secret Life of Maggie May.  To keep up with her latest posts, follow her on Twitter or Instagram


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