What Blogging Means to Me - The Freedom to Write


Veteran blogger Nickie O'Hara talks about blogging: 

Once upon a time, back in the days of dial-up internet, I spent hour upon hour creating a website which was my way of sharing a few pieces of creative writing, some anecdotes about my family and pictures of my cross-stitch work. It was a simple time, before Facebook and Twitter (and various other social media platforms) and was my way to communicate with a new community called the “world wide web”.  I updated the site occasionally, it was visited by friends from forums, chat rooms and games sites but there needed to be something... more.

I then discovered “blogging” - another website to upkeep but somewhere I could experiment with my writing (always my first love), comment on daily news and just muse generally on life.  So my blog was formed, taking on various guises over the first seven years, documenting a few important milestones in my life and always there, with regular and loyal readers visiting from time to time to see what I’d written.

In 2009, all that changed.  The internet had stepped up a gear and the aforementioned social media platforms had found their feet. Suddenly there was a whole new world opening up - somewhere else for me to share my ramblings. So, I tidied up the blog, deleted what I considered to be the crap content, gave it a new name - I Am Typecast - and started again, trying to break stereotypical judgements from life in general.
I still wrote about my family, what I’d watched on TV the night before, I dabbled with creative writing and I mused on what I read in the news. As I shared each link on Twitter or Facebook, the visitor count rose.  I was getting comments and feedback, conversations were being started, strangers were offering opinions and it opened up new ways of looking at a specific situation.  I was learning and they were learning.

Also, because I was writing about my family - and the concept of blogging was fairly new - bloggers who wrote about similar things gravitated towards each other and built their own communities and support networks.  I sought out other family/parent blogs, commented on their daily updates, took inspiration from their stories and struck up valuable, and long-lasting, friendships.

As time went on, the chance to expand my blog came around. Companies approached me to work with them; some of the offers I was able to accept and others had to be regretfully declined due to work and family commitments. But I managed to create a space for myself and became a blogger who was a trusted voice with a wealth of experience.

But… I made two mistakes in my blogging.  Big Mistake Number 1 was deleting the content I wrote between 2002 and 2009.  Why was this a mistake? Well, I found out a short while later that none of my content could be retrieved.  It had gone forever.  In that time I wrote about my own hysterectomy at age 27 and my mum’s death (she was 55 and I was 32 at the time) plus a whole load of other life-snippets that were much more in depth and meaningful than that photo album I have hidden away in a drawer.  Big Mistake Number 2 was not finding a way to accept every offer that came my way.  I was the sole wage earner for our family (and I still am) and it was never possible to take time out of work for events and meetings that were offered to me.  I really believe that the “class of 2009 - 2011” paved the way for bloggers and vloggers of today because we were the grassroots influencers working with brands, showing them how we could communicate effectively with our audience to help broadcast information and sell products. It’s now a profitable and flexible career for many bloggers with huge opportunities being provided to the right people.

In 2018, I’m still writing the blog I re-started almost 10 years ago. My writing style hasn’t changed much - hopefully it’s been refined a little - but I don’t blog as much as a used to.  Instead of being a small fish in a small pond, I’m now a small fish in a Very Large Sea.  I still love that I have a core following of readers and there are always new readers finding me via social media and my real-life friendship pool.  I’ve also had the chance to write for national publications such as The Metro, to take on public speaking gigs and to talk about subjects such as cancer (my daughter is a Neuroblastoma survivor) and ADHD (my son was diagnosed with ADHD at age 3), hopefully opening people’s minds to the other side of the story.  I’ve even created an irregular podcast series about running and had my own radio show.  But I’ll never stop writing - and I’ll never stop writing about what interests me because if I’m passionate about something, I’m sure someone else will be to!

You can hear more from Nickie here. (She's everywhere!) -