Behind the blog

Behind the Blog #1 – featuring Slummy Single Mummy

Ever since I started blogging I’ve been intrigued by other bloggers.

Why did they start? What keeps them going? Who do they turn to for inspiration?

Reading other blogs is a must before you start and it’s the community that I’ve found to be the fuel I need to stay motivated.

I will never forget the moment someone first commented on one of my posts, or retweeted me. That first droplet of recognition that said; I am not alone out here, my words have found a home.

I’m still a newbie in the blogging community but new blogs are born every day.

So I thought that it was high time I started filling my island of the internet with other voices. Mine gets a little lonely and prone to sarcasm!

And so I bring you the first in a series (I hope) of Q&As with some of the word-plumbers and light-painters who dared one day to open up their lives to the world…

Name: Jo Middleton

Blogging as: Slummy Single Mummy

Since: December 2009

Slummy Single Mummy

Me: you’ve been blogging since 2009 and in your first post you called your blog your silent partner. Why did you want to blog and not simply keep a diary?

Jo: What a great question! I have kept diaries before and find the act of writing very cathartic, but I wanted something a little bit extra from my blog. As a single parent I was looking for support and validation; I wanted other parents to offer advice and suggestions and to tell me that I was doing an OK job. You don’t get that sort of feedback from a notebook.

Me: How did you go about finding readers – did you share your writing with friends or keep it to yourself for a while?

Jo: I think I shared from day one – I’m useless at keeping things to myself! It’s going to sound really stupid, but when I first set my blog up I was fairly oblivious to the ‘blogosphere’ and it came as quite a surprise to find there were actually thousands of people already blogging! Dur. I threw myself in to all of the parent blogging communities – there were far fewer UK parent bloggers in 2009 so it was easier to stand out and to get to know people. You can’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet as a blogger.

Me: What was the moment you knew you’d be doing this for a long time – that it wasn’t just a fad?

Jo: I wish I could say that there was an actual moment, possibly while I was stood on top of a cliff, staring thoughtfully out to sea, but there wasn’t. It was a very gradual development and to be honest I’m often surprised I’ve stuck at it this long – I normally have a pretty short attention span.

Me: I struggle with the techy aspects of blogging and spend far too long fiddling with the settings – do you think there is more help out there now than when you started out?

Jo: I struggle with that too. I had to pay someone else to move my blog when I went self hosted and always get help when I want to do anything like update my theme or design. I’m a big advocate of delegating to make the best use of your time – I could fiddle with settings for hours and still not end up doing it quite right so it makes much more sense for me to pay someone else to do it and get on with earning money. That said, there is loads of support out there, you just need to know where to look. I’m a member of a small group of bloggers online – we use each other for advice and information and to ask silly questions, I find that really useful.

Me: When and why did you decide to start dealing with brands and PR people – and has it been worthwhile?

Jo: Again, it was a very gradual thing, rather than a conscious decision. After a year or so I started being approached by brands and it was fun to get free stuff, go on outings and see behind the scenes of things. Over the last few years it’s become a much bigger part of what I do and has been hugely worthwhile, both financially and in terms of opening up new opportunities and experiences.

Me: You now have a massive following on social media. If you could give new bloggers one tip about growing and managing that world what would it be?

Jo: My top tip would be to read my eight tips to help you grow and manage your Twitter following.

Me: The blogging world seems welcoming to me but I am sure it isn’t always so. Have you ever had to deal with trolls and what did you do?

Jo: I’ve never had any problems at all, but appreciate that this is probably not the case for everyone. I’ve never really been the kid who’s up to date with the latest crazes or arguments, so most of the drama just goes over my head. It’s a nice place to be!

Me: Do you think there is still room or appetite for more blogs? Can new voices ever find an audience in today’s information overloaded world?

Jo: I’m sure there is always room, I can’t imagine we are ever going to get to the point where we say ‘that’s it, we have enough on the internet now, let’s stop.’ I’m not even sure you have to have anything particularly unique about you as long as you can connect with people; be authentic and develop a consistent tone of voice and if people like it they will come back.

Me: It’s too late for me to join in but you’ve given yourself a good run in to get your “40 things to do before 40” list ticked off. What have you done that you’ve enjoyed or feel was your greatest achievement most so far?

Jo: Oooh, do you know, one of the things I’m most proud of is my lemon curd! I don’t often spend time at home doing things like crafts or cooking but this went really well and I was so chuffed with myself for doing it all properly – my jars even had pretty lids!

Me: Finally, do you think that blogging is going to be superseded by the next generation of Vloggers? Will there only be old bloggers posting into the sunset in future?

Jo: No. Everyone made a big deal of the internet taking over print media but there are still plenty of magazines on the shelves aren’t there? I’m not saying that video content isn’t going to become more popular, but there are still going to be plenty of people who want to read stories rather than watch them.

Thank you very much to Jo for letting me steal some of her busy life to answer these questions.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this detour. Do leave a comment.

And if you’d like to be next, simply drop me a line at 🙂

I’m linking up with #TwinklyTuesday


14 replies »

  1. I love reading about other bloggers! I love what Jo says about diaries v blogs too. I used to write a physical diary in my youth and I call my blog my ‘virtual diary’. I totally totally agree that a notebook doesn’t offer the same feedback. And not only that, this diary of mine contains images, videos, and can be designed — and redesigned — in ways that a paper diary couldn’t be. Plus it can be shared with my friends and family. Great post, yet again! 🙂 Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    Caro |


  2. This is a great idea! As someone new also, it’s always interesting to get a bit of insight about what goes on behind the scenes.


  3. Really interesting, its good to see what drives other bloggers and how they got started. I’ve been blogging less than a year so its great to see where blogging can take you! #twinklytuesdays


  4. Great read. Wen I started blogging in 2012 Jo’s was one of the first parent blogs I came across and I’ve followed her ever since. I’ve seen her blog grow and watched as she’s diversified her blogging activities. It can also be quite an enlightening read. As Jo has a teenaged daughter I can read her blog and see what will be coming my way in a decade or so! I also had the good fortune to meet Jo in person a year or so ago and a lovely person she is too.


    • Thanks John. Same here – she was one of the first bloggers I was aware of. I was delighted that she agreed to do the q&a. I’d like to do more. Would you be interested?


  5. Love hearing how other bloggers do it, how they got there, what they believe. Kinda like getting a peek in someone else’s medicine cabinet! LOL! Thanks for the interview, really cool series!