Hello Sunshine Blogger Award

I got a nice surprise last week when one of my blogging friends – the lovely Suzanne – nominated me for a ‘Hello Sunshine’ award – a round robin of questions posed to your favourite bloggers (much like the sort of thing that does the rounds on personal Facebook feeds from time to time).

One of the things I love about blogging is that it’s introduced me to several new friends from up and down the country (albeit mainly ‘virtual’ ones due to my location at the very tippy top of Scotland). Suzanne is one of the nicest people I’ve encountered in the blogging world and writes brilliantly about all sorts of things on her website Inside, Outside and Beyond. Do pop over and have a look at some of her fab articles over a cuppa. If you like my blog, I think you’re sure to enjoy hers too!

Without further ado though, onto the questions Suzanne has posed for me. At the end of the post I’ll tag a couple of other bloggers to pass the baton onto (folks, no obligation to join in!) From a readership point of view, it’s a nice way to find blogs you might not have previously encountered. And from a community point of view, it’s also a lovely way to share out a bit of the blogging love.

What made you start blogging?

I’ve mentioned on here before that I started blogging mainly as a route to getting into writing. I’d read in my Writers and Artists Yearbook that blogging was often a way to getting your writing noticed, and with that in mind, it seemed a sensible avenue to take. After my kids started school I also felt I needed something to reawaken the creativity I felt I’d been neglecting. I suddenly had a bit of extra time and I was eager to dive into something new!

With so many blogs around these days, I’m not sure that blogging necessarily translates to being discovered as a writer. What it does do is improve your confidence, offers practise in writing for an audience, and helps you settle into a tone – or ‘voice’ – that works for you. I’d be a little lost without my blog now and it’s been really helpful in establishing a regular practice of writing. If you want to find out more about setting up your own blog, you’ll find some tips on that in my articles here and here.

Name 3 things you love most about blogging?

Aside from the opportunity to unleash my inner creative, the thing I like best about my blog is the feedback I get from the people who come back each week to read it. I love hearing that people have enjoyed articles, or found them in some way useful in their lives. I also enjoy the interaction with other bloggers and people who read and comment on social media. I’m actually quite an introverted person, so blogging is ideal for me in the sense that I enjoy the time spent alone while writing, but also like the instant feedback and interaction you can get from sharing posts.

The other thing I love about blogging is that it’s helped me ‘open up’ more – something that can be quite difficult when you’re a writer in a very small community. Over the past few years, I’ve learned to let go of some of my hang ups about friends and family members reading my writing (oddly, always much more of a worry than opening up your psyche to complete strangers on the web 😉 ). If you look back at the more impersonal tone of some of my early posts I think you’ll see the development arc I’m talking about, and it’s something I’m actually quite proud of. I do believe that if you want to be a writer you have to give up on some of those kinds of insecurities. Having said that, when people I meet out and about mention something I’ve posted, I’m occasionally still inclined to cringe!

Picture of Gail in front of Dunbeath Castle, Caithness
Me, trying to rock the sunshine look

Where do you get your inspiration to write?

I get writing inspiration from all sorts of places – travel, books, podcasts, or sometimes just from things that come up in conversation. Having struggled to find time to write with kids, dog, life etc., I now find ‘writer’s block’ to be a bit of a luxury I don’t have room for in my life! Up to now, I’ve never been short of blogging ideas, and it’s actually more a case of too many ideas, not enough time to write about them. Thankfully, I have several notebooks filled with ideas for future posts so that I don’t forget them, and (fingers crossed) never find myself at a loss for what to write.

How much time per week do you spend on blogging?

Oh dear. The answer to this is probably a little more than I should do! I’d say I spend 3-4 hours a week on writing blog posts, but there can also be extra time involved in editing photos, making up graphics and posting on social media (the only way, I find, of letting anyone know that your blog actually exists.) I do have a few other things to do though… including being Mum, walking the dog, working for my husband’s business and trying to finish off the edits on my first novel. With all that in mind, I limit myself to one blog post weekly, probably splitting up the actual writing bit over 2-3 sessions. I do find it helps to post to a reasonably regular schedule, though. If I had more time on my hands, I’d probably write here every day!

Where do you see your blog in five years time?

That’s an interesting question, and to be honest, not something I’ve given much thought to. In five years time my kids will be in the upper end of High School, and at that point the ‘school run’ element of my blog title will probably be a little out of date! I do hope that I’ll still be writing and creating, but it may be in a different guise or in a slightly new direction. In the meantime, I hope to enjoy a few more years of Wellies on the School Run.

Are you with me?

Here’s to five years and beyond!


The bloggers I’d like to extend the Sunshine Award to are two of my favourite local writers, Andrea and Susan. Both of these girls write lovely blogs from here in the far North of Scotland – we may be a little bit isolated, but here in Caithness we’re a pretty creative bunch! Do pop over and have a read – and ladies, if you’d like to join in, here are your questions.

I look forward to reading your answers. There’s always room for a little more sunshine in the world!

  1. What made you start blogging in the first place?
  2. What opportunities, if any, has blogging brought into your life?
  3. Where do you get your inspiration to write from?
  4. What tips would you offer someone who wants to start their own blog?
  5. Which 3 articles are you most proud of on your blog?