Hello hello, I’m so glad you’re here!
Ink on my fingers was the name of my very first blog started, without any fanfare, in April 2006. The online world felt cosier back then, like there was a whole bunch of us typing away at our kitchen tables, sharing our vulnerabilities and dreams with no thoughts of algorithms or likes or *gasp* monetisation. We shared photos of our weekends and poetry and favourites songs, the blog rolls in our sidebars stretching for miles. I was in the second year of grieving the death of my partner when I stumbled upon the blogosphere. It was exactly what I needed, a place to share slices of my grief while chronicling my creative journey — I didn’t know this was what I was doing, obviously, but looking back it’s so very clear. Blogging brought me back to life and gave me a path to walk. “Ink on my fingers” described the writer I wanted to be and I love that 16 years later I’m typing these words with literal ink on my fingers — gotta love a fountain pen (a special edition tortoiseshell red Pelikan Souveran M600 for those who know).
Those early years of blogging grew a small audience around me, so when I blogged about a photography class I was teaching locally my readers abroad wanted to join in too. This is how my online teaching business took off. It was not planned — frankly, I didn’t even know if it could be a thing. Everything happened very organically and continues to this day.
In 2010 I redesigned my website and began blogging under my own name. That was what you did back then. You kept your blog on the homepage of your site to help bring traffic in (somehow, I still don’t know how this shiz works) and eventually you became a brand of sorts. For a minute I thought my brand should be “Unravelling” as that was the name of my first course, but thankfully that idea was shot down fast (I no longer run Unravelling, but I’m still here!)
Look how organised I was back then:
I stopped blogging somewhere around 2016, I guess, I haven’t kept track. Social media took over and as Facebook fell out of my favour I put all my eggs in the Instagram basket — and I’ve loved it. I’ve always been a storyteller and sharing photos was my happy place. But then the algorithm messed things up and now I don’t see photos anymore, just marketing videos and collagen adverts (that I’m supposed to care about at my wizened old age. Screw you, patriarchal beauty standards!).
For sometime now I’ve wanted to return to a longer slower form of online sharing. I’ve danced a bit with my own blog, thinking I’d create an advice column or maybe go back to the weekly link list (RIP Something for the weekend!) but none of that set me alight.
And then Substack strolled in.
I teach an online biz course and some of my Insiders have reached out to ask me why I chose Substack— honestly, it only took a couple of mentions for me to hop on over and start an account. I like how it looks. I like the functionality. I like that you can publish for free (I don’t know if I will be offering paid-for subscriptions in the future). I like that it has a sense of community around it — I love that the inbox feels a bit like old school Google Reader! It feels familiar but it’s still new.
As much as we’d like to revive our blogging experience of 2006, times have changed and I’m excited to see if this new way of sharing my thoughts has legs. Calling this space ink on my fingers felt so cosy and appropriate, and I love having a magazine-style space to play with again.
So thank you for being here. I hope some of my future words comfort or entertain or enlighten you. I’m not setting any rules — I’ll only share when I’m inspired and we’ll see what this space wants to become. In my experience, organic growth is definitely the best kind of growth.
Loving this reflection, Susannah. It takes me back to my early-blogging days, too; blog hops, blog rolls, comments on every post by blogging besties... Sweet, precious, times.
LOVE LOVE LOVE !!!