In resurrecting this blog from the dusty shelf I left it on at the end of last year, and then combing through its posts and pages to update my name and refresh the focus of the site a little, I realised something important completely passed me by in March 2023; my blog is now twenty years old. There have now been two decades where I’ve had a little corner of the internet for my own writing. Two decades of self-publishing, of learning to write and edit, of navigating various blogging platforms, and of inadvertently building an audience. That’s not what it was about at first – my writing was purely for me, because I enjoyed doing it – but after a while I realised that I could use my blog to share what I’d learnt, promote the work of creatives and small businesses that I loved, and share some of the wisdom you build up just by getting older.
During the last twenty years of maintaining the blog that became Rarely Wears Lipstick, I made a bunch of friends who I’ve kept in touch with via events, social media, lockdown Zoom socials, and group WhatsApp chats about The Great British Sewing Bee. I wrote stories about clothing and shared tales of what people wore to comfort themselves during difficult times. I wrote reviews (the Brunch Club days were a particular highlight!), various A-to-Z series with sponsors, hosted giveaways, shared tips, started a group blogging project about polyamory, and published the wonderful writing of many guest bloggers. When the blog was a decade old, I marked that anniversary with an awards ceremony in central London, celebrating a wonderful community of people doing great things in some of the areas I wrote about on my blog at the time. However, when the blog turned twenty I was, as we used to say when taking a break back in the early days of blogging, on hiatus.
In writing this post, I rummaged through my blog’s archives (which only go back to 2009, as I ditched everything older when I moved from Movable Type to Blogger), and found what is perhaps the most evocative piece of writing on the entire site. It wasn’t written by me, nor originally intended as a blog post, but now that I’ve abandoned the South for the North of England once again, Maurice’s words have even more meaning than they did twenty three years ago. It’s the power of words which brought me here and it’s also what keeps me coming back. Here’s to another decade of self-publishing whatever the hell I feel like sharing.
Main image via arbyreed’s Flickr photostream.