Sunday 16th January 2022

How Did My Blog Start? 22/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.45.

How Did My Blog Start? 22/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.45.

In late 2010 I started a blog called Memories By Denyse.

The purpose, back then, was two-fold. It was to chart the story of the life of my husband as his memory became affected by what we were told was early dementia. It was also to showcase my photos because I take photos for memories.

Great start! Yes AND No.

  • getting a website and domain name was easy through my internet providor and they hosted (still do) the blog.
  • I found someone on line to set up the blog and then I had NO IDEA of what to do to change anything. And it really meant me paying others!
  • I’d like to say here is that first post but no. In fact almost all of my posts from 2010-2014 are now either in draft or gone to bloggy heaven.

So, what happened?

  • never one to do things simply, I decided after the first ever Aussie Blogging conference in March 2011 that I needed to write about more.
  • of course I did. So I added education. After all I was a retired principal. I also thought I could help both parents and teachers.
  • in fact in 2012 I was a guest blogger speaker at the Digital Parents Conference in Melbourne telling ‘my story’. Oh. It’s still on YouTube somewhere and I cringe because…
  • it was found that sometime that year that my husband’s so-called medical condition was the FAULT of every darned medication two specialists served up to him based on mis-diagnoses.

Hold on, I am going too fast! 

  • when I decided to go down the three blogs route because I could write about them, I complicated my on-life with: Memories By Denyse, Ready.Set.School. and Ready.Set.Teach. Yes. I even copyrighted my names and intellectual property.
  • Hold ON!
  • OK. I am stopping to explain that I started again (still had the domain name and could add as many blogs as I liked) WITH the most patient man ever. MY computer techie guy as I call him.
  • I met him in a local cafe and with the help of MY hand drawn examples, he came up with the way to make all three blogs work for me on-line. And after all this time, if I run into a blog issue I can call him. He’s the best and most generous person and does my work pro-bono! He did HAVE to give me lessons though. The main one was: Keep the number of plugins small & reduce the file size of your photos (yes, Craig, I have!)
  • They were all wordpress models using my own hosting.
  • But I over-did it. By spreading things too thin.
  • I used my skills and talents outside blogging with parent groups and pre-service teachers and a person blog for me. I used to tell stories about our family (not naming names) and with permission I used pics of the grandkids.
  • I was also teaching at Uni, caring for grandkids on some days of the week, and spreading the word on school readiness via my education consultancy business
  • I blogged up to 4-5 times a week and linked up. Back then there was a link up for each week day and on weekends it was Weekend Rewind.

What made me stop and think?

  • Blogging certainly brought me many new friends via commenting, blog link ups and social media. That was great. I continue to be grateful for that once I had fully retired from teaching at all levels and grandchild care.
  • Blogging for money was the goal at one stage for many bloggers and not wanting to be left out, I did some sponsored posts for a company who gave me a grant to attend a conference in Melbourne. (remember the My Family Stickers??)
  • I started to consider the ramifications of advice I was giving on the two education-based blogs and as I had to take out personal indemnity insurance for my education consultancy (costly, over $1000 annually) and blogging was taking OFF ….when I read about Blogging and The Law.
  • School Principal me considered a lot that was being disseminated and over the time of 2014 two of  my three blogs shut down at my request.
  • I did not keep many posts at all. It also helped me with costs at the hosting end to delete a lot of the blogging posts and photos and I do not regret that.
  • The posts relating to the family were all deleted and trashed (sounds terrible) at the hosting end even though there were no identifiers but I felt better as time past that there would be no digital footprints as any searches sent people to 404 error message.
  • It felt a bit sad when it came time to renew the hosting and the domain names but I let them go to focus on:

Denyse Whelan Blogs.

  • I needed something familiar and connecting me to others when we moved away from all I knew. Family, Sydney and Work.
  • I made a commitment from 1 January 2015 to blog EACH and EVERY day.
  • Yes, I did that until sometime in 2016 when I eased back but for sometime I blogged via topics which I continue to use as a guide today. I had a friend I met when I was making a logo to attend a conference who helped me greatly with these graphics in 2016. Thank you Tanya!
  • By 2017 and into 2018 this blog posts on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the topics vary. See above!
  • I linked up to the link ups that I knew were still around back then, but slowly they shrivelled up too.
  • Blogging was not something everyone continued. Many focussed on jobs once kids were at school. Some became dissillusioned with the blogging promise. 
  • By 2014 there was no more Digital Parents and some groups emerged on Facebook. Problogger conferences were/are the only ones that are around. I went to one in Melbourne in 2012.
  • In 2016 I got the opportunity to host my own link up and chose Mondays as Kirsty had retired her link up. Alicia has a link up too on Mondays as does Kell.
  • In 2017 Leanne made a Thursday link up as did Sue and Leanne each Wednesday
  • Kylie hosts I Blog on Tuesdays after Jess retired her blog.
  • There are far fewer bloggers linking up these days and my view is that people are busy with life, are not blogging much and to commit to a link up would mean commenting more and some just do not have the time.

Why Are Link Ups Important?

  • On a personal level I know that I get more people reading and commenting than if I just posted.
  • I deliberately do not have an email sign up because I did and I had few people sign up.
  • I know rely on my Bloglovin’ follow on my blog and me adding my posts to facebook.
  • But I love link ups because I get to meet new bloggers and that is the joy of blogging,

Connecting is Why I Blog.

  • When I returned to full-time blogging in 2015 my blog’s name is Denyse Whelan Blogs (then I added) To Connect.
  • Humans thrive on connection and on-line is one of my daily ways to do so.
  • Moving to a new area and three house moves in that time means that many of my connections are as they say in the computer.
  • I will continue to blog as long as I enjoy it and I have people reading and adding their comments. The conversations are the best!
  • Last year my cancer diagnosis was one very big example of the connections and care in the blogging community and I am always grateful for that.

Tell Me, How Did Your Blog Start?

I know not all of my readers are bloggers but I am really looking forward to reading everyone’s stories if they have decided to follow the optional prompt.


On Mondays I link up with Alicia here.

Life This Week 22/52.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 23/52. What I Will Never See Again. 4/6/18. 



  1. I’m interested that you’ve noticed the drop in bloggers. Nearly everyone I started with has gone. That’s so terrible about your husband – my goodness, how long that could have gone on for!!Glad it was finally sorted!

    • Thanks Lydia. Yes so many blogs no longer around but what I like is that via twitter and Facebook I am still connected to many of those people. I went to 4 conferences in total or (maybe more) and made the in real life connections that in some cases have continued into friendships.
      I like that!
      As for the wrong diagnosis, let’s just say “not all specialists are equal” but in my hub’s case it was also that he had been with one GP for far too long and when he had to change doctors he made up his mind to ‘investigate further’. It took a couple of years because ; “doctors”. It is a time we both rarely talk about now because it never should have been.
      Grateful for how things are now (and have been for past 5 years)
      Denyse x

  2. Interesting as always. I so identify about the spreading yourself too thin comment. I started my astro blog in 2008 as a way of learning more as I wrote – and to find my voice. A few years later it became clear that I wanted to write about more & my astro audience wasn’t interested in my rambles or my recipes – so and anyways was born. Moving forward another few years and I’m writing novels and need a landing page for them where people can easily find them – For a while, I persevered with and anyways and Joanne Tracey to keep the writing separate. Then I figured that the travels and the food are also in my books so I’ve combined the 2. It still feels disjointed and very few people are interested in the writing part, but…

    • We are like twins then!!

      I am glad you found where you could settle into one.

      But I hear you on the feeling of being disjointed.

      That was the reason in 2016 I did a topic a day. But then over time I tired of the seven day a week commitment I made back in Jan 2015.

      I sometimes think 2 posts a week is too few but the link ups are so good. Entering my Tuesday posts on 3 different days on 3 different link ups has brought me some new bloggers to my blog (and vice versa) so that is a good thing.

      Denyse x

  3. I didn’t know you had three blogs! Interesting to read about and how and why you started blogging Denyse. xx

    • Yes it was a while back now and whilst I enjoyed writing for different audiences, there was very little feedback or connection.

      This is why I am probably happiest here and now as I have the chance for on-line connections and meet some new bloggers!

      Denyse x

  4. Wow, you’ve been busy!
    I started my blog when my 6th child was 4 months old. I was a company manager in the Melbourne office of a Sydney-based advertising company prior to kids. I stumbled across a blog one day and was hooked – an easy way for me to reconnect to the world and share our lives. Very soon I was earing regular cash too.
    I am so glad that I began blogging. I have an entire online record of my children’s childhoods and I have met so many great people – bloggers and followers.

    • That it is a great story Jody!

      Yes blogging is quite addictive in its own way!

      Glad to have ‘met you’ via blogging and you do a fine job!

      Records of the children’s lives is a great idea too.

      Denyse x

  5. Wow Denyse I’m tired just reading about all of your blogs! I started mine because I had retired early and then found that I wasn’t adjusting. As you will read in my blog post, it is the connection with other bloggers and also my readers that makes me love my blog. The link up parties are a great idea but can be overwhelming to try and read and comment on many blogs. That is why Leanne and I started our one that was for a specific niche and I knew I would enjoy reading the posts because I could identify with them. People are busy and perhaps blogging like everything now has grown to a point where people just can’t keep up. I have a couple of link ups I attend but also have my favourite list of bloggers that I comment on. Otherwise I couldn’t fit it all in. I had plans to monetize but really this year with a new grandbaby almost here and other areas of my life, I just think I’m happy writing and sharing my thoughts. Have a great week, Denyse and take care

    • Sure is a story, though!

      I like the fact that I learned a lot from my experience.

      Blogging has taken me into a world away from schools – all I knew as a workplace – and helped me meet many more people – in real life and here – and I am so grateful for this.

      Link ups are great for connecting but like you it is wearing trying to comment on MANY link ups (those I continue to connect with are fine) as I was when I was linking to US-based blogs. Very rarely did those people visit my blog.

      So, yes, I hear you on the monetiziing. I did try and I felt it took me away from my purpose of connection. The few sponsored posts I did felt ‘wrong’ and as a teacher too I steer away from commercialisation.

      Thanks for sharing here and having a link up too.
      Denyse x

  6. Denyse, I really enjoyed reading how your blogging started and the journey with it over the years. I hope you don’t mind that the post I’ve linked up is off topic but I wanted the interview I did with Anne to get some views, as my Saturday posts don’t really get seen. I started blogging in September 2012 after I had walked away from my corporate life and was not in good shape. My first blog you might remember was called MinsMash and was originally used as a way to showcase my 365 Grateful Project photographs – a project I did to help me to re-engage with life and feel happier. I had no idea about blogging or the blogosphere or that I would make the connections that I have …. but it’s been a wonderful experience and I love it all! You’re right that there are far less link ups and blogging conferences and things around as there were when I first started. People’s lives get busy, but it will come and go in cycles I guess. We shall see! lol xo

    • Thanks Min, yes I do remember your first blog. I also recall the way in which you used your photos to connect. Lovely.

      There is always a purpose to starting a blog and we seem to have similar starts ‘ after work life’.

      So many bloggers began because they were now at home with babies and kids and wanted an outlet. That was how Mrs Woog started! Same with BabyMacBeth. They are still going well and I love that too! Both are just so lovely and happy to share their blogging experiences.

      Never apologise for not using the prompt! That’s why I say it is ‘optional.’

      Big times ahead for you with a kitchen replacement. Note: may be longer than 2 weeks. I know that might be hard, but am the wife of a retired kitchen maker and installer! Make a part of your house – laundry or family area your ‘temp kitchen’ and then it won’t feel so long. Good luck!

      Denyse x

  7. Wow, you must have been busy with all them blogs! I started blogging as I needed something for myself being a stay at home mum. We are always off on adventures so I thought why not blog about it. I am not much of a written but I enjoy doing it!

    • So many bloggers began their blogs just as you did! Staying home they needed more. Your blog is full of your family adventures and will be wonderful record to look back on as they kids get older.

      Denyse x

  8. I went through the process of detailing how my blog started and where it’s been over the years, and it’s nice to remember. It’s really something to see how far I’ve come and all the thing I’ve been able to achieve. I hope you feel the same way about your blogs. What a journey, right!?

    • So so true! I often think until we do take the chance to review or look back we cannot see how far we have come!!

      I use the word journey…can’t think of another…about cancer and I am sticking to it!

      Thanks for visiting!! Love seeing your name pop up!!

      Denyse x

  9. I’ve loved reading how your blogs began, Denyse! I’ve enjoyed looking back at my own growth and change in direction over the time I’ve been blogging. The blogging landscape has changed so much. I am glad that I’ve gone on a direction that gives me freedom to write about whatever I like rather than being governed by sponsors. I enjoy the relative anonymity of my blog because it’s enabled me to write about my life without compromising the individuality and boundaries of my family and friends.

    SSG xxx

    • You know, I have been trying to remember when I first started following your blog and I think it must have been initially via a link up on weekends! Those link ups have disappeared but our connection has strengthened.

      Thank you so much for all the support too. Immeasurable.

      I think anonymity is your friend.

      I was reluctant to write using my name in my schooling and teaching blog because I “couldn’t really say what I wanted to” so I announced my retirement (true) and then added in some posts “that this was a personal view”. Gets tricky and the further away I am from schools and education the less I say specifically as it is all changing!

      Denyse x

  10. It’s always interesting to see why people start blogging and the journey they take in the process Denyse. I started my blog on Blogger and I’m still there – I’m too cheap to pay anyone to host me and I’m too cheap to pay for help – so every.single.little.thing I’ve had to learn from Googling it and trial and error. The number of times I’ve closed my eyes, crossed my fingers and hit Enter still amazes me! My DIL started blogging recently and she’s had the benefit of my trial and error lessons – SO much easier to do stuff if you have a MIL on hand to walk you through the steps 🙂
    PS – you’re right about it all being about the connections – I love them (and you x)

    • Thank you Leanne, your words are most kind!

      When it was time to start my blog I did look at blogger (as many do/did) but I also had a vision for how I wanted my blog to look so went the wordpress way.

      I still like it and pay much less now but feel that I have more security that way.

      That said, your blog always looks and reads well, so big congrats to you for going it alone…and now you are MIL mentor!!

      Denyse x

  11. Apologies for the late comment Denyse – my Mum landed back in hospital yesterday so it’s been a hectic 24 hours! I love the story of how your blog came to be and remember most of your incarnations as a blogger. So happy you’ve found the right way to blog for you and amazed at all the things you’ve been able to cover over the years!

    • I am so glad to have met you through blogging …sending all the love tonight.

      Left a message for you tonight on FB. Will do what I can to catch up with you if you would like to.

      Denyse xx

  12. Sorry I’m off topic. Would have liked to write about my bloggy start to the world. Oh well. Love your bloggy story!
    I think I actually met you IRL at a conference in 2012 when I won the Disney trip. In Melbourne. Digital Parents. Were you there? I am sure I met you face to face with Mrs Woog I think. Long time ago. Right back at the start

    • Wow. I am so sorry if my memory plays up.

      I sure was at 2012 conference. I was one of the speakers: My Blog My Story. I referred to it in the post as I hope it can be deleted from Youtube ( i asked about it and it should happen) and so much back then was found not to be true for my husband and there were images of my grandkids on it too.

      All that aside…you won the Disney trip? I kind of remember the prizes were amazing at the conference and also that MagnetoBold’s Kelley and Woogsworld Kayte nicked Big Chocolate Rabbit (it was returned). Great days meeting up with so many people again.

      I met Kirsty Russell at that conference and offered to show her around but she did not need it. Lovely to make in real life friends via blogging and then even more so to meet them.

      We will one day I am sure!!

      Denyse x