It’s actually crazy to look back and think that I’ve only been doing this for four years and how it started by being so little. I’ve said many times before that this wasn’t the first venture I’d had into blogging, but it was the first venture where I decided I would stick with it and work it out. My original blog was this one, but I’m sure most of you remember it being called Shaunyland. The names actually makes me wince now whenever I even think about it, but it was a twist on the name I’d used before Shauny In Wonderland, but I’d used the URLs with that domain so had to start over again. The first post I ever wrote was a review of the Les Miz movie (#TheatreBloggerForLife!) and while it’s nothing special to read now, I find it funny that I strayed from that so significantly and am now mostly defined by my theatre writing four years on.
When I started blogging, the people I related to most were those who kept beauty and lifestyle blogs: I aspired to live a life that looked so tidy and comfortable for them, and I just didn’t feel that within myself. I threw myself into that blogging community head first and spent almost two years dabbling in the world of makeup and cosmetics. I kind of loved writing about it for a long while and if it wasn’t for the blogging community at that time, I really would be no where near the confident person that I am today, but I later came to realise that copying an ideal because I wanted to be like them showed in the world of blogging, because my heart just wasn’t there.
Perhaps that’s the main thing I can take away from blogging these past four years: the confidence it’s given me and how it’s defined me. I’ve always been a very confident and self-assured person, but the power of blogging and building a presence on the internet has helped me to establish that even further. I didn’t even realise the kind of purpose it gave me until I tired to throw the towel in about two and a half years ago and soon realised that I literally had nothing to do. I spend my life working through projects and writing cool things and if I’m not spending time doing those things, I felt like I was completely invisible. It’s strange, but I think it’s safe to say that once you start something like this, there is never any going back.
When I came back from that slump, I resurrected this blog as well as my YouTube channel (and we all know how that story goes), as well as setting up Shaun’s Musical Musings. At the time, I just thought that that was going to be a pain-free experience where I’d write about the theatre I occasionally saw on my journey to becoming an accomplished actor-writer-whatever… boy, was I wrong. The success of Shaun’s Musical Musings is really what has skyrocketed me into doing so much better in the past year than I had done in the years before it. The blog helped me become the first person to write for London Theatre Direct‘s blogging community, it helped me get two articles published in a London theatre magazine, it sends me to countless press events and shows simply because people want me to share my opinions, it’s given me a monthly theatre column in a local magazine, and the list goes on and on and on. It really is a testament to how writing about things you care about brings success in the world of blogging, and I’m very happy to say that Shaun’s Musical Musings is a success indeed. Soon to enter its third year of operations this April, I couldn’t be happier.
This blog’s helped me to create some pretty cool opportunities over the past year or so as well. Last year, I became the youngest person to ever create a walking tour with the company VoiceMap (a feat that I have both this blog and SMM to thank), I started my own podcast, and I’m now about to embark on the journey of creating my own email newsletter to share insights and stories from people with pretty amazing brains on their shoulders. It’s remarkable that I’ve finally managed to find my feet in the blogging world four years down the line and really start to work on things that matter to me and that I really care about. These new projects that I get to tie to my blogging community are a bonus and they make me feel good about myself every single day.
While I say I’ve done a lot in four years, it’s really nothing at all in the grand scheme of what’s to come; I find it hilarious that I’m almost half a decade down the line now and this whole thing is no where near as simple or as easy as I originally thought it was going to be. It’s taken me four years to even start on the path of knowing what I want to do with these platforms and to even start trying to reach some sort of minor success, but it’s all part of the fun that this game throws at you in my mind. It’s new – very new – and no one really knows where it’s going or what it’s doing yet, but for now, I’m just going to enjoy making new things, working hard, and putting Shaun Nolan out there for everyone else to see. Who knows where I’ll be sitting on the fifth anniversary or what other surprises there are in store, but what I do know is that I’m really gonna enjoy it.