As we approach the end of the year, I've come to the decision that after 8 years, I'm going to bring the curtain down on my blog Newspotting.
It's something I've been thinking about for a while now. I've realised that in the last couple of years the output of blogs I've been writing has been steadly decreasing.
This has mainly been due to the fact that I'm now a professional content writer. Spending all day in an office writing about complex and technical subject matters such as banking regulation and financial technology has meant I have not always had the motivation or energy to write about topical news stories.
What I've learned from blogging
I started my blog during my time studying for my post-grad in news paper journalism. My tutor advised me that having a blog would be a great way of promoting myself as a writer and developing my written skills. He was 100% right.
One of the great things about having a blog is that you can look back and analyse your old posts. Sometimes I don't always like my early blogs. I could have written some of them better. The grammar and punctuation wasn't as good as I would like it to be.
What's great is that I can see a progression and development in my writing. In particular how I express myself and the thoughts and themes I wanted to highlight.
This is the important point. Writing is like learning to play an instrument or training in a particular sport. You can have natural talent and ability but to hone and develop your skills, you have to rely on good old fashioned practice. This is what having a blog has allowed me to do and why it has been such a valuable experience for me.
My blog helped me secure some freelance writing work in 2013, and having that experience helped me make the career change I was looking for when I became a full time writer working in marketing in 2014.
Leaving a digital footprint
Back in 2009 blogging had already become an established form of social media, and I quickly decided to incorporate the microblogging site of Twitter into my site to help promote my writing abilities.
Since then, posting your thoughts and comments on blogs and social media sites has become a way of life for many of us. We're encouraged to express our thoughts, feelings and opinions to the outside world.
There has of course been consequences to this. We routinely hear reports of politicians, celebrities and public figures who have posted comments online in the past, normally before they became more high profile figures.
Embarrassing or offensive comments which in the past would have remained private are now in the public domain. This is causing serious problems for individuals who have been forced to resign from their jobs or apologise for their online behaviour.
I don't think this is a particularly good development. Our thoughts and opinions change through life. Are we going to punish or prevent people from holding jobs in say politics based on tweets and posts made when they were teenagers or before they entered a particular profession?
I've thought about my own blog and whether some of my views and opinions could potentially cause problems for me in the future. I'd like to think not. It's a blog, you need to express opinions and reveal your character and personality.
Not everyone will agree with everything I have written. I'm also aware that as a blogger I'm publishing in the public domain. I do however feel confident that what I have written is not offensive or libellous.
The end for now
I still love keeping up to date with major news stories and events. Who can't help but be fascinated by the ongoing car crash that Donald Trump's Presidency is proving to be.
With that thought in mind I may still get the urge to write something down when a major news story breaks - so watch this space.
All that's left to say is thank you to all those of you that have ever spent time reading my blog; and if you're someone who has just discovered Newspotting, feel free to look back on some of my old blogs.
Goodbye and thanks!