What’s it really like to be a blogger?
I read a post by another blogger recently about how bloggers (how many times can I get that into a sentence?!) are really still in the minority. Helen points out that whilst immersed in our own world, its easy to feel like we are just one of thousands of bloggers and it can be tricky to really stand out. The reality however, is, as she says, that most people are not bloggers and I’d hazard a guess that most of the people who read my blog are non-bloggers too.
So this is for you.
The reality of blogger life. At least from my point of view – everyone will have a different style.
I’m pretty sure that my friends and some of my family think I’m (more) bonkers – especially when I first started out. They’d see me with my phone constantly attached to my hand, grabbing the kids at opportunistic photogenic moments, posing with a subtle yet Instagram-worthy pout, angling my coffee cup and shoving all family debris out of the shot to make the capture look perfect. And using words like “capture” where once I would have said “taking a picture”…
My usual MIC habit was suddenly replaced with hours behind a keyboard in the evening, feverish mutterings about Linky’s and wails about internet upload speed. I started living my real life online. Meeting and chatting with like-minded bloggers, immersing myself in the challenge and competition, working with brands and writing content.
I had no idea what I was going to write about to be honest and although I have taken my foot off the pedal and chilled out a bit, some days I still don’t. My blog is really just an extension of myself – unfiltered, unashamed and just occasionally a little unsure.
I write for two purposes – one is because I am and always have been a writer. It’s my go-to form of expression and I get a massive buzz from this kind of creative freedom. I like organising the jumble in my head and sharing it with like-minded parents. It can be fun, it can be cathartic and most of the time I think I’m half decent at it. Maybe…
The second reason is the financial one. I know a lot of bloggers get criticised for “selling out” to brand work, including links to tenuous things like tattoo removal services when they don’t have a tattoo or fulfilling a written brief dictated by payment and influence. I suppose people think we are being inauthentic but I disagree.
I’m making a living for my family by doing something I love. I have stopped making my life look perfect online. I don’t sugar coat anything anymore (although I admit I tried to in the beginning). I don’t promote things I don’t want/love/need myself. I don’t write things because I’m told to – by the way its incredibly rare to be told what to write and I have never done this. My words are always my words unless there is a disclosure on my post saying it’s a guest post. I don’t give positive reviews when I hate a product (you wouldn’t believe how many things I’ve returned to a brand because I hate it!) So, full disclosure and honesty is applied to my work and I’m not ashamed of it. Neither should you feel duped by it because payment or not, you can be sure that you are getting my real opinion.
Shall we talk about the perks? What its not is a get rich quick scheme. I have put hundreds, if not thousands of hours into my blog. I’ve put my own money into creating, designing and maintaining my corner of the internet. Pissing about on Facebook and scribbling down a few musings it is not.
You want to reap the rewards? Expect to put in the hours, think outside the box, develop, evolve and implement social media strategies and settle down for the long haul. If you are prepared to do those things, then yes you can go ahead and enjoy the perks.
Holidays, brand work (more of a pain than a pleasure to be honest but it can pay very well), products for review, days out, nice things for the kids and experiences that you probably would never have had if it were not for your words and hustle. These are par for the course these days but they are the rewards of hard work.
The negatives? I think the main negative is knowing when to switch off. When you are your subject matter ( I nearly said the wanky word “Brand” *shudders*) and your life is the open book it can be tricky knowing when to switch off. The 24/7 merry-go-round of social media will lap up whatever you can give it and still clammer for more at any hour of the day or night. That’s the nature of the beast. You have to teach yourself to say no, turn off your phone, step away from the spectacle and live your actual life from time to time.
Also, if you are opinionated (hello have we met?!) then you can expect the unavoidable trolling that comes along with putting your life on the screen. I get it a lot. Interestingly, it almost always comes from other mothers who hate what I have to say. I just don’t bother getting into the arguments anymore after initially feverishly defending my honour and intentions when I first started out.
So that’s the realities of my life as a blogger. I must caveat this post by saying that actually this isn’t really my day job – more of a side line / side income / hobby that gets squeezed in amongst other things.
If you would like any more information or are thinking of setting up a blog of your own then feel free to send me a message on social media and I will get back to you.