I (along with countless others) have considered blogging to be a bit of a ‘dream job’ for a while now. You make your own hours, have nobody to answer to and it’s endlessly creative for those of us who need that outlet. It’s allowed me to see more of my kids, pay less for childcare as well as affording me several money-can’t-buy experiences.. so it’s a dream, right?
Obviously it’s work, nobody really thought bloggers were lazy perma-vacationers, so there’s that but they say if you do a job you love you never work a day in your life so let’s take that out of the equation. It’s a one man show, no sick leave, no holiday pay, no days off unless you’re personally prepared to take the hit. Again, if you love it these things just don’t factor. You can make lots of friends doing this, you can make lots of passive aggressive frenemies too but both were just icing for me. You can make MONEY! This is a big one, folks.. everybody needs it, everybody wants it and it seems as though bloggers have it thrown at them left right and centre.. along with free makeup and all that other shizz, so what’s not to love about the whole shebang?
Well, all of the above are fine when things are going well but when they’re not?
*What if it seems as though other bloggers are on permanant holiday and you’re stuck home alone, working?
*Or you see another, more successful blogger hanging out with their ‘assistant’ while you’re up all night editing?
*There a so many bloggers cliques that it can make you feel isolated if you don’t have a #squad of your own.
*And seeing other bloggers picked up for campaigns that you wanted again and again.. why are you still doing this?
I’ve spoken a lot about this and I think that it’s all part of the overall awful time I had last year but I did have a moment (a long one- in fact, I’m still in it) of doubt as to whether or not this was still for me. I’ve been at this almost 8 years and as the more eloquent bloggers would say ‘the landscape has changed’. It’s so hard not to compare yourself to other people but when you feel like you’ve stalled and everyone is zooming by, you want to know their secret. Once upon a time I didn’t care what anyone else was doing, I didn’t pay much attention to numbers and I truly loved what I was doing. Now all I see on social media is ‘what’s the point in doing X because the algorithm.. blah blah blah..’.
The general message is that unless you’re going to get lots of clicks or likes or subs you’re wasiting your time. A twitter friend of mine recently started a YouTube channel and was discouraged not only by her lack of views but by the lack of community support after seeing it in action for her fellow blogger-turned-vloggers. This ticks 2 of those boxes.. why am I bothering? and where’s my #squad? People are expecting instant success because we’re basically telling each other that if we’re not successful then it’s all completely pointless. If you thought that before starting everything, you’d never start anything!!
For years I was slowly (and very patiently) succeeding but last year I got absolutely nowhere and I started to feel pretty awful about myself. Again, this can definitely be attributed to some other shit going on at the time but blogging used to be my escape and suddenly even that was turning on me. I wasn’t getting the views (I think this was a common theme but it felt very personal) I wasn’t being offered the same opportunities and a brand I’d been working with for a long time seemed to switch focus and lose interest in working with me.
I was quite low about the whole thing and in trying to work out what people wanted I lost sight of the point of this whole exercise. I’m not doing this for anyone else!! If I allow myself to be wrapped up in clicks and engagement and ‘what the people want’ then how is this different to a ‘regular’ job? I’m incredibly stressed day to day, constantly feel inadequate and I’m getting none of the joy from it that I once did.. so why am I still doing this? – That question is still hanging here, I don’t have the answer just yet but I do know that if by the end of this year I haven’t found it and don’t feel any different I’m going to be going back to my ‘real world’ job and retiring from the internet.. at least in some capacity.
I’ve actually really enjoyed my blog recently, it’s been really cathartic talking through some of my own personal issues.. an odd thing to do, perhaps but it’s almost like therapy. I also know that I can’t be the only one feeling this way and so if any of you do find this, you may feel less alone in it all. I’m a big believer in the law of attraction and so my negative mood is quite possibly drawing me more and more negativity and blocking anything postive from occuring – I know, I know it sounds like nonsense but we all have to believe in something. But when the chips are down I know what’s important to me and if I had to walk away from this tomorrow I think I could.
There are few jobs like it, really.. traditional jobs anyway. Where you feel everything so personally because you are effectively your job. If something fails it’s you, if someone doesn’t choose you for a campaign it’s you, if you aren’t getting the clicks and the likes and the subs.. it’s all you. People are liking or disliking you.. or that’s how it feels and once you’re in that headspace it’s hard to shake. I have never come home from an office job and felt ‘less than’ but then I’ve never had the highs from a regular job that I have had from blogging either. That’s the catch.. you can’t leave even if you want to because ‘what if?’.. your big break could b just around the corner!
I can only imagine this is what actors feel like, you can do so much but eventually you have to accept that someone else holds your future in their hands. The unknown factor is something that had massive appeal when I felt like I was on my way up but the other side of that is pretty lonely and can make you feel worthless. It’s an amazing thing and a terrible thing all at the same time. I’ll always be thankful for the friends I’ve made but I’m perhaps a different person now than I was when I started and I do wonder whether I’d have got here without it.