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8 November 2015

Blogging: am I doing it wrong?

A selfie of my feet in leaves, a blogger cliche, surely not! lol!

I love blogging, it is my hobby.  I started blogging on the 2nd February 2012 so in a few months time I will have been blogging 4 years, yikes! And in that time I have never missed a month, admittedly some months have very few posts, maybe even one, and some have more than 10!  But I have been a pretty consistent blogger all this time.

So why blogging, what do I love about it?

I love taking photos, I use my iPhone or a little Nikon Coolpix. I take photos everywhere I go, everyday. I love editing photos on Photoshop, formatting on my blog and I love how they look. Blogging really is just like a massive photo album for me.  Blogging also forces me to look at positives, especially in my monthly round up posts. Blogging is creative; I'm always thinking about posts, and how to turn that event, or walk, or craft project into a blog post.  

My blog is literally a diary, I mostly blog about all the adventures I go on, holidays, camping, days out and everything I make, it will be lovely when I'm old to look back on all my posts.

However recently I have begun to question if I am blogging wrong... here's why...

Real photos: Yep I actually ate that! It was delicious and yes I regret not getting the super extra massive size!

Blogging has exploded, I feel like this year blogs, bloggers/vloggers have been everywhere, they are mainstream now and considered celebrities.  There is nothing wrong with that, great I say, I adore Zoella, Tanya Burr and my absolute fave Fleur de Force! The fact that these guys have books, make-up lines etc is amazing to me, I'm super happy for them, I'm genuinely a huge fan! Their lives are just like that of a film star to me, unattainable; parties, launches, famous pals, articles in magazines, red carpet events etc. Is this the ultimate blogging/vlogging goal?

Naturally these super bloggers have a massive influence... girls and boys grow up wanting to be bloggers.. The actual topic of blogging comes up a lot with bloggers (hey, isn't that what this post is about too! lol!)... but worryingly recently with more of these negative themes.... pressure to be different, pressure to post, pressure to fit in, pressure to get famous, to get followers, to build your blog.  Anxiety over not posting enough, for not posting at all, apologising for not posting, anxiety over loosing motivation and inspiration. Seeking validation and wishing to achieve follow or like goals. Always comparing themselves to others, posting a lot of paid for content or rushed content....

Then imagine the pressure when you actually get to millions of followers! Don't get me started on the trolls and evil people who write nasty comments... Is this what 'bloggers' all have to go through? All over the news is Essena O'Neil so sick of blogging, vlogging and social media at the grand old age of 18, then on the flip side being called a fraud by her blogger pals... I just don't think I can take much more...

Real photo: No make up! But who cares when you are out doing your fave thing ever with your fave person ever!

Well, I just don't think I fit in to any of this, I just don't relate or understand.  I think most of the time I am floating around in some sort of little naive 'blogging bubble'...Which has got me thinking I MUST be 'blogging' wrong! 

I don't fit into the 'blogger cliches', (ok, ok so I do love succulents!) I don't check my stats, like ever, I don't have arbitrary goals of followers I need to reach, I don't blog if I have nothing to blog about, I don't apologise for not posting, I don't go to blogger events, I don't expect or want free stuff, I don't want to be famous (shudder!), I don't want to get thousands of followers, and I certainly don't have ambitions of quitting my day job to blog for a living...

I've never lost motivation because I literally blog about the stuff I have been up to, and because my blog is a hobby that I do when I want, how I want and when I have something I want to say. I have time for other things outside blogging so I have things to blog about! Simple really. I love social media, it's how I keep up with my friends, other bloggers and generally people who inspire me. My blog is my real life, my Instagram is my real life.  So I might not write when I'm ill or feeling blue, but who wants to read all that moany stuff anyway? I'm lucky enough to enjoy my life and not have too much stress or other issues so I think my blog reflects my life in a balanced way.

I'm super lucky to have met some lovely fellow bloggers, I was involved in setting up a community of Cumbrian bloggers, who live in or are from our beautiful county.  We have an FB page, everyone is nice and supportive. I comment on other's blogs, like and share... people do the same for me... THIS is blogging for me!

When I asked blogger pals how to improve or succeed at blogging the advice was: focus on building brand, write content for your readers, promote on social media A LOT... None of that is what I am about. My blog is my content, how I want it to be, its not fun for me anymore if I am blogging about topics for other people... I have no desire to be a 'brand' and I just don't have the time or energy to be constantly 'promoting' on social media...

 
Real Photo: Probably the stupidest face ever, I look awful but I love it, I was literally this happy to be in Canada!

Sponsored blogging or paid for content has never sat comfortably with me either.  I've decided I am a 'blogger' by simply starting to write on a free blog template in my bedroom! With no training, qualifications etc I am a 'blogger' and therefore for some reason I get invited to events, asked to write about things, get paid or sponsored to write about things.  This is baffling to me! I don't court this but I will admit to being asked a lot and turning things down a lot.  

In my 4 years I have been to 1 blogger 'event' where I was given free products, I went for the experience and because it was at Lush, I didn't expect or need free products, I bought a lot more than I was given anyway.  I have also been given goods in exchange for writing posts on 2 occasions in my nearly 4 years of blogging.  I felt guilty about each one... but it's all part of an experience for me... trying it all on... As much as stats don't rule my life I am aware my blog is teeny tiny in the grand scheme of things, so why any brands think asking me to write stuff for them, or wanting to give me free things is beyond me! It just doesn't sit comfortably with me.


So yeah, to sum up, I think I must be 'blogging' wrong? Because blogging these days is so bound up in pressure, negativity, stress, free stuff, competition, constantly chasing followers, likes, comments. I have none of that in my little 'blogger bubble', I actively avoid all that! I am not a blogger, I'm simply someone who puts up pretty pictures online and I'm happy to remain in my stress free naive little bubble taking pretty pictures of my nails and the pretty walks I go on with my boyfriend and reading and watching lovely posts from the ladies who do it WAY better than I ever will.  

So, my lessons learnt from blogging... decide if you want this as a hobby or as a career... If it is your hobby, hobbies are fun, blog because it is fun, because you enjoy it, you are passionate about your content. Take the pressure off yourself and quit the comparisons. If you want to make it a career, fab! Bloggers are literally changing everything, the way we look at media and advertising... they have huge influence, but you need to develop a thick skin and stay away from the negativity, how much stress and pressure do you want in your career?

To all those who choose to join me here, read my rambles and take the time to comment and follow thank you very much, you really really make me smile.

This is probably a controversial post, and I really hope I haven't offended anyone or made anyone angry.  Everyone has their own agenda with blogging, I am simply stating mine.  It seems everyone is blogging about blogging, so I wanted to take the time and address my own thoughts on the subject.

Am I alone? Why do you blog? Got something to say? Would love to hear your views in the comments...

10 comments:

  1. For me blogging has rekindled my love of photography. It encourages me to take my camera with me wherever I go and create imagery that I wouldn’t produce otherwise. It also affords me opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise have. John and I see the blog as a project. We work on it together and write about things we enjoy whether or not we're asked to. It enriches our lives and enables us to do new things we might never have done otherwise. I do occasionally stress about getting this post up or about how long it’s been since my last post but the benefits far outweigh the cons for me. I'm so interested to see what others think and find out why they blog. Fantastic post Jo! x

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    1. Loved your reply, thanks so much. Completely agree with you, I take so many photos now that I otherwise so wouldn't. I have had lots of fun opportunities too, not least meeting all you fellow Cumbrian Bloggers! I think as long as its fun and as you say benefits outweigh cons then that's why we should keep blogging. x

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  2. Oh, lovely Jo! This is so good to read, and I'm glad I'm not alone in thinking along these lines. My blog turned 11 (argh!) last week, and if I'm honest, I do miss the early 2000s where most bloggers treated their blogs like you (and I) do. I have always considered my main blog to be the equivalent of my living room on the internet - somewhere for me to keep a record of my life, document all my new interests, and meet likeminded people. I've got a business blog for Ink Drops and another for my photography & alter ego biz, which are more focused in terms of content. But it's really important to me to have somewhere which isn't directly associated with my main businesses, so I can just be me, share what I want to and basically have a chat...!

    Yay for proper old school blogging! (and you are definitely not doing it wrong :P) xxx

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment, this really means a lot. I'm so glad there are others who are doing it old school and in it for the hobby! The fact that you have been blogging fills me with hope, I'm a newbie in comparison and I really hope I continue to love blogging for a long time yet. x

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  3. This post makes me SO happy!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Truly, you express So much of what I think! It's changed so much since I started blogging- I've been blogging for 10 and a half years (looooooong! Almost a third of my entire life!) and I amble along doing my rather unprofessional, waffly, exclamation-mark ridden thing! Yet I like that! I DO feel the gloom at times when someone who's been blogging a year has way more followers than me, but then I try to shut my stupid mind and say, "Hey, you have LOVELY friends who comment regularly, you LOVE writing and showing off things you have made, no matter how rubbish they are and it even helps your Father-in-law stay in touch with our lives!"

    Lovely you meet you and I shall be hitting the follow button- you are my kind of person!! Old School bloggers forever!!!xx

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    1. Hi Kezzie, aaaargh! Thanks so much for your comment! Wow blogging ten years, that's fab! You def sound like my kind of person too, nothing better than waffly, exclamation mark ridden posts! yeah! I shall def be checking out your blog and returning the 'follow'. Thanks again for your lovely comment, really made my day!! x

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  4. High five! Have you been reading my mind? I read your post nodding along as I've had many similar thoughts. Like you said, knowing what you want from blogging and not letting it take over is the way to find a balance!
    Donna xx
    Polkadot Pink - a thrifty, life&style blog
    P.S. I'm so glad you've discovered Kezzie's blog, I love love love reading her posts! <3

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  5. Hello Jo - You have been reading my mind. I feel exactly the same as you about blogging. It is just a hobby for me as well. I think the whole thing is getting out of hand. Joan at www.aviewtothefells.com

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  6. Adore this post! I recently took a break from blogging as I didn't know why I was doing it. Was it because I felt like I had to to keep others people happy or because I actually wanted to create something. I ignored my emails, dipped in and out of Twitter and it turns out that I did miss it. It was nice to have a break and relax, not put pressure on myself to hit deadlines etc. But at the end of the day I missed creating something. Sitting I front of Netflix is nice but I missed being productive. I think a lot of people feel the same way as you. I for sure don't want to quit my career to start blogging full time! It's just a hobby for me so need to remind myself not to put pressure on myself. Blogging is supposed to be fun :)

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    1. Thanks so much for the comment Cat. You are def right, blogging is for fun. I often think should I take a break, but I end up not wanting to. Some months I don;t blog as much but I try not to beat myself up about it.. my little blog is just here for me when I want to blog! I do enjoy your blog very much though... always find it so motivating, I would be very sad if you took a forever break!

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Thank you so much for your comment, I read each and every one, and they mean a lot to me. I do always try my best to reply.

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