Before I get stuck into this post – I have to say for starters that despite this post being one to look at some of the not so great side of blogging – I am genuinely a positive person. I do love blogging but, as much as it has SO many amazing things. Sometimes it’s worth keeping things honest and having a look at the not quite as amazing sides too. A bit of a reality check on the perception of perfection that is blogging if you will… let me know if there are any you can understand or relate to…
The ‘cost’ of blogging
When I started my blog I had zero kit. I spent nothing on my blog design (granted, it didn’t look the most amazing design, but it worked) I didn’t have a fancy camera or even an iPhone to take photos on. I didn’t pay for my own hosting or business cards or any of that. Now? There’s some sort of belief that you need your own URL, a snazzy blog design, the latest camera…maybe even a vlogging camera too if you want to blog and you tube… plus lights, a weekly stock of fresh flowers…. This list goes on. All of this before you even think of paying for products or whatever you might want to actually start blogging about?!
Personally, I don’t like how this pressure can make it seem like you need all these things before you blog. At the end of the day there are plenty perfectly good blog designs out there that are free, you certainly don’t need to spend loads to get started (however I totally understand wanting to have the best looking blog you can). When it comes to photos, an iPhone, steady hand and some decent lighting (talking natural light not professional studio lights) can be just as good as the pro cameras. I do totally get that being part of the blogging world is that you want the kit, but I do wish this perception wouldn’t put anyone off from trying to blog. Obviously investing in your hobby or career is a totally valid and worthwhile thing to do – but that’s not to say you need these things to start at all. I built up my ‘blogging kit’ over time and I still think that’s the way to do it – don’t let the cost/lack of kit put you off getting started!
Blogging is a busy field, no doubting that. There are loads of established bloggers and loads more new and great ones starting every day. Gone are the initial days of blogging where there was essentially only a handful of bloggers at all. Now there are ‘tiers’ or ‘big bloggers’ and ‘small bloggers’. There are hobby bloggers and pro bloggers. For pro bloggers, you naturally want to make sure you’re in the best possible position to make sure you can keep doing what you’re doing as your job – it’s your income after all. If you blog as a hobby then you want to work as hard as you can to maybe make it so it could be your job, you want to get noticed, build readers, Either way, you want to be proud of it.
But this can all lead to the feeling that being who maybe at one point were your friends or fellow bloggers are now your competitors. Not to say they’re not your friends too, but in the sense that in the workplace you’re up against a work friend/colleague for a promotion – there’s an air of competitiveness that can be challenging for forming truly supportive friendships. Of course you can form friends, I have some amazing good friends through blogging – but maybe it’s not as straight forward in today’s blogging world as it once was. It’s a real shame really, but I guess it’s the downside of blogging growing to such a vast size… it gets competitive. There’s also not the feeling of support that there used to be – as simple as a RT of a post you liked or sharing your favourite links. Somehow that air of support became viewed as giving a leg-up to the competition rather than just supporting people you share an interest with. I always have the view that there’s plenty of internet to go around and I’ll always be happy to RT or share a link I like or a blog I’ve been enjoying. There’s no harm in it?! I’d love to see more of a supportive culture return to blogging – but perhaps it’s just the fact of things as it becomes more of a profession support gives way to business? I don’t think it should have to, but perhaps I’m being naive?!
The fame game
Can you believe when I first started out I aimed to be an anon blogger? It took a good year or so before I became ok with having my photo on here and even now it’s not something I do daily by any means. But the way blogging developed meant that blogging is every bit as much about the blogger as it is about the products or other content. I’m ok with that and I don’t mind having bits and pieces of my life on there at all – in fact, in many ways the more personal posts are the ones I enjoy writing the most! But for me, fame does not appeal.
Do you have to be the ‘face’ of your blog to be a successful blogger? Maybe yes, maybe no. I can’t answer that – but I do know that fame or being that sort of level of being recognised is 100% not my goal or motivation. Probably hence why I’m not particularly good at being regular with You Tube! But it does seem wanting the fame side can be a motivation for many now – no disrespect at all. But as someone who doesn’t really want to share every moment of my life I’ve always known it wasn’t for me but there is a pressure to be more of a ‘face’ of your blog… which leads nicely on to my next point.
I see this all the time on twitter and on posts. The feeling of pressure as a blogger – to up your game on posts, to post daily, to post first, to post the best photos, the newest ideas. I guess this goes hand in hand with the competitiveness – the constant feeling that if you take a break you will waste all your hard work so far. The pressure will only come with how much you love something – no denying that, and that’s a great thing. But it’s really not fun when a hobby can lead to feeling that much pressure. I’ve always said – a hobby is meant to be fun. If the pressure over rules the fun, take a break – for your own sanity and fun’s sake.
One thing I’ve always said and 100% stand by – is not to take blogging *too* seriously. That’s not to say I’ll always be totally professional and take it seriously to an extent. But for me, at the end of the day – I love it and get to do this as my hobby. I get to write about beauty products and other fun elements of life. I always aim to enjoy it and not take it or myself too seriously. I do love blogging (yes, regardless of these downsides to it!) and never want to not appreciate that it’s a great position to be in. Plus, whilst I have certainly picked up many bits of information or tips and tricks over the years, I’m not a make-up artist, product scientist or expert. I just love beauty and love to share my own opinions.
This pressure point doesn’t even begin to touch on things like replying to emails, maintaining relationships with PR’s, balancing the pressure to blog with pressure from brands or PRs to cover products quickly. I can totally understand why this is a pressure to feel – but after a few years for me I feel I can manage this one. But when I was newer to the blogging ‘game’ I definitely felt this.
This can be a whole host of thins – from ‘why doesn’t my blog look that good?’, ‘why was I not invited to X,Y, Z…’, ‘why aren’t my photos as pretty?… or even the ‘why don’t I look that good in an outfit of the day photo’ or ‘why doesn’t my skin look that flawless’…SO many elements in blogging can really breed insecurity. I don’t know if this is something that a largely female audience is more prone to or not (not being a guy, I can’t really comment)? But I can say that there are times when insecurity creeps in for me – and it’s not a nice feeling. Nobody wants to feel like they’re not good enough in any way. The pressure to put out the perception of perfection across all bits of your online life… leads to the whole ‘why doesn’t my life look like this’, and perhaps not appreciating all the good things in life quite much as there’s something missing if yours doesn’t look quite as dreamy perfect as such and such… I think the wealth of ‘How to’ posts in blogging, whilst I’m sure are all well meaning can also make you question if you’re blogging the ‘right’ way – remember there aren’t really rules, just suggestions and tips. Do what feels right to you and enjoy it!
Is it all bad?!
When you look at this all together – the competitiveness and the insecurity and the pressure all tie in to each other. It’s a horrid little cycle of bad stuff and negativity. Feeling less like competitors to each other might lead to a little more support and maybe less insecurity? But no, it’s not all bad! A little reminder that we’re all doing an ace job – if you post once a month your favourite products or if you post three times a day. If you’re stopped in the street by a fan or if you get a new follower on twitter. If you’re just starting out or hitting mega milestones – you’re all doing a really great job. Just make sure you’re enjoying it – job or hobby. And in the spirit of supportiveness, I’d love to check out and share some new blogs – so please do leave your links below!
Here’s to happy blogging!