Sunday, 19 March 2017

Blogging, Best and Worst Bits

Old, battered typewriter with title overlaidI've been blogging for four and a half years, which surprises me. It really doesn't seem that long, but I guess that is why I do it. Time moves so fast, and it's lovely to be able to look back at everything we've done. For a long time, I stubbornly refused to monetise my blog, because it was fun having no pressure and just writing for the joy of it. However, in recent times, I have introduced a few sponsored posts and reviews, because the biscuit bill really adds up when you're a blogger. However, I still try to keep the content relevant and the emphasis on general ramblings. Today's general ramblings are all about the best and worst bits of blogging.


1. Great opportunities might come your way...


This is by no means guaranteed, but, over a period of time, if you stick at it, and share your blog posts on your social media channels, people will start to notice you. The result of this sometimes, is that you might get invited to blog about a cool event, like a local show, or even something bigger. I've even been asked to review an amazing hoiday destination. There's work to do in return, of course, there is definitely no such thing as a free lunch, but if it's fun to go to, it's probably going to be fun to write about too. The best bit, though, is that you sometimes get invited to places you would never think of going, so it really broadens your horizons.


2. It can get quite lonely... 


If you blog as your job, there is always something to do, it's about a lot more than just writing. There's taking, editing and sorting photos, promoting and interacting on social media, keeping accounts up to date, going through and replying to emails. It's very easy to get bogged down and not feel like you can do other things during the day, such as going outside and seeing other humans!

3. You can make good friends... 


Although it can get harder to go out and socialise, because you can always find something else you should be doing, the online community is amazing and you can make great friends to share the highs and lows with. There are lots of conferences and events throughout the year, where you can meet up with other bloggers and reconnect with friends you've made online.

4. Self-doubt and paranoia are never far away... 


Unless you are super-confident and hard as nails, it's common for self doubt to creep in. I sometimes find myself wuestioning if I'm a good enough blogger, if my writing is ok. If I don't get picked for an opportunity, I'll wonder if it's because I'm ever going to be as good as the other bloggers who did get picked. Unlike a position within a company, working for yourself means there are no appraisals, no targets, no incentives, nothing. Sometimes, you might get a comment on a post, or a tweet perhaps, and that's a great moment, it makes it all seem worthwhile, but, often, you only have your self-belief to rely on and that can be tough, especially in the early days.

5. Bloggers are really lovely people...


One of the very best bits about blogging is the people you 'meet', often just as an avatar on the computer. If you have a problem, or a crisis, or just a bit of a wobble, there will always be someone there who will go out of their way to help you out. I've had guest posts sent to me when I've been too ill to write anything myself, I've had people sort out complicated coding issues, using really small words, that even I can understand. I've also seen fundraising initiatives  organised for fellow bloggers who needed a bit of a leg up. It really is an amazing community and there's nothing quite like it in any other profession, I'm sure.

6. Some bloggers are not really lovely people... 


In every walk of life there will be one or two bad apples and blogging is no exception. For every 50 lovely bloggers I've met there have been a few divas, drama queens, or just generally grabby, selfish types who are only interested in one person; themselves. Thankfully, they are very few and far between and are heavily outnumbered by the amazing personalities that make up our very unique community. There are lots of opportunities for drama in blogging groups and some seem to thrive on it. Each to their own, my advice to new bloggers is to avoid drama and politics, if only because it takes up way too much time to read all the comments, it gets like an episode of Jeremy Kyle at times.

7. You can end up with nice surprises... 


PR people are usually some of the nicest people you can meet. They appreciate the efforts us bloggers make in promoting products that we like and showing our readers what they are all about. So, now and again, they might surprise you. For example, Luke was sent some Itty Bittys from Hallmark to review last Christmas, and we made a little video of his reaction. The PR lady was so pleased with it, she sent him two new Itty Bittys for his birthday! One of the nicest campaigns I've ever worked on was for Nouvelle, who make toilet rolls! Doesn't sound like an exciting prospect, but they sent activity sheets each month for the children to have a go at, where they had to make something out of a toilet roll! They had a lot of fun with campaigns, but the best bit was at Christmas, when they surprised them with a big parcel containing bird watching and bug discovering equipment. They were so pleased that their efforts were so much appreciated, it made us all smile!

8. It is an emotional rollercoaster! 


You have to have nerves of steel to be a blogger. There are amazing opportunities out there, but there are also a lot of bloggers. So you can apply for things and perhaps not be selected, and that's bad enough, but, worse, sometimes you'll be in negotiations about an amazing opportunity, maybe something you've always wanted to try, or somewhere you would love to go, and it might be all settled... then it falls through at the last minute! You have to keep telling yourself that it might not happen, so that you don't get too disappointed when things don't go to plan. It's hard though. Especially if it's for something you wouldn't be able to justify buying for yourself, a nice treat is always welcome, and it can be a real downer when it doesn't work out.


9. You spend a lot of time doing something you enjoy... 


Bloggers usually get into blogging, because they enjoy writing, or taking photos, sometimes both. So, if you can make money out of it, you have a great opportunity to, effectively, indulge in your hobby a lot of the time. Yes, there will be times when there is boring accounting or promo to do, but it still beats doing something you don't enjoy all the time, possibly for a boss you don't love as well!


10. The wee small hours become way too familiar... 


Blogging is something that is often termed 'feast or famine', that is; either you have a lot of work coming in, or you are just dodging tumbleweed for what feels like an age. When the work comes in, you have to get busy, because you ahve a living to make and you don't know when the next dry spell could come. Which mean, probably, late nights writing and scheduling, to get everything out on time. Also, if you have young children, or older children, or just a really loud, annoying other half or flatmate, those late, late nights might become the best time to get the peace and quiet you need. Either way, whatever the stupid o'clock time, I can pretty much guarantee there will be other bloggers online, doing exactly the same!

And finally... 


Please don't be put off by these witterings, they are just my uncensored thoughts and, as with all professions, you have to take the bad with the good, but the good will always win out if it's making you happy. If you love writing, I would always say give blogging a go. It's cathartic, entertaining and, who knows, it might change your whole career path.

Old Severn Bridge,Taken from Severn Beach, English Side.


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