Thursday, 31 July 2014

6 Things You Will Experience As A Blogger

I have been blogging for five years and in that time I have seen the blogger landscape totally change and of course have experienced various ups and downs. Here are six things I have learnt:

#1 Its easier to write when no one is reading but more rewarding to write when someone is

When you first start blogging chances are very few people apart from your mum and best friend will read it. Even they may not know of its existence which gives you a delicious sense of freedom. You can write what you like, with no fear of recriminations, because in the great blogger pool you are not even a little fish, you are frog spawn.
Then one day the most beautiful email pops into your mailbox "you have a new follower" soon you will have a few more and before you know it a little army of faithful subscribers will be checking in to see what you have written every day. This can be exhilarating and scary.
 Instant feedback on your writing is wonderful but can also be deflating and even hurtful. Knowing someone is reading your output can really affect how you write, particularly if its someone you may know in the outside world. My advice-write as if no one will read your blog. If you over think it your writing will become mannered and formulaic. Blogs are about spontaneity and the anarchy of unedited words hitting cyberspace. Write using a pseudonym if it makes you feel more comfortable but always maintain a grain of truth in your blog, otherwise you might as well be writing press releases.

#2 People may think you are a tosser

As soon as your blog gains some wider recognition you will attract haters. For every person who really likes your world view or digs your style there will be another who has decided you are an arrogant nit wit who needs pulling down a peg or two. 
To this end they may leave shitty anonymous comments on your blog or if you are really lucky create a thread listing all the ways you are a tool on sites like Gossip Guru. Nothing prepares you for this, nothing stops it feeling like a strange online assault and time does not soften the blow.
If and when this happens have a rant, turn the laptop off and engage with some of your real life buddies. Its hard to have perspective but its basically the opinion of someone you probably don't know and even if you did you wouldn't like. As the saying goes "your opinion is not my reality"

#3 You will suffer blogger guilt

Blogger Guilt can hit you at any time and for me is usually associated with the following.

  • I am late reviewing a sample which has been sent to me
  • I haven't replied to the lovely comments left on my blog
  • I haven't promoted my blog enough across social media
  • I don't know enough about SEO and code so am a numpty
  • I am too busy/uninspired/spotty to take any outfit photos
Different bloggers will feel guilt about different things and boy do bloggers love to make each other feel guilty too. From raging debates about the ethics of receiving free samples to twitter discussions about whether fashion blogs contribute to patriarchal oppression. Someone, somewhere will be trying to make a bloger feel rubbish about themselves. Just do your best. Remember your blog is making people happy for free. You are an online philanthropist.

#4 You will occasionally be hotshit

Leave a monkey in a room with a typewriter for long enough and he will write Shakespeare. Let a blogger post enough and they will occasionally hit pay dirt. Your golden moment may be an article going "viral" or a twitter hashtag you come up with trending all day. You might feature on huffington post or be contacted by a brand who love you so much they want you to work with them for actual money rather than free polyester. This dear friend may be the beginning of bigger things or it may just be a spike in an otherwise fairly underwhelming blogger profile. Enjoy it, milk it, don't let anyone rain on your parade. 

#5 You will be dropped like a hotshit

One minute you are the brands darling, your inbox heaving with press invites and the postman grumbling at the amount of parcels he is delivering to your door full of free review items. The next you are suddenly experiencing a freeze which makes Narnia look like Acapulco. 
Try not to take it too personally. Sure its nice to be considered relevant enough that PR companies want to engage with you but if you base your entire blogs worth on this it will leave you very miserable indeed when they suddenly start giving you the blogger swerve. Sometimes you are ahead, sometimes you are behind. the race is long and in the end its only with yourself to quote the wonderful Baz Lurhmann 

#6 Your page views will go up and down like a brides nightie

Popularity comes and goes but if you are lucky you will continue to attract readers who love what you do. Having popularity peaks and troughs is part and parcel of writing regular content. This is especially true if your blog covers more than one subject or if you decide to branch out from your original raison d'etra
Losing readers who only liked you when you wrote about a specific thing can really help you rediscover your blog heart again. I started off writing about all things vintage inspired and as my blog became more about fashion and crafts I did lose some readers but just as I as a creative person needed to expand my horizons so my blog needed to grow.
Eventually I gained more readers than before and I feel comfortable that my blog reflects my varied interests and passions. Sure the core of it is plus size fashion but if I want to feature a craft project, an opinion piece or a make up tutorial I will and thankfully this seems to work. 

I have so much more to share with you on this subject but for now I will leave you. If you are a blogger I hope this has made you smile and nod in agreement (or be baffled at how different my experience has been) if you are a non blogger thank you for reading to the end. Normal service resumes tomorrow.

And here is my latest video-if you would like to see more of these subscribe to my Youtube channel

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