Blogging still excites me, I still love reading them, working on my own and even though its considered a bit naff to call yourself a "blogger" (I think the new term is social media influencer) I'm quite happy to wave the blogging flag.
When I started blogging I felt quite giddy that I could write or share something and like minded people would read it and occasionally comment. It felt like being part of the most delicious secret club. It still does.
Has this blog earned me money? Well a bit, occasionally. Has it led to some amazing opportunities? Oh for sure. Is that the end goal? No.
I see more and more blog posts and articles promising tips and ideas on how to make an income from blogging and its slightly troubles me.
Of course its sensible to make sure that every relationship you have with a brand or organisation is one of mutual benefit (and its up to you to determine what that looks like, no one else)
However the idea that a blog is only successful if its bulging at the seams with sponsored content or gifted review samples is one I think we should approach with caution.
If you only believe your blog to have any value based on how many times the postman knocks on the door with #bloggermail, or how many launch parties you get invited to, chances are you will spend a lot of time feeling disillusioned.
Blogging and content creation should be a creative outlet, the very lack of rules and structure are what make it so interesting. If you constantly just churn out glorified press releases and obsess about "creating your own brand" chances are you wont enjoy what you are doing.
Its OK to hope that your blog or Youtube channel will lead to an income, and having ambitions for your content is amazing (I love planning new posts, filming tutorials, its wonderful) but I would encourage you to enjoy the ride. To stop playing the comparison game and feeling that what you produce isn't worthy because it doesn't "go viral" or gain hundreds of retweets.
If your blog doesn't pay, stop treating it like a job.
I fell down this rabbit hole a few years ago. My blog started to become more popular, I got a few paid gigs, won the odd award and started taking it (and myself) far too seriously. I would feel stressed if I wasn't posting at least three times a week, feel gutted if I missed out on a juicy collaboration or event invite and fretted if I wasn't able to promote my content across every network. It was exhausting and just ruined it.
I am lucky in that I already have an interesting job outside of blogging. I write for magazines, am a television producer/director and teach as a senior lecturer at a university and of course help run Nicky Rockets
My blog was my hobby, my escape from the pressures of the outside world and instead I just turned it into another nightmare to do list.
Luckily I managed to break the spell, ironically by producing more content for my Youtube channel My subscriber numbers on YT are modest so I found the freedom again to just start doing stuff for the sheer hell of it. Not worrying how it would be received, just enjoying the process. Its been a total gift.
We live in an age where we can effectively (for free) produce our own online magazines, conjure up short videos, produce beautiful images and can share them in an instant. It is glorious, like the wild west of creativity, anything goes. Its a club that anyone can join and their are really very few rules.
I beg you to please stop treating your blogs like badly paid jobs, with dress codes, schedules and enforced networking. You really are spoiling it for yourselves. Write about what you want, post when you like and believe me when I tell you that you will attract your own little band of misfits who will love what you do.
Check out my Youtube Channel for lots of reviews, vlogs and tutorials
Brand New Rock Tiger Design over at Nicky Rockets
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