Running a personal blog in my spare time should, I thought, be a stress-free experience. Especially since I work doing something else full time, and so don’t rely on blogging to be my main source of income. However, I never imagined the weird rollercoaster of emotions that writing a blog, even part time, would bring. Some days I am on a high about my blog. I think of it and smile while I’m walking along, I get really excited about the thought of writing certain posts, and I feel really optimistic about its prospects. Then literally less than 24 hours later I find it depresses me slightly and actually stresses me out. It’s not been the completely fun and stress-free hobby I’d anticipated. There are many reasons why it can have either a positive or a negative impression on me, and the smallest thing seems to be able to tip the delicate balance from one to the other. No doubt other bloggers can relate to these triggers, which I thought I’d share here in a bid to get them off my chest and talk about the ups and downs of blogging even as a hobby.
THE GOOD DAYS
My blog stats go up and interactions flow
Some days I just get a higher number of visitors than other days, or more people decide to click ‘follow’ on one or more social media channel. This makes me realise people are finding and reading my blog, which is still a strange concept to me but one which makes me suddenly really happy. The same happens when I get comments on posts, or Twitter conversations start up. It usually coincides with me having more time to devote to outreach with other bloggers and blog readers, and it’s one of the best sides of blogging and something that I think every blogger understands. After all, bloggers and readers form a community and it’s lovely to find yourself in the middle of that, chatting to people and having them read your content.
I’m happy with my writing
Some days, I am more eloquent than others and posts just flow without me rambling too much. I am a terrible rambler and often have trouble saying what I want to in less than 2,000 words. On days that I manage to knock this on the head and just write what I want to without several lines of extra waffle, I feel like I’ve conquered this particular ‘weakness’ once and for all. I feel I’ve somehow found the secret to churning out post after post of concise, useful content sprinkled with the odd witty anecdote or profound revelation. I suddenly find blogging to be very easy, and this makes me very happy and conveniently forgetful of the other six days of the week where I can’t get past the first sentence.
I’ve created some ‘original’ content
In a highly saturated blogging world, it’s very hard to come up with new and fresh content that I can be proud of as my own work. A quick Google of an apparently new topic usually brings up pages of previous posts in a similar vein. In a way, it’s nice to know that we are all very similar in many ways and all have the same thoughts, fears, and quirks etc. But it’s also nice to feel that the thoughts you’ve poured out on to the page are in some way unique to you and might in fact resonate with readers who perhaps haven’t come across things worded or described in that particular way before. When you hit the nail on the head with a post that brings about fresh interaction and ‘great idea!’ comments it gives such a buzz.
I think there may be a future for it
On the good blogging days, I can see myself carrying on and doing it for years. I think there’s a space for me in the blogging community and a path forward, albeit part-time, to bigger and better collaborations, large groups of blogging friends, glamorous events and thousands of hits per day. Perhaps it’s not that impossible to end up writing a blog full time. I can see cleverly crafted networking strategies, beautifully planned #goals Instagram layouts, PR meetings and a half decent income if things just carry on this way.
THE BAD DAYS
When riding on the crest of a good blogging wave, I can be brought swiftly back down to earth with a bump by any or all of the following:
Being unable to stick to any sort of schedule
This is a terrible trait of mine. Several times over the past year, I’ve painstakingly set up a blogging schedule for the next three months. It’s been beautifully worked out, with a set routine of up to five posts per week on alternating topics. It’s taken me a good half hour or so to set up and write in to my Erin Condren Life Planner. I sit and write the first post from the schedule, and if feeling particularly productive I’ll schedule the second one. Then, as the week progresses, everything goes to pot and nothing else gets posted. I get further and further behind with the schedule, until the point where it’s not even workable anymore as certain events I was going to write about have passed, or seasonal topics are now not relevant. So I start again, back to the planner and full of big ideas about how this time, for the next few months, things will be different and I will actually write the posts I intend to. I find not being able to stick to my own schedule quite stressful, and it frustrates me so much that this happens so often.
Not being able to interact as much as I would like
Inevitably, when life gets busy certain things I like to do every day have to get bumped in favour of keeping up with the washing, ironing, cooking and cleaning etc. For me, the first thing that goes out of my daily schedule is the luxury of reading and commenting on other blogs, or scrolling through Twitter and Instagram and dropping nice comments and likes. Once I slip out of this routine I find it hard to get back in to it. I know that the interaction with other bloggers is such a huge part of blogging, and when I go through long periods of not doing it, I feel as if my blog is suffering as a result. After all, commenting on other blogs is a great way for other readers to find your own blog, and when not doing this I notice a big drop in traffic and interaction on my own blog. In turn, I feel that my hard work is being undone somehow and that my blog is disappearing in to the cyber world without a trace. Trying to find the time again is sometimes a challenge, but it’s worth it to start connecting again.
Comparing yourself to others
This is something that I know many other bloggers do, and I do it myself. I have read several times on other blogs how hard it is not to compare yourself and your blog to popular blogs and bloggers out there. I’ve lost count of the times I have thought that I could never be ‘good enough’ to have a successful blog on those kinds of levels. It’s either that I don’t like my layout, or I think my photos are particularly bad. Or perhaps I start to question my writing ability. Comparison in the blogging world is inevitable, as we are all putting ourselves out there for scrutiny, and it can be very hard and slightly depressing when you find yourself questioning your own corner of the internet and its worth in the blogging world. On those kind of days I tend to just try to forget about my blog completely, and come back to it with a fresh attitude another time.
Sometimes I just want to stop blogging
Sometimes I become so overwhelmed with negative feelings about my blog and the point of it all, that a voice in my head tells me to just delete it all and stop writing. It’s not like someone has put a gun to my head and is forcing me to continue blogging, after all, so I can stop at any time. I work full time elsewhere so don’t rely on this blog for income. And it’s very tempting to stop altogether when you are having a bad blogging day. I’m either so sick of the fact I can’t seem to publish a blog post when I intend to, or stressed from wondering why my photography skills just aren’t improving despite having bought a decent camera, or annoyed at myself for not reading and interacting on other blogs, that I can easily see myself just throwing in the towel and stopping for good. That would be very easy to do. I could just stop.
For some reason, I haven’t stopped yet though.
Blogging has some major advantages and highs, as well as some disadvantages and lows. I guess this keeps it interesting? I try to remember that, since I started blogging, I have learnt some incredible new skills and am learning newer ones all the time. I’ve had great experiences working with brands, and have met some lovely people. Plus the good parts of blogging, even part time, make those harder days a lot more bearable. It would be very easy to stop blogging but then I would miss out on the fun stuff and the hope that comes with it on those better days. I wonder how many other bloggers can relate to all this. Do you have good and bad blogging days? I would love to know if your feelings about your blog fluctuate a lot like mine do.
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