A few months ago I felt like throwing in the towel to blogging. As much as I loved it, I was getting countless negative comments both on my blog and on social media every single day. And being the emotional type, it was doing me in. But I realized that there are negative and unrealistic perceptions of bloggers and blogging. So I invite you to consider a few facts every blogger wants you to know.
It was February 22, 2012. And I found out I was pregnant with our first child. I sat at home waiting for my husband to arrive to tell him dreading every single moment of this discussion. It was that night we decided I would retire after my valiant one year career to stay home. But he gave me one condition. I needed to learn a new skill, preferably one he didn’t know.
This was because he didn’t want me to become rusty or bored in my time at home.
Over the last several years, I have learned so much. I have learned to self publish, to replace my income with my blog, and to grow thick skin against the eye rolling I have gotten when I say I am a professional blogger.
You see, being a blogger isn’t all fun and games. In fact, it’s a lot like piling an extra load of dishes onto your day when you don’t have a dishwasher. And having always been an emotional person, it’s also a lot like crying into a bowl of cereal as you read nasty comments, find that your images have been stolen, and realizing that you asked for this life sentence.
And then there’s the actual work part. And it’s always a situational comedy.
For my latest sponsored post, I was 90% done with what I thought was an awesome post. It was a Peanuts-inspired treat and in production I had part of it dripping but I forgot one aspect for the picture.
So I was trying to pop popcorn REALLY fast. In the moment the popcorn popper lid shot off, my dog walked in the room and peed all over the floor
…and in that split second the baby came in and crawled/slipped right in it.
What every blogger wants non-bloggers to know about what they do
It’s not “just writing”
Blogging takes a lot of time, patience, and research. Everything from working to design your site (even if someone else is doing it for you) to learning the ropes of advertising, affiliate programs, social media, and both federal & international law are required for running a successful and legal blog. Reading the fine print on affiliates’ terms of service, figuring out things like SEO, and trying to decipher coding are all part of the blogging life.
It wasn’t “courtesy of pinterest” or “courtesy of Google Image”
So many bloggers, myself included, have had images, entire posts, and genius ideas stolen. And there were blood, sweat, tears, and dog pee poured into those photos. (Refer to previous story). So it is heartbreaking to find that our images and posts have been stolen, plagiarized, and shared without credit. Pinterest exists because of bloggers who have creative ideas that post photos with links to their posts there. Images on google are still subject to copyright and not free to use. We love that you are inspired by us, please just give us credit, link to us, and share your own photos with us and others! (And of course, please share our post. We do love that.)
“Playing” on social media is absolutely NOT what we do all day.
Maybe there are other moms out there that read gossip on facebook all day long or search through pinterest for all the fun things. But the fact is, we make those fun things. We write about those interesting topics, and we’re marketing ourselves, not wasting our time. Social media is a work platform for us just like every “real job” has a communications system. We’re networking, we’re strategizing, we’re advertising.
People around the world read what we write.
While this is a motivation to keep going knowing that we’re impacting lives somewhere in some way, there are trolls on the internet. They comment on our blogs. They make us feel miserable and undesirable. Their words hurt.
We have ads and sponsored posts because it helps provide for our family.
We pay for groceries with that money, for hosting to make sure we even have a blog, and for wine when the trolls come out to play with our emotions and insecurities.
We have to disclose ads and sponsored posts, but that doesn’t make the story any less desirable.
At the top of sponsored posts, we have to disclose that we’re getting paid for that post. Which in turn typically means many non-bloggers stop reading. However, did you know that many bloggers are pitching companies for those posts with ideas for posts they were already going to write on their blogs because they knew you’d love it?
Getting free product, doing reviews, and offering free social media shout outs is not how most professional bloggers work.
While it is not a tangible item they offer, it’s just like asking someone who builds fences to build you a free fence. What a blogger has done is built a company from the ground up, usually over years of hard work. They not only have learned the ropes of blogging, but also of social media. So they do what they do for a price. And, again, to provide for their families.
It takes multiple streams of income to be successful.
It’s not all ads, not all sponsored posts, not all affiliate advertising, and not all products. So when you see a blogger “pushing” a product, a book they wrote, or a class they offer, it’s because they are diversifying their income. They are doing what it takes to stay afloat and make it work.
Bloggers are just like you, just with a camera 24/7
Our houses are still just as messy as your even if our pictures look like perfection. (We just cleaned a corner for you). Our kids still have dirty fingernails, bruises, and paint on their toes. (We just photoshopped it out). We still struggle to get the laundry done, food cooked, and kids in bed. (We just have a platform to talk about it).
We’ll stay up all night to make something perfect.
Whether we’re inspired to write a post or are tweaking our web design, we’ll skip sleep just to make sure it’s exactly right.
Some of our best friends are ones we have never met or only seen on occasion.
Our best friends are our “coworkers”; they’re other bloggers we have networked with 7 time zones away, but feel like we know like a childhood buddy. We know other blogs not necessarily as competition, but as motivation and opportunity.
Mommy blogger is typically not what we go by.
I realize there are male bloggers. But in this industry, it’s dominated by women, many of them moms. And just because we may write about parenting, most of us don’t consider ourselves mommy bloggers. We’re professionals and “mommy” as a term rarely has a place in the professional play-space.
Typically we don’t have work spaces, “office hours”, or a defined blogging schedule
Because the average blogger is doing it on the side or as a parent just trying to survive, we’re working during nap-time, during long overnight hours, and whenever we get a free moment. And we have accidents happen more often, like water spills on laptops because we’re trying to cuddle with kiddos, read to them, and get something done that is due that day all at the same time.
We love blogging.
It’s true. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love it. To put up with the haters, the trolls, and the sanctimommies is not for the faint of heart. We believe we can have a positive impact on people’s lives whether it’s by the food they eat, the way they raise their kids, or the clothes they wear. Each blogger embraces their passion and makes it a career no matter how low-paying or profitable it becomes. We all do it because we love it.
The moral of this behind the scenes of blogging story?
When you see that cute, inspiring, heartbreaking, or motivational post… I encourage you to imagine the story behind the post. And to also please leave your internet shoes at the virtual door.