Blogging and Staying True to Yourself
Blogging advice is something I've found quite difficult to grasp here in this community. It seems to be the "in" thing at the moment and whether you're a seasoned blogger or not, everybody is chipping in their two cents on what they think you should or shouldn't be doing with your blog. While blogging advice can be informative and helpful, I've mostly found it counterproductive and don't believe blogging advice and being authentically yourself always go hand-in-hand.
The problem with blogging advice is that it instills the notion that there's a right way of blogging and that by following this advice, you will be lead onto the sure path of success. Whatever that even means. While many of us have turned our blogs into our professions and full time jobs, there are bloggers, like myself, still out there blogging for the fun of it and still enjoy the old school style of blogging spontaneously and not really planning or scheduling their content. The issue I have with blogging advice is that I often feel it's quite exclusive of these people and it sends out the message that if you're not following this particular advice, you're doing it wrong. A lot of the time when reading blogging advice, it can feel like what you're doing isn't good enough and rather than being something positive, it's actually rather discouraging and uninspiring. Am I less of a blogger because I don't post x amount of times a week? Is it inadequate not to have an editorial calendar?
It very much feels like a numbers game when you're bombarded with posts relating to page views, working with PR companies, making money and sticking to a schedule. I'm not one to pay particular attention to numbers and statistics because I don't really care and it's not even something I often think about. Sure, from time to time, I may take a look to see where my readers are coming from and where they live simply out of curiosity, but page views and follower count are of very little concern to me. Don't get me wrong, it's always super exciting to receive notifications of new Bloglovin' followers and I love watching my little online space grow, but I guess it's not something I actively work on. What I am concerned about, however, is creating content I'm proud of and when I think about wanting to be a better blogger, it's about the ideas, the photos, the writing and the connection I establish with readers and fellow bloggers - the stuff that is the reason why I blog. I want people here because they genuinely like my blog for what it is, not for what others think it should be. It can be very easy to lose sight of why you blog when you're constantly consuming what others think and say instead of listening to yourself and finding your own voice.
One particular type of blogging advice I have a bone to pick with are the posts about blog post ideas, most of which are just a boring stockpile of generic ideas that aren't really that interesting or creative. I feel this advice does more harm than good and kind of negates the whole purpose of blogging because shouldn't it be about challenging your creativity? It's lazy and a sure-fire way of creating half-hearted content. Of course, when blogging about a certain topic, there's always going to be some overlap, but it serves no use to be telling people what to blog about. If we all listened to blogging advice, our blogs wouldn't evolve or grow organically, and we'd all begin to sound the same when blogging should be real and wholeheartedly ourselves. Now, I can totally put my hand up and say I'm not the most original blogger - I love MAC lipsticks, I store my makeup brushes in empty Diptyque candle jars and my bedroom is white and furnished with IKEA - but I believe we all still have unique and original ideas to share with the world. Blogging and being a part of an online community is about connecting with likeminded people and those with similar interests, but there are still ways to separate ourselves from everyone else.
As my blog slowly grows and I receive more opportunities from PR companies, I realise even more how happy and content I am simply blogging for myself. I think after too many e-mails beginning with "Dear Blogger" and from companies on the other side of the world not realising it's a different season to where I live, I've just become jaded to the whole idea of working with brands and have learnt it's actually more beneficial for them than it is for you. I briefly tried monetising my blog through affiliated links and small banner ads, but at the end of a few months when I had only made 10¢ (which I obviously did not claim!) and I still could not afford to buy myself a Diptyque candle (lol), I realised it wasn't worth it and it's not what I really wanted to get out of blogging in the first place. I think it's so amazing how people can earn a living from blogging, but I don't want ads or sponsored content on my blog, nor to work with brands I have no interest in. More than monetary reasons, being self-employed is just not for me. How I blog works well for me and I don't need anyone telling me otherwise.
I know they probably don't intend on reading this way, but blogging advice posts can feel like you're being dictated to and people need to be more careful of what kind of advice they're giving because I think at times, it can lead to comparison. Whether we blog as a hobby, our job, how often we post or what we post about, we're all equal here. There is no right or wrong way of blogging, there are no rules here and blogging is beginning to taken way too seriously. Let's take things back to basics and just have fun!
In the four years I've been blogging, I've seen an incredible shift in it evolve from something personal to now becoming a profession. It's a powerful advertising and marketing medium big brands and PR companies have also jumped on board with. As blogging only develops into a bigger platform and we become even more saturated with blogging advice, I guess I just want to say that it's perfectly okay to be doing your own thing. You and your blog are good enough just the way they are and if you want to be better, set your own goals and define success for yourself. Soon, I'll be sharing mine with you all and I'm excited to continue to grow and better Like Neon Love on my own terms.