Some thoughts on blogging

Posted in Blog

I’m going to start this blog post by saying that I am not sorry that I didn’t manage to stage a moody and dramatic photo to accompany this blog post.  #oops

Right now, in the blogosphere, there is this looming cloud of negativity and bad feeling.     I have noticed some of my favourite bloggers have fallen foul of this cloud and have taken a break away from it all.  Whilst I was aware of this, I didn’t particularly feel the same.    I’m not a pro blogger.  My blog is not my income.  As a general rule, if I am feeling miserable, I don’t blog.  When I am happy and brimming with enthusiasm and ideas, you can’t keep me away from my keyboard.  You can track my breakups (and make ups!) through my blog.

The bad feeling was going to get me eventually, and it has.   I was feeling angry at myself for not sticking to my blog goal of blogging every 2-3 days.   Even though I am in the middle of NaNoWriMo, a feat that even non bloggers find a challenge, I was still angry at myself.  I felt as though I was letting people down.

I suppose the event that has triggered this bad feeling is that, apparently, according to a certain corner of the internet, I can’t have an opinion on something because “I am an aspiring pro blogger”.  First of all, I am not.  Honestly.  Secondly, it doesn’t say on my blog or on any of my social medias that I am, so I’m not sure where this assumption has come from.    Just because I have a blog does not mean that I will aspire to blog full time.   Yes, some bloggers do.  That’s fine.   I find these people are generally VOCAL about this.      And it got me thinking.

I’ve been blogging for over 4 years now, perhaps even 5.   I started in the happy time of blogging; it was a small community, full of support at every turn.  It was exciting and positive.   Everyone used GFC and Hello Cotton; only a handful of bloggers used Bloglovin.    Now, I feel blogging has become a rather negative aspect of my life.  The never ending battle to beat yesterday’s page views and comments, gain more followers and rack up those likes on Twitter and Instagram.    It’s draining and it’s exhausting.  I genuinely feel that the nature of blogging has exacerbated our natural tendency to feel anxious from time to time, to full blown anxiety that affects us to the point where we need medical treatment.  Is this good enough?  Am I pretty enough?  I’m not as pretty as her.  Why is no one reading this?  Why did they unfollow me?  Why doesn’t anyone like me?  Does this sound familiar?

When does it get better?  What does blogging mean anymore?   Do you start a blog simply to make it your income or to become famous?  You can’t possibly be writing about something just because you like writing, apparently… *sigh*

I’ll admit, when you first start blogging, it’s fun and exciting.   I started blogging, on Tumblr, after I spent £50 on make up in one day, and I thought a blog would be a perfect excuse to keep doing so.   At first you think, YEAH THIS IS AMAZING I WANT TO DO THIS ALL THE TIME, but then you get a few months in or even a few years in, and you realise the spark has gone and the shine has dulled.   You secretly enjoy having a break away from your blog, but when you log on to social media a few hours later to see whether Kit Harington has been spotted, and where (and whether he has cut his hair), and immediately you feel guilty for having some time for you that wasn’t related to your blog.

It’s come to a point where I have to ask myself, is it worth it anymore?  I’m not going to lie, I’ve had so many amazing opportunities through blogging that I won’t forget for a while.  I’ve met some people online that I can’t imagine not speaking to everyday.  They’ve honestly become my friends.  My Facebook has more bloggers on it then it does of people I went to school with!

To be absolutely BRUTALLY honest, I feel that to “make it big” in blogging, you need to sell your soul.    I’ve noticed a worrying trend – some bloggers do not have an opinion on anything.  Seriously.   Everything is amazing…   I’m not bashing people for being positive because the world is depressing enough,  but I feel that even social medias are filtered and scripted.  They do not have an opinion on anything controversial.    Any opinions that they do “hold” came from someone’s tweet, and are mostly on “safe” topics.     I think this upsets me the most.    I don’t want to keep quiet on issues that I want to talk about, for example, feminism, a very controversial and heated topic that most people don’t see eye to eye on.  That’s fine.  I like learning new things, having my opinion changed by a reasonable and well put argument.     I don’t want to sit there and smile,  in a heavily angled and filtered selfie talking about how amazing a £30 lipstick is from a brand that encourages women to never let their husbands see them in their natural state.  SERIOUSLY.  I know it’s off topic but why is no one else mad about this?  Ladies, and gents, if your partner doesn’t like you in your natural state, e.g. without make up or perhaps with slightly hairy legs or underarms, GET RID.  I seriously cannot stress this enough.. Anyway… let’s continue.

The reason that I do not blog about beauty as much as I used to do is because I am scared to death of something going wrong.  My worst nightmare is me, reviewing an item and giving it a good review, only for a reader that had 100% trust in me to buy it and hate it, and feel as though I lied to them.   The trust of my readers and followers is of paramount importance and whilst I may forget to add a disclaimer to posts, it hasn’t come from a place of malice.  I do not deliberately set out to mislead or deceive my readers.    I thought people felt the same as me, but yet, I see skincare posts one paragraph long after one week of testing, or a make up review posted one day after purchase.   Blogging doesn’t feel genuine anymore.

So many bloggers have been feeling the same, but yet nothing has been done.  I personally feel that these feelings began to surface when the monetisation of blogs and YouTube escalated to the point where you can command a four figure fee for holding up a bottle of chocolate milk on Instagram.  When did everything become an advert or a competition?  When did blogging lose its imperfections and no longer feel relatable?    When did it stop being FUN?   There has been a lot of talk recently about social media “not being real” and I wholeheartedly agreed with the girl who brought it to the furore.  I know that you did not wake up like that.  I know you probably spent half a hour arranging your flat lay for that “random” Instagram photo.  I know that your bedroom/lunch/view from your window is not that bright or colourful.  It’s ok to like nice things and to take nice pictures of nice things, but surely there is more to life than an Instagram theme? It’s not the end of the world if you upload a picture that is blue and your “theme” is pink, you know?

I know that if my blog ceased to exist and I deleted all social media that I wouldn’t be missed.  It would be a drop in an ocean of bloggers, and that thought makes this so tempting.   Imagine, all the hours of my life I would be able to get back.  I’d be able to eat some candy, without reviewing it.  I would be able to use a product without having to photograph it first.  I’d be able to read multiple books in a day.  I could slob out in front of a film again.  I could just sit around and do NOTHING!

I actually feel a lot better getting this all out of my chest, even though it has taken me about 10 rewrites to make sense.    I may wake up one morning next week and feel so blindingly positive I will private this blog post and pretend I never wrote it.  I might wake up one morning next week and still feel the same.  I don’t know.  My main priority at the moment is writing my novel,  editing it into something coherent, and then sending it out to agents.   Taking part in NaNoWriMo this month has made me realise that I do love writing and this is something that I want to pursue.    It’s been fun coming up with characters from nothing, fleshing them out and letting them take me where they want to go.

I don’t want this post to come across as self pitying or as if I am begging for adoration and “no plz stay!!1!2 type comments.  I just needed to have a vent somewhere.  I need to have a serious think as to whether this is something I can genuinely continue with.   Blogging takes up a huge considerable amount of my time, and it has had a negative effect on my mental health.    I have to ask myself where it will go from here.  After 4 years, shouldn’t I be famous in Japan by now, instead of having a few more Twitter followers than my non blogging friends?

I think I should end this post here, before I end up going off on a tangent.  I would love some opinions.. it’s not just me is it?  *sweats nervously*

November 13, 2015
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  • Reply Kristien

    Hi Daniella, even though I hardly ever comment on your blog, yours is one of my favourite blogs to read. I’m sorry that you have felt bad about blogging. As a blogger myself I have felt that way too sometimes. It’s not easy to remind yourself that your blogging just for fun or because you enjoy creating content that you like sharing with the rest of the world when there is such a push from the blogging community to up your statistics. I wholeheartedly agree that going pro feels a bit like selling your soul. I personally have toyed with the idea of going pro myself but I felt like it would require me to put up this artificial persona. not to say that there aren’t any good pro bloggers out there, just that you can easily spot the authentic from the fake.
    Agh wall of text! Anyway what I’m trying to say is that I agree with what your saying and that I do hope you continue to blog on your own terms :)

    November 14, 2015 at 7:27 am
  • Reply Megan

    You’ve basically summed up my feelings towards blogging. I would be very sad to see you go as your blog is one of the ones I enjoy reading the most ( how would I cope without your DIY candy reviews?!) but I completely understand why you might want to give it up. If it helps, I just tell myself day today that my blog is documenting my life rather than sustaining it and it keeps me motivated to be successful in reality rather than just trying for it online! If you ever want to talk to someone who feels the same way you can find me on Twitter for a chat :)
    Megan x
    London Callings

    November 14, 2015 at 6:54 pm
  • Reply Laura

    I’ve adored your blog for years but at the same time, can totally understand where you’re coming from here because I feel the same. Taking a step back from social media has made my blog progress totally stall and I often wonder whether I should just give up altogether but it still holds a charm that makes it hard to break away…I just wish it felt less competitive and critical! xx
    Lots of love xx

    November 15, 2015 at 4:22 pm
  • Reply Amanda Rife

    I totally know how you feel. As I blogger I know I steer clear of certain topics but that’s because everyone in my family knows and reads my blog (and members of my boyfriend’s family may or may not be catching on to it soon). I always felt like blogging is a fun a casual thing to do, but as I got more and more involved in the online blogging community the pressure started to build up. For me I was more pressured to build my audience. Thank goodness I finally got over that, but I still wonder if there is ever a balance between making a little revenue with a blog and not getting caught up in all of the competition. Only time will tell, I suppose!

    November 18, 2015 at 5:53 am
  • Reply Brian

    Short version: I would suggest that you take a break from the blog to concentrate on NaNoWriMo and complete your novel, as that seems to be your passion and priority at this moment in time. You’ve already alluded to the fact that NaNoWriMo is taking up an extraordinary amount of your time and, if you were to compromise your novel in favour of the blog, I fear that your disillusionment with blogging will continue to grow to the point of no return. Be aware, though, that you may be swapping worrying about page hits to worrying about Amazon reviews!

    (Very) Long Version: Firstly, a disclaimer – Inevitably, this may come across as patronising or condescending, though it’s not meant to be. I say “inevitably” as I am more than twice your age and have been on the Internet for almost as long as you have been alive. As such, I may say things that could be read as preaching to you young’uns, but that’s not my intention, so please don’t take it that way.

    One of the consequences of having been on the Internet for more than 20 years, is that I’ve seen it change from a relatively small community of tech geeks, learning as we went to the mass media, brand obsessed monstrosity it is now. I still remember the excitement of sitting in London and talking (well, typing) to someone in Tokyo or the US, whilst my dial-up modem squeaked away in the background. That excitement grew with each new Internet development. The World Wide Web was a huge improvement over the old way of navigating the Internet, and then came services such as Google, Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter, each of which changed the Internet as we knew it. Though, whilst I am still incredibly enthusiastic about the Internet and the possibilities it brings, I have become increasingly unhappy with the way it is used. I may be wrong, but I see a parallel with your situation – you love writing, but you are unhappy with the current state of blogging and other people’s expectations of what your blog should be.

    I have designed and run any number of websites over the last 20 years on a variety of subjects from video gaming to music and now travel, though I would not call myself a blogger in the traditional sense, as the main purpose of most of them was to help me learn HTML and, latterly, WordPress, rather than to publish content for others to read. And that’s still the case – I consider my current site a travel journal more than a travel blog, as the primary purpose is to record my thoughts on our travels and not to invite discussion – I don’t even have comments enabled, which would mark me out as a blogging pariah in some circles :)

    Now, it would be disingenuous of me not to acknowledge that a bit of recognition does go a long way. Only last week, I was contacted by a photographer from Germany to ask if she could use one of my photos on her website. I would be lying if I said that her request didn’t make me feel just a bit chuffed. But I didn’t take that photo just so someone could tell me it was a good photo – I took that photo so that when I am older and doddery-er, I can look back and have fond memories of our trip. The recognition was a bonus, but I wouldn’t have been any less happy had that photo sat on my laptop and never seen the light of day.

    At this point, I should probably explain how a 48 year old bloke ended up reading a blog about makeup :) I stumbled across your blog entirely by accident. I was planning a trip to China, and you came up in a search for Chinese snack foods and confectionery. Being a bit of a Pocky-holic myself, I stuck around, and your site now sits in my favourites list. Why? Because I like the way you write. Simples :)

    If I may make one suggestion to you, it would be this – step away from the blogosphere. You have said in your post, that you don’t consider yourself a pro blogger, yet you seem to be using the same metrics as pro bloggers do to measure the success of your blog. If you’re not looking to make money from your blog, why put yourself under the same pressures as someone who is?

    Your blog has one very important quality which many of these popular sponsored blogger brands do not. You are free to write whatever you want, about the products that you review. You buy the vast majority of the products that you review out of your own pocket and you do not get paid to review the products that you feature in your posts. As such, if you give something a positive review, we know that you genuinely liked it and that the review hasn’t been written by a PR department. I know that makes you feel some responsibility towards your readers, but you really shouldn’t feel bad if you give something a good review and a reader doesn’t like it – everybody’s different and there’s no guarantee that someone else will like the same things that you do. We all have to take responsibility for the stuff we slap on our faces, or stuff our faces with :)

    I’ve written the phrase “your blog” a number of times, and that’s an important fact to remember. This is your blog – you, and no-one else, should decide what goes on the blog and when. If people come here because they like the way you write, what you write about doesn’t matter as much, as it’s your opinion that folks are interested in – whether that opinion is about a lipstick, a book or this year’s Christmas lights in Leeds city centre. What’s important is that the things you write about matter to you. I might come here to read your reviews of quirky Japanese treats, but I won’t complain if you continue to blog about books and makeup, if those are things that you enjoy reviewing, and I’m sure that your readers with different tastes from mine will feel the same way. Similarly, I’m sure your readers will understand that real life gets in the way more often than we would like it to and that you can’t always post when you want to. If you read a book or find a product that you enjoy enough to want to tell the world about it, post – even if that is only once a week or once a month. I would rather read infrequent posts that you enjoyed writing, than read an unemotional post that you felt you had to write under some self-imposed publishing schedule.

    Ultimately, though, only you can decide whether continuing to blog is worth your time – I, for one, hope you decide that it is.

    November 18, 2015 at 5:11 pm
  • Reply Evelyn

    I started blogging around the same time, or maybe a year or so after than you, and the blogging community was SO different to what it is now. I find that a lot of the principles have changed hugely over the years and a lot of bloggers now just seem to be writing a blog or doing a YT channel in order to be famous/super rich etc and it’s all getting a bit ridiculous. It’s a very different thing to be 100% genuinely interested and passionate about something and to use that enthusiasm to become almost accidentally famous than it is to not really care and be really vain and vapid from the get-go. The only advice I can suggest is to ignore those people, but I know that it’s easier said than done when you’re constantly bombarded by them on social media (even if you don’t follow them!).

    There are a lot of issues around transparency at the moment and I really hope the blogging community will encourage newbie bloggers to be more honest and open with their reviews. I often feel under pressure by pushy PRs who constantly email and ask if you’ve reviewed something that they sent yesterday yet (I mean, seriously?!), and the only way to deal with it is by standing your ground (and only working with decent PRs!).

    I will certainly miss your blog if you decide to take a break or quit it alltogether as I enjoy seeing your posts pop up on my feed and appreciate the honesty in your reviews. But I hope you’ll stick around – this is YOUR corner of the internet and you should write about whatever you damn well feel like!

    November 30, 2015 at 4:59 pm
  • Reply Kirsty

    You nailed this bitch! I took a long break too and I really needed it. I felt like I shouldn’t really be blogging because I wasn’t doing it every day / didn’t put posts up every day / had no intention of becoming a ‘full time blogger’ etc etc. I missed it and now I’ve decided to post anyway and fuck blogloving numbers / page views / the rest of the bullshit and just have fun. You’re a great blogger, never let anything put you off x

    January 2, 2016 at 2:42 am
    • Reply Danniella Josephine

      Aw babe! <3 you xxx

      January 10, 2016 at 8:22 pm
  • Reply Erin Lian

    I started blogging about 5 years and took a break after a couple of years as I was super busy (Masters/interning/working/etc.). I found it so so hard to come back, I felt like everyone had moved on, and instead of blogging feeling like being in a fun gang it felt like being at a big party not talking to anyone. :( But I really love blogging so I hope I can carry one. OIt was really comforting reading your post, thank you so much.

    Erin Lian <3

    March 9, 2016 at 2:01 am
    • Reply Erin Lian

      *carry on (!!) Ahh cannot type!

      March 9, 2016 at 2:02 am
    • Reply Danniella Josephine

      I’m glad it made you feel better <3 even when you are a regular blogger, it can still feel like you can't talk to anyone (especially on Twitter!), but you can always talk to meeeee!!! <3

      April 28, 2016 at 8:55 pm

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