Today I’m bringing you another post in my Featured Bloggers series!
This one dives into the ambiguity of the career that is full time blogging, and what you should consider before taking the pioneering plunge. Written by the wonderful Ruth, you’re guaranteed an honest insight, non-stop encouragement and a whole lot of loveliness.
I’m Ruth, I’m 27 and I live in Aberdeen, Scotland. In April 2018, I started blogging after being diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Since receiving treatment, I’ve become determined to spread a bit of happiness, both through my blog and social media. I share blogging tips as I learn along the way, as well as various personal posts, but the end goal always remains the same: to make your life a little better somehow.
I’m going to kick this off by saying: I didn’t go the conventional route to full time blogger. The truth is, some people might not even refer to me as a full-time blogger as this is what I do full time, but I do not have a full-time income to match. Not yet, anyway.
Most people start blogging as a hobby or to generate a bit of cash on the side of their day job.
I did not.
When my mental health took a nosedive, I left my job in retail. I had no plan. After a couple of weeks, I found myself stuck in limbo. I didn’t feel ready to return to a traditional job, but I could feel boredom kicking in. I needed something to distract myself from all the noise inside my head.
So, I started blogging.
It’s safe to say, I went all in and gave it my everything. I have been doing this for four months. I’ve been able to earn a bit of money, but as most bloggers know, it’s not a way to get rich fast. I’m fortunate that my boyfriend is in a well-paid job, so I can see where this road takes me.
During these early stages, I’ve discovered a few pros and cons of full-time blogging.
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first:
As I’ve just touched upon, the income is minimal right now, and it’s unpredictable. I am optimistic I can earn more in the future, but the unpredictability of it won’t go away. This makes for a difficult and very stressful situation. You can feel like you’re working really hard to get nothing back. As of right now, I feel guilty because I’m barely contributing to our bills and I’ve found myself getting upset about it on more than one occasion.
Time is a strange concept. On the one hand, even blogging full time, you find yourself short of hours, wishing there were more in the day, just like everybody else. On the other hand, sometimes, you have too much time. By this, I mean, unless you come up with a schedule to stick to, it’s hard to know where to begin. Time just gets away from you.
Taking a break is hard. I don’t know if it’s a desire to prove myself or my natural hard-working attitude, but I constantly feel like I have to be doing something. There is one result of this and that’s burning out. I came very close recently, because I wasn’t making any time for myself. Every hour of every day, I was doing something related to my blog. As I’m at the beginning of my journey, throwing myself into it felt like a necessity, but I dived right in at the deep end and almost drowned.
There’s an expectation for you to be reachable at all times. Interacting with the blogging community is a joy and if I could spend all day chatting away with other bloggers, I would. In fact, I have done this in the past. But, the truth is, you have to know when to step away or your content suffers for it. Blogging is a creative outlet, and yes, you need social media to interact, network and promote, but that means nothing if you only have average content to show. I’ve been taking a step back from social media to really focus on getting things done, and it’s been great for me mentally, but I have received snide messages about it.
Now, the good stuff:
I LOVE blogging. It’s the first thing in my life where I’ve felt it’s what I should be doing. My calling, I suppose. I won’t pretend there aren’t days when I feel like I’m not very good at it because self-doubt is an old familiar friend of mine. However, writing makes me happy. Having other people read my work and compliment it feels like a dream, especially as I never anticipated sharing anything I wrote on a public platform.
I’m constantly learning new things. Since I was young, learning has given me a thrill. As there’s so much to wrap your head around with blogging, I’m constantly given opportunities to learn more. By reading articles, watching webinars, doing courses. The fact I do this full time means I have those hours spare to invest in researching and improving.
People come to me for advice. I love helping people so, if I’m not too bogged down or rushing to meet a deadline, I’m more than happy to give them a bit of guidance. Having the ability to steer people in the right direction makes me so happy. Plus, the fact they trust me enough to ask for it is wonderful!
Making money from something I enjoy feels incredible. Earning from my blog wasn’t my intention. I just wanted something to do while I prepared myself to return to work. Yet, I decided there would be no harm in trying to make a little bit of money as I went along. I remember the first affiliate sale I had. Those first few pounds from writing and running a blog. You would think I’d won the lottery. I genuinely thought my head was going to explode with excitement. I’ve had a few more since then and felt the same way every time.
As you can see, it’s a mixed bag, just like any other job. Lots of people lust after being a full-time blogger. It’s a dream they’re desperately pursuing, but I think some people are chasing a fantasy. They’ve seen others achieve it, without taking the time to consider the hours of dedication it took to get there.
I knew blogging wasn’t easy, but it is much harder than I could have ever imagined. Blogging full time is stressful, exhilarating, exhausting, fun, intense and even lonely sometimes.
So, is it worth it?
…Absolutely. And that’s without the financial gains I hope will eventually come. For me, it’s worth it for that feeling of electricity pulsing through my veins when I press “publish.” Or, the giddiness which bubbles inside me when someone says they think I’m a good writer. It’s worth it for the intense excitement I get when I make a penny from my blog because it means someone else believes in it, and in me. For the strangers who crossed the lines into friends and have supported me endlessly.
I’d started to lose faith I could ever earn money from something which sets my soul on fire. To have that reignited is a gift in itself, even if I have a lot of work left to do take it to the next level.
These rewards are more than I hoped to have when I sat down to write four months ago. So, for all that blogging has its flaws, it has been life-changing. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
photos: Apartment Number 4
gif: Libby VanderPloeg