If you’re a blogger in some kind of capacity, you’ve probably had to deal with blogger shaming at some point. The eye rolls, the judgement, the condescension, the assumptions, the intrusive money jibes, the passive aggression. All of it.
There’s this wild expectation that you can just kick back, post about charcoal toothpaste or a weight loss lolly on your Instagram or summin’ and you’ll be ballin’ in a kitchen dripping in Smeg quicker than you can say discount code.
But that’s just it. Nothing is actually free – except maybe your own time and effort.
So, a brand wants to gift you with a top?
Ok cool, now you have to style it, shoot it (at a non-refundable cost to you), try and find something meaningful to say about a spaghetti strap, make the content on brand for you and for the brand partner, ensure it’s engaging and true to your own style but try and rein in your TMI captions a little, yeah?
You’ll need to produce an Instagram post, a blog post and six IG Stories but you won’t get paid for it because there’s no budget but you’ll gain invaluable exposure. Sweet!
Sure, exposure has its place but a hun can’t pay her landlady in regrams from New Look.
Is blogging enjoyable? Yes, but that doesn’t automatically render it easy.
The thing about creativity is it doesn’t know when it’s supposed to stop working – it’s like Robert Di Nero in The Intern. I’m sure I’m meant to have a cooler favourite film reference than that and yet, here we are. I want him to be my grandad, please.
Your surroundings, podcasts, books, social media, cafes, conversations – it all feeds into your creativity and it means you are always available. You are Amazon’s Alexa. Always listening, always on, but also a little bit annoying with it.
And while it may not seem like a job in the traditional sense of the word, there’s very few professions that blur the line between work and free time; between online and offline, quite so intrusively as blogging and creating social content, does.
Writing, re-writing, taking 417 shots of the same flat lay but maybe moving a macaroon 3cm to the right (PIVOT), scouting locations, crafting captions, pumping money into the great fucking unknown ~ blogging is a round the clock job, even when you claim you’re only doing it ‘part-time’. Lol. Oh hun, hun, HUN.
And I get it, Macaroon Stylist isn’t quite the Published Author accolade my parents had in mind for me but it requires patience, willpower, a strong back (flat lays are a bitch) and delicate, delicate finger work mmmk.
Trying to switch off from it all is like shoving the beeping smoke alarm inside a cushion and drowning it with your arse cheek for a while. You try to ignore it but it’s incessant, like a pushy momager forcing you into modelling when your head is all but 3 days squishy.
Try though you will to mute the voice that’s constantly squawking at you like a magpie on helium to create content at every opportunity, you very rarely actually succeed in stuffing a sock in that magpie’s mardy beak.
And that’s because the distinction between work and life has been so perfectly and quietly hijacked, to the point where you kinda stop noticing it. In true Spice Girls style, the two have become one and that, actually, is the opposite of easy.
So, why is it that so many people are still completely and utterly fucking savage about women making some kind of career out of blogging?
And this isn’t your 60 year old neighbour who’s just discovered that wifi isn’t in fact a new sandwich spread, this is 20/30 something year old women, willing to tear you down for doing something they don’t quite understand but quietly admire from the other side of an Instagram Story.
Insights my friends, so very revealing.
Is it because they see the end product and none of what it took to get there?
Is it because they’re not privy to the hours of planning, or the photoshoot you had to do while carrying your heavy AF flow around in ya pants, getting your vagina out in your car ‘cos #outfitchange
The cat-calling in the street, the money you spend on blog designs and domains, growing a thick skin, finding your body confidence and losing it all over again…
Blogging is not effortless and it’s no less of a business or a skill than anything else, it just so happens to be very closely aligned to the lives we’re all already living. Shopping, travelling, social media, eating, makeup…
Is it all too familiar to be seen as, ya know, anything other than a ridiculous hobby with a limited shelf-life?
I understand that our over-consumption of the Instagram aesthetic can often leave a bad taste in our mouths. We end up feeling alienated, disconnected and completely unworthy and we don’t necessarily know why. I’ve spoken about losing my way (and my shit) with all that in this post here.
But the beauty of using a platform with over 1 billion users is that there’s gotta be someone out there who speaks your language, ya know?
Look for those gems.
The Hannah Gales, the Vix Meldrews, the Chloe Plumpsteads, the Lydia Millens.
Making people feel something with the words you write takes talent. Creating content that thousands of people want to engage with in their own time takes talent. Being able to interpret a campaign to a set brief and still make it undeniably your own takes talent. Carving your own point of originality in a space that’s overwhelmed with creative genius and getting recognised for it takes talent.
And, since many of us are doing it with little or no financial reward, it also takes steadfast passion and commitment.
I’m not someone who takes offence easily and I count that as one of my strengths, but I must also learn to get comfortable with defending blogging when I need to because while it might not be all that I am, it is a significant part of who I am.
I’m very comfortable with being the butt of many a hair-flicking-on-a-National-Trust-hill jokes and I lap them up when they’re coming from a good place but if it’s a spiteful comment dressed up as banter, I’m not here for it.
It’s still a relatively young industry, people are intrigued – I get it. But asking well-meaning questions is decidedly different from straight up ridicule and mockery.
I write my thoughts on the internet. I tell stories. I work with brands. Sometimes I even get paid for it, so I must be pretty good at it. If I call myself a digital / social writer or a photographer and content creator, does this make it more reputable?
Well, it’s like a wise fella once said, “What’s in a name?”
The wise fella also said, “Fucketh your air quotes”.
Love you bye.
Photography: Olivia Foley