The Ugly Side of Blogging

I wasn’t sure whether to write this post or not. You’ll probably see why as I go on. The thing is, I feel I need to add on a massive disclaimer to the start of this post and say, hey, I know this sounds hugely negative, but I actually love blogging, and being a blogger, and about 90% of the things that come with being a blogger.

It’s just that there is that other 10%, just there, in the background, making me sometimes think when it all gets on top of me, all gets a bit too much, maybe I should just give it all up…

The ‘Fakeness’

Ok, let’s just get this one out there to start with. Through blogging I have met some incredible people who I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and I have made some amazing friends. For that I am so grateful.

However, through blogging I have also realised that sometimes the persona people are putting out online doesn’t quite match the reality. I have met people who make a living out of coming across as relatable, friendly, down to earth and sweet, when in fact they are anything but.

It’s also hard to come to terms with the sheer amount of editing and methods some bloggers resort to in order to create the images they are known and loved for. Sometimes an image has been so heavily edited, it no longer even resembles the original in any way, and something about that just doesn’t sit right with me.

The Bitching

Head to Twitter any day of the week and more than likely there will be some kind of drama floating around your timeline. Blogging is so over saturated these days, and the desire to succeed is so strong, that unfortunately bitching and backstabbing is commonplace.

I try and avoid online conflict as much as possible, and will give Twitter drama a wide berth, but it can be draining just going onto Twitter at times with all the sub-tweets and indirect discussions filling your feed.

The Less Glam Side

So bloggers have an amazing life, don’t they? With all the fancy events, glamorous parties, freebies sent in the post, it must be amazing, right?

Don’t get me wrong, there are some absolutely fantastic perks to this job. There are experiences I have had through blogging which have been total ‘pinch me moments’, and I am so grateful for each and every opportunity I have had through writing my blog. However, it isn’t all glitz and glam, and there’s a side to the blogger life that isn’t often shared on the ‘gram.

When I attend events, I am working. Yes, I am often doing it with a drink in hand, but I am still there to ultimately do a job. For this reason, I can’t completely let my hair down and relax. I aim to remain professional at all times.

On top of this, most of the time I am not experiencing things in the moment, but living life through a lens, always poised to get that perfect shot.

Restaurant review visits are brilliant, getting to sample food without the bill at the end is lovely, but I don’t eat my food (or let my long suffering husband eat his) until I have photographed it from a few different angles first, not because I’m one of those annoying people who take photos of their food for fun (although actually, I totally am), but because I need to for the blog post.

One of the reasons I am so happy to have made some friends who are also bloggers is because they totally get the need to photograph their food before eating it, and they understand the struggles of a restaurant with poor lighting.

Nothing is Truly 100% ‘FREE’

Whilst we are debunking a few myths, bloggers don’t actually get everything for ‘free’. For a start, when you are at the stage of blogging that I am (aka working with brands but nowhere near Zoella status), you don’t get sent things ‘just because’.

If I am sent something, it is because I have an obligation to post about that item, whether in a review, a round up post, or over on Instagram. I will have agreed to this in advance of being sent the item.

In the interest of disclosure, the majority of the time I am sent product only, rather than being paid alongside it. This means that those items are simply being provided for the purpose of the post.

Yes, I would be lying if I said it wasn’t nice to receive packages through the post, everyone loves a nice bit of #bloggermail, but nothing is truly ‘FREE’, despite what some people would have you believe.

When you do get to the heady heights of blogger fame, I have heard you do get sent a fair amount of items through the mail, and no not all of these are featured on blogs or social media, I am not there just yet……

The Late Nights

I am self employed and I blog alongside some freelance social media work, as my main source of income. I also have three young children, one of whom is at home with me during the day. For this reason, a lot of my working hours are made up in the evening, when the kids are in bed.

For this reason, I often get to sleep fairly late.

I have a blog schedule, which I try to stick to, and I aim to get my posts for the following week written up and scheduled in at the weekend, but if I fall behind for whatever reason, or I take on a sponsored post which I need to get up quickly, I might end up working into the early hours of the morning to get the work done.

I feel like bloggers don’t really talk about the amount of work that goes into a blog post. I am fortunate that, once I have an idea for a post, I can generally get it written out quite quickly, but then there’s the photography to go alongside it, editing the photos, posting it all to WordPress, and scheduling the post to go live. It all takes time, and it most definitely can equate to a full time job with the amount of hours you put in ‘behind the scenes’.

The Rejection

I am trying to grow a thicker skin, but the truth is, I have always worn my heart on my sleeve a little, and when it comes to blogging, it can be quite a tough industry to be in if you’re a sensitive soul.

I have lost count of the amount of emails that have either been point blank ignored, or have come back with a rejection and I’ve seen other bloggers work on campaigns I have applied for, but not been successful, which I would have loved to have taken part in.

I am not for one moment saying the other bloggers didn’t deserve it, just that it stings a little, as it would in any other job, if a colleague were given an opportunity you would have liked.

It is human nature to doubt yourself in these situations, to compare yourself and come away feeling a little dejected, not as confident in your own abilities. What is important to remember is that everyone is on a different path, and yours is the right one for you, with the right opportunities coming for you.

The Judgement

The other day I was having a little moan to Ed about blogging, including some of the issues I have mentioned in this post. He said to me if I didn’t like it anymore I would have to go and get a ‘proper job’. I will not lie, this stung.

I consider blogging my ‘proper’ job. I have always loved to write, and I am so grateful that our society now allows writers, like myself, to be able to build not only a job, but a career, from doing something we love.

Although blogging is becoming more and more mainstream, with a huge proportion of people now writing a blog, whether as a hobby, or as a source of income, there are still so many misconceptions and so much stigma towards those who write a blog.

It took a long time for my nan to appreciate that what I do is actually valid. It seems that, although blogging is becoming more commonplace, it is going to take time for people to truly understand the industry and to appreciate what is entailed when it comes to writing a blog for a living.

Social Media Addiction

One of the hardest things I have had to admit to myself lately is just how attached I have become to my phone. I am only really without it when asleep. Even when I am in the shower it is close to hand, and I go on it when I am in the bath more often than I care to admit.

It has become much more than a form of distraction, now that I have a legitimate reason to be on my phone throughout the day (it’s my job, how can I not be on it), I have reached the point where I fear it is an addiction.

Blogging and social media go together hand in hand. It is hard to maintain a successful blog, without a strong social media presence. As well as my own social media channels, I also run those of the PR company I work for, and for the Bournemouth Blogger network. I can quite easily scroll backwards and forwards from platform to platform, from account to account indefinitely.

I don’t want to stop blogging, I don’t want to quit social media, but I do want to work on how much time I spend on the internet.

More about Emma

7 thoughts on “The Ugly Side of Blogging

  1. Eva Stretton

    I also got told that blogging is not a real job which I found quite upsetting. Of course it’s a real job if we earn money and put effort in..

    Reply

    1. emma_lou

      Exactly! Sorry you have experienced this, it’s not nice.

      Reply

  2. Amy being Mum

    Loved this post!! I could relate to every point you made 100%!!! Thanks for sharing! X

    Reply

    1. emma_lou

      Thank you! So glad it resonated with you xx

      Reply

  3. Moe

    Hi Emma – I just found you on Instagram which has led me to your absolutely beautiful blog and this post in particular. Having relocated to Dorset two years ago and not having any friends or family here, I’ve recently decided to start blogging our adventures for family/friends to keep up with and hopefully as a way to meet other like-minded people. It’s been so insightful to read your two cents about what it’s like to meet people who appear relatable but are anything but in reality – or who photoshop things to death.

    I have a lot of blogger friends back in London who say there is such a pressure in the city to look unreal and live an unreal lifestyle. So far, the blogs I’ve come across that are Dorset-based are so refreshingly real and honest (like yours!). It gave me the confidence to start my own blog as I realised things don’t have to look so perfect or ideal for people to appreciate them. However, I am just starting out with my blog so a lot of my observations could be ridiculously naive. Do you feel a pressure too? If so, how do you manage it? How do you stay real?

    Reply

    1. emma_lou

      There’s definitely a pressure there and I don’t think it’s just bloggers who feel it, even those who use social media platforms like Instagram for their own enjoyment tend to post only the positives, it’s the way society seems to lean, which is a bit of a shame really, as it can lead to a lot of negative feelings. I don’t really know much about the London blog scene to compare, but I would say most bloggers down this way that I’ve met at least are lovely, and what you see is often what you get, it’s a case of the few letting the many down I think x

      Reply

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