Wednesday, 23 November 2016

5 Things I Did This Week That Made Me A Happier Blogger

I can't speak on behalf of all bloggers and perhaps it's just me who feels this way, but sometimes I just feel DONE with blogging.

Not just my own blog, but the whole blogging world as a whole...don't get me wrong, I will always be a huge blog fan girl (you can tell me allll week long that video content is the future but not for me, give me a blog over a YouTube video any day!) - I have a lot of love for the written word and it reaches me and evokes my emotions in a way that video just can't - I also love the blogging community, the blogging friends I have, social media and so on - but sometimes, just sometimes, it can start to drive me slightly mad.

I can never quite put my finger on what it is exactly that gets to me - but I find myself feeling frazzled, uninspired, burnt out and generally just not bloody good enough pretty regularly.

 I sometimes feel as though I'm just not cut out for the blogosphere, that there's too much of an image to keep up and that I don't just belong here, that I'm not cool or slick enough (or at least just not as good at faking it 'til I make it) .

Sometimes I feel that blogging just doesn't "bring me joy" to quote KonMari...I have struggled with each of those emotions time and time again over the almost 4 years that I have been blogging, but I have never really found any answers or solutions to the problem.

But something snapped in me recently...actually it seemed to happen right after I attended Blogfest...I don't know how or why, but suddenly everything became clear to me. I knew exactly what I had to do to break this vicious cycle...I knew how to bring my Blogging-Happy back.

And that's exactly what I did.

In just Five Simple Steps I managed to revive my Blogging Mojo - and now my love for my little blog is back - just as strong as it ever was!

So just incase any other bloggers happen to be feeling a little Mojo-less too, here are the things I did that made me feel better:

1) I Removed Myself From Blogging Facebook Groups

Not all of them - we all need some blog chat once in a while (I kept LiveLoveBlog & BlogBumpClub because they're super friendly and generally a happy place) , and a place to link dump of course   - but I quit the ones that I knew were not really contributing anything to my overall happiness. (Don't get me wrong, the groups can be great...but for some people of a certain nervous and paranoid disposition they can be a negative place, and I am one of those people!)

Again, I went a bit KonMari about it all ... I hovered over each group that I was a member of, and I asked myself "Does this group bring me joy?"...and I realised that no, the vast majority of them actually just brought me feelings of inadequacy, paranoia everytime another ranty post about "things bloggers do that annoys me" was started ("Oh my god, do I do that?! Are they talking about me?! Shitting hell does everyone hate me?" etc etc etc), despair at WHY some people give so much of a shit about what other people are doing on their blogs, and some serious FOMO at all the opportunities that everyone was talking about that I wasn't getting.

So I quit them.

I actually felt a bit nervous about it, as though I was committing some sort of cardinal sin of blogging - but once I hit that "leave group" button a few times, do you know what I felt?

BETTER. A zillion bloody times better.

No more do I need to watch people bitching and whining about who's doing follow links, who's taking what photographs, who's friends with who and so on...instead I simply go through my day, wild and carefree, not giving one single solitary shit about what any other blogger is choosing to do with their own blog.


2) I Realised That Follower Figures Have Zero-Meaning

Well ok, they don't have ZERO meaning..I don't want to detract anything from those of you with lots of Instagram followers or Facebook followers means that lots of people enjoy following you and that's great.

But what we all need to realise is this:

A) these figures are very easily manipulated - If I wanted to, I could show you at least 3 bloggers right now whose follower numbers cost them money rather than time if you know what I'm sayin' (I will never actually show you them, I'm not that much of a bitch...but they are out there, trust) - so why compare yourself to other people based on their follower numbers when, for all you know, they just bought them anyway?!

And B) The number of people who follow you does not represent how highly people think of you - sometimes people are sheep who simply follow the flock. They follow who everyone else is following...For example, I follow Tanya Burr. But to be honest, I don't particularly like her...she's alright, but she's certainly not a favourite of mine and I have honestly never ever watched a single one of her videos or read her blog...I don't even know if she has a blog...I just followed her coz she popped up on a list of people my friends were following...

On the other hand there is a blogger I follow whose Instagram feed I completely is beautiful, fresh, is honestly my favourite feed of all...and it has less than 2000 followers. 

In my opinion it is a far nicer and more interesting Instagram account to look at than Tanya Burrs, yet her follower numbers don't reflect that...

 That follower number on her profile - the one that tells her that less than 2000 people are following doesn't tell her that she's somebodys favourite Instagrammer of just tells her how many people decided to click the "follow" that REALLY all that's important!? Or is how highly the people who follow you think of you and enjoy your content what really matters?

Surely it's better to have 3 followers who are engaged with you and really love what you do, then 3000 followers who don't really care what you have to say?

3) I Stopped Feeling Grateful

We hear all the time that an "attitude of gratitude" is the most important thing and although I agree with that up to a point, I also think that in the blogging world it can be a little dangerous - I know that for the last few years I have felt flattered and thankful whenever any brand took the time to approach me, even if it was with an offer of something low value and of no interest to me.

So, despite having no interest in the product, I agreed to review work anyway - because I felt that I should be grateful, that I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth.

But not anymore. 

Infact as of next year, I plan on stopping reviewing altogether unless the product is of REAL interest to me and my family - I want to focus my time on the things that matter to me... I want to invest that time into more productive things, and I actually want to blog far less than I currently do.

And so I've started to practise...I have stopped feeling that I should be grateful for every email that comes my way, and instead I have started to tell myself that I have WORKED for those emails...and that some of them are not worth the time and effort I  put in.

And that has made it much easier for me to value myself and my blog.

And in turn, that has made me happier.

4) I Realised That I'm My Own Person

Sometimes it's easy to be swept along with the crowd and I personally feel that in the blogging world, that's even more easy than normal to do that.

I often see something in a store and think "Oh I've seen things like that all over Instagram lately, I'll buy that and I'll share a photo of it too!" - but when I actually stop and think about it, I don't even like that product.

Case in point...mason jars. For some reason, everyone and their wife went batshit crazy for mason jars a couple of years ago and so guess what's in my cupboard?! A shit load of mason jars! All ready for Instagram and Pinterest shots! 

But do you know what? I really fucking hate mason jars.

Not one thing about them appeals to me...they're clunky and uncomfortable to use, and I just think they're really bloody ugly if I'm honest...

But they're sitting there in my cupboard anyway, reminding me everytime I look at them of what a Trend-Whore I am...

For years I've tried to force myself to fit into whatever pigeon hole I thought I should fit into - I've tried to make myself like things that were on trend, I've tried to be who I thought I should be, I've tried to write about what I thought people wanted to hear about...but I'm not a clone.

I have my own tastes and likes and interests, and some of them are pretty obscure...I don't even like reading some of the posts I've written in the past because they don't even sound like me...I'm a bit sweary and I'm painfully honest, and I love a good rant...and that's ok.

In the past I've tried to keep that side of me quiet, because I thought nobody wanted to read a blog with swear words in, nobody wanted to see someone who can't be arsed putting their make up (or even their bloody clothes...) on until 10 past never every day...and I tried to make myself more appealing, more vanilla, more easily-digested by the masses.

But do you know what? I'm not really...I will never be a mass-appeal, inoffensive-vanilla-post writing schmaltz monkey - because I want to talk about things that are a bit awkward and a bit uncomfortable sometimes, I want to talk about things that I think matter even if nobody elses gives a shit.

And so that's what I'm going to do...because even if nobody else likes'll make me happy.

(no offense to anyone who classes themselves as a schmaltz monkey, I like to read schmaltzy blogs myself and there's nothing wrong with them at all....I just don't feel like it's true to my personality!)

5) I Realised That My Life Is Not For Sale

And that's the whole top and bottom of it really.

My writing services are for sale, my platforms are available to rent if the price is right and the product is suitable...but not my life.

I've spent too long worrying that I'm not doing this or that right, that I'm not portraying myself well enough, that I'm not getting my "brand" right...well actually, this is not a brand...this is my life, and if it's not good enough for a reader to take an interest in or a company to work with...that's ok.

Because it's not for sale.

If you want to come on board with us just as we are, that's great...but we shan't be changing for anyone or anything.

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