Maintaining a blog can be hard in 2019. Scratch that—blogging IS hard in 2019. Not only do you have to work for hours (sometimes alongside a full-time job) most nights, but also trying to ignore the critics is tough. Sometimes, your critics can be the people you love most. And even sometimes, your critics can be yourself (your inner-critic). Blogging can be hard in 2019. If you are thinking about starting a blog or even have a blog on the side as a hobby or side gig, listen up. This one’s for you.
I started my blog in early 2018. I opened up my laptop and started writing. I wrote a simple life update as I was waiting for my PR class to begin and drinking my coffee next to me. The words flowed out of me like this was the thing I’m going to do for the rest of my life. Flash forward a year later—and wa-la! It IS the thing I’m doing for the rest of my life. I mean, you can call me Carrie Bradshaw if you’d like.
Being an “Influencer” or something like that.
I like blogging. I like creating content on the Internet. There seems to be a lot of distaste and hate for being an “influencer.” I mean, in a way we are all sort of influencers, right? We all have a social media account (business or personal) and we post photos, tweets, status updates, and links to external sources wherever and whenever, hoping to change someone’s perception of something. That is influence. You’re influencing someone’s perception of something. Even this post is supposed to be influencing your opinion of writing on the Internet. But an influencer as a full-time job? That’s crazy, someone would say. Someone being a person that works a 9-5 job and doesn’t have a clue what a blogger really does behind the screen.
I’m telling you…bloggers, content creators, and influencers deserve more credit than that we give them. They work nights and short weekends filling content and posting on social media and fulfilling their dreams. Some work 9-5 jobs and whether or not they love them or not, they still come home every night to dedicate at least two hours to their blog. That’s dedication and something to be praised, not ridiculed.
The critics and your “inner-critic.”
I’m a writer. Part of being a writer includes that little, tiny voice in your head that likes to play devil’s advocate. They like to critique every little thing you do, including the word on the document you’re typing up. Yeah, these words my inner-critic is telling me (even right now as I’m typing this article), “no, don’t post that—post this instead.” And yeah, sometimes that’s helpful but sometimes…it can get you nowhere. Because if you let your inner-critic dictate everything you do, say, or write, then you’ll get nowhere and you’ll be staring at an empty computer screen for a long time.
Listening to critics outside your own mind can be challenging. Especially when it’s from people you care about, and their critiques and concerns are over legitimate issues. Like, it’s not a real, full-time job—are you really making a sane, steady career choice? Or aren’t you worried what people might think?
To answer the first question, I already do have an 8-4 career and I love it. It brings me happiness and “sparks joy” in my life (Marie Kondo, looking at you!). I love my job. But when I come home, I don’t want to just sit on my couch doing nothing (I mean, sometimes I do). I want to do something FOR ME outside the realm of my career (that I love, by the way). Something that has my name on it and I’m the creator of it.
Pursuing a side gig.
I’ve talked about “hustle” and girl bosses before. Yes, I do have girl bosses I look up to like Michelle Obama and fictional girl bosses like Cristina Yang. However, let’s not use the word hustle today. I’d rather not. Instead, let’s talk about pursuing a side gig for now. It’s okay and honestly great that you have this dream of starting your own business or creating your own blog. But when and how do you turn those dreams into reality? How do you make those dreams into something you can actually achieve? Let me tell you: hard work.
You won’t achieve your dreams or achieve anything really without a little sweat and a lot of tears. Pursuing a side gig, like a blog or business takes WORK. Hard work. It takes long hours, sometimes into the night, to really make a difference.
And a second thing that it takes to turn your dreams into reality? Time.
Time and hard work is what it takes to turn your dreams into your reality. Most things take time to evolve into something great. You can’t expect your blog post to become viral overnight. You can write a killer blog post about why you think there should be more female senators, but if you look at the stats the day after you click publish—even after you posted it everywhere—and there’s hardly any views or clicks on it, don’t get discouraged. Share, share, share. Write, write, write. Persist.
Write what your audience wants to hear. Yes, I will argue that a million times over. But you know what will trump that argument any day or night? Write what you want to write about. Write about what moves YOU and people will start to listen. People will come to your blog, your website, your business for your voice. Do you think people came to Jenna Kutcher’s website or showed up to Hillary Clinton’s rallies because they liked their style or graphics? No. They liked their voice. They liked their brand.
And yes, I realize I put Jenna Kutcher (a beloved podcast host and photographer and business owner) and a presidential candidate in the same sentence, and I’m sticking with it. Because we should champion each other, no matter what we do. The person sitting next to you on the subway, bus, car in traffic…whether they’re working in a 9-5 job trying to pay off student loans or a mortgage is no different than the person who’s busting their butt at 11 p.m. slaving away at their blog, sharing and liking and engaging and writing on their blog they’ve always wanted to pursue. We’re all influencers. We’re all motivated to do something great with our God-given skills, so let’s use our God-given skills to start influencing each other to be kind.
And that’s the #1 reason why I started my blog. To “influence” others to be kind, laugh more, and drink more coffee.