Ask Writing World: What are the best and worst things about blogging for a living?

Remember Skribit? It’s that little widget that lives in the top right sidebar and allows you to ask me questions to answer here on the blog. And here’s the first of them! You asked:

What are the best and worst things about blogging for a living?

I’m going to give you the bad news first. When I think about the downside of blogging for a living, the first thing that springs to mind is the sheerrelentlessness of it. I work much harder and longer hours as a pro-blogger than I ever did in a “regular” job – as an example, I’m writing this at 9:30pm, and sometimes I feel like I never stop. As soon as one day’s posts are written, I’m busy thinking up posts for the next day, queuing up articles to cover holidays, answering emails, trying to keep up with RSS feeds, analysing stats, you name it. Holidays are almost impossible, because I’m still currently a one-woman band. Weekends are a thing of the past. Every day I have to force myself to be creative, even if creative is the last thing I feel like, and I also have to be all things to all people: writer, editor, marketer, advertising executive, saleswoman, search engine optimisation expert, cleaner… The list goes on.

Then there are the blog trolls.

I’ve written about this before, but abuse on the internet is one of the hardest things about blogging for a living, and it’s the thing I struggle most to deal with. I am not naturally a thick-skinned person. I am not good at just ignoring the abuse, or laughing it off, and I have to admit that sometimes I’ve been deeply hurt, angered or offended by the things people have said to me online.

I’ve been told I deserved to be shot because I said I liked a certain handbag. Electric shock therapy was suggested because of a pair of shoes I’d admired. The things I don’t like cause even more abuse to come flying my way: just last week, in fact, I was called a “f*****g idiot” because I admitted I’d never wear a see-through dress in public. Oh, the controversy!

When you blog for a living, you open yourself up to criticism, of course, and when the criticism comes (and it WILL come, no matter how carefully you try to avoid it), it is swift and vicious. If you make a typo in a blog post, for instance, you will know about it within minutes – and you’ll know about it because someone will react as if you just admitted to drinking the blood of kittens.

All of this comes with the territory, but it’s hard to deal with, especially at first, when you’re not used to it. As time has gone by, I’ve gotten a little better at dealing with abuse. I have a pretty low opinion of the people who get their kicks out of abusing random strangers on the internet, and that helps me take their opinions with the large pinch of salt they deserve, but I still spend a lot of my time deleting comments, reading abuse and questioning whether the people leaving the abuse actually have a point.  A big downside for me, but not enough of one to make me want to stop blogging obviously. which brings me on to the good points about blogging for a living…

I’ve talked about these to some extent before, but for me the biggest positive is the sheer freedom blogging for a living gives me. Even after a couple of years of pro-blogging, and a few more of working for myself as a freelance writer, sometimes the freedom still makes me feel giddy. At the moment, I have my days planned out exactly the way I want them. As I mentioned above, I work much harder and longer than I did before, but I do it on my terms. For instance, I’m not a morning person, so my workload is organised so that I effectively have the mornings off (not that I’m relaxing, mind you – I use them to go to the gym and run errands, mostly), and then work the rest of the day.

I work with my husband and dog beside me.

I spend my days looking at clothes and shoes on the internet and then writing about them.

I spend other parts of my days trying out new beauty products and then writing about them.

In other words, I spend my days doing the things I would be doing anyway – and I get paid for it. I don’t think it gets much better than that…

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