After writing about the things people say about working from home a couple of weeks ago, I realised there are a few more myths in need of debunking. In keeping with the “write what you know” theme, I’m starting off with the subject I know best: blogging. Then I’ll either move onto some other myths, or I’ll completely forget I started this and never mention it again: only time will tell!

A couple of quick disclaimers, before we get started, because you all know how much I enjoy a good disclaimer:

a) None of these points are things people have said about me personally – they’re just my responses to things I’ve heard/read people say about bloggers in general. (Not saying no one has ever thought them about me, obviously, but if they have, they’ve been kind enough not to say them to my face!)

b) As with my ‘working from home’ post, there will definitely be some bloggers these are true of, so as you read this post, please take it as read that I’m speaking purely for myself (as always)!

Here are some things people say about bloggers – and why I think they’re wrong…

Things people think about bloggers, and why they're wrong

Bloggers are vain and self-absorbed

It’s not hard to see where the idea that bloggers (especially fashion bloggers) are vain comes from: why else would someone post endless selfies, or photos of their outfits, if they didn’t believe they were God’s gift to the internet, after all?

I have no way of knowing this for sure, obviously, but I actually suspect it’s more likely to be insecurity that drives the desire to document things online, as opposed to the belief that everything you post is worthy of being documented. I realise this will probably seem disingenuous coming from someone who illustrated this post with a photo of herself (It’s supposed to be ironic, honest!), but I have never been particularly happy with my personal appearance: I don’t mention it often, and try not to dwell on my faults too much, but that doesn’t mean I’m not aware of them – very much the opposite, in fact.

So, why bother posting photos at all then, I hear you ask, disbelievingly? Well, in my case, I started taking outfit photos because I became obsessed with personal style blogs. I’ve always loved clothes, but as I’ve mentioned before, there aren’t many people I know in “real life” who share that love: sure, I have some friends who like fashion, or shopping, but not many who would really “get” my excitement at finding the perfect dress, or finally tracking down those fabulous shoes I’ve been looking for.

Online, though, I discovered a community of women who did get it, and who were using their blogs to share their latest purchases, and discuss their outfits. I got totally sucked into that community, and wanted to be part of it, so I started to do what they did – which was to take photos of their outfits. These women weren’t doing it because they thought they were the bees knees, or anything like that – they just liked talking about clothes, sharing their latest finds, discussing their daily outfits (which it’s obviously easier to show than to simply describe…)…and so do I.

I don’t take daily photos (perish the thought!), but I do enjoy doing them, even although I’d be the first to admit that my style is nothing out of the ordinary. I actually feel like I blog in spite of my appearance rather than because of it, and I suspect that more bloggers are in that position than you might think. One of the best things about fashion blogging (or personal style blogging, rather), is that it allows people to express themselves through their outfits, and share their love of clothes, even if they don’t look like models. Before blogging came along, I think there was an unspoken idea that you had to look a certain way in order to be “into” fashion: I’m not claiming that blogging has exploded that myth entirely, but I do think it has, to some extent, made it “OK” to enjoy fashion, and to be part of that community, without feeling that you have to be physically perfect in every way. And that’s got to be a good thing.

Bloggers will do anything for a freebie

I’m not going to lie to you: getting free things is definitely one of the perks of blogging – especially when the freebies in question are things you love. The idea that bloggers will do anything for a free lipstick, however, really gets me down, because I honestly don’t know any bloggers who are like this.

Sure, the first time a freebie lands on your desk, it’s super exciting – I remember when brands started sending me things (mostly beauty products at that point): I just couldn’t believe my luck. I’d be all, “OMG, Terry, lookit! A FREE shampoo! That I didn’t have to pay for! Can you EVEN?”

The thing is, though, you very quickly start to realise that none of these items are actually “free” in the true sense of that word. The brands who send them expect you to write about them: and that takes time and effort on your part. You only have to write a couple of blog posts in return for a bottle of shampoo, or a lipstick, or whatever, to realise that you’re getting the rough end of the deal, and are doing a lot of work in return for something you could easily buy for yourself. Before too long, you come to the realisation that you’d actually rather buy those things yourself than have to spend hours testing them, photographing them, and writing about them – and that’s when you stop accepting every freebie that comes your way.

In my case, I do still accept some gifted items (the top I’m wearing in the photo, for instance, was a gift from Boden), but I’m much more picky about it than I used to be, and I turn down far, far more than I accept, because I’ve realised that, in many cases, it’s just not worth it.

Bloggers only work for an hour or so each day

On the subject of the time and effort that goes into creating blog posts, there’s a myth that blogging is quick and easy, and that most blog posts take just a few minutes to pull together, after which the blogger is free to do whatever they want – probably to take selfies and post them on Instagram, or something equally vapid.

Some blog posts are fairly quick to write, true. Most, however, take far more than just a few minutes: in fact, some posts can take hours worth of work, and even if they did just take an hour, that wouldn’t mean you’re done working for the day. If blogging is your job, there’s always something else you need to do: I talked about one of those things in last week’s blog tips post, but there’s also a lot of admin to deal with, plus all of the background maintenance that comes with running a website/a business.

Quite apart from all of that, I don’t know any full-time bloggers who publish their posts the day they write them, and live a lifestyle where they get up in the morning, snap a quick photo of their outfit, then string together a few sentences and call it a day. I’m sure they exist, but most of us write the majority of our content in advance, and will have multiple different posts we’re working on at any given time – so it’s not a case of quickly typing up a few sentences and then kicking back for the rest of the day.

Bloggers don’t have any friends, and are awkward in real life

OK, I have to put my hands up here and admit that the second part of this one is true: I DO have friends, but I AM pretty awkward, and can be very shy, which I suspect is one of the reasons I enjoy blogging so much – I can be much more “myself” online than I can be in “real” life.

That may be the case for me, however, but it’s definitely not true of ALL bloggers. There was a time, back when blogging was still a fairly new thing, when it was considered a bit nerdy (And I don’t mean that in hipster sense of, “OMG, I’m SUCH a nerd!”, either…), and when it may well have appealed more to those who are a little on the awkward side. Times have changed, however, and as blogging has become more mainstream, it’s continued to attract all kinds of people.

There are plenty of people nowadays who get into blogging as a career move, or to start a business, and you only have to look at all of the blogger events and meetups that are arranged to see that many bloggers are extremely sociable, and not in the least bit awkward. And, of course, some of us are, and that’s OK too: just like any other group of people who share a common interest, bloggers are not all the same.

Bloggers don’t actually make any money: it’s not a real job, after all

There are a LOT of misconceptions out there about how much money bloggers make, ranging from wild claims of people earning over $1 million a year, to the more common, “She can’t POSSIBLY be earning much money from THAT, can she?” The latter belief is the one I see most often: a lot of people look at blogs and see a bunch of (mostly) women taking photos of their lipstick or their breakfast, and assume they can only be making “pocket money” and that someone with a “real job” (Because blogging is not considered to be a “real” job…) is paying the bills.

It’s certainly not EASY to make money from blogging, I’ll give you that. I’d also say that the vast majority of blogs probably aren’t making a huge amount of money. I’m always confused when I hear people say the “big” bloggers can’t possibly be making money, though, because you only have to look at the numbers to know that doesn’t make sense. I’ve said this before, but if you have something that’s popular enough – whether it be a website, a shop, a print publication or whatever – it will be possible to make money from it.

This blog, for instance, is tiny compared to many, but it has roughly the same amount of readers as the newspaper I used to write for: why is it easy for people to believe I made money as a journalist, but not that I would make money as a blogger, when the same amount of people read my work? Why is one of those occupations considered to be a “real” job, while the other isn’t? Both involve writing content for people to read: the main difference (apart from the obvious fact that my blog is published online, and the newspaper was printed) is that I own the blog, and get to keep all of the profits from it, whereas I was paid a set salary by the newspaper. (Oh, and as a blogger I don’t just write the content: I do everything else, too…) Both blog and newspaper are businesses, though: blogging may not be a conventional kind of business, but that doesn’t mean it’s not “real”.

I don’t make a fortune from my blog, of course, but some of the most popular bloggers get millions of visitors per month: their readership is significantly higher than many print publications. You can trust me when I tell you that yes, they will be making a decent amount of money from that: maybe not millions, but nothing to sneer at, either.

things people say about bloggers - and why they're wrong

I could go on (and on, and on…), but I’m going to stop there and hand it over to you: got any blogging myths you’d like to debunk? 

25 Comments
  1. Great post!! I particularly like your thoughts on the first part about how a lot of bloggers are actually quite insecure about their looks, rather than being self-obsessed as I think that’s true. It definitely seems to be the case that many bloggers are quite introverted and sharing photos is just to be part of a community they feel a lot more comfortable about being a part of from the comfort of a computer screen. And the work on each blog post I do I dread to add up… most are well over an hour though and I think off the top of my head I’ve got EIGHT posts on the go – some just with photos taken, others with text started, others that are just the start of an idea to come back to… I think I’d have a panic attack to do all my work on each post in one day! And this isn’t even a job for me… (PS just posted about my dog brooch 😉 )

    1. “It definitely seems to be the case that many bloggers are quite introverted and sharing photos is just to be part of a community they feel a lot more comfortable about being a part of from the comfort of a computer screen.”

      I really think that’s true – and as I said, there are also a lot of people who aren’t like that (more so as blogging becomes more and more popular), but a lot of the bloggers I know would happily admit that they got into it because they found a community they could be part of, and which they perhaps didn’t have in “real” life. I’ve always been very comfortable with writing, but much less so with speaking – I’ve become more confident as I’ve gotten older, so it’s not like I’m crippled with shyness or anything like that, but I still feel I can be more “myself” with the written word!

      As for the amount of time it takes, I think that myth is almost immediately busted by anyone who decides to start a blog, and realises that it’s much more work than they thought! I mean, sure, you CAN just spend two minutes on a post and call it a day, but for most people it’s a lot more time-consuming than they’re expecting it to be. I have SO much admiration for people like you, who manage to blog to such a high standard AND hold down a full-time job – I seriously have NO idea how you do it! Off to check out the dog brooch 😉

  2. I really don’t know what to say about the content of this post but I really need to say that I love this kind of content you do. I know that an attractive blog has to put some effort on its design and pictures – and if it is about fashion and beauty then you really must bring your picture game. But sometimes I just love to read an article, an informative text about any subject – and I enjoy that experience of reading a text like this one. So thank you so much for the last 5 minutes, they were very good! Make more of it! Because that’s what blogging is about, right? 🙂

    xx

    1. Thank you so much for saying that, it really means a lot to me! I always worry with posts like this that people just won’t bother to read them (And a lot of the time they don’t!), but they’re the posts I most enjoy writing, so I’ve kept doing them anyway. I’ve actually been wondering quite a lot lately about whether there’s room for actual writing in the blogosphere now that it’s all become so image-based: don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the photography side of it too, but I sometimes get a bit despondent about how Insragram, Pinterest etc, as much as I love them, have kind of taken the emphasis away from the words now, so it’s really good to know that some people still appreciate it!

  3. Love this post!! I have gotten so self-conscious lately with people commenting on how vain it is to post pictures of myself wearing clothes/make-up that I’ve been talking about, even if it’s just on my Instagram or Twitter accounts. A lot of people don’t understand that I think it’s really important to show people what things look like when you’re actually wearing them, not when they’re just sitting on a hanger!

    1. Exactly! When I first became aware of personal style photos, it was actually through a forum where some women I knew were chatting about their outfits – it started off with them just listing what they were wearing every day, but you don’t get a real idea of what the outfit looks like that way: it just makes much more sense to take a photo of it!

  4. So glad that you put this list together. I just started writing a blog and actually recently read a YA novel about a girl who was the subject of her mom’s blog. (If you’re interested it’s called, “Don’t Call Me Baby.”) Knowing the things that some people could potentially think of bloggers helps me to know what to expect in the future. I’m very much just getting started and I’m not thinking of it as a way to make money, unless I can really get myself into gear for web development and code, but maybe someday I’ll get there.

    Thanks for this post,
    Marisa | http://marisahendrickson.com

    1. Oh, that sounds really interesting – I sometimes wonder what the children of bloggers will think when they grow up and realise their entire childhood has been documented!

  5. I definitely think the myth about how much time it takes is so, so true. If I actually combine the time I spend on photos (which is just cut, paste, a couple of contrast/vibrance/sharpen things, adding a border, resizing, dne) and then writing the post, snagging all the links for it, editing/proofreading, then posting… I often realize I’ve just lost an hour or even two sometimes, and I just blog for fun and am under no pressure to make money off of it. I run a lifestyle blog and then a style blog and posts for both have been known to take that kind of time. So I really do imagine that a blogger who does it as a job is probably spending way more time I am.

    1. I think it’s only when people decide to start a blog themselves that they realise how much time even a short post can take – and if you have more than one blog, it’s even more time-consuming, obviously!

  6. I love the way I look (always did) and I didn’t use to post pictures of the outfits I had, until recently. If I like the outfit why now blog about it. I blog about what I cook, what I visit, why shouldn’t I blog about the clothes I wear too.

  7. I love your writing! Don’t get me wrong I like the clothes and your style too, but all the blogs I read regularly, like yours, have good stories to I with the pictures. I find it interesting to hear your opinions about your job, it’s quite different to mine but that is why it’s fascinating – to get an insight into someone else’s life.

    1. Thank you so much! And yes, I totally agree – it’s those little insights into other people’s lives that got me interested in blogging in the first place 🙂

  8. Oh Amber – I don’t think I could love your blog anymore. I dabble in blogging and Instagram and feel so conceited and shallow sometimes for posting selfies and outfit pics – but this is just one facet of my personality! Plus, confidence isn’t a bad thing and it’s a catch-22 for women. You aren’t confident and you get told you should be, but then when you are, you’re conceited? Anyway – loved the post and you always crack me up 🙂

    1. Thanks! I totally agree about the Catch-22 aspect of it… I think it’s great that fashion blogging in particular has made it possible for “regular” women to enjoy fashion and style, and be part of a community, but it’s such a shame that when we do, it often feels like some shameful thing that people will judge us negatively for!

  9. I do hope we get to meet offline some day, Amber – I get the feeling we’d get on like a house on fire. It seems really obvious that you put a lot of yourself – if, perhaps, an accentuated version – into your blog, and I think that’s what makes your outfit posts so interesting too (there’s certainly nothing vain or self-absorbed about it…).

    I think your points about how it’s possible to make money from blogging (well, obviously, since you manage it) are really interesting – I think that you have to treat it like a full-time job in order to make it one, really. As somebody who also produces content full-time (albeit usually not for myself) I can vouch for the fact that there was no way you’d be able to produce such brilliant content if you were only working for an hour a day!

    Great post, as always.

    x

    1. You definitely do have to treat it as a full-time job… One of the main pieces of advice I give to people who ask about blogging full-time is that if you want to make a full-time salary from it, you have to expect to put in full-time hours. It would be awesome if it was possible to earn a decent living from an hour a day, but I’m not sure jobs like that even exist!

  10. I enjoy reading a few well written blogs on a regular basis, and appreciate them very much, but I would never want to maintain one. Good writers make it seem effortless but I think back to school days and the time each writing assignment took. Those didn’t even include staging, photography, maintaining feedback and all the other bits involved with the articles you do every day, whether you feel inspired or not. As Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.”

  11. Amazing post. I particularly relate to the comment about freebies. Such a waste of time and they stop you being creative. Well done Amber. Some dinosaurs have to catch up with the fact that online is the way forward. Many print publications get under 100,000 readers a month, but people are shocked when bloggers (or those who work online generally) make money and are successful.

  12. Thank you for writing this! I recently discovered your blog through another blog and have been checking back ever since. I started blogging a few months ago, and you are so right about people not taking it as seriously as other types of journalism. I like how you addressed the amount of work that goes into blogging. People tend to think of it as a one-step process, when really, it’s like a 10-15 step process! (especially if you’re doing outfit photos that you have to shoot, edit, upload, etc.) I write some of my longer articles weeks in advance, and edit them over and over, sometimes obsessively, until it gets to the point where I’ve made myself so insecure about what I’ve written that I don’t know whether to even post at all! Your writing is solid though, and your pictures are striking. (love your red hair) Keep on’ doin’ what you’re doing girl!
    http://www.danastonestyle.com

  13. These posts you do are great! I can relate to several of these points. I’m nowhere near being a blogger of your scale, but I’ve been doing it long enough to have an idea of what you are talking about. Keep up all that you do. I’m a big fan and just love reading your thoughts from fashion to everything inbetween.

  14. I’m very much a fumbling as I go/hobby (cough making no money!) blogger, but I can definitely appreciate this post. Some of my posts take hours to prepare, and then the very light networking I do on top adds another hour. It is an awful lot of effort for a “vain” or insubstantial seeming to some people thing. It would be lovely if I eventually became more successful at it, because I do think it’s far more time consuming than I ever would have imagined. But reading professional blogs only re-asserts my view that blogging is indeed a full time job and therefore deserves equal compensation to any other job – spending several hours reviewing a product is so obviously worth more than the product itself, I can see how it becomes less enticing for a time investment unless it is something you are genuinely passionate about.

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