I don’t remember what my life was like before running this blog.
And, if we’re being honest, I don’t even want to remember what it was like.
This little corner of the Internet has become such an important part of my life, and that wouldn’t be the case if it wasn’t for everyone who takes their time to read my posts.
I have connected with so many incredible people, I made so many friends, and, I honestly believe that I do have THE best blog readers/friends on the planet.
BUT, that doesn’t mean I never felt scared, intimidated or frustrated.
This, without a doubt, was one of the scariest things about blogging- at least for me. Making a few mistakes isn’t a too big of a deal when it’s just your mom and your cat who read your blog (well… a dog in my case). As soon as your audience grows, though, things get a bit more complicated and scary.
And a bit more intimidating.
People start pointing out your mistakes, and the more recognition your articles receive, the more criticisms comes your way. And we’re not talking about constructive criticisms here.
I remember the times when I would get up in the middle of the night, to make sure that I spelled something correctly or that I didn’t accidentally hit “publish” on a draft I’ve been working on. I’ve always been the type of person who is afraid of making mistakes or saying the wrong thing, but blogging just took it to a whole other level.
To be quite honest, I don’t know it was just me becoming more confident as a writer and blogger, or if it’s simply something that comes with age, but I just stopped caring so much about making mistakes. I guess you could say that I have run out of fucks to give.
A couple weeks back I wrote a post about skincare, and when talking about a face mask I wrote “watercock” instead of “waterlock.”
I mean, I don’t even know how that got past the spellcheck, but when one of my readers brought it out to my attention, I started laughing uncontrollably until tears ran down my face. Paula who wrote this blog three or four or even two years ago, would feel embarrassed, ashamed and she’d probably end up deleting the entire post altogether.
Point is, there is no way of getting around making mistakes. Every single time you make a mistake, you learn something new. Learn to laugh about it, especially when it comes to those little, silly things you often stress about. Being afraid of doing something wrong will stop you from going after the things you love and want in life. It’s also the only way you can learn.
Okay, so specifically, I mean image theft here (although I did have my blog posts flat out copied and pasted on other sites, too). All bloggers know how much work it takes to create a blog post. For me, a large portion of that time is spent on taking and then editing photos. It’s also one of my favorite things to do.
So, you spend all that time and work to finally get an image you love, you post it online and then come across someone else’s blog or Instagram profile, taking credit for all the work you did. What’s even worse, is when that image gets then reposted (for instance, by a brand which you featured in your photo) and instead of you getting that extra exposure, it’s the person who took credit for your work.
Seriously, this is something that used to make me SO angry and it happened to me all the time. It is so frustrating to see someone take credit for something you worked on for hours (because sometimes it does take a few hundred shots before you finally get it right) and are very proud of.
I will not say that this doesn’t bother me anymore, but I just don’t care nearly as much as I used to. This is just something that’s pretty much inevitable when you post something on the Internet. I will still reach out to someone if I see them post my work without proper credit, but I wouldn’t think of “attacking” anyone, which was the first thing that used to come to my mind when I started blogging. Although, I was shocked to see that someone actually attacked ME for asking them to give proper credit on several occasions (“why did you have to leave a comment under the picture, you should have DM me instead!!!“). Or, you know, they just block you.
Yes, some people take their Instagram profiles way too seriously.
A few years ago I published a blog post that got me hella views, only to see that a week later one of my blog friends had written pretty much the same exact post. Except that hers got her so much attention and her following just exploded overnight. Omg, did I have a fit. It makes me laugh now, but I was very upset that day.
Here’s what that, and other similar experiences have taught me: don’t worry about what everyone else is doing, focus on your own work. Do what you love, write about things you are passionate about, and forget everyone else. That is how you attract the right people and audience.
Obsessing over statistics, numbers of followers, shares, likes- I think these are some of the things that we all, as bloggers, like to pay attention to. BUT when it takes away from doing the things we really enjoy, like writing or taking photos, is when it becomes a problem.
Instead, I now focus on connections I make. It’s much better to have a small, but loyal group of readers who like and trust you, than to have hundreds of thousands of followers, who don’t even know your first name. Say you want to launch a product, write an ebook, create an ecourse. Who do you think will be most likely to make a purchase: people who have been supporting you, who like what you have to say and who visit your blog on a regular basis, or someone who just happens to stumble upon your blog accidentally?
Funny thing is, when you focus on quality, instead of quantity, is when you receive more love and exposure. Numbers aren’t everything.
BRANDS/COMPANIES/PEOPLE TRYING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOU
New bloggers are very easy to take advantage of mainly because they do not know their own value yet. And, they get excited when someone reaches out to them.
Here are some things that I, as a blogger, have to deal with on a daily basis:
-People asking me to promote their products, business or websites for free;
-people pitching their ideas and sending as many as 5 emails in a row asking me to add a link to one of my posts (“oh, I’ve noticed you linked to so and so, I too have a similar post, but you might find mine more informative, would you mind linking to my post, instead?“)
-people wanting to pay me so that they can publish a guest post on my blog, even though I clearly say in my contact page that I do not accept any kind of guest posts- all of those things are SO ANNOYING.
It’s become so frustrating, that checking my email no longer felt exciting and instead, it’s become a bit of a chore.
But, it’s just a part of what I do. I remember the first time I declined an offer, I mean if you can even call it that. Pretty sure I already talked about here on the blog at one point: a brand reached out to me asking me to write a post, for free, and when I said that I can’t possibly promote something I haven’t even used and asked if maybe they can send me a sample, the response I got was “lol you are funny, you have like, 12 Twitter followers!” It’s stupid, but I remember crying that day. Then, I thought, well, if I run such a shitty blog, then why reach out to me, asking for exposure?
These days, I either sent a simple “thank you, but I’m not interested” reply, or just ignore these emails. It’s upsetting that people try to take advantage of small or new bloggers. While I choose not to react to some of those things, I still get upset at times whenever someone asks me (sometimes almost demands I do something for free). First, I have invested thousands of dollars into this blog (with computers, photography equipment, software, tools, hosting, security, etc.) Second, I have way too much respect for my audience than to just post shitty content or advertise companies, brands or products I personally do not use or believe in.
LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
Honestly, a lot of these are silly things but can be pretty upsetting when you’re a new or a small blogger. One of the most important things you should realize, is your value, as a blogger, as a person, as someone who chooses to share bits and pieces of their life online. These things are not worth losing sleep over, they’re not worth your time or energy.
As far as making mistakes goes?
Well, if you’ve ever criticized yourself for making a mistake, you probably know that it doesn’t make things any better- it actually makes them worse. One way to get over the need for perfectionism is to try to challenge your need for perfectionism and embrace your mistakes. Think of wabi-sabi- a Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection, a beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.
This is something that can also be applied to life, not just art.
The fact that you make mistakes, is what makes you authentic, so if you happen to make them, don’t beat yourself up, embrace it. Forgive yourself and move on.
Blogging is one those things in life where you learn something new, every single day. I always tell you that there isn’t a right or wrong way to blog. If you want to try something new, do it. It’s either going to work out, or it’s not. You will still have the experience, knowledge, and lessons that come along with trying new things.
And, to my blogger babes, remember that we are all incredibly unique and no one can be “you” better than yourself, so use that to your advantage.
What are some of the things that you used to find intimidating, or scary about blogging? What are some of the things you no longer worry or stress about?