“Pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.” -Maya Angelou
After you’ve blogged for a while, you’ll likely go down on of two routes: decide it’s not really for you, and move on, or decide to dedicate more time to it. Option two: the longer you blog, the more it will become an integral part of your life, the more you will realise the business aspects of it, and with that, the more pressure it brings. When I first started blogging – I felt no pressure whatsoever. I put no thought into what I posted – I posted whatever the hell I felt like, whenever the hell I felt like. If one day I wanted to post about a new skirt I bought, I did just that: I’d take a grainy photo on my phone, write a few lines and be about my day. In some ways – these were the good ol’ days. Now, I put a lot of thought into most things I write. There are certain blogging opportunities I don’t even accept any more if I don’t feel that they will fit in with the overall direction and general tone of my blog, some of these are opportunities that I would have accepted just over a year ago (I’ll go into more detail about this during Saturday’s Purpose Meets Class Luncheon, where I’ll be speaking in a segment called ‘Show Me the Money’). From the outside looking in, I can see how blogging can probably not seem to be even remotely stressful – you take some photos, get to work with cool brands, and can even earn from it – these days some bloggers are doing this full time, and getting jetted all over the world to promote various brands. So what is everyone referring to when they say it’s stressful?
1. It’s hard to stay consistent
I am a firm believer that consistency is key – well, unless you’re just churning out poor quality. Taking this into account, the pressure to never miss my self-imposed deadlines of a Monday and Thursday post is a lot, especially given I also work full time, 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. The first time I missed an upload day – and not out of choice – I felt like I had completely thrown myself off schedule, as if it would negatively impact my blog. The next time I did, because I hadn’t had time to write up posts on the weekend and was therefore just way too tired to write up anything of good quality – I took things a lot easier on myself and let it be. Perhaps this sounds crazy, but I feel that as a blogger, when you not only see people around you churning out week on week of amazing quality posts, and you also see the benefits your blog gains when you are consistent (nobody wants to see that negative number in red when it comes to checking your stats), it’s hard not to be tough on yourself when you go some time without posting. It’s hard not to feel bad about not being on top of your game when so many people around you are. However, it’s always important to put things into perspective and realise that if you fall off here and there – it’s not going to affect you (or your blog) over the long run. And actually, although I tend to be quite consistent with my blog, I make it a thing every now and again to take at least a week off just to chill – just like you’d take time off in any job. Essentially, it’s always quality over quantity; so if you feel that you are just not able to produce anything of good quantity, there’s nothing wrong with taking a step back until something comes to you.
2. It’s easy to get skew your priorities and get sucked into chasing numbers
A lot of us are always chasing numbers. I’m sure many of you can relate – that although it’s great to see growth and it means a lot to see people supporting what you’re doing – you never get as much satisfaction out of the numbers as you think you will, because your mind can quickly shift to chasing the next milestone. For example, on Instagram, I still remember the first time I got over 100 likes on a post. I was literally watching myself get so close for weeks, and when I finally got there – sure, I was happy, but within a few minutes or so I had completely brushed it off and it truly didn’t give me as much satisfaction as I thought I would… because I was on to the next. It was the same when I reached 1k on Instagram, I had convinced myself that once I reached that number, I’d be so satisfied with my growth on social media, but, before I knew it, I was chasing after 2k. Thing can go on in this way like a cycle, it’s like you’re running after something that keeps getting further away. Chasing numbers will never give you as much satisfaction as you think it will. Of course, the numbers can be important and it does mean a lot to feel the support – but if you make this your main priority you’ll find that your priorities are totally skewed and you’ll be disappointed in the end when you realise you’re running on a never ending wheel.
3. If you don’t check yourself, you’ll find yourself striving to portray a life you don’t live
The other day I was watching a video from a blogger who had just purchased their second house – it was a gorgeous house that they had just moved into with their family. For some reason I felt like – “crap, why haven’t I done that yet?!” Yes, 22 year old me who hasn’t even been working full time for over a year was wondering where my mortgage was. This is what I mean when I say social media can be toxic; you’ll see people chilling in the Maldives with Givenchy bags and wonder why you’re not doing the same. It’s important to remember that what people show on social media (including myself), is often just the highlights of their life. There’s been so many times I’ve caught myself admiring someone’s life – their holidays, their possessions, their opportunities – where I’ve had to remind myself that it’s actually all just social media, and definitely doesn’t and shouldn’t hold enough power to have you wishing you had anyone’s life but your own.
4. There’s a pressure to be involved in what every other blogger is doing
These past few weeks I’ve sat back and watched tons of drama take place on Twitter, and although I’ve decided to sit out the dramas all together, I initially felt an incredible itch to chime in and give my two cents, or cheekily like or retweet something just to get involved, in the end I decided it was all just all too crazy for me to want to get myself buried into. Last week, Theresa May called the UK snap elections. I spent the rest of the day discussing it with both my family and my boyfriend and in the evening checked Twitter to find everybody had been tweeting about it all day. Suddenly I felt like I should tweet something to do with it – just so that people know I have a breadth of interests and that my only care isn’t just to post fancy pictures of myself outside random houses in West London. And, this happens a lot. I often feel the pressure to be tweeting/talking about whatever is the ‘thing of the moment’ almost as if I’m trying to prove to everyone that I have more going on in my head aside from shopping on Pretty Little Thing. I often see people complaining about situations just like this – for example a big event will happen, a blogger will tweet’read my blog’ and everybody jumps on them – or, indirectly does so – telling them to get their shit together and get their priorities in order. Sometimes I need to remind myself I absolutely cannot live for the approval of others, which is sometimes not the easiest thing to do when you see other bloggers getting dragged for things that really bear little importance when it comes to the bigger picture.
Quite generally, in life, you’ll face pressures in everything you do. As humans we’re typically quite hard on ourselves, this is especially the case if you’re a perfectionist or in a really competitive environment (check and check). My advice is to always see the whole picture – put things into perspective, don’t get your priorities skewed, turn off the negative/irrational voices in your head when they come knocking, focus on yourself and take time.