The life of a part-time blogger

Not all blogs are created equal, but they are often viewed as if they are, without any thought to the status of the person doing the blogging. Not status as in “award-winning”, but status as in “part-time” or “full-time”. Not everyone runs their blog as a job, or wants to, and this affects not only how our blogs are perceived by others but also how we view our own blogs.

I run this site in my spare time, alongside a 35 hour a week job, volunteering, academic research, various Underpinnings Museum tasks, and (where possible) a social life. Much as I’d love to plan my posts a month ahead and get everything scheduled in advance, more often than not I’m scrabbling to find a bit of time to write a post on that brilliant idea I scribbled in my notebook on the tube last week. This leads to an almost inevitable state of worry that I’m a ‘bad blogger’ or have been neglecting my writing. However, I need to take a moment to remember why I wanted to do this as a hobby in the first place: I enjoy writing.

When I have something I want to think through, mull over, or share with others, I can’t help but start writing things down on a page or a screen. Making my writing more public began with a simple online diary but then one day, back in 2003, I decided that Live Journal was no longer for me and that I wanted a ‘proper’ website all of my own. I enlisted the help of my boyfriend for the stuff I knew nothing about – domain registration, hosting, and installing a CMS – then set about creating a banner image and teaching myself basic HTML for writing the posts. A blog was born.

Blogosphere magazine on display in WH Smith. Photo by lipstickloriIt’s worth noting how different blogging was back then. Blogs were image-lite due to most people’s internet connections being extremely slow and, as far as I know, content was never sponsored. Bloggers weren’t considered useful to brands back then and advertising on blogs was minimal because, well, their traffic was minimal. Two things happened that changed all that – the increased availability of broadband internet connections, and the widespread popularity of social media (in particular, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram). After that, blogging became a whole different beast.

Spending a weekday evening jotting down my thoughts on a topic used to be considered a bit of an odd hobby, but now it can be viewed as a job. Like many of my hobbies over the years, I don’t actually want to do it full-time. I like the security of being an employee on someone else’s payroll, and I enjoy the lack of pressure that comes with part-time blogging. Or, at least, the lack of pressure that it should come with.

The fact that I can now easily fill my posts with images leaves me conflicted as, although I really love making photographs, I also feel under pressure to create the sort of carefree outfit shots and perfectly lit flatlays that many bloggers seem to have endless time and resources to create. The fact that many bloggers are collaborating with brands and are incredibly PR savvy leaves me feeling left behind.. like a blogging dinosaur.

However, in this increased blogosphere, there is room for everyone. Whether you’re a full-time pro blogger with a glossy online presence, or someone typing/snapping away for fun in a spare moment, there is space for us all. I’m not doing this for comments and likes. I’m doing this because I enjoy writing, and this little corner of the internet is my favourite place to do it.

2 thoughts on “The life of a part-time blogger

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  1. But…

    Your voice is richer, and your thoughts more considered, so rather than a dinosaur, perhaps a wise owl?

    I’m in the exact same boat as you, and this year set myself the challenge of writing two posts a week (plus my Saturday reading round up thing). I’ve managed to keep to it but boy some of them were last minute scrambles!

    I’ve often thought ‘you know what, I don’t NEED to do this’ as like you writing is my go to for processing thoughts, and its exactly how I started out in 1999 (Ok, I am definitely a dinosaur!). It’s that that makes me WANT to keep writing.

    And I still get a buzz when someone says they’ve read something… and it’s here where post links to Twitter actually helps, my LCD Soundsystem review got a few (like 8 or so) retweets but right there was the little ‘ohhhh someone read it’ feeling.

    And that’s not WHY I blog but it’s a nice little endorphin kick for sure.

    1. A wise owl? I like that 🙂

      Setting a challenge of two posts a week is a great idea. Think I might have to try something like that. And, yeah, the buzz when someone’s read something that you didn’t ask them to is really nice. So is getting comments, so thanks for this one!

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