I feel like such a fraud calling myself a blogger most of the time. I don’t have a big following on here or on social media (here’s my Instagram and Twitter if you’d like to have a look *plug plug*). But if someone who owns a blog and posts on it regularly is a blogger, then I am definitely one.
I don’t usually tell people that I have a blog. Here in France, it’s not something that people actually know a lot about I feel. I’m one to always fear judgement so I stray away from talking about it, or if I do it’s with people I really trust. The hardest thing about not telling people about it is that they don’t really understand when I say that I have a lot to do or that I have stuff to do over the weekend and nights. Especially when it’s people with children or babies, I often get the look “umps, you don’t know what being really busy is like”.
Fair enough, I don’t have children waking me up at 6a.m. every morning, I don’t have to cook for a family and for sure don’t have to drive kids around to play dates or activities of any kind. But it doesn’t mean that I can’t be busy.
Working about 38 hours per week and blogging as a hobby do take time. I don’t even count how much time it takes me over the week. Because I’m not getting paid for it, some people do tell me that I don’t have an obligation to post if I feel tired and need to rest or if I spend all of my weekends blogging. I think they just don’t get that it’s the only thing I do during the week that truly makes me happy in term of work.
Because yes, I’m not being paid to blog but I do consider it a serious job. Not in the sense of something I have to do, but of something that truly matters to me. And it takes a lot of work to blog, no matter if 10 people see your post or if you get major traffic. So here it is, what truly goes on behind the scenes.
The process starts the same way for me. I’ll do a big brainstorming session to plan out my content. I’ll get my ‘Notes’ app open on my laptop and let my mind flow. “What have I been loving lately?”, “what’s a topic I want to talk about?”, “is there a product I’d like to discuss?”, “have a changed a few things in my life I could give tips about?”… Then, I’ll usually open my Bloglovin and read posts. It feels so good to read someone’s thoughts and ideas, what they’ve loved. It alwaysmakes me feel even more inspired a few post ideas pop up.
Then I start planning. I post every Monday/Wednesday/Friday so I decide which posts to plan for which day. I usually post a beauty one of Fridays and lifestyle on Monday and Wednesday. I’ll decide which posts to plan for later on in the month because it needs more research or more time to think about it and organize my thoughts and which I can post pretty soon.
Then comes creating imagery. When I have an idea for a post, usually a little set-up comes into my mind. I try to either write it down or take photos pretty soon to not lose that precious creative idea. When I take photos, I try to take them in bulk. My sister got an amazing camera for her 18th birthday and she is nice enough to let me use it for a few hours over the weekend when I go to my parents. I’ll spend a few hours getting everything ready, thinking about props to use, how to organize the photo, what the mood should be like and it I need a shot of me or my hands *insert jazz hands*, I’ll ask my little sis’ to take it for me. She is so talented that I trust her fully to get the shots.
Photos equal editing. I start by selecting which ones I want to use beforehand so that I don’t spend hours editing photos I won’t be using. Because to get the perfect shots… you need to take a ton of them. I don’t edit my photos too much. I use Lightroom and just work on the exposition, the shadows, contrast and a tiny bit on the saturation if needed. But honestly, working with a real good camera means that the photos are already good to go.
Writing the post
And there we are, it’s time to write. I try to write when I feel inspired. It’s not use to try to force the words out of my fingers when I don’t feel like it. I’ve been following a little schedule with blogging (more on that in a later post…) and when I sit down to write, the words flow.
I’ll start by writing down key points I want to mention. If it’s more of a free style post like my the reality of long-distance friendship post, they I’ll just write. Free-style post are usually created when I feel super inspired by something. The before-mentioned post was not actually planned. It was a true blogging moment of needing to discuss something and reaching for my laptop and starting to write because I needed to.
The finishing touches
Then, it’s time to choose the select the feature image, the homepage photos, the banner image and to check the readability and SEO analyses. I spend a little time perfecting things, modifying, editing, … until it’s all green and good to go. I like to go back and read the posts a few days later to get a fresh view on the content and edit some things if I feel it’s needed.
What you don’t see
- SEO research,
- scheduling tweets,
- creating promotion for Instagram,
- editing the feature photo to fit my Instagram feed,
- researching hashtags,
- engaging with other bloggers,
- engaging on Instagram,
- researching products,
- trying them out,
- writing down the thoughts and results along the way are
These all things that go hand in hand for a post to do well and to get people over to your blog. And it takes time and effort.
What people don’t think about…
Managing a budget
Whatever the heart of the blog is about, you get expenses. Whether it’s buying props, the latest beauty product you know your reader are dying to read a review of, an outfit for a fashion post, a book that as just got out you’d like to read to talk about, it all adds up at the end of the month. Owning a blog also means paying for it and the template you are using.
I am naturally someone who budgets (here is my post on how to create a budget plan) so I try to respect the amount of money I allocate to blogging and products each month. But it can be hard when you are trying to get to the next level with your blog when you’d need to get the latest product, take photos in restaurants and cafés, want to feature the latest trends not to over-spend.
Staying true to yourself
The blogosphere is very large and comparing yourself is somewhat inevitable. Staying true to your blogging and blogging style can be a bit difficult sometimes but it’s part of the job, not to lose your unique voice.
“I’m picking it up, picking it up, I’m loving, I’m living, I’m picking it up”…
Ahhh the number of times I have to pick myself back up from a breakdown. I would say about a couple of times a month. “I’m not good enough”. “My stats prove that I’m not a good blogger”. “Why am I not getting a lot of traffic”. “Why are my Instagram stagnating?”. “I don’t have enough time to blog because I have to work this full-time job I don’t really enjoy”. It happens.
It can be lonely, stressful, competitive being a blogger. But damn, it can be good. That’s what I focus on when I pick myself back up. The people I can talk with wherever they are in the world, the kind words left at the end of a blogpost about how it resonates with them, compliments, a nice “have good day lovely” comment. Being able to create the content that I want, that makes me feel creative, that makes the hours go by without me noticing.
I don’t count the hours I spend blogging. I actually wish I had more time to create even better content. I’d love to be able to spend a few hours a week shooting into town and be able to go home and continue creating content. Having all of the hours of the day spent shooting, writing, researching, getting inspired to do more would be a dream.