Last week Loved By Laura turned three which blows my mind! Whilst I’m incredibly grateful for all the fantastic things that blogging has brought me, it has made me think back on my blogging journey and it’s fair to say that it hasn’t all been sunshine and roses. Over the years I’ve had my fair share of struggles with the immense pressure that comes with running a blog and how obsessive it can all become if you’re not careful.
There’s pressure to succeed (even if you’re not quite sure what that actually means), pressure to keep up with others, pressure to grow a following, deadlines and expectations.
Lots of us don’t get paid to do what we do yet we still treat it like a second job and somehow end up heaping a huge amount of pressure upon ourselves to consistently produce new and exciting and creative content day after day.
In my first year of blogging everyone seemed to be celebrating huge milestones and setting ambitious goals for growth, which made me feel like I needed to focus on my numbers too. People whom I’d started out with were writing posts entitled ‘how I tripled my followers in a month’ and I felt like a big fat failure because despite following all the advice my audience was hardly growing at all. The funny thing is that now looking back on it, I was actually doing quite well. I just couldn’t see it at the time because I was comparing myself to the 1% and thinking that was the norm.
I started to develop a bad habit when shopping. I knew I was doing it, but I couldn’t stop myself. I wouldn’t ask myself ‘Do I need this?’ Instead I’d be thinking ‘This is cute. Could I turn this into a post? Would it make a good Instagram picture? Is this going to get me likes and followers?’ I’d ignore the most practical or affordable options if I spotted a more Instagrammable version available. Have you ever noticed that they charge you more for anything that comes in pink, white or rose gold now whereas pick royal blue or green and it’s a total bargain?! I’m pretty sure my generation of bloggers created that strange economy. Sorry.
In those day I also spent so much time looking through a lens and planning how I’d write about my experiences that sometimes I forgot to actually experience them, or didn’t feel that I had the time to enjoy them because it was more important to get that perfect shot. I was creating 3 blog posts a week for over 2 years and it took non stop effort to be able to generate that much fresh content.
At the start of 2017 it hit me that blogging had taken over my every waking breath and I wasn’t really enjoying doing it any more. I knew it wasn’t the end of LovedByLaura but I needed a break and I took quite a long one to refocus. I wanted to work out what I did and didn’t miss about blogging so that I could change things for the better.
One of the best things during that time was going on days out where I left my camera at home and committed the experiences to memory instead of film. I’d missed days where it was just about going to the beach and enjoying the company around me instead of going to the beach and hunting down the most photogenic beach hut!
Six months have passed and it’s only now that I’ve got back to posting regularly again, I’m more realistic in what I can and should do with my time and what my limitations are. I allow myself nights off. Sometimes I even eat my food hot even if it would have made a perfect Instagram shot! I’ve saved myself a small fortune by not buying so much new stuff and instead writing and photographing things that I already own and adore.
Sure, I’m never going to be the most successful blogger by doing things this way and it means that some days I go quiet on social media because all I’ve done is eaten a pot noodle and annoyed my cats. That’s okay though. I’m happy with where my blog is right now and I’m just enjoying the process of blogging and what I loved at the beginning before all the pressure piled on.
So…does this mean I regret the first couple of years? Absolutely not! Whilst I got too consumed by it all for a while, those first few relentless years got my blog to where it is now and I’ve learned from all the experiences – the good and the bad. It really is just one long crazy life lesson being a blogger!
P.s. I still can’t help buying the rose gold option of everything even if it costs more. Nobody’s perfect.
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