It’s 2018, people around the world are able to create an online empire from the comfort of their own bed and make a ton of dolla from it. Young women are pioneering the idea that you can create a brand out of yourself and turn it into a fully fledged career – running your own business, working for yourself, earning a good income all by creating content around what you’re doing, thinking and wearing. Now that this whole blogging thing has become a viable career option for many, there are countless blog posts written about how to become a full time blogger, what made someone decide to quit their ~proper~ job and take the leap into blogging as their sole source of income. Of course this is when you can class blogging as your ‘job’, but in terms of shooting and editing pics, writing posts, creating content, curating your feed, scheduling tweets to promote your blog posts – all of these things are ‘work’, it’s work you have to put into your blog. You need to set aside time in your day for the upkeep of your blog and social media profiles and for creating imagery and words to go onto these platforms. If blogging isn’t your job, can you still call this work? If so, when do you start calling it work?
I feel like blogging is one of those things where, unless you yourself blog, you won’t truly understand it. My friends are often shocked at how much time I have to invest in my blog, even when it’s not my career. Whilst I’m always going to prioritise uni over my blog for as long as I’m there trying to get my degree, I need to set aside a good chunk of my time during the week to ensure I can get enough content to fulfil my two posts a week schedule and manage to upload to the gram as much as possible throughout the week, then every night I do not allow myself to sleep until I’ve scheduled my blog post tweets for the following day.
It’s a lot more work than I anticipated, I’ve only really been taking this blog seriously since December and been doing my 2x a week schedule since mid January, the sporadic blogging I did for the couple of years before this wasn’t that time consuming because I didn’t go out to shoot street style content and I barely posted so didn’t need to think of ideas and then write those out multiple times a week, let alone multiple times a month. This is why I believe that you’ll never really get blogging unless you’re doing it. So, when I take time out of my day to do all these things, can I say I’m doing work?
I blog because I enjoy it, I’m not out here with some ulterior motives for free shit and earning dolla but if that comes off the back of my hard work (and it fits my brand) I’m not going to say no. I do take my blog seriously, I actually didn’t enjoy blogging anywhere near as much until I started taking it seriously. I enjoy having a creative outlet, I enjoy planning outfits and how I want my photos to look, I enjoy playing with VSCO filters to curate my insta even if I’m indecisive af and like a different filter every week, I enjoy writing about things I’m loving, things I’ve experienced, questions I want to ask, thoughts I’m having, I don’t enjoy scheduling my tweets at night when all I want to do is shut my eyes and sleep but it doesn’t take that long and there is no point me putting all the effort into creating content if I won’t get it out there so it’s a tiny sacrifice worth making. But, these things are time consuming and, even though I have fun doing most of these things, I take them seriously and I care about how it all turns out – so is this work? Am I working?
I don’t have a job at the moment because being first year at uni it’s been harder than I expected to find a job considering I’m never there outside of term time and I don’t have anywhere to live during the Summer because, ykno, student accom runs out in June/July and student house lease doesn’t start until September. I’ve made a little bit of money from this blog but it’s not exactly my job – far from. But the only source of income I’ve had since quitting my retail job last September (aside from my loan which is ach way under my accommodation cost and my weekly allowance) has come from this blog. Even if it hadn’t, do we need to be earning from our blogs to call it work? If we want to put the time and effort into our blogs regardless of whether it’s a hobby, a part time job or a fully fledged career shouldn’t we be able to tell people we’re ‘working’ or ‘doing work’ when it comes to writing posts, shooting pics etc?
I’m pretty lucky that I’m on a journalism course at uni, because people get it to an extent. My friends get it because they’re around me to hear or see what I’m doing for my blog and sometimes help me out with getting photos and know that sometimes I need to ~do it for the ‘gram~. Other people on my course appreciate that it’s a form of journalism, I’ve barely mentioned my blog before but people are generally impressed when they find out that I get a decent, albeit small, monthly readership and have earned some money, and they get that writing posts is basically journalism but writing for yourself rather than a publication. However, people who don’t blog or who perhaps come into blogging with what you could call the wrong intentions, they focus on the wrong things and can try to exploit you for it. They try to challenge you on the validity of your blog by asking for specific numbers in terms of followers, blog views, money made or they ask who the ~biggest blogger~ you know is and if they can get in touch. For me, none of these things are why I blog. I don’t want to look like I’m only in blogging to leech off of other bloggers I know, and I don’t need to justify myself to anyone by stating my views or income or people I know through blogging.
I guess this is part of the reason why I’m so hesitant to say ‘I’m doing work for my blog’ or ‘I’m working’ when I’m creating content, because people who don’t blog can’t wrap their heads around the fact that just because you don’t have 100k followers and make £500 per Instagram post your blog can’t qualify as work or something you put that much into. If I was to start calling blogging ‘working’ I’d be met by ‘oh? how many followers do you have?’ and when I say 2k on twitter and 700-800 on insta I’ll then be met with a look. Like, umm that’s nothing so you can’t possibly be working. Of course I don’t need to tell these people, I don’t care what they think, but I understand that people who aren’t in this industry are curious about it and won’t comprehend just how much goes into blogging whether or not you’re full time with thousands of followers and thousands of £££ in the bank. If I’m spending the afternoon shooting outfits or writing posts and call these things ‘working’ you can argue that I’m inviting people to challenge me on it by using the term work.
There are also bloggers who put way more time and effort into their content than me, perhaps because it is their only source of income and their career so they really need and want to work hard on it, and calling what I do ‘work’ can devalue what they’re doing when they’re doing The Most and I’m doing as much as I can alongside uni and I’m happy to put up a bog standard mirror selfie when I’ve run out of street style outfit photos and cba to go shoot more. Can I really call shooting outfits ‘working’ when I’m dedicating one afternoon to it every couple weeks when I’m back home and can go shoot in central Hove meanwhile others are going out multiple times a week, changing on the street and seeking out locations that are effort to get to?
Even if blogging is now your fully-fledged career, you will have started out writing posts and taking pics because you enjoy doing it and want to share what you’re wearing with the internet and you probably wouldn’t be able to take it on as a career if you didn’t still have the same sense of enjoyment about it all. You just continue to do something you’ve always had fun doing except now it’s grown into a career. But just because you enjoy doing something, it doesn’t mean it can’t qualify as work. If you’re going the extra mile to create content for your blog as opposed to your friends who just take selfies in their bedrooms and upload them to Instagram where their colleagues and peers will like their photos.
It’s easy to stand in your room and take a pouty selfie in front of the window to get good light, it’s harder to go and find an aesthetically pleasing street or coffee shop or shop front, stand in front of it whilst strangers walk past and stare, and prance around in front of the camera whilst your mum / friend / instagram husband / photographer contorts their body so they can hold the lens at a certain angle to get the shot you want. Then you need to take the photo through your editing app(s) of choice and edit it so it fits in with the rest of your photos to create a cohesive feed. If this is the amount of work you are putting in, surely it is work that you’re doing? Or is it just your choice to put in more effort than non-bloggers so you need to put up and shut up and not call it working?
I’m really interested to hear what everyone thinks about this – bloggers and non-bloggers. Do you think it has to be your breadwinning career to be able to call it work? Do you think putting the time and effort in allows you to say you’re ‘doing work’ for your blog? Did you even realise this much effort went into blogging? Do you put in 10x this effort and find it offensive that someone who puts in 10x less also calls it work?