Why I Started Blogging, Then Hated It
By TheAmericanMama on April 24, 2014
So when I moved to the suburbs last summer, and subsequently quit my job, giving up on a 1 hour commute to stay at home with the kids, I thought "Why not?" The first month home was a blur of sleeping and netflix marathons. And probably too much wine. Was I making the right decision? Would I regret losing my job? How would I keep busy in an intellectual satisfying way? Because any mom knows Caillou can drive you batshit in about 3 days.
When I then lost touch with a great friend (see: things I don't want to talk about) who has always been my outlet, in a way, for writing - I found myself incredibly bored. And also something like a shaken up bottle of soda. I never really acknowledged how much it meant to get everything out so often, and have someone to listen. What I learned though, luckily, is that it wasn't specifically who was listening, but simply the act of spilling out all the constant thoughts that live inside my head 24/7. So I began to blog.
Every teacher and boss I've ever had insisted I should make something of my writing skills. I know how to use this internet thing. I tweaked my myspace html enough to give me some kind of credibility, I thought. I have networking skills and I've been on the backside of PR and marketing for years now. And I've definitely watched enough housewife-daytime-tv to garner the attention of mommy blog readers, right? I've totally got this, I thought. How hard can it be to start a blog? Post a few recipes, cute anecdotes about our children's milestones, chat with a few people on twitter here and there = poof, instant e-celebrity. Book deals, partnerships, but what will I wear for my Oprah appearance?!
If you write a blog, I apologize if you are doubled over in laughter at the moment. Because of course I quickly learned, like many I suppose, that this is no joke. Blogging is somewhat like motherhood in that sense - very underrated. Creating, and maintaining a functioning blog alone, is enough work for one fulltime job. Then comes SEO, and social media networking, and growing your contacts, and newsletters, and fancy widgets. Whoa my head is spinning AND wait .... I still have to write creative content?! Are you kidding me? Who has time to spend 4 hours a day in the kitchen and timing your brownie photos for perfect afternoon lighting and editing photos at a laptop uninterrupted each day!?
But even through all that, I was extremely excited. When asked "What are you doing now?" I no longer had to answer "Oh, just staying home with the kids...." and brace that look. I was a writer. I owned a piece of the internet. I was official. I started out with Blogger, then quickly moved to self-hosting because, dream big, you know. I ordered custom designed logos, custom website templates, and for at least three months I spent HOURS of my day living and breathing recipes and posts. Somewhere along the line, or perhaps from the beginning, I knew this was not going to just be a hobby.
But how do you create and monetize a brand? Especially a brand that has been seen SO many times. Every mother with kids does these things. Every person with a life at all EATS. Why would people care what I do? I like to think I've found my niche, and also I'm pretty confident that being on my third belly pop around, I've got this mothering thing down pat most days. But even with dozens of friends turning to me for advice anyway, how can I convince brands to endorse me? Because sure, my clicks and likes can generate Google adsense like every other startup page, but come on honey - pennies don't pay bills.
I should stop here and say this: this is not something that can be done if your only motivations are financial. You must truly like to share your life, ideas, and experiences with others in an engaging sense. Which I thankfully truly do. But let's be real - extra income for doing what you love is a dream right? I recently read that more and more women are taking on unconventional freelance jobs as a career, and I understand why. Flexible schedules, managing your goals, and not rotting under fluorescent lights are all reasons that top my list.
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