Me 10 years ago... haven't aged a day right??
When can you call yourself a veteran blogger? What does it even mean?
I think after blogging consistently on different platforms for ten years, I may have earned the right to call myself one… even if it I do think it's a bit of a knob-esque term… it’s not like I’ve survived a war or anything… right?
So what the hell have I learned in 10 years of writing in the blogosphere?
Firstly, I’ve seen a hell of a lot of changes.
I started my first blog/online magazine back in 2009. It was called Beautycouture.ie and it was an early example of many of the big online women’s platforms that soon followed. I’m not saying I was a trailblazer or anything, I wasn’t the first and I certainly didn’t reinvent the wheel. I guess I was just a little earlier out of the gate than some of the others, and ultimately when that gate opened there wasn’t much room for my one woman show against the glut of larger media groups with big cash behind them.
At my peak, I was churning out one beauty, fashion and lifestyle features, as well as five showbiz stories a day, while also running an online shop linked to the blog. Again it was an early incarnation of what many bloggers do now in terms affiliate links, or bringing in products from the likes of AliExpress etc.
It was a full time job and yet I was still freelancing for a couple of bricks and mortar publications at the same time, while copywriting for corporate clients.
As time passed I became really disillusioned with the world of beauty/fashion blogging. None of it felt real anymore and I no longer wanted to write pieces reviewing the latest mascara or foundation. It all felt so contrived… and unimportant.
I won’t lie the freebies were great. I never had to buy makeup, skincare or perfume. I got vouchers for all the high street shops and invited to all the fashion shows and launches. Goodie bags galore.
But I found the whole scene very false and very cliquey.
Ultimately, I had too many plates in the air and something had to give. I decided to wind up Beautycouture.ie as a business to concentrate on freelance writing and corporate copywriting, my first loves.
Still I’m proud of what I achieved. In my first year I was shortlisted for best digital editor in what was then called the Eircom Golden Spiders. I was up against the state broadcaster for the gong! Me… a tiny, one women show! It was both a David Vs Goliath situation and supremely flattering all in one.
In my time I’ve blogged about beauty, fashion, food, travel, and lifestyle. I’ve written for a diverse range of magazines and publications, written ghost blogs for SME’s, I’ve launched a business and wound it up. But, it wasn’t until I started the Mammyblog.ie in mid-2017 that I found a real sense of personal fulfilment in terms of my writing.
You see up until then, I’d been blogging and freelance writing from a mostly commercial perspective. It was my job. TheMammyblog.ie is the first time, I’ve really blogged just for me. It’s the most personal writing I’ve ever done. For the first time, I wasn’t writing for a publication, I wasn’t under a deadline, I wasn’t fulfilling a client’s brief. Instead, I got to write about my own feelings, passions, fears and thoughts and I have found that incredibly cathartic and fulfilling.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that, blogging in its truest sense should be the essence of personal writing. Sure the rapidly changing world of online media blurs the lines between fact, fiction and news. To survive, many blogs are mostly business these days. But to me, the ideal is to have a savvy fusion of personal and commercial… It’s just a necessity these days, no matter how idealistic you want to be, the reality is that things like hosting, platforms and your time all cost money, so today bloggers have to walk a fine line between running costs and writing.
One of the biggest things I’ve learnt in 10 years of blogging, is that to survive you’ve got to adapt.
You’ve got to try and find balance in what you’re doing with your blog and ultimately you’ve got to get some joy out of it… yes I know I sound like yer wan Kondo *HUGE EYE ROLL!* But I think you’ve got to try and remember why you started blogging in the first place. Is it still enjoyable? Is it still an outlet for you? Does it get you excited? Would you rather sit down and bash out a blog than watch Netlflix?
I think you’ve got to answer yes to most of those if you want to survive as a blogger these days.
Because while there are many mega bloggers who have made it big and can make a living from their blogs, for most of us it’s a much more personal and passionate road we walk, blogging after work, or on weekends, or into the wee hours of the night for nothing else but for the sheer love of it.
And that’s what makes personal blogs so special in my book – it’s the stories that shine through in the end.
10 years on, for me blogging is both passion and profession and I think no matter what my motivation be it commercial or personal, I’ll be blogging in some form until my last breath...