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Honest to blog: Is blogging my hobby?

Blogging, is a funny old thing.  The rich tapestry of life means that we often find other people's hobbies and pastimes - or the thought of spending extended amounts of time doing them - incomprehensible.  For example, Tom would think nothing of getting up at 5.30am to go surfing in the rain, and in sub-zero temperatures, whereas I would have to be paid a significant amount of money to consider it.  Likewise the thought of sharing your life on the internet, photographing outfits and food and spending time reading, and writing, blog posts does not hold much appeal outside of those of us who are dedicating to doing it.

My blog was a slow burner in all senses of the word.  Slow to gain readers and slow for me to really connect with it, as a creative outlet, and as a hobby.  We've all been through that stage where we're blogging to no-one, and then you make a few friends and gain a few readers and that's when I'd describe it as a hobby - something you enjoy doing and make time for on a fairly regular basis, but that doesn't dominate your life.  So when does a hobby evolve into something else? When does it become... an obsession? A commitment? A chore? A part-time job, even? Blogging has given me some amazing opportunities for which I am utterly grateful (please don't take the words that follow this as implying anything different, I really do appreciate it each and every day).  My 'hobby' has meant I've sometimes earned (a very minimal amount of) money.  It has meant I sometimes end up liaising with companies, taking on commitments to write about or review something, and being set deadlines.  It has meant I have a separate planner to schedule posts and organise my time.  It has meant that (up until about a week ago) I've been spending Sunday afternoons drafting posts, then going in to add, tweak and then post them most evenings in the week.  It has meant that I've taken my netbook on holiday so that I can still read blogs, and write posts.  It has meant I sometimes carry business cards with my blog address on.  Are these atypical characteristics of a hobby?

I haven't been able to blog since Saturday because I've worked some exceptionally long days at work, have been away in Weymouth with family commitments and have had date night with Tom.  I haven't had a chance to sit at the computer or reply to tweets and check emails.  Remember that line in Heat where Robert De Niro says "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out in 30 seconds"?  Well boy is my blog is so not that. I am utterly attached.  In fact, it has been a huge source of stress and pressure for me this week.  I've worried about letting people down by not being able to post for a week.  I've had emails from PRs chasing things I've promised I'll do (I don't begrudge them that, they have a job to do).  I've felt a twinge of sadness as I've watched stats drop.  I've searched my diary for a few spare hours when I might be able to catch up on blog reading and maybe write a post or two (and not found them).  Hobbies do not breed guilt or stress my friends, they alleviate them.  Something, somewhere... has gone very wrong.

I am trying, now.  I am trying to find a way back to the way things were.  I'm making little rules, like when I get into bed I won't spend half an hour on Twitter on my phone, I will read.  I will make more time to do other things in the evenings - watch TV, cook, walk the dog, go swimming, and so on.  Above everything though I am constantly telling myself 'it's okay if'.  It's okay if I wear a nice outfit and don't take a photo of it. It's okay if I take a while to reply to an email.  It's okay if, some days, I don't check Twitter.  It's okay if my blog isn't as good as everyone else's, or I don't blog as regularly.  It's okay if I turn down money for posts because I don't have the time or the inclination to do those kinds of posts any more.  It's okay if some weeks, not as many people read my blog, or leave comments.  It's okay if I go on holiday, or go away for a few days, and don't blog.  I will never be a big blogger.  It has never been an aspiration of mine to blog 'professionally'.  I just want to have an outlet for my thoughts and photography, and maintain the friendships I have made through blogging.  That is a hobby.  That is what blogging is.

img credit: observando.net

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33 comments

  1. We'll always be here and when you have time, and we have time, the magic happens! xx

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  2. I'm so glad you posted this! xxxx

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  3. So true! I LOVE to blog but I also love to have a life that I can experience and then possibly blog about that experience. If you don't do the things you want to do due to your blog then a little time out doesn't hurt anyone. If anyone judges you for that, then they are not worth it! Keep up the good work!

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  4. I'm so relieved you posted this! It can be like an anchor sometimes, even though it's something I enjoy, I do feel under pressure to post a lot more these days, and my blog is still only small! I enjoy reading your blog, and will continue to do so, it doesn't matter how many posts you write or don't write. It's all about quality over quantity, and you always make quality, heart-felt posts which is something we can all appreciate. I would never expect someone to prioritise their blog over their 'real life' so to speak. As long as you're doing what makes you happy, that's the most important thing! xxx

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  5. Sorry to hear you've been so stressed about it all! I suppose it's natural that the more time you put into something the more addictive it can become, but you should definitely make some guilt-free time away from it all for yourself too. We'll forgive you! aha :)

    P.S. You're definitely not being silly (or a plum!)

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  6. Great post Rosie - blogging shouldn't feel like a chore but it probably has to all of us on more than one occasion.

    Sometimes I feel like I have lots to write about that I run myself ragged trying to publish it all and then if I don't get comments or readers I feel bad but that's not the reason why I started my blog so I shouldn't let it affect me. Take all the time you need - your readers will be there when you come back : ) x

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  7. This was a super post Rosie! I'm sorry you're feeling like this though, that does suck. I know it's easy to get sucked into blogging and networking and emails. I'm a sucker for reading twitter when I wake up as well as before I go to bed, and just you writing things like 'walking the dog, reading and cooking' instead of that excites me so much more! I feel like I waste time on the internet and I shouldn't feel bad if I don't reply to a PR email straight away or catch up on my blog feed every night. Thanks for this post Rosie. I need to re-evaluate!
    Anyway, I'm sorry this turned into a ramble! I hope things sort out for you soon and you get back to enjoying your hobby. I'll be waiting patiently (as always) for one of your lovely posts to hit my dash. :)
    P.S. I love plums xxx

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  8. I really enjoyed reading this! I love blogging, but I don't ever put pressure on myself to blog. Like you say, it shouldn't be like that. It's something that should be enjoyed. I post maybe 2/3 times a week max. I don't think I'll ever have time to post every day - often wonder how some people do it! Keep doing what you're doing. Your blog is great and I, for one, will always be a reader. xx

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  9. Awww, bless you Rosie. You sound like you've been run ragged in recent weeks love!

    I can relate to some of how you're feeling, it's funny how blogging begins... slowly... and then you get some followers.. and then you get more followers and then people want to use you and your blog to promote their stuff and then suddenly you feel pressure that you're letting hundreds of people down by not writing a post or that the post might not be good enough and dammit you forgot to photograph that coffee and cupcake that was supposed to be a break from it all!!!

    Sometimes we all just need to say "STOP I want to get off!" You've noticed the feelings and now you know it's time to let it go over your head a bit and breathe for a while. These days I blog when I feel like it, I don't worry if I haven't posted for a while, I rarely look at my stats, I don't do sponsored posts anymore ;) in short I'm treating blogging as the hobby I had in the beginning, when it was fun and uncomplicated by obligations! Aaaand.... as usual my comment on your blog is a blog post in itself. Sorry! (stop writing such thought provoking posts mrs!!) ;D xxxx

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  10. I like that John Steinbeck quote :) I love your blog, but please don't feel pressured to do it! I love blogging, but I am trying to remind myself to keep a balance- and it sounds like you're getting that balance right at the moment :) xx

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  11. Don't get yourself stressed about it! You're not letting anyone down! You blog because you want to and when you want to! I've decided it's an happily obbsessive and enjoyable hobby for me! And I love blogging because it's my place to say and do what I want! And as I've read it's the same for you :)
    I've really enjoyed reading this post, thanks for sharing your thoughts on blogging! :)

    CAT - whatcatsays.blogspot.co.uk
    XO

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  12. This was such a wonderful post :) I love reading your blog but I don't mind having to wait a week to read another post :) We all know you have a life outside blogging and we want you to enjoy it :)

    Rachel @ AMomentInTime.
    xo

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  13. WOW! Absolutely loved this post Rosie! Thank you for sharing all of this, it really has made me think! It's made me feel good about a few things too! And it's definitely 'okay if', I've really been trying to teach myself that recently! Loved the Steinbeck quote at the end too! Really appreciated this post, so thank you for writing it and posting it! xxx

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  14. Oh my goodness Rosie you are so wise, and I think so many are going to echo with this post. I took a back seat from blogging for a while because it can completely take over your life and I had no time for my job, but I really, really missed it during that break but now it's weird because I feel like the blogging scene has changed a little and the pace of it all is a bit much!

    xoxo

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  15. A blog is not a life, and not truly living a life, with all that can entail including work and/or family commitments, will often mean a dull blog indeed. I read someone whom I'd really love to tell to stop feeling pressured to post several times a day as the stress/lack of ideas is obvious. They have not yet realized as you have than a step back can be a good thing occasionally.
    Your blog is you in the end and something you should enjoy, not feel obligated to or pressured by. I hope your new ideas take some of the burden off and allow you to enjoy it once again.

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  16. Oh Rosie, you are spot on with your blog posts lately. I completely feel how you feel! It's so tricky, I think we all find ourselves comparing to each other, and if we are, like you say, wearing a nice outfit, we may even feel this pressure to take a photo.. but at the end of the day, we've also got to take a step back and enjoy our life as it is. Because that;s whats important, friends and family too.
    Although blogging ladies are also just as nice ;) xx

    The Little's.

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  17. Wise words and sums up my feelings exactly. Hobbies are meant to be enjoyed :-)I think your post is a perfect reminder to us all and to some of us small blogs to not let it take over our lives. Happy future blogging Rosie and I look forward to reading what comes next. Xx

    Theshutterbugblog.blogspot.com

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  18. Wow sometimes its like u read my mind! I feel like this with most of my hobbies and its so important to remember to just enjoy the process and screw the pressure of feeling like you need to get something done.

    ramblingrock.blogspot.com

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  19. My advice would be to step away from the pressurised side of things. I don't do sponsored posts so I don't really know how that all works but I do review items and sometimes there is a "deadline" as such. But if I can't meet it, I can't meet it. Simples!

    I wish I could have a good old chat with you over a brew, I really do :)

    I love your blog. It is one of my very favourites. So try not to feel like you have to blog X amount of times per week or commit to reviewing things for your readers.

    I would still read every single word you write even if you only blogged once a month and it was just documenting a day out or just writing about what you've been up to.

    If you have a busy week at work, take a break from blogging like you would with other things you like to do (reading? eating out? etc) and instead fill that time with walking the dog or having a bath. Then get back on the blogging thing the following week, or over the weekend.

    I hope any of this rambling helps! Always around for a chat.

    Love,
    a formerly stressed out Blogger! ;)

    xx

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  20. I can't thank you enough for writing this, just as I can't thank Erica enough for sending me your way! This is so how I have been feeling lately and I need to get back to the fun part of blogging which I so dearly miss. I also need to find the inspiration to make posts interesting. Thank you.

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  21. Good for you Rosie. I'm a firm believer of blogging for yourself and not everyone else. I don't blog everyday as my life really isn't exciting enough and I have a lot of other 'hobbies.' I'm only home two nights a week and sometimes I want to just sit with a good book or film and a cup of tea.

    I love your blog Rosie and I get excited everytime you post. But you deserve a break. Your blogging friends and fans will wait and you should take as long as you need.

    Jen | sunny sweet pea xx

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  22. What a lovely post! It's so refreshing to hear this side of the story too. Sometimes it can be so hard to juggle everything when you have a full time job and a family and a partner and friends and other hobbies too! I think you do an awesome job - keep your lovely posts coming - they are always a ray of sunshine in my week :) xx

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  23. Wonderful post Rosie. There should be no guilt in not posting for a while - if you don't have a life what would you blog about? x

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  24. You should always blog for you and try not to feel the pressure of others making you feel like you should post.

    I hope you have a good weekend.

    Lou

    www.thekeypieces.co.uk

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  25. You are certainly not alone in feeling this way! In fact at times I've actually got stressed about my blog!! In that I've really wanted to do a post - maybe it was around a certain event or something - and I've got annoyed about not being able to find the time to do it due to my workload - ie the job I'm paid to do, which has got to take priority always.

    I'm going through a really busy time with work, but once I'm through this I've decided after 9pm not more iPhone/ipad etc and I'm going to pick up a book, talk to my OH just do other things. I've often wondered if its normal to get annoyed or stressed about something you are supposed to enjoy but I think blogging is a slightly different hobby to say knitting or reading a book. Strangly as I write this, my OH has just got off the phone regarding his weekend football team, and I see how frustrated he can get getting a team together, winning games, checking leagues going to check out the competition etc and how nervous he was leading his team out for their first ever cup final - it's seems if your passionate about something it's going to bring out a range of emotions in you, both positive and negative.

    Great post - glad you hit publish :)

    Jenni

    Bows Bangles & Bakes

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  27. This is such a nice post Rosie! I am very new to the blogging world and relate to the "blogging" to no one"! I think its important to remember that its just an outlet for thoughts and photography but to not miss all those lovely moment in life because were too busy instramming, thinking about how were going to put this into a post etc :-) x

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  28. Great post Rosie. I completely empathise, real life events have been pretty intense for me the past few months and I haven't found time to blog (or felt like doing it) I'm pretty much doing what you've decided to do - just taking a step back and focussing on the important stuff. I haven't checked my blog stats since about November and some weeks I only blog once. But as you rightly say, it's just a hobby. A hobby is supposed to enrich your life and give you time off from the real world. If it starts to feel like pressure or something you don't have time (or inclination) to do, it's time to take a break.

    Hope you feel refreshed and re-energised soon :) I'm always here for a chat if you'd like xx

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  29. If it is any consolation Rosie you are the reason . Just started my own blog! I think your blog is great. It's honest and the content is always worth reading. To me that's what its all about. Don't stress!:) at the end of the day a blog is a personal space and your readers respect your honesty. chin up. Bodie says hi to bodhi! :) this is my secret identity. Haha x

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  30. Great post Rosie, again! I went through a phase of feeling really pressurised by my blog & PRs, I've now developed a so what attitude and am back to enjoying blogging :) xx

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  31. Okay, lets get down to business here. It's been a while, but I have internet (yes, at work, so what). So I couldn't not comment on this fabulous post that sums so many things up.
    My blog, and everything that involves it, is really my only hobby. But I'm not sure how passionate I'd be about others I could have. I can't keep up an exercise class, I hate waking up early, I don't read, literally nothing excites me more than writing my blog or for that matter reading blogs & I am a big blog reader!

    It has become an obsession though, I need to blog on a regular basis, I'm always looking at this seeing if I could photograph them & turn it into a post. I check my emails constantly through the day, seeing if any opportunities have come up. I'm on my phone first thing in the morning & it's the last thing I check. Sam has commentened on how much time I spend on it!

    The reason I think I feel I have to do X, Y & Z is so it continues to grow. My blog is never going to be "big", I personally believe it would have got there by now if it was going to be. But I've had the chance to experience so amazing events, bet some bloody fantastic people & friends, and got to review some awesome stuff....for free. I still have goals for my blog, I still want it to go further. I want to be in a magazine, I was a "big blogger" to mention me (payment free!) I want to feel the love and know that people like my blog, like what I'm doing and that I'm putting all my effort it.

    It scares me some times to think about not blogging, like, what would I actually do? How would my life change, and although I'm hugly proud of Stephanie Dreams, I think it's a small part of my life....but then when I think about that, jeeeez, it's huge. It's my spare time, it's my past time, it's my friends, it's the thing I love and want to improve more than I ever have had in my life before!
    It is important to come back down to real life though, having your head in the clouds. My blog is my diary, it is my hobby, it's where I can write & read others lives and outfits, it's wear I can extend my photography skills.....and if it goes away, it's okay. I'll get another hobby, I will!

    SORRY FOR MY ESSAY! XXX

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  32. Great post. I love that you quoted Heat :)

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Thank you in advance for your lovely comments, they mean the world to me! If you have a question or want to get in touch, tweet me at @rosieoutlook.