I’ve been mulling this post over for a while now then the other night, after a few glasses of sangria the idea of what I actually wanted to say hit me.
I’ve been blogging for four years now and although I still consider myself as a newbie blogger I’m having to come to terms with the fact that I’m not that new. There are many bloggers who have been blogging for around two years, bloggers who weren’t bloggers when I first started but now seem to be leaps and bounds ahead of me, especially when it comes to followers and press trip invites. But then with that reality comes the fact that I have never once pitched for a press trip and only on very few occasions have I asked for discounts or freebies from companies. As a blogger, I have always wanted to bring you the reality of travelling and that includes paying for the majority of my trips. I also have zero intention of doing this full time and earning money from it, but more on that shortly.
Blogging about real life experiences
Since day one of blogging I have concentrated on blogging about my own real life experiences. At first that was easy I’d taken several trips that could provide plenty of content as well as being mid planning of a huge round the world gap year. As life went by the adventures continued and I really did feel like I was living the life of The Little Backpacker. But then I came back to the UK. I got a job and began taking ‘holidays’ rather than continuously travelling. For the first time since creating my blog I was no longer a full time traveller. That was the first time it dawn on me that I wasn’t sure what to blog about when I wasn’t travelled, because after all this is a travel blog. I tried my hand at some posts detailing places I wanted to visit or listing the worlds top such and such according to my research but these blogs made me feel cheap, like I was cheating. I wasn’t showing you that you could travel on a budget anymore. I was showing you what it was like to dream of travelling.
So I dabbled at including all kinds of lifestyle aspects into my blog, but I didn’t get the same kind of kick from it all and let’s be honest I was as desperate to travel as I was to write about those travel experiences. As the years have gone on and I’ve worked out that I don’t want to be a full time blogger but instead a teacher, I’ve continued to dabble with blogging niches. I’ve not put the full effort into being a travel blogger that I could have done, that I was advised to do during various blogging conferences. Instead I’ve talked about food and fitness and life in London and come further away from The Little Backpacker that I once was. I’ve grown in ways that I couldn’t have imagined back when I started the blog and I worry constantly that my blog isn’t living up to its name anymore.
The thing about blogging
Because that’s the thing about blogging. You always need to have your A game. You always have to be thinking about where the next post is going to come from. You always need to be doing something worth blogging about, but then how do you calculate if something is worth blogging about? Does going to that local park and new cafe count as a blog post? Some people might think so, others might not and me? Well I feel like I’m just clutching at straws when I write blogs about my mundane weekends. To me, something worth blogging is something that I really enjoyed, something that pushed me from my comfort zone, something that other people are going to want to do. But the thing is, my life isn’t always like that. I’m not always on a backpacking adventure, most of the time I’m sitting still with those damn itchy travel feet of mine.
And those niggles are what brings me to writing this post. I guess the niggles aren’t far from those that I expressed in this blog. Except today it’s more about being a blogger when it is not your full time job and never will be your full time job and your actual full time job has nothing to do with blogging what so ever.
I know there are no answers, no magic rule books for blogs and hell most people will tell you that it’s your blog you write whatever you bloody well like. But as Jayne from Girl Tweets World wrote the other week, what about our readers. What do they want? You can write about what you want all day long but it won’t necessarily bring you views and comments and satisfaction at people having loved your post.
Instead I think people want you to tell them something that they don’t know, they want to be inspired to visit a place, they want you to make them search flight prices incase they too can afford that trip. But they also want to know the reality of it all, if it is actually worth their hard earned money or if you are just blogging about it because you don’t know what else to write about or got paid to say it was amazing.
For as long as I can remember I have ALWAYS without fail (well… except on the odd occasion) posted a new blog every Tuesday and Thursday because that is what I set myself to do. Once I got into the routine I just couldn’t bring myself to break it, at first it worked because I was so busy that it gave me a focus for when I needed to get the blog finished by. But now these days I just get to Monday or Wednesday evening and panic that I still haven’t come up with something to write about. And on those evenings I have become terribly guilty of just throwing something together just so that I can say I’ve blogged on those days that I said I would.
The thing about travel blogging when you aren’t travelling often is it’s hard.
Hard to keep ‘on niche’, hard to continually inspire someone when you are struggling to inspire yourself and hard to write about travelling when all you want to do is travel but aren’t.
So there are a few changes coming this way, I’m not longer going to routinely blog on Tuesday and Thursday, I’m no longer going to throw a post together just because. I’m going to really think about what I’m writing and why I’m writing it, I’m going to think bout my audience as well as myself but most of all I’m going to dedicate time to blog and when it’s not blogging time I’m going to switch off, forget about the online world and just life in the moment. Because sometimes blogging can take that away from you.
Are you a blogger? What are your thoughts on this saturated industry these days, especially if you aren’t a full time blogger…