I’ve had four days without my computer and let me tell you – it’s made me do some serious pondering. I have written post after post pouring out my heart why I wrote what I did on Monday. How I got from, “AAHHHHBLOGHERAHHHH!” as my roommate Alena would say, to bawling about how my writing was pointless. How it was because of BlogHer. Because of me. Because I’m lazy. Because I don’t have enough time. Because I have too much.
None of these actually posted. Partially because my iPhone is terrible to blog from, but also because none of what I wrote felt right. At first, I couldn’t put my finger on what had gone wrong. Here’s what I came up with:
At BlogHer, I listened to the women on each panel I was in speak about how much they juggled. Work, home, family, children, friends, meetings, PR, multiple blogs, campaigns. I felt more and more inadequate thinking of how there are days I don’t shower till noon. How I blog, the same as them, yet they are paid and therefore validated in spending the time and money to continue. How doing what they seem to do effortlessly would consume my entire day.
I spend 2-3 hours a day during the week and 1-2 on the weekends blogging/tweeting/etc. I refuse to let it be more than that without being paid, and even then not much more. I know many people who can balance this well, but I am not one of them. It could easily consume me.
Then there was the panel with an editor of a famous publication that basically asked us not to bother submitting our work to them unless we were big time bloggers. That was a huge blow. They didn’t outright say it, but it was there. They wanted numbers, followers, stats. They all nodded along at, “What about quality?” questions but it was fairly obvious all the quality in the world wasn’t going to get you published if your name didn’t end in Armstrong or Drummond. (exaggerating but close)
Coming home from BlogHer, this hit me like a ton of bricks. I had spent a lot of money to be there. My mom had flown out to watch Bella at a moments notice. My husband might had given the side eye to my new clothes/shoes/bag but he was gracious enough to not flip at the extra expense. I came home a disaster from lack of sleep and total overload to a clean home, happy child, supportive mom, and Sam having bought me a new stove as a surprise. All for me. Me that hadn’t helped pay for any of it.
Alone Monday, I melted down. I was a wreck that I had taken everyone’s time and money to fly out to California for (what I thought was) nothing. I felt, as unrealistic as this is, that I should have come home with either a way to make money starting the next day, or at least a fire for writing. And I had neither so what had I done? I’d made and met friends but that was not my primary reason for going. I loved them, I loved meeting them and strengthening bonds, but it was not the number one goal.
I poured my heart out to Sam last night, who listened to me sob about never being able to buy my own stove, how I was always using his money, how I felt so unsure at times that simply staying at home without contributing financially was the right thing, when so many other women did this but also pulled in an income by blogging. How much I adored it, but so did they – and they got paid to adore it.
Not understanding at first, he kindly asked, “Why would you want another stove, and have you thought of getting a part time job?”
::rocks in corner::
After I was able to really explain it better, he told me that I was being silly. While it certainly would be nice to see a paycheck for my writing, it wasn’t the end of the world if I didn’t get one.
But I do know that this feeling of, “Why do I do this?” is going to continue to haunt me unless I give the monetary part a shot. So I had to really think about what that meant. I struggled with the fact that I would like to be paid for what I do – but I don’t want it to change this blog.
Really, wouldn’t it be disturbing to read Monday’s post and then have a sponsored, ultra peppy one the next day where I endorse lamp shades? Wouldn’t that be a huge jolt and turn off to read? I know this. It might work for some bloggers but I can’t pull it off. I love, love, love the freedom to come on and post when I want about my life.
So my decision is: This blog? Stays.
In the meantime, I’m starting to plan another blog that fulfills a passion I don’t often write about on here – and can be sponsored. But I’ll be ok with it. I’m excited. Inspired. I took what I learned at BlogHer and used it to think about how I could leave this blog alone, and still pull in some income. My second blog may not work. I may find I simply don’t have enough time without cutting into being a mom and wife and have to stop. But I’m giving it my all. I have to do this for me.
This one will be my place to emotionally vomit. And the other will be the place to share knowledge for something I have a real love for. I can freelance in my spare time during the week. On and off.
I wouldn’t change what happened during and after BlogHer for the world. It may have turned out different than I expected, but maybe that’s a good thing. It gave me a different perspective on what I do. And I’m so glad I went. If you are pondering it – GO. Go and be open to new experiences and ideas. Be ready to spend time with friends – just as much as in sessions. Love the connections. And I’ll see you there next year.
And for the panelists at BlogHer who told us smaller bloggers not to bother submitting our work to you – even if it wasn’t in so many words? Guess what? Writing is something I love, so I’m going to do it anyway and submit it anywhere I can. So my words to you?
::swirls around like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman::
Big mistake. Big. Huge.