Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Blogger/Blagger Debate

 During the beginning of 2014 I got a little bit disillusioned with the whole 'blogger' thing. That's not to say my love of writing dissipated. Quite the opposite in fact. However one too many lack lustre event and flat glass of cheap sparkling wine left me feeling a little bit like I was losing perspective on what I loved about blogging.

When I first start blogging a few years ago I wasn't even aware there were any freebies to be had. I didn't understand that PR companies might go hand in hand with blogging either. I had just got back from an 8 week stint in LA and had just come out of a crappy relationship with a crappy bloke. I'd just moved to Glasgow and I didn't know what I was going to do. A sort of mid-twenties life crisis had caused me to give up a well paid and stable career and I was starting from zero. I got a job at the Art School, I bummed about a bit. I considered going back into a field I hated. But boardrooms full of 60 year old wankers who tried to pretend they weren't looking down my top wasn't doing it for me anymore.

I wasn't unhappy but I was a bit lost. So I wrote. I just started writing. At the time I didn't know that was what I wanted to do. To be honest, I've only really just worked it out. I just did it. I found a little corner of the world wide web and I started talking. And for a good while I was just talking to myself. I talked about all the things I like reading about. Dating, dieting, relationships. Low brow, superficial and probably quite vacuous to some. Now I write a lot about being a mummy and about how it is ok to admit when you are struggling as a parent. Latterly I have written a bit more about being a single parent. As the blog progressed and got a wee bit more popular (I am still a tiny fish in a very big pond - I am aware of that), I started to get offered the odd freebie. Maybe the odd product to review or invite to a new bar opening. And I thought why not? If I got to try a new posh hair shampoo or glug free prosecco in the Westend then why the hell not? I wrote for me. Not for the free stuff.

Like I said I am still a small fish. A very small fish. There are bloggers out there who are actually famous. I once got asked if I was 'Dawniepopsies' in an Asda in one of the roughest areas of Glasgow but I don't think that counts. Whenever my stats get a bit out of control my first thought is that blogger is broken and on the days my traffic triples I am still convinced it is my mother sitting at home bored, constantly hitting the refresh button. I don't get invited to loads of press events but I get invited to a few. Which suits me down to the ground as I have Ava so much of the time that I wouldn't be able to go to them all anyway. I see girls who are out five nights a week. Who are invited to everything going and who rarely spend money on a meal or a glass of wine. All power to them I say. I would be lying if I said I didn't feel a teeny bit jealous at their glamourous, child-free existence. But when you have a little one who you adore more than life itself, your priorities kind of change a bit and despite being an excellent actress, I was never that bothered about the party lifestyle even before I had her.

My point is this - I fell out of love with that scene at the beginning of this year and I've missed a few events recently because deep down I just couldn't be bothered with it. Not that there wouldn't be some great people there. I have made some fabulous friends through blogging that I will keep forever. But I wanted to stay in with Ava instead. I wanted to tuck her in, read Peppa books and cook risotto while listening to Bon Iver. I missed a couple of events because I got distracted by a boy. And I passed another one up because I couldn't be bothered with a train ride through to Edinburgh.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not ungrateful. I love getting dolled up. I love checking out new places and then getting a chance to talk about them and write them up afterwards. But I'm not all about the free stuff. And I never have been.

My problem is this. I want to be a writer. A real grown up bonafide writer but I struggle with being brand friendly sometimes. I want to be. It has been drilled into me enough times by my writer buddies that writing and PR go hand and hand but I don't want to send emails out asking if I can come to this event or if I can have this product to do a giveaway on the blog.

I just want to write about what I love.

But that's not how it works.

So slowly I am learning to be my own PR. I am picking and choosing and approaching with thought and care. I have a couple of event invites that I am going to because I genuinely will enjoy them and because they fit in well with what I write about. I am not a fashion or a beauty event girl. And I never will be. It's not what I'm about. But if an invite pops into my inbox that looks like it might be fun then I will go for sure. Because why not? But I'm about emotions. I'm about food. I'm about discovering new bars and doing restaurant reviews (although I keep a lot of that side of my writing for other publications). Right here I talk about boys. I talk about life. I talk about break-ups and about being a mummy.

But hell - whether you are a blogger or a blagger or both then crack on I say. Do what you love. You don't have to be a writer to love doing beauty reviews and you don't have to want to be an author to talk about food all day long.

But right now, I just want to write. And to be noticed for it.

And in the words of Sam Smith - 'I do it for the love'. 

Although a bit more money would be nice ;)


Iona said...

Love this post! So well written and exactly why I started blogging too for my love of writing not freebies, I've only made it to 2 events this year, as often life is more important than a free drink or two... Exactly what I needed to read though so thanks Dawn! :)

Unknown said...

Yes! Freebies are a bonus not the drive. Ava will be a part of your heart longer than that flat cheap fizz xxxx

Unknown said...

I couldn't agree more - you've hit the nail right on the head. In the past few months I've become really disillusioned with the blogging world and so have taken a break from my blog (and social media to some extent) in the past couple of weeks. I've taken a step back and been thinking about what I actually want.

I'm sure I will be back to blogging soon - I've got things I want to write about, but at the moment I'm enjoying having a bit of time out and planning what I want to do next.


P said...

Fab post! To be honest, I have no beef with bloggers who write nothing but reviews - i'll only read a review if I'm interested but if that's what they want to do then fair enough. I have always liked the idea of free stuff and event invites but if I'm really honest with myself, I struggle to actually do the writing part of it when I AM offered because I want to write exactly what I want WHEN I want and the times I HAVE had reviews to write always seem to coincide with me thinking of a post I REALLY want to write! xx

char said...

I am very much in agreement with this. I've never been one of those cool cat bloggers who are out every night of the week and trying to turn blogging into their career. Maybe that's because I have my own career and I'm happy to keep those things very separate - always have been. Maybe that's because I'm not in the right location, I'm sure London has a lot more going on than out in the sticks. Maybe it's because I value my time too much to go along to the opening of an envelope. I don't have enough time to do all of the things i want to do anyway, so why throw a few more things in to the mix because I might get something to blog about. My blog is and always has been an outlet for me, an extension of the things I like, the things I do and to a lesser extent the things I feel. I am just not that fussed about the other stuff.