Starting A Blog: 5 Truths They Don’t Tell You About
With folded hands I sit across my breakfast table looking at a pretty flower that seems to be half-bud half flower, waiting to bloom yet too shy of its own splendour. Too engrossed in my thoughts, the coffee has turned cold. I pick the cup and head to the kitchen to reheat it. The early morning sunrays filter through the kitchen windows and I raise my hands to childishly catch the rays… just then the microwave announces my coffee is ready. Picking up my cup I return to admire the yet-to-bloom flower clicking a few pictures for Instagram.
There! I said it. In most things I see and do these days, it is difficult to keep the blogger within me tightly chained. So I end up looking for inspiration in these big and small things that life brings my way. And just as I capture the moment on camera, I realize how life has transformed for me as an influencer.
I know of people who are quick to relate blogging with glamour and parties. But there is a second side to that coin that isn’t often spoken about. Behind the veil of glamour lies hard work which does not get its fair share of acknowledgement. That said, this post is not meant to drag blogging to a level where it seems unwelcome. Rather, it is to set expectations for those who intend to join the world of blogging and digital content production. And particularly for those who are only interested in the overnight fame, because that doesn’t exist.
So grab a hot drink, settle in, because this will be a long read, but a good one. I hope you all enjoy!
Success’ Dirty Little Secret
Philosophers and poets have spoken profoundly and endlessly about success. Some relate it with luck others contend to connect it with hard work. And I couldn’t agree more on the fact that luck and hard work both can play a role, but one ingredient that you and I may have condoned is passion.
No matter how hard you work, no matter how lucky you are, in order to be successful and to be able to repeat your success, you need to be passionate about the work you do.
Bloggers who enjoyed doing something as a hobby and decided to share the same with others have seen more success than those who ran out of breath trying to chase success. When you do something out of the sheer love and joy of doing that thing, then you will give it your 100% and the success you achieve from it will be much more gratifying.
It took me more than a year to see anything of value come from blogging. Nothing happens with the click of your fingers or the blink of an eye unless you have a genie in a lamp. This blog is my labour of love and I often pour my heart and soul into my posts.
My best advice for aspiring bloggers is to never fade away. Shine and shine bright in a way that your light brings hope and light in someone else’s life. When you add value to the society you live in through your blog, you will enjoy a deeper sense of fulfillment which will make success crave you rather than the other way around.
Passionate Enough to Forgo Sleep?
Publishing new content persistently takes more effort than it may seem. Many bloggers are nine-fivers or have their own businesses to run. So blogging requires a chunk of your time that is usually taken out of your personal time.
I know of days when sleep looked like a distant dream. Nights, that I spent brooding over my imaginations trying to put together a good post for my readers. Was it trying at times? Of course!
But was it worth it? Hell yes!
Some posts have been written and published in a day, while some posts have taken me longer than usual to write and edit largely because I have a tendency to work at my own pace instead of rushing through things. For the most part I end up relying on the quiet hours of the night for my brushes with imagination. But I couldn’t imagine a better life than this. Yes I miss staying in bed without my mind working tirelessly on new ideas. But I love this so much that I can’t imagine an alternative to it!
Friends and Family May Not Always Understand
Take the instance when I was invited to review a food festival at a luxury property in my city recently. It didn’t take very long for a close friend who is also a foodie to call me and tell how sad she was that we did not go there together. This happens more often when your life becomes hyper-publicized on social media.
I have often felt that some of my friends see a change in me that they are unable to readily accept. The truth is that I have gone through a considerable transformation since I started blogging. I look at objects, places and people with a different perception – often through the lens of a camera or as the subject of my next post.
While I am glad that my husband has been very supportive and has understood and acknowledged these changes as positive transformation, for some of my friends it’s simply overwhelming.
Blogging also necessitates meeting others who share the same interests as yours. So your core group of friends may feel that you are leaving them for greener pastures even though that isn’t your intention. Understanding the life of an influencer can be difficult for those who are outside of the industry, so as a blogger you will have the responsibility of making sure that the people you really love and care about don’t feel abandoned as you get swept up in the life of an internet celebrity.
Everything Is Valued Based on How “Bloggable/Instagrammable” it is
Just like I couldn’t resist clicking that blooming flower on my breakfast table, or sharing a photo of that cup of coffee I reheated or adding that bit about the sunrays I played with on my blog; I cannot resist looking at a person, place or object without thinking of sharing it with my readers. Fact.
The changing colours of the leaves, the painting above my bed, the décor of a new restaurant, footprints on the sand, and the chuckle of a child, everything captures my mind! I have started looking at everything on a more microscopic level and beauty has a broader meaning for me since I’ve have started blogging.
And no, I don’t mean being superficial with photos that don’t easily relate to my true self. If I am going to eat that pizza with my hands, then I may as well click it like that, cutlery aside. I like to bring a raw sense of realism to every photo that I post. It is meant to be clean and professional, but it should also be in line with my values of being real and being me ~ even as a blogger.
I’ve said this often, and I will say it again ~ my blog is a reflection of me as I am. So the photos on my blog are very much based on the way I would look at something. If you were to blog regularly, even you would begin to look at things from a blogger’s point of view. And don’t be surprised if such instances become a launch pad to explore new ideas for your posts.
Interesting Content Necessitates a Generous Purse
If you’ve been under the notion that blogging does not require much of an investment, my sweet summer child let me go on and break that dreamy notion of yours.
A while ago, I needed a pretty shot of some beautiful latte art. So I paid INR 600 for an Uber to take me to a really good coffee shop where I purchased an INR 350 cappuccino and since I was hungry and the food on display too tempting, I also ordered Eggs Benedict for breakfast for which I paid INR 600. Happy with my shot, I returned by an Uber which cost me another INR 600. If you do the math, that took me INR 2,150 for just one shot of good coffee.
Sure, blogging has certain perks attached to it, but successful blogging requires a generous purse. You may end up re-ordering that latte if the latte art disappears in the foam before you get your perfect shot. You may even return home to discover that the shots didn’t turn out as expected. Soon you’d be heading out again for a new shot. Things like this happen more often than you’d think in a blogger’s life. Near perfect shots are either a stroke of luck or involve lots of hard work.
And you can be sure that a post would include much more.
For instance, if you are going to get clicked then you would require a fresh set of clothes, because your readers would not want to see you in something you have worn before. Sure, you’ll be sent a lot of really cool stuff by brands, but at other times you will have to go shopping and purchase something trendy enough to provide readers with fresh content to stay relevant.
So where were we? Ah right! Did I hear blogging doesn’t cost much? Now you know!
End note: The life you see on our blogs is certainly the life we live. There are awesome parties. There are fabulous gifts. But there definitely is more to what we do. A life deeper than what you see exists between posts where we make an effort to curate fresh and exciting content for our readers, where we try to gain a new perspective for an old thought, where we reimagine things and recreate our imaginations.
Just because this side of our lives does not get seen in the glitz & glamour, it doesn’t mean that it does not exist. If you are an aspiring blogger then this is your brush with reality to help you set the right expectations. If you are a reader then this is a glimpse of my life behind the scenes.