When I started this blog in 2012, it was a creative outlet for me and something to focus my mind on over the summer. I'm not one to do 'nothing' with my time off; I get ants in my pants and need to constantly be doing something productive. Creating this blog was a way of satisfying my need to constantly be on the go. I love writing, and I have developed a passion for photography through having this blog, and also find the process of discussing trichotillomania rather therapeutic. Blogging is a hobby, but a hobby that also helps me personally (and hopefully helps others too)- and that's why I love it so much. However, as more and more sites become sleeker, more professional and more commerically-minded, there seems to be a pressure to 'keep up with the Jones'. As your site grows, you might become involved with brands and PRs, and as other sites grow, you might look to them and start questioning your own success. Either way, blogging has evolved into far more than just the hobby it used to be; it's become a competitive commercial world which is perhaps just another source of pressure and stress.
I absolutely adore blogging, but I am starting to question whether it is simply more than a hobby. One of my two days off last week (in between exams and starting a new job) was spent scheduling and writing content and taking and editing photos for this site. When my boyfriend asked my why would I 'work' on my day off, it made me think; blogging is almost like another job in itself. I responded to him with 'brands are chasing me about this', 'I've got this giveaway to run'....I'm being chased up about 'work', for something that is supposedly a 'hobby'. I put so much into this site, working away on it on my days off, and yes, perhaps it does keep my mind busy and helps me to be organised and productive, but I also need time off every now and again. We get so much stress in our day to day lives, whether this be through our job, studies or even personal lives, our hobby should not be providing us with another source of stress.
Unless you've been paid to do something, there shouldn't be a deadline. Deadlines come with work (or study). Not a hobby. As blogging becomes more commercially aware of itself, and more of us are competing for the latest press sample or sponsored opportunity, we are turning what was a hobby into something much more. And in turn, the PRs and brands who are looking for coverage (I get it, it is their job), forget that, whilst they are getting to paid to do this, we are not. It's something we do in our spare time, we have lives outside this that sometimes need to take priority. Whilst I've managed to take a step back from putting so much pressure on myself (something I have never been able to stop myself doing), it is being chased up by brands which is starting to cause some stress. I have decided to work on this site at my own pace, take time off when I need to, not compare myself to others so much, but when you are getting emails on 'date day' asking why you haven't reviewed this body lotion yet or why you haven't posted this infographic (which you have no obligation to in the first place), it just makes me sigh and think, 'why am I doing this?'.
It goes with a pressure to be constantly working. Unless it is your full-time job (obviously), I think we all need to step back and remember it is just a hobby. It's supposed to be fun and creative, it's meant to take our mind off the pressures of our job and provide a bit of 'me-time' where you can write about whatever the hell you want for like-minded people. But having people chase you up about unpaid work, having people expecting you to do so much for them in return for a free lip balm, feeling the pressure to post more often because everyone else seems to be, and beating yourself up because your Instagram photos aren't pretty enough is turning blogging into something a bit ridiculous. It is now so far removed from why most of us started in the first place. In some ways, this is good (more recognised influence, new opportunities, the chance to turn blogging into a career), in other ways it's not (extra pressure on top of life stresses, working FOR FREE on your days off, constantly comparing yourself and thinking you're not good enough).
I'm going to continue to toodle along at my own pace and try not to fall into the trap of comparing myself to others (although when there are so many people vying for brands' attention, it gets difficult not to). I'm not going to reply to a nagging brand on a Sunday afternoon when I'm supposed to be on a lovely walk with my boyfriend. I just hope that brands, PRs, readers and other bloggers pause, take a breath and remember that this is not our job, but it is one hell of a stressful hobby. Let's try to not make it so stressful- let's bring the fun back to blogging!
What do you think of this issue? Do you feel you get extra stress or pressure from blogging?