A while ago, I had a terrible cold. As I lay on the sofa drowning in self pity, hot lemon water and kleenex, I had no energy for blog duties and I realised something: whilst I felt a bit guilty for neglecting my work load, I erm…felt partly relieved too…
..Relieved I had a bonafide excuse not to blog. Then I felt guilty for feeling relieved that I didn’t have to blog! In my defence, even the most dedicated employee-of-the-year type is grateful for a day off work. Cue blog post I thought. Then I sat on the idea. This time it wasn’t my tendency towards procrastination that made me stall. It was more the worry I’d just get stoned by my blogging peers if I owned up to half the blogger confessions on this list! But I’ve come to realise recently from other bloggers’ comments that:
I may not be the only person in bloggerville suffering from blogger’s guilt (Double exclamation mark…)
Yep, several people admitted to feeling the same sense of guilt I mentioned in the first edition of my new Blog Stars series; Life Love and Dirty Dishes even joked that we ought to start a group called Blogger Guilt Anonymous (man I’d be the first to join).
Honestly, I feel like a guilty blogger all the time: not writing enough, not social media-ing, not reading enough blogs, not being ‘blog-tech aware’ enough; it just goes on and on to the point where I make myself quite miserable. And blogging isn’t meant to make you miserable. Don’t worry, I love blogging! This isn’t a pity post. Not one bit. I just feel that for various reasons, there’s no getting away from it; I need to reveal my guilty blogger confessions.
1. Dreadful time management. AARRRGGGGGH!
This has been a lifelong problem to be honest. Now as a blogger, I have very limited time available to blog in the first place. Yes, I’m a SAHM and I just said I have little time. Punch me. By the time I return to the house after the school run, it’s 9am. But I can’t just sit down immediately as there is laundry and kitchen cleanup to do. I then have to stop at 1pm to eat lunch, make dinner, clean up before fetching the kids from school. In theory. What really happens is that I’m only just getting in the flow by 1pm and carry on working til I have to fetch them and end up making dinner super late. And let’s not even mention actually trying to get some exercise in. Alright, let’s mention it. I love starting the day with exercise; it’s the best feeling but I have to blog instead, so it either doesn’t happen or I’m going out in the evening for classes/a run which impacts on the kids’ bedtime and delays my dinner/kitchen clean-up and evening blogging sit-down time.
It’s too lame to blame my failings on the dishes, the time spent supervising homework, the laundry, the cleaning, the e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g.
There is a world of bloggers out there with the same commitments, time demands and most importantly the same amount of hours in the day as me. They can’t bend time or magically create more hours in the day. Yet they’re all managing to blog their socks off, build site traffic and show up for linkies. Many of them have actual day jobs…pfft!…and many of them with said day jobs actually RUN a linky! Oh and they’re in bed by 11pm. Meanwhile, I’m up til shocking o’clock with a quarter of their output to show for it. I have no idea what the solution is! #BarelyCoping
2. Wrong Priorities
The kids often come second, friends come third, exercise comes fourth and the housework…it doesn’t even figure! Yes I get the laundry done (just) but there is so much to running a household, especially when unlike your friends, you don’t have a cleaning lady.
This is something I genuinely have angst over. Having to constantly ride the blog train visiting every compartment including the every-social-media-channel-in-existence, the linky, the guest post, the series-hosting and the writing carriages, feeling like I can never get off…is affecting family life. I may not be a mumsy mum who enjoys crafts and baking and getting down on the floor to play with her kids but I do spend time with them in my own way: walks, beach trips, board games. Frankly, I hate how blogsessed I’ve become, head buried in phone manically tweeting away or glued to my computer, to the point where it’s become a herculean effort to mentally switch off or step away from my devices, when I’m meant to be spending time with my kids. It’s like I just can’t relax because my mind is constantly on the to do list piling up.
3. Enormous Amounts of time on Twitter
Whilst other bloggers have probably whipped out two blog posts, planned their entire monthly schedule and scheduled tweets and Instagram posts, there I am spending my time having ridiculous (but hilariously addictive) conversations with my ‘posse’ including Cuddles, Rodders, Trista, NHD and Alan. We’re just juveniles really.
4. Questionable linky behaviour
Do I even dare talk about this or am I just about to commit bloggercide? Let’s see, there’s the barely managing to comment before the next one Is live, the binge reading the following week to compensate etc. Out of all the areas I feel worst over, this is the one that really gets to me.
A while ago, Claire of aforementioned blogLife, Love and Dirty Dishes said I share the blog love more than anyone she knows. I actually stared at the screen in surprise because the thing is, her comments came at a time when I’d been doing a lot of blog-soul searching at the end of one of ‘those’ weeks. I just couldn’t balance writing, running the #OopsFiles, facebooking/instagramming/tweeting my bits off and duly commenting on the linkies I’d joined. (Heck, it was impressive enough I’d joined the linkies in time!) Anyway, I nearly shrank in mortification seeing a conversation on a blog forum about linkies. Unsurprisingly, there was universal horror expressed at those who don’t give back enough re commenting.
Disclaimer: To read blogs on time and feel less guilty about ‘past indiscretions’, I recently started #BlogStars, a regular round up of posts I’ve read and loved. The response has been wonderful and thankfully nobody stoned me, as you can see from the comments.
Thing is I’m no good at leaving one short line on a person’s post just to prove I’ve visited their site. I tend to say a lot and even more if I really love their post…I swear it’s like I write another blog post at the end of their own post! So the time it takes me to read/comment is crazy. I also tend to leave it to the end of the day so that enough bloggers have linked up their content providing me with enough to read…by which time I’m then a) knackered b) overwhelmed at the sheer number of posts or c) inspired by something in one of the posts I do manage to read which makes me start jotting down ideas for a blog post. When I should be reading! Ugh, face palm.
5. Not having a blog schedule
I tried implementing one and did in fact download and print a blog scheduler. I arranged in neatly in a binder. I wrote on it. A bit. I’m not really getting on with it and need to find another one so right now, there’s a sketchy schedule in my head. Obviously, I know much more than I did when I started out but I do feel like I’m still nowhere near clued up #AlwaysTheLastToKnow
6. Not blogging anywhere near enough
I guess a by product of the iffy schedule. Alright, I should cut myself a bit of slack on this one as I do write more than I ever did, having gone from one post every one and a half months (at my lowest point) to three a week, recently. Except the three is usually two! But I look at the output of some people like Aby and Laura and I wonder if they ever sleep. Ever.
7. Taking an eternity to write a blog post
I’m known for being very honest on my blog. But the length of time it takes me to write a post? Nah…not telling…taking that one with me to the grave. In fact, I daren’t even add up the hours. (I guess most of this post is leading towards one major theme: time management!)
I read an amazing line last week on Live Love Blog from Slummy Mummy who advised bloggers to not fuss about getting a post perfect but just getting it done and OUT! This has been my problem with the blog since the start. When I have tried just writing something quickly and banging it out, I regret it because for days afterwards, I think of things I forgot. In fact, erm, I’m writing this paragraph a day after pressing ‘publish’ on this post because I remembered only today. I have managed to write something within two and a half hours – yes that is FAST for me!! – and in fairness, my anniversary card post is one of my biggest posts and snowballed within minutes of going out on Facebook. But berLUDDY hell, the stress of working to a deadline nearly killed me!
8. Flitting between multiple blog tasks, without actually completing a single one
While writing this, I got distracted by that conversation above. Then I saw other twitter notifications. I rarely read posts when they come up in my feed; I’m trying to change that so I clicked on one and read the post and commented. Then Instagram comments popped up on my phone so I ended up responding to those. Add to all this my incurable Facebook itch so I responded to some AbPrab page comments before realising I need to schedule my page for the next day. Are you getting the picture?! Did I get this written? Did I my bum.
9. Wasting precious time and energy obsessing over the dreaded ‘blog niche’
One of my siblings said I need to figure out my blog’s aim and niche because all the super bloggers who make a fortune did exactly that. I’d already been feeling concerned enough about this before the remark was made…but this made me agonise for months.
What if I’m a jack of all trades and master of none? Shouldn’t I stick to blogging about one main topic? Is it bad that I don’t just write about mummy stuff on my ‘mummy blog’ and if so am I just a big fraud? Will brands be put off from working with me if they can’t easily put my blog into a set box?
On and on the quandary continued in my head. Blogger extraordinaire Cuddle Fairy recently celebrated her first blogiversary and wrote about her blogging journey to date. I am SO glad I read that post! Cuddles single-handedly saved me from the dark shadow cast by that niche nonsense, saying she no longer worries about it and how she just blogs about what the heck she wants (well Cuddles doesn’t say ‘heck’ because she’s a lady). When I think of the amount of time I have wasted agonising over this…pah!
10. Still not knowing things I ought to know two years into blogging.
Hmmm… where do I start?! This is just a small selection of my blog-bumbling (you can read some more in my guest post about my blogging journey for Mum Muddling Through:
- underestimating the importance of emailing your subscriber list
- not realising the SEO significance of placing alt text and relevant tags on images
- not using Twitter for sharing current and older posts
- not installing a plugin to detect broken links that could be harming my site
- not understanding the follow vs no follow conundrum
- not using headings in my content for the longest time
What’s the conclusion or solution?
I love blogging. I found myself again after the years of nappy changing, play groups and school events. It gave me a renewed purpose, long after I’d sat an office desk with an actual job, and I can’t imagine not doing it. As I said in my Blog Geek post. I don’t know where Prabs the person ends and Absolutely Prabulous the blogger begins and vice versa. Yes, I feel overwhelmed by how much goes into blogging. Yes I feel like I’d have more chance of balancing in the most impossible yoga pose whilst drinking a coffee and ironing a shirt than I do of balancing the blog with motherhood and life.
But I also know if I stopped blogging any time soon, well, I’d feel like I’d lost a limb.
So I guess there’s nothing else for it: Mama Prabulous simply has to get her s*** together!