‘When Blogging Becomes a Slog’ from the NYT
I was contacted last week by Steven Kurutz, a New York Times reporter, about an article that he was working on about “Blogger Burnout and how to avoid it” (that’s what he told me the article was about in his email.) The article came out a couple of days ago and while — yay! I’m in the New York Times — the title “When Blogging Becomes a Slog” kinda makes it sound like I’m totally over blogging, which I’m not. (It doesn’t help that right over my photo it reads “Singing the Blogging Blues” either. ha!)
Now, I’ll take a second to confess that I had to look up the exact definition of the word slog. After looking it up and learning that “slog” means “a spell of difficult, tiring work or traveling” I would argue that blogging, just like any daily practice or job that involves an everyday commitments, is difficult, tiring work, it is a slog, but it’s a slog (or ‘hustle’ as I like to call it) that I LOVE.
Anyway, I thought it would be fun, as an addendum to the article, to show you the questions that Steven asked and the answers that I sent back. Many of the discussions around the article that have popped up, including this one on my homegirl Holly’s blog, includes questions as to why this article was focused on DIY/Design bloggers and not bloggers in general (or people from every profession for that matter, we all experience burnout, right?!?) But the questions that were posed to me by Steven originally shed some light on this subject, I believe, so check it:
How do you keep things fresh without repainting your walls every three days:
I use a lot of textiles and flowers in my work. I can bring in different florals/plants/foliage or simply cover a chair/sofa/table in a beautiful textile and completely change the look of a space without actually doing too much. It is in my nature to enjoy changing things up too and I think that helps–ever since I was a child I’ve loved to rearrange furniture and switch things around at home, so I actually enjoy the constant flux in the jungalow.
How do you balance the need to show readers your space with the need for privacy?
I don’t have any problems inviting people into my space. I love to entertain and have guests over to the house, and I feel like sharing images of my space to my readers is a natural extension of that. Where I do tend to need more privacy is with family matters. I have a young daughter (she’s 2 years old) and my husband is a pretty private person, so I just run ideas by him if a post involves him or Ida (our daughter) to make sure that he feels comfortable with it. When I’m sharing things of a more personal nature, they tend to be about me, my issues, my feelings and not too centered around the rest of my family. Both of my parents are developmental psychologists and I think I was raised with strong notions of ‘boundaries’ and I think that this has helped me to find the balance between the parts of my life that I keep private vs. the parts of my life that I make public.
How do you keep the blog fun and organic if it’s also become an income stream?
I get a lot of offers for partnerships that just don’t work with my taste. I don’t take them. I think one of my strengths as a creative is that I have a very clear style and vibe and if I don’t feel like the partnership is a good match, I prefer to forgo the cash and wait for something that aligns with my blog and brand. The partnerships that I do take on allow for me to be even more creative and invest in materials and assistants and spend time crafting great content as opposed to spending time on client work. I love to think of creative ways to work with brands to generate content that is authentic to my style and voice. I keep things fresh and authentic by having concept driven content as opposed to product driven content. I think that really helps to bring each post back to my unique voice and the way I see the world. This is slightly unrelated, but the YHL post that you linked to reminded me of this tangentially related topic on the subject of sponsorship — I look around in the world, on TV shows and in movies, in magazines and at concerts, on the sides of buses and in subways…I see sponsors all over the place and I see bloggers as the only people apologizing for it, or feeling a need to justify to readers WHY they are creating sponsored posts. I am earning a living and supporting my family through blogging. I am creating great, free content for my readers and I really proud of what I have accomplished and that I make money from this. I am unapologetic about creating sponsored content. I believe all of my content is fresh and authentic, sponsored or not. I do draw lines in the sand, however. For example, I have turned down several large partnerships this year that would have made my daughter the focus of campaign, something that my husband and I have agreed not do do.
How do you renovate and redecorate without living in chaos:
I currently live in a rental, so there are a lot of more major overhauls I’d love to do to the house that will have to wait until a family can afford to buy a home in L.A. on a blogger’s salary ;) That having been said, we do live in chaos. I have craft projects everywhere, my desk is currently in my living room, I do all my flower art on our patio (and yes leaves and flowers blow everywhere in the wind!) There are toddler toys mixed with bags full of props and textiles, computer wires everywhere…it’s not even a beautiful mess, it’s just a mess. I’m pretty sick of it (my man is over it too) so I’m actually in the process of looking for a studio, hopefully that will help remedy the situation even just a little bit.
Anyway, I just wanted to make sure y’all knew that I am not tired of this space–in fact, I love the challenge of it, I still get off on it, and still am inspired and motivated–and IS a slog, but it’s a damn good slog….and I feel like I’m only getting started! What are your thoughts? Did you have a chance to read the article?
Photo by Kevin Scanlon For the New York Times