There is nothing that fills me with more fear than telling people I’m a “blogger”. Actually, that’s a lie; spiders make me cry and I have an inexplicable fear of giant squid (look at me, with all my first world problems). But really, there’s an overwhelming sense of dread at telling people I blog – yep, it’s a verb now. A TO-DO WORD.
It’s ridiculous really, because it IS what I do. Aside from blogging, of course, for the lovely people here at GoThinkBig, I spend the majority of my time writing words on t’internet for blogs. There’s my personal blog (which is mostly dogs in fancy dress for the moment), one I run with a school friend and then blogging for other companies. My life is dominated by Wordpress and being confused – sometimes a little horrified – by the search terms people use to find said blogs. But the problem is that recently the ‘b’ word has gotten a bit of a bad rep.
I do feel a bit of an arse calling myself a blogger because the general consensus can be split into one of three reactions, or a strange amalgamation of the lot. There’s utter confusion, mostly by parents, as to what exactly I do and how it can be considered anything other than a very public diary. Then – worst of all – there’s that judgement. That horrible, soul destroying look or passing “oh…”, often dished out by PR people or journalists that indicates whilst they are more than aware of the blogging phenomena they, at best, feel completely ambivalent towards and at worst, wish a plague over you. And then sometimes you’ll meet another blogger who’s both enthusiastic AND sympathetic and you want to hug each other for that mutual understanding that you are not in fact the devil incarnate.
I’m not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the line blogging became a dirty word. Was it the fashion bloggers, with their need to instagram EVERYTHING and their strange, pigeon legged posing? The PR darlings positively swamped by freebies and event invites, the ones where you question when they have the time to, you know, do normal things? Or the hordes of people turning to YouTube to ‘discuss’ or ‘review’, well, anything?
All the hate is a shame, really. Without sounding too overdramatic, blogging completely changed my life. For me, it was (and still is) a way to hone my writing skillz - practice makes perfect and all those other clichés are actually true - and by pretending that someone out there cares about what I have to say has forced me into writing regularly. I’m not sure this would have happened without a trusty blog.
It’s also been a great way to actually get my writing out there. Appearing in print is pretty high up on many wishlists, but these things don’t happen overnight. In a day and age when experience is necessary, instead of being miserable about the fact I couldn’t go and get experience I took things into my own hands and, although it’s been a long slog, it IS paying off.
I may be biased given that I'm a bit of a keyboard warrior but my advice is just go and bloody blog. And then blog some more. And then do it again! Whether you’re simply compiling a bit of an online portfolio, writing about your personal trials and tribulations, or writing about something specific get tapping.
Blogging for GoThinkBig is an amazing opportunity that I’m still way too excited about, but it’s also a good place for me to vent about being kind of unemployed and a couch potato. And personal stuff aside, blogging is a fantastic way of getting your foot in the door. Never underestimate the importance of an online presence (just kill me now for using such phrases, I hate myself sometimes) but blogging about THINGS, specific things, might actually be the golden ticket we’re all after. I blog about something fairly specific (I’ll let Google be your friend if you’re really that interested) and it has been a wonderful way of not only boosting my CV but genuinely pushed me in a career-esque direction.
Blogging isn’t the easiest option – despite freebies and events with photo booths – it’s still a labour of love, causing a lot of late nights and expensive train fares – but I wouldn’t give it up for the world.
Should I be embarrassed to tell people I’m a blogger? No, I shouldn’t. It’s not a shameful thing – I’m just a twenty-something, wannabe writer who’s doing anything she can to get her foot on the ladder. Sure, some people may see it as a bit of a piss take but you know what? The times they are a changin’ and blogging is not something anyone should turn their nose up at, not anymore. So, get plotting, and try and to think of a name that ISN’T going to haunt your professional career. Coming from a girl with a blog entitled I Slay All Zombies…