The realities of being A Writer/Blogger ... Here’s my story
Let me get real for a minute. I get it, I’ve fallen for it myself.
That seamless life of travel, writing, taking pretty pictures and making it all look perfect and happy. Whether you’re a writer, blogger, photographer, creative (is there really a difference nowadays?) the idea of working remotely, kicking that 9-5 to the curb and damn well enjoying this life is all too good to pass up.
I also get that whilst scrolling through the highlight reel of Instagram, you can’t help but wonder how the hell every one does it. Or how to start. How to fund it, what to do to, who to speak to. I know I still do.
You know what bloggers don’t tell you?
The amount of time it takes to get the shot or to get to that location. The selecting, editing, writing and re-writing. The back and forth with clients to make sure the content fits the brief. The emails, the early morning shoots for best light, the late nights figuring out the details for the next day, the organising -- on the odd chance Mr. Boyfriend isn’t the photographer -- of finding a photographer. The self-doubt he or she most likely had, comparing or fussing over insecurities, just like every other human on earth. The hours spent working in the hotel lobby, or in transit between flights.
The day said blogger realised all these free clothes aren’t, in fact, paying the bills. The 1 or 2 side hustles we all have to actually fund the damn thing.
Even the most successful accounts get these feels too, don’t be fooled.
I am not complaining. I like it all. There is so much reward in solving problems that benefit your business and the energy you’ve put into something you care greatly about.
Owning your own business and creating your own little world takes guts. It requires you to trust.
Trusting your instincts, your vision, your end goal. Doing what you love is often times linked to hard, consistent work, determination, a clear sense of direction along with a heart full of passion. It doesn’t hurt to have some basics in business down either.
If you’re serious about becoming a lifestyle blogger, or even just a writer, you’ll have times when that sense of security, financial or otherwise, won’t be there.
But I will tell you this: You’ll wake up in the morning with a wholesome sense of excitement you wouldn’t get from that dusty desk job you didn’t want in the first place. You’ll find your sense of creativity, you’ll be awoken with desire to do your best, every single day. When you own your own business, it’s not really 9-5 but 24/7 and that’ll be fine by you.
I am by no means an expert. I’m still learning, struggling, understanding. Every. Single. Day.
But I will share my journey in the hopes that it helps you in a little way, by giving you a insight into how I got to where I am, why I do what I do and how I do it.
My tricks and secrets? They’re no big reveal, but here’s what I did to get to where I am today.
— I got involved
Surf Events, volunteering, shoots. Anything that had anything remotely to do with my core areas of interest, I applied for, talked to, organised myself around or sneaked my way into. It was all about meeting the right people at the right time and making connections, however big or small.
— I got my experience
I started a business degree with absolutely no idea what to do with it. The idea of owning my own business has always been appealing, though. Somewhere between my yoga certification (which you can read about here) and my masters, I started interning, and struck gold when I got my first ever writing internship at Sporteluxe, run by the dazzling Bianca Cheah. The internship turned into my first editorial writing gig, which sparked my fuel and interest in the whole digital magazine realm. The knowledge I gained from my coworkers and boss was eye opening. It taught me the basics of running a blog/business/website. I then went on to work for Pro Surfer Sally Fitzgibbons, as her social media/content creator. It’s all about getting your foot in the door in the industries you want to be involved in and learning from them.
— I network.
This is not a time to be shy. Talk to the right people, get your name out there, always.
— I send emails, relentlessly so.
And follow up emails. And follow ups to my follow ups. I just assume people don’t have me at the top of their minds, 24/7. Which tends to be correct.
— I make sure I always benefit in some way.
Be it a paid partnership, a collaboration, an exchange. Whatever work I produce for a brand or client, if I’m not getting paid, I’m adding to the value of my business in some way or gaining exposure. Keep that in mind with any negotiations you come across. Be careful not to be taken advantage of.
— I figure it out as I go along
There really is no magic potion or recipe to success. Everyone is different and I’m still learning that.
— I struggle, every damn day.
And the days when I don’t, boy do they feel good. Celebrate every win, however big or small.
— I do whatever it takes to get what I need.
Can’t do it? Outsource. Ask. Google. Youtube. The world is a very open book. You just gotta pluck out what you need.
— I remain grateful, polite and always humble.
No one likes a bragger. Or a fake. Or an entitled b*tch. Come to think of it, anyone who aligns an inspirational quote to a cleavage-cladded selfie. So best to keep it real.
— “I gotta have faith”.
And on the days where I don’t, I have my flatmates to sing the George Michael version (honestly, it plays on repeat in our home, we’re very uplifting like that).