blogging {why i do it and an honest chat}

 

 

I know a lot of people have questions surrounding blogging and digital media.  How we bloggers sustain what we do, how we earn money from it. Is it a real, bonafide job that can support a family, or merely a pastime for those otherwise wealthy enough to afford to be able to do it?

These questions are legitimate.  They are worthy of discussion.  They are valid and respected (by me at least, but I know by so many others in this industry too.)

It is a misunderstood arena, and I just wanted to take a few minutes today to chat a little about it, and about how I ended up doing what I do too.  I’ve been wanting to write this for a while now, and recent events have made it much more prevalent for me.  As with most things in life, I deal best in words I think.  In language and syntax and punctuation.  It’s the reason I am where I am I believe, and why I started all of this in the first place.

Ten years ago I was a secondary school English teacher.  It was a job that I loved for a lot of reasons, but one that didn’t come without its issues too.  I worked primarily with SEN pupils, kids with all sorts of educational and behavioural concerns.  It was an eye opener for me, my greatest and steepest learning curve.  I valued greatly the friends I met through it, the children in my care.  I worked hard at it, gave it my all, took too much away with me, became affected too deeply by it.  I ended up ill, and very unhappy.  Home life was impacted, and childcare costs for my little three (all under five at the time) were crippling.

And so I left.  That decision was so much more complex and difficult than that one little sentence will tell.  It was a decision that we didn’t make lightly.  It was one that would have major, life rocking impacts in the years to come.  But ultimately it’s one that I’ve never regretted.  We all find our place, each of us makes it work.  You ‘cut your cloth’, as my dad would say.  We are totally in control of the life we are given.  And sometimes you just have to choose happy.

In the Summer, a few years later, a friend introduced me to blogs.  You’ll maybe not believe it now, but I barely even had Facebook back in the day.  Social Media was something alien, something to be wary of, and while others were sharing their holiday snaps and catching up on what their best friends’, cousin’s hamster ate for breakfast, I was sheltering in my little haven of ignorant bliss.  Little did I know the wealth of learning and shared experience and community that was there for the finding.  How I wish I’d had it to avail of when we went through six weeks of Chicken Pox, when I couldn’t decide on a colour for our living room. When Eva just would not sleep, for months and months on end.  How I wish I’d known you were there.

In January 2014 I tentatively started my own blog.  It was a way of occupying my restless creative mind, and of sharing some of what we’d just been through in building our home.  I was nervous, hesitant, scared what people would think, worried about appearing boastful or over confident.  These are things that still occupy my thoughts today.  Andrew tells me it’s what keeps me from getting too far above my station.  I hope that’s true, because if there’s one thing we are, it’s real.  Flawed and broken, and subject to insecurities and worries as much as anyone else.  I think those who know us personally would tell you that too.

I wrote and shared and took pictures, participated and engaged and chatted for so very long before there was even a whisper of earning from what I do.  It was a hobby – a lovely one, filled with so many positive aspects – but a hobby nonetheless.  Then one day a brand contacted me to work with them.  To produce content around one of their products.  In the early days it was very much taken that you would receive product as compensation for your time.  Think of it as being paid in kind, for a job that you are doing – much like a journalist would be, or someone working on copy for an advertising campaign. Writing words, taking pictures, receiving payment.  Simple as that.

There is such a grievance these days over ‘blaggers’, freebie hunters and those who approach brands to try and negotiate gifted goods.  It’s such a shame, because it negates the actual work that is being done.  And this IS a job, let me make that very clear.  I don’t pursue brands for work, I never have.  They approach me.  I also don’t accept product in exchange for what I do.  There’s nothing wrong with doing that, but I chose to make this my business. I work hard at it, and I’ve learnt to value my skills (the ones I went through ten plus years of education to learn!) and my time.

I earn the equivalent of a part time salary, more than what I would be if I were teaching and paying for childcare.  I’m able to be flexible around my children, I choose my hours and the projects I work on. I turn down much more than I accept.  I only share what I am passionate about and what authentically fits with our ethos.  I write here, I write elsewhere.  I work to the highest level of integrity.  I don’t con you, or use product placement.  I always disclose if something has been sponsored or if it is an ad.  I don’t use emotional blackmail to drive statistics, or to buy your follows.  I don’t think so little of your intelligence that I’d even consider that that would be successful.  I’m honest to a fault, and I probably share too much of my vulnerability. But guys, this is life.  We do the best we can.  We empathise and encourage and support where there is opportunity to. We are so much more alike than we are different.  There is so much we can learn from each other.

Blogging is an elusive job.  It’s one that skirts around the confines of the normal 9 to 5.  It’s a difficult place to make your mark in, I’ll not dress it up.  But, like any other career, it is open to anyone who wants to give it a go.  It’s not a closed society, you are fully entitled and at liberty to join us. I’m always at the end of an email if you have any questions regarding it.

When I was teaching I used to get the comments a lot.  People, envious of the long Summer break, used to refer to us as ‘part-timers’, or ask us why we were stressed when we had long holidays to look forward to.  My answer to them used to be ‘Of course!  You’re absolutely right.  It’s brilliant, you should really come join us and enjoy all the perks yourself!’  I wonder, after a school year of teaching, if they’d have the same attitude  The same opinions and offhand remarks to share.  I wonder.

It just goes to show guys, you gotta’ do that mile in someone else’s shoes.  Regardless of what we do, it has its ups and downs.  We work, we juggle.  We care for our families, we try to do our best by everyone we meet.  We are affected by what we see, and read and hear, but not ruled by it.  And we can’t control the perceptions of others.

I hope this has maybe answered some of your questions today.  I’m more than happy to discuss it further if you’d like, and am always available through the channels on my ‘Contact’ page.

Normal service resumes tomorrow.

E x

 

 

30 Comments

  1. Sandra Frazer
    February 22, 2017 / 12:16 pm

    Thank you for that honest account of your life and business. I never in a million years think you do it for followers. I have enjoyed reading your posts and watching your stories on Instagram because you are real and I like the things you show your photos are lovely. I have been wanting to have a blog for ages and it’s been watching and reading blogs like yours that give people the boost to do it. I still have not done it but will soon. Keep doing what you doing. You and your family are lovely.

  2. J
    February 22, 2017 / 12:36 pm

    Dear Emma, I’ve been reading this and watching you on instastories in the past 24 hours and all I can say is this. You have so much more to give than this person can destroy. I know it’s hard but you MUST listen to everyone out there who says how much your writing means to them. I really hope you keep going and see this through because you are such an inspiration to so many people – myself included. I am thinking of you lots and sending you lots of positive vibes. Stay strong lady.

  3. Sam
    February 22, 2017 / 12:53 pm

    Esmma, please continue doing what you do. I enjoy your photos, stories and family adventures.

  4. Andi
    February 22, 2017 / 1:51 pm

    Have to admit I shed a wee tear reading this! Especially that line “sometimes you just have to choose happy”. I find my job so stressful and I would love to be able to change direction completely. Your writing is beautiful and I wish I had half your talent! x

  5. Amy D
    February 22, 2017 / 2:06 pm

    No justification needed! You are fab at what you do.

    Don’t let one person ‘Dull your sparkle!’

    Your insta story is always the one, that I gravitate to first when I visit Instagram. It’s real, it’s honest and you can spot how geniune you are within 2 seconds of watching.
    I have been thinking about you a lot today, I’m sure you will come back tomorrow and continue being lovely like always x

  6. Helen
    February 22, 2017 / 2:24 pm

    How sad that you’ve been forced to justify how you choose to earn your living like this. As another former secondary school teacher (who is now also very happy in another line of work), I get why you made that choice!

    Sadly, there will always be people who can’t stand to see others doing well. I’m not sure quite how that bitterness crosses a line to poison pen letters and negative online comments though. I’m a great believer in the fact that if you’ve got nothing good to say, then you don’t say anything at all.

    I’m sure it must be hard, but hold your head up high and carry on living your life the way that you do. Your integrity shines through and surely that, and the opinions of those that you hold dear, is ultimately all that really matters x

  7. February 22, 2017 / 2:33 pm

    I love this so much! You really don’t need to justify anything, it’s your life and your choices. I watched your insta stories this morning and am amazed at how composed and thoughtful you are. I definitely wouldn’t be in that situation, you are inspirational :).

    Rachael xx.
    theteacozykitchen.blogspot.co.uk

  8. Niki B
    February 22, 2017 / 4:23 pm

    Emma … I have been following you for a while now .. I love reading your blogs / insta feed and watching your insta stories .. you make me smile, you make me laugh, you give me inspiration in home style, l really enjoy your clothing ideas .. and stationary hauls (I love making a list… or three !!), l do rather enjoy Andrew occasionally making an insta hubby appearance (also follow him on insta ) … Please keep doing what you are doing .. you bring sunshine into my (and other peoples) world .

    I am building up to starting a blog .. its been buzzing around my head for a while now .. reading your blog is slowly giving me the confidence to actually do it. Thank you ..

    Niki xx

  9. February 22, 2017 / 4:43 pm

    That was so beautifully and honestly written Emma. I only started blogging a year ago and I love it. It consumes me and it’s hard work. I’ve not been successful enough yet to make it my career but it’s something I would love to do in the future and it’s my end goal. Like you say,it’s about choosing happy. Thankyou so much for the insightful read xx

  10. Christine
    February 22, 2017 / 5:05 pm

    Beautiful words as always Emma.

  11. February 22, 2017 / 5:40 pm

    Wonderful words, Emma and I agree with all the previous comments – you are amazing and never let anyone make you think otherwise. This person is clearly jealous and without the drive and ambition to create the life they want to live for themselves so they want to bring down others who have done what they could not. As a fellow word-lover, I love your blog and your Insta; I love how real, authentic and honest you are (not to mention as sweet as!) and I’m thrilled to have stumbled across you and your gorgeous family. Keep on being as awesome as f**k and, as many others have said, never let anyone dull your sparkle! xx

  12. February 22, 2017 / 6:06 pm

    I teach too and I know where you are coming from. I have to tell you that your blog and IG account is something that I look forward to seeing each day. You are truly a genuine person and I think that is why you have the success you do—people can see it—-some may choose not to look

  13. Jan Willey
    February 22, 2017 / 7:24 pm

    You write from your heart and it shines through your words. Just as your instagram posts and stories show us how genuine you and your adorable family are. I feel so sorry that you’ve been so upset by someone who is totally your opposite by the sound of things. Sending love and encouragement for the future. Jan x

  14. February 22, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    Emma,

    I follow you here and on instagram and your blog is my go to place each day. I love following along. You shouldn’t have to answer or explain to anyone as this is your blog and your life. I only got to see half your instastories this morning as I was leaving the house for work but I cannot believe someone would do this to you or anyone else for that matter. If people don’t like a blog or instagram account or they do not agree with content or whatever, well then don’t read it! They obviously have issues themselves which they need to overcome instead of taking it out on someone else.

    You hold your head high and continue with your blog/instagram, we are all there for you 🙂

    All things nice…
    All things nice… recently posted…Life Lately… cat, handbags and sunsets…My Profile

  15. Lauren
    February 22, 2017 / 8:16 pm

    So brilliantly written and like everyone I want to say how much I enjoy your blog/ instagram and especially insta stories! I watched every one in December (even whilst in labour having my little girl – how funny is that?!) it was a little perk of my day and you introduced me to Essie nail polish (how had I never used this before?!!) and when you are 9 months pregnant and can’t buy clothes the simple joy of painting your nails is priceless!! So thank you! I love your insta stories and always watch yours first!!! Writing is so therapeutic and hope you are feeling the massive support from everyone as it’s really deserved! As a fellow teacher with 2 small children (on maternity leave mind you ) I can totally understand the challenge of leaving teaching – one I’m battling with myself! Anyway please keep doing what you do as you are so good at it!

  16. February 22, 2017 / 11:23 pm

    Sending you big hugs lovely lady. I haven’t been following you long but you quickly moved into one of my favourite bloggers (although I’m relatively new to all of it). Its strange, but you get a “feel” for someone through tge way they write and I have always felt that you are like me, an open book, down to earth, heart on your sleeve kind of girl. There’s never any judgement, pressure to buy or conform etc. Just an honest account of your life and loves.
    Wishing you and your gorgeous family the best of love and luck for the future

  17. Michelle Atkinson
    February 23, 2017 / 1:56 am

    Hi Emma I’ve just recently started following you and love your IG. I love love love your style and your home decor and was delighted to see that we have the same clock! I was saddened by your story when I read it the other day, I find in life there are always people out there that seem set on making other people’s lives miserable and I feel it may be because for one reason or another they are unhappy with their own and feel the need to try and bring others down with them. But rise above it and keep doing what you are great at, I now need you in my life because I’m useless at choosing clothes for myself as I’m at an awkward age and need all the help I can get. Oh and those delish cocktail recipes too! xx

  18. Dawn
    February 23, 2017 / 9:31 am

    Aw, really feel for you. It’s a difficult ‘new world’ to move it. I blogged years ago, before it was a thing, and wish now I’d stuck with it. I think people are wary of it, but personal attacks are completely out of order….walk away if they don’t like it *insert angry face*.

    If there was just one thing I would like bloggers to do to be more transparent, it would be to disclose the items they received for free…eg.. a Boden coat, a pair of shoes…even if there was no revenue involved. I think, from what I’ve read about peoples comments in a wide array of places that it’s difficult to judge if they’d have paid their own money for an item, that seems to bother people. But that’s the only thing. I don’t think we realised IG accounts could be like watching an ad until recently. It’s very effective, almost all my purchases recently have been from recommendations from IG or blogs, but it’s good to know what’s what. Keep up the good work, I completely love your blog and IG, and IG stories.

    • Emma Martin
      February 25, 2017 / 12:05 pm

      Thanks so much for this Dawn. I completely agree with you that anything gifted should be disclosed. If we do that then there can be no grey area over what is bought with our own money and what is not. I genuinely do disclose this always (and actually accept very little gifted content because of the ambiguous position it leaves me in!) The rule should be – if you are receiving product or money to promote, say so. It is very much so with me, so if I recommend something and there’s no disclosure then it is genuinely my own purchase.
      I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. Thank you so much xx

  19. February 23, 2017 / 10:57 am

    ‘and sometimes you just have to choose happy.’ – I love this line. I hate the misconception that blogging is an ‘easy job’ because it’s not at all. Like you say it’s a difficult place to make your mark in and I hope one day for it to be more than a hobby for me too. x
    Abbie recently posted…Some fresh air…My Profile

  20. February 23, 2017 / 11:22 am

    Such a lovely post! I earn nothing from my blog, it’s simply my passion. I love to share my thoughts, my ideas.
    I love reading your blog. It’s so inspiring! at the moment my family of 3 plus a dog lives in one bedroom flat -thanks god we have a garden! We are saving now for our first house!
    La Pepa recently posted…Your 7-Step Guide to a Sustainable WardrobeMy Profile

  21. February 23, 2017 / 12:01 pm

    Best blog post I have ever ever read EVER!! From you from anyone online. It sums it up perfectly and you write such beautiful words I was nodding along and even fist pumping a few times too. Girl you said it right and I am so sorry that someone thinks they can judge you and come into your space and home with their comments and there hate. You have truly and well raised above it perfectly and set the record straight and sometimes we are just going to get those crazies when we are online the ones that stalk us literally find out our comfort zones and push it too far. I am so proud of you and I love your space here online, you are true to yourself, your values and your beautiful family and nothing else matters outside of that babes. I am now off to share your post everywhere for the world to see how amazing you truly are with your words and this amazing message you share.
    Jenny recently posted…One on one during half termMy Profile

  22. February 23, 2017 / 1:07 pm

    So very well said, well done you! God, that sounded patronising, I don’t mean it like that!! You’re so right though, blogging is something that is open to everyone and it’s a very welcoming community, but sponsored opportunities don’t roll in as soon as you open a WordPress account. It takes time, effort and persistence. I found you through Instagram and I absolutely adore your feed, mine is not even a fraction as pretty or successful as yours and yet even that takes me some effort to maintain. I can only imagine how much thought and skill goes into a grid like yours. Blogging IS a job, if you work hard to make it one x x x
    Kerry Villers recently posted…Interiors: Grey Dining Room InspirationMy Profile

  23. February 23, 2017 / 1:20 pm

    I could have written so much of that myself. You’ve explained it beautifully! I left full time teaching almost five years ago with two young children. I now have three aged between 3 and 7 and I do a couple of days a week on supply. My blog is my main job now.
    Colette recently posted…The Very Hungry Caterpillar at The Lowry – ReviewMy Profile

  24. February 23, 2017 / 5:06 pm

    Beautiful words. You should be so proud of what you have achieved. Sending love x

  25. Jennie
    February 24, 2017 / 8:21 am

    Love this Emma. As I love all that you write. Because you write it with such honesty and emotional intelligence and gentleness . It’s so hard not to be affected by what others say. I find it hard anyway and I have long wished that I didn’t,. I’m unclear about the world of blogging…. I just know I love writing but again have never believed I was good enough to do it and was always afraid of that criticism. Whether we blog or whether we just live our lives there will always be someone with something to say that can shoot you down from where you are soaring in just a sentence. Like those who would comment about teaching being a part time job, or blogs being for those wealthy enough not to have to work. I gave up a very good job when my first baby was born. Because I worked in London, I had no family near and I couldn’t afford child care and travel. I went on to have three more babies and I went on staying at home.. The comments it has attracted have been interesting to say the least. But those people don’t know me or the path I’ve travelled. I now just smile and say ” it’s been fabulous being on maternity leave for 32 years “. My children are my masterpiece . And that’s good enough for me. Whatever those over the wall say lol. Just keep on doing what you are doing with such grace. Because I for one love it. I’m so stupid I didn’t even realise that you did promote certain things as a job. But I don’t really care because I just know that you wouldn’t promote something you didn’t believe in. If I like it I buy it if I don’t I just jog on. It I would jog if my fat didn’t wobble. Big hugs xx

  26. February 24, 2017 / 12:50 pm

    You write beautifully Emma, and this is a lovely post. So many people enjoy what you’re doing. Sending love x

  27. February 26, 2017 / 10:51 pm

    I can tell there’s a reason for you writing this – and I wish there wasn’t. You have one of the most beautiful blogs and I always feel so privileged that you give us an insight into your life. For people to pick holes in that is plain rude. Anyway, I love this post and you sum up the blogging world perfectly and the business it should be. You take blogging so seriously, you’re professional and it shows. I think so many could learn so much from you x

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