I’ve been talking a bit lately about the Skype sessions I’ve been doing with Karen Anderson, and in a recent Debbish post on our session I talked about the realisation that perhaps the route I’m taking ISN’T as irresponsible and fraught with danger as I’d been thinking.
I’ve been feeling a bit frivolous – taking a redundancy and deciding to have a break from work to do some writing. It felt wrong, I said.
But my last session with Karen helped me realise I didn’t actually ‘feel’ like I was making the wrong decision. I just thought I was. Once again I’ve been confusing my thoughts and feelings.
Karen and I have also been talking a lot about my sense of obligation and my sense of right and wrong. My posts and my conversations are littered with: MUSTS and SHOULDS. My black/white thinking means I can be very adamant in what I feel think (there it is again!) I SHOULD be doing. And quite naturally, when things don’t go as planned I feel like a failure.
I set myself up to fail. All of the time. But I want that to change.
I think I’ve confessed that it’s my little fantasy to try to make some money from my writing. And yes, I do worry that sounds arrogant. I mean, who do I think I am? (Yadda yadda yadda!)
I fantasise about being paid to write feature articles or blogs or reviews; and naturally there’s the ultimate fantasy of writing a column as well (yes, I am a cliché!)
I say I blog because I love to write. And that’s true. But in all honesty because I’m at this crossroads in my life I feel like it’s an opportunity to have ‘more’ – and this is where I start to put pressure on myself.
I’m wanting to do that which so few people can achieve: I want to make money from that which I love doing. Apparently it’s not an urban myth. It’s true. I heard speakers at the recent ProBlogger Event here in Oz say they’ve done it, and I’ve heard others talk about following their passions with some success.
But I’m not even officially into my new life yet (I move to my new hometown and into my apartment today) and I’m already gripping with the SHOULDS and MUSTS.
My mind is obsessing about sponsored posts, media kits and stats and the need to be more proactive and engaged. I feel like I’m already failing and I haven’t started.
Although I don’t begrudge anyone else making money from their blog; I’m grappling with the age-old question of how to remain authentic – how to write for myself and balance that with commitments to others, including my readers.
And quite frankly, I’m not sure I want to play ‘those’ games: retweet Tweets from high-profile bloggers to get attention; comment on the ‘right’ blogs; hang with the ‘in’ crowd. I mean, I’m a 40 (umm… ish) year old woman for god’s sake. There are bloggers of all shapes and sizes I love but I don’t want to feel obliged to leave a comment or participate in witty repartee in the hope I get noticed.
(Having said that… as someone who gets excited over comments left on my blogs, I do try to make an effort to leave comments on as many posts as possible – unless I really have nothing to say, or feel I can’t add anything… The latter really being no excuse and something I need to change!)
Shit! I haven’t even really started the making-money-from-my-writing thing yet and I’m struggling. And yet I’m not a newbie. I’m not an ingenue. I mean, I know I act like it, but I’ve been at this blogging game for four years – although with only myself (and my readers) to please up until now.
So it occurs to me: who said I MUST make money from my blogs? Can I not make money from writing without it taking over my blogs? Perhaps I can keep my blogs for myself and my own pleasure and (attempt to) write for others for money.
Gah! My great dreams of being very zen about my new life aren’t going too well so far. I suspect I’m going to have to be very mindful if I don’t want my writing and blogging to become a chore or find myself split in all directions by SHOULDS, MUSTS and other expectations!
Are you a blogger or a writer who grapples with these things? Do you have any advice or ideas?