The Shocking Truth About Being A Blogger- And Why I’m Refocusing

This month marks my blog’s one year anniversary! My very first post was a throwback to my trip to Paris– and since then, my blog has come a long way. I didn’t post much in the beginning, but around April I started to get the hang of the whole blogging thing and started writing posts about my outings, adventures, and style.

However, the further I ventured into the blogging world, the more I realized just how little I knew about blogging in general. It seemed as though every other blogger out there was making money through their blog, when here I was just writing about my weekend adventures.

So I changed things up. I focused on fashion and travel, trying to find my niche.

I had a few sponsored posts, and I began experimenting with affiliate links and blog promotion.

I started using Tailwind, because that’s what every blogger said I should do, and my Pinterest grew to 350,000 views per month. My blog stats were steadily growing higher and higher each day.

And I was checking my phone every five minutes. This hobby slowly turned into an obsession. I would plan out my blogging strategy and implement it every day- constantly online, checking my stats, updating Tailwind, and responding to comments.

The next thing I knew, I wanted to get hair extensions to make my hair styles more elaborate for photos- because that would make them viral-worthy. I wanted to get my teeth whitened so my smile would look flawless. I wanted to give up muscle training and focus solely on cardio so I could look thinner- because it photographed better and would attract more Pinterest viewers to my blog.

And then I woke up, not too long ago, and realized just how twisted and materialistic I was becoming.

And it stopped being fun.

And life got busier.

And I just don’t want to do it anymore.

So many people have reached out to me the past few months for tips on starting a blog. They want to know how I go on free trips, how I get free meals and excursions, and how I get thousands of dollars worth of free clothes and products in the mail each month.

Well, the truth is, most (not all) of it comes from my writing outside of my blog. Marketing companies find me through Elite Daily, Thought CatalogFit Joy Nutrition, and other platforms- but not from my blog. My blog is just a home base.

So if you’re wondering why I was able to travel the world for free- it actually had nothing to do with my blog- but rather, because I am a freelance writer being contracted out to write for various companies.

My goal was to grow this blog to the point where I could work for myself instead of for other platforms- but it’s simply too much work. I spend so much time promoting my blog that I no longer have time to write! And writing is my true passion.

So for the next few months, I’m going to be posting on here a lot less. I have a few contracts I’m going to see to completion, but then I’m going to go back to writing. There’s some new companies (**cough National Geographic**cough) that I’m absolutely itching to write for, but when I spend so much of my free time working on the blog- I don’t have time to write for other platforms.

So, I hope to keep this blog alive and going throughout my life, but it might not be so cookie cutter perfect. I’m going to go back to writing about whatever I want on this blog- even if I only get a few views.

If you are considering starting a blog to make money- don’t do it. It’s not worth it. The money you will make is simply not worth the time it takes. Not to mention having a nice layout and blogging platform costs a lot of money and SO. MUCH. TIME. to set up.

If you want to start a blog, do it for you. Do it because you want to show your friends and family what you’re up to. Do it because you want to work on your writing skills. Do it as a creative outlet. Don’t feel pressured to monetize your blog and turn it into the next big **Insert Niche** blog. I’ve fallen into that, and here I am, hating it.

So, you do you.

I’m gonna do me.

Subscribe if you want, and check out The Smart Girl’s Guide To Surviving Her Twenties because I wrote it and I think it’s pretty great.

86 thoughts on “The Shocking Truth About Being A Blogger- And Why I’m Refocusing

  1. Thank you for this, I am almost like this, checking the site for friends feedback. But I want to confine myself to an exclusive group who support each other.
    I am almost there and I am happy to spend time to read and appreciate my friend’s posts. Interestingly most of us actually don’t know each other personally. That’s when it works well

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your inspiration and resources when I was getting started! I wish you all the best in your new life adventures! There is so much to learn as a new blogger and I totally see how it gets overwhelming. Go do you…you will be awesome at anything you put your mind to!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So interesting to have come across this post. I just created my blog last night struggling with the idea of why I was doing it and what I could do to attract people. Realistically, I wanted this to be a fun hobby and nothing like trying to make money from it. Thank you for this because it helped me to refocus my reasoning for building this blog!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry for such a delayed response, I get pretty busy and can not get online!

        Thank you for your kind words and positivity. I am trying to maintain being authentic because I want to enjoy free writing!

        T.

        Like

  4. I am sure you are going to have a wonderful career Courtney!! This post was beautifully written and I can completely understand what you’re saying – it is much better to blog for fun and as a hobby rather than seeing it as a full time job.. I can definitely relate to feeling the pressure to look ‘Pinterest-worthy’ in photos and it is very tricky not to go to great lengths to ensure this objective is met! xox

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh I so agree with your post. Blogging should be fun. I am unable to write when I am feeling down or sad. I write my blog for me and my sisters. I write about our travels and even more now as we have one sister who wasn’t able to join us so Im writing for her. When your piece is in National Geo please let us know would love to read it. Thanks again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you agree! It’s such a great way to showcase travels and show family everything that’s been going on. That’s so sweet your writing for your sister- I’m sure she loves getting to see what your up to. And I will let you know when it’s up!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Total respect for you – good luck with everything in the future, and I hope you have fun having fun! 🙂 I’ve just got back from Italy, and I saw so many people standing in front of beautiful views: making sure their hair was right, getting their dress just so, taking a photo of themselves in multiple poses, then walking off without spending any time whatsoever looking at the view itself. It really put me off certain aspects of blogging and social media, and it’s made me determined to only write for enjoyment!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so sad how people care more abut getting the perfect photo than actually learning about the history and admiring the beauty of the views! It really is off-putting. Writing for enjoyment allows you to share with your readers insights into what you learned on your travels! Thanks for reading and understanding! (Oh and totes jealous you were in Italy! 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You have an incredible career as a writer! Definitely stick to your guns, and continue with it. Blogging is fun, but it does take up a lot of time, not including all the promotion that often goes up behind it! Good luck with all your future endeavours Courtney!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Blogging can become a chore when its intended to be a hobby and a lot of the thing you say you experienced are how I’m feeling right now! I’m definitely going to refocus like you and just write instead of getting sucked into that dark space again. Lovely post and good luck on your future endeavors ❤️❤️

    Pearl || http://thepearlylife.com

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Brilliant. Yes, exactly.

    “I’m going to go back to writing about whatever I want on this blog- even if I only get a few views.” This is exactly what I do. When I first started, I had vague undefined visions of “what if my posts start going viral and I become famous from this?” but they were just that, vague and undefined. And blogs don’t become big through being vague and undefined. Could I have become that by promoting myself more intentionally and giving my site a better vision? Possibly. But that’s really not what I wanted to do. As you know, I already have a very time-consuming full time job, and being a big-name blogger wasn’t as high on my list of priorities as just writing what I want to write about and still doing my regular job. And that’s okay.

    I don’t want to start a millennials-vs.-GenX-vs.-baby-boomers debate, but one thing I’ve noticed about the younger crowd who grew up with the Internet and social media is that the goal of amassing tons of followers seems like more of a thing with the younger crowd than it was in my days with the Internet in its infancy, or in my parents’ days when there was no Internet. Several times, I’ve mentioned to the kids at school that I use Instagram, and often their first question is “How many followers do you have?” I tell them I don’t care. I’m not doing it to get followers. Or, another time, back when I was new to Instagram, one of the first people who followed me was a high school kid about 50 miles away who did a lot of cosplay posts. I was messaging her trying to figure out how she knew me or found me, and she didn’t know. I noticed some familiar names on her followers, because I have some friends and acquaintances who are really into cosplay and fan conventions and stuff like that; I told her we had some “mutual friends,” and she said “Friends or followers?” I realized that I had never really thought of a distinction between the two. If you’re following me, then you’re potentially my friend, even though I barely know you. That’s how I came to know you and this blog after all, because you left a few comments on my blog. That’s just how I think about things. It’s a different world out there.

    So, yes, don’t worry about how many people follow this blog. Do what you need to. It’s different for you because writing is your job, but you seem to have that under control just fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea the whole friend or follower ordeal is so annoying! It’s hard to find real followers among the mass of people trying to just build up their own following numbers.

      Thanks for the encouragement! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one out there who blogs for the sake of enjoyment- rather than for other motives.

      Like

  10. Well said girl! And good for you for taking a step back and analyzing it all and coming to that conclusion. I’m with you on this one. I don’t want to monetize my blog because if it never takes off, I will have spent so much money trying to build something that may not go anywhere. I initially made my blog out of curiosity and then I began to love it and it became a hobby that I love. I never let myself get so materialistic for the sake of my blog, but I do like coming up with different ideas to share with people about how I do things and what I’m up to. Ultimately, that’s what it should be like.
    Good luck on your future ventures! xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree- spending so much money on building a beautiful blog just for it to (most likely) not take off would be a waste. But it is so fun to let your creative side loose- coming up with new ideas and such. Thanks for reading and understanding!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I am PROUD of you for being honest. For going back to your original roots for starting the blog.
    I’ve read about ways to make money (ads, which turns off readers), and I knew for different bloggers there are other opportunities, like photos, fashion, and the tangled web of how all of these things connect. Just wow! I see parallels, ever since I started blogging, between blogging, YouTube, and what I’ve heard people do for followers as well. I agree, blogging really isn’t the right platform unless you have the means to do so (maybe).
    I want to become a Christian author, and I want this to serve both as a portfolio hopefully for publishers, a free way for people to read my work, and above all glorify God.
    I think the step you made for yourself is healthy, and important. Thank you for your honesty. 🙂 ❤ I'd love to read what YOU truly feel put on your heart.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Props to you for wanting to be a Chr1sti0n author! That is so commendable! Keep writing and practicing and you’ll get there! The great thing about being a Chr1sti0n author is that it helps you get closer to G0d throughout the writing process. Having your ultimate goal be to gl0rify G0d is amazing, girl! Keep it up- nowadays it’s a rarity to find girls like you in the blogging and writing world. Very encouraging to hear!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is so kind of you, thank you! I know exactly what you are speaking of. Even now, I’m writing a post for tomorrow about the difference between intimacy of flesh (humans, marriage) and the intimacy of our spirit with God (the purpose of the I don’t know you scripture). God really speaks to me a lot through my writing, and yes, I believe it is what He wants me to be doing. It’s hard sometimes because while I work on going forward, I’m not making money through it, and I have to trust Him. But He has always, always provided for me and my husband. And anything I can use as a testimony for God Almighty is worth it. He uses my brokenness for His better gain, and He connects my understanding for when I need it the most. ❤ Thank you again, I needed your words greatly tonight. 🙂 ❤

        Like

  12. You do you girl!! Blogs are definitely supposed to be a space to just share you as you are so if it was starting to impact you or your feelings about yourself in a negative way, that’s not good. I also write for my job so the blog was supposed to be a fun escape but it is easy to get caught up in how superficial a lot of online content is. I’m glad you’re doing things to make you happy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks girl! You’re right, it can be SO easy to get caught up in the superficiality of it all- so it helps to refocus and go back to what you love. And that’s awesome you get to write for your job- what do you do?

      Like

      1. I’m a news reporter in Colorado Springs! Part of why I started a blog was to be able to take a break from always writing serious/sad things as often as you, unfortunately, have to when you work in news. That’s also why I totally believe if you started doing something that made you happy and it was supposed to be fun… then turns into something stressful, it’s okay to take a step back from it!

        Like

  13. I’m wordless at the kind of spirit you have, Courtney! You’re so honest and true to your passion. You are the few ones here in WordPress I truly admire and look up to. Wishing you the best of luck on your other endeavors. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Do what I do and blog for your own enjoyment and not because you have to. ii would hate to to see you give up blogging after a year. It’s hard and everyday I learn something new. I like your blog. It’s your choice though.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I know there are down sides to blogging, and I definitely didn’t go into thinking I would make money but don’t give up just yet. Having a positive mindset is hard when you start comparing yourself to other bloggers but I’ve fallen down that rabbit hole too.Taking a break always helps, earlier this year I took a step back and focused on personal things in my life and once I had all my ducks in a row I jumped back into the blogging world.

    https://dreamofadventures.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hi Courtney,

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. It’s my first time here, and I am shaken by your post. I recently started a lifestyle blog, after having written for my own political blog as well as some other news blogs. Your advice resonates with my current worries. I don’t think I will ever monetize my blog – even without doing that I feel so much pressure. Good to hear you out! I hope to read more of your writing here or elsewhere. 🙂

    Best,
    Komal

    https://myquarterlifesurprise.com/

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Interesting – for the past few weeks I have thought of giving up on my full-time travel blogging too, as I am currently traveling and all of sudden I come to realize it takes up too much of my time and my status from blogging is from obsessed to over-exhausted.I also could not make the most out of my travels due to blogging – its work. Thanks for saying what I have been thinking all the way. Please keep writing, not for money but for joy and sharing your experience – that is what a blog is suppose to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! I can relate so much to not being about to make the most out of traveling when there’s so much time spent on the blog. It really is exhausting! Glad I’m not the only one who’s been there. And you’re right- it’s all about sharing the experience- not about making money. Holding on to that makes blogging seem so much less exhausting!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. This post is so important for so many people to hear! You should blog because it makes you genuinely happy and because you enjoy making content, as soon as you start trying to make it about money you lose the fun of it. Blogging is hard work and I totally see where you are coming from, but I can’t wait to see you continue to grow!

    Lauren Emily Lindmark | https://www.dailydoseofcharm.com

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I just found your blog- and this is the first post I am reading. I am new to blogging, so reading this was honestly very inspiring. Good for you for doing you. You go girl.
    xoxo
    Meghan | tanlinesanddaisies.com

    Like

  20. Hi Courtney!

    Wow! What “A Life Less Ordinary” said. And more! It’s a bizarre thing this world of blogging. As an old fart who lost her job and can’t get hired because of her age, I’m trying to monetize my blog. I suck at networking. I suck at marketing myself. And I absolutely suck at social media.
    But one thing I don’t suck at is being true to myself, being true to the people who read my blog, and remaining transparent. And that is the important thing. Two years ago I started my blog with absolutely no idea of what I was doing. Two years later, I’m pretty-much still ignorant but enjoying telling my “stories”. I am not a “fashun” blogger. There is no “smoke and mirrors” BS. When I write about my travels in Paris and throughout France, it’s from a completely different point of view–simply because it’s a regular place to go for me.
    I”m in AWE of you my young little blogger. I’m in awe because you have managed to get freelance writing jobs and travel for free and I say “Good for you!!!” Keep up that great work. You know why? Because at my age, of 62, I can find inspiration from youth. And that is always a good thing!! XOXOxOXO!!!

    Like

  21. I very well recognize what you write about blogging here, Courtney. It’s a lot of work, and there is hardly any money in it (with a few exceptions, maybe). You are so right in that one should blog for the pure joy of it and for oneself. It’s like with any creative endeavour, isn’t it. Good luck with the refocusing and with National Geographic!

    Like

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