Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sponsors and awards and money, oh my! Is blogging becoming un-fun?

I didn’t plan to write this post. We’re heading into the home stretch of Speak Out and I’m chock full of posts this week. But I think this is important to talk about.

I have read several posts recently, including one written by the smart, sassy and gorgeous Holly at Good Golly Miss Holly that have really got me thinking. You can (and should) read her post, but in a nutshell she said that blogging has lost some of its luster for her, largely because of all the hoopla around getting sponsors or making this or that list of ‘Best Blogs’. She admitted to feeling jealous and then hating that she felt jealous. Honest girl, god love her.

I get it. I think if we were all to be as honest with ourselves, we’d be nodding our heads at least just a little.

The Australian blogging scene is going through a tremendous growth spurt right now. It is exploding. New bloggers are cropping up on every corner and brands are watching the scene and wanting a piece of the pageview action.

This is great! And it’s also not great.

On the one hand it opens up new possibilities to bloggers and affords them the opportunity to get recognition and recompense (sometimes even monetary!) for their hard work. At times the opportunities are wild and wonderful. I love that.

However, it also can create an atmosphere where competition, anxiety and a sense of inferiority reigns for many who are watching others get a big serving of pie while their own plates remain empty.

I’ve been on both ends, and not in the order you might imagine. Let me explain.

First, I know I’m not an Australian blogger (ahem, officially). But my blog is more popular in Australia than anywhere else, including here on my home soil. In the States, I’m a small fish in a very, very big pond. I mostly swim under the radar. My opportunities to work with brands have come primarily from Australia.

As most of you know, I had the honor of coming to Sydney in March when I was sponsored by Macleans. It was an incredible experience and they were an absolute dream to work with. I felt grateful and special and a bit embarrassed by all the hoopla.

As most of you also know, I’m now working on the Speak Out campaign with another corporate entity. What happened this time? Well, big plans were made. Really big plans. Multiple corporate sponsorships to support an international social awareness program. A kickass proposal was drawn up with the assistance of a successful media company, who also provided a list of potential corporate sponsors. We each had our assignments. We went forth.

Well, I went forth. But the proposal? It was never distributed. That’s right. The kickass multi-tiered proposal that was going to send me to speaking engagements and fund charities was never distributed. Actually, not true. I sent it out to some of my contacts at the last minute, when I realized what was (not) going down. But we all know how attractive an 11th hour proposal is.

The dedicated Speak Out website was never built.  The press advertising, emails to members, etc? Didn’t happen either. I was left feeling like the miner who cried Eureka! and then realized she was holding fool’s gold.

Here’s the deal. Brand and corporate relationships have the potential to be excellent, but when you enter into partnership with a corporation, you lose a lot of your autonomy and control. You might stay focused on the prize, but a corporation has any number of initiatives going on at a single time and they will distribute their resources, including time and energy according to their own priorities. Sometimes it works beautifully. Sometimes it’s not so pretty.

The blog world is also full of articles on the Ten Things to do to get More Readers and the Six Easy Steps to Launching an E-book. I read these articles with a mixture of hope and anxiety. Hope that I can find something to take away and anxiety because I really don’t have time to do all this but oh-my-god I should be and everyone else is so I’m ‘falling behind’!

There is also a voice inside me saying: This is not what matters to me. I just want to tell my story.

Which brings me back to my point. Why do we blog? What about blogging brings us fulfillment?

I know why I blog. It’s not for sponsorships or recognition, though those things are wonderful and appreciated.

I blog for expression and engagement.

I write because I don’t know how to not write. It fulfills a deep-seated need I have for expression. I blog because I want connection and a sense of community. I would go so far as to say that engagement is the true heart of blogging. If you don’t engage, you won’t succeed, even if success to you means having only a moderate readership. Engagement is vital.

This is not to say that marketing yourself and being social media savvy is somehow incompatible with authentic writing. Both are ultimately necessary if you’re goal is to be a blog star. But don’t chase the latter at the expense of the former. And have a good, long think about whether the latter is really what you want. Is that the part of blogging you find fulfilling? If it is, then great. Go for it.

Please don’t get me wrong. I think working with brands can be a wonderful thing. I’m happy for my fellow bloggers when they find a good partnership or are otherwise recognized for their excellence. But the competition and heightened anxiety that comes with these opportunities may be changing the tenor of the blog scene.

Because of the demands of my private life, I’ve chosen to step back from blogging. I don’t have the time to read and comment on as many blogs as I have in the past. This means that others are not coming here as often.  It’s a conscious choice, but as a result I do feel less connected. I’m trying to find my balance.

Do you know which blogs I read when I do have the time to read? It’s not necessarily the ones with the most followers or that make the top of a given list. To be honest, that can tend to turn me away, as those same individuals tend to have less time to engage on an individual level. I read people I can relate to. I read people who talk to me. I read people who keep it real.

I’m also going full-steam ahead with the Speak Out campaign, all by my bad self. I love it and I think it’s really important. Big thanks to Brenda at Digital Parents and Lori at Random Ramblings of a SAHM, and all the other incredible bloggers who have signed on. I picked my own charity for the event (see the sidebar). Throw a few dollars their way if you can. They are ALL about expression and engagement and community.

If you’ve been feeling anxiety in the growing and ever-changing blogging scene, waiting against the wall and watching the others dance (or worse, being rejected by the dance partners you approach), maybe you should consider why you’re here in the first place. If nothing else, know that what you’re feeling is shared by a lot of your peers.

Why not just get out there and dance to the music in your soul, even if you’re dancing alone? Chances are you’ll forget about all the hoopla and enjoy yourself again.

And if you ever want to connect, I’ll be over here dancing at Wanderlust. xx

I’m curious how you feel about the growing blog scene? Does it make you feel good? Less than? Are you still in step with the music in your soul?

Oh, and on a side note, I’m published at Band Back Together today if you want to check it out. And please, enter one of the four giveaways going on now!


  1. I have been reading your Speak Out posts with great interest & some of the other bloggers too. The cause is so important and I am so pleased that you continued with it even though the corporate sponsorship did not follow through.

    As a newbie blogger I am stuck in a hard situation. I need to post good content to engage my readers. I also need to get my brand out there & keep those readers coming back. I have only been blogging for a month & my topic is my newborn baby so I polarise my readers instantly. I will be running s few giveaways in upcoming weeks. I see these as not only a way of increasing site traffic but also to reward the readers who come back for more.
    That you for sharing this post- you are reminding me to keep it real & the reward in blogging isn't always the monetary one. The community is very special too

  2. Hi Sara, thanks for starting off the conversation. I don't see your topic as polarizing, but rather as a fairly common one among 'mum bloggers'. We all love to talk about our kids!

    I think it's different for someone just starting off, as they may not have had the experience of a slightly smaller 'blogging world' and experienced the evolution. But still, the same push/pull will apply.

  3. I have been watching the development of blogworld with interest, and I must admit, a little dose of sadness.

    Many blogs I once loved have changed (and we do know change can be a good thing, but not always); many once personal, fun blogs have become commercial monsters gobbling away at fame and fortune.

    And I sat back, watched with horror, and yes, shed a little tear of grief.

    Blogging has lost a lot of its hold over me, it's almost like when I lost my mother I also lost my ability to tolerate the hoopla and commercialism and fame junkies. I actually said to someone, it is like watching a bad reality show with all the contestants vying for attention with "look at me, look at ME" style posts.

    Is this comment tinged with a little envy? Hell, yes, but also with a lot of disappointment as our small corner of the world, where it felt as if you were sitting in the lounge with a cuppa and a friend, talking about the good, the bad and even the ugliness in life, has died.

    I miss it. Some days a lot.

  4. It has to be a personal judgement call. For me I write. I just do. Can't stop. Whether I'm being paid or not. I write what I like and in my own style. It's great if I do get paid and for a while I got some paid blogging work on a US web site... but my style didn't fit and they dropped me. No more paycheck. But I'm still writing.

    I think being paid is fine as long as you can remain writing true to yourself. If you start writing posts just to please a sponsor... well, then the end is nigh.

  5. To me writin was about me bein completely honest about who i was and what i thouht. marketin was what i did for the day job. So the two don't mix for me. One would dilute the other far too much. But everyone is different. Some people need to make money. I need to make sense of stuff.


  6. M2M - exactly. But there are times I want to hear others opinions, not this great silence. If it was purely for my own needs then I wouldn't blog, I'd keep a journal.

    I blog because I need input to make sense of life, and to get it out, but also to feel less alone.

    Sometimes, nowadays, it has the opposite effect and you walk away feeling more alone than ever.

  7. I don't see myself as a brand, I don't have a niche and I am not exactly what you would call a power blogger by any sense of the word . . . luckily that is not why I blog.

    I blog because I need to get the thoughts out of my head. Now I also blog as a way of connecting with others who understand where I am coming from. It is the give and take of information, of support and of friendship that keep my blogging.

    All in all I came into this with a pretty low bar when it came to judging my success . . . when I published my first post I considered myself a success. Interestinly enough, you were the first one to not only comment on that post but to follow my blog. Thanks for that!

  8. It is sad to hear about the Speak Out campaign. Thanks for keeping it alive! I think it is terribly important!

    In blogging. I think it is most important to keep our own voices, and not to be swallowed up by sponsorships and banners.
    I have found the most wonderful community of people, advice, information and fun in blogland. If it changes for me, I will not stay...
    Blogging is still evolving and I think we all need to go through these learning curves!

  9. just keep going. It is important.

    I promised you apost and I have not forgotten.

  10. Wow, I can relate somewhat. I feel anxious and overwhelmed by the huge bloggers as well and rarely read anymore, I certainly don't comment, I mean what can I add to 100 comments already there?

    I started blogging 2 years ago and apart from a bakers delight giveaway I haven't done any sponsored posts or giveaways, I think my blog is more for a online diary/keepsake for my kids as they grow older.

    I don't have FB or twitter - which obviously keeps me well out of the loop with the 'clicky groups'. But I do read a lot of Aussie Mums blogs and find that I love them - and more importantly the majority of them reply which is always nice.

    I know how you feel though, its overhwelming at times, its a shame that everyone is so focused on opportunities rather then flat out, to the point writing and engaging.

    Thankyou for a great post, its really made me think :)

  11. @Madmother - I don't follow anyone specifically that I consider too commercial. I just see it as a general trend in the group I interact with. I think there are ways to take advantage of partnering with brands and still be a great read.

    I do miss that sense of sitting across from someone sharing over a cuppa, as you put it. Partially because the community is no longer as small and intimate as it once felt to me. But I think that's also largely because I myself don't have the time at the moment to seek that out.

    I find I'm really missing my bloggy friends because I'm not up to date on what's happening in their worlds. Engagement is a huge time commitment.

  12. @Steve - I agree completely. I wrote one sponsored post and I didn't really like it. Just felt wrong for me because I didn't give a rip about the service and couldn't write about it naturally. So probably a bad judgement call on my part to take it on. But we learn by experience!

    @M2M - yes, I like that. Writing to make sense of stuff. That's a good description of my writing as well. x

  13. @Fox - I'm starting to hate the words 'brand' and 'niche'. Ugh. I just want to write. I get that to be successful in the sense most people define success, there are guidelines to follow, but I struggle with trying to narrow what I write about.

    And yay, I remember being your first commenter! You've been a great support to me. x

    @Karen - I would agree that keeping our voice is essential. It's an evolving game, that's for sure. It makes it exciting and difficult at the same time.

  14. Great post K. I think that, ultimately, every blogger has to keep asking herself/himself that question: Why am I doing this? It's the only way to stay true to what you hope to achieve - or not achieve. ;-)

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  16. If you're not having fun doing something you're not paid to do, them just stop - temporarily or forever.
    I love blogging and yes, I've received some of the things you've mentioned above. As a result I'm not spending less time interacting on other blogs - the opposite! I work extremely hard - not because I have to but because I want to.

  17. My blog is for me. I never want it to be influenced or have to conform to something. I just want it to be the blank page that I fill with my thoughts.

    With PR I say yes to things I think with be fun for me and/or my family, not to grow my blog or create a brand or something.

    I have to admit I've gone from being envious to bored. The blogging world has become a little unfun. I have noticed the snark creep in more and more and I stay well away from that. I'm bored of reading 'how to blog better' posts and the like. I'm not in the cool clique and often get passed over in the conversation and things that are happening.

    But I'm not going to stop, I'm just doing what I've always done, write what's in my head and read other blogs when I can. I have a small group of bloggers I call friends, a slightly larger group who I like to interact and engage with. Blogging is my hobby, not my livelihood or my life. I do love what it adds to my life, I just have to remind myself on occasion why I do it and not compare myself to others.

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  19. @Glen - thank you, you're a gem! I think we found each other's blogs way back in the beginning for both of us!

    @Amba - I'm not sure everyone is really focused on opportunities. I think maybe they feel like they need to be 'to keep up'? And I don't think being focused on opportunities is a bad thing, myself. I just feel like the current environment forces us to be clear on what our goals are.

    Also, I think so much of this is relative. I've had people tell me they consider me one of the 'big' bloggers, but I don't see myself that way. I think we sometimes have a tendency to exclude ourselves because of our insecurities.

  20. @Vix - I'm sorry, I was going to compose an appropriate response to your comment but then I read that you want to come to DPCon12 and all I thought was "Wheeeeeeeee!!!!" Now I hope I can make it! x

    @Nikki - I don't know how you do it. You are amazing. Your blog has grown fast and you have always remained so personal and true to your voice. x

  21. I've read a few posts in a similar vein lately.

    Each to his or her own. I read a variety of blogs for different reasons but me?

    Well, I just bumble along letting the spaghetti that is my brain spill over onto my blog.

  22. Yes, yes and yes!

    I came away from the Problogger Even realising that I have spent a lot of money this year on my blog. Mainly on educating myself, on learning about blogging and meeting other people. I knew that, as much as I love blogging and am unlikely to stop in the near future, I can't afford to keep spending money on it. Not on design, not on seminars, not on e-books.

    It would be great if it could pay for itself. It would be great if it could lead to some paid work. It yet might.

    Sponsors and brands and PR seem like such a lot of hard work. I will play along as much as I can, but ultimately I blog for myself, to get the stuff out of my head.

  23. @Corinne - I haven't noticed the snark, but then I haven't been reading as much either. I think you've got a well balanced approach. I'm trying to do the same thing.

    @SarahMac - I tend to do the same thing: let the contents of my head spill out! But I do find myself wondering whether what I say would be a turn-off to a sponsor. Hence the anxiety. So a lot of this post is me trying to work out my own approach.

    @Dorothy - I'm in the same place as you with this. I'm hoping that in the not too distant future I'll have more time to commit to blogging and perhaps more opportunities, as a result. For now, I'm finding my peace with where I'm at. x

  24. Hi darling. Great post. I have seen a lot of this sentiment out there at the moment and it is making me sad.

    I am one who monetises my blog and does sponsored posts. I really like doing them. I find them a challenge and a change from the usual mundane. Sure I get snarky comments "sell out etc" but seriously! Fuck off! I delete them. This site is like my house. I would not expect guests to come in and abuse me.

    I am never going to be a "corporate blogging darling" and I am never going to win awards. This is purely due to the colorful content that I sometimes write. I know this. As I have been told. I am not going to change that. I have a very clear blogging path (but I have no goal.....) and my path is the writing and storytelling.

    Sometimes I write a post that I love and am so proud of and I will not hardly any reaction and then something I quickly write as I am running out the door will get heaps of hits. I have stopped thinking about the rhyme or reason of it all. It would do my head in if I wondered, compared myself to others, bitched and moaned and questioned everything I did with regard to blogging. There is no point. The only person you are accountable to is yourself.

    If you allow yourself to get caught up in the hype, the result is never going to be any good, or good enough. Or what is next? Who know what is next?

    It is better not to care. Just enjoy blogging for what it is, which is words on a screen and blossoming communities that I have got so much out of and mates (like you!) who I would never have met if it were not for this funny little hobby we are into.

    I have to cut it short, they are cueing the music to go to commercial......... xxxxx

  25. @Woog - I just got home and logged on to respond in more length to @VegemiteVix, specifically about her retiscence to post certain things because of how they might be viewed by a sponsor.

    I was going to say: look at Woogsworld! You have always stayed true to your own voice, you swear like a (gorgeous and ladylike) sailor and you've even called brands to task. And yet, because you're authentic and so good at what you do, people flock to you in droves. Sponsors see that and want to play with you. So you are living proof that one shouldn't alter their voice to please anyone else.

    And yes, there will always be those that see any form of advertising or whatnot as a "sell out". It's only a sell out if you don't want to do it! If you don't like advertising, don't do it! But to each his/her own.

    Blogging has been such an incredible gift for me, bringing me support and friendship and amazing opportunities. I love it. I think, as @AllisonTait said above, we need to just keep asking ourselves "Why am I doing this?" and stay really clear on that.


  26. Great post, with interesting and thought-provoking comments.

    K xx

  27. I'm really sad this is what is happening to the 'sphere. I hate to think that bloggers I love are feeling insignificant or less than others, all because of a PR boom. I feel as though I am looking at it all through a window... I'm not right in the thick of it, but I'm alongside it. My real life is so full on at the moment that I don't spend as much time on my blog as I suppose is expected, but it's also shielded me quite a bit from what is going on. I'm really not liking the undercurrent. Someone once said "blog your own race" (Frilly Hills maybe?) and that really stuck with me... I keep a weak finger on the pulse of the community, but other than that I'm in my own world. And I only read what I wanna read... like you! <3

  28. Nice post - always good reading over here.

    I'm not involved in any way in the wider world of sponsorship. My blog doesn't get heaps of hits. It's just me and whoever feels like turning up.

    But it took me so long to get that blog. I wanted to for years but felt I had nothing worth saying. And then one day I just started and the first few posts were like getting blood out of a stone. But somehow I found my voice again. And it is strange how much better I feel.

    And it doesn't matter if it's ten readers or none some days. It was enough of a struggle to start doing it and then putting it out there. It was about self-expression for me and always has been. If I connect with someone on the way, that's a bonus.

  29. Love, love LOVE this! I have posted about this issue in the past, and have been blogging here in Oz for about 3 years now and have watched from the sidelines as the "industry" has got bigger. I've thought I want a piece of it, but haven't been sure how to break in. Nor if I want to. I blog because I want to share, and ramble and blither on about what I care about. I don't fit a formula, I am neither here nor there. And I totally respect those that are leveraging the bloggy opportunity, they are smart, savvy business women. hats off to them. There will come a saturation point surely. Especially in Australia. We're so time poor, that surely we'll go "we haven't time to read everyone else's blogs about their own kids"?. When that happens, I will stand true with my lovely, loyal readers and think with my hand on my heart, that I didn't sell myself or my voice out.

  30. I've sensed the turn in tide but as I haven't had the time to be an engaging blogger of late, didnt know there was quite so much snark going on.

    I'm all for the each to their own approach - if you want to work with brands, earn some money, why should anyone begrudge you that? If you want to keep the pages pure from PR influence, good on you for sticking to your principles. But none should dare question each others decisions. Whatever the reason we do what we do, its no one else business but your own.

    I'd love more opportunities but realistically, I also know I have to chase them. Only because my dream is to be paid to write. Therefore if they dont come my way, its no one's fault but my own. And as long as I dont lose sight of my voice, and my purpose, along the way, then I am ok.

  31. I am just coming back to add one thing. If I am still following and commenting then obviously none of my comments above apply to you. I pretty quickly unfollow those who hold no interest anymore.

    Oh, and those I cannot comment on due to my *ahem* disqus issues, I follow and comment on FB instead.

    Not that anyone cares, lol. :-)

  32. Yeah, I get disullusioned sometimes too, and I feel pressured as well. Pressured to respond to requests, and pressured to post. Pressured by myself to post, and to write the things I want to write and to read other blogs and comment on them. And then disappointed if people don't comment on mine or I miss out on a fab opportunity or award. I think for me the answer is to take a break occasionally and see how I feel then. Because I always come back. And I haven't forgotten about a post for you either. I have one, I'm just struggling with it. x

  33. Mrs Woog needs to write an e-book on awesome blogging or some shit. That woman never fails to make me pull my head in and see the light!

    I am back to blogging for myself and it feels damn good! I think we all just need to find our own way but 'tis a real shame when we find ourselves caught up in it all x

  34. I've been thinking about this as it has been brought up a bit lately. I just keep remembering why I started blogging (seriously) less that a year ago. I had moved into a new area, my BFF had moved interstate and I didn't have many mates to chat with. So I started rambling on with my blog. It's been a thrill every time I get a comment. I also enjoy commenting on the blogs I "get" like yours. Then there are the blogs I enter competitions on which are fun. Then there are the blogs I learn practical things like cooking, organising and fashion.
    I've only done one giveaway and though that was exciting, it was a lot of work. It got me a few new readers as the sponsor promised but I'm not sure they are the ones that keep reading.
    And as many others here have said, I blog because it gives me an outlet for writing, which in turn encourages me to keep writing. I will write that book one day!

  35. I can only talk from my perspective, as someone who started blogging purely to write, who enjoys reading sponsored posts/reviews and participating in giveaways, from someone who has been blogging for over a year and only been worried about and chasing stats for the last couple of months purely for sponsorship so that I can attend the Digital Parents Conference, it's TOUGH.
    It's especially tough when you see people who have been blogging for a much shorter period than yourself being thrown a lot of opportunities.
    Do I hate them? No. Definitately not, but I go get...envious I guess that they are being provided with a lot more.

    I think you hit the nail on the head though, that the key to getting good stats is being a number yourself. There have been some amazing blogs I have stopped following because they never returned the comment love. I'm talking 6 months or more of nothing from them. That hurts. It's like visiting someone for coffee and you talk the whole time while they ignore you.
    You don't need to follow every Tom, Dick and Harry, but you need to remember what goes around comes around. If you aren't sharing the love, then eventually it will stop coming in.

  36. @madmother yes and that. i feed off the debate. so lack of comments frustrates me. i think there are two types of blogger (simplifying it) those that want to make a career of it, do something commercial with it, and those that are just writers. that have to write like a painter needs to paint or a singer needs to sing. I'm def the latter.


  37. @misspink i feel like that for sure. there are blogs i comment on day in day out that have never spoken a word to me. it does matter. this cyberworld of social media is about communication - 2 way dialogue. I don't rant at the ether.


  38. I miss the good old Kumbaya days.; )

    Seriously though, blog because it's giving you joy. As soon as it's not fun anymore. Stop. Pause. Then maybe come back.

    Love and much respect to you, K.xxx

  39. It's so easy to get wrapped up and lost in all the hubbub of blogging. I know I did.

    The problem is blogs start sounding the same. There are a lot of dad bloggers out there and I only read 3 or 4 of them. I read those because they don't write about the same shit as all the other dad bloggers do. They have their own voice.

    I could go on a rant about this, but I'm not doing that.

    I love writing. I love writing about stuff that interests me. I will not write posts because it fits a mold of what all the other daddy bloggers or mommy bloggers are writing about. I don't consider myself a parent blogger anymore, while I do blog about my kids from time to time, I blog about other stuff too.

    I would love to make more money with my blog. And I'm extremely happy for the blogs that are making money and still have a voice of their own.

    But a lot of the money maker blogs don't have original content. They're just rehashing stories that they have seen on another money maker site.

    Good luck with your venture.

  40. Great post! I blog for connection with other bloggers. I agree that some have gotten carried away with products and giveaways and such and maybe that is why they blog. Sometimes I'm tempted to do a giveaway but that's not why I want people coming to my blog. I don't mind not having a ton of readers, I'd rather have people who connect with something I've written and stop by with a comment of their own.

  41. "Why not just get out there and dance to the music in your soul, even if you’re dancing alone? "
    I feel I've been dancing alone since '07 when I started. I have zero interest in sponsorship or advertising. I do wish I had more community, dance partners if you will. I suppose hiding behind a cloak prevents that from happening. I hope you don't withdraw too much from blogging. You are a must-read in my humble opinion.

  42. Hiya, thanks for taking down my over-long rant about life the universe and blogging, yesterday. What I really meant to say was: - yes it can be a balancing act trying to remain unique and authentic whilst ensuring that your stories are heard across as wide an audience as possible, which requires marketing nous and a business head. But it always comes back to the point. The reason you're blogging. If you're blogging to make money, give it up. I can almost guaranttee it won't work. If you're blogging to be heard (and most writers are) then remain true to your voice (like the gorgeous Nikki at StylingYOu or MrsWoog or lovely MaidinAustralia, or even yourself WanderlustMa'am) and you'll get there. And you might even be able to pay the bills doing the thing you love. Vix xx

  43. Oh and if anyone knows a sponsor that wants to bring a Kiwi/Aussie expat blogger down to the DigitalParents Conf 2012 get them to drop me a line. Would love to come. Would love to present a thingy and talk about the growing world of expat and travel blogging. Vx

  44. You said a couple of things that resonate with me at the moment - In particular, I've gone back to some casual work and can't spend the same amount of time on blogs and social media right now. As a consequence, feeling a little less connected.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts xx

  45. Every time I feel compelled to chase sponsorship etc I always feel anxious and massive self doubt. It always follows with a period of retreat. Then I just get back to doing what I enjoy and that's writing. I am a better blogger when I just blog. The competitions etc etc just heightens any insecurities I have. I only blog because it makes me happy and I love engaging with people and meeting amazing new friends. When that ceases to happen I will stop and just write for myself.

  46. Gosh I loved reading this. Thank you.

    I've been dancing to the music of my own soul for awhile - mostly alone - and it feels right. I've done the rollercoaster of inferiority questions too.. Should I try to flog myself more? Should I try to keep up with everyone else? And you know what? I just can't keep it up. I'm not great at marketing myself. I hate competition. And besides, real life gets in the way.

    But I do enjoy the engagement. I understand that part. Like you said, it's about finding that balance.

  47. I blog because I love it. Because I need to write. I love the connections I have made with people. As for sponsorship, as Bigwords said, when I start to chase it, or think about competitions I loose sight of my blog, my words. I write best when I think no one is watching.

    It's about balance I guess, and when I feel off balance, I'll stop.

  48. Amen.

    I'm still not sure where I want my blog to go and its easy to be intimidated by the 'popular blogs'. I want to look fancier, brighter and have the energy and continued enthusiasm to write everyday. But I look to these popular and successful blogs for clues and ideas and am looking forward to going to DPC12 in March to meet the amazing people behind them.

    Thank you for opening up this line of discussion and making me feel better for blogging for myself first and foremost.

    Di x

  49. I stopped blogging a little while ago because I felt like I did not have enough time to do all the reading, networking and commenting I should be doing. I also felt that my real life should always come before my virtual life and I needed to spend more of my down time with my kids and less looking at my laptop screen.

    I have started blogging again as and when it suits me and just reading and commenting when i really want to, not when I feel I should. It is working for me and is much more fun.

    I have always loved your blog as there is a really strong sense of authenticity that comes through. You are one hell of a lady and I hope things just keep getting better and better for you and your gorgeous kidlets.

    Take care.

  50. I haven't been around for awhile--so I need to get caught up on the Speak Out posts that are mentioned--so sorry to hear that the proposal didn't happen as planned--it sounds like a worthy cause and one I would readily support anyway that I could.

    As for writing--I write because I have to--I know that sounds cliche--but literally there are times my head will explode if I do not write it out of my system. I hate to hear things are stressed out in the blogging world at anytime.

    Now to catch up on this Speak Out event.

  51. Hi hon

    Before I finished up my blog, I was feeling much of the same and doing the same; I had less time to read other blogs etc.

    I think money changes everything, and it had changed blogging. It's not all bad...not at all...but money will always affect people, not always in a good way.

    I think I knew from ABC that I wasn't really interested in 'building a brand' etc, and like Corinne, I accepted things I thought me and my family - and my readers -might like. But in the end, I found the whole reviewing products tiring. Pressure. It took the fun away, and then my homelife became more fun, hence I decided to just give it away.

    A very thoughtful post. Always love your writing, hon xxx

  52. I am so glad I found this post, and you and all your followers, because I am a new blogger and have been going through the very thing you guys are talking about.

    I started a blog so i could just test myself as a writer. Then a few people started following and a company approached me with their product. With so few followers I was reluctant but went ahead with the giveaway. All of a sudden i felt conspicuous and self conscious. I have declined every offer since because I just want to practice writing and have just a few supportive people with me on my journey.

    Thanks for this post. I feel better now.


  53. Love this, K. You're a class act as ever.

    I'm sad about what the Oz blog "industry" is becoming - and it is an industry, really...

    I waited for years (like, six years!) for Aussie blogs to explode so I wouldn't have just British/US ones to read - and it finally has, and it's becoming vastly like watching commercial television, but worse, because there's so much listing/clicking/keeping-up-with-the-joneses involved.

    Everyone blogs because they "love writing" and "need to write" - so why is my blogreader full of stuff about detergent and DVDs? With a fair number of blogs, it's day in and day out, interspersed very occasionally with a token two-paragraph "life" update. Or if not, then a lament about not having enough branding opportunities. Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe. I am certainly not adverse to reading the occasional review or sponsored post, but put some other good shit up too! Peeps are like "We deserve recognition and remuneration!" - what the what? For what? I thought we "needed to write"! I miss the authenticity.

    And I miss great writing. I miss how the interactions used to be, before everyone was wondering how to increase their traffic and get PR dudes to notice them and creating media packs. And while I'm here, I would happily punch the dude who wrote that book that suggests people end their post with a question to attract comments. "So, tell me, what do you like best about weekends?"

    I would have to be the least successful blogger out there btw ;) My visitor stats are okay (I guess - not sure what the benchmarks are) but I average about two comments per post. Still, I don't bother to post unless I have something to say. If people are not interested in what I have to say, that's really okay...at least one day I know I will be able to look back on my blog as a faithful record of our life, uninterrupted by commercials, and that means something to me.

    And you know what, since I do get no comments, I am about the only person who can authentically say I really DO write for myself - and mean it. Whoo, isolatory vindication! ;)

    Love, and thanks for all your great posts xx


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