I have issues with money and always have. To attempt to sum it up, it seems that I alternate between feeling undeserving of earning even enough money to get by, and feeling resentful that I probably have sold myself short and will continue to do so because I can’t seem to get over the shame of wanting to earn money. Without revealing much detail I will just say that my feelings on this stem from my household growing up and have been a huge part of every decision I’ve made along the path to where I am now.
And where am I now? I’ve been a stay-at-home-mom for over 5 years, since my second daughter was born. I always planned to go back to social work full time once my youngest child started Kindergarten, and I’m now just under 2 years away from that point. So like I’m really awesome at doing to myself, I’ve put the pressure on – make money blogging – as much as you could potentially (minus child care) if you went back to work (at least part time!) before
the sun sets on the third day the little guy starts Kindergarten – and you’ll be a human blogger permanently. (It just really reminded me of Ursula in The Little Mermaid.)
To challenge these feelings I’ve turned some of my thoughts inside out to examine as usual:
Why is there shame in wanting to earn money to begin with?
I have always wanted to help people. I was a child who was so sensitive to the feelings of others that I knew I wanted to make my life about helping people. I don’t think there was a point in time that I imagined life any other way. Doctor, psychologist, and finally social worker were the professions I contemplated. Interesting that I wound up with the one with the least earning potential. No coincidence there, I always put pressure on myself to give a lot and felt guilty taking.
But is there any actual moral value in this approach? Or is it arrogance in disguise?
I am actually starting to believe that this thinking is a type of “starving artist arrogance” of the “woe is me” persuasion where someone feels that they are more “special” than other people because they take less. As if I’m somehow better than someone who puts emphasis on earning money. This IS arrogance when you look at it this way, and, inevitably, it’s not sustainable, as I’ve found.
What the heck is it about blogging that people think is easy?
Moving on to the idea of bloggers wanting to earn money. A couple of stereotypes come to mind off the top of my head: A stay-at-home-mom who thinks her life is just SO awesome/blessed/unique that she should not only write about it and show pictures to share the awesomeness BUT she should also get paid for documenting this awesome/unique life. Or maybe a lazy, overindulged 20-something who doesn’t want a “real” job because they’re too “good” for said job and instead want to take the “easy” way out by making money as a blogger. Lazy, spoiled, arrogant and wanting life to be easy. Because blogging is easy, right? What the heck. Blogging is seriously not easy at all. And I love writing – always have and always will – and I have also worked full time as a social worker in a psychiatric hospital and SOMETIMES (not always of course) blogging stresses me out more than that. And at this point, I’ve not made any actual money blogging (yet! hopefully…) but I feel passionate that I want to make this work out somehow.
I think you can sell stuff you’ve created and still be an okay person. Maybe even a good person. So please, let’s get rid of the stereotype of the lazy blogger who wants to get rich quick or whatever and needs to be constantly validated. It’s a projection like a lot of things, plus times have changed and I believe there are more people now like me who are looking to approach it as a part of a business/career.
My thoughts when I started my blog.
I started my blog 6 months ago and had no idea where I was headed. I’ve loved writing since the age of 5 when I started writing songs. I began keeping a journal at the age of 9 and consistently wrote nearly daily for about 15 years, right up until the birth of my first daughter. These journals consisted of thoughts, stories, poetry, songs, anything and everything to clarify the jumbled chaos in my head. I took several creative writing courses and loved every second of each one.
After having my daughter I wrote much less. I was lonely and writing made me feel even lonelier because no one else read it and it seemed to just confirm my isolation. In the years since becoming a mom, I went through a few phases where I wrote more but I just didn’t have time, energy, and there was no payoff anymore for me. But, while I ran I would “write” in my head and that became my outlet where I seemed to accomplish my goals for creative expression and fitness together. It got to the point where I knew that writing about running was something I really, really wanted to do.
Being super un-tech savvy though the idea of starting a blog didn’t even cross my mind, until I discovered a few running and health blogs I loved and realized it could be a way for me to get back into writing. So my one goal upon creating this blog was to write what was in my head and my heart just as I’d done for years in my journal. Except now, I wanted people to read it because I was ready to take the chance that maybe my writing could somehow help someone else work out their own thoughts, feelings, health issues, etc.
My evolving views over the past 6 months.
Being pretty slow with social media and the internet I’ve been blown away by how many people have read my blog and how much feedback I’ve received. It’s strange to me that I can help people through doing things I love – running, exploring nutrition and cooking, and writing. Basically all of what I’m doing now is unpaid (yes I know I have potentially distracting ads up on my site now and I still need to figure out what’s right for my site in terms of ads) and I’m putting a ton of time into writing, answering comments and emails and I’m truly loving the process of it.
BUT I do feel the pressure of not wanting, but NEEDING to make money to contribute to my family’s income. I was not a stay-at-home mom because I didn’t need to work, I made that choice because my husband and I felt it was best for our children. But the time is coming for me to jump back into building a career, and I cannot let shame influence my decisions.
I 100% want to produce meaningful content (maybe not every day, but overall) and I want readers to understand that while I am trying to turn this into a profession, at my core I value my writing and the connections I’ve made with readers and other bloggers. Behind any post I publish, you are getting the real me, my voice, the one I was afraid to let anyone hear before I began. I hope to encourage you to share yours with me and others as well!
What are your thoughts on blogging as a profession? Is there a stigma attached to it or am I being really sensitive? Do you think it’s possible to turn a passion into a career?