It’s a question that several people who know me in real life have asked and it’s also one I’ve asked other bloggers out of desperation.
“How do you find the time to fit it all in?”
I know that from the outside, blogging is seen by some as a bit of a cop out. Surely bloggers are just in it for the freebies? I’ve heard a million times that “blogging is easy and that bloggers are only in it for the free stuff.”
Which brings me to ask: Is blogging a ‘real job’?
Some would definitely argue that it isn’t.
However, now that I have been blogging for 4 years, admittedly with a few hiatus periods, I can safely say that it takes a lot of hard work and dedication to keep a semi-successful blog running.
For some, blogging is a full time job. For others it’s a part time job, a bit of extra cash or just something they do because they are passionate about writing and enjoy putting their little mark on the Internet. For us “mummy bloggers”, a term I passionately dislike, we have to factor in things like our day jobs, our families, our friends, the housework, playdates, school runs and more.
The Extra Workload
Some bloggers do the school run, go to work, pick up their children and feed/bathe/entertain them, put them to bed and then begin their second job – blogging. It is hard work and, if you are producing content that is supplementing your monthly income, sometimes leaves very little time for your relationship and friendships.
So the question that I get asked and have asked so many times before is quite justifiable! I only wish I had a good enough answer for it.
Currently, I find that my “work window” is between 9:30am and 2pm. I must leave the house at 2 in order to collect Luke from school and in that 4 and a half hour gap, I have to earn a wage, look after a baby and remember to eat. Of course, it is my own choice to be a blogger, but in a way that argument is basically saying that it is my own choice to be a stay at home parent who also wants to have some financial independence, or at least contribute more to the household costs and bills.
I often hear the phrase “work smarter” floating around my social media channels, especially in parenting blogger Facebook groups.
The theory is pretty sound: plan your content and set up some good routines through your week to ensure that you are making the most out of the time you have. Examples include having one day of photography, another day just for writing, emailing, commenting etc. The problem for me is that I don’t have ‘a day’. Taking photos takes up a huge chunk of my day, especially if I am being a good girl and using the DSLR instead of my iPhone. It’s not just taking the photos; it is editing them, compressing them, uploading them and alt tagging them. The point I am trying to make is that, yes, you could do this in a day and it would make the next week or two of blog posts easier to publish, but you really need the whole day.
My plight isn’t exactly an uncommon one. Those parenting bloggers all have families of their own to work around as well as other commitments. As it is a question that I get asked by people who do not blog, I thought I would ask a few blogging buddies what they thought the solution to creating good quality content regularly was.
I asked people to tell me how they fit blogging in around their lifestyle and if they struggle to get everything done on time and here’s what some of them had to say.
I manage to run all my blogs by having a strict time table and shutting off social media when I work PLUS I get up one hour before everyone else each morning https://www.eatsimply.co.uk
I’m terrible with this, but I’ve now got an office out in the garden, and being out there means I’m not distracted as much. I work a 9-5, as I would in full time employment, then I walk away. I won’t work over the weekend – family time – but I will do social media in the evenings, once the kids are in bed. Small steps, but I’ve enjoyed week 1! www.packthepjs.com
I work once the kids are in bed. I’m in the process of trying to organise my time better by setting myself daily, weekly and monthly tasks. www.theincidentalparent.com
I’m still trying to get my head around organising some time. Blog posts take me anywhere between 2-5 hours to write, so it’s really hard to write a few posts a night to schedule. I struggle during the day with two little ones and with all the cleaning I have to do once they’re in bed. I’d love to be able to find some time to schedule some posts etc. http://crazytotsandme.com
My 3 are all at school so I fit in a couple of hours in the mornings and occasionally after I’ve picked them up from school. I juggle it with my VA work which takes priority at the moment so I’m hoping to try and get into more of a routine. Www.kippersandcurtains.com
I have 3 kids with only 1 in full time school so I only manage to do anything in the day on the days my 3 year old is at preschool and if the baby naps. The rest I have to do in the evenings, but I’m usually exhausted so get a lot less done than I’d like! Https://missmanypennies.com
I don’t put any pressure on myself and put my family and other job first, the blog follows. Without the pressure I feel the blog is more successful because it just flows naturally when I really do have the time to do it. This allows me to be more effective as I’m not rushing or feeling guilty about family or other work commitments. https://muminthemoment.com/
I literally get up at 4:30am every single morning to have a good few hours of blog time first thing. Then I’ve dropped a Monday in work so that day has a few more hours for it. You do need to take yourself off to be productive. https://Isablog.co.uk
I’m really limited at the moment as my eldest gets up at 5am and I rarely get both kids to sleep before 8pm (plus I’m up in the night with them) so on the days my eldest goes to preschool I do blog stuff when my youngest naps (usually 1-2 hrs). Social media I do as and when throughout the day. Sometimes if I’m up in the night and have a blog idea I’ll write it in my notes on my phone…in fact most of my posts start there as I am so limited in terms of time to sit at my laptop! Www.arthurwears.com
It looks to me like I’m not the only one who struggles with managing a blog and family life. There is definitely a pattern among bloggers, especially those with children, whereby squeezing in extra hours of ‘blog work’ has to be done either first thing in the morning, or late at night.
It doesn’t surprise me to hear about bloggers sacrificing sleep in order to fit everything in each day.
If only there were more hours in the day for us to get everything sorted in! I have known bloggers to start their work day at 4am – running on 5 or 6 hours of sleep. The thought of sitting at my computer at 4am fills me with dread! I’d definitely rather be sleeping, however, if you want to commit yourself fully to blogging and monetising your writing, it seems that it is the only way to move forward without sacrificing family or relationships.
So I have to, once again, point out the phrase I used earlier which grates with me so much: “blogging is easy and bloggers are only in it for the free stuff.”
Having blogged for 4 years now and watched other bloggers emerge and take the internet by storm, I can say that blogging definitely IS a real job and a bloody hard one at that.
Nothing is free. Writing posts can take anywhere from half an hour to two hours for me. Taking photos can consume an entire day – then you need to edit them! Another hour is spent inserting them and optimising your posts SEO before finally promoting the post across 4 or 5 social media platforms.
So next time you see an #ad or #spon, don’t think “oh, that was half an hour work and they got a day out for free”, because that’s not true. Yes, that person got a day out for their family. But they had to spend it photographing and remembering details, before coming home and waking up at the crack of dawn to put it all down into words for you to read and judge them on.