What Blogging Means To Me Now + Tomorrow
Hello dear readers. I want to talk to you about something that I wonder if others out there battle with that I've been battling with A LOT lately. It has to do with blogging and my career as a "pro" blogger and deciding just where I'm at with it all. And I need to share this because it comes from the heart and I've always prided myself on being as completely transparent as possible because I think you deserve it as my friends and readers.
You may not have seen me a lot on my blog this summer. I was sick for months during my first trimester (thankfully that's over!) and had a book to produce, then write. During my quiet pause, I've been blogging weekly but also mix in posts from some wonderful columnists whom I've hired to write on decor8, and they've been doing a beautiful job providing quality content covering everything from trend reports to home tours. And I love them so much because they are the best bunch of women ever. I feel so blessed!
But I miss blogging full-time, daily, tremendously. In fact I feel concerned over my lack of full-time presence here, not because I'm trying to be the queen of some popularity contest because frankly, my blog is still receiving amazing press coverage each month from magazines, newspapers and television networks all over the world. I'm not worried about advertisers or numbers or anything at all related to income. It has to do with JOY. You can ask my husband, I am one of those rare people whom success and money does nothing to contribute to my joy. I was as joyful before blogging as I am today, just in different ways, and I'm happy to report that I had little monetarily in my life ten years ago - I went from zero to financial hero thanks to starting my own business and I'm proud of that but it only makes me proud in the sense that I like doing what makes me, and others, happy. If it ever becomes miserable, or dishonest, or "selling out", I will quit immediately and become a full-time interior designer or shop owner or whatever else - anything to avoid doing something that isn't genuine and meaningful. JOY MATTERS PEOPLE. Really.
I've seen a lot of blogs go pro and those blog authors change. Their blogs are like infomercials and peppered with links and sponsored everything (without bothering to disclose it) and while that works for them, I don't read blogs like that because their voices have changed. I prefer to earn money through books, teaching, consulting and the many other ways that help me to personally monetize my brand without feeling like my advertisers own me. Lots of bloggers are doing very honest and lovely things to monetize their blogs and I'm super proud of them, some have great videos and gorgeous photos and work with sponsors to produce wonderful things but others are completely forgetting the values that made blogging successful in the first place - which is not only going to damage them in the long run but could ultimately damage all of us if we don't fight hard to stay true to our own vision and voice. It's okay to have ads, and sponsors and whatever else you can do to drive your business forward - I do it - and so do the best of the best on the web who write on their blogs. But we have to remember why blogging became so successful in the first place...
Bloggers became popular for ONE reason. Sincere, honest reviews.
Before bloggers were deemed cool and lonnnng before sponsored posts, ads and affiliate links, we just wrote stuff from the heart and sometimes, we even bitched and moaned about things we didn't like which then motivated a lot of large companies to stop playing around with the little guy and to listen more to their consumers. Now that companies see the ENORMOUS income potential by working with bloggers, because frankly our audiences come to us FOR our honest reviews, they've entered our space and often try to change us to become more like them - a bit sly, thinking about our bottom line despite whether or not we feel good about it. And though I love working with companies that respect where I draw the line, and have partnered with some amazing companies on advertorials for magazines, etc. many of my own blogger friends have stepped wayyyy over their line of comfort to a zone that they cannot return from once going over "there". But this blog post isn't really about all of this. It's about ME and where I'm personally at as a blogger. It's about whether I'm blogging for money or blogging for me.
I'm blogging for me. Then for my brand, because blogging has given me a way to grow it out and reach more lovely people. Then for money because I need to earn a certain amount of money to survive - my husband and I both freelance, it's not an easy life. So I wanted to level with everyone and tell you where I'm at.
So here's where I'm at.
I will take a year off from book writing and from accepting a million projects that don't fuel me and traveling a ton for the sake of booking speaking engagements - some of which I feel no personal connection to. I want FOCUS. If I get on a plane, it will be to connect with you or to teach, not to stand before an audience at a trade show where I often feel incredibly uncomfortable. In 2014, I'm not going to write a single book. I've been writing a book-a-year for the past 3 years and I've loved every second of it, and I can't WAIT for you to see my next title set to release next Spring - we're throwing a big party in London in May and hopefully a few more in America - and I'd love to see you. But you won't see anymore books or book launch parties or book tours from me after that for at least another 1-2 years.
I want my focus to go back to where my heart really is which is RIGHT HERE with all of you and in my e-classes and teaching live workshops as time (and my new baby on the way!) permits. I have so much to give to you all, especially as I get older and just see MORE at this age than I did when I started 8 years ago, and I want to do that on decor8 more and through Blogging Your Way... And I have learned through all of the other wonderful jobs that I've taken over the years as a blogger, that blogging is my absolute joy. It's where I can always be spontaneous, where I can be me, and where I have never cared what advertisers or sponsors wanted from me - and this will never change.
So that's where I'm at. I've been quiet around here lately but I'm planning to be here a lot more the moment my book is finished, which will be in October, then I'm back daily to share with you along with my columnists at least until the baby comes, then I may be blogging with baby on my lap as he merrily taps on the keys along with me.
Remember friends and fellow bloggers - finding balance and joy trumps ALL other things.
Much love, Holly
(image of me by thorsten becker, outtakes from my upcoming book)