For the past 6-odd years, I've been working as an online blogger - most recognizably in the relationship field. I've been republished on Yahoo, and also on Huffington Post. So, I like to think I'm probably a little successful at what I do.
When people hear what I do, they usually will react one of two ways. If they're salty about it, they will then follow up with a question like, "No, I meant, what do you really do? You can't earn much that way."
Or, if they are dealing with some issues, they often take this as a cue to start venting about what their boyfriend just did. Either way, I'm used to it.
Once in a while, I'll have someone ask me how I do it, or what it's really like. More often than not, they assume that bloggers just get to be "chosen ones" via Pinterest and Instagram. Sometimes, they just assume that we have followers and celebrity status - and that's just not the case.
As a blogger, retaining your sanity is very hard.
When I'm doing my online blogging work, it's mostly done as a "work from home" endeavor. Most of my online blogging gigs are ones I've gotten through thorough internet searches, networking, and the occasional stroke of good luck. Due to logistics alone, most of my gigs end up asking us to work from home.
This sounds great, and to a point, it is great. There's no commute. You can type away at your keyboard while wearing those tattered old gym shorts and a wifebeater that hasn't been washed in weeks. You can work while sipping on wine, and take breaks whenever you want. You make your own schedule, and you dictate what gigs you take.
But, there's a serious problem that most people don't realize about working from home - especially as a writer. When you're working, you're alone. No one is walking around the house to talk to you. You can't talk to anyone without being distracted. In most cases, you also don't meet many people. And, after a while, it gets lonely.
I've noticed that, after a while of not talking to people or leaving the house, my social skills start to crumble. I stop being as self-aware as I typically am at an office, and that makes it very hard to keep normal relationships.
Unsurprisingly, if you don't leave the house and don't have an active social life as a blogger, you can start to suffer from depression. I've seen this happen to a friend of mine who's a freelance programmer, and it's really not pretty.
Thankfully, I make a point of going out four times a week and having a very active social life. If I didn't, I probably would not really be a functioning member of society.
Pass the coffee, please.
One of the harder things that comes with being an online blogger is keeping focused. If you've been in college, then you already know what I'm getting at. Yes, in order to function as a writer and continue to type for 12-odd hours a day, you will need a supplement that makes it possible.
I'm talking, of course, about caffeine.
Slowly but surely, over the course of a day, a small fairy ring of energy drink cans begins to develop around my table. By the end of the day, I'll pick up a total of five or six energy drink cans, as well as a bunch of cans of seltzer. (Hey, you have to stay hydrated.)
Is this healthy? No. But, historically, writers aren't the healthiest people on the planet.
Show me the interesting stuff, please.
Around 90% of my ability to do my job and write interesting content stems from my ability to come up with interesting topics. This means that I get to spend a good portion of my day reading up sites that tend to give me that writer's spark.
To be brutally honest, it's this part of my creative process that keeps me going. I look at each article that moves me as a goal post I need to achieve. Some of the articles I read make me think about experiences I had. Others make me wonder, "What if?"
Reading other peoples' posts sparks emotion in me. Every little emotion I get makes me realize I want to bring that forward in other people...and that's what makes all that struggle worth it.