They warned you about alcohol. They showed you your brain on cocaine. But nobody tells you that blogging is a gateway drug. I’m Uju and I’ll hold my hand up as a blogaholic. I like to call myself a ‘blogging evangelist’ because it sounds, well, cleaner. But let’s call a spade a spade. Or rather, let’s blog about it.
Why Blogging is a gateway drug
You see, I’ve been blogging for nearly 10 years. It all sounded like a good laugh in the beginning. I had this idea for a blog about doing cool things in London with your kids. I had a funky title – Babes about Town – and shockingly, nobody else had claimed it. Nearly a year after I’d locked down the domain, I decided to go all in and wrote my very first post.
The reception was lowkey decent (I had a whopping 400 visitors in my first week, yo). The dopamine rush was instant. I was floating on that feel-good buzz. If you’ve spent half your life scrawling randomness into journals, and the latter portion taming/stifling your voice for OPP (other people’s publications), blogging is a revelation.
You can be completely yourself and you’re not just talking to the hand. You’re talking to a genuine audience of people who care what you have to say. Sure, some of those early visitors are just drive-by commenters e.g. ‘wow, great post, I didn’t even need to read it! Come give me some love back at my blog, pretty pretty please!’ But if you blog on steadily, many of your readers stay and you start to form real friendships.
Blogging took over my life. I’d be up at night, resizing photos, checking my inbox for comments, scoping out other bloggers and wondering what they’d done to get so many fans. Who cared whether the kids had dinner?
Actually, that’s not quite true. My kids were and still are the stars of the blog, and an essential part of why I’ve sustained this habit. Within weeks, I was getting invites to blogger events and I’d tote the boys around, to test out products, review shows, hobnob with B-list ‘slebs, and mingle with fellow introverts who come alive on screen.
Those early days of parent blogging were the shit. Quite literally, as most of us had kids in nappies. But we were eager and we were powerful and we were high. Blogging was taking us to places we’d never imagined. I remember looking down at my toes being nibbled by fish and thinking ‘Uju, you must be on drugs’. Nope, just another blogging gig. They called it a fish pedicure, I called it ‘Enjoy your slow and surprisingly ticklish death by flesh-eating fish, Mr Bond’.
Yup, it’s a trip, this #bloggerlife of ours.
I’ll confess, I’ve had my unfair share of substances in my misspent middle youth (uh-huh, Crunchie bars are a substance). Still, chocolate and Krispy Krack ain’t got nothing on that ‘blogged up’ feeling.
Signs you might have a blogging addiction:
- You stay up until dawn, retyping different headlines into CoSchedule Headline Analyzer to get a score of 75+.
- You sob uncontrollably and threaten to give it all up when your Page Rank dips by 1 point (2012), you fall off the Tots 100 (2015), your DA crashes from mid-30s to low 20s (2019)
- You are Google Analytics’ bitch and you can’t even pretend. Those stat counters own you.
- You get to the end of a How to Skyrocket your Traffic x 1000 post and realise it’s the 99th time you’ve read the EXACT SAME POST. Then you bookmark it for later.
- You eat Yoast (not toast) for breakfast.
- You snarl internally as you see another
jammy cowblogger en route to the Caribbean (hashtag #presstrip, hashtag #blessed), when you can’t even blag a stay at the local caravan park.
- You wade through 3,127 ‘please link to me’ SEO requests in your inbox, for that one magic invitation that lifts you like a shot of… espresso.
- You’ve perfected the ‘congratulations to her’ smile after losing out at so many blogging awards that your expression has set permanently, in a sort of resting bitch face meets the Joker look.
- You are reading this post and nodding, possibly chuckling, definitely cringing like that ‘see no evil’ monkey emoticon.
But it doesn’t end there. Did I mention blogging is a gateway drug? When your other half asks what you’ve been doing all day, why not explain to them that it’s not just about the blog? Once you’ve hit publish, you have to flog your content all over the Internet. You’re going to want to conquer Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Become an Insta Stories guru. A pro photographer/publicist/digital slayer.
Pretty soon, becoming ‘influential’ will seem like the pinnacle of achievement. And while you’re at it, have you tried vlogging? Video is the bizzomb. Brands are just crying out for women in your demographic. Wait a minute, you’re not even on Pinterest yet? What in the filtered vertical image with clever fonts are you waiting for, girl? Sign up and get pinning. A thousand pins a minute does the trick. You’ll get clicks like you wouldn’t believe.
ALRIGHT. HOOK ME UP. GIVE ME ALL THE THINGS.
Yes, I’m a blogaholic. However, these days, I’m a lot better at managing my addiction. As one of the old school crowd, I’m able to look at the new generation of bloggers with a fond sense of amusement, admiration and naked fear. Those whippersnappers are hungry. There is no way I can keep up. What’s cool is that I’m not interested in trying, because I’m going at my own pace. And still loving the journey.
The beauty of blogging is that what got me hooked in the first place is still there at its core. Blogging is one of the best ways to free yourself on the page, develop your craft as a writer/photographer/creative/badass. Make genuine connections.
Be exactly who you want to be. Speak in your own voice and earn authority. Take your brand to heights you could never have dreamed of when you started… anything from speaking at conferences, to TV appearances, book publishing, launching a side hustle. And when I say ‘brand’, I’m not just talking about your business, I mean the essence of you and your gift to the world. What people think about and, more importantly, how they feel when they hear your name.
Start a blog. Start today. Where it will take you, nobody knows. Fish pedicures are just the tip of the toenails, baby.
Blogging is a drug and a gateway to limitless opportunity. Take the red pill. Go on, I dare you.
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