I just read this amazing post at HelenJane.com and after flipping through it and thinking “YES” and “exactly!” and “love the metaphor”, I thought I’d share it with you, my handful of readers. Because it needs to be said.
I’ve been blogging since about 2006, shortly after having my first child. Actually I think I was blogging before I knew what blogging was, back in the good old days of livejournal and angelfire.com. Back then I was just an angsty teenager writing in an online journal, but really, not much has changed. Except everything has changed.
“Back when we started blogging/dancing, we talked about our now, our pasts, our dreams. We shared what was real and happening in our lives. We weren’t promoting an aspirational lifestyle, we weren’t selling up.”
Shortly after I started taking myself “seriously” as a blogger, I discovered the world of review blogging and fell in love. I loved the idea of telling people about the stuff I was digging and helping promote awesome people. If I could get a bit of free swag for it, all the better, right? The thing is, review blogging can get weird and awkward. Once you’ve gotten one thing for free and loved it, you want to do more. You start pitching to companies, asking for reviews. After awhile, the pitches start coming to you. You agree to review things you never would have gone out looking for otherwise.
Sometimes it’s awesome, you discover something new and amazing and you are grateful that you stumbled on it. Sometimes the stars align and you feel like you’ve found a way to help provide for your family in a small way and that’s awesome. But for me, it started to get to be too much. Boxes of stuff on my office floor that I didn’t need, review calendars and deadlines and expectations. Giveaways to orchestrate and companies and readers that I had to play middle man with all the time. Occasionally a product wouldn’t live up to the hype and I had to go through the awkward “to review, or not to review” debate. Honesty may be the best policy, but saying something unpleasant sucks.
I got tired of playing the game. I got tired of worrying about how many readers I had, how many people were entering my giveaways, how many posts were being published each month. I got tired of the materialism that was surrounding me – I got tired of the stuff. Stuff we don’t need. And eventually I decided that it wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth selling my soul to the reviewing world just to get some free Christmas cards or a movie for the kids.
Says the girl writing in her review blog. So what happened? Why write this blog at all?
None of the posts I’ve published here were solicited. The companies I’m writing about do not know me, did not compensate me and have no ties to what I’m writing. I have no boss here at Things Momma Loves. I just wanted a place to babble about my favorite reality tv shows, books and recipes that I’m loving. And Doctor Who. I like to blog about Doctor Who. I started this blog for a few reasons:
- I wanted a place set aside to write about things other than the kids and my day to day life. I have a personal blog that I love and I didn’t like cluttering it up with all my various obsessions. I wanted my obsessions to have a home of their own, even if my cute kids occasionally crashed the party, too.
- I wanted a place to work on my writing. I am currently a stay at home mom but I’m not sure what the future will hold for me when the kids are both in school. I’ve considered professional writing and thought I should have a portfolio of sorts or at least a place to write intentionally. Who knows if this blog will actually help with that in any way but it was on my mind when I created it.
- Despite burning out with the review blogging world, I still love the idea of sharing with people the products and companies that I enjoy. I still love the essence of a good review. I just got tired of the trappings that were starting to come along with it. I created this blog to break the mold – to have my cake and eat it, too.
Do not expect amazing product giveaways here (at least not anytime soon) or sponsored posts. Know that when I tell you I am in love with a product (or David Tennant) that it’s not because the company paid me or gave me free jars of spaghetti sauce in exchange for my honest opinion. I am telling you that I’m obsessed with the Real Next Food Truck Model Icon because I am obsessed and giddy and wanted to share. My opinions here were not asked for or solicited.
I’m just dancing.