Friday, November 09, 2012

When Blogging was Fun: I'm Quitting Brands

When I began this blog, with a post about an old TV sitting in our office, I hit the publish button and thought, "That was fun."

In fact, it was so fun I continued to write here for six years.  Blogging has brought me all kinds of wonderful things; speaking opportunities at conferences, trips to far away places, the chance to meet companies up close and personal.  I have worked with some really great brands and have enjoyed it.  At one time, I thought that blogging could be a potential career.   The idea of being paid to do something I love, doing something other than the reliable job I've had for 20 years, was enticing.  Blogging gave me self confidence, taught me much about the world, and has immersed me in a community that I adore.  Through it all, I vowed not to change.

I've come to realize the last while that I have changed and along the way, I've lost the reason why I blog. In the last while, blogging has become more about obligation and work, less about creativity and doing something just because I love it.  I wasn't sure how to change that and get back my spark until today as I watched drama unfold on Twitter about, you guessed it, bloggers and a brand.

As I commented about how I feel strongly that everyone needs to do what works for them, I realized that for a long time, I haven't been doing what works for me.

It's time for that to end, right this second.

While I will fulfill the obligations that I have already said yes to and have lined up for this month, once they are finished I am planning to seriously limit the amount of work I do with brands.  No longer do I desire to be a brand ambassador, run sponsored posts, contests, giveaways, do product reviews, or create recipes.  The time that these things require FAR outweighs the pay or promise of product that I receive in return.  They take time away from my family, deplete my creative spark, and sometimes actually cost me grocery money.  In the last few months, I can't tell you how many times I've looked at this place and considered shutting it down altogether, walking away, and never coming back.

I'm tired.  I'm tired of drama.  Tired of talking about unique hits and traffic,  SEO, and how to get on "The List". I'm tired of people arguing over how to best work with brands.   No longer do I see the importance or excitement in shilling for brands, the swag, my name on a byline, and dammit  I want my blog back.

Will it kill my traffic?  Probably.

Will I become an increasingly smaller fish in a huge pond, and not considered a 'top blogger' Yes, that is also likely, but you know what?

 I don't care.  At all. Even a teeny bit.

A year from hell that includes moves, deaths, and illness re-arranges your priorities a huge way.

You are going to see a shift in content here, back to what I used to do in the old days when I lived more and blogged less.  I will write only about products that I buy myself and love.  I want to pour myself into the things that give me joy, such as creating what I want in my kitchen instead of what's popular and trendy, writing about Food Revolution, exploring the new and exciting food producers or events here in Chilliwack, and supporting the Food Bank, Free the Children, and Me to We.  If I do choose to work with a brand, it will be very carefully selected.

It's time to write about what brings ME joy again, and that's not coming from a freebie in my mailbox.

Don't get me wrong - I've enjoyed the work I've done with brands, and I'm grateful to have had those opportunities.  The reality is, Notes From the Cookie Jar isn't a business.  I thought at one time that I really could make it one, but it's neither stable enough work nor comes with nearly the benefits of my day job, so I'm putting it where it belongs; a hobby.    A hobby that I love, but still - a hobby.

My time, especially that which I spend with the people I love, is precious.  I learned this summer just how limited that time can be, and I'm not wasting it anymore by drowning in obligation.  What's amazing is, I've sat here for months looking at this place with the overwhelming feeling that I want to walk away, and just by writing this post, I already feel like a giant weight has been lifted.

I can't wait to see where this road takes me now.  Want to come along?

Edited to add: It should be noted that I volunteer my time for writing about Food Revolution, Me to We, Free the Children, or the Food Bank.  I have never been compensated for doing so.

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