Well, hi there! I really enjoyed taking a couple weeks off to enjoy the holidays with my family and am feeling refreshed and ready to dive into a new year of projects, writing, and photography. I get a little eye-rolley every year about this time as the entire world seems to suddenly resolve to get fit, get organized, eat healthy. It all feels so cliché…and yet…
I get it. There is something about a new year that holds promise and makes you evaluate, recalibrate, and try to right imbalances in your life. I’ve noticed a big shift this year among bloggers. Where last year the buzz word seemed to be “hustle,” this year everyone is talking about balance. It’s like most of the bloggers I know got exhausted all at the same time. Me included. And I do feel like I need to find a better balance and schedule for working if I’m going to keep all the balls in the air.
This doesn’t mean I want to stop blogging. It has its downsides but for where my life is right now, it has loads of upsides too. I get stressed about deadlines, feel pulled between work and family, and have days where I’m tired and don’t really feel like doing it. But, honestly, does anyone with a full-time job NOT have that experience?! I also can make my own schedule, work on my house, and be home when my kids get home from school. Those are major upsides for me.
But before we dive into another year of projects here, I want to talk honestly about a few things that have been on my mind lately. I don’t want you to feel like I’m hiding anything from you or operating insincerely. So in the interest of starting the new year fresh and all, let’s get a a few touchy topics out in the open :)
Real Life vs. Social Media
Gracious. The firestorm over this topic makes me want to pull my hair out. Have you noticed all the people suddenly coming forward and sharing how oppressed they felt by needing to keep up this curated image of themselves on social media? And now they are all, “Know the truth!,” “It’s not real!,” “Fight back!” It just feels like the latest bandwagon to me and a new way that some people are trying to gain notoriety and bring the focus onto themselves. Sure, there are people who put fake versions of themselves out there. I think they’re pretty easy to sniff out though. I also think there’s a fine balance between real life and total falsity when it comes to social media. People want to see pretty pictures. Not everything in my life every day is pretty pictures. I have stuff piled on my kitchen counter right now. There’s a laundry basket full of laundry to put away in the middle of the mudroom and it’s been there since Saturday night. I’m sitting here with no makeup on wearing exercise clothes. My family room looks like raccoons tore through it in the night. I’m not trying to pretend I’m something that I’m not, but an Instagram account full of photos of those things wouldn’t be very much fun to look at. So I do choose to share select snaps from my life, my projects, and my home, and while those things may be cropped, or tidied, or set up to look pretty, they are pieces of my real life.
Yikes. Let’s talk about something that’s kind of uncomfortable to talk about. Money. I write this blog and do everything that goes along with it because most of the time I like doing it. But it is not a fun little hobby I do on the side. It’s something I work at least 40 hours a week on most weeks. Bloggers make money in lots of different ways, and one of those ways is sponsored posts – where a company pays to have their product featured on a blog or social media. I totally get – truly – that this makes readers suspicious and can feel unauthentic. Early sponsored posts I did were sometimes a bit forced but I was so thrilled to be getting paid offers that I just sort of dove in headfirst. I get now that it cheapens my content to write about things just because I’m getting paid. I mean, really, duh. But for some time now I have only approached companies I really admire and have only accepted paid opportunities that really contain products I like. Every blogger says that when they have a sponsored post, but for whatever it’s worth, I mean it. I will only ever share things I really like here. I say, “no thank you” to a lot of opportunities because they aren’t things I would actually use in my real life or would be promoting with sincerity. And I will still write about things I just want to write about and I will do projects because it’s something that’s organically happening in my house and I want to share tutorials or how-tos with you. I am not going to stop accepting sponsored posts, because I need to make money for doing this job. But it won’t ever completely take over what I write about and it won’t ever make me lie to you.
Eeeeee…I am nervous to talk to you about this. People seem to get so fired up when it comes to affiliate links. Affiliate links are when a product is linked using a special code that translates into commission paid to the person publishing the link if a sale is made. Kind of like with sponsored posts, I get why this is a touchy subject. If it seems like someone is just constantly throwing affiliate links at you then it can start to feel insincere and like you’re being used. I use affiliate links sometimes. I use them here on my blog and I use them on Instagram. I’m not trying to trick you. If you buy something using an affiliate link you pay the exact same price as with a regular link. I’m not trying to make an easy buck by pumping out as many affiliate links as I can on any given day with any product I can share. I use them when I’m linking to products that I’ve used for a project or in decorating, so things that I really use, have, or like. Sometimes I use them to share a great sale on something I like or have. I am partly doing this to make money. Again, I’m kind of itchy inside talking about this, but am trying to be honest. I’ve heard people say that bloggers are greedy for using affiliate links. I don’t doubt that some people are being greedy, because in the world, some people are greedy. But I’m not just trying to make money, I’m also trying to be helpful by sharing sales, products, and sources with you. Affiliate links are part of my income puzzle. If you like reading my blog and/or following me on Instagram, and I share something you like or need with an affiliate link and you buy that thing, I earn a small commission, which helps me keep blogging sustainable as a job. I don’t know if that softens the blow at all, but that’s how and why I use them. And I thank you for whatever role you play in supporting me in this job, whether it’s buying with an affiliate link, leaving comments on posts, or sharing my work with other people.
So. There you have it. A whole bunch of kind of serious stuff to start the new year. But I wanted to put it all out there before we start another year together here. I hope you will stay with me. I’ve got some big projects I’m hoping to accomplish this year and will be telling you all about them tomorrow!