The biggest misconception about blogging is how much time it takes. People seem to believe that we’re tossing up posts in between loads of laundry and Spongebob. Bloggers themselves perpetuate this theory that blogging just sort of happens, shyly saying that they “write during naptime,” etc. For some reason it’s very uncool in a certain section of the blog world to own it that you’re trying to build something bigger, that you view it as a career. Someone recently repeated to me that women bloggers want to keep the stay-at-home mom title, and admitting that good blogs take hours of work every day or that - heavens! - it’s making some money, would negate that perceived lifestyle.
Of course, for some bloggers it is just a hobby, which is great. Blogging is fun in itself and lots of people don’t want the stress of making it any more than that. And there are bloggers out there who are serious about it and are straight up about it (my people!), and that’s important. But the “Oh, this old thing? I just threw it together” attitude is prevalent in the blogosphere. It’s the new superwoman equivalent. If your beautiful blog doesn’t look effortless, well then many would say you’re doing it wrong.
Your favorite bloggers - those that write well, post frequently, or photograph recipes, fashion, or crafts - are spending a lot of time on their blogs. They’re not squeezing it in during naptime. If they don’t have some sort of help (I wrote about having help here, in response to Rebecca Woolf’s excellent piece on having help here), or kids in school all day, I guarantee you that they’re getting up extra early or working late into the night. Solid blogging takes a lot of time. The content itself takes hours, but then if you want anyone to see it you have to have a presence on social media, respond to reader and professional emails, and deal with various backend issues.
One of the many things that is so great about blogging, however, is how flexible it is. You can do it from anywhere with wifi. For my family’s unusual and chaotic life, this fits right into the schedule.
Since we do travel so much or are having to work around the spontaneous daily changes in The Gorilla’s career, it’s hard to map out exactly what my blogging day looks like. But, when we’re in a good rhythm (i.e., we’re at home), my days go something like this:
7:00am - Pirate wakes up, yells for his daddy. The Gorilla gets up with Pirate and they go play in the kitchen, make breakfast, make Pigtail’s lunch.
8:00am - Pigtail wakes up. This is when I rise, even though I’ve usually been dozing for awhile. I’m slow in the morning. Pigtail and I wander down to the kitchen to eat breakfast. We have a few minutes in the morning together while we eat and talk about what’s in store for the day, then The Gorilla tags out to go shower. I finish getting Pigtail ready for school and shoving bites of waffle into Pirate’s mouth.
Sometime in there I’ve checked in on social media and updated twitter and facebook with my latest post, if there is one.
8:45am - The Gorilla and Pigtail leave for work & school. Hugs and kisses and two honks in the driveway.
9:00 - 10:30am - Pirate and I spend this time together in the morning. Sometimes we just play in the playroom, sometimes we run to the grocery store (his favorite), sometimes he plays trucks on the floor while I answer email for a bit. Occasionally we’ll take a walk around the neighborhood or a power walk around the reservoir or park.
10:30am - Our wonderful nanny shows up. I jump in the shower, Pirate plays outside before his nap.
11am - 1pm - I blog, mostly creating content. This means I’m writing or photographing or planning. These are my most productive hours of the day, so I try my best not to waste them. This is when my brain is working best and I have the most energy. Often I’ll set the timer and write for 40 minutes, then take a break. Taking a break usually involves checking in on social media.
1pm - I stop and make lunch. I read blogs through feedly while I eat. I try to read other blogs every day. I don’t trust bloggers who claim they don’t read blogs.
1:45pm - I finish up whatever odds and ends I have, scheduling the post for the next day or doing something for a post I want to run next week. My blog To Do list is always growing.
2:15pm - I leave to pick up Pigtail at preschool. Our conversations in the car are some of my favorites, in fact this 45 minutes in the car and at the school is sometimes the best part of the day.
3pm - Kiss Pirate, play and talk for a few minutes, then back to the grind. Blogging, social media, etc. This is also when I do most of our “life” stuff. Managing our house and schedule, etc. There’s a lot of that that goes down via text and email throughout the day - it’s hard to separate it from time spent doing something else - but if it hasn’t gotten done yet, the afternoon is when I tackle it.
4:30pm - My energy wains about this time and I need to step away from the computer. Sometimes I find the kids and we do something fun (making brownies or cookies happens too frequently in our house), sometimes I read (my favorite thing), if we’ve had a particularly rough night the night before, I’ll try to power nap. This is my one specific free hour of the day. I don’t always have it free, but on a “normal” day I do. I know not everyone has that time in their day, even just a few times a week, so I’m grateful for it.
5:30pm - The nanny leaves and the kids and I read books or play a game until it’s time to make dinner. They play in the kitchen while I cook, and like to help me.
6:30pm - The Gorilla gets home and he and the kids feed the fish while I finish up cooking. We eat dinner and have family time until it’s time to go to bed.
7:30pm - The whole family treks up to do the bedtime ritual. Baths sometimes, books sometimes, but always jammies and teeth brushing, and chasing down the hall.
8pm - Kids are in bed, I head back to the computer. The Gorilla always has some show or game he wants to watch and we agree to meet back up at 9pm. I do more blog stuff for about an hour.
9pm - The Gorilla and I watch a show or talk or whatever. He falls asleep before I do, I take awhile to wake up in the morning and to wind down.
10pm - I read for about an hour, try to stay off my phone.
11pm - Lights out.
So, on average I’m spending 4-6 hours a day on my blog, or doing bloggy-related things. That’s roughly 30 hours a week - more than a part time job! A lot of people don’t have that kind of time, so they’re shocked when they can’t keep up with a blog regularly. A lot of people don’t admit the amount of time they spend on their blog, which does the blogging community a disservice.
When we get to the post about making money, you’ll be surprised at what people are or are not making, and why it’s important to be honest about the time it takes.