Blogging looks like a great way to make a living, doesn't it? You get to work when you want, where you want, wearing your jammies if you want, drinking martinis or coffee or whatever, and eating great snacks from your own kitchen. You get to take the dog out for a walk, meet friends in the middle of the day, take a vacation whenever you want to... Oh, and get paid buttloads of money for it. Right? Yeah? Really? Hmmm...
When the economy tanked and my bead business sputtered out like a 4th of July sparkler, I decided to reinvent myself as a food blogger. Positively Vegan was, and still is, my little vegan online home, while Long Way Home remains in the background as a not so secret hideout where I can talk about anything that interests me in the moment. I love PV, but there's more to life than food.
I started this blog in 2009, and Positively Vegan in 2011. I've written hundreds of posts, shared enough recipes to fill a cookbook, written an online cookbook and most recently, self published a printed sauce book. I created and self published a coloring book, and have done all the other things that tie it all together.
I work at home, when I want, usually in real clothes because that makes me feel more valid, and drinking lots of Earl Grey tea all day. I get good feedback, and those who like me are very encouraging. I'm often contacted by companies and authors, asking me to review their products and books. I've been approached by a book publisher. I get invited to cover fun events. I'm kind of well known. I'm doing the work, and I love it. And I know I'm good at it. But still, I'm nowhere near making a living at this.
I read all the stuff from the successful bloggers who want to tell the rest of the world how to do it. I read the free stuff that is. When it gets to the stuff I have to pay for, I'm done, because I already know that's how they're making their money. They're selling something. Yay! Brilliant! I've paid more than a few of them to share the secrets of the blogging universe, and not one has been at all helpful. As with most other things, I think I have to figure this shit out for myself.
Know what keeps me going most? Well two things, I guess. One is the feeling that I'm so close to getting it all worked out and making it a financial success that it would be stupid to stop now, after all this time and all this work. Yeah, maybe I should bag it and go get a real job. But know what? I'm too old and capable and entrepreneurial to work for someone else. They know it, and so do I.
As an experiment recently, I applied for a job as a cashier at the Good Will Store. I walked in and handed my resume to the manager, who took one look at it, then at me, and dismissed me instantly. He didn't say it, but I could see in his face that I was way too good for that stupid job. Maybe I just wanted to know how low I was willing to go. Thank God they wouldn't have me.
The other thing that keeps me writing is comments from my readers. I can look at stats all I want (which is very little), but knowing that a real live human reads my words and feels inspired or entertained or assisted in some way is like a lifeline connecting me to the rest of the world. I spend a lot of time alone. It's good - really good - to know someone is out there. And it doesn't happen often enough. Don't be shy please. Talk to me. I talk to myself quite enough already.
Here's my day today:
After Rick went to work, I drank tea, checked email, and poked around on Pinterest for small space decorating ideas. (We live in 571 square feet.) I washed my hair, got dried and dressed, and took Heidi out for a walk at around 11:00. She's an amazing little dog who almost never has to pee. Lucky me. After feeding Heidi (homemade dog food that I make for her every week), I revived an old pedicure with a quick soak, scrub, and trim, and dabbed-on gold glitter polish in the grown-out space between the old pink polish and my cuticle. (A lot of time saved on a home pedi, and $30 saved on a real one!)
I made a list of all the things I want to get done today. Writing for at least 30 minutes is at the top, so I made more tea, sat down to write, and an hour later, I'm still at it. (I love writing, and I still have to trick myself into getting started.) Later I'll work on a freebie project to add to the PV mailing list signup. (I see that all the cool kids offer something free in hopes of luring readers in to sign up for email updates. I've tried it both ways, freebie and no freebie, and honestly, I get about the same number of new subscribers either way. I'll try again anyway, because it's "how it's done.")
After writing this post, I'll work on my next book for a while. (I don't want to say what it is yet.) Then I'll go pick up my coat from the cleaners. Then I'll take Heidi out again, and maybe go over to Starbucks to see if the rumors of almond milk are true. Later, I'll soak and chop some kale, heat up some of the monster batch of pinto beans I made the other day, and pull it all together for a nice dinner with Rick.
I'll fold the load of whites I threw in the washer this morning. I'll look at real estate online. (We want to move.) I'll knit a little bit, while I wait for Rick to come home. I'll tell him all the things I did today, in a long and stupid list like this one, so I'll feel like I'm not a lazy waste of space. I'll have some wine, clean up the kitchen, watch a movie and knit some more.
I'll chat with my sweetie. He likes me even when I'm not making money. And behind the chitchat, my brain will be going a hundred miles an hour, trying to figure out what else I can do to make this thing work. I love my job. I want to get paid. And at the end of the day, I'll go to bed, with a new list in my head for tomorrow.
It's just too soon to give up.