It’s been two weeks since I last published a blog post.
Usually I’d feel guilty and probably slap myself in the face about it, but actually, I’m not. I may not have been taking photos and writing posts, but that doesn’t mean I’ve not been working.
There’s still a bit of a stereotype around bloggers, isn’t there? We spend hours doing our makeup, then take a few selfies, and spend the rest of the day swanning around town eating avocado on toast and shopping, before throwing back a few cocktails in a fancy bar and enjoying a free dinner…
And yeah, there are perks to the job (nice dinners and fancy cocktails being one of them!), but the thing is: it is a JOB. Even if it’s only part-time for most of us, our To Do lists are much longer than just taking a selfie and typing up a hundred words.
Don’t judge the iceberg by the tip. Readers, you see what we want you to see. And today, I want you to see what else I do, apart from eat the food and drink the cocktails.
This post actually started out as a conversation with mum last month. I started listing off everything I do that doesn’t involve the creative side of blogging. The photos, the writing, the social media… those are all the fun bits. The hard work happens behind the scenes.
So here’s a list of non-creative stuff I’ve been working on, am working on, and will be working on, until I decide blogging is no longer something I want to do. These are just some of the tasks I do on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis, to make sure this place keeps ticking along nicely.
And hats off to all the absolutely amazing bloggers who manage to get ALL this done, PLUS blog every day, PLUS hold down a full-time job, PLUS have some sort of social/personal life.
You are my heroines, and I aspire to your level of productivity, efficiency and organisation. Teach me your secrets. Please. (Seriously.)
My inbox is a bottomless pit. Every time I think I’m done and I’ve cleared every message, another 5 pop up!
It’s never-ending, and keeping on top of it is one of my biggest blog struggles.
Obviously I love getting emails (hello opportunities, community and engagement!). But replying to them is definitely time-consuming, and if I’m not careful, I can quite easily get sucked up in an inbox vortex and find I’ve done nothing else with my blogging time but answer emails.
2. UPDATING OLD POSTS
I have 300+ blog posts published. That’s not as many as some, but a lot of these posts were published before I moved to WordPress and I’ve also had several blog designs since that first change. This means that a LOT of my back catalog needs updating.
Broken links, bad coding, outdated recommendations, updating photos… All of these things take time and effort. I’m about 130 posts through at the moment, with lots still to do!
3. ACCOUNTS AND INVOICES
I do all of my own accounts at the moment. This means keeping track of several spreadsheets, filing expenses, sending out invoices, chasing up invoices (because I very rarely get paid on time), not to mention the absolute joy that is filling in my tax return, and working out a savings plan to pay the bill…
Next year I plan on budgeting for an accountant, but for now, this is a solid part of my weekly/monthly/yearly task list.
This includes a whole load of things: sorting hundreds of folders on my Cloud system, making sure all my photos are correctly sized, labelled and marked with alt-tags (these are keywords that get Google to send traffic my way), scheduling my Pinterest calendar, updating my Twitter scheduler…
Not to mention updating stats spreadsheets, filing expense receipts, taking phone calls, scheduling meetings with PRs, and (of course) keeping on top of my inbox.
I also negotiate all my own paid blog work, so keeping track of sponsored collaborations and discussing contract terms is also part of my job!
5. GRAPHIC DESIGN
My lovely blog design was designed and coded by the lovely Phil from Pipdig. Other than that, everything you see here is designed by me. The logo, the Pinterest graphics, the Youtube thumbnails, the media kit… even the extra bits of CSS coding I do on the back-end of the site to make sure every single detail of the design matches my brand aesthetics. (Yeah, brand aesthetics. That’s a thing.)
I could (and probably should) pay a professional to do these things for me, but a) I’m a cheapskate, and b) I actually ENJOY doing it for myself.
In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working on new designs for all of the above, to match my shiny new Pipdig theme and logo. The idea is that now I’ve got the blueprints, it won’t take as long to whip up new graphics as and when I need them. (Hopefully.)
6. RESEARCH AND BRAINSTORMING
Basically: coming up with new ideas!
Recipes take time to develop. It’s not just coming up with the ideas, but also making sure that they actually work. You guys watch me testing them out during the week on my Instagram Stories, and it usually takes several goes for me to get a recipe just the way I like it.
And then there’s the research. I spend a couple of hours every week going through cookery books and food websites, learning about herbs and spices, soaking up info on seasonal veg, and trying to think of new ways to combine ingredients.
I’m also constantly trying to improve my photography, my photo editing, my writing, etc. so I like to spend some time exploring and experimenting with settings and techniques.
And then, of course, there’s the photo-shoots, the photo editing, writing, word editing, filming, video editing, improving SEO, posting on Twitter, posting on Instagram, posting on Facebook, replying to comments…
A blogger’s work is never done! (And I love it. ♥)