Skip to main content

Career Confusion

I haven't posted in a while, probably because we've not really been anywhere of note really and I was, in essence, trying to keep the niche of the blog quite specific.

However things have been really busy workwise, which is brilliant, but I'm having a total crisis of identity of who I am career-wise and how I want to define myself.

See, being a writer isn't necessarily a specific job. I write things and I get paid for them, I write things and I enjoy doing it. But there are so many different types of writing that I feel like I'm straddling about three industries at once. Each has their own pros and many have their own cons.



Please accept my apologies for this massive brain-dump!



Blogger

I have always admired bloggers. I have always tried to keep up with the latest changes in the "blogosphere" and I even subscribe to a magazine of the same name. I always considered blogging to be akin to being a feature writer in a magazine, except with a lot more creative control. Not to mention you are essnetially running your own business. 

To be honest I've always deemed a successful blog to be a mini magazine. With the editor also running the sales, marketing, PR and accounts department.

From being a part of a number of communities though I'm starting to realise I don't think I could ever call myself a blogger as a job title. 

I read blogs and I'm part of a number of blogging groups, I have friends who are full-time bloggers or have it as side-hustle. But the die-hard journalist in me, not to mention the ad-sales exec', can't deal with the convoluted nature of it. 

Buying subscribers, plagiarism and setting rates so low it affects other industries livelihoods. Just three things that I've seen in the last 24-hours in the blogging world.

Not to mention there is an obsession with retaining an unbiased view whilst also looking to sell sponsored content. Not an easy thing to do, even the national newspapers can't do this properly.

Copywriter

I think this is the closest to what I am now. It's what's on my business cards. There will always be a need for corporate content. Content can make or break a business. You could have the best product or business in the world, but if you can't sell yourself it's all for nought.

I enjoy copywriting and I've been fortunate enough to work in a number of quite fascinating industries but with it being more of a science of selling than wordplay I can often find it a bit dry. I am quite good at it though.

Journalist

This is the dream. I did want to be a news journalist all my younger years (we're talking me playing with a typewriter at the age of 3, precocious little shit) but that morphed into a women's magazine journalist, into a travel journalist into... god I need a job I'll take one in ad sales so I'm at least AT a newspaper.

I've recently started sending out pitches and trying to get into the nationals. Something I would never have had the guts to do beforehand. I always rant and rave to people about my sales and marketing background giving me an edge and I'm 100% positive this is the case now. 

One of my good friends, who has a brilliant job and has helped me loads career-wise has said she found the whole freelance thing totally overwhelming. She said she had sent pitches and never heard anything back and that meant she must be shit. I read her pitches (brilliant ideas) but then it turned out she had never followed up, sent them to a generic address... you catch my drift. 

Identity Crisis

So, for those who don't know, I graduated when the recession hit. I had three offers of editorial assistant jobs all lined up only to have them rescinded overnight as the budgets were gone. I fell into advertising sales and saw the decline of the newspaper from the inside out. I was talking to a colleague (both from the blogging and journalism world) last night and although there were a huge amount of external elements that caused this, we both agreed it was the print media's apprehension and complete confusion with how to diversify into the digital world that probably did this.

Recruitment was always a HUGE money spinner, some adverts running for a single day selling for thousands. As soon as job websites came and people started looking for jobs in a different way, it's days were numbered. 

I then switched to a business to business (B2B) magazine just before my role was made redundant. From here I realised that there is still money in print media. Specialist media and smart consumer print media. Sadly many of the magazines I knew and loved as a young adult are gone, More magazine, LOOK, NME is still around but as a freebie. Half of my work experience is probably irrelevant now because the titles have all disappeared off the face of the earth.

Imposter Syndrome

That's the crux of it. If you look at my Instagram it's all dreamy skies and pictures of my kids having brunch. In reality, I've probably spent at least half the day telling Child A not to poke Child B in the eye, as Child B tries to eat the dog's ear and my kitchen is covered in coffee granules because I'm a cack-handed mess. 

When I tell people my job in real life (I tend to go with the angle of travel writer as that's where most of my work has been) they look at me like I'm frickin' Beyonce and I almost always reply with the exact phrase: "It's not as glamorous as it sounds!".

Hannah Gale (one of my absolute favourite bloggers, her ex-journo background means that I feel like I can really relate to her. I do reply to her Instagram quite a lot. I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm a psychopath *cringe*) wrote a post about how work dried up with her when she had her baby and generally that some months it can be hard as a blogger financially. 

It's all about appearances. It's all about the hustle and photoshopping things enough they don't look photoshopped. Something I'm not that good at, to be honest...

What does this all mean?

I don't' really know.... this is a post that is pretty much a ramble.

I've started to think about how to turn my love and passion into a full-time venture. If I'm totally honest I love the freedom of blogging but I can't help but feel when I post I could have missed an opportunity to sell my work somewhere. 

Not to mention the rates. Oh my god, the rates. I've worked in some cut-throat sales environments and I was always bordering on being the "special snowflake". Constantly ribbed for not being assertive enough. My selling style was always... "because she's nice and listens." 

The topic of money in blogging is half taboo and half super overshared. I've seen some super professional bloggers, with amazing sites and readerships selling themselves SO short. Equally a number of bloggers breaking into the "traditional" media and offering out horrendous rates.

I saw one article lately and when I heard what the blogger had been paid, I could have wept. In their defence, they didn't know better though, but a quick look at the NUJ's London Freelancer Site would have told them they were accepting probably a 1/3 of what they should have. In turn making it harder for them to make enough money and having to do three times more work, but also making it tricky for someone who does feature writing as a full-time job to justify their rates when an editor may think "I'll just get a blogger in to do it and sub-edit it all". 

Sadly the role of a writer is more often than not less about being a "good" writer but having a great idea and hustling it. 

I am in no less than ten groups on Facebook that split between the different "roles" and I've really come to notice that they really are all SO different.

So, at least for now, I'm going to bumble along whilst the kids are young, building my portfolio trying to get my commissions and blogging when I can.

I've probably offended a lot of people with this post. Sorry, not my intention but you know when you see things and you feel like shouting NOOOOOOOO. I've had a lot of that in the last 24-hours.





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Blissful in Brighton

I grew up on the south coast of England. Brighton was a place that was always close by, but for whatever reason seemed too big and too far for my teenage brain to comprehend.
Last year, for his birthday, I bought my husband a night photography course along Brighton seafront.  And, as part of my new way forward to clear any FOMO from being a travel writer, I booked up a cheap room at the Jury’s Inn by Brighton train station.
The thinking behind it was that we would load the kids up on the train and go. Incidentally, we ended up taking the car for the 1.5-hour drive and parked overnight at the Trafalgar Street carpark for £16.

A stroll along the seaside - Southsea, Hampshire

So in order to go somewhere, we need to start somewhere. The place that we start our journeys is Portsmouth in Hampshire.



Living by the seaside really has its benefits and we try, whenever we can, to get the kids down to the wonderful seafront.

Southsea is so much more than a seaside as well, it is is own microcosm of culture, food, art and more. I'd like to explore Southsea, bit by bit, for those either who want to come here (or even those that have been here a while!) to discover and explore it for themselves.