Thank you ALL so much for the wonderful response to the first post in this little series. If you missed it, you can click right here and catch up. Today I want to focus not only on my daily (sort of) schedule, but talk about the things that really make up this blogging job. It doesn’t just start with making a dish and end with writing a blog post; there’s a lot more that goes into it all and it can truly be a full-time round-the-clock job at times.
A DAY IN THE LIFE
- 6:30am – Wake up when Wes does. Change his diaper, wash my face, and head into the kitchen for breakfast. We usually start off with him drinking some milk while I prep all of our food, then we sit and eat together. If Nate is finished getting ready for work we’ll usually all eat as a family.
- 7:30am – Breakfast is over. Depending on Weston’s mood I’ll usually do the dishes and throw in a load of clothes. Still haven’t done any work at this point, but I will usually sit down with my planner for a few minutes while he plays by himself and figure out our day. This includes work projects, trips to the store, cleaning, playdates, pool time, meals, everything.
- 8:30am – Wes is still doing 2 naps a day and I don’t see any reason to stop him. We’ll relax for a few with a sippy of milk before his first nap, which is a sweet sweet time for this momma.
- 9:00am – After I put Wes down for a nap I will throw the clothes into the dryer, speed brush the dogs and check on my garden. I run into the office and start doing all the promotions for my blog post for that day: Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Google+, Instagram. I’ll check my email and respond to urgent stuff, and this is usually when I read the bulk of any blogs I read and comment on. This is also the time I use to workout, which isn’t blog related but part of my day nonetheless!
- 11:00am – Wes is usually up by now, so if we need to go to the store this is usually when we do it. Once we get back we’ll eat lunch and get that all cleared up, and this is when I start cooking for the day. Luckily Wes loves playing in the kitchen and watching what I’m doing, so I try to make it a really fun time that we get to interact and learn new things. Depending on the day we may just skip cooking altogether and head to the pool or the park!
- 1:30pm – Another sippy of milk and some more snuggle time for the two of us.
- 2:00pm – Nap time again. Once Wes goes down I go crazy editing photos, answering emails, writing recipes, fulfilling freelance projects and brainstorming. I try to get a lot done during this little stretch of nap time because I want to be able to spend time with Nate later on. What usually ends up happening is I will work my tail off Monday-Wednesday and have a little free time to relax going into the weekend. Doesn’t always work that way, but it’s what I try to do.
- 4:00pm – Wes is up and it’s time to play! Since it’s so hot out we will either go to a pool or an indoor play area, or (like yesterday) the mall. Really anywhere that he can run around and explore and people-watch. I am really excited as he’s loving books more and more to start going to the library.
- 5:30pm – This is usually when Wes eats dinner, but depending on the night Nate and I may or may not be eating at that time too. This is also the best time for me to take photos right now, so I turn Wes’s high chair so he can see what his crazy mom is up to!
- 6:15pm – Bathtime! I love how Wes loves taking baths. I know the splashing and the mess may not be charming as he gets older, but I just relish the time that he is in the bathtub regardless of which parent is in charge of the bathing.
- 6:30pm – Another sippy of milk and the bedtime routine. Definitely a sacred little time for us; we try to make this hour all together as a family a big priority, and I cherish it.
- 7:30pm – Wes is in bed for the night, Nate and I eat dinner (if we haven’t yet), and I rush to get the dishes cleaned. If it’s a work night I’ll usually get all the remaining photos and recipes in before the sun goes down, and then it’s editing and writing time. During those hard-hitting days I try to get most of the posts written and scheduled for the week, and I am always about a month ahead with most freelance stuff. I work really hard to try and keep on top of things just in case anything happens that would require a few days away.
- 11:30pm – Wrap up working for the night and get in bed. Another busy day tomorrow!
A couple notes: I try really hard to never touch my phone or computer during the times that Wes and I are playing together, but if he’s doing something independently I’m either on a laptop or my phone and doing social media stuff – answering questions, connecting with bloggers and brands, taking pictures for Instagram. It’s honestly a constant balance of giving him my 100% full attention and doing the same for my blog when the need arises.
HOW I GOT HERE
I had a lot of emails and comments asking how I made the transition from working full-time to blogging full-time. I want to answer this question the best that I can, but as always please email me if you have further questions. This is only my experience and I’ve heard hundreds of other stories that are completely different than mine. The key is to assess what you want and what you can do with your life/time/money.
I had been blogging for less than a year when I decided that this was what I wanted to do full-time. I didn’t realize at that time how much I also wanted to a be a mom, so my “plan” was to build up my following SUPER FAST and just up and quit my job, then go on awesome blogging trips and get lots of money and free things. Sounds great, right? God had other plans though, and I’m so thankful for that. There’s no way I would like what I’m doing so much now if I hadn’t struggled through the other stuff first. I mentioned last week that I did do some of my blogging from work, and I will say this again: DO NOT DO THAT. Just don’t – it’s not ethical, and I wish so much that I could take that part of it back.
So when do you find time to blog/promote yourself/connect when you’re at a 40+ hour/week job elsewhere? Once I stopped being unethical, I did it during my bathroom breaks (yay iPhone in the bathroom), lunch breaks, from the moment I got home until bedtime and then I would wake up at 5am every day to get stuff done before work. I won’t lie, it was hard. My husband has been the most supportive and loving person through it all, and any victory that I have in blogging is 100% shared with him. There’s no way I could do it without his help and blessing. I also think it’s important to note that this was before we had kids, so my responsibilities were miniscule compared to where they are now.
When I found out that I was pregnant with Weston I had been slowly building up a following for 2+ years, working at least 30 hours a week on all of the blog-related stuff, and finally starting to see some real income from it all. We were able to get out of debt and save up a nice amount of money using my extra income, which is another thing that made it possible to make the change. It took time and a lot of hard work, and by the time we compared what I made at my job to what I was making blogging and then factored in childcare options, it just made sense for me to stay home. Nate and I both knew this was what I wanted and what our family needed, so together we made the decision and took the plunge.
BURNING THE CREATIVE CANDLE + SPONSORED POSTS
I will never claim to be artistic in any way, but recipe creation and development and the photography is a way that I love being creative. In the beginning it was a fantastic release, a vacation from my day job and something I really enjoyed doing. Now it’s my every day job and I still really love doing it, but now it can also be a challenge to find things to cook and make to feed the always-growing and always-hungry internet crowd.
I know of several bloggers who have been told that they’re sell-outs for doing sponsored posts and letting companies advertise on their blogs in various forms (no one has said this to me yet). A blog usually starts as the outpouring of someone’s life in some way or another, and if that blog turns into a potential career it is up to the blogger’s financial and creative needs as to what he/she wants to post. Since this is my business I have had to start thinking of it that way, and that’s where working with companies on campaigns comes in. Sure, I could just rely on sidebar advertising and freelance projects to make ends meet, but since we are a growing family and always looking to be able to give our income away as well it bodes well for us during this season for me to accept chances to make extra revenue.
It’s not just a money thing though – I saw another food blogger post this the other day, but since this IS what we do day in and day out, there’s a creative need that has to be filled as well. However often one posts, sometimes it’s nice to have a company come alongside and offer their help in the creativity department. It offers a different sort of challenge and a chance to really get creative with a product, which is really helpful when another muffin post just won’t do!
THIS IS REAL LIFE
As I said in last week’s post, this little series is part explanation and part proclamation about this career that I’ve chosen to embark on. It wasn’t something that was planned or fostered through some kind of college internship. It wasn’t something I interviewed for, and there are no perfectly hand-crafted resumes for it. But it is something that I’m learning more and more is a position to be taken seriously, and is a chance to reach far beyond my inner circle to make much of God, to be an encouragement to others, and to be life-giving in the way that I write.
Some days are hard. Like really really hard. And then other days are fun and easy, exciting and full of news. It comes in waves, and while it still takes adjusting from time to time, I’m really proud of how far I’ve come. It’s been 4 years since the first thoughts of blogging entered my head, and I am shocked and awed by the amount of stuff I’ve learned from it – about me, photography, design, writing, relationships, and the world. I am so excited to see how this continues to develop, and I hope that this little story of mine is encouraging you to get excited about your future too!
Next week I’m going to talk about relationships within blogging – I hope you’ll join me! – and as always, please feel free to ask any questions – politely – and I will respond as soon as I can!