This past weekend I had the pleasure to attend another year of Megaphone Summit – and influencer conference. I’ve had 4 years of amazing memories now with this incredible group of bloggers, vloggers and online influencers, and this past year was yet again exceptional.
In 2014 and 2015 I was honored to speak about food photography and share the little bit of knowledge I’ve gleaned over the past few years in my job. This year I was so thankful to be part of a panel of amazing women who talked about food writing at the Foodie Friday event. And then Saturday I decided to step away from the food-specific blogging and share some things that have been going on in my heart over the past year.
I never want to make it sound like I take what I get to do as a career for granted. I never want to complain about it because I am fully aware what a blessing it is. But I also don’t want to hide the fact that because blogging is so much a part of my daily life it can be hard at times. There have been many moments that I have debated going to work in an office again, or just making budget changes in our household so that I can hide from the pressure of self-imposed deadlines and commitments. I’ve sighed many times in frustration at the fact that, while this online community is beautiful, I can also let it become competitive.
Back when I started blogging 7 years ago it was easy to become friends without feeling like your blog content was competing with the next one. The only social media outlets we used were Twitter and Facebook, and even then it was conversational and not all about shares or likes or numbers. We would take the time to leave comments on the blogs we loved, and we didn’t treat them as a piece of information – we treated them as an extension of the person writing them.
Getting in on the ground floor of blogging (or maybe the first floor…I definitely didn’t invent the thing) as an industry was fun and exciting and I worked my tail off to create an opportunity to work from home while raising our children. But getting in on the ground floor of blogging also means that there has since been group after group of talented, innovative and sometimes more dedicated men and women who have come in and rocked the industry. Brands are finally becoming hip to the fact that online influencers are real and very important in marketing products and services. Things have changed, and I’ve changed with it, and not always for the best.
Motherhood’s inevitable exhaustion has caused me to become less than inspired most days as I wade through the waters of parenting two small, energetic, crazy-fun boys. When I’m tired and barely surviving then it’s a win if I can check off the have-to section of my to-do list, meaning most days it’s just the bare minimum that gets done. Turns out that having a creative career and no creative drive don’t always go hand-in-hand.
So I started to make some small changes – just little baby steps to step out of this funk from the past few months. I started doing things like getting outside for a few more minutes a day, turning off the TV, keeping a notebook next to me while I worked out (prime idea time), and stepped out of my comfort zone. We traveled a bit, took some risks, and slowly but surely I found myself dreaming again. I found that I wasn’t just searching for the next viral blog title or idea – I was dreaming bigger, more long-term than that.
Here is what I’m learning: that it’s not just OK, but it is necessary to stop prioritizing blogging above the people you love. It is GOOD to look outside of the things in your wheelhouse. It is undeniably beneficial to spend time outside and to turn off all the screens. It will set you free to stop looking for ways to beef up your Instagram feed. I can’t be the best version of myself without loving my people well, loving myself well, and relying on God to do His thing.
I’m learning. And I’m learning to be OK with that.