Happy new year everyone! I hope everyone has had an AWESOME New Year’s Eve, surrounded by family and friends, lots of sparkling drinks, and fried sugary treats. Here’s to 2017!
My New Year’s Eve was great! The Rocking Rebel and I decided to spend it at home, so Baby Boy could ‘sleep’ in his own bed, my youngest brother and sister and my brother’s girlfriend came over, and our little group first had a delicious dinner cooked by the Rocking Rebel, followed by a movie and a board game. Very cosy and cutesy. Nothing too crazy for these new parents! By eleven o’clock, Baby Boy woke up again because of the fireworks, so he was right there with us when that clock struck twelve. So fun! He was only mildly impressed by the fireworks, but he really enjoyed running through the house and climbing on chairs so late at night. Um yes, he’s climbing now! It’s very cute and quite frankly a bit terrifying. My body hasn’t been out of ready-to-catch-baby mode for days 😉
And while Baby Boy has learned how to climb, what have I been up to? As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted a lot of new recipes the past two months. And it’s not just because I’m struggling to find time to bake and blog.
The Blogging Blues
Let me just tell you, blogging as a mom is a challenge! I’m not a great planner to begin with, and with a baby-now-a-toddler, everything really DOES take three times longer than when you do it on your own. Surprise, surprise! On top of caring for my little man and Lucy 24/7, I’ve also taken on two smallish part time jobs. I actually manage two websites these days. Both jobs are not quite demanding at this point, but the companies I work for have big plans, so I probably get to log more and more website-managing hours as they grow.
And while I DO think I would have been more productive here on the blog if I had had more time, the truth is that I’ve also been suffering from the blogging blues lately.
Pfff… blogging blues. For me, it means the following things: not knowing what to write about. Now knowing what recipe to post next. Not wanting to bake anything. Doubting my own recipes, photos, writing style, voice, photos, website… you name it. I know it’s the blogging blues and I can’t seem to shake it. Self-doubt just kills creativity.
Hardly any time to blog = bad
Hardly and time to blog + self-doubt = worse!
And then there’s that OTHER thing. That thing that I’ve been worrying about for almost two years now: how long do I want to keep blogging?
I started blogging in 2013, which means I’ve been blogging for almost four years. If I’m completely honest with myself, I started the blog hoping to turn it into some sort of a ‘career’. Be my own boss while helping the world bake better cakes posting about my kitchen experiments. It seemed like a pretty good idea at the time. ????
But now, four years in, I’m nowhere near where I thought I’d be. And I don’t just mean money-wise! Four years ago, when I didn’t even know what html WAS, let alone knew how to use it, I thought I’d one day figure this blogging thing out. That blogging and everything that comes with it – social media, food photography, managing a website – would eventually become a little easier and I wouldn’t feel so much like an idiot with a crazy dream anymore. In all fairness, things HAVE gotten easier. But more often than not I still feel like an idiot with a crazy dream. Other food bloggers just seem so much better at this game!
So when I got pregnant in early 2015, I started thinking that it was perhaps time for me to grow up. To stop dreaming about a blogging career and focus on getting a ‘real’ job. Like when I was 11 and realized I’d probably never be a Spice Girl. Because while I love blogging and impress myself with the things I know now about the inner workings of the web, and while I do make a little money from blogging these days, the fact remains that blogging is very time-consuming and that I don’t make enough to consider blogging a job yet. A fun side endeavor, yes, but I make less than I did when I worked part time at a supermarket when I was eighteen. Becoming a mom has really opened my eyes to that!
As a mom, do I want such a time-consuming hobby like a blog? I’m not sure I do… ????
What to do?
So, long story short, I just don’t know what to do right now. Continue blogging and try to turn a time-consuming hobby into an actual career, even though that might never happen? Or stop blogging altogether and… what? I make about $250 a month blogging right now, which isn’t a lot, but it DOES help support our family. I don’t make enough with my new website managing jobs yet to just lose that income. So if I stop blogging, I would need another job. Should I try to find work as a translator again, even though there’s not enough work to go around the established translators at this point? Should I take a teaching job and go back to school for a degree in education? Or maybe find a different job, one that doesn’t require a degree in English? I just don’t know!
All the options seem poor to me. If I stop blogging I essentially throw away everything I’ve worked for in the past four years. If I keep blogging there’s a chance nothing is going to change and I might be faced with the same dilemma a year, or even a few months, from now. Not a lot of books are being published right now, so there’s not a lot of translation work. I have a feeling teaching isn’t something I’d be good at. And while I’ve never looked down on lesser paying jobs like delivering mail or working at a supermarket, it’s not what I went to university for. I have a degree in English. I’ve worked hard for it, and I want to at least feel like all that work wasn’t a complete waste of time.
Everyone I discussed my doubts with tells me to keep blogging. The Rocking Rebel has actually asked me to forget about looking for a real job right now and wants me to “take the blog to the next level”. He thinks I can do it, that I can make an income from blogging. It’s AWESOME that he believes in me, but it’s also a bit frightening. After all, I’m the one who has to somehow make this work. I’M the one who has to keep ignoring that little voice in my head saying that I’m being irresponsible for not killing the blog and finding an actual money-making job instead.
Pfff, all that drama! Is this what a quarter life crisis feels like? I don’t like it! ????
So what do I want?
I want what everybody wants: I want to live in a cute house with an apple tree in the back yard. I want Baby Boy and Lucy to be able to play outside in the sunshine while the Rocking Rebel is tinkering on his truck. I want to do what I love and feel like I’m good at it. I want financial security. I want to be a stay-at-home mom. I want to work. I want to eat cake.
I guess if I could grow the blog to a point where it makes me a little more money, and the Rocking Rebel and I would use that extra money to move to a place with a yard (we can always plant the apple tree ourselves!) I’d have all I want in life. Blogging is a way for me to be both a stay-at-home mom and a working mom at the same time.
So. Upping my blogging game, I suppose. Let’s make this real. This year, I’m going to try to turn this blog from a time-consuming hobby in an actual job. I don’t know how I’m going to do it yet, but I’ll keep you posted.
And sorry for all the drama! I’ll start working on new recipes now 😉
Katy | Her Cup of Joy says
The blogging blues is real. I am almost at my 2nd year of blogging and lately it’s been slow. I have 2 kids now and do not have the time or energy to put into all of the blog work! I am thinking of just changing my blog set-up and post only a few behind the scenes pics instead of step by step photos. That is what kills it for me. I love your blog though, you are keeping it real which is what attracts readers to your page. You aren’t out to sell a bunch of things on your blog which I like 🙂
The Tough Cookie says
Hi Katy, thanks so much for your comment! It’s really good to know I’m not the only one who struggles with the blogging blues from time to time. I can only imagine how busy you must be with TWO little ones and a blog to maintain! I suddenly feel like I should have a lot of time, only having to care for Baby Boy, if only he weren’t such a climber. Every time I think I’ve removed all climbable objects from the room, he finds something else to climb on. And couches and window sills are pretty hard to get out of the way 😉
BTW, your coffee macarons look delicious! ???? Keep up the good work! But yeah, maybe not doing all the step-by-step photos would make blogging easier for you. It’s very helpful in the macaron post, because macarons are so finicky, but photographing every step of the process is a lot of work, so I get why it’s wearing you down! I did a lot of step-by-step photos in the past, too, but after a while I decided to only show the final product (and the occasional behind the scene pic) because having to photograph every step just took the joy out of baking for me.
You can do this!!! Personally, I love your recipes (I’ve tried several), and your AWESOME photography!
Hoping and praying that you are able to follow your dreams and do what feels right joyfully!
Happy New Year!!
The Tough Cookie says
Thanks so much for your support Kenley! I’m so glad you like my recipes and photography, and I’m just going to try my best to make the blog work! 😉
Sophie Makridis says
I really love your recipes. Have you thought about starting your own youtube channel? This way more people can see what great work you do. I wish you the best in whatever you decide to do, but please don’t ever stop sharing your wonderful recipes.
The Tough Cookie says
Thank you so much Sophie for your sweet words Sophie 😀 It’s so good to know that readers really do enjoy my recipes, even I I sometimes feel a bit insecure! It definitely helps me through times like this. I thought about starting a Youtube channel, but unfortunately I don’t have the right equipment or space to shoot my recipes. My kitchen is tiny! Maybe someday 🙂
I don’t think there is a blogger out there who has’t experienced the blogger blues. You just expressed it so much more articulately than any of us ever could have. So that alone is enough reason to keep on blogging! I have been blogging once a week since 2009, and it is often a struggle to get inspired. Thanks for your bravery and honesty. That’s why we love you!! Well, that plus your gorgeous creations (and stories about baby boy!)
The Tough Cookie says
Thank you so much for your support Cindy! It’s really encouraging that you’ve managed to maintain your blog for 7 years, even if you DO sometimes struggle to get inspired. Next time the blogging blues hits, I’ll just think of you! And maybe finally bake that awesome cake you baked for your last birthday 😉
I’ve only recently came across your blog and I really, really appreciate your approach to experimenting with and writing about food. I’ve always loved desserts (my mom used to bake a lot, and she really had a gift for it!) but then I decided to go vegan at a tender age of 17 and I pretty much had to figure how to bake on my own as many of ingredients either wouldn’t be suitable or available, or techniques wouldn’t be applicable. (I would’ve so loved a well-researched and thought though content so eloquently put on “paper” of whatever kind!). Now, I’m not sure if this growing food trend interests you at all, so I’ll wrap it up, but I just wanted to drop you a line to acknowledge your good blogging work, and the struggle and bravery that do with it, because I can very much relate to it, too. While a pat on the back with the accompanying “there, there” doesn’t always do much – at least for me – in terms of solace, I still hope this year brings you lots of inspiration and joy, along with a growing sense of purpose, personal fulfilment, and peace.
All the best (from an expat living in the Netherlands and going by a remarkably similar name),
P.S.: Given your fascination with meringue and the love for continued series of posts, you may want to google “aquafaba” and check the 60,000+ members strong FB group. 🙂 x
The Tough Cookie says
Hi Nika (← love your name! Where is it from?), thank you so much for your sweet comment! Hearing that readers actually enjoy reading my blog and find it useful really helps to overcome the blogger blues and definitely encourages me to keep going 😀
I’ve heard that vegan baking is tricky, and I can imagine that experimenting with new baking techniques and ingredients so that you could still have delicious baked goods after going vegan was totally worth it. I’m actually still looking for a great vegan frosting recipe. I’ve seen some that use avocado, but ideally I want an ingredient that is always ready to go. My avocados are somehow never ripe enough when I want to use them. Got a recipes you’d like to share? 😉
I’d heard about aquafaba! I’ve never used it in baking, but I’ve seen some aquafaba macarons online that look really good!