Breaking The Full-Time Blogger Rules

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When I first made the decision, almost 18 months ago, to jack in my journo job and go freelance, everyone I spoke to had the same advice.

The same tales regurgitated from friends of friends who had at some point, made the same leap.

I needed to set up an office area away from distraction. I needed to set myself working hours, to wander off for walks on my lunch break, to, for all intents and purposes, treat it exactly like a regular job. It was, or so I was repeatedly told, the only way to stay motivated and the ony way to get work done.

And, I guess as with anything in life, you’ve got to learn the rules before you can break them. Like when you start a new job and you’ve got to ask 45653767 questions and get a solid understanding of why things are done the way they are before you go about making wild suggestions about tweeting gifs from the company account.

Which, to be fair is a bit 2k14 of you. Move on.

Anyway, point is, this year, blogging will be different for me.

Blogging won’t be an office job, it will be a hobby.

Uh huh a bit like pilates or adult colouring books or Googling news about the former stars of 16 and Pregnant.

And my full-time job, you lads ask?

Well, I’m going to be a lady of leisure come housewife come professional Netflix watcher. DUH BAES.

I spent a lot of last year beating myself up for not surpassing the expectations I set myself. I’d roll out of bed and be muttering hideous insults to myself in my brain if I wasn’t at my desk producing content by 8.30am.

My creativity felt stumped because I’d tell myself to sit at my desk and churn out a list because FUCKING HELL HANNAH IT’S 10AM AND YOU HAVEN’T GOT A POST UP TODAY YET AND EVERYONE IS LIKE WOAH, SHE’S SLACKING, MAYBE SHE’S BROKEN OR LAZY OR DEAD OR SUMMIN.

I felt that to be a better blogger and a better person, I had to put work and sitting in my office above all else. If I wanted to be taken seriously, heck, if I wanted to take myself seriously, I had to be working 8.30-5 and then some, like the rest of my generation. And I had to be doing that at my desk in front of a computer the way my previous journalism self had.

Sure, there was the odd list brainstorm in a Costa on a local industrial estate and sometimes, when the wine had hit me in just the right way, I’d thrash out something poignant and from the heart on the train home from London. But mostly, my life revolved around my office space and making sure I was working proper office hours.

But you know what the joy of being freelance is? Of running your blog full-time? You get to do you.
And you get to do you, your own way.

Sure, some months you’re like will Ipswich library hire me to put away books so I can pay off all the extra data charges on my phone bill right now or nah? But, to balance out the unpredictability, you get to make your own rules.
And I don’t think I pummeled that into myself enough last year.

Over Christmas and New Year whilst I was ‘off work’, I managed to get up nearly the same amount of content as I normally would. There was two new videos a week, and four blog posts, whereas there’s normally maybe six.
Did I work my ass off in advance to justify a couple of chilled out weeks off?

Nope. I mean, I worked pretty hard, but not hard enough to get any posts scheduled in advance.

Which got me thinking. Why didn’t I just pretend like I was off all the time? Why didn’t I change the way I thought about my blog and my business? It isn’t an office job. I don’t have to sit at a desk.

And so for the last couple of days, I’ve put me first. I’ve been swimming, to gym classes, out for coffee, for a stroll around the shops because gurl still got a few giftcards that need spending on some cute lil high street clothes. I’ve watched season five of 90210 (hats off to ya Netflix) and I’ve got out of bed when I’ve really felt ready.

And then I work when… well, when it feels right. When I want to. When I am inspired and on it. And not when I feel like I should.

And the result? DRUM ROLL PLEASE. I don’t know how to type how a drum roll would sound so just please humour me and imagine it, alright?

I have done MORE work. Yeah yuh huh yep ya ya ya.

Whodda thought it, eh?

Like, seriously, I am so full of ideas. I am so excited about life. So positive and motivated and good and inspired. Mate, I feel like Taylor Swift on the day 1989 came out and everyone was like TAYLOR WE LOVE YOU.

The most lol part is that currently most of my work is coming from a cheap, tiny, old laptop from the comfort of the sofa, whilst I’m snuggled under a blanket with a sassy little J-Lo film and cup of peppermint tea, and not from my Pinterest-inspired business woman iMac-kitted office.

So, I guess the point of this post is just to say that most of the time, it is only YOU standing in your own way.
We are our own worst enemies, our own worst critics, and the person who talks the most about us behind our backs. We are our own bullies. The person who makes us feel the most negative about the life we lead.

So don’t do something a certain way because you feel like you have to, don’t get a job you hate because it looks good on paper, don’t hate on yourself for taking a risk or trying something new or cutting yourself some slack.

The purpose of life isn’t to prove to everyone else how hard you work, it’s to be a good person, to be happy, to make your life count.

And so 2016 will be a fantastic year for me, because I’m reclaiming my blog as a hobby I enjoy that just so happens to pay the bills.

I feel so happy and clear-headed and excited. And y’know what? I feel the most like the glittery version of myself that I’ve felt in a long time.

If life just ain’t working for you, change it.

And on that note, I’m off to eat popcorn and browse Pinterest for some ideas for an upcoming outfit post. All from the comfort of the sofa, obvs. Might even stick on another episode of 90210 because hello that hottie that Adrianna cheated on Dixon with. Living on the wild side and that…

  • Brilliant post. I tried going freelance for a while but the income just wasn’t enough. Oops to me for trying to early when my following wasn’t even at a suitable range but health and all that meant I had too. And I realised that I did more blogging when I was at uni and work than when I had nothing else on. I missed that urgency of time that if I didn’t do it now I couldn’t do it. So when I had no other commitments I did fuck all. So I love your spin on this. Once again proving a whole world of wisdom. Sassy levels. 101%.

    Amandabootes.co.uk

  • Love this post Hannah! I’m looking forward to reading all you have to say throughout 2016. Hobby or not, you kick ass at blogging! xx

  • Eve

    I loved this post, it’s so true. Why do we live life for other people? I, for one, have made a resolution this year to blog as much as I can but not put an actual amount on it, because like you said, it starts to put unwanted pressure on writing & the best writing comes from inspiration not time constraints.

    Thanks for being you!

    Eve xo | http://anorganisedscatterbrain.blogspot.co.uk/

  • Hi Hannah,

    I found this post really interesting, as it details exactly what I have been discovering lately. When I force myself to be in my office for 9am, I am not very productive. I would love to copy your new way of doing things, but I don’t know how I would get through my copywriting work. I actually work really well late at night but my boyfriend doesn’t want me to be working late every night. It’s so hard to find a balance, and take advantage of when you are feeling creative. Your post has inspired me, now I just need to figure something out. Also love your blog and reading all your posts.

    Kiri

    • Nicola

      THANK YOU HANNAH! I really, really needed to read something like this just now. I’m not a blogger, but I do have a similar kind of flexibility with my job, and like you I was trying the whole 9-5 thing, without feeling like I was doing particularly well…over the last month or so, I’ve been trying to figure out what other approaches I can take to things, and reading this has been *so* helpful. THX BBZ.

      • Nicola

        Aaarg, I meant to post this as a separate thing, not as a direct reply, sorry Kiri! But yeah, I totally agree with you that finding the balance is really important, so that’s my next challenge to work on, bearing Hannah’s points in mind.

  • wingy

    I can so relate to this. I am a writer albeit training materials and sometimes forcing myself to come up with content is the most unproductive thing I can do. I am fascinated how one makes a living from blogging though? I am new to reading blogs and loving yours! But totally don’t get how it ‘works’ because it sounds like the best job ever!

  • Good for you! May your good vibes last a long time x

    Sophie Cliff

  • A thought provoking post.

    I dont feel I will never be a full time blogger (as much as I would like to be) but if I was I would like to do it the way you have stated. I feel that would really suit me.

    Kads x

  • This post is just YES! Ditto for me this Christmas. I did my life and did the necessary stuff and it was fine. I’m working a bit more now because I am headed away at the end of the month but I am in big fluffy socks and a blanket cos I don’t feel great this week. Haven’t been into my ‘office’ for two days and have got a lot done at my dining table/sofa! Enjoy 2016! Xx

  • I love writing but never thought full time blogging was something I could do. This post has made me feel like it could actually be a plausible idea! I worry too much on what others will think but not enough about what I actually want to do! Thank you Hannah, I think you’ve just given me a new goal to work towards! Xx

  • Perfect post, Hannah!!!
    I think there are a lot of bloggers out there taking things waaaay too seriously now, it’s lovely to see an alter and positive look!
    Can’t wait to read more in 2016…whenever you feel like sharing πŸ™‚

    GillianΒ  xxΒ  EyelinerFlicks.com

  • Really like this post. Sometimes it’s hard when you put so much pressure on yourself to come up with good content. I always think you have to play to your strengths when writing. for me my creativeness comes to light in the evening when I’m chilling on the sofa. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself.. your blog is amazing!!

  • This just made me feel all kinds of happy and I kind of don’t know how because I am actually so bloody jealous!

    But happy for you and your glittery self.

    Creativity comes when it comes and you can’t force that. (I try and say this at work all the time but it doesn’t quite work the same and just makes me look like I’m trying to do nothing…doh)

    Anyway, can’t wait to read/watch more Hannah Gale in 2016!

  • Chloe marie

    Love this post Hannah! I’m looking forward to reading all you have to say throughout 2016.

  • Way to go!! My blog is only a hobby.. running my tea house is a full time job and more. I sort of gave myself a week off with one scheduled post over Christmas as the rest I was suffering with man flu – How do they do it? Poor souls! With that one week ‘off’ I now have a month worth of content ideas and actually quite scared I can’t fit them all in in time.

    I like you have become a bitch slave to the flixs but I like to call that my chill out time. This year called for a bit more ‘me’ time and and hour a day I can do wha the hell I want even if I have a arm long list of work because you only live once.

    Looking forward to see what this year has to bring for everyone πŸ™‚ x

  • πŸ™ Adriana cheats?!?
    Frankie x

    joieandthevivre.com

  • This post is kinda brilliant! I love your outlook on life and I need to get some of that vibe of yours .. I am so good at taking the passion, fun and life out of well .. life, and it sucks. Thank you for these amazing words!

    love,
    Margot

    http://www.aheartyhome.com

  • Maddie

    I so needed to hear this. I’ve been sat beating myself up about the fact that I have very little motivation to write an extremely hard essay for my Masters degree. I woke up at half 6, stayed in bed until 9. Did my hair, make-up, got dressed nicely (needn’t have bothered as I’m 100% not going out today, but still) was ready to work at 11. Procrastinated for a while, which led me here. It was my choice to do my Masters and I’m so happy to be doing it but my writing feels forced and doesn’t flow. I’m going to make a nice cup of tea, sit on the sofa for half an hour and hopefully then I’ll be ready to blitz the writing. You are so right, only you can make you happy! But if it helps I think that you are fabulous at what you do, Hannah! xo

  • At the end of last year when I was like EGH kicking the blogging bucket, laterz. It was beacuse I wasn’t writing when I was ‘meant to be’ or doing as much as i ‘should be’ and content was suffering. But since Christmas and having all the rest and doing nothing, I’ve found it so much easier to get stuff done. Just when it works, not when it’s ‘meant’ to be happening. MAKE LIFE SUIT YOU. YOU DO YOU.

    you know the drill xxxxx
    http://www.fashionnomads.com

  • amy

    I think the problem is that you blog full time. Most writers have to live to find stories, such as work a range of jobs and meet new people. Apart from the few travel weeks you have had, you mostly blog about blogging. Maybe you should free more time up, take up a new hobby, meet different people (not just fellow bloggers). I enjoy the blogging posts (this is the reason why I read your blog, a few months ago I decided to try blogging so personal i am not interested in the fashion articles). In order to write about life you have to live, but if all you’re doing is blogging in front of a computer how is that living.

  • Everything about this, yes. Yup, yes, thank you yes. Sitting on the couch and doing so much more work right now (started an hour ago) than I did when I woke up at 8am yesterday and sat at the computer all day. LIFE
    Laura | collectinglabels.com

  • I LOVE THIS POST. I’ve just started free-lance myself (not my blog though mind), and I’m constantly being questioned on what I do with my day, and people look at me in disgust when I’m in my jammies still at 4pm. But it pays my bills – so why is everyone complaining?! I wish you well & your blog is still one of my faves x

    http://www.beckieeschle.com

  • I TOTALLY feel ya. I’ve recently switched to working freelance (alongside a part time job), and I couldn’t even count the number of articles that told me working from home would only work out if I set myself a strict routine, had a separate office space etc. The truth is, the office space I set aside is always cold, so I end up working in bed or on the sofa anyway, and I’m REALLY not a morning person, so my working day becomes less traditional anyway. I did beat myself up about this for a while but, like you, once I accepted that this is just the way I work, I’ve become much more productive. Yay for making our own rules!
    (Sorry for the essay, oops!)

    Helen xx
    helsyeah.co.uk

  • Lucy

    Amazing post. Super honest and true and why the heck not! 90210 is amazing and I applaud you for getting through the season. It’s so important to take time for you. No one said on their death bed ‘I wish I spent more time at work’, so making your work a hobby is perfect πŸ™‚
    Lucy xoxo
    http://lucyannblog.blogspot.co.uk

  • Unfortunately most of us are stuck in office jobs, but I would 100% just make my own hours and do things my own way if I could! I’m sure there have been studies which show that the 9-5 Monday-Friday working week is actually pretty damn unproductive. Some people work better at 5am while others work better at midnight. And I’m sure everyone would do more work if they had the chance to take a break whenever they needed it, whether that’s to go for a walk or watch crap on T.V. You are lucky enough to be able to work how you want to work, and you absolutely should not make yourself conform to office hours or beat yourself up for being a little unconventional!

  • My favorite part of this post was at the end ” if life just ain’t working for ya, change it”
    Good for you!
    http://Www.justbeingbrooklyn.com

  • Absolutely love this post! And the people that challenge and question you are only jealous that they don’t have the chance to be as flexible! Keep going!

    http://www.ohsobecky.com

  • Love that you’re starting to cut yourself a bit of slack.
    Need to start giving yourself more credit for how awesome you are babes xo

  • Writing when you feel like it as opposed to when you’ve told yourself you should always comes so much more naturally! I tried to stick to a strict blogging routine and it totally didn’t happen – I’m going to blog when I feel like it and I think my content will be better for it πŸ™‚ x

  • Amy

    Good for you Hannah, so good that you feel confident to work how you want to and not how people expect you to and I’m sure your content will only get even better because of it πŸ™‚
    Amy x
    Call Me Amy

  • Such a good way to see work, if it makes you more productive and leads to fun then let’s all give it a go!

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Beauty Wellbeing

  • Loved this! I’ve literally just started blogging and I’ve been looking back through your posts as they are so helpful. Fingers crossed to making a success of mine! X

  • Jane

    I think at the end of the day is all about priority, the goals you want to reach and what makes you happy.
    Doing something as an hobby is very different then doing it as a full-time job because, of course, it becomes the job that supports you, pays the bills, etc. and it is not something you do just when you feel like, but something you need to work hard on even when you don’t feel like. I think people have this idea that If you find a job that you like you will love it all the time, but it doesn’t work like that and even If you love your job there are going to be times when you would rather watch Netflix and eat pizza. But those are also the times you should keep going, push yourself and do your best.

    I understand your post and If it works for you that’s great, but If you want to be successful in your business you can’t just lay in bed when you don’t feel like working, success comes from hard work. I’m saying this because I’ve read so many post you wrote in which you wrote about how frustrated you were not to be as successful as other bloggers, not getting the job, etc. And, I don’t want to be mean in any way saying this, but probably those bloggers work a lot, even more than the 9 to 5 to make sure their blog is the best it can be. With this I don’t mean to say you are wrong because If you are happy this way, having a little space on the internet and keeping it has it is that is great and I’m happy for you, but then you should’t write posts where you complain about not being successful enough because people that are treat blogging as their job, their business and not as an hobby.
    Everyone knows how hard is to make a business succeed.
    You are an amazing writer, and your blog is hands down one of the best. Way better than the ones that have way more followers than you so I’m sure If one day you will treat this blog as a business you will have great success.

  • I am 10x more productive working from bed or the sofa where I’m comfy than I am working at a desk! In fact I don’t even have one at home x

  • This post is amazing. Honestly, I put so much pressure on myself to work some kind of kick-ass, Instagrammable #GIRLBOSS routine that I feel more stressed than when I was in a mind-numbing 9-5 that made me want to get the flu just for some time off. Sure, I like being productive. But I don’t think there’s a formula for it and I’d rather be happy than churn out a blog post every day because I feel like I should.
    Thanks for this post, it totally cheered up my gloomy Friday. I’m off to binge-watch some Netflix

  • Great post! While I’d love to freelance full-time, I’m definitely not ready for that leap just yet. I like to imagine that I’d have a fairly set schedule, but you can’t force inspiration and good quality work. Sometimes you just have to put yourself first!

  • Loved this post – you go girl! πŸ™‚

  • Great post!
    I only started following you around October/November 2015 and I can see that your posts have changed!
    I liked reading your work before too but it felt like you were stopping yourself.
    Where as now its seems to come oozing out of you, all this energy and positivity and confidence! It feels like you are no longer worrying but really just writing about what you enjoy and it shows πŸ™‚
    Great to be part of your journey, keep up the good work gal
    Kris x

  • Great post–very inspiring and a good reminder that we all need to find what works best for us. Blogging definitely isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing.


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