You know what I like?
I like writing. Reading. Curling up on the sofa with Terry, Rubin, Netflix, and coffee. Or, you know, wine.
You know what I don’t like so much?
Meeting people I don’t know. Talking on the phone. Being around Other People for long periods of time. Public speaking. Anything that doesn’t fall into the “things I like” category.
It used to be the case that blogging mostly attracted people from the first category: the ones who basically like to hide behind their computer screens all day, because they communicate better in writing than they do in person. No more, though. Now blogging is as much about the events and the meetups as it is about the writing and the photos. Instead of being asked to simply write about brands or products, these days I’m much more likely to be invited to an event (which I’m then expected to cover, obviously), or to otherwise get off my butt, and out into the ‘real’ world, to meet with ‘real’ people in the pursuit of blog content or collaborations.
Sounds great, right?
I mean, for most people, that sounds like a dream job: you basically get to attend parties and other special events, meet lots of new and interesting people (most of whom will have a whole lot in common with you, given that they’ll be the only people you know who totally understand what it’s like to be a blogger), and then write about it. Who wouldn’t love THAT?
*Sheepishly raises hand*
I’m an introvert. In fact, I’d say I’m probably at the extreme end of the ‘introvert’ scale, and although it’s almost obligatory to follow-up that statement with “But I’m not SHY!”, in my case I AM actually pretty shy, too: which doesn’t make for the best combination, really. There was a time when I was younger when I’m sure I’d have really appreciated all of those parties and other invitations that come my way, but the older I get, the more introverted I become: to the point where I sometimes worry that if my husband wasn’t at the extreme end of the ‘extrovert’ scale, I really would be in danger of becoming a complete hermit.
(I’m honestly not joking about this, by the way: I can totally imagine a future in which I live alone, with my 15 cats, and I start to lose the ability to speak, because my vocal chords have atrophied through lack of use. I mean, I’ve worked from home for 10 years now, and not once have I thought, ‘Gee, I could use some company here!’ Not. Once.)
But I’m writing this post at the end of a day which feels like it’s been largely spent turning down event invitations – most of them in London (which means I would’t have been able to attend them, even if I wanted to), but quite a few of them closer to home, which really gives me no excuse. Well, not other than, “I don’t want to” – which isn’t really an excuse at all, is it? Having said that, mind you, over the course of the past week, I’ve probably had a few dozen event invitations: if I were to attend even a handful of them, I’d have no time for anything else. Even just one of those events would end up taking up most of my working day, given that I don’t live in either Edinburgh or Glasgow, so the time (and money) spent travelling to and from either city, just to attend a press event, would really eat into my day.
The thing is, though, even just responding to the invitations has started to really eat into my working day. At one point today, every time my email refreshed, another event invite – or someone chasing up an event invite – would appear. I have a disclaimer on my “contact” page stating that I don’t attend London-based events, but no one ever reads it, so each of those invites has to be responded to: if I don’t, the senders just keep on emailing me until I do. I now have a a couple of stock emails which I just copy and paste, but even that takes time, and makes me feel like I’m spending my day just explaining to people over and over again that no, I don’t live in London, and no, I don’t want to “just pop down” there to attend a one-hour event.
And, of course, there’s no way for me to say any of this without sounding like an absolute asshole, is there? It’s like, oh noes, people keep inviting me to their fabulous events – cry me a freakin’ river. Trust me, I hate myself a little bit for even feeling like this. I feel guilty for not wanting to go to these things. I get FOMO over the thought that pretty much everyone else in my industry is happily hosting Google hangouts, and taking on public speaking events, while I actually have nightmares about public speaking, and can’t really understand why my ability to write a blog post seems to make people think I’d be good at video, or speaking, and that they should try to talk me into it.
I guess what I’m wondering, more and more these days, is whether it’s still possible to be a successful blogger without taking on all of these non-blog related activities. I feel like the businesses people used to run from their bedrooms are now largely being run from coffee shops, bars and the express train to London – and I wonder if I really am the only one who feels that way, and who really just wants to be able to write, without all of the socialising that now seems to be required.
I’m almost scared to ask this, then, but …. am I? Are there any other bloggers out there who just want to be allowed to get on with the job of blogging, without having to jump through all of the PR-led hoops? And do you want to start a club, if so? One where we don’t actually meet in person, but just grumble about stuff online? Because I don’t know about you, but that sounds like my kinda club…