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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.)

in the car

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.

introversion and blogging: how easy is it to run a successful blog as an introvert?

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…

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30 Comments
  • You’ve kind of summed up my life there 😉

    I am also one of the most awkward, introverted bloggers around and HATE attending events. In the early days, I’d go out of my way to do so, thinking that ‘that’s what good bloggers do’.

    After sitting alone in a trendy city bar (no plus ones allowed of course…) drinking soft drinks due to driving there and back, I had to re-think things.

    I adore freelancing in my spare time and being alone as often as possible. My ‘day job’ involves working in a busy office and I leave at 5pm feeling emotionally drained almost every day.

    Bring on the Introvert Bloggers Club I say!

  • Anna nuttall
    November 16, 2016

    Amber, I’d join the club – we can have cookies and tell horror stories under our blanket fort! I think for me after working in customer service for 10 (miserable) years have made me an introvert – I also thinking going to a boarding school contribute it as well. For a long time I was surrounded by people when I all wanted was my own company and to be on my own. After a while I couldn’t hack it and couldn’t keep up the whole pretend-part of being happy around people. My parents do ask me if I’m ever lonely or bored since working from home – no not really. I’m happy now as I don’t have to worry about so-call friends (I had an old work friend who moved up north and didn’t bother to tell me!) and I don’t need to worry about being force to go to the AGM event or otherwise I won’t get my yearly bonus.
    My husband is an introvert so we’re two pea in a pod.
    So amber, I feel you and I totally know where you are coming from.

  • What Lou Wore 365
    November 16, 2016

    I wouldn’t go either if it meant scaling one end of the country to another – for a hour of work/socialising/whatever! I don’t blame you at all and as a reader, I don’t feel that your blog is poorer for not going to these events. When people post press day recaps for example I tend to briefly skim them as, you know what, it’s the middle of November and I don’t care what clothes the high street shops will be hawking next spring…. Let me just enjoy autumn and winter (by that I mean moan about the dark evenings and the cold wet weather and Christmas getting closer and closer) without needing to think about bikinis and sandals (again! We just packed them away fgs). I think this is why I don’t follow trends, read magazines, “big” bloggers or often go to actual shops, it’s all so frantic and on fast-forward all the time.

    I like introvert Amber and your blog, if you are happy that way don’t worry, just enjoy it and be comfortable with it 🙂

    • Amber
      November 16, 2016

      I’ve always wondered if other people felt like this! I personally don’t read posts about blogger events or press days – I just don’t find them interesting/relevant, and I’ve always wondered if my readers would feel that way too if I were to write about them. My conclusion has always been that it would be a huge time investment for me, for something that probably wouldn’t be of much benefit to my blog: I get going to events in order to build relationships with brands etc, and I used to do that as a journalist – I guess the difference is that as a journalist I wasn’t expected to write an article about the press day, so that’s always seemed a bit odd to me, really!

  • CiCi Marie
    November 16, 2016

    I feel exactly like you. I make myself go to London Edge because it’s the best way to speak to the brands I want to work with, but I have to be honest, I hate every freakin’ minute of it. Not because the people aren’t lovely – they usually absolutely are – but because talking to people all day long is my idea of hell. Every time I go I tell myself it will be my last, when I literally can’t stop shaking from the adrenaline and exhaustion on the way home… But I feel like if I don’t go, I’ll fall out of step and miss something that’s really helpful to my blog, so I totally get your feeling of not wanting to do this stuff, but feeling like if you don’t you’re not keeping up. I wish I had the answer 🙁

    • Amber
      November 16, 2016

      This is exactly how I’d be if I went to an event: I know a lot of people would laugh at me for saying it, but it would honestly cause me SO much anxiety and use up so much energy that it really wouldn’t be worth it. I’m obviously not happy to know that other people have similar anxieties, but I have to admit, it does make me feel a bit less alone!

  • Angie Silver (@SilverSpoonLDN)
    November 16, 2016

    Would you believe, that despite being an extrovert and living London, I feel the same about emails about blogger events. It’s my fault really for putting pressure on myself as the more I attend, the less time I have and the more I say no to, the more guilty I feel. I don’t even know why I feel guilty!! I think it’s because the more I say no, the less likely they’ll ever invite me again. I’ve just about come to realise that this isn’t actually true!

    • Amber
      November 16, 2016

      I can confirm that saying no doesn’t stop the invites – well, I mean, I guess it might do with some brands, but I have NEVER attended an event in my life, and I still get dozens of invitations every week, many of them from London brands who I’ve told repeatedly (politely, though!) that I won’t travel to London for a brunch meeting, but who keep on inviting me anyway! I know I sound really ungrateful, and I’m honestly not – it does just confirm to me that they’re not actually paying attention to me/my blog, though!

  • Sian
    November 16, 2016

    Yes, yes, yes!! I think we’ve talked about it a bit before actually, but I totally agree with you! I’ve been to like 3 blogger events in the time I’ve been blogging, and while they were pretty fun, they were absolutely exhausting too. I’m an introvert as well, so I find it difficult to approach people to start talking to them, and like you, I can imagine sitting at home with lots of cats and not being worried about having seen anyone for days, oops 😀 I also have that pet hate of being invited to “pop down” to visit a showroom in London for an hour or so – it would take me the whole day to get there and back, so “popping” isn’t an option for me! I also hate when you get invites that just have the name of a building or a street as they assume every blogger is in London so will know where it is…
    The opportunities that events open up and the things they offer can be amazing though, so I do get annoyed that I can’t (/don’t want) to attend more – it’s so difficult!

    • Amber
      November 16, 2016

      Oh yes, the invitations which don’t even specify the city, and just assume that OBVIOUSLY everyone knows it’s London are so annoying! I actually find it a bit odd that they make that assumption, actually: I mean, sure, it’s a safe bet with traditional media, but one of the reasons blogging became so popular is that it can be done from anywhere so why brands continue to assume that we’re all Londoners is beyond me. With that said, I’ve also had quite a few emails from readers telling me they’ll be visiting London soon, and either asking to meet up, or looking for tips on what to do, etc: I think some people genuinely do think that the UK is basically just London, and that no one lives anywhere else!

  • Sarah Rooftops
    November 16, 2016

    I’d join that club! In fact, another blogger and I talked about starting an Introvert Bloggers Facebook group but were worried that a) we’d all be too shy/lazy to use it and b) the extrovert bloggers we know might take offence/muscle in and be all loud and trendy in our quiet place.

    I do go to some events. I go to casual blogger coffee meet ups every few months and have made a couple of proper friends through them – I’ve never regretted going to one. But it’s unusual for me to go along to the product launch/sample our new menu events; I just don’t like the pressure to have fun and chat to people and take photos to prove that I had fun and chatted to people and WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE FUN AND CHAT TO PEOPLE AND HAVE TO LIE IN MY PHOTOS AND THERE’S NOTHING I ACTUALLY WANT TO EAT?!?! Which I realise makes me sound all kinds of neurotic (“Oh no! Food and fun! The horror!”) but it’s just not my kind of thing. And when I AM tempted, it’s invariably at a time when Steve won’t be home to take over the parenting and I’d struggle to find a willing (read: “free”) babysitter. I’d rather stay at home and read a book.

  • Suz
    November 16, 2016

    This is all me. My husband recently commented on how he feels that he’s dragged me to Wales, away from all my family and friends in Scotland, etc but, as my Mum rightly pointed out to him, I am more than happy in my little farm, far away from everyone because I have Internet and a fb messenger group with my sisters. I’m an introvert who suffers from depression, so being constantly at home doesn’t work for my mental health. Also, being surrounded by people is absolutely exhausting, even just for an hour or so. It’s all a bit Catch 22.

    I’ve driven home each night for the last two weeks past this gorgeous new cafe in a little village near me. I promised myself I’d stop in, but then instantly panicked about it and then chastised myself for not going. I finally went tonight, but only because I made my husband come along. Now that I’ve been once, I’ll be fine. I’m a 38 year old woman who is too nervous to go out and drink coffee in new places. And don’t even ge me started on UPS (unfamiliar petrol stations).

    • D. J.
      November 18, 2016

      Suz, I totally get this! Be happy on your little farm. 🙂

  • Charmaine Ng
    November 16, 2016

    Me, me, me. I’m so awkward socially and I can’t seem to learn! Most times when I’m at social events I just wish I was home on the internet instead. I can’t stand being home after 9pm. I live for the introvert life.

    – Charmaine
    http://charmainenyw.com

  • Myra Boyle
    November 16, 2016

    I seem to fit at both ends of the introversion-extroversion scale. I’m either hibernating (which I do every winter anyway) and find it difficult to talk to anyone, or I’m totally extrovert and seek out people to speak to. Then I’m happy to talk to complete strangers which fascinates my grandson. As for gatherings, I love finding out about people or being completely open myself. I think it’s called networking these days.
    Amber, your blog is perfect just the way it is (allusion to Bridget Jones). Don’t change, well I know you continue to push yourself to make improvements, but don’t change your style.
    You are so real, describing your successes and failures; your thoughts and debatable questions. You have the Scottish self-deprecating gene, and sense of humour, but just so you know, you really are brilliant. Keep on doing what you do, your daily posts brighten my days.

    • Amber
      November 17, 2016

      Thanks so much, Myra, that made my day 💗

  • Myra Boyle
    November 16, 2016

    Oh, by the way, one measure of stress is the number of human interactions you have in a day. As a secondary teacher with a management position I had hundreds of interactions every day. Now I really don’t know how I did it. The principal psychologist, with whom I was discussing children’s needs, saw me being stopped ten times in the space of a few yards, pointed out how stressful it was.

  • Gemma
    November 16, 2016

    I’m not particularly introverted, though I do find talking to people exhausting and need a good 3 days to recover after going to an event where I have to talk to strangers.

    I THINK I like going to events. Until I get there when I either stand alone in a corner with a glass of free wine all night, or I drink a glass of free wine and find my new BFF and have a great time, but it hasn’t really acheived anything worth the £60, 4 hours on a train and 3 days recovery that it took me to get there. Plus I invariably spill something down myself, or, on one memorable occasion turned up with all the buttons on the front of my blouse popped open.

    I’ve been to a few press days that have led to opportunities later on, but they’ve rarely been worth it. Having said that, when I started blogging I met some people who I now count among my proper friends at “blogger” events, but that was the old days (pulls out zimmer frame). These days all the ones I’ve been to in London are full of people with business cards and fancy cameras, so I just hide in the corner feeling like an old lady until it’s time for my train home!

  • Maria
    November 16, 2016

    Stay true to who you are and what you want to do. Your blog would be meaningless otherwise. X

  • Alice
    November 16, 2016

    Oh, Amber ❤️
    I like you just the way you are! 😊

  • Rebecca
    November 17, 2016

    Yeah, I’m definitely with you. A big-time introvert and even when I was able to attend more events it’s very hard to properly cover them. So at some point you’re seriously just going to the party and rub elbows and maybe give a shout-out on Twitter to say thanks for inviting me (and sound like super cool that you were at THE party last night), but it almost never ended up being something that could be on the blog. So what was the point as a blogger to be invited when you can’t even cover it (no way to get pics, or it’s all PR pics which are generic and everywhere, etc)?
    I also think this system is a big disadvantage for rural bloggers. Bloggers who live in a city have more opportunities to attend events and network with PR to get blogging opportunities and if you live somewhere more isolated it doesn’t matter how good your content is, good luck getting a PR team to notice you since you couldn’t make the party…

  • Sophie
    November 17, 2016

    Quick Tip!

    I’ve had an idea to cut out the one step in the replying to London based events – I’m presuming you’re using Mail if you have a mac? You could create a brand new ‘Signature’ that includes your ‘copy & pasted’ sorry I can’t attend this London event and then just select this from the signatures tab within the email composer as needed.

    This can also work with any canned response – just make a new signature and name it something that makes sense to the situation.

    • Amber
      November 17, 2016

      I actually use a Windows PC most of the time, and changing the signature isn’t any quicker than just copying and pasting, unfortunately. At one point I was getting so many of them I actually set up an auto responder basically saying “If your message is about guest posting or events, I won’t be able to respond: if it’s something else I’ll get back to you soon”, but it just seemed to confuse people who weren’t contacting me about those things, so I think I just need to suck it up with the copying and pasting!

  • dubliner in deutschland
    November 17, 2016

    Public speaking gives me nightmares too, argh! For some reason German company seem to be really into presentations so that every so often I’ll get asked to do one. I hate it! It normally isn’t so bad in the end but I wish I were better at public speaking. Some people seem to just be so confident and have no issues with it whatsoever

  • D. J.
    November 18, 2016

    Yes! Let’s form a club for introverted bloggers. While I do not officially Blog, yet, I essentially did something similar on Facebook last year. Amber, you are brilliant and your posts make my day, too.
    I feel like cutting & pasting bits from Myra Boyle’s response. I have discovered I am a Frustrated Extrovert. I do have a strong need to connect with people, but so often so many have hurt me. It especially hurts when people befriend me first, as if to get my guard down. Being around people for business IS draining, and different. I hate phonies and I hate being phony. I guess my point is that I have managed to carve out an acceptable lifestyle through photography, posting, and Internet friendships. I’m glad that you and many of the people replying to this could be a part of that.

  • Laurie
    November 19, 2016

    This honestly is what’s stopped me from starting my blog – all of this pressure to have photographer-perfect pictures, and post on every social media channel and socialize and snapchat and all of these crazy things, my little introverted self just can’t handle it. So, I’m definitely in on that club. 🙂

    (Though, for your answering emails problem, can I recommend Zapier (zapier.com)? Depending on the email program you use, you can create a Zap that triggers on a specific label or subject and then it will automatically send out your response email. So then you just label the invite email and Zapier will do the rest. 🙂 )

  • Steff
    November 27, 2016

    I’m also an introvert, (well according to Myers Briggs!), at any rate I relate to much of this. I have attended a few blogger events, and they have been fun, mostly(!), but I can’t be bothered going to 5 events a week (there was one week recently where this was an actual possibility, and uh…nah). Which I know sounds obnoxious, and I am new enough to it to still feel flattered to be invited to anything, but not all bloggers are alike so it stands to reason we aren’t all naturally going to form a posse (I refuse to say gang!). On the plus side I have met some genuinely lovely people and been to some nice events. On the negative side I have reached that bratty stage where I’m thinking “Ugh do I seriously have to write a whole blog post about this frankly stingy goodie bag?”. Because those sorts of posts take up a lot of time, and as many like you are averse to reading them I am afraid of putting out repetitive content, so I make a real effort to make my posts zing, and be as true to the experience as possible. I don’t believe readers just want to read about these events either to be honest, so as bloggers I guess we have to make an extra effort if we do attend them to keep up what makes us really want to write, for me anyway it is more about having my little corner to write in, I know I am never going to be a blogging superstar and I’m ok with that. But like you it does feel like the social/p.r. aspect is increasing, so it will be interesting to see how it evolves.

  • Marlene
    November 29, 2016

    This is SO me!!!!! I’ve had days where I think, enough with this blogging thing because I need to go to another event or there’s pressure to start a video series or do all these social things I do NOT want to do! Lol. I’m terrible at networking, meeting others in real life and the events are all the same, just a different day. I’ve totally gotten more introverted and stuck in my ways as I get older and just value the time I could be spending elsewhere, like a perfectly good date with Netflix 🙂
    If you start a club, I’m so in. And we never have to meet and stress about whether it’ll be awkward, hah.

  • C
    December 21, 2016

    Totally feel your pain from the other side of the fence, being in PR and working in a relatively extrovert-demanding profession. There are days when I get invited to evening stuff socially and I’m like ‘hey no, I don’t want to do this nice thing you’ve invited me to because I’m busy doing … nothing, but trust me, it’s important’ – I hate sounding like a dick, but I totally need people-free holidays to stay sane.

  • Sarah Price
    December 21, 2016

    I really liked this post, because I’m also an introvert and I live in Toronto, so there are tons of events but luckily only in the Summer, when it’s warm enough. So I get lucky for that, but because I’m in Toronto, I don’t really have an excuse now to go. I have major social anxiety that’s getting worse as I get older, and it’s terrifying to walk into these events. I find how the event is planned can really impact it too, but I don’t know that before I walk in. For me, if I had someone to go with it’d be better. But sometimes I’m just alone, and it’s awkward. I’ve met people that way but it’s terrifying until I meet someone there who is in the same boat. I’ve declined most of the invites and decided I’ll only go if I know the brand / company, or am actually really interested in the new launch or whatever because otherwise it isn’t worth the mental stress and I think that’s what you have to do too, like just set clear boundaries for yourself so you don’t have to decide and feel bad or guilty for not going. As for people emailing, it’s ridiculous right? They don’t read disclaimers and then keep emailing until you reply. I totally get where you’re coming from.

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AD | We’re spending a few days at @highlandheatherlodges in beautiful Perthshire, for what Terry is optimistically referring to as his ‘birthday week’. (I say ‘optimistically’ - we’re only here for three days, and his birthday was yesterday, but don’t stop believing, Terry!)⁣
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