On the notion of blogging as a career

I want to do work I'm proud of, and only work I'm proud of. The work I'm proud of is not, by its nature, especially lucrative. That's fine with me; I always knew what I was getting myself into. I've always scraped together income on side jobs while I wrote what I wanted.

I started blogging eight years ago assuming a few of my friends would read it. A lot has happened since then. A lot of it has been amazing; most of that is thanks to the community I've found here. But I've also enjoyed plenty of opportunities thanks to advertising and sponsorships.

Still, I've been uncomfortable with the marriage of blogging and advertising. I'm okay with ads (obviously) as long as they stay in their place. But the advertisers want in. They want to get into your posts. It's not because they're evil. They're smart. They know where people are looking. But once they're paying you to write, you work for them. That's fine if you're a copywriter, but if your "copywriting" lands on your personal blog, that can get awfully weird. If your authenticity is being used to sell products, what does it mean, anymore?

You need to have clear boundaries to manage this terrain. You need to know what you're getting yourself into and what you're in it for. I'm not good at it, but even I've lucked out. I felt good about writing for Chronicle Books, for example. I liked their books. I had creative control over the video. It was a good fit.

I've turned down plenty of sponsorship opportunities that didn't fit. I don't want a pat on the back for those decisions; that's how it should be. But then a while ago I worked on a campaign I categorically did not feel good about. I put content on my blog that I would not have put on here if it were not for the check I was promised.

I'm not trying to be coy about which campaign it was. (You could probably guess, if you're a regular reader.) I don't want to point a finger at them;  everyone involved acted in good faith, and it's not like I couldn't have walked away. I just didn't. I apologize. I will make sure it never happens again.

Please know that I'm not saying that professional blogging is dishonest. Plenty of bloggers are far more business-savvy than I am and would not have gotten themselves into such an uncomfortable position. This is not about them, it's about me.

Professional blogging is not where my talents lie. It's not what this blog was meant for. I don't want to worry about my stats. I don't want to think about my Klout score. I don't want to be identified as a mommyblogger or a "power mom" or a mompreneur. I don't want to be an Influencer. I don't want to think about being "relevant," whatever that means. I want to write whatever I want to write, when I want to write it. Whatever dollars I collect from this place are nice, but they are and were always meant to be a few extra bucks, not an income we could live on.

This is not a call to arms, mind you. You do what you like. As I said, I know and respect plenty of people who are making a lot of money blogging. I never have, and never will.

Have you seen Bill Cunningham New York? You need to. I keep thinking about this quote:

"If you don't take money, they can't tell you what to do. That's the key to the whole thing."