An Unusual Intermission: Thoughts About Being A Blogger

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This is probably a pretty rare post. I have my ideas about what this space should be like: clean, strictly posts that will be helpful to my readers with minimal personal interjections which are probably not as useful and do not portray a certain image that I want to. It's one more day to the second anniversary of this blog (including its forerunner spherepiece.blogspot, which is simply a portmanteau of two of my favourite words)... and so I've decided to write about my thoughts about being a blogger. If you're thinking of becoming one, perhaps you might want to read this as well. The first: I wish more bloggers would write on this topic.


I don't earn enough from blogging to even feed a cat, let alone do it as a full-time job.
It is 4 in the morning and I'm still typing this - and these are nights when I question myself why I would torture myself over blogging with such fervour that I would sacrifice sleep (and beauty) for it. The question that comes up pretty often is: Do you earn a lot from blogging? Is that why you do it? The answer is up there - I don't. Do you get free gifts/goodie bags/products/dresses/food tastings, that's why you do it? I try not to be exasperated when I answer this because I know it's a legitimate question from someone who isn't into this hobby (yes, that's what I call it). The answer is yes to the first part of the question. Pragmatically, I'm running a loss in terms of the money I would have earned in the hours I spent publishing a post. However, I would say that it's a fair trade off. I enjoy my time blogging because I feel a sense of fulfillment when I maintain this space, see it grow, and gain feedback from readers who enjoyed reading it. It's probably like a chef seeing how his customers appreciating his food. Brands who want to gain a little publicity and feel that I can do that for them would willingly trade their products in. That's how it works. But feelings of exasperation aside... it is also these late nights that make me feel alive and a different sense of happiness because I feel like I have something to strive towards. The best things happen when we're awake, and that include chasing your aspirations.


What goes behind a blog post?
Obviously, I only speak for myself. I don't like to give disclaimers, but I don't like to pretend I'm a know-it-all because I still have a lot to learn: I am not experienced, I'm not sure how others do it, but I figured out this train of steps with a lot of trial-and-error. I won't go into details, if you want to find out more you can email me or drop me an ask. If you have any tips you can share it with me too! The steps may vary depending on the type of posts that I do. The two main categories you see are food tastings and beauty product reviews which are slightly more complicated. The other posts are just a simplified version of these steps.
Food tasting: Email liaising & basic background research > Attending food tasting session (3 hours) > Selecting, editing photos (Usually 2 hours for 20 pictures) > Drafting blog post (2 hours) > Publishing > Facebook shares + Instagram post > Submission to online food portals > Email liaising
Beauty product reviews: Email liaising > Trying out beauty product (duration depends on product) + phototaking > Selecting, editing photos > Drafting blog post > Publishing > Facebook shares + Instagram post  > Email liaising (usually not applicable)
Case in point - I'm not writing this to literally guide you to become a blogger, but just showing you how much work actually goes behind a blog post and that bloggers shouldn't be slighted. Nowadays, the word 'blogger' is being thrown around too much it has become associated with unsavoury connotations that include bitchiness, vanity, materialistic, cheapo, manipulative, attention-seeking... ... the list goes on. But really, it's just like any other hobby.



Sometimes, I do feel too vain.
A lot of times, blogging is about self-presentation. There are already so many sources fueling this sense of inadequacy in life - magazines, TV shows, stick-thin models. Now we have fashion blogs and Instagram to do that too. There is a perception that bloggers need to be attractive to be bloggers... especially if you're venturing into the specialization of beauty/lifestyle/fashion blogging. The pressure is real. There are days I feel like my Instagram pictures aren't pretty enough and second-rated pictures just rest in my little gallery folders, probably feeling rather dejected for being rejected. There are days I manipulate my reality to create an Instagram-worthy image and that is when I realized enough is enough. Initially, it can be really fun and hilarious to do it in jest, but then I'll realize that I wasn't living a life of my own, but frightfully - for a little virtual application called Instagram. Life can flash past if I don't realize it.
Then there are bloggers who twist and change their bodies and faces to make themselves feel happier with their appearances. As I said, the pressure is real. If you want to be on top, you've got to be pretty, at every angle. There are times I wonder if I should get braces - I'm afraid of dentists and that's why I haven't been there yet. Then I think to myself that there will always be prettier/skinnier/sassier/cuter/funnier girls... to interject a cliche quote: everyone is already taken - just be yourself. Maybe one day crooked teeth will be fashionable too? Who knows... I'll be banging my head against the wall if I had to re-visit the dentist to crookify my teeth then.


I take my own pictures most of the time and I've become ambidextrous in handling a DSLR.
I learn a lot about myself, brands, websites, online marketing... and develop much patience after I started blogging. Most of all, I've become ambidextrous when it comes to taking photographs. Even when handling my 1kg DSLR while taking selfies. This is a skill nurtured through the beauty posts that I've done, to juggle between using the product and taking photos of me using the product... I'm really curious how other people do it though. My most unfortunate experiences include having this yogurt cleanser sting my eye with hands caked with the product, dripping soap everywhere, battling with sleepy eyes while literally taking photos of myself waking up. The hardest part is really being vaguely glamorous while doing it. I've tons of failed photos in my computer that I like to laugh at occasionally as jokes.

Edit about food blogging (27/7/2015)

An article entitled Trouble At The Top Of The Food Chain has come to my attention and I recalled the existence of this post I wrote slightly more than half a year. I have had conversations with other food bloggers about disclaimers and how we should go about this objectively... but taste is subjective. There are some hard truths about food blogging that I am aware of.


The Mega Sandwich
When it comes to official media tastings, the public relations company and food/lifestyle bloggers are pretty much squashed in the middle of the restaurant and readers/future consumers, to account to both parties appropriately. On one end, the restaurant has indeed put in effort to host us, and the other, readers have been supporting for months or years and put in trust in us to give them the best representation for them to have a wonderful time when they choose a good restaurant to go to. I can't speak for others... but to me, both ends are equally important to me. What I usually do is that I leave it to the onus of the readers to read carefully. If I feature a certain review, it does not immediately mean I recommend and love it with all my heart. I omit certain dishes that I wouldn't recommend. If these dishes require some improvement, I would email the restaurants or feedback to them during the tasting itself. Again, taste is subjective. Some people like it heavily seasoned, others don't... some like fruity ramen, others like tonkotsu, etc. It really depends, so read carefully.


Media tastings vs. real anonymous visits... what's the difference?
The number one difference that I have personally observed is the level of service that I receive during media tastings. They know who you are, they know you are likely to write for them... It's only common sense for them to treat their guests considerably better. That is not to say they mistreat regular, paying guests. My viewpoint is that if they bothered to engage PR companies to do a media tasting, they understand the importance of word of mouth... and regular guests are very significant when it comes to word-of-mouth too.

I have experienced less-than-pleasant service when I visit certain restaurants/cafes by myself, but I haven't had the chance to return to the same restaurant that I have gone for media tastings to conduct an experiment (because I am a poor student + there are too many F&B outlets to try if I were to go on my own). For my own interest, I'd rather try new places to expand my repertoire of F&B footprints if I had time. After all, I do not earn from writing media tasting posts,.

If you have any questions... you can leave a comment or email them to me at spherepiece@gmail.com.

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I share interesting episodes in life revolving around food, lifestyle, travel and inspirational ideas. If you would like to stay in touch, follow me on my Instagram on @spherepiece and Facebook page!

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10 comments

  1. I do think, that you look lovely. so no shame in being vain ;) but yes. i agree with what you said. Nice touch with the sponsored dress :p

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  2. wow. i love this post. i guess these are all the things faced by bloggers.
    and only we know how much effort have been putting into it.

    #iblogmyway

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    1. Yeah.. but I think it's time others know about it too. There are a lot of times I feel that bloggers aren't getting the basic respect that should be accorded to any other hobby. ;(

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  3. A lot of passionate is need to maintain the site. If you are driven by commercial, the fire in you with die off eventually. You will not earn from blogging but it may lead to opportunities if you are credibility is recognized. Keep up the good work. Happy 2nd anniversary.

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    1. Yes I agree :) The opportunities and things to be learnt from blogging cannot be measured in monetary terms.

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  4. Keep up the good work. Mind you. You do look Lovely. : )

    -TheysaySG

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    Replies
    1. Thank you!! I love all your K-box compilation lists :D

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  5. Congrats on your blog's 2nd anniversary!

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