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Lifestyle Mental Health

2020: The Re-Boot

I’ve been blogging since 2005 and have always really enjoyed it. In the last three years, since founding Rock Paper Spirit, I can say that it has been a totally different experience from any other blog that I’ve worked on. This was, in part, due to the work I did on someone else’s blog, and I think my approach to blogging was heavily influenced by that period in my life. I don’t think it’s been for the better.

This is a new chapter though. Everyone’s life has changed in the last year and everyone has had to make adjustments, myself included. I’ve decided to put Rock Paper Spirit aside for a while, in the same way that I’ve put social media aside. It’s not closed, or deleted or anything like that, but it just isn’t taking priority any more and I am committing to working more on my newsletter (hit this link to subscribe http://eepurl.com/3e1Kn you get a monthly newsletter with competitions, news, behind the scenes gossip, puzzles etc) and simply not logging in to those social platforms. I have to focus on the things that bring joy to my life and only do things I’m not passionate about if they are bringing money to my bank account. Unfortunately, Rock Paper Spirit is no longer a passion or a source of income. I’m not sure if it ever was a passion, if I’m honest, or if I was just doing what was expected of me, as a person with a large social media following.

Blogging, in the 2010s, was a completely different beast to what it was when I started out. Everyone’s hustling. People think they can offer you £7 and you’ll insert a link to their site into your most popular post – therefore losing your Google ranking and large amounts of traffic. People treat bloggers like shite. They expect you to do the job of a professional journalist without the price tag of a professional journalist, sometimes earning no more than £5 per article – you know who you are, person who paid me that. I only took it because I was depressed and desperate at the time but now I can see how shady you were being. And I know you’re paying other writers more.

I’m done being treated that way and living in poverty as a result. I’m done being talked down to and judged because I dare to speak out about the way bloggers are treated as lower than other journalists. I’ve started to say NO a lot more this year and will continue to do so.

There’s always been a lot of douchbags and perverts online. It’s always happened. I remember being propositioned circa 1996 as a 15 year old by someone in a Compuserve chatroom and some random man emailing me telling me all the things he wanted to do when I wasn’t much older. But since the pandemic began, it’s gotten worse. Yesterday was the last straw. A man I don’t know contacted me and offered to pay me a weekly allowance to be his sugar baby. Basically, be his prostitute. He decided that because there’s a picture of me online that he likes, it’s perfectly ok to do this. FFS. It’s never ok to proposition a woman who is just minding her own business in that way. I’m 40 years old, I’m a mother, I’m married and I never hide any of those facts. I talk about my husband and son all the time. I have never once shared the pseudonym I use for writing erotic romances, so this attention is definitely not coming from there. Posting a picture of myself looking half-decent does not give anyone a licence to treat me that way.

A couple of weeks ago, I was also contacted by another man who asked me to post a video of myself wearing leather, tearing up pieces of paper. I was polite and told him to come back to the channel for more ASMR but yesterday’s dirtbag was told to fuck off. Don’t even get me started on the guy who kept tracking me down on various platforms I hadn’t even advertised and trying to give me money just for existing.

But seriously… it’s out of hand. And I’m not being kind to myself by continuing to work on this blog or on social media.

I’m a writer. I’m here to give people thoughts and ideas – mostly about cat detectives. I’m not here advertising myself as a sex worker. It’s not fair that because I’m female and work online that I have to make this point in a blog. And it’s not fair that every time I pick up my phone to check for work messages, I end up shaking and frightened about what I might find waiting for me in my inbox and crying because nobody values the skills I have. Yes, that is happening.

I believe it’s possible that I’ll pick this site up again in a few months or years time, with a different approach. It’s kind of what I do. I take breathers and then come back when I’m ready and I think it’s healthy to do that. For the remainder of 2020, I’m working on some fiction that’s giving me a good vibe and testing the waters with my journal business. I might continue that. It seems like a safe way to be creative without attracting the attention of weirdos.

Please enjoy the rest of 2020. Mask up, pack some hand gel and wipes, avoid crowds, but disconnect and enjoy your life, whether that’s at your own home or outdoors. We don’t have the freedom to do the things we used to and it’s probably not safe to do some of them anyway, but the last thing any of us needs is to spend more time in front of a screen with our darkest thoughts and few consequences and my worry is that in this pandemic, that’s what’s happening.

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(1) Comment

  1. Excellent advice on some of the stuff that’s happening online nowadays, in case certain souls are unaware of it.
    I reckon you’re getting the balance right now, with taking some time off from blogging when you feel you need to, without abandoning it altogether.
    Thank you for Rock Paper Spirit! 🙂 x

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