In case you didn’t know, I consider this blog a hobby. I do it for fun. Just for fun. I don’t ever plan to have a carrier in anything remotely related and I didn’t study in a connected field. When I created the blog the possibility of making any sort of profit from it never even crossed my mind. Not that I didn’t think I was good enough or any fancy consideration like that. I just honestly didn’t realize that was an option in any way. So my view on this subject may be a bit different than some people’s.

money Noragami
le sigh

I was reading an article on how to make profit from blogging and vlogging and what kind of numbers you can realistically expect. Even though I don’t plan on monetizing, I’m really interested by the mechanics of it. A bit like I read first hand testimonials on the daily workings of the sex trade even though I would only ever become a call girl if my client list was limited to one specific person and a few hundred anime characters… That thought sort of got away from me. Hum so yeah, blogs and money and stuff…

Anywho, included where a bunch on comments and accounts from all sorts of people who ran blogs, twitch or YouTube channels or Instagram accounts and what their experiences where. Overwhelmingly, people where comparing how much profits they were earning and mostly how much they invested in their various projects. Time for research, sometimes buying products for reviews or getting subscriptions, equipment, accounts…it adds up quick. And a lot of them felt a bit dejected when they ended up with only pennies a month to show for it or even worse, they were in the red!

As I read all this it started to sound really reasonable. When a person puts so much effort into something people regularly get paid for and even invests their own money, of course they would feel like they failed on some level if they get nothing back. Heck even views and engagement are a type of social currency. And I started to think about my own blog. How it’s normal I would get bummed out if a post gets just a few likes and no comments. Like maybe I would enjoy it more if I tried to capitalize on my efforts. That just makes sense.

And then I remembered something. My blog is a hobby.

I love this image – wish I could have found it on pinterest

I play piano, guitar, french horn and euphonium. I was giddy when sound euphonium came out! No one ever talks about euphonium players. Also my autocorrect doesn’t recognize euphonium as a word. That’s how unpopular it is. Between lessons for some and all of these instruments I have invested a pretty penny in my musical past times but it never crossed my mind to be a professional paid musician. Not for one second. I also play a lot of video games. When you account for the games themselves, the various consoles and multiple computers I have purchased over the years, it easily dwarfs any money I may have put into my blog. I have yet to see a single penny back from that.

But I never once felt dissatisfied with those hobbies. And it’s not like I got engagement from it or anything. What I gained from them is the enjoyment of playing music just for myself and and a huge amount of completely useless disparate information picked up from all those video games throughout the years. Maybe a bit of learned muscle memory with a keyboard or controller. Occasionally sad bragging rights no one I know is actually impressed by in any way. That’s it. And yet, I’m still going to play music and video games. I enjoy it.

It got me thinking that at some point, some very bright, talented and passionate people managed to turn their hobbies into careers and that’s amazing. It’s also super attractive. And as we saw more and more of those people with the rise of social media, it’s normal that it became a dream for a lot of folks. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. As long as people have a fall back position as it’s a very unreliable and effort intensive path.

However, I wonder if we haven’t lost something along the way. So many of my gamer friends now have twitch channels and are starting to fret about views and how to promote themselves. They’re choosing games that people want to watch getting streamed over ones they want to play. I mean they still want to play those other games too but you know, it’s a consideration. I go out with people who order desserts that look good in pictures and go to places with interesting backdrops cause you gotta to do it for the gram. I have to wait until certain friends are done with their Twitter upkeep to get their full attention. All of this is fine, it’s just that to me, and I m probably going to show my age here, it sort of sounds like a job. And that’s just not as fun as a hobby.

anime office work
that looks more like what work is

Let’s take it back to anime. This is what this blog is about after all. A while ago, when I realized people where actually reading some of my stuff, I thought to myself that maybe I should think about what series would make a good post when choosing what to watch next. Not as in watching anime only because I think the review would get views or only watching anime I could click-bait. Just that when I go through my to watch list as I always do and more or less randomly pick a show, why not make it one I think could be the subject of a popular post.

I also started to take a lot less notes because I saw that more accessible reviews seem to *do better* and for some reason, I really didn’t like this approach. There’s no logical reason. I was still watching shoes I wanted to see and would have watched eventually. And I was even putting in a bit less work in my reviews. But it felt like a job. And a job where I wasn’t rewarded by the work I put in necessarily. I wasn’t just watching anime and writing a blog for the sake of it, there was a purpose and a direction.

Don’t get me wrong, those things are great motivators and you need motivation to keep up this type of hobby. But for me, it somewhat dampened the joy of it. And I think some other bloggers may be in the same boat.

Do you have a hobby you want to turn into a profession? Has it taken the fun out of it? Do you enjoy creative ventures more when there’s a potential for profit or does that add pressure?

Rini 2020 (12)

49 thoughts

  1. “just a few likes and no comments”

    That sounds like most of my posts.

    I have found in my many years of experience (grey-bearding here) That as soon as I tried to turn a hobby into a career it lost all of its attraction. And I have tried a few times.

    I was an avid photographer when i was young. But then I thought to become a “professional.” Pretty soon it became all weddings and portraits of people who didn’t like how they looked and real estate photography and finding clients and keeping unreasonable and irrational clients happy.and spending so much time in the dark room i got sick. The fun assignments were few and far between.

    Then I moved to LA and the competition became so insane for even the bland jobs i couldn’t cope. Photography was ruined for me. Decades later it still doesn’t fill me with quite the same joy.

    It is still kind of fun with the right subject matter. The only stuff I do now is photos from my hikes and other interesting situations i stumble across. i have no interest in producing perfectly composed and perfectly exposed art or seeking to explore the soul of humanity through street photography as I once did. Now I just do memory shots and hope a few people enjoy them and nobody hates them.

  2. This was a fantastic post. I can definitely agree with you in the sense of it would be the absolute dream that we can create hobbies into careers but then it can suck the life out of it… I also agree that as far as anime watching I love just picking out something from my to be watch list and if I want to review it I will but I know I don’t have to because this is for fun ♥️ excited to read more from you in the future

  3. I guess you know I couldn’t possibly agree with you more. Back in 1990 or so when I got dragged onto the Internet it was a fun place where people were putting up websites about their cats, or their collections, or whatever. I had fiction and some of my art made into clipart and all kinds of fun stuff. It was all for fun and it was fun! Then all this “make money on the Internet” stuff started and I thought that would be grand. After I am a “content producer” since I do write and draw basically all the time because I like it. So I started trying to make a living. Hey, I succeeded if you can live on $10 to $100 a month for 18 hours a day effort! But what really topped it off was the massive burn out. Some of that was the ridiculous work to pay ratio, some of it was having my work stolen on a regular basis and credited to others. There were some external forces also at work, but a couple years ago I quit all money making efforts online. I also stopped writing, stopped drawing…about all I did was watch anime and fold origami and do outdoors things (at the time we were living in the State parks of New Mexico and I could easily spend hours hiking, kayaking, and so on). It’s only been recently that my brain started that thing it does – where it has words in it that insist on pouring out. It took me a while to decide to even share them on a public blog rather than just in a personal journal. Maybe other people will enjoy them or get something out of them. Mainly, I just want to get this out of my head – LOL. I might even start drawing again some day. So let me be a lesson. If I can’t be a good example, I can at least be a horrible warning. Feel free to monetize, but don’t count on any money from it. And please, don’t let it eat your life.

    1. damn that’s a lot of work!!!! I never would have survived, I’m impressed you’ve come back to the internet at all!

  4. I occasionally have the inkling that perhaps I should monetize to justify having a hobby like this. But then I remember; why do I have to monetize it? It’s a hobby, something for funzies and that I mostly made because I hate posting reviews on 3+ different sites when I can just put them all together here instead. Additionally, the growing fear of ‘once I put money into this I can’t back out’ makes me antzy.

    Also would not have anticipated a fellow french horn player! Although I have long since retired from playing myself. Euphoniums as well for the win. My twin played the euphonium the same time I played french horn.

  5. I resonated a lot with your points in this post. Rather than blogging, I feel that for my writing. It’d be a lie if I never thought of making money out of my writing, but as I grew up I began to see the struggles in the publishing industry. And slowly I just lost interest in becoming a published author. Of course it’s a common issue every job has, but because of my low self-esteem and the constant doubt, I decided to continue with fanfiction.

    But then the problem rose again. Not in terms of money, but more of attention. Reaching for an audience especially for the rarepair is hard and for a long time I struggled with it. I always wondered if it’s worth it to keep on writing and posting when nobody barely read my works. It’s very discouraging when I saw how many comments people got on their works compared to mine. And soon, I cut myself off from the fanfic writing thing. Only this year I found back my passion to write and continue doing it.

    Ultimately it’s a hobby. Something I am supposed to feel fun when doing it.

  6. The thought has crossed my mind. To get paid to write about what I love is the ultimate job. Right? When I purchased my domain it was with those thoughts in mind but not long after I gave up. I think I tried so hard to be just as good as other blogs. To cover as many shows as I could. I burned out quick.

    I almost gave up my blog that I paid a year for as a birthday present to myself. I decided to try again. Only cover animes I really like not the hyped-up ones. I post when I post (I aim for at least once a week).

    I don’t stress because like you said this is a hobby but the moment I tried to make a profit from it became a chore and I lost my motivation.

  7. When I was young I loved photography. I figured I might as well get paid to do something I loved. Portraits, weddings a little bit of commercial work. I ended up not enjoying it.

    If you enjoy running a business for its own sake, then turn it into a business. The demands of a business are often incompatible with spontaneity and creativity and self expression. If you want to make a business a success, you generally don’t have any free time and cash to put into your hobby.

      1. Completely different mindset. More discipline, much stress. You’re trying to please the other guy and putting your own preferences last. Much riskier than a regular job.

  8. Irina, your posts about blogging are always very insightful, and this post is no different. In fact I would say it’s a must read for any aspiring bloggers. I’ve gone back and forth on the subject of hobby verus not a hobby for a long time, and to be honest still haven’t fully settled although I am more of a hobbist blogger these days. I think what keeps me in the hobbist realm is the fact that I only write about what I’m interested in and not what will bring views.

  9. I do try to earn some money at my hobby – mainly because I find doing streaming and blogging more engaging and rewarding than my day job, which is just mentally exhausting, draining, and puts me in a constant state of depression accompanied by an ongoing simmering anxiety attack.

    Turning my hobby into something that would pay rent and keep food on the table while eliminating that particular level of stress and anxiety would be wonderful.

  10. Honestly, when I first tried to monetise my website, it was more of an attempt to justify me spending money to have my own domain. I wanted to make something out of it even if it was meant to simply be a hobby. In my family, it’s fine for me to enjoy myself doing things I like but I need to prove that I’m doing my best being productive as well. I can’t invest too much time into something that is deemed to be otherwise useless. I’m only able to spend so much time doing what I want now because, like I’ve said many times before till you’re probably sick of hearing it, waiting for University to start. Even then, every now and then I get the occasional question of why I’m not working. I can tell that my parents aren’t exactly happy about me lazing around at home every day. Honestly, that’s only natural. That’s what drove me to try to monetise my blog even more, I wanted to earn something from doing what I wanted to do. Even if it was just a few dollars, I would have felt like I was doing something with my time that would get my parents approval. However, I never managed to get a single cent. Fortunately though, my parents eventually stopped asking and so I’ve stopped trying to monetise my blog. Now I just write and post. I don’t even include my ko-fi anymore or paypal button because it’s too much of a hassle and I don’t really need the money. Although, you might also think that I should probably go out and try to get a job to earn some experience and money. Even if it’s just a part-time or temp job.

    Oh and, just thought I should mention that me trying to monetise my blog didn’t really affect my posts. Though it might have been a different story if people actually commented on my posts to tell me what they like and what they dislike. Guess I’ll never know since I’ve given up on monetising anyway.

    Sorry, think this is my messiest comment yet.

    1. Messy comments are the most fun. My own experience is very limited in the field so I love to hear from the other side.

      1. Honestly, as I was thinking about the comment I made (as I’m trying to sleep), I realised that the main reason why anyone would want to try their hand at monetising a job is either for some side cash or because they don’t actually have a job. For those who have pretty decently paying jobs, you don’t really need to monetise your blog and can really treat it as just another hobby.

  11. I do have a Ko-F but the isentive is a bit different for me to what you have described.
    Being unable to work due to my existing conditions I am on very low income so some pocket change could never hurt. At first I felt I should not .. as it’s just a hobby and I am not that good.
    Talking to my psychologist made me look at things differently though. By thinking I am not good enough or saying it is just a hobby I am negating what my blog can mean to another.

    Perhaps someone reads some advice they really needed to hear and are grateful, or by reading your blog they feel like they know you and feel less lonely.
    Perhaps we offer that kid all the way in Poland who doesn’t have any anime friends some peers to talk to. Who knows, maybe 3 dollars means little to them as they are wealthy.. or just don’t have anyone to spend it on.. perhaps our company means more to them. Perhaps someone really wants to show how much they appreciate your content but are to shy to type words and would be able to show it buy buying you a Ko-Fi or the Patreon thing. So to me I feel like monetizing can be okay
    It doesn’t have to make it any less of a hobby.

    However when you start to let people decide to change yourself to get more money I think things stop being a hobby and IMO your real fans don’t really care what you play or watch as long as you are you. Than it becomes a job because you have to work for your money. That is wrong because that takes away what made you do this in the first place.

    I do not use Patreon for that reason as I would not want people to force me into doing something I would not want to do.. or force me into a schedule it would indeed destroy the hobby aspect. My Ko-Fi however has had received a few small donations and a few larger ones by an online friend. He;’s a player in my DnD game and he really appreciates the people he got to learn there, the talks we have there and of course the game I host. Feeling like a hero every week as well as reading about me on my blog sometimes.. is worth the money to him. He wants to help and show appreciation and he wants to be there for me like I am there for him.. albeit in other ways. So we both influence each others life.

    As much as I write for my own sake there is a surreal feeling to people appreciating it. The like button on posts is nice ..but is also a social courtesy. (I am in a bit of a bad head space right now so this might be exaggerated). A Donation is not.. so it’s like a gratitude button. It just feels awesome that to some people I am worth making a little sacrifice… even if they just donate 3 dollars when they are a billionaire.. there is this sensation of impact. It makes us appreciate each other.. but if we push it to far and become subservient to our followers to earn more money we lose what we were and to me the magic only works if from both sides there are no strings attached. That way it’s pure!

        1. I teach highschool and I’m not sure the administration or parents would appreciate something like that. I could see some thinking it’s headed down the pay for grades angle.

          1. High school is like 12 to 16 right? That is pretty young. I’m surprised they would hire kids that young. I’m not sure what the laws are where you are but just on a practical basis, kids that age are often not super reliable.

    1. That sounds really nice too. It’s great to hear from someone with a different point of view cause I have no experience in that field.

      1. I noticed the stuff not being on your blog and I was suprised! I mean I do get you and a blog should mostly be a hobby I agree, but I really think there can be a good site to monetising as well.

        That being said , was money less of an issue for me I might not monetise. But as long as I dont change who I am to squeeze more money I dont think I am totally soulless 😛

        1. Oh there can definitely be great sites that monetize. 100 word anime does and I write for that blog a lot. I’m not against monetizing at all. I just know that I would probably start getting all weird and fretting about everything if I monetized…probably…

    2. I personally love your posts, and Irina’s. I think you both do a great job of simply being YOU and I find that so much more attractive than the blogs that all look and sound alike because they are all trying to BE alike – be PRO whatever that is. Yes, in fact, I learn from both of you, and irina in particular is great at getting me to add animes to my watch list (LOL) and I do feel like we’re friends in a sort of way. That said, I like the idea of Ko-Fe and one of these days you might find a tip (but we’re pretty tapped most of the time because we’re on disability as well). When I had my first blog I had a button for my Amazon wish list. I almost fell over one day when a book arrived that I had much coveted that was on my wish list! I was a wonderful gift and I wish I knew who sent it so I could thank them. And I know how much a buck or two can mean here and there! But you guys, you keep being you because that’s what I love. 😀

  12. I’ve had my toss and turns with
    Blogging but like you I’ve never done for money. I got rid of my domain eventually because It wasn’t working with how I felt. I wanted to feel professional my site anyway but that doesn’t jam with me plus WordPress plans costly lol

    I feel like you are me in the same mind set towards blogging and hobbies Irina which is why I relate to a lot of your thinking in your blogging posts. You are so beyond right that people are obsessed with things looking and sound good more than it being chill. It’s not until you go through that phase yourself you learn to let go of shit that doesn’t matter.

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