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.
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 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 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 fallback 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 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.
Let’s take it back to anime. This is what this blog is about after all. A while ago, when I realized people were 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 fewer 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 shows 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 the 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?