On set…in my kitchen.
I had a conversation in the comments under this post the other day that I found really interesting, and wanted to post the comment – and my response – for those of you who might find it interesting, as well.
I find the “business of blogging” a fascinating topic, partially because it’s a very new field that people are still figuring out how to negotiate, and also because it’s so divisive. Which I understand…and which is also why I try to be so transparent about not just the “personal” side of my life, but the “work” side as well. Honestly, the two don’t feel all that different to me – it’s all part of the story that I’ve been trying to share here for a good five years now; how my job has evolved over time, to me, is just as much fodder for writing about as how our family has evolved, or how my relationship with Kendrick has evolved.
But from time to time the question of what I “should” be writing about (and how I should be writing about it) arises, as it did with this comment, and I wanted to share my response here. Because I think it’s something that comes up a lot when your work and your life aren’t all that far apart, and because I’m always happy to answer questions about how this (weird) job works.
I am not a parent, nor do I live in the suburbs, but I really used to like your blog. Your family is cute and I think you seem like a nice, hard-working person. But the non-stop shilling is too much. Your favorite scents are all made by one company. Your leopard sandals are crocs. I get that you have to make a buck, but if you want to keep readers, I’d keep the ratio of paid to personal at 1:5 or you’re going to keep losing loyal readers. Maybe you’ll get a bump when you’re on TV or something, but nobody’s going to come back when someone with such nice hair keeps advising us to use Dove (which is shit—sorry). One of your strengths was your sincerity and you’ve really lost that over the past year. My two cents.
To address the specifics: first, I don’t work with any scent companies – if you mean the home scenting post that went up last week, those are just scents that I like, which happen to be from two companies that I’ve been ordering from for years. And this particular post is not paid – the shoes are from a company that I work with as indicated, but I put up this photo just because I thought the sandals were fun and the shot was pretty.
But. That doesn’t mean that posts like the two mentioned above are “sincere” while posts marked as collaborations are not; I work very, very hard to make sure that every word that I write on this website is true, and always have. I’ve written about this before, but one of the exciting things to me about this job stems from my frustrations with my previous career, which involved a lot of commercial acting work – I was hired to stand in front of a camera and say “I like X Brand” and follow whatever script had been handed to me. And that was fine, because I was being paid to be part of an advertisement…but it certainly didn’t involve sharing any ideas or thoughts of my own.
What I do now, in part, still involves advertising – which is an industry that I have always found really interesting – except now I get to be a part of the creation process. And given my experiences working in advertising previously, and my knowledge of how “please repeat the exact talking points we have given you word-for-word” companies can be, the extent to which companies I work with actually care about my opinions and which of their products I personally respond to is so exciting to me that I sometimes can’t believe it myself. I get to personally select the products that I genuinely feel that people will enjoy, and get to explore why I personally think these products are valuable or fun or worth someone’s time and money.
I am so appreciative of the fact that I get to be a part of that process. I’m excited about it. And I try to share that excitement here.
More generally: If you’ve been noticing a slight drop in longer, more diary-style entries, that’s for two reasons: one is that I’m writing a book right now, and while I wish that didn’t pull a single iota of my focus, it unfortunately does. The other reason is that for the past few weeks I’ve been feeling…maybe “protective” is the right word? I’m very emotional about the baby on the way, and emotional in general about my family and the changes going on with us, and when I feel like this I do tend to focus more on writing about my work and projects I’m working on with clients, both because my work is part of my life and part of the story I try to share here, and also because sometimes it feels better to be slightly less vulnerable in terms of laying my emotions out on the table. Not for long – openness is something that I am comfortable with, and I’m usually ok with hearing other people’s opinions about pretty much anything in my life – but once in awhile it feels good to focus on other things for a minute.
Also, to me, writing about my work (by which I mean my collaborations with clients, segments I’m shooting, the book-writing process, et cetera) is just another way to write about my life: building my career has been a big part of the journey that I’ve been sharing over the past few years, and it’s always been fun and exciting for me to include readers in that side of my life as well – not just writing about the more personal side of my life and occasionally throwing up the end product of various collaborations at some predetermined ratio…but writing about what actually goes on every day, the process of how my (pretty unusual) job functions.
I do believe in being open, and being open about the fact that I’m focused on work at the moment is part of that.
I’ve always written about what’s going on every day…and this is what’s going on right now. I’m sure my head will be elsewhere a few days or a few weeks from now, because that’s how it goes when you try to share what’s going on in your life. Sometimes it’s work. Sometimes it’s family. Sometimes it’s a cute shirt you saw in a store. I promise, I’m doing my best to keep things varied and interesting.