I don't know when it happened but sometime quite recently, 'busy' stopped being an adjective to describe your workload and instead became a warped measure of success. It's like everyone is bizarrely competing to be busy, to be doing something all the time. And if you're not busy, you can't possibly be succeeding or achieving. Of course, if you're doing nothing, there are definitely limits to what you'll be achieving. But with the intensity of social media and more significantly, live updates (Snapchat, Instagram Stories), are we putting too much pressure on ourselves to be constantly busy?
I think there's still quite a lot of mystery about what it is that bloggers actually do on a day-to-day basis. Which is great - people are interested and quite often, keen to ask a lot of questions. So they might ask what I'm currently working on (perfectly reasonable) but in that moment, as soon as the question leaves their lips, I clam up, freeze, unable to think straight or gather words to form a response. Admittedly, I've never been good under pressure. But I become overwhelmed by this fear, that my response won't be adequate or that it will confirm their scepticism about my occupation. I might begin to explain 2 or 3 projects before I realise I could never accurately convey just exactly how much work is involved in each of them; not the late nights, the hours spent editing, writing, replying to urgent emails and taking calls, the day it poured with rain when I was supposed to shoot. I don't know how to make them understand, so I usually just go quiet, brush them off, let them come to their own conclusions. And then I'll walk away feeling small, inadequate, all because I couldn't express myself or communicate properly.
And I often get the same feeling when I'm updating Snapchat (God forbid I should start using Instagram Stories). Do you guys really want to see me sat at my desk for 6 hours straight, just replying to emails? Or the fact that I had 4 slices of peanut butter on toast too many? I'm constantly weighing up the balance between being real (which I am 100% an advocate for) and being boring. Because let's face it, it's not interesting when I'm at home all day. And why tap through photos of my laptop and lunch when you could watch someone else's story of them on a beach in the Maldives? No comparison! But what I have to keep reminding myself is that it's all part of the job. Though I wish I could be jet-setting every day, it's just not realistic. And even those that seem to be constantly sunning themselves in an exotic location - they too have admin days and in fact, after they've uploaded that beach photo, they then probably spend 3+ hours shooting and preparing content or reviews of the place they're staying in. Just because you don't see that part of their day, doesn't mean it isn't happening.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that on the days where I'm getting through emails slower than usual or scrolling Instagram with envy that I'm not flying halfway across the world, it's all part and parcel of what I do. I couldn't go on press trips or attend exclusive events if I didn't do those emails, or spend those late-night hours editing my latest shoot. It's catch 22. You can't have one without the other. So I suppose this is a message to myself, to focus solely on my own journey and to buck up the damn courage to talk about my work with pride and confidence. Because I am proud, hell I never thought I'd be able to call this a full-time job. But it is, I did it.
And that constant pressure to be busy? 80% of it is probably unnecessary pressure I'm putting on myself. I'm a dreamer, I'm never quite satisfied.