Health Mind Press

How the negativity and trolls made me a stronger blogger

July 19, 2017
Health Mind Press

How the negativity and trolls made me a stronger blogger

July 19, 2017

I had just finished my Law degree…..the job market was tough. I didn’t REALLY enjoy being a paralegal for a law firm…..and I was always the odd one out with the kale salad and gym bag in tow. I needed to use the other half of my brain……not because I wanted to. I had to, it was my calling. Every time I picked up my camera to take photos of my beautiful puppy or the gorgeous scenery this country has to offer I felt alive. Just as I did when I was creating and making healthy recipes in my kitchen and working up a sweat in the park.

I didn’t force my blog…..it was something I wanted to have for myself, like a journal of health and fitness articles I could keep and share with my friends and family. I also wanted to feel closer to my family who all live on the other side of the world and let them know what I was up to. After having a nightmare with web designers promising me this, that and the other, promising my design to be unique (when it wasn’t) and having a run in with another blogger I could have easily given up. I hadn’t even started and I felt like I was being beaten down. Is this what the industry was really like? I found it odd….said blogger preaching about how supportive the blogging world is, offering services to help aspiring bloggers, even writing articles on the industry whilst behaving in quite the opposite manner towards me. How fake.

It didn’t deter me though, after all I was going to college of Law and my blog was just a hobby. A creative outlet to get the juices flowing, get that other side of the brain working again. I remember being told by my ex partner ‘do you know how many health and fitness blogs there are in the world??’ Erm…..yes. I’m not doing it to compete with them I’m doing it for me. It’s my thing, with my photos and my words. Something that no-one else can claim. It will be undeniably mine – and I knew that.

All of this happened before I had written even one word on my first ever post. I didn’t even know how to use WordPress. It was really a test of my determination, but after every blow I seemed to dust myself off and start again without hesitation. So when my designer gave me the go ahead I was crippled with second thoughts…….after spending over 12 months trying to get the damn thing designed and up and running now I wasn’t sure I could do it.

Well……I did and to my surprise it wasn’t so bad. I told all of my friends and family and they couldn’t have been more supportive. The friends/acquaintances who weren’t so supportive just sort of dropped off. No biggie though……at 33 years of age I’m quietly confident about who I am as a person and how I want to treat those around me. If it’s not mutual I’m more than happy for you to walk away, in fact it makes things a hell of a lot easier.

The negativity………..(no it hasn’t started yet)

In the first few weeks of my blog I had done quite a bit of content, I was overflowing with ideas and one of my articles was picked up by the Daily Mail…..erm, say what?? It wasn’t just picked up though, it went viral and got republished all over the world….I was like, WTF is going on? My blog had been live for around 6 weeks and I was so new to the industry I didn’t know who to turn to….I just went with it and got disillusioned for a while….and then got brought back down to earth with a nice big thud.

Just as everything started to settle I went back to the article, over 800 comments..hmm ok. Surely they were saying how amazing healthy food is and how we all look great and vibrant. Well….not quite. I read about 2 pages, some supportive (thanks) and others not quite as supportive and interpreting everything I had said in completely the wrong way. I was so enraged, this wasn’t the message I was sending at all, and it was something I felt so passionate about. How could it come across this way?? I was SO upset…all I wanted to do was reply to every comment in my enraged state. Luckily I didn’t because apart from it being embarrassing it wasn’t long until I saw things much clearer. I took a step back, wiped away the tears and took a different approach.

I really started to ask myself, why do I care? Who are these people? Do they know me?…not that I know of! Of course it bothers me that someone would criticise me about something I feel deeply passionate about but those words aren’t going to affect my life. I’m never going to see those people. They don’t know me personally and I’m sure they are not the type of people to come to my blog and want to get to know me or my content for that matter.

So, I brushed it off and held my head high. I know that I believe in everything I stand for and that I am confident about that. Sure, there will be others who disagree with my beliefs and then the more extreme ones who are just down right rude and narrow-minded but I have becomeΒ ok with that.. Ironically this article opened SO many doors for me. Magazine articles, radio interviews, features and sent my blog traffic off the chart. Did I ever go back to that comment page? No. Just no.

Since then I’ve had many other negative/trolling experiences and my best advice is to delete and block the person and move on as quickly as possible. If it’s another case of articles being written about you just ignore the comments if they are negative and remember those people do not know you personally and the problem is with them NOT YOU. In this industry, when you are out there writing about controversial topics such as health and fitness and when you are someone like me who doesn’t mind sharing personal life storiesΒ you have to develop quite a thick skin.

After the negativity comes all of the positivity (and I mean crazy positivity which far outweighs the negativity), the support, the awesome opportunities, amazing brand relationships, new friendships and appreciation from your community. Honestly, I have not thought twice about that article until recently when I spoke about ‘Negativity, trolls and all those nasties’ at the Rising Social Star Event in Sydney πŸ™‚

It was such an honour to speak at this event after winning the Fashion category with them last year and getting to talk about something I feel so passionate about. I also got to speak alongside the lovely @livewithelle and the @merrymakersisters which was so inspiring, thanks guys!

If you want to start a blog but don’t know where to start I would love to help (and I MEAN that unconditionally) and/or if you have experienced negativity or trolling and want to reach out please don’t hesitate in leaving me a comment here or sending me an e-mail!

I love my blog and it is something I can’t imagine not being in my life!

Just remember to be unapologetically YOU! No-one can take that away from you and that my friend is what makes you so special x x x x

photography: Aristo Risi

Sophie Benbow

Sophie is a true advocate for health and wellness. Her conscious eating and regular fitness regime has given her knowledge that she wants to share with all of her readers. From her personal recipes to her personal style and training tips you can find it here at sophiebenbow.com.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Laura Wooding July 10, 2017 at 11:12 am

    Hey hun! (Laura from Matthew Kenney) Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been umming and arring for ages about starting up my blog! I’ve spent hours figuring out Squarespace’s website templates, starting blogs over and over and always wondering if it’s good enough to put up online. Thank you for the inspiration! =D

    • Sophie Benbow
      Reply Sophie Benbow August 13, 2017 at 11:22 pm

      Hi gorgeous πŸ™‚ thank you so much for getting in touch!! Don’t question yourself, just do it! You will feel such a sense of relief when it’s done and you can start blogging! Hope you’re well and enjoying life after Matthew Kenney, love Soph x x

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