I Hate Blogging. It's Awesome.
At this point, I have been blogging for about two years. In that time, some really incredible things have happened.
I have met people who have inspired me in fashion and in life, collaborated with designers, and local shop owners, juggled with time management, educated myself on social media analytics, took a break, discovered my unique writing style and the list could go on forever.
I love to blog, but when I took a break I had a lot of feelings, and not all were positive. I felt like I couldn't keep up, I was constantly compared myself to other bloggers and I was tired of feeling like I was not enough. Coming back to this blog even now is hard. However, I feel like now that I have gotten a handle on what style works for me, and having many conversations with fellow bloggers, friends, and family I feel the need to debunk a few things for my readers who may get the wrong idea of what bloggers do, why I do it, and I wanted to give you a glance at the reality of what it’s like to blog from day to day.
First Order of Business: Social Media
Instagram.... oh Instagram. There are days I love that I have this little mini curated magazine that I get to scroll through every day. I get my fashion news, beauty trends, travel tips and family/friend photo albums all in one, it's great. Other days I want to delete the app forever and never turn back, this usually lasts for a few days and then I remind myself that it's an app and I'm being silly. For many bloggers, they feel their Instagram defines them. In some ways, it does. It's people's first glimpse at your work and gives them a sense of what you're all about. Their follower numbers validate that they're doing a good job and that they're worthy of still running a blog. I struggled with this. I never wanted my blog and my Instagram to be the same thing. I can speak my mind here, and I'm not worried about likes, or creepy guys who think it's okay to make weird comments. But I realized a lot of people wanted to be reminded of my posts in a more accessible and free way, therefor I obliged. (That is why my accounts are separate btw)
The truth is, I do not have an "Instagram Worthy" house thats all gray and white with shiplap and perfect lighting, I do not have a cute vanity and powder room where I get to do my makeup everyday, I do not have the usual "blogger staples" and I definitely do not have a photographer follow me around all day every day. Who do ya'll think I am? Oprah? I constantly compared myself to these bloggers who just seemed to have the perfect everything and it tore me down. I was spending money I did not have on things I really didn't like... but that would look good on Instagram. How messed up is that? The only thing it left me with was a closet of clothes I didn't love, and sense of defeat because I felt that my photos didn't look as good as the girl next to me. That is a big reason why I felt like I couldn't keep up and stopped blogging/instagramming. I look back on that and shake myself and say "Who cares?" but let's be honest, we all care. It's about allowing yourself to acknowledge that while we may feel that way as a reaction, living your most authentic self is really the only way to feel proud of the content you create and put into the world.
I'm so happy that the people who find me on Instagram love my posts for what they are. I still get shocked when my photos get over 300 likes, and it’s genuinely interesting for me to study why certain posts get a better reaction than others, and then it’s also interesting when I try to adjust my posts to create more intriguing content. I use hashtags to get connected to more people like me, who love fashion and beauty who want to bounce ideas off of each other, and that's the fun part of Instagram. Finding artists, and photographers and designers from all over the world and collaborating to make something beautiful and support each other. It takes a lot for someone to put themselves out there, and the more support and ways we can discover them, the better. So, please, reader, do not feel like your life is not "Instagram/ Picture Perfect" because guess what honey, mine really isn't either.
Final Note: Instagram is a highlight reel, not real. Cheesy, but true.
Second Order of Business: Photo Editing
Okay, so, the world of photo taking and editing. First thing is first, this is whole heartedly my honest experience with these things. I know many bloggers who do this differently and I don’t believe there’s a right or wrong way to do this because like I said, blogging to me is just a form of self expression and I have no right to tell other people how to express themselves. Most of my photos are taken either on my iPhone 6S, or my Canon 70D DSLR camera and are usually taken by whoever is available to take a few quick shots, or friends of mine who want to expand their photography portfolio and occasionally a few good friends with their own photography businesses. I have always been interested in photography so I know how to direct whomever is taking my photo to angle the canvas to tell a compelling story, and I know what works and what doesn't for product photography simply because I self-educated myself on it. Google is a beautiful thing. I also edit all of my own photos. All of my editing is done on my normal iMac Photo Library and I only use that for shadows/saturation purposes, anything else is usually done in the VSCO app or Lightroom app for presets which are just filters. My biggest rule with editing is that I only use it to enhance the story I am trying to tell with that particular blog to create consistency and depth. I try not to over edit because I think it’s important to have that sense of authenticity to keep myself in reality. I do not live in a dream, so I am not going to pretend that I’m in one. I also do not have the time to go over and edit every single picture that is taken. I'm all about capturing an authentic experience as much as I can and I'd rather not waste my time overediting because it's just not that important to me. Final note: natural lighting is everything.
Third Order of Business: Time Management, Professionalism, and Ads
As many of you know, I was not currently in school when I started my blog. I did not have a 9-5 job. My schedule varied every day, which means I had the time to do certain things many people cannot, such as go for a long brunch in the city, go to a week-night art gallery opening, or take a cross country trip for a week to visit family, without the consequences of it interfering with my responsibilities. This does not mean that my whole life is considered “free time.” I had deadlines, business meetings, and a level of professionalism I have to keep up with just like any other productive member of society, but those things usually look very different compared to someone who goes into an office or classroom every single day. Now, today that looks different because I do have a 9-5 slash I was in school, but that was after I had time to adjust to this whole blog thing and I learned to fit it into my schedule. I don't know how much I could have done if I had started while I worked or went to school full time.
I can blog (aka, do my “job”) anywhere, at any time of day, as long as I have my smartphone or laptop in hand. But, this only happens with great time management skills. There are many times I am out the door to start my day before most people have gotten up, and there have been many nights where I am awake at 4am trying to get a blog post ready for the next day. It's a lot of pressure to want to make everything perfect, and as we all know, nothing is. I feel like many people have this idea that everything bloggers do is fun, and carefree. There is truth to that, I mean, bloggers wouldn’t blog if they didn’t have a passion for it, but what you don’t see is the hours spent, and creative energy that lives behind the computer, or the time with clients that make a successful blog post that is fun to read, and inspiring to see. I have learned so much about good work ethic, and time management that I truly believe I wouldn’t have been able to experience unless I lived it. With this said, it’s important to realize that this is not reality for many people, and I think it is important for people to understand that so they do not have unrealistic expectations of what their life should look like. Because trust me, it takes work to make it look like this.
Oh, and the ads. Basically, some brands pay me to wear their clothes but most do not. A lot of the times I am lucky enough to be sent items from designers and brands that I love, and I always try to get an extra goodie for readers or followers such as a discount code or a giveaway because I know ya'll are balling on a budget just like I am and if I can make clothes/brands more accessible for you, I will. Also having Google Ads on this blog allows me to help pay for my site to keep running. I do not make commission off of the things you buy from them.
Last Order of Business: Dealing With Self Consciousness
I was never a self conscious person. Obviously, there are things that I don’t totally love about my body (hello, flat feet and pale skin) but I never really cared about what other people thought about my body. I see my body as a beautiful machine that needs upkeep. I eat to nourish and get energy, I exercise (not often) to keep my body moving, I read to keep my mind alert, and so on, but I had always respected it too much to hate any parts of it or to compare it to someone else’s because I truly believe we are all beautiful in our own unique way. That changed when I started blogging. All of a sudden I was comparing myself to other bloggers who were taller, or had thicker hair, or had a better sense of makeup or whatever it was. I had to deal with that, and look at those emotions dead in the eye and figure out a way to deal with it.
I never claimed to be a model, and quite honestly I despise being in front of a camera. I also never claimed to be a Pulitzer Prize winner, but I know that as long as I am being my most authentic self in my writing and my visuals, I feel good about the pictures and stories that are posted on my blog. They come from my heart and they celebrate my style and personality, I see it as a form of expression. This place of the Internet was never meant to attract the following it has (although I'm glad it did!) It just started as a place for me to put my words and photos on a page as a creative outlet. I was never a good musician, or singer, or painter (to my mother’s dismay)...but I was always a decent writer, and pretty creative at picking out clothes that reflect my own sense of being and I’ve found that I am decent at inspiring others to do the same and that brings me joy. As long as the stories I write and the clothes I show bring me joy, I choose not to care about what other people think of me, or my opinion. I have learned to be confident and believe in myself because if I don't, who will?
To some people on my posts, who say "Ugh I want to be you, or I am so jealous of your life" please, I beg, I know you mean it as a compliment but I truly hope you do not really want that. I take your compliments with gratitude and it is very flattering but, I am me, and you are you. Your life is beautiful, and there is nothing to be jealous about, truly. If my posts, writing, or outfits inspire you, I am so glad. It means that I have done my job. But if that turns into wishing that you could lead a life different than your own, then I am not being as honest as I should and I promise to work on that. I have troubles just like everyone else. I get parking tickets, I miss trains, my hair usually looks like a rat's nest, my feet hurt when I wear heels for too long, I still bicker with my family, and I am just on my own journey to find my most authentic self and I hope you are too.
WOW THAT WAS A LOT. But I'm glad I have finally put this all out in the open.
I hope a few these things that I have talked about make it easier to understand how a blog works, and how I really treat it as a job. There are challenges and triumphs in all things, but most importantly there is growth. I have learned so many amazing things from my experiences and I believe I will only learn more and that is truly exciting. Thank you to everyone who has send messages, letter, texts, phone calls and otherwise since I have started this journey, and special shoutout to the people who encouraged me to pick it back up again it's been the greatest pleasure of mine to share my life and thoughts with all of you.