I’ve been blogging and Instagramming (is that a word?) for over a year now! Not to sound cliche but times really does fly. I’ve learned a lot in a little over a year, yet I still feel like I’ve barely dipped a toe in the blogging world. I’m always learning more, figuring out who I am, and who I want to be. Blogging hasn’t been just about getting the perfect shot and finding my personal style though. It’s been a hell of a lot of life lessons along the way. From creating cohesive content to arguing with my photographer about photos (a.k.a my fiance who I couldn’t do this without), this past year has been a year of growth and a lot of just trying to figure it out as I go.
I’ve wanted to talk candidly with my readers about what this past year of blogging has been like for a while but really wanted to give it some good reflection, and collect my thoughts before putting a post together. From the lowest lows to the highest highs, I want to offer my thoughts on what it’s like for me to be a blogger, and maybe it’ll help you along the way! I don’t consider myself an influencer of any sort, but I realize most bloggers don’t either. In a way I didn’t feel ‘validated’ enough to be able to offer my opinion on the topic because of this, but I realized that no matter where you are in your blogging journey, you’ve probably felt the same way as me along the way. So, I’m serving up some opinions and self advice about my first year of blogging that I hope might be useful to other bloggers or Instagrammers in today’s blog post!
It’s not all about you. This is something my fiance likes to remind me of. No, I’m no diva (most of the time), but there are times when I needed to hear this. Blogging is a collaboration. You’re collaborating with your followers. You’re there to inspire, to invoke, and to connect with them, not shove content down their throat til they’re numb. What makes social media special is having real-life actual human connections with people who you may have otherwise never met. Isn’t that beautiful? It gives you a little hope in the social media world. It was a challenge at time this past year (and still is!) to actively connect with other bloggers and my followers. So I’ve tried to think about my blogging as a collaboration. I can’t succeed unless you succeed; we need each other. Readers and followers need more than just a pretty photo, we need real life connections to engage and aren’t just about you.
It’s okay to take time off. Be aware of when you’ve had enough. Be aware of when you need to take a step away from social media and blogging. Give yourself plenty of time off until you feel you can approach it again. It’s not all about you, but you always come first. So conflicting, I know! What I mean is that self care is the most important step when you’ve noticed you may need some time off. Second is to not get too down on yourself when you’ve decided you need to take a little break. Yes, you’re going to lose followers. But in what world is your follower count more important than your mental health?NOTHING. This is something I’ve struggled with a lot this past year. Yes, I’ve taken time off, but not without feeling guilty, or like I’m disappointing people a lot of the time. Like I’m not living up to my own expectations. In reality, if you’ve made your connections with people, then who cares about the followers out there that don’t want to follow you anymore because you took a week off? The right people will be there for you when you get back, and you’ll fell refreshed and ready to create!
Be YOU. In the age of ‘swipe up’ this is a challenging one. I’ve noticed that blogging is often about telling someone what they want, and that they need to buy something new every week to keep up, instead of inspiring them to cultivate their own unique sense of style, and learn how to re-wear closet favorites. I’m aware that I have a different angle than a lot of influencers out there, and it’s been frustrating at times to know that a lot of my thrifted items don’t have ‘purchase here’ link so my posts get looked over. However, I know what my angle is, and recognize that I don’t have to be a part of the ‘swipe up’ world to influence my followers. I’m slowly but surely figuring out how I can offer my own unique take on blogging, and be unapologetically me. Whatever your take or spiel is on blogging, always be yourself. Be inspired by others, but create content that is uniquely YOU!
Are you consuming more than you’re creating? This is often the road that leads me to taking time off. When I’m too focused on what others are doing, instead of using that time to create something for myself, I typically start to feel overwhelmed. Again, it’s great to be inspired by others, but when you get to the point where it’s negatively affecting your life, you need to take a step back. I’ve noticed once I’ve had enough social media for the day, I’ll just stop looking at it. However, I want to try to change the way I view social media, and use it as a tool to help myself create rather than a tool for destruction. Social media can be beautiful, but if you don’t take advantage of it, it can easily take advantage of you.
Starting my blog was one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself. It’s help my self esteem, social anxiety, ability to connect with others better, provided me new friends from around the world, and given me more opportunities than I could’ve imagined. I can’t wait to see what another year of blogging will look like. Most of all, I want sincerely thank every single person who has read my blog over the past year. Y’all are amazing, and I couldn’t imagine doing this without having some rad people on the receiving end. Y’all inspire me to do better and be better every day so THANK YOU.