I’ve had a recurring whisper in the back of my mind for the last few weeks. It’s been getting louder and louder and finally the other night the whisper turned into a scream that pierced my heart. In my work life, I pride myself on thriving under pressure, but one downfall of this bo$$y characteristic is that this method is like a simmering pot. The other night, my simmering pot began to boil and the steam tipped the lid. In theory, I had a great day. I slept in, ate good food, took photos, hung out with friends, etc. Yet, I found myself in tears before bed. I was watching Law and Order SVU while simultaneously staring at my Instagram feed and this whisper began to whistle until I exploded.
“BLOGGING IS SO HARD”
When I started blogging two years ago, it was simply a form of expression and an artistic outlet. Ever since I began this hobby, I’ve had lots of encouragement, but also a lot of criticism.
“Why are you in a doorway? Your theme is boring- you need to go out and do interesting stuff.”
“Your posts are too long! Nobody is going to read that.”
“I’m too lazy to go to your website, can you just tell me where it’s from? What’s the point in having a blogger friend if I have to click on the link?”
These are things that have been said to me over the last few years. I do venture out for constructive criticism and appreciate feedback, but some things are plain hurtful. Don’t get me wrong- I have a strong support system. But as my own worst critic, I can’t help but succumb to these negative opinions. One blog post can take hours and hours of work before it is published. That aspect is hard enough itself, but to have sentences like this thrown my way have made me question if it’s even worth it.
As an influencer, I’ve constantly reinvented the way I express my style on social media. I’ve realized it’s because I didn’t really know who I was as a blogger and what my “aesthetic” or “theme” should be. It’s been hard for me to narrow this down for a few reasons. I mostly cook at home, don't go "out" much, have a small student budget, and chameleon-like style. These factors have made me vulnerable to outside pressures and opinions. In today’s social media world, we are forced to sell this “perfect life” to gain followers. You have to showcase a life that other people crave to embody. As a full-time student, part-time stylist, and blogger, I spread myself pretty thin. I have a small budget and little free time so it’s not easy for me to go out to fancy lunches, buy new trendy clothing for every shoot, or travel to exotic locations. I must work with what I have and don’t want to sell a life I don’t live. My style can also go from casual, classic, to edgy within one week. I don't want to restrict myself to one look so I have to find a way to make this all cohesive within my feed.
When I first started, I didn’t intend to monetize my blog, I was just doing this for fun. I also didn’t really know much about the industry, and considering how new it is, this is understandable. I’m pretty introverted and started my blog with 0 followers, no Facebook, a new Instagram, and only a handful of real life friends that would follow me for support. The more I step away from pursuing a 9-5 and gravitate toward creating my own business, the more I have been educating myself on this industry.
In 2015 my blog work consisted of friends taking outfit shots on my iPhone 5s because that was the extent of my resources. Later, I felt like that wasn’t good enough and became eager to work with photographers for professional photos. Lately, I’ve been doing a mix of everything which has left me feeling lost and dissatisfied. Every collaboration is different, and I like meeting new people because I feel like I always learn something unique. But, it can be hard to stick to one theme with so many different eyes and hands behind the camera. As much as I want to collaborate with many different people, I've realized that it is easy to lose a sense of self in the process because each person has their own vision. I’ve been so busy chasing different methods which has prevented me from maintaining consistency. I've learned that ultimately each blogger/influencer reaches success in a different way and it's best to do what works for you as an individual.
So, what now?
I've decided to take posting a bit slower. I'm going to take time to zone in on who I really am as a blogger and figure out a visual theme. I'm going to put my Advertising and Marketing books to use to narrow down a more strategic plan and figure out what need I am aiming to fulfill for my followers. I hope this post didn't come off as whiny or overtly negative, I just wanted to share some personal struggles I have been experiencing and explain why I have been more absent on social media. For those who have been there for me from the start, and have continued to unconditionally support my work regardless of what it looks like, I just want to thank you. Thank you for your patience during this transition, seeing the best in me, and rooting me on. Cheers to the future!