Is there anyone who doesn’t have a blog nowadays? We’ve managed to convince my housemate to create one about travel and even my Mum is dabbling with the idea (though she’s only recently remembered how to sign into Instagram). I did wonder about whether I should add another ‘blogging guide’ into the mix when there are plenty out there already and it’s all so subjective anyway, but then a conversation with Lucy got me thinking. What if you’re just going through the motions and you’re not quite sure why anymore? The word on the street (well, Twitter) is that a lot of people are thinking of giving up. Things aren’t how they used to be. People are are taking photos outside West London houses, getting changed in pop-up tents* (true story) and things don’t seem ‘real’ anymore.
I love a bit of nostalgia as much as the next person. I spent a good few hours over Christmas looking back at old photobooth pics from the umpteen events I used to go to a week and replying to the 20-odd comments I’d get on every post. Change is inevitable. People not liking said change is also inevitable. My stance is not to dwell too much and just look forward. Do you still want to carry on blogging? If so, then how will you make it fit into your life instead of forcing it? How will you do it on your own terms and not get affected by what other people are doing? Since I’m planning a redesign and generally reassessing what the point of IWYTK even is, I thought I’d share some of the things I’m currently going through myself. It’s time to give your internet space a kick up the you-know-what for 2016!
Remember why you started
I have my answer to ‘Why did you start blogging?’ well rehearsed. In a nutshell, I’ve always been quite internetty, was studying knitwear design, reading blogs and thought that I had something to contribute. Done. We all had that catalyst moment that led us towards starting and maintaining a blog. For some it was a place to post photos from trips or a way to hone writing skills in a controlled environment. Think about whether those reasons have changed. My theory is, that if you do manage to find your perfect job, the need to keep blogging dwindles. Say that I became the creative director of Carven, it would probably be impossible to keep this up as other priorities would take over. Similarly, if you do end up letting something into your life that takes up the same amount of emotional energy (like an animal, partner or kid), then it can be tricky to balance the two. You need to weigh things up and work out whether carrying on will make you happy. It’s okay to take a break if things are too much or stop altogether. No one can ever take away thing things you’ve learnt or the experiences you may have had, plus there are other outlets like Instagram and Pinterest that need less investment. If you do want to carry on though, then hurrah! You’ve recognised that things need to change and you’re ready to tackle it.
Blend the old and new
You can’t tell me off for not having a mission statement back in the day. I created a header using photos of my favourite clothes (taken on a flip-phone, natch) and made up my own font spelling out ‘A stream of fashion consciousness’. That was it. I rambled about whatever I wanted, within reason, and had no sort of schedule. Despite the tiny images and chronic bitchface in front of my bedroom door, I do look back on this time fondly. Things were quite instinctive and I was just figuring everything out. Now it’s 2015, we’re all in a better position. I like having better photography skills, more structure and more of a focus but I also liked that back then that I had a desire to share discoveries and inspiration. If you’re feeling stuck, it might be worth looking back and seeing what older blog elements you can blend with the new. There are a few things I’m happy to have left behind, such as feeling obligated by brands to post about certain events, rather than sticking to my guns. I also decided to finally write a manifesto. Technically we all probably have one without realising due to the content we post, but it’s always good to have a clearer statement. Mel has some great tips on her blog, I used this as a guideline and brainstormed all of the words I wanted IWYTK to represent. Get a friend to help too, if you want. Sometimes it throws up things you wouldn’t have even considered.
This is another thing I struggle with, I’m scared of goals you guys! I’m scared of putting down the things I want on paper, losing the bit of paper, then finding it again and realising that I haven’t achieved ALL THE THINGS. OK this is a true story and it’s probably no wonder that these impossible things didn’t happen, since they were pushed into a part of my brain that seemed to dismantle them. I want to be more conscious of my goals this year instead of being afraid of them. Etsy have a really useful, transferrable bit of advice, ‘Thinking about your goals and writing them down can set you on the right track and get things moving in the right direction and sometimes just doing that alone can create a bit of goal achieving magic.’ They don’t have to be crazy, overwhelming things, but broken down into stages with realistic timeframes. This isn’t an Apprentice-style challenge where you have to come up with a fast-food truck business in a day. I know that these will be different for everyone, it could be just posting twice a week until the end of the year or pitching to ten new brands every month. I’m no expert on this my any means, but I like to think that a clearer focus on what you want to achieve for your blog can only be beneficial. Whatever the result is will be part of a bigger learning experience. Cryptic, much?
This is just a starting point really, I could have harped on about content, logistics and all the spreadsheets! Let me know whether you’re stuck in blogging limbo at the moment, it’s easily done because of the January blues and just the general passing of time. I know a lot of the negative aspects of the community and social media are being highlighted at the moment, but I want to come up with as much content this year that celebrates the positives too. Who’s with me?
*Anyone who has the resolve to do this deserves a medal!