Going Back To Old School Blogging Has Made Me Happier
Photography: Joseph Galvin
I’ve felt a resurgence of love for my blog again lately, and I think I know why.
I fell out of love with this blog last year. You know, because there were hardly any blog posts and you saw that first hand. I knew, too, and the guilt I felt for not posting only made me feel worse. I got into this sorta vicious cycle of feeling guilty for not blogging, feeling like I wasn’t good enough to blog, not blogging, then feeling guilty for not blogging.. and so you see. Instagram last year took off even more than it had done in a big way before, and everything seemed so polished and so.. planned. I’m a great lover of beautiful photography, but the reason I adored blogs so much was because of the words. The heart and the soul spilling out onto digital paper, thoughts laid bare for the world to see. The words kinda got lost buried beneath an industry that was booming, the industry that the media suddenly started to notice, and to pick up on.
I love things to be polished, don’t get me wrong.
I’m definitely a perfectionist. I’ve scrapped far too many photo sets and videos that took days to film in my time, because I want my content to look good. I’ve always wanted it to look good. But out of nowhere last year things in the blogging and instagram (and youtube world) got really good. Like, really good. Too good for me to keep up with. I fell out of love with it even more, I couldn’t keep up. How could i? I wasn’t the tanned, lusciously long haired beautiful girl travelling the world with a pro photographer by my side. My blog made me depressed that I couldn’t keep up with that, and that I just seemed to still be the London girl photographing products slightly shoddily in her spare room whilst pushing all the crap out of the way to try and get a semi decent photo. I didn’t think I was good at blogging anymore, so I barely uploaded, and for a brief time thought the blog was dead.
But then it hit me. And I realised i’d been silly all along.
I never really wanted to change, or to try and keep up, but it was the creeping self doubt that told me I had to try, and that I also couldn’t keep up. When I eventually realised that this blog was my corner of the internet that belonged to me and no one else, and I didn’t need to keep up with anyone, it felt like a weight was off my shoulders. So i’ll never be the beautiful luscious long haired girl travelling the world with the photographer by her side, but neither are most people. The reason why blogs took off, and got noticed by brands, was because they were a slice of normal life. A nosy little peek into a life lived by someone else, and told in their words, for you to see and enjoy. They were wonky and wobbly and the photos were taken on a potato, but they were great, and people flocked to them in their millions. I’d got so caught up in trying to keep up with the glossy blogs that I lost sight of that, and when the grey clouds parted and made it obvious again, I began to feel happier.
I think this blog is still pretty old school.
Yeah alright so the picture quality got better – come on, did you really think this camera nerd wasn’t gonna upgrade the equipment as soon as she could? I’d rather a new canon than a handbag any day! I think (?) the words have got better – and the general site design is better. But fundamentally the ethos is still the same. I still am that girl in her spare room taking photos of the products I bought, the girl who ventures into little side streets in London to take photos in her favourite clothes, and the girl who still bares her soul on a weekend to people she’ll never even meet. Mostly because well, that’s what I personally fell in love with blogging, and those are the blogs I like to read. Coincidentally Joe Galvin who took these photos for me (total babe) is the partner of Olivia Purvis, from What Olivia Did, which just so happens to be one of the blogs I read religiously. I’ve probably read it religiously for about five years now. I got thinking about why I always go back to Liv’s blog, and it’s because she too, has never changed the base of her blogging style. It’s still the same. Those are the blogs I like to read, and even though it’s totally normal to have a crisis of confidence every now and then, I needed to remind myself that my blog is like that for a reason, too.
I now don’t really accept PR gifts unless I love the brand, and I buy the things I like.
It got far too easy to accept money and gifts for things that bloggers never really liked all that much, but i’ve never done that. I’ve turned down so many paid jobs over the years that I probably could have travelled much further round the world if I had wanted to by now, but my motivation doesn’t come from money. It comes from happiness, and also enjoyment in what I do. As soon as blogging felt like a chore, it wasn’t enjoyable. And while i’ve never accepted money for something I didn’t agree with or believe in, I have in the past accepted many PR gifts from stuff that was *alright* but never really something I wanted that much. It’s addictive to keep seeing new things turn up at your door. But after a while it gets too much, it’s overwhelming and it’s intense. I stripped everything back, gave away half of my makeup collection – which by the way brings me so much joy to see my friends using, loving and feeling beautiful in themselves for owning – and I feel renewed.
Winning that Cosmo award for Content of the Year made me feel guilty and also spurred me on to be better. I don’t think my blog was any good last year, not worthy of that title. Perhaps my YouTube channel was, i’m dead proud of that really, but this blog I think I could have done much better. It spurred me on to remind me why I write, why I take photos or why I work with photographers who create beautiful visuals, and it reminded me that there’s so much more out there to see, explore and do.
I always had big dreams for this blog.
When I started it, I never wanted it to stay amateur, but I never thought it’d go full time. What I wanted was a springboard to create art, cool stuff, things that I couldn’t normally do. I wanted to push myself to constantly be better, to take photos that were beautiful, to see things i’d never seen before. It was more to me than just a hobby, and it was devastating for it to fall by the wayside because I didn’t love it anymore. I’m glad I went through that, to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and i’m glad I made all the changes I did. So much has changed around here, yet it still feels like home, feels like family. I don’t ever want to lose that feeling, and i’m going to work even harder this year to ensure it keeps up that level of familiarity. I want to continue to be a voice you can trust, someone you know is telling the truth when it comes to reviewing beauty products – bought or PR – and someone who shares their true, honest genuine style – not dressed up for a photo.
Someone you can explore the world with and listen to their innermost thoughts talking to you. I’m glad I can be that voice, and while i’ll never be the richest or most followed blog on the block, i’d like to think i’m an enjoyable read or watch, and if that can brighten up your day or show you something new you hadn’t seen before that will brighten your life, that’s perfect for me.
If you’re struggling with motivation, or feeling bogged down by how glossy blogging got overnight – take it back to the old school. Blog on a whim, blog like a diary. Take photos in your own home, or meet up with a local photographer to capture you the way they see you. Write like you mean it and forget about what you think you should write, but write about what you want to write.
Above all, don’t forget about the words. Because the words really are what make the blog.