Saturday, 15 July 2017

Why I Stopped Blogging (And Why I Started Again)

Disclaimer: these are my own personal reasons for why I stopped blogging for over a year. In expressing these I am not intending to criticise bloggers or the community - just explaining my own feelings on why certain aspects of blogging weren't authentic for me, and why I need a change of direction.

Hello little blog, it's been a long time.

For quite a while now I have felt an urge that had become entirely unfamiliar: the urge to start blogging again. It was a welcome feeling, but one I'm apprehensive about. I feel I need to get some things out in the open as to why I haven't written here in over a year.

I just did something I never really thought I could bring myself to do, which was to delete all of my old posts from 2012-2016. There were hundreds of them, I'd archived them for months, and today I've finally let them all go. Understanding that you don't have to keep everything that once meant something to you is an important lesson I've learnt a lot about since I've been away.

When I started writing here in 2012, during my first year of university, this was what I entered in my first post.
"My name is Hannah.

Time and time again I've tried to start a blog and failed. Maybe I'm a commitment phobe: I flit between social networking sites, I can't ever ever decide what my favourite song is, and I find myself buying things and a week later wishing I hadn't.

... ah, that. Right there. Maybe that's what I should blog about.

I'm a big fan of reading blogs. Kingdom of Style, Flying Saucer and The Fish Tank are some of my favourites. I read about fashion, I love fashion, I buy fashion all the time. and yet I find myself wearing the same things time and time again (...) I'm hoping that by starting a blog, as well as documenting things that happen in my life involving my illustration, studies, etc; I can also capture a style journey, turning my original boring very black very basic style into something even a fragment as cool as the other bloggers I admire. Even getting use out of clothes I never wear despite having survived multiple wardrobe clearouts would be fantastic. So if you've come to this little corner of the internet, which I hope to make into my own little space, let me welcome you and just say that fingers crossed this blog will be for keeps."
I look back at it now and realise I had good intentions with what I wanted to do with my little blog. It's just that somewhere along the way something got lost. Initially I mostly posted about personal style, trying to gain confidence, but over time it became more about consumerism, gifted items, justifying a shopping habit for items that mostly were for photographs and didn't make me feel confident in actual, real life. I got creative block because I didn't have something new to photograph every week. I was completely buying into fast fashion without even thinking about it. Everything became about the next "fix" and it wasn't sustainable nor was it really fulfilling me. The more I posted, the less true to myself I became. Nothing felt realistic. The content I was posting didn't make me feel proud. All I could do was criticise myself, and feel that I wasn't enough. My posts became fewer and farther between. Posting felt pointless as who would want to read anything I wrote when they could read something by someone cooler, prettier, skinnier, someone interesting? So I just eventually... stopped.

At first I felt liberated. I felt like a better version of myself. And then, I missed writing here.

There are so many things I still want to write about. For a while I felt satiated using Instagram as an outlet, but ultimately it feels more of a place for short captions and fleeting comments. As a platform it does not feel like a place where I can encapsulate more personal experiences and sentiments. I missed that depth of connecting with likeminded others in a way that I've only experienced through blogging.

For a while I was scared to re-enter the blogosphere. It's changed a lot in the past five years and I was nervous that I wouldn't compete. I also had, honestly, felt disenchanted with aspects of the blogging community for a while. It felt like blogging had become fiercely competitive about the things that had made me fall out of love with it: about the freebies, the most prestigious sponsor, the most glamorously portrayed lifestyles. And please don't get me wrong: I still enjoy reading these sorts of blogs, and I am incredibly happy for bloggers who have had success in working this way - if it's what they want. I say this because it can feel a little like a blogs success is dependent on it being taken in one direction, and if you take on too many similar collaborations you can end up feeling boxed into your "niche". Then, a change of direction or off-topic post can feel like a threat to your own success when this niche is populated by thousands of fellow bloggers vying for growth and perceived success, holding optimal SEO, engagement, and followers as medals of honour. What then is more important, posting from the heart or feeding the machine? I wholeheartedly believe that bloggers should be paid for the hard work they put in but if absolutely everything is monetised then as a reader I question the authenticity of posts if the author seems as if they take any job or sponsor regardless of the fit (and I know some do because I know I did.) Lots of bloggers post disclaimers that they only work with companies they are truly passionate about, and I wonder how many of these are lucky enough to hand on heart be telling the truth. Basically, it can become all a bit of a minefield and end in repetitive content portraying only the glamorous and never the ugly.

It took me a while to shake this negative outlook and realise why I'd started blogging originally - just because I wanted to an outlet to express my own passions. With the way the scene can appear nowadays it is so easy to forget there is no obligation to do what anyone else is doing and no need to compare your blog to others. Aspiring to blog as a career is great but if you aren't being authentic to yourself then the passion and inspiration you begin with will always eventually peter out. A blog can always be considered a success in its own right if you've simply kept posting. My point here is not to discredit those who do choose to take every opportunity that comes their way and thrive from the competition or those who want to grow, kudos to them and I wish them luck and I hope they are paid well and stay in love with what they do. I just want to remind myself - and maybe anybody else who has felt disenchanted about blogging due to similar reasons - that blogging can truly just be about choosing whatever you want to write about, whenever, with no rules to follow or quotas to meet. It doesn't have to be a competition, even if it sometimes feels like one.

I want to be able to share things here that are meaningful to me, things that I discuss with my friends, information I'm passionate about, and things that inspire me to change my life not only at an aesthetic level. Now, don't get me wrong - I will not be revoking all material possessions, I still get excessively excited over new shoes and jewellery. And you'd better believe I'm still going to be reading and enjoying blogs that exclusively post about personal style, aesthetics, and their own latest fashion fix. It's just that it's not for me any more, I need a little more.

4 comments:

  1. I love everything about this post. You've summed up why I delete every post I write after a couple of weeks perfectly. So happy to see you back and I love your new attitude. I could do with giving myself the same talking-to! xxx

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    1. Thank you wonderful lady! So glad this all makes sense to somebody else. xxx

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  2. I'm so glad you're back! You are so brilliant at writing and I can't wait to see what you post next! Xx

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    1. Thank you, thanks for inspiring me to come back! xxx

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