I suppose that post title is slightly misleading, seeing as I first launched my blog in 2012. A more accurate statement would be “What I’ve learned in my first year of consistently blogging”.
Over the past 7 years (WOW. Feels weird when I add it up?!), I’d post regularly for a few months, then stop for even longer. It’s almost as if once I started to gain momentum, I got bored, or a new season of life came around, and blogging was put on the back burner. I spent more time planning and preparing for “one day” than I did executing my plans and preparations. This go ’round was different. I decided that if I was going to put myself out there for all of the ridicule that I was going to stick it out, because I really do love coming home from work, opening my computer, and creating content that I truly love, regardless if anyone else does or not.
This past year hasn’t been easy by any means, but it’s been totally worth it. So here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of blogging
consistently for a year.
Getting my picture taken in public is still mortifying. If some punk isn’t whistling out the window at you, then locals are staring at you from their car windows or offices. Wine helps, but only until you see someone you actually know, sobriety hits you like a ton of bricks then. I thought it would get easier with time, but it hasn’t.
Instagram is the thief of joy, but a necessary evil. I could write an entire, lengthy blog post on Instagram (maybe I will?), but I can’t help but loathe the fact that I have to use it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve made some very good friends through that platform, but it can get quite discouraging. Instagram has turned into a job by itself, and it’s very hard not to get discouraged with how hard it is to grow there, but more so with how inauthentic most feeds are. At least “influencer” feeds.
It’s expensive. You can read all of the “blogging advice” posts you want to, and they all tell you that you don’t have to have a lot of money to start. That’s a lie. I spend a little over $5,000.00 per year just on photography. $300.00 to maintain this website, and countless other tidbits here and there on the backend alone. The amount I spend on clothing, shoes, and accessories is sinful, and there’s no way around it. I work two jobs just to keep up with this hobby, and no, there isn’t an alternative. All blogging doesn’t break the bank, but fashion/ style blogging does.
As I said above, I’ve made some really good friends while blogging this past year. We bounce ideas off of each other, we vent about daily life, and we truly enjoy and support the content that each other creates. What’s more is that I’m able to connect with a handful of women that thoroughly enjoy my candid view and opinions. My loyal followers have became my girlfriends and I get extremely excited reading and responding to their comments or replies on my stories. I know that I’m doing exactly what I set out to do when I get a message that reads “Is it really that good?! I trust you, so I’m ordering now”, or “Girl, I tried that and I agree, it was awful!”. My only goal with this blog is transparency, at all cost, and my tribe is taking note of that! There is no better feeling in the world!
Size matters, and it’s hard not to give a shit. My body was my main hold up for so long! I’m not plus size or curvy, but I’m not 5’6″ and a size 00 either. I’m 5′ tall, and an average size 6/8, and that’s exactly it, I’m average. Average never makes the cut, average is boring and never a goal. And not to sound offensive, but this whole movement on “all bodies are beautiful” is total bullshit. It’s a nice idea, but it’s very idealistic. People want to interact with an aspiration or inspiration, not with their neighbor looking lady, because they’re already living their neighbor ladies life. Social media and the Internet are an escape for the majority of women, and a simple, average life is what most are trying to escape from. For me, this has been a hard pill to swallow, but I’m starting to learn that I’ll never have a million blog views or followers, and that’s more than okay with me, because that was never my goal to begin with. Although, I would like to get to 10K so I could get that super convenient swipe up feature, but I digress.
What she’s doing is none of my business. This has honestly been my biggest stressor while blogging. It seems that every chick in the world is trying to break into the “influencer market space”. Y’all, my content isn’t anywhere comparable to a lot of women’s out there, but it’s far better than the girl that posts a blurry, poorly edited, ill- fitting outfit and gets upward of 1K likes with nearly equal comments. This is done via bots, engagement pods, and bought followers. It’s different when you join a group of like-minded women and truly engage with each other, but it’s wrong to completely mislead people and brands. And quite frankly, it’s became laughable, and I experience second-hand embarrassment at the extent that people will go for a double-tap.
I can’t be two places at once, and that’s okay. I’d originally had the goal that my Instagram would be in real time, as the app originally intended, and my blog would be my pre-shot editorial content. As mentioned above, I work two jobs, an average of 60 hours per week and I have a family. Add another 15 or so that I spend here. There isn’t a day out of all 365 that I’m in real time and camera ready. I’ll jump on stories on occasion looking a hot mess, I don’t care, but I don’t have the luxury of galavanting around town with a photog all day. I don’t see that ever being an option for me, and that’s okay.
It feels good to genuinely interact and be present in real life. We went to the beach a few weeks ago with a friend of mines family. I packed a carefully curated suitcase with the only intention of snapping outfit photos for the blog and Instagram. As a blogger, I totally failed because we snapped one quick outfit pick in the entire 6 days we were there. As a mom, girlfriend, and friend, I killed it, because I was having so much fun with time spent that I didn’t care that I missed my intention. I’ll take time spent and memories over linking my dress any day!
It’s okay to not talk about what everyone else is. Cue the #Nsale. I’m probably the only style blogger who made zero mention of it. Sure, I looked through every page of the sale, and I ordered a few things for AC and a couple of things for myself, but for whatever reason, I didn’t feel inclined to post. I’m not a good bullshitter, and I was uninspired by the sale that is so overly posted about already. I gravitated more toward Prime Day this year, so I went that route instead. Plus, my livelihood doesn’t depend on clicks, and it never will.
Growth can happen at any time, and at any rate. I posted my first blog post, followed by an Instagram post, on July 31st, 2018, with only 497 followers. I now have 2,100-ish. Comparison of others numbers really get me down, but then I think about how I’ve managed to capture the attention of 1,600 addition people in just a year, and so I choose to be very proud of that, instead of wondering why there aren’t more. Again, quality over quantity has always been my goal.
Hard work, honesty, and a little bit of girl next door will eventually pay off. This is what I’ve always told myself, through every heartache and fail I’ve ever experienced. However, it never did until now. I’ve had a couple of companies and brands generically reach out to me for collaborations, and I haven’t entertained any of them. I’m excited to announce that I’ve accepted my first collaboration (we’re shooting today! Eeek!!!) with a brand that I can’t wait to share with you all! I included this in things I’ve learned because I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get the chance to work with a brand in an organic way, and I refuse to do so inorganically. This has taught me that Rome wasn’t built in a day, as my mother used to say every chance she got, and all of the tears and self doubt were worth it!
I want you all to know that I’m truly, from the bottom of my heart, grateful for every one of you that take the time to visit my blog. For every message, like, and/or comment on Instagram or Facebook, and every pin on Pinterest. The support y’all have shown me over this past year has been amazing, and I hope to continue to grow with each and every one of you!
Photography by Ryan Sherrod