Okay, so I don’t really dislike blogging, but there definitely are some aspects of it that I’m not crazy about. Now you may be thinking that I don’t blog enough to have a strong opinion one way or the other about the topic, but I promise, I know more than one may think.
I started Belle of the Brier back in September of 2016 with the full intention of pursing a full-time career in blogging. I loved writing, and I still do, but at the time, I wanted to be just like the greats: Carly from The College Prepster, Amber Fillerup from Barefoot Blonde… heck, even Ree Drummond, the oh-so successful Pioneer Woman got her career started in blogging. These people were all able to take something as simple as taking a few pictures, writing their thoughts on the computer, hitting “publish,” and making a sustainable living off of it. I had written for two different websites in college, I had interned at a magazine, so blogging was most likely a piece of cake in comparison, right?
It’s not that simple. There’s so much that goes into blogging that I had no idea about, despite following so many fashion and lifestyle bloggers for YEARS before I started my own. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing and sharing my thoughts on different topics on the web. I think anyone who wants to blog as a creative outlet should totally go for it! But if someone is doing it only hoping to get money, success, and a huge following, like I initially did, then they’re doing it for all the wrong reasons.
When I began blogging, I was so excited about it. So much hard work had gone into it, not just my own, but from family who really helped me with different aspects that I had no clue how to do on my own. It really is a team effort, and it’s hard to create a successful blog by yourself. After a little while, my excitement soon turned into a mix of emotions. One being defeat, the other being self-doubt, and there was definitely a little jealously mixed in too. Why were my posts that I took so much pride in getting hardly any views? Why did people on my Facebook friends list not accept my invite to “like” my blog page? Why did my Instagram pictures not get enough likes? Why did people (mainly other bloggers) follow me just to unfollow me a few hours later? Why do bloggers comment on each others blogs and always link their own website? Why am I constantly feeling like I have to keep buying more clothing to keep up with the latest trends instead of just wearing the few things that I like?
It’s because it’s all a game, and frankly, a game that I just got tired of playing. I could go on a whole rant about how social media has consumed our culture in a pretty toxic way, but I won’t. What I will say though, is that after a while, I didn’t enjoy blogging in the way that I used to. I got caught up in the game. I would comment on other bloggers posts or Instagram pictures and always leave my site link in the hopes that someone looking at their site would notice me. I would look through the hundreds of photos that my dad had taken for an outfit post and psychoanalyze every single one and stress myself out to no end. I would compare myself to other bloggers and spend way to much time scrolling through Instagram. I would hold my breath after uploading a photo to see how many likes it would get in the first few minutes. I would write mainly about fashion, because those posts would always get more views than the encouragement ones, even though those were the ones I enjoyed writing the most.
I got caught up in this notion that every blogger has to create an “image” or a “brand” for them self and to never stray away from that. I can see where that would make sense for some, but after a while, it becomes exhausting and you can lose sight of who you really are. Even though Kylie Jenner is my least favorite “Kardashian,” I was watching her new show, “Life of Kylie” tonight, and she talked about how she hates having to keep up a certain image, and that there’s two sides to herself. There’s the “brand image” Kylie, and then there’s just Kylie. Even though I don’t, nor do I want to, have the kind of life that Kylie lives, I totally could relate on a much smaller scale to what she said. I finally realized that I’m not cut out to be a brand. I’m just me.
A couple years back, I followed a blogger called “Because Shanna Said So…” She doesn’t blog anymore (you can still follow her on Insta!), but her final blog post, published back in 2015 really sums up some of the same things I felt:
“If you’re not careful the online world can suck you in, change you, turn you into something that is false and twist notions of what’s “really” real. You begin to second guess yourself and feel as though you’re not good enough…. You watch others become crazy successful, witness those same people going on exotic sponsored “work trips” via Instagram posts and then new social media outlets become the “latest” thing like Scapchat or Periscope. You’re head starts to spin and you finally stop and wonder… What happened to YOU? Where did YOU go? Why did you put what REALLY matters on the back burner just to try and prove yourself to people that you’ve never met? How come you’ve put so much pressure on yourself that you lost all self confidence, motivation, drive and can’t seem to find the “fun” in the very thing that used to make you so happy…?”
Even though I didn’t blog consistently for a long time, I got a taste of what Shanna felt, who blogged for years before giving it up. Blogging full time isn’t for everyone. Some bloggers stay humble and seem like awesome people, and others just become faker and faker the more successful they become.
This post isn’t meant to be a scathing rant about why blogging is the devil. I really just wanted to kind of explain why I haven’t been blogging as frequently, and to show how it isn’t as glam as some of the pros make it look. It’s hard work, and like Shanna said, if you aren’t careful, it can consume you in a really negative way. I’m not going to stop blogging. I’m just not going to put myself under the kind of pressure I did before. I’m going to write when I feel inspired, and use this site as my little space on the Internet to spread love and positivity, and to remind all those who read, whether there are 5 or 500 of you, that you are treasured and loved by God, and that no amount of likes or followers will ever compare to the amount of love that God has to give you.