Redefining Blogging

I’m having a bit of a wobble. If you usually come to my blog for nails and lipstick the maybe you should skip this one… if you keep scrolling there are some BEAUTIFUL Ciaté polishes swatched right below this post!

Redefining Blogging

There’s something in the air in the blogging community. It’s been building for a while but it seems to be reaching a peak. People are rebranding, changing focus, even retiring completely. There’s an ever-widening gap between the ‘old school’ bloggers (those who seem like regular people just giving their opinions on things) and the ‘new school’ bloggers (the ones where you click a link and assume you may have accidentally stumbled onto the Vogue website). This morning I watched Mikhila’s video on a similar topic (watch it HERE) and it mentioned a lot of things I’d been considering recently.

I’ve been struggling with knowing what my place is in blogging, imposter syndrome is sneaking in and making me doubt everything at the moment. In a world where 99.9% of the successful bloggers are 20 and almost supernaturally hot, not only am I over 30 but I also have a skin condition which means I feel self-conscious and embarrassed of my face a lot of the time. I flipping love make up and post a lot of photos of myself, but behind each photo I upload are about 50 outtakes. And I sit and pore over my face in minute detail to find one that I’m happiest with (‘My skin looks awful’, ‘does my nose always look like that?’, ‘I didn’t even know a person could look in both directions at once…’) The problem is, no one else looks at your face is as much detail as that. It’s not healthy to analyse yourself that closely ever, so to do it on a regular basis and then have that one acceptable photo put into the world to be judged by others is idiotic. And to make that your job? A terrible idea of mind-blowing proportions.

It’s impossible not to compare yourself to others in any profession (‘why did they get that big project?’, ‘I can’t believe they’re getting a promotion’, ‘they’re paid how much more than me?!’) but blogging is so isolated that you don’t have any other way to judge your success or failure than the opinions of strangers. If I create a post or an image that I’m really proud of and it flops or gets a mixed reaction, I feel it so deeply. And that’s only compounded when I post something that I think is sub-par or a bit dull and it does really well. I often wonder if I should just play the game better: stop with the blue lipsticks, paint my whole flat white (including my husband #matchinghusbandtoflatgoals), just try to be a bit more put together. But the content we create is personal. My blog is a reflection of me and I flipping love blue lipsticks! And my skin isn’t perfect. And I don’t go to the Maldives every other weekend. And I don’t know how to make my hair do that flicky thing that other bloggers seemed to have perfected. (Seriously, how do they do that? I’m assuming a complicated series of levers and pulleys.)

I know that, for some of you, hearing about the inner workings of blogging is about as interesting as watching paint dry. But all of this self-indulgent rambling has helped me to come to some decisions. I’ve been thinking about what makes me happy and what doesn’t and there will be some changes around here, some of which you may already have noticed:

  • I’m moving towards less chatty videos wherever I can. Editing videos where I’m talking makes me even more self-conscious about the way I look, so why carry on doing it if I don’t have to?
  • My selfies are more ‘honest’ than they were a few years ago: no filters ever, a better quality camera, captions that tell people when I’m feeling less than great, and more pictures of my naked skin.
  • There are fewer PR samples on the blog now simply because I’m turning down more press events. Free prosecco and a room full of like-minded beauty lovers sounds like heaven, but in reality they filled me with dread and only made me compare myself to everyone in the room.
  • I’m pushing myself to have photoshoots with other people (like this one) and to try to see myself through their eyes. It’s way out of my comfort zone but perhaps that’s a good thing.

I think a change needs to come. We’ve bought into, and in part played along with, this idea of a Perfect Blogger. But we need to re-evaluate what a blogger looks like. When did the definition become so narrow? I found myself under pressure to create content I know would do well even if I didn’t particularly enjoy doing it. I want to feel proud of the content I create. I want to know that, even if my recent YouTube video only had a small number of views, it was watched by people who actually needed it and were helped by it. Although my blog is niche and that makes me unattractive to many brands and PRs, that makes it even better when one approaches me and says ‘you would be the perfect fit for us’.

If you’re feeling a little disillusioned with blogging, just take an hour to sit and think about what content you’ve made that you loved, that you felt proud of, that you would want to be known for. Think about what success looks like to you. We need to stop thinking that anything less than designer brand press trips, make up collaborations, and free holidays is failing! When I stop comparing myself to others and focus on my own achievements I feel unstoppable. I remind myself of this small but incredible fact: complete strangers read what I’ve written. That in itself should signify success in blogging!

There’s a saying that goes around Instagram and Pinterest all the time, and it sounds cheesy and trite but it’s true: ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. Yes, you can use those successful bloggers to inspire you, to push you. But they are not the be all and end all of blogging. We all need to make our own way and define what blogging looks like for each of us as individuals.

I definitely don’t fit into the perfect blogger box but I think this is the year that I stop wanting to.

Lex

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38 Comments

  1. Stephanie
    18th May 2017 / 11:41 am

    I was recently diagnosed with rosacea and your blog has been an invaluable resource for me. Your writing is honest, funny and engaging. Something that a lot of other bloggers can’t claim. Keep up the good work!

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 3:41 pm

      Thank you so so much Stephanie, that’s such a lovely comment x

  2. 18th May 2017 / 11:57 am

    Just keep doing what you’re doing Lex, you & your blog are fabulous! I don’t personally follow any of the ‘perfect bloggers’ you refer to, in fact I’d be hard pushed to even name a few. Why? Because I find them boring and false. I would much rather follow someone genuine and interesting, with something valid to say like you x

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 3:40 pm

      Ahhh thank you so much Andy, I’m so glad I met you – you are so honest and know yourself so well. I find them all very boring too, I wouldn’t trust anything they were selling me! Thank you again, your comment is so kind x

  3. 18th May 2017 / 12:03 pm

    I Love this post, and you know what ? by being a non perfect blogger makes you THE perfect blogger, not sounding a bitch, which I probably can at this age, who wants to see that stylised fake perfection ? seriously it’s not goals, it’s DULL. People relate to people not fake tripe. Luv Ya, keep doing you, Lyn x

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 3:36 pm

      Such a lovely comment, thank you so much. I totally agree – cookie-cutter bloggers who all look, dress, talk and live the same are really dull! You’re so kind x

  4. 18th May 2017 / 12:04 pm

    I loved the raw honesty of this and it’s something many of us can relate to right now. The bloggersphere has changed so much that it’s hard to keep up and find your place, but taking a step back and doing what makes you happy is the most important. Much love Lex xx

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 3:31 pm

      Thank you Hayley, I can’t even imagine how much change you’ve seen since you started your blog, it must be crazy! Focusing on what makes me happy and proud is my new main goal x

  5. Erin
    18th May 2017 / 12:36 pm

    I saw you on the programme with Katie Piper and I absolutely loved you. I too have rosacea and really struggled with make up. You just really inspired me and were so lovely, I found your fb page and think that you should know how much you have helped people.xx

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 3:27 pm

      Thank you so much Erin, that’s such a lovely comment. I’m so glad you found me! x

  6. 18th May 2017 / 12:40 pm

    I can so identify with this post Lex & have often thought of writing a similar one (maybe I will one day). On one side the pressure is real… I shy away from events at the thought of sitting next to 21 year olds (I’m 10+ years older than you) & yet I KNOW that readers long for someone they can identify with & who shares their concerns. Isn’t it better to be real than an unattainable (for most) cardboard cutout?! I think so…
    Keep doing you. You’re brilliant at it.
    Nicola xx

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 3:26 pm

      It’s so so tricky isn’t it? I totally agree that it’s a weird contrast in my mind – I don’t want to be that kind of blogger but I feel so much pressure to do it in order to be traditionally successful. URGH. You are so kind, thank you making me feel less like a weirdo! x

  7. 18th May 2017 / 1:53 pm

    I can definitely relate to this! I haven’t mastered the flat lay, I rarely do selfies, and my blog theme is black (along with my photo background). Oh, and I have a full time job. Sometimes I feel like a real outsider in the blogging world, and a failure because I can’t manage more than one post a week.

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 3:21 pm

      It’s so hard isn’t it? There’s so much pressure and it feels like only one very small way of blogging is rewarded and lauded. But there are thousands and thousands of us that don’t fit into that box. Blogging needs to get wider to include everyone!

  8. Kathleen
    18th May 2017 / 2:09 pm

    That’s fantastic! You are unique and I think that makes you awesome. I’ve had rosacea for 30 years and only learned a year or two ago, through discovering and reading your blog, to accept my face. But, I also learned to pamper my face. I buy products you recommend, products I reasearch, products to enhance my awesome eyes and lips, products to treat, etc etc. I even got into taking care of my nails (which I used to pick to the point of bleeding). I think I own about 200 polishes now LOL You inspire me to love myself and do things for myself that make me happy. I look forward to your pressure-free blog posts BTW, I think you’re a shoe-in for the beauty blogger of the year award!!

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 3:17 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment Kathleen. I can’t tell you how happy it made me! It makes my inner enabler so happy to hear the story about your nail varnish obsession 🙂 You are so so kind, I really appreciate your lovely words x

  9. 18th May 2017 / 2:51 pm

    I can’t tell you how much I love this post! It sums up precisely how I’ve been feeling. Jen Carrington talks about how the ego gets in the way of what you truly want sometimes in one of her podcasts. And that deeply resonated with me; I think I was taking some PR samples etc because it somehow validated me as a blogger even though I didn’t really want to do it, if that makes sense? Now, even if it means not getting all the “free shit”, I’m only collaborating with things I really want to share, and it will give me time to actually focus on things *I* want to blog about. It was really pissing me off that after I reviewed something some companies were then coming back asking for follow links (which I didn’t change btw) but I actually have control over that!

    I originally started blogging for many reasons but one was because of the community of women that were talking about lipstick as well as politics etc and I’d love very much to get back to that. I’m so looking forward to seeing what you do! <3

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 3:08 pm

      Ahhh Trona, thank you so so much! I find myself doing the same because I still get excited when people ask me to review stuff. But I’m definitely being more picky about the things I feature because I want to feel proud of my content.
      I agree that blogging has become so sterile and there are so many opinionless women/girls who sound like robots programmed to only talk about one thing. Yawn! I want a more rounded blogger, one who I could imagine talking about a wide range of things with! x

  10. Amanda
    18th May 2017 / 3:38 pm

    I already followed you on Instagram for the nails stuff – then I discovered I had rosacea and your blog became a lifeline. So thank you (and selfishly, please don’t stop!)

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 2:56 pm

      You are my ideal blog target – nails and rosacea sums me up perfectly 🙂 Thank you for your lovely comment x

  11. Alison Jackson
    18th May 2017 / 6:18 pm

    Yes! I’ve been finding a lot of the bloggers I follow are depressing me lately. Everything is so unobtainable from the million designer handbags, the expensive beauty products that they didn’t buy but recommend and the holidays that they go on all the time! Instead of feeling inspired it often makes me feel dissatisfied that my life isn’t like that! Add to that the fact that their content is beautifully created and edited but they probably have a team to do it and it just doesn’t feel real or attainable for an aspiring blogger/beauty lover. It has all got too perfect!!! And the danger is that bloggers will become the new form of reality tv celeb where their lives are real or relatable but they are marketed to be that way when they’re blatantly not. So don’t feel like being yourself isn’t enough, we need bloggers who are normal people and are happy to just talk about the products they love and would recommend to a friend rather than bloggers who just end up becoming another (expensive) line on a media plan. Rant over! I got carried away… xx

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 2:53 pm

      It’s so hard to keep reading blog after blog that makes you feel like you’re failure if you’re not a 24 year old millionaire! I totally agree with everything you said, I really hope that there’s a turning tide and we have a return to more ‘real’ blogging x

  12. Sally
    18th May 2017 / 6:24 pm

    I love your blog! I’m a little bit addicted if I’m honest – I have come across a few blogs recently to fill the long nights with a baby and I always come back to yours hoping for a new post, if there isn’t one I simply start randomly reading old ones which are all fab (although I do want to buy everything I read about )!

    You have a long term fan in me, keep up the good work, don’t be so hard on yourself, pour a gin! Xxx

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 2:52 pm

      That’s such a wonderful thing to hear, Sally – thank you! I am so pleased to hear that you enjoy reading my blog, that makes me so happy. Gin poured! Cheers x

  13. 18th May 2017 / 9:10 pm

    The weird thing is that every brand is bleating about wanting ‘authenticity’ which is exactly what you offer… but then they buy their way out of anything authentic at all. Just keep doing what you’re doing because you do it so well – what you’re doing isn’t ‘old school’, it’s completely authentic, purposeful and interesting. If you research Instagram, ‘likes’ are down… nobody can really be bothered to ‘like’ or engage anymore and why? Because it’s all the same – every page looks like the last one and mentally people just switch off. So, never wobble for being different and sticking to what you know your readers like rather than what brands like. Blogs like this one are the most coveted because they’re not an easy win. It puts your value as a writer and content creator a million miles ahead. We might never be the richest bloggers but we can sleep easy :-).

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 2:50 pm

      You’re so right Jane, it’s such a double standard. They want engagement and niche experiences and knowledge… but then go for people with 80k followers who never talk to their followers and know nothing about the products they’re selling. EYE ROLL.
      Thank you so much for this kind comment, it really does mean a lot. You are the perfect example of a blogger who has the huge following and amazing opportunities but still feels relatable and trustworthy. You are proof it can be done, if people want to be those things… I get the feeling some want to be unobtainable and make others feel a bit shit! x

  14. 18th May 2017 / 9:51 pm

    Yeeees! I can totally relate to this as one of those old school bloggers. I took quite a big break but now I’ve accepted I’m never going to compete with those beautiful, hot 20 something’s who are island hopping.

    I’m quite happy writing my posts for the small number of people who read them because I enjoy documenting my style. I personally tend to read posts by micro-bloggers anyway… and they truly influence me to purchase products.

    Here’s to keeping it real!

    T x

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 2:47 pm

      I’m so glad you could relate to the post! It’s hard not to compare yourself but you’re right, once you accept it things become much easier. I like to look at the big bloggers for inspo and that ‘wow’ factor but I totally agree that I don’t tend to buy things recommended by them and I wouldn’t necessarily trust their opinions as they seem so far removed from ‘normal’ people.
      Thank you for such a positive and uplifting comment x

  15. 19th May 2017 / 12:58 am

    You definitely fit into my idea of ‘perfect blogger’. Since discovering your blog I have felt so much better about my naked rosacea skin.
    I started blogging this year but was put off recently by all the bickering and perfect Instagram pictures of skinny girls 5 years younger than me, but this blog has inspired me to get writing again.

    Thanks for be you!
    Siobhan x

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 2:38 pm

      Thank you for your kind comment, Siobhan. Sometimes the blogging community can feel very bitchy and cliquey, but just do you! I’d love to read your blog if you start it again x

  16. 19th May 2017 / 9:17 am

    Why try and compare with others when you are unique. There is no comparison. You talk openly and honestly about rosacea and its affects, both mentally and physically, and this has been amazingly helpful and informative for me. I have sat many times in front of the mirror feeling so down looking at my bright red rosacea stricken reflection, despairing how I can cover it, look ‘normal’, make it go away. Then I came across you on the Katie Piper docu and found your blog. Amen! Your frank blogging offers positivity and hope as well as practical advice. Blogging isn’t about age and keeping up with others it’s about providing information and advice to those that need it, by someone who knows about it because they live it and walk it. Long may you continue!

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 2:37 pm

      Oh Tracey this is such a lovely comment, thank you. I am going to screenshot this and come back to it whenever I’m feeling low about my blog. Thank you so so much for the encouragement, it means so much to me x

  17. Kelly
    20th May 2017 / 11:49 am

    You are my go to blog. So many seem superficial and false. Creating a world of insecurity and an Unobtainable way of life. That’s not real life. And it’s not blooming healthy!! Your blog is. It’s all the beautifully flawed things that make us human. You alone have given me so much confidence. There aren’t many places to turn for people with chronic skin conditions, your blog is a place of safety, inspiration, honesty and acceptance. You Lex are a superstar in your own right. Don’t forget it.

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 2:20 pm

      Ahhh this is such a lovely comment, thank you so much. I find it so hard not to compare myself to others in the blogging world but I’m going to try harder to see the value in what I do and focus on why being different isn’t a bad thing! x

  18. Lisa Bryce
    20th May 2017 / 5:44 pm

    I have never commented here before–I don’t even know how I stumbled across your blog–because I don’t do my nails, haha but I have enjoyed your posts–this one especially.

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 2:19 pm

      Thank you so much Lisa, that’s so nice to hear! I’m glad you stumbled across me 🙂

  19. 22nd May 2017 / 12:37 pm

    I’ve got to be honest, I find that the less polished, more realistic blog posts are the ones I tend to click on more these days! Yes content is beautiful and well shot but it can be a tad samey and devoid of personality at times. I want to hear about the good and the bad and I love your blog not just for the nail porn (!) but for the personal things like rosecea. Keep doing you!

    http://victoriaspongepeasepudding.com

    • Lex
      27th May 2017 / 2:18 pm

      Thank you so much Victoria. I’m the same, I much prefer someone I feel I could be friends with rather than someone who seems so far removed from my life x

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