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!
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.