The "Art" of Blogging

by - 5/31/2018

GUYS! It's a post unrelated to my list! Hooray. I've been exercising my writing muscles the past few weeks and this just came tumbling out of my head today. As I go along, I'm going to share some of my old blog headers, because I randomly have a lot of them saved, ha! It's a bit of a #throwbackthursday, if you will. This is also long, so kudos to you if you read it all! Here we go.

Blogging. What a weird thing.

Back in 2009, I had just graduated from high school. A few of my friends had these things called "blogs" and told me I should get one, too. Having no idea what a blog even was, it still wasn't long before I followed their advice, and I quickly became obsessed. Not only did I start this little corner of the internet, but I also was able to keep up with all my friends at a time when we'd all gone our separate ways to college. What a fun thing that was! On top of that, I found hundreds of other blogs to follow - from fashion, to photography, to family blogs, and beyond. I loved getting peeks into these people's lives. It opened up my eyes to a whole new world.

Here's one of my very first headers, circa 2009. A poorly (and overly) photoshopped photo of me on a hammock. This shirt was blue originally. Why I changed it to purple, we'll never know.
My aunt once asked me, "what is the appeal of blogs? I don't get why you'd want to read something written by a random person you don't even know". My response? "It's kind of like reading a book! People tell funny stories, or share about cool things they're doing, or hard things they've gone through, what they're wearing, just their every day lives. There's a lot of interesting people in the world."

And in the beginning, it really did seem like people were truly sharing about their lives. 

Fast forward a few years and this blogging world had gained some wild popularity. Some of these bloggers had such large followings that big companies started to take notice, and suddenly Jane from down the street was getting paid big bucks (like, thousands) to wear an item of clothing from a specific store and showcase it on her blog. 

And that... that is when blogging started to lose its spark.

I thought this header was pretty fancy. I was proud of myself.

Don't get me wrong here, I think it's pretty freakin' amazing that said "Jane from down the street" could make money just by knowing her way around a camera and photoshop, and putting together a cute outfit, or a post about a new brand of kid's toys, or a super awesome cleaning product.... or something. 

But when they started getting handed these products, it's like the creativity went away (for a lot of them, not all of them!) and due to that I've slowly become less and less interested in blogs over the years. Again, I'm not hating on sponsored content, because HOW COOL is it that you can sit on your butt at home and type some stuff and get paid for it! But I miss the days when "Jane" posted an outfit that she created herself, and that would leave me totally inspired. I miss just reading about ordinary lives. I miss the authenticity. I miss the connection I honestly felt when I'd read about real experiences. 

I miss the days when blogging wasn't about constantly having "new" stuff. While I understand the reason for this from a business perspective, it's not sustainable, nor is it attainable for the average Joe and it doesn't inspire creativity in what you already have. I personally have caught myself feeling like what I have could never be good enough. How sad is that?!

Obviously I'm kind of focusing on fashion blogs here, but I do feel like these are the ones that have taken the biggest nosedive. I just wish it were different.
It took me SO LONG to figure out how to get my picture in there like that. :)

Having said all this, let me clarify by saying there are still some AMAZING bloggers out there who still totally inspire me. And I applaud them for successfully combining sponsored items with their everyday lives, while also still being what I feel is authentically creative. Even if it's all totally manufactured and I just don't realize it, I think there are still some that have found a good balance.

Sidenote to include some of my favorites, that ALL have sponsored content:
Taza - one of the very first blogs I followed, and a long time-favorite! The perfect mix of family life, peeks into her mind, travel, style, and NYC living.
Merrick's Art - her style is so effortless and attainable. I also love the clothes she sews herself, even though I'm nowhere near having that skill.
Everyday Reading - a fun mix of book reviews, food, style, and funny, cute family stuff.
Dress Corilynn - cute petite style and home decor with the right mix of little thoughts. I've also followed her for years.
Oh Joy - just really beautiful, colorful content all the time.
A Beautiful Mess - the most incredible DIYs, food, home decor, and beyond.
Elle Apparel - her monthly dress series is out of this WORLD amazing.
NieNie - she's still going strong and I find her life and her striving for happiness so inspiring and beautiful.

But I digress. 

The biggest reason why I'm writing this all out, is I feel like those of us (like me) who used to blog just for the fun of it have been pushed out of this dog-eat-dog (or blog-eat-blog, ha!) world because they feel like they can't "live up" to what these other successful bloggers are doing. And that right there is a travesty. Some of my most FAVORITE bloggers were those that just wrote about whatever, but they haven't posted in years. But here's what I think: the more we shy away from writing about our lives because we're afraid of how we'll look, or what people will think, or because we don't have perfect photos or a perfect house or the perfect content to write about all the time, the more we perpetuate this idea that we HAVE to be a certain way to be happy.

There was a brief time when "side headers" were all the rage. This was my attempt.
So.... my thoughts are a little jumbled but my point is this: I have nothing against bloggers who make a living posting pretty stuff. In fact I still quite enjoy it. 

But I myself have fallen victim to thinking I can't post certain things because I'll be judged, or that I'm just not as interesting as so-and-so, or whatever it is.

And that has to stop! I've had a pretty big awakening the past 6 months or so that I just need to be ME. And being me means that I still follow some of these bloggers (cause there ain't nothin' wrong with them), but that I also post my own silly little thoughts wherever and however I want.

I used to love this space, and I honestly still do, and I've been feeling so inspired lately to keep at it and do what I love.

A personal favorite from the header archives. I even changed the blog name! Now I'm just back to boring old text for my header. I want to bring a version of this one back...
So here's to getting back to the good ol' days of blogging (at least, MY good ol' days) and posting whatever the heck I want, cause it's fun, and I seriously get the biggest kick out of looking over my old posts. I'm not posting this stuff for anyone else but me (and, okay, maybe posterity or something?). Maybe someday I'll print this blog into a book to keep at my house! I mean, I've been at this for nearly 10 years! I've got some great memories on here. And all I've ever done is write about my life. That same authenticity I saw in other blogs was contagious and beautiful and I loved it, and still do! So that's what I'm going to try to keep doing here.

I'll wrap up this rather lengthy post by saying, let's just all be relaxed and comfortable with being ourselves. You do you. Be proud of who you are. Write about whatever you want. Write everyday! Write about the hard stuff. Write about the good stuff. Make yourself laugh, or smile. Enjoy your life!

And hey, thanks for reading my ramblings. There's a lot more where this came from. :)

Happy Thursday!

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