What I Learned Taking a Month Off of Blogging
Hello friends, long time no see.
For the month of January, I felt called by God to slow down and take some time off from blogging. I had started feeling very overwhelmed in December and my focus of the blog went from posting outfits and writing blogs I actually enjoyed to writing and styling for followers and what they would like.
In 2018, I was extremely blessed with collaborations, but the blog became one big marketing scheme. I didn’t realize it, but I was constantly chasing the next company I could work with or product I could review and overall my end game was about gaining followers. I would put out poll after poll about what everyone wanted to see or read, and I forgot that you all read and follow along with my life because you like what I’m posting, not because I’m doing what everyone else does.
During my time off, I learned a lot about myself and my connection with blogging and where I want my site to go. To quote Kylie Jenner “It was my [month] of realizing things. I just realized a lot of things” and I thought I would share them with you here. So without further ado, here are the lessons I learned during my time off in the month of January.
1.Social Media Is Not What It Used To Be
For this point, I want you to think back to the mid 2000’s (if you’re old enough to do that) and remember a time where Facebook had just emerged on the scene. For the first time, you could connect with all of your relatives who lived far away, your buddies from school when you weren’t together, or even strangers who you found commonality with. Social media was created to make community, to unite PEOPLE. When you look at social media today, the theme is very different. Not only are we having sponsored posts from brands integrated in our feeds, but we’re also following brands and influencers who convince us to constantly buy (I’ll go into that more in point 2). The idea of person to person community has completely vanished. When I realized this, I wrestled with it because I enjoy promoting brands I love and, if I’m being completely honest, one of my goals is to be able to write/blog for a living someday, so I’ll need to make money somehow. The conclusion I came to is that it is okay to collaborate with brands and have that aspect included in my blog, but more so I need to get back to the basics of why I love this, and that is the authenticity of community, whether in real life or online.
2. Clothing Was Way More Of A Coping Mechanism Than I Believed
During the seemingly never ending month of January, I also felt called to not buy one item of clothing (this included accessories), but instead to save up the money I would usually spend and put it towards something good. This was tough for a number of reasons. First, because, as a content creator, I need new product on a consistent basis. I accomplish this a lot through collaborating, but sometimes the clothing price comes from my own wallet too. The second reason this was tough was because everyone and their mom had an amazing sale this month on items I really wanted but couldn’t have. The reason I had the hardest time, though, was on bad or long or hard days where I just wanted to feel good. I realized that those were the times where I would find myself looking at clothing online. I seriously had no idea that I had this pattern or way of doing things until this month, and it has been very tough, but very beneficial to start gaining self control in that area.
3. I Have Very Dedicated Followers
While I was on hiatus from blogging, my following count only varied by 20. I was either up in the 1,870’s or down in the 1,850’s. This shows me that, outside of a small bot following that I supposedly have, a majority of my followers are dedicated, real people. It also showed me that the pressure I feel to post everyday at a certain time is not real or pushed on me by anyone other than myself. If I skip a day, my support will still be there and if I don’t post for a month, friends/family/followers are going to stick around.
4. There’s a Big Difference Between Fame and Influence
The biggest hurdle I had to overcome this month was the desire to be known and looked up to. I think it is something we all have a desire for at least a little bit, but mine had grown into something much bigger than I’d imagined. While at a church conference in December, an old friend gave me a hug and we started to catch up on what had been happening in our lives. I didn’t disclose this to him, but I’d been praying for answers on a few things, including direction of the blog as well as my place in leadership in my college group at church. All of a sudden, in the middle of our discussion, he just breaks into this tangent on leadership and the qualities he’s seen lacking in major leaders lately. Then he hit me with the real kicker: the difference between fame and influence. He gave the example of a basketball player or a rapper, we look up to them because everyone else does. They may have vast knowledge on one area of talent, but we wouldn’t go to them for personal advice on how to live our lives or direction in our careers. Fame is when people follow you based on numbers and popularity, which are short lived and ever changing, whereas influence is when people follow you for you wisdom, respect and established authority. This has been brewing within me ever since and I want to make sure that I am truly an influencer, not just insta popular. (Ben Langlois, if you’re reading this, thank you for sharing your wisdom!)
5. Events Were Way More Fun
I came home from the Minneapolis Blogger Union One Year Anniversary party with a feeling of self-renewed excitement. I usually enjoy their events, which is why I continue to attend them, but my focus this time was completely different than in past months. I didn’t feel the pressure to network or gain another follow, instead I had the freedom to catch up with fellow blogger babes and just enjoy our time together. I’m trying to figure out a good way of balancing this in the future as I integrate blogging back in.
6. Blogging Was No Longer A Chore
I touched on this at the beginning, but the greatest thing this “fast” has given me is a newfound sense of drive. I am writing this on January 31st and I am SO EXCITED to finally post something again. I missed shooting outfits for fun and writing what was on my heart. I miss the community aspect of Instagram. Having posting schedules and campaign plans is a really good practice to have, but sometimes it’s nice to take off my business minded hat and get back to the heart of creativity that drew me to blogging in the first place.
Thank you, my dear readers, for allowing me the space to fall back in love with blogging. I have a lot of fun stuff planned for February and onward and I cannot wait to share them with you.
Finally, I want to give a shout out to Primp Boutique for collaborating with me on this blog post. They have multiple brick and mortar stores for all my Twin Cities gals, but also have a newly opened online platform for those who aren’t local to Minnesota.