I know I know, it's been a while, well, more than a while - four whole months in fact. But this time I haven't just been sitting on my arse lazing about as is my usual measly excuse (well, perhaps a little). Unfortunately the last few months have been rather turbulent, but that's a whole other story for another day (stay tuned for that, it'll be up Monday.)
But for now, I just knew I had to get a post up to celebrate 1 year of 'What Eva Wears', this little space on the internet that I've come to cherish so dearly.
For it has been one whole year since I decided to get my shit together, get over my stupid insecurities, put myself out there a little, and create my own little space on the internet to witter on all day about my (rather unhealthy) obsession with fashion and beauty. So, on April 3rd 2016 I published my very first post, an outfit post in fact - click here to read it for a good giggle at my horror at taking posey photos in public for the first time, it was quite the ordeal!
So to mark the occasion, I thought I'd have a little reflection on what I've learnt about this weird and wonderful blogosphere in the past year, and also consider in what ways I'd like my blog to evolve in the next one.
1.) It's much harder to build a following than first thought.
Now if you're anything like me, seeing little to no growth in following seems to be a major set back. You can sit for hours trying to think of interesting and unique content, spend some more hours (and probably some money too) creating said content, only for you to hit publish on a post you're extremely proud of, check google analytics the next day, and see you've had 3 views. To top it off, one of those views is most probably from your home address - so you know that's your number one fan aka you dear mother offering you a bit of support. For me this was incredibly frustrating at the beginning, and I won't pretend that there aren't occasions when I still feel this way. But what I've come to realise is this: it is the waiting game of growing a following that weeds out the fickle from the dedicated and determined. Building a true, engaged following in the honest way will take time and effort, but it will be far more rewarding in the long run than having gained that following through shadier means (*side-eye to those buying followers*).
I suspect the follower frustration is that which causes a lot of people to quit blogging so soon after they begin. But I've realised that numbers really aren't everything. I've watched blogs grow greatly in such a short space of time and have mulled over why the same hasn't happened to my own, why my formula 'doest work', but I always end up plodding along with creating content, purely because I love it. I love the process of putting an outfit together, of editing the imagery and just writing whatever I want, and whether 30,000 of you read it or just 1, I've realised that it's the process that is so rewarding for me, everything on top is just a bonus.
2.) You won't feel perpetually inspired, and that's ok.
When I first started blogging I was on an absolute content creating high. I had tonnes of ideas, pages and pages of scrawny notes scribbled into an old notebook of outfits I planned to shoot, think pieces I wanted to write, products I wanted to review, so on and so forth. So you'll understand my complete surprise when 2 months into blogging, I was completely stumped on what to post. I had no ideas. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. And of course, this led to a little dry spell of no content, me fretting about displaying a lack of consistency and therefore losing followers (which did happen), which then led me to feeling more uninspired. I guess what I didn't realise is that one will not feel constantly inspired. In hindsight, this is something I should have anticipated, seeing as I studied Art at both GCSE and A Level, and would often go through periods where I would experience total apathy towards it, and would begrudgingly get out my sketch pad to draw or paint. I'd have nothing innovative to produce and I'd feel completely fed up. And then the next week I'd have a wave of creativity and I'd be working all day and catching up on all the coursework I got behind on during my dry spell during the night too.
Sometimes the creative juices just flow, other times there's a complete drought - and that's fine. Relax, don't put pressure on yourself - it's surprising how quickly you'll get your mojo back.
3.) Blogging is a rather expensive hobby.
Credit to my constantly nagging mother for that annoyingly truthful sub-title. One thing I didn't really anticipate was how much getting sucked into the blogging bubble would encourage and influence my own shopping habits and if I'm honest, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I mean, yes I love indulging in the latest trend, or seeking out a highly sort after item, almost consequently feeling like one of the 'in crowd' when my efforts are met with success. Nevertheless, scanning my room right now and seeing the numerous packages, clothes, and just stuff in general, I have to pose the question, has blogging ultimately sparked a wave of negative spending habits? I fear blogging has sucked me ever deeper into the perils of consumerism, further blurring the lines between 'want' and 'need'. I'm ashamed to admit the number of times I've sulked when something I've been lusting after has sold out completely in my size and I've pathetically whimpered something along the lines of, "but I need that wide sleeve shirt to match my stepped hem jeans and it's the biggest trend of this season!" It's all fun and games until you're deep in your overdraft and realise student loan isn't due until next term - beans on toast diet it is! I've actually prepared a couple of posts already on the possible negative impact the blogosphere has on our personal style because I think there's much to discuss on this topic. Let's be honest, how often do we truly love and enjoy a trend and how often are we just 'doing it for the 'gram'? Something to think about.
I bet at this point you're thinking, bloody hell, Eva, do you want to be any more of a debbie downer? If there's all these negatives, why the hell do you still blog?! So, let's look at some more positive pointers..
4.) You'll love the feeling when you hit publish on a blog post you've worked really hard on.
I always feel so completely accomplished when I've sat fixated on my laptop for a few hours, and finally hit publish on my work. We all approach our content differently I'm sure, but I approach each blog post as a mini project, and I love it. There's really nothing like seeing all your work come together, having watched the project progress from a few scribbled notes in a notebook, to images ready to be edited, to piecing it together with the text you've spent so long writing. Then suddenly you hit publish, it's all over and you're onto the next.
5.) There's nothing better than reading the comments of those who engage with your content.
Yes, generic, cliché and maybe slightly cringe, but after all, we create content for it to be read and commented upon. For me, so much of the fun is seeing what other people have to say about what I've produced. From the vanity perspective, there's no denying that there's that feel good factor, that little 'pick me up' every time I read one of the lovely comments left on a post. But more than that, it's hearing people's opinions and on not just the general aesthetics of an outfit, but whatever I've taken so much time to sit and write. My absolute favourite post that I've created to date was my very first 'think piece' style post about insecurity and the blogosphere (read here if you missed it) - so many of you left such insightful comments which really generated discussion and which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Really, this is what I hope to see more of in the future.
So, what are my goals going forward?
1.) Consistency - Now, I know I sound like a hypocrite as I've just nattered on about creating when the creativity flows and all that malarkey, but what I mean here is that there is many a time where I have an idea, and just don't execute it because of 'other commitments'. Whilst I do lead a busy life which blogging is only a small part of, I know for a fact that if I were more organised and not the winner of the procrastinator of the year award, that I'd be able to produce regular content. So this is what I'm going to try and do this year; get my arse in gear, sort myself out, and create more!
2.) Write more think pieces - As I say, my favourite post was my first think piece, and I'm most definitely a person with a lot of opinions on just about everything, especially things in the blogging world. This year I'd definitely like to write more of this style post as it seems popular with you lovely readers (my insecurity post is still my most highly viewed to date!) and I'll never pass up a chance to natter on about my opinions and why they're right. (looool!)
Most importantly though, I want to remember to have fun with it. I've seen many a post recently from individuals becoming ambivalent towards the blogging world, cynical about brand collabs and money making in the industry, and frustrated at the constant numbers game. I'd like to hope that I'd kinda be able to rise above all that. I'd just like to keep my blog a hobby in which I can indulge as an escape from the more mundane, monotonous aspects of my life, and therefore there's no need to stress when I don't have time to shoot, or when my following stagnates.
It's so incredibly important that you blog for you; the fact that you love it and nothing else, and it'll always be a rewarding hobby to have - no matter your follow count or how much money you may or may not be making.
I hope you enjoyed this post lovelies! Did any of you experience similar thoughts after starting out in blogging? What are your goals for your blogs? Let me know in the comments! Oh and lastly, let me know if there's anything you'd like to see on 'What Eva Wears'!
Stay tuned as there'll be another post this week!
Until next time,
T-shirt: Missguided (old, similar slogan tees here)
Jeans: Bershka (old, v. similar frayed hem jeans here)
Hat: Asos (Here)
Bag: Zara (sold out - my oh my I'm not doing very well with these links! But here's something similar)
Silk Scarf: Dior