It has been a hectic six months since focusing more energy on blogging, and through highs and lows I’ve made it to the half-year mark.
To celebrate and ease myself back into blogging life after taking an extended break, I wanted to share a few things I’ve learnt and loved on this wild ride!
Almost every experience has been a highlight, but a certain few stand out from the rest.
I’ve had the opportunity to work with several brands, but after working on two projects with DYLON UK I have to say that I’ve enjoyed that experience the most. Both collaborations appealed to my crafty side and when given the freedom to express my creativity, I ended up with handmade items and gifts that I absolutely adore.
LUSH Blogger Event
In December last year, I attended my very first blogging event with a brand that I adore – none other than LUSH! I didn’t know what to expect and won’t shy away from the fact that I was terrified, but the staff at LUSH Arndale were so lovely and I had the absolute best time.
Through various events both in real life and online, I’ve met so many like-minded and interesting people who I’ve come to think of as friends. It’s no secret that the blogging community can be ruthless and hurtful, but I’m lucky enough to have found nothing but kind words and reassurance and it is fantastic.
I had always thought of blogging as a lonely hobby (don’t get me wrong, it very much is at times) and was shocked to find some many blogging communities out there ready to take newcomers under their wing. Twitter has been my main source of such communities, and taking part in various chats and ‘meeting’ people has massively broadened my horizons and made me feel part of the bigger picture.
Although I came into the blogging world feeling ready for action, it has still been a very steep and at times exhausting learning curve, but it has 100% been worth it.
Here are a few of the main things that I feel I’ve learnt over the past few months:
Blogging is way more than ‘just a hobby’. I knew I’d have to dedicate some time to planning and writing posts, however I underestimated how much of my time it would take up. It went from something that I thought I could do for a few hours once a week to a few hours every night just to keep up with a regular posting schedule. I do enjoy writing and taking pictures and thinking up new posts, but sometimes it can feel like I spend all my spare time working and not relaxing. I’ve found that the key here is balance, and setting myself a schedule for the nights that I do write has been really helpful.
The follow/unfollow ‘game’ is strong and ridiculous, and I don’t think I’ll ever really understand it! My first experience with this came with a beauty blog account – they followed me and when I didn’t follow back, they unfollowed and then followed again three times over in the space of one hour. It did make me slightly obsess over my stats, but I gave myself a reality check and was able to nip this in the bud before I lost my sanity over it, and I’m back to being grateful for anyone that wants to follow and read my stuff. It’s really important to remember that numbers aren’t everything, and I’ll take quality over quantity every time.
Surprisingly, I’ve learnt that I’m mentally stronger than I actually think I am. I won’t lie – I’ve considered chucking the towel in a few times when I felt like I had nothing interesting to say or no ‘like-able’ posts to write. Self-doubt is horrible, but forcing myself to push through it and post anyway even at the lowest of times has made me realise that I need to give myself more credit and a pat on the back every so often.
Coming hand in hand with the above is the very important lesson that it’s okay to take a break. Very recently, I’ve taken a few weeks from blogging and most social media for personal reasons and I’m relieved that I allowed myself to do so as I feel stronger than ever and ready to get back into the posting routine. For the first few posts that I missed I seriously bullied myself up over it, but I’m so very glad that I chilled out and let myself have some breathing space as I feel all the better for it.
What has blogging done for me?
The number one thing for me here is that it has really boosted my confidence – I no longer shy away from blogging chats or groups, and interact with friends and strangers without hesitating. I’ve got a long way to go face to face, but I’ve attended events and actually started and held conversations without anxiety gnawing at me and that for is a massive achievement.
It has made me realise how passionate I am! I’ve discovered that I have strong opinions and I’m not afraid to defend them, or turn down opportunities because I don’t believe in or necessary like a brand/product. The general consensus for new bloggers is to take every opportunity that is offered to you, but my blog is about things I genuinely love and I’m not going to put on a front or lie about how I feel about something – I want to stay true to myself, and as a rule of thumb will only read other blogs that are honest and open too.
Lastly, it’s taught me more about self-care and the importance of it. I delve into the world of self-care quite a bit and it is something that I feel so, so strongly about. There is way too much stigma surrounding self-care and ‘invisible’ illnesses and although I write mainly for me, I’d love to think that my posts might help someone feel that little bit less alone and lost and teach better ways of looking after yourself.
All in all, I’ve had a great six months and want to take the opportunity to thank YOU for joining me and supporting me along the way – here’s to the next six!