Five years in
With it turning September, it marks five years of blogging for me. I’ve looked back on what has changed since I started back in 2014 and how I am looking to move forward. And no, my family still don’t quite understand what I do for a job.
Iremember the day I put my blog live. I had not long moved back down to university for my second year and I signed off my first post of with “let’s see where my blog takes us then”. So to still be writing and putting this together as the blog turns five, well that’s a good feeling. In all honesty I do not know what I thought it would turn into when I decided to start my own blog. Did I think I would still be doing this long after finishing university? Maybe. But I definitely did not think it would have been the starting point to everything I do now. And even though the website has changed since, it is quite apt to see that my first fashion piece I put up about t-shirts, trainers and trousers still rings true five years on for me.
The longer I have been blogging for, the more I began to focus on where does it all lead. A job like this means that nothing is linear. There is no promotion to aim for, no improved job title to attain and no fixed salary brackets. It doesn’t matter if it is year one or year five, you are always a ‘blogger’ by title. So the internal question of “what’s next?” always looms large in my head. It is something I continue to try and figure out while the blog acts as a sounding board for my own values as they are challenged, change and form. Blogging has helped me discern what I like about the industry and parts that leave me with more questions.
Something I have figured out is what I will continue to share on here. Blog posts have been thin this year as I have been reflecting on what I write about while also questioning what worth is it to you, the reader. My audience continues to grow older with me and for those that might be the same age as me, we’ve gone from being 19 and perhaps still in university to being in our mid 20s and having a stronger sense of what we like and dislike. There was definitely a sense of naivety and wanting to appease when I first started, with some opportunities I would be very quick to not accept now. Those occasions probably impact on how I feel now towards certain brands and why I will never work with certain companies. Now in most blog posts you’ll realise I focus on a select few brands I trust and believe are doing something good. This is a space where I want to share brands who make clothes that are made to last, be appreciated and being made in the right way.
And in the five years I have been calling myself a blogger, the community has continued to change, grow and become a massively influential part of fashion. No longer fringe players, it’s great to see so many talented creators be able to work for themselves. That was my first big achievement I would say, to be able to carry on my blog as a job straight out of university. The first year was tough, but the two years after have been somewhat successful. To be self-employed in an industry I enjoy is something I have to remind myself is a privilege and a success in itself. It is far too easy to become comfortable, accept it as the norm and not realign myself to the foundation of being able to do this as a job is incredible.
For everything I have my blog to thank for, I also have had social media as a big tool to utilise. It helped me find like-minded people and a community I continue to speak to and see grow. Above everything, this is the best thing about social media. Yet while I will always see it doing more good than bad, I think my mindset has changed about how I use it. When I started, the idea of growing and seeing my follower count rise was such an aim. A big aim in fact. But for some time, I have been fed up with the noise and too tired to actively care about the sheer saturation on the platform. What I share now is for me. What I share now is about shaping my voice and not about the amount of followers I have listening to it. To be creating content with the aim of increasing your followers, you are abandoning your own voice in order to be part of a system that champions the trends within culture and not necessarily individuality. Five years has brought a maturity to my thinking and a sense of self-confidence to ignore a number next to a name. I will continue to be open to forging new friendships through it and allow myself to be inspired by others I look up to, but no longer am I looking to achieve anything other than that.
To think about the five years ahead I hope it’s a time where I really push on. I am enjoying a time of confidence in my own self-worth, knowing what I stand for and knowing when something is not the right opportunity for me. But for now I’ll continue to write with a refined focus and enjoyment, all while probably still wearing my fair share of t-shirts, trainers and trousers.jbicon