My thoughts on blogging…staying true to yourself

7th May 2015

My thoughts on blogging...staying true to yourself

Blogging – it’s a funny old thing.

A year ago I started taking blogging more seriously. By this I mean that I started posting more frequently and focused on what I was writing. I was sick and tired of using this space as an outlet for the negative aspects of my life, and instead I wanted to talk about the things I am passionate about and the things that inspire me.

But as a blogger I believe it is easy to get swept along with current blogging trends and jump on the bandwagon.

I wrote a couple of beauty posts because everyone else was, but I know I shouldn’t have because I find shopping for beauty products a chore (unless it’s Lush and I’m shopping for bath bombs) and I literally don’t have a clue what I’m talking about when it comes to makeup. It’s not something I’m passionate about and it’s not something that inspires me.

Despite this, for a relatively short period of time, I wanted to be one of those bloggers who gets sent makeup freebies to review. I though that if I talked about what everyone else was taking about then my blog would be more popular. Again, I don’t know why I felt this way, but one day I thought to myself “You’re crazy! Since when have you been one to follow the crowds?”.

I didn’t start a blog for freebies. I didn’t start it to make money, or have a huge following. I started a blog as a space to talk about my life, and I feel like in the past year there have been times when I have forgotten my reasons for blogging in pursuit of everyone else’s reasons for blogging.

It’s like the evolution of blogging. People start a blog to talk about their interests, what ever that may be, and then they seem to evolve into a different type of blog; most typically fashion and beauty for females these days. It’s okay for your blog to evolve, and I have nothing against beauty blogs, but you should evolve for the right reasons, and not because that’s what everyone else is doing.

Rebecca at From Roses shared a post last weekend on this topic. While I had started writing this post before I read hers I was reassured to know that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. Especially with the point she makes about bloggers becoming advice gurus. Personally, I feel like they all regurgitate the same information and half the time it’s not even true. (But that’s a whole different topic that I could write a whole new post on!)

When I realised I was trying to change my blog for the wrong reasons, I took a step back.

It wasn’t just my thoughts and feelings that lead me to step away from blogging about things that don’t interest me. You, my readers, reinforced this. Your kind comments on my personal and travel posts made me realise that those are type of posts I enjoy writing the most, because the feedback I receive really makes me happy.

The moral of this story is to stay true to yourself. Blog for yourself and stick to your beliefs.

I’ve gone back to my original beliefs in order to write a blog that I love about the things that I love. Travel, daily adventures, life in Liverpool, and all the in-between bits.

I’m happy that I have got off the bandwagon.

Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever tried to change your blog to “fit in”?

Other posts in the “My thoughts on blogging…” series include:

Greed and Dishonesty | Returning Comments | Product Reviews and Being Original

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  1. I so agree on all of this. I blog all over the place, but I blog about what interests me, and if there are others who find that interesting to them, then great! If not, oh well! I’m not going to cater towards other people since this is my personal blog XD It’s nice to get hits and be popular, but in the end your blog should make you happy :)

    I’m also like you in that I’d never post beauty-related stuff because makeup and I are not friends at all. But food and my other hobbits I are awesome friends, so that’s what I’ll blog about :D

    • Holly

      Yeah, there’s no point in blogging, even for popularity and money, if you don’t enjoy it.

      I have one lipstick, one foundation, one mascara, etc. Who needs more?!

  2. I feel like in a way, everyone goes down that “trendy” path and you can, more often than not, tell if someone is headed that way. Sometimes I feel a bit sad because I question whether or not that is what they want to do. The “advice guru” and the typical blogger who gives out quick tips and tricks has been done many times before, and you are right – they are saying the same thing half the time and they are probably leeching into ways of monetising their blog.

    I guess for me, it might have looked like I changed my blog to fit in, but I am passionate about fashion and I guess I didn’t have a way of properly showing that. I haven’t always been into it – but since doing my first Fashion Friday post I have found that it has reflected my own growth and my growing interest in fashion.

    I used to write quite negatively on my blog as well, and it was an outlet for me to rant, but like me, my blog has grown and changed. There are consequences with writing certain things, and I guess I found a way of solving some of my personal problems so I didn’t need to write. I also realise I haven’t written about music in a while, which is unusual, but that does reflect the fact that my favourite bands haven’t been doing many shows lately.

    I thoroughly believe that my blog is the most accurate (digital) representation of myself, I think staying true to yourself and being honest is very important. :))))

    • Holly

      Sometimes it can be awkward to read a blog as it transitions and changes direction to be, as you say, more trendy. I could feel myself doing that and it felt awkward to me, which is why I gave myself a pet talk on staying true to myself.

      I love your Fashion Friday posts because they always have stories behind them, and you are really honest about each outfit. :) A lot of fashion blogs lack that, and instead are just heavy on the affiliate links.

      I started talking more about my problems to my mum and to Tyrone to get the weight off my shoulders, and to prevent me from needing to write things down on my blog. Having a journal helps too.

  3. I like the idea of having a quality blog, so I do follow certain blogging “standards” to a point. Mostly because I’ve done the “today I did this” thing and have used my blog as a way to vent out negativity like you have, and reading back on those entries have been a cringe-worthy experience. I don’t wanna repeat that. I want to look back on my blog a few years from now and feel good about it.

    However, it’s always been a personal journal (just a flashier one these days) so I still insist on writing without a niche. I write about outfits of the day, but I also write plenty about gaming. I can bet that the target audience containing both those interests is minuscule, and that’s fine by me. I also still write about my everyday life, but in a much more positive light.

    I can’t really be a “real” fashion blogger because I’ve already figured out my personal style, and I don’t believe in having an overflowing closet to be interesting. I’ve been approached by a few brands before, and I tried it just to see how I feel. I didn’t enjoy it and I couldn’t relate to them anyway.

    I can’t be a real gaming blog either, because I’m choosy about my games and I don’t want all the negative implications of being a “girl gamer” to come barging on my blog.

    But I’ll still write about those for fun. :)

    • Holly

      I feel the same way. I want to be able to look back and remember the good times, not the bad ones.

      It’s good that you blog about the things that interest you. I don’t feel like we should find a niche because it limits us so much to what we can and can’t do. That’s no fun.

      I’d say 95% of the brands that approach me get a “Thanks, but no.” reply because I have no interest in what they have to offer. It’s only when something unique comes along, that everyone else isn’t talking about, that I jump at the chance. But this is so rare, and I’m kind of glad it is. I would hate to have sponsored post after sponsored post.

  4. I don’t want to make money from my blog and I don’t want to follow a trend, so for me blogging is a hobby that I enjoy. But it helps me in my work to know more about SEO, advertising, to read about working with brands and so on.

    I can imagine it’s quite hard for those who want to make a living out of their blog, they HAVE to do a particular type of post, they HAVE to write in a certain way and I think it can be a chore from time to time.

    • Holly

      I have learnt so much from blogging, like SEO and coding, that I can now put on my CV and hopefully help me to get a job.

      Yeah, I never really thought about that before. I would hate to be trapped like that as a blogger. If it becomes a chore then you should stop.

  5. I am split between both, I like that I can work with brands but I also like to write for myself. That’s why I try and keep a balance between things, but I can easily see how it’s easy to get lost in it! i definitely can’t stand review after review!

    • Holly

      I much prefer sponsored posts that use the product in a tutorial or to solve a problem. Basically anything that isn’t a review. Things like that are so much more creative and they don’t seem as false.

  6. Brittany Pines

    I’ve been feeling very similarly. I’ve made a bunch of changes with my blog lately, some I love and some I don’t. I’ve also realized…it isn’t doing much good. The posts I *think* people will love aren’t what gets comments or any type of interaction- which is what I love about blogging. So clearly doing what I think makes me fit in, isn’t super helpful OR fun. Definitely stick to what makes YOU happy!

    • Holly

      For me, comments are one of the most important aspects of blogging. I love communicating with people and sparking a conversation. But it is interesting to see which posts get the most the comments, and for me it is usually the ones I enjoyed writing the most.

  7. Never. I did what I felt right, regardless of what others thought. I’ve always blogged about hitting topics in my life and my mental health. It means a lot to me, and that’s what I blogged (blog) about regardless of what others said, or wanted to say.

    • Holly

      It’s so good that you’ve stuck with what you set out to blog about. I wish I’d had done the same instead of wasting time!!

  8. Holly, this is fantastic post. I also tried to change my blog to be more related to skincare etc, as I found I got more readers that way. I thought I’d be able to balance it out with posts I like writing – but the difference in responses on those posts to the skincare ones is amazing. I started doing more and more skincare posts to keep people reading my blog, until I was forcing myself to spend money I didn’t have to I had something to write about.
    I didn’t want freebies, I just wanted people to read my blog so I could make friends!
    I like writing the odd skincare post, but I’ve just written a politics post I never would have written if I hadn’t read this! I cannot wait to read more of your travel, daily adventures, life in Liverpool, and all the in-between bits posts! =]

    • Holly

      Glad you enjoyed it!

      I’m pretty passionate about skin care, but makeup, not so much. It’s just so easy to get swept up in it all.

      Hopefully I can explore more of Merseyside like I did last summer. I loved writing those posts.

  9. Cat

    I agree that people should stick to what they like and not what’s popular. It’s sad when I see people close their blogs because they feel it’s not interesting or updated enough. Their blog should just be what they want!

    I try not to get into blogging trends because most of them just don’t fit me. I’m not into beauty products, and back when I was freelancing in webdesign, I found that doing it for the money takes some of the fun out of it. I didn’t want that to apply to my blog. It works for some people, and as long as they like it, they should keep doing it! It just wasn’t for me.

    I’ve always tried to keep my blog about my life or about my hobbies since those are things I enjoy writing about. I actually have a separate private journal for rants, but I eventually stopped using it. Ranting feels good at the moment, but it leaves negative memories laying around. I have changed in that I am more careful about what I write about. I used to just post up anything that was on my mind, but my current entries tend to have more thought into them.

    • Holly

      I’ve only wrote one post for money (well, an Amazon voucher) and I found it so stressful because I worried about if it was what the company wanted, and how honest I should be, etc. It was at that point I realised that I didn’t need that extra stress in my life. I like being able to write about what I want, pressure free.

  10. Susanne

    What an interesting post, and I’m glad you’ve found what you want to do on the blog.
    I think it’s so sad to see how most blogs are exactly the same, when blogging has such potential for people to share something more unique. I always wonder “but can it really be possible that EVERYONE is only interested in beauty and fashion, much enough to blog about it?”.
    As for myself, I’ve sort of lost inspiration for blogging just because I feel like almost the only one in the world who doesn’t do it for money or follow a trend. I also find comments very important, and I love to connect with people. It’s hard to see how that will be possible though, when the reading list shrinks more and more all the time.