Let me preface this post by saying it has been over a year in the making. According to my WordPress dashboard, I started writing the drafts of this post in January 2018, at the height of my wedding and house hunting stress. Like the rest of my blog, I put it on the back burner until I had the time, energy, and brain power to muster the effort to finish it. Now that my life has somewhat settled into my new normal, I feel like it’s finally time to complete and publish this post entitled “Why I Stopped Caring About My Blog.”
If you’ve read Chic Little Honey for a while now, you may have noticed that I post less and less on my blog and on my social media channels. During the years 2016 and 2017, I published three blog posts a week and at least two images to Instagram every single day. Chic Little Honey was my life, my love, my passion. It dominated my life, but in a good way. I loved brainstorming post ideas, putting together outfits, taking and editing photos, writing mini essays filled with my thoughts and love for fashion, and most of all, I loved the accomplished feeling that filled my heart when I clicked “publish” on a post I felt proud to have created. So why have I now almost completely stopped loving my blog?
My main reason is simple: burnout. But there’s so much more to it than that.
I read an article in early 2018 that said a fashion blogger’s main focus used to be showcasing their personal style and providing inspiration to readers. Now, this article said, all bloggers do is shill disposable products that they may not actually use or believe in.
I feel like this pattern can almost describe the way my blogging “career” has gone. – minus the shilling. I started my blog in 2014 while I was living in my college apartment. I wrote about my favorite nail polishes, my undying love for Lilly Pulitzer, and created photo diaries of my days as a college student. These posts slowly transitioned into outfit of the day posts, where I erected my camera on a tripod in my backyard and attempted to take photos of my outfit with the self-timer. I eventually asked my mom then my boyfriend (now husband) to take the photos as my blog grew. My posts steadily transformed from “these are outfits I love” to “these are things that are popular right now and here’s where to buy them”. The point is, I started my blog because I was passionate about fashion and the fashion industry. And then slowly, over time, my blog morphed into something that I don’t truly love anymore.
Stress, comparisons to other bloggers, a heavy pressure to make sales, and more all led me to lose my passion for something I created out of love.
I mentioned above that I started writing this post in January 2018, right smack in the middle of planning my May 2018 wedding and trying to buy a house with my then fiancé. I underestimated how time consuming both of these would be, as well as just how much both would take out of me. I had the worst stress acne of my life and I was having at least three breakdowns a week over the smallest of things. So you can imagine how working full time, planning a wedding and honeymoon, buying a house (and all of the house hunting and paperwork that goes into that), traveling over an hour to see my fiancé every weekend, and still trying to publish consistent content on my blog took an overwhelming toll on me. I had to make a decision, and that was to push the blog aside to focus on the bigger things in my life. It was a hard decision to make but I knew it was for my sanity.
Comparisons to other bloggers
Keeping up with the blogger next door became something that drove me to think my blog and my Instagram weren’t good enough. I used to say to myself, “I don’t care if anyone reads this, I’m writing this blog for myself!” But then that statement slowly became a lie. I started comparing my blog and social media to every blogger around me. Why am I not growing like they are? Why am I not as skinny as she is? Why can’t I afford the designer handbags that blogger always wears? Why are my numbers so low compared to everyone else?
My Instagram feed isn’t perfectly edited, the prettiest, or the best curated. My blog posts aren’t the deepest or most professional looking. I don’t have an endless, rotating wardrobe of linkable brand new, trendy clothing and accessories. I don’t have the nicest or newest camera. What I do have is a love for creating beautiful outfits, an appreciation for beautiful designs, and a love for writing. It’s so hard to not compare myself to my fellow bloggers, but it’s something I’ve been working on.
Pressure to make sales
Let’s be honest: the only bloggers who can afford to constantly buy new clothes for blog and social media posts are the ones with 100K followers or more. These large, mega bloggers seem to never wear the same outfit twice. Their Instagrams are a constant revolving door of new dresses, designer shoes, and handbags they seem to never wear more than a couple of times for photos before switching them out for something newer and more expensive. The average person, me included, doesn’t buy an entire new wardrobe every season. (Which seems to cause a disconnect between these bloggers and the average reader – but that’s a whole other blog post.) Most of my outfit posts feature articles of clothing I’ve had in my closet for years, which means they’re no longer available for purchase. It’s extremely difficult to create new content featuring old clothing in today’s blogging industry because the focus of bloggers has shifted from creating outfits that inspire to creating outfits that can be bought on demand.
Affiliate networks like rewardStyle and ShopStyle (the former more than the latter) constantly push their members to sell, sell, sell, SELL. If you’re not selling, then you’re not doing your best or posting enough. I get at least eight emails a week from rewardStyle HQ encouraging its members to make sales goals, push certain products from certain brands onto their followers, and to even take out credit cards to gain early access to sales (cough, Nordstrom, cough), then encourage their followers to do the same.
I remember when I was accepted into rewardStyle’s invite-only network. It was the week of New York Fashion Week in February 2017. I was working late every day that week to make sure all of my projects were complete before I left for New York. When I wasn’t working, I was packing and finalizing travel plans. And then I received the email saying I was accepted into the coveted network and I was ecstatic! That was Monday. By Thursday, I had an email in my inbox threatening to kick me out of rewardStyle since I hadn’t yet made a sale. I sent a frantic reply explaining that I was preparing for NYFW and hadn’t had the time to log in and use the platform, but I would start using it as soon as I got back from the trip. No answer. Spoiler: I still haven’t been kicked out. The threat may have been a scare tactic to get a brand new member to start selling right away. It was probably empty. But it did prove to me from the get-go that rewardStyle only cares about making money, not the lives of the bloggers who make them that money.
A few years ago, I published a post entitled “Instagram Roundup & Reflection: It’s All Smoke & Mirrors“. In this post, I mused that Instagram is mostly just a fake, aesthetically pleasing life we create in little square frames. My readers may know my name, my Starbucks order, my favorite handbag, and what I’ve named my Roomba (Niles), but I don’t let my readers see what’s behind the filter. Bloggers, me included, tend to only put a small slice of their lives on the internet for the world to see. I’ve put considerably less on the internet in the last year than I ever have because I just needed to take a step back and reevaluate how I wanted my blog to fit into my life.
Now that I’ve married the love of my life and I bought and moved into a beautiful house I’m making my own, I’m slowly starting to settle into my new normal. Blog included.
Come with me on my journey on my Instagram @chiclittlehoney.