After reading some of my new posts since re-launching ThriftyFashionista a good friend of mine announced that she wanted to start a blog as well. “DO IT!” I exclaimed. “I need to think of a title first”. “No!” I told her! “That’s the least important part of starting a blog!” She just laughed and that’s the last we spoke on it.
So here we are. As a non-professional blogger, with multiple Tumblr accounts and close to 100 unfinished blog posts in the “notes” app on my phone , I have decided to speak about the art of blogging when you have no idea where to begin. All of these tips are my own opinions based on things I have done right, and things I have done wrong in the 9 years since ThriftyFashionista was conceived.
1.YOU DON’T NEED TO BE A “WRITER” TO WRITE
Over my 31 years on this planet I have called my self many things but “writer” was not one of them. Even though I have always been one. My obsession with writing began before I could even read when I would dictate stories to my mom and she would fill notebooks for me. When I was old enough to fill my own notebooks I couldn’t have enough of them. To this day nothing is better then a fresh blank book with lined pages. They are stacked around my apartment. Full, half full, and never used. Writing is the therapy I never thought I could afford and writing thoughts down (instead of speaking them out loud) has saved many a relationship in my life. If you have a thought or an opinion on something, anything, you can have a blog. My favorite blogs are full of stories and thoughts from the mind of the person writing them. Even with fashion blogs, I love the story behind the outfit, the inspiration, etc -but that doesn’t mean I don’t love a blog full of beautiful photography. Some of the best are the ones with an equal balance between the two. Point of all this: You can have a blog if you have a thought. Just sign up, and start writing to see where it takes you!
2. WRITE WHAT YOU KNOW
Yes, this is so cliche I know, but it is so very true. When I started blogging it was at the beginning of the fashion blogger boom. I read Fashion Toast and other bigger fashion blogs everyday wanting to be just like them, so I tried to emulate their posts. The way they talked about their clothes and fashion. Their play by plays on NYFW, etc. When really my heart was wrapped up in things like thrifting, flipping clothing for profit, styling, costuming, theatre,and health and fitness. A wide range of topics? yes! All what made me ME? For sure! It took me 9 years to realize that it was okay for me to talk about my feelings in my “fashion” blog. That just made it more of a “lifestyle” blog.
3. BE CONSISTENT
Do as I say, not as I do.
I am the least consistent person I know (well, maybe not the least). In any case I have so many ideas running through my head at all times that more often then not I get absolutely nothing done. My goal is to post to this blog every other day, but does that happen? Hell nah. Other things get in the way. This is something I have struggled with my whole entire life and something I have been working towards fixing more and more over the last couple of months. Working for yourself can be a challenge because you have to create your own structure and there is more often then not, NO ONE around to make sure you are sticking to your planned schedule. The struggle is real in this aspect. So what has been helpful for me? When I have a “down” moment (this can be when you are waiting for the subway, driving somewhere, in line at the grocery store) I think of a few topics I want to talk about on the blog then as soon as I get home I create “draft” posts for these topics. That way when I have a moment to write* I already have something to write about that I have thought about already. Ideas that just need to be fleshed out. This also leaves more time for fun things like taking pictures!
*More on this in a “moment”
4. DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF TO OTHERS
This is just a great, everyday life lesson. Just another thing I need to practice everyday in my own life. For this particular topic I will use myself as an example.
Truth be told I have been contemplating coming back to fashion blogging for a long time. I love having multiple creative outlets. It’s what makes me a whole person . Over the past 3 or so years I have had no where to go that I actually needed to get dressed for. In fact I spent, and still spend most of my time in gym clothes and sweatpants. I liked the idea of picking out outfits and taking pictures again, really talking about my love of thrifting, etc. After looking through some popular fashion and lifestyle blogs I started to get discouraged. These days lots of girl’s hire professional photographers and take photos weeks in advance to use for their blog. Their content is meticulously planned and less spontaneous. They have real photo shop skills and great lighting in their apartments. 2 things I do NOT have. After a particularly rough year I said “F-IT”. My blog didn’t need all of that. I would write for myself with my own voice – and sometimes with NO photos *gasp*. This was MY BLOG. If it was too wordy then no one had to read it. All that mattered is how I felt about it. These days I choose to focus on how lucky I am to have a voice at all.
5. TAKE A MOMENT
Depending on your type of personality you might choose to write and schedule many posts on advance, or you might choose to just write when the feeling moves you. The best part of blogging is that you are taking a moment for yourself to reflect on something. If you feel like you don’t have the time I can guarantee that you do. Log off of Facebook and put your thoughts into a place that just belongs to you.You can even turn your comments off.
So is there an art to having a successful blog? I’m sure there is. For now I am just focused on the 5 points I have written about above, and hope that maybe my voice and experiences can inspire of help someone else.