Happy belated birthday bloggy! My humble corner of the interweb just turned a whole year old and I can’t quite believe it. Twelve months of busting my balls – or more specifically, my fingers that now look closer to a gammy pigeon’s foot, mangled by a Coke can – to create content that I feel confident enough to hit publish on.
I’m not saving lives but I am over here looking like a proud mum watching her daughter in the school nativity. Sure, she’s only the ‘little donkey on the dusty road’, but she’s my little donkey.
1. Success is a slow jam
Put it this way, I’m not recruiting for a team of minions to help me with the blog just yet, ahem. Lots of people have asked me if I’m going to go full-time, perhaps because there’s a misconception floating around that once you boot up a blog, you’re basically flown all over the world and given free sh*t for a living, which is sadly another Instagram pipe dream.
If you’re starting up a blog for instant financial gratification (and access to members-only clubs and spa robes), you’ll need to do an Usher. You’re going to need to put your hands up and bend your knees, bounce around in a circle… and go back to the drawing board because, if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that this is not a two week vegan challenge.
It’s a five-year-plan that takes its sweet time to evolve. It’s like growing an avocado tree from a pip or waiting for your boobs to grow when you’re 13.
That’s not to say that trying to make your blog profitable is something to be ashamed of, far from it – we’ve all got Netflix accounts to pay for innit – but there’s a fine line between pound-hungry content and producing wholesome posts simply because you love a brand or genuinely want to write about a product.
If you’re in it for the illusive six figure salary, then you may as well sell your soul to the devil. Users are savvy and they can detect BS like Kris Jenner can detect the opportunity to make headlines.
Don’t be afraid to say no to opportunities that don’t quite align with your content and your creative intentions. There’s power in passing up on something that isn’t right for you or your audience.
IMO dignity and authenticity are the values you should hold onto above everything else. Do your thing as only you know how and everything else that follows will come along, all in good time.
To quote Marky-boy-Zuckerberg, ‘Ideas don’t come out fully formed, they only become clear as you work on them.’
Have patience dear pals, this is a Boys II Men slow jam, not a dance track.
2. Don’t underestimate yourself
I’m trying to put my finger on precisely why it took me a whole year of blogging to finally be able to feel proud of my work and I think it’s because I’ve finally found my own ‘thing’.
At first, I was afraid. I was petrified (you can read all about why I started my blog here). I like doing that don’t I? The whole lyric thing. If only it were useful or, ya know, remotely funny.
But seriously I thought, ‘what’s the point in starting this. I don’t have a great deal of time to dedicate to this project and no one’s going to read it anyway’.
I remember having a conversation with a relatively big blogger back when I first started and she told me that if I’m only going to post once a week, I was never going to get anywhere. Which, as you can imagine, made me feel about as optimistic as the girl who got wedged in-between a window after she tried to retrieve her own poo while on a date. What a hero.
She didn’t mean to discourage me, I’m sure – the blogger, not the girl fetching her poo – but I felt like a fantasist and a fool before I’d even really begun.
I don’t physically have the time to post more than once/twice a week so already, I’m at a disadvantage. I have a full time job and a two hour commute and, you know, a sofa I need to sit and stare into space on every now and again. So anyway, here’s what I did – I stopped overthinking it. All of it.
It’s simple – I like sharing. I love sharing (food too, yeah? No. Absolutely not happening). That’s who I am in real life and that’s who I intend to be online, too. Because let’s face it, I’m not Rihanna, I don’t need a stage name and an alter ego. I have the luxury of just being the Robyn Fenty girl at all times. And, while being yourself might be a petrifying prospect at first, the second you stop questioning your every move and just do what comes naturally to you, you find your groove and everyone starts to celebrate the movement with you.
I don’t want to churn pointless content out and waft links under your nose so you can go and buy the same sh*t as me. I want this space to be a conversation, a heart-to-heart – be it through lengthy, stream of consciousness captions or really personal blog posts.
Sure, I only post once a week when other bloggers post daily but that’s ok. It doesn’t mean I should doubt myself.
I might know some of the people reading my blog but equally, there’s a lot of people I won’t, so it’s important to me that when I write a post, it’s valuable content.
I want to be the relatable stranger as well as a friend on the end of a URL. And not just a lousy, sponsored, spammy friend but a good, quality friend.
3. You are more than just a number
Yes, it IS incredibly frustrating when brands focus on the K or the M after your Instagram name but I like to think that they’re starting to notice the “small fry”, too.
I seek people out who are doing something different from the norm and more often than not, that’s not the accounts with huge followings or the most orchestrated photos, it’s those that aren’t afraid to step out of the good light in order to show their grainy, pj-stained, ugly second toe truth.
It’s the accounts that make me stop mid-scroll and go, if the fecccking algorithm won’t make these girls visible to me, I’m going to damn well type their account name into my search bar because they’re giving me something more.
Metrics are one thing, of course it’s nice to know people are actually reading your work and it’s important to analyse what kind of content is working for you, but as long as you’re enjoying what you do that’s all you can really hope for outta this, right?
4. Stick to what you do best
I’ve always found writing to be weirdly therapeutic. There’s something about dumping all those words down on a page, kinda like sprinkling some Oven Pride over yourself.
Descaling the fatty deposits from the countless kievs you’ve had body-poppin’ around in there on that baking tray. It’s good for my health to write and it always has been. It’s cleansing.
Even down to my captions – I love pouring everything into that small space under a photo because, well, I want to tell you about the Louis Walsh dream I had last night or the time someone dropped their suitcase on my head on the train and how many potato waffles I ate tonight.
I get inspiration from absolutely everywhere, namely my own crazy noggin’ but also conversations I’ve overheard, Reddit threads, TV shows, tweets, song lyrics. Anywhere!
I even dream in captions sometimes which is a tad weird… and sad. Lol.
I’m lucky in the sense that they come quite naturally to me. If I deliberated over them for too long, they’d stop being fun – I’m just shocked (and glad) I haven’t been incarcerated for them yet.
Anyway, I guess what I mean to say here is, stick to what makes you tick.
Don’t waste so much time chasing someone else’s vision, that you lose sight of your own.
5. Be sociable
It is the most rewarding feeling when I hear from those of you who have taken the time to read my posts or laughed at a caption with me, and that has been my biggest motivation to keep going in all of this – even though I am still a little tadpole in this big bloggy pond.
It sounds like a weird thing to say but when you’re writing these things and putting them out there, part of you forgets that real people are going to read it and respond. In that sense, it’s magical to know that doing something you love doing is bringing other people enjoyment, too.
For that reason, I try to use my blog and social channels as an opportunity to be just that – sociable. I want to reply and react to you, I want to make sure I’m engaging with people who are making an effort to interact with my content. It’s a conversation after all. I don’t want to talk at you, I want to talk with you.
So, from me to you I want to say a big ol’ weepy thank you. Thank you for reminding me of exactly why I started this blog a year ago and thank you for being my scaffolding in life.
Writing brings me a whole lot of joy, but without you guys, I’m really just a plumper Carrie Bradshaw, with a very British set of teeth, sat on her sofa talking to herself.
Here’s to another year of fat rolls, too much vagina talk, oversharing, overeating and a whole lot of LOVE YOU BYES!