I didn’t post anything here on my blog, but if you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen that right before Christmas I decided to take a two week social media break to refresh myself and evaluate what I post and why I post. At the time I’ve started writing this I’ve only been on my little social media break for two days (at the time of posting, it’s been a week). And I already miss posting.
I have mentioned before here that I often stop and evaluate my presence and purpose on social media and how it affects my own life and the life of my family. When I first began blogging, I never really thought about how things might change once I had kids. Then, I got married and had children, and the thought started to crop up: how long will I do this? What is my purpose in blogging, or curating an Instagram account, or creating YouTube videos? What role do these things play in my life? What sort of impact do they have? Positive? Negative? Somewhere in between?
I realized lately that I needed to take a break to evaluate things things, but also to fall in love with fashion again just for myself. Not for a blog post, not for an Instagram post, not for a YouTube video. I needed to find myself in my style again, without the external pressure of needing to produce content for the internet.
The past three or so years have probably been my least successful blog-wise. When I was pregnant with Evie, I had fairly decent stats — 25k visitors a month, regular commenters, lots of interaction. I was reading a lot of blogs, sharing life, preparing for my first baby girl, and things were going well. But then I had a baby and postpartum depression. I gained weight and struggled to identify myself in this new body. I quit reading, my own interaction with others slowed down vastly, and my handle on posting regularly went down the drain. Since then, my views have dropped from 25k to perhaps 3k a month.
Of course, that’s discouraging to see. As a person who at one point dreamed of making her creative processes sustainable monetarily, to see stats drop so far can be disappointing. I know the causes, and in theory I know the fixes. But my haphazard attempts to “fix” the problem all failed because of one thing: I didn’t have a plan.
I knew that if I could post regularly, read blogs regularly, and interact more I could potentially give myself a boost. I knew that I wanted to post more, to explore the blog world more, to get more creative and add new features here… but I didn’t plan any of it. And blogging became overwhelming again. I’d have 3-4 photo sessions ready and edited in my queue, but a blank mind when it came to writing. I’d try to make the posts helpful to others — how to style tights, or silhouettes you’re not used to, or wintry colors, or what have you — but that felt flat. I’d try to put in lighthearted anecdotes about my life, but that felt superficial.
You see, somewhere in the last three years I had an experience that put me off opening myself up online. I became afraid to talk about my life, my children, my loves and interests and failures and day to day life… because these things were used against me in a vicious way, and though I tried to brush off the words of the strangers that said them, it still cut. Deeper than I had realized at the time. To this day I rarely speak about the internet bullying that happened to me, because of the drama and gaslighting and sporadic reoccurrences that followed. At every mention, there was some screenshot sent to some party still harboring some grudge against me — for reasons I still do not understand — and a new bit of nastiness cropped up that I wasn’t expecting.
And the instability of not knowing whether these people still pay attention to myself or my blog or what I put out online got to me. In essence, those moments of hurt what feels like ages ago now stole away a little part of me, and I felt almost like a shell of myself writing about the unimportant and surface level things that I felt comfortable sharing, while much deeper and more meaningful experiences were ferreted away and protected deep within me.
But here we are, on the cusp of a new year, and I think it’s time to evaluate once again: what am I doing here? What is my plan? And, more importantly, why am I not fighting harder for the things that I love?
I am thirty years old, and I still can’t quite answer that, but it’s about time I did have a plan.
Because the honest truth of it is, I never want to stop blogging or putting out creative content. Nor do I plan to quit YouTube videos anytime soon. This creative process of photography, styling, fashion, editing, and writing is as much a part of me as my hair is brown, and without the creative outlet of content creation I feel as though another part of me is being dampened and erased. But, as a mother of three children, I also need a plan in place so that they are growing and thriving as much as I am!
My hopes for this year are to incorporate my videos into my blog more — one thing I have noticed and liked that The Closet Historian does — and put forth more book-related content. I swore to do that last year but… well. I had a baby. I miss reading books, and doing book-related outfits and book reviews. I want to post more makeup-related posts again, too, as I have a giant hoard of makeup now that I rarely put to use. Of course, baking and cooking retro recipes may show up here as well as being a regular thing on my YouTube Channel. And, I hope to also share more real life. A few people have said that my musings on life, motherhood, and just general… you know, reality… is what drew them to my blog. I know that the past few years haven’t had much of that, so it’s time to get over my fears and just… be myself.
And, mostly, to have a better plan. Posting schedules, fulfilling ideas, actually writing down and making the kind of content I want to make, and just… being more productive. I have so many ideas for videos and blog posts that get lots because I don’t plan them or I don’t write them down!
So, I will be “back” to social media, blogging, and posting on YouTube on January 7th. And until then, I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and enter 2019 with a sense of power.