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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lessons :: Posting a follow-up, trying to grow up, and living it up without regret



The same reasons that readers like my blog are the same reasons that other readers don't: I'm outgoing, fun-loving and extroverted, while at the same time possibly chaotic, overwhelming and a little too honest. I think it's the same when it comes to people in other aspects of my life as well. Not everyone is going to like my personality, and that's okay. I could probably have more blog readers and more friends if I changed myself, but I don't want to go against who I am.

There was a point, though, when I started to do just that.

As far as I know, anyone who has a deep passion for something wants to be paid to do what they love. Musicians want to be paid to make music, actors want to be paid to act, and writers want to be paid to write. That's why I don't think there's any harm in bloggers keeping track of followers or pageviews. In fact, if you want to make a living from your blog, you should do that. You won't make money unless you have an audience. However, if you are changing yourself or your work in order to attract an audience -- and therefore, make money -- you're doing something called selling out. We've seen musicians do it, we've seen actors do it, and we've seen writers do it.

Over the past few months, I started to notice what my readers responded to most. People didn't necessarily make comments about what they liked or didn't like to see, but I could tell what was going over well by the amount of comments I received, and I started to tweak my content based on that. I worked really hard to give my audience what they wanted, and I hate to admit that my work paid off -- my views and followers went up. Then, as I wrote in my last LESSONS post, I wondered why blogging wasn't as fulfilling.

Now I know: It was because my blog stopped being strictly about my passion. I read once that if you want your blog to become a full-time job, you need to treat it like a full-time job. But once I started to treat my blog like work, I started to burn out. I realize now that blogging itself wasn't giving me stress -- it was the pressure of feeling that my blog had to be a certain way. I had started to use my blog as a business that catered to its consumers. And it wasn't very fun.

I don't know if I would have had this epiphany if I hadn't posted about my inner struggle here. The different perspectives you shared and the sweet words of encouragement I read were so important to my thought process. I've realized that maybe it's okay for blogging to be a 'side job' or hobby, and I'm going to treat it that way for now. And it's okay if that changes again, too -- change does not have to be bad.

That's what I continue to remind myself as I continue stumbling blindly through my twenties. Within the past five years, I've had seven home addresses, fourteen first dates, five workplaces, three car accidents, six hospital visits, and two big break-ups. Many people have entered and left my life during this time. In fact, it seems as if the older I get, the more friends that fade away. I'm not going to pretend that it doesn't hurt, but I'm also not going to let it completely control my emotions or determine my self-worth. Right now, I can count the people that I see and talk to regularly, outside of my co-workers, on one hand. But I need to remind myself that quality, of course, is more important than quantity. This whole post is one big reminder.

So I when I tweeted this, it was a little funny -- but completely serious. It feels silly to say, but I definitely have more friends all over the world (that I've never even met) than friends in LA. I was never part of the 'in' crowd, and I never will be. My life or my personality may be weird -- but they're uniquely mine. And that is cool.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, and I'll keep saying it, as much as I have to: It's time to be me, and it's time to love being me, in blogging and in life. It's time to let go of the past, relax about the future, and focus on the present. It's time to forget that time exists.

25 comments:

  1. Totally well said! It's not worth it to be what everyone wants. This is what I'm struggling with, "It's time to be me, and it's time to love being me..."

    Thanks, chick, that was very encouraging. :>

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  2. You know what? I can relate to that second-to-last paragraph: From Belgium to New York to elsewhere throughout the world, I, too, have friends and other cool party people there than in Louisville (though it also isn't helped by the fact that most residents haven't left their cliques in high school, so there is that).

    There are other parts I can relate to, especially moving around and such. This life is a journey, one of many (or few, or none, whatever you believe). I guess all we can do is enjoy the ride.

    Big hugs!

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  3. I get what your saying about the thought of changing your blog for the popularity bit, I've wondered but never wanted to go to that "sell out" point either. I definitely had a period in my earlier twenties where I was moving every six months and so on, I'm glad to say I feel like I finally have some stability in my life and I'm really like it. I'm with you on the friend thing too, I've certainly drifted away from friends but the friends I do still have are even more special to me!

    Keep up the you posts, I love them!

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  4. This post, and the Lessons post that you're referencing are both really important to me because I feel that. I have not been blogging actively lately - or at least not with consistency - because I also came to a point where I wasn't doing it for myself. Just because I love and follow many fashion blogs, does not mean that I necessarily want to be a fashion blogger. Just because I love thrifting and wearing unique outfits doesn't mean I want to be a fashion blogger. So I've been taking it slow and trying to find my voice. I would love to someday be a successful blogger and maybe even make some kind of financial profit off of my blog but that will come when the time, and my blog, is right. I continue to blog as a little online scrapbook, because there are moments and milestones that I would love to look back on, and if my blog becomes nothing more than that - it's fine. Because it's what I've enjoyed doing. I'm becoming really inspired by a new city and kind people, however, and have a lot of ideas about the direction I'd like to take Brilliant Nature in. I'm kind of back to the drawing board with all of it, planning and collecting content, etc. It feels good though! Feels right. Like it should feel.

    SO - thank you!! for these posts. It's really helpful to know that there are other girls/bloggers out there who feel the way I do. It's like a big internet support group and I love that. <3 Good luck with everything and always be who you are because that is the person who we (your readers) know and love!

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  5. Your blog is amazing!

    Hope you'll visit me :)
    Kisses,Elena

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  6. Well written. You are you and you are wonderful! xxx

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  7. This kind of chimes with me, and relates to a post I wrote recently:http://www.oranges-and-apples.com/2012/05/on-authenticity-and-secrets.html

    Not to spam or anything, just so I don't need to write it all out again! I definitely think it's more important to be yourself than to be successful (especially if, like me you don't even really *want* success as a blogger), but it can still be hard to find a balance. Good luck!

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  8. Love this post so much! It reminds me of something I need to hear. I was talking with my boyfriend about my blog and the pageviews and such and I was telling him that it seems my page views go down whenever I post a recipe. He suggested I take a break from recipes and thought about it for a split second before realizing, "Hey Laura!!! You began this blog with the intention of always posting a couple of recipes a week"...I responded with, "I don't care if the views go down, this is what makes the blog a part of me!" He agreed.

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  9. I really love - maybe even more so because I've reached a point in my life over the past few months where a lot of things are sort of falling apart and, in a lot of ways, I really am starting things from scratch. I really, really appreciate how introspective and honest you are in this post because it makes me think more honestly about my own situation - and I need that.


    Courtney ~ http://sartorialsidelines.com

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  10. One of the things I like most about your blog is there is such a personal element to it, that it doesn't just cater to what the mass majority wants, it's clearly something you do because you enjoy it.

    Keep it up, but keep it up for you!

    Emily Jane xo

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  11. It definitely is a good reminder - sometimes we forget to stay true to ourselves. Great post!

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  12. In high school, I pretended to be someone I wasn't. And you know what? It was hard! It is so much easier to be who you are, and it is way more fun. I never try to be anyone I'm not on my blog. My personality is totally obvious on both my blog and my Twitter. That's just how I am!

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

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  13. I'm so glad you decided not to stop blogging. I really enjoy your blog when you are the most honest and having the most fun with it. It is obvious when you're being honest and authentic! Looking forward to your new approach!

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  14. "It's time to forget that time exists."

    I LOVE this! I think it is important to sometimes just focus on who we are, what makes us happy, and doing what we love. It can definitely be frustrating to be doing something you love and not get paid for it but I think it may be worse to get paid to do what you hate. Our hard work WILL pay off one day! I have had my own business since 2009 and there are definitely ups and downs but at the end of the day whether it is my side job or full time, I can say that I love what I do. I think that is extremely important.

    I know exactly how you feel with the small circle of friends. In the past few years I have definitely had people in and out of my life and only a small circle of true friends remains. I also have friends all over the place but not as many here in Orlando. I think it is because I am finally getting to the point where I only want positive people in my life who are awesome! =) And sometimes those people may not live down the street. The great thing about the internet is that we now have the ability to connect with people all over the world and we don't have to try over and over again with the same negative people.

    As far as your personality...it is fantastic! Anyone who thinks otherwise is crazy or jealous! Just keep being you and letting your light shine bright!

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  15. The power of independence and being alone is often underestimated. Some of the best times of my life were when I was single. If the hubs walked out on me today, I could support myself or find my own way. Not that I would want him to, but just saying. Enjoy the small circle of true friends you have (because that's all you actually really need, is a small circle of true friends), enjoy your independence, find your niche in this world, and continue to be the beautiful you you were meant to be. Your twenties are definitely the time to stumble through life and figure out who you are...Your life is yours and unique and for you to make mistakes and to learn. People will always be drawn to you. You just have that kind of personality. Screw what other people say! (well, unless you are asking for their advice because you value their opinion) -Jessica

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  16. thank you for posting this. i too am loud and obnoxious, and like you said that is what people love and hate about me. and i've learn that you just gotta do you. and that's all that matters. as long as your happy forget the rest of the world. i for one and happy that you decided to continue blogging. i didn't want to say good bye to a new friend yet.
    xo
    jes

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  17. Great post :) I think you're right and you brought up some great points. I also really understand what you mean about friendships fading the older that you get. I've been having similar thoughts lately and have come to realize that it's simply just life. People will come in and out of your life. I try to think of it as our stories matching for a little while and then just going their own separate ways. There's this quote I love, and it says "Some people are meant to be there your whole life, and some people just make an appearance". I try to think of it that way, almost like we're all living our own movies/novels...and people/characters fly in and out ahah, it's a fun way to think of it. Once again, great post :)

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  18. Good Girl! Loved your ending... being present is so very hard, especially when we are always trying to plan for our future to make the most out of it. Blogging should be something you enjoy doing and I feel your readers will see that and keep coming back. Xoxo sweets!

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  19. I feel like blogging is always a bit of a struggle and an evolution. It's a challenge I thoroughly enjoy!

    Great post. I alienate a LOT of people with my loud, quirky personality too ;) Never gonna change, though.

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  20. Good for you! Love this post and I'm so glad that you're going back to being you. It's easy to slip into the trap of trying to be a certain way because you treat your blog like your business. When I started I felt like I had to be a "certain" way too in order to be successful but then as I got older and blogged longer, I realized that if we bloggers were all a "certain" way, this place would be pretty flippin boring!

    I totally understand what you feel about friends leaving. I've moved around a lot in my teens and twenties and would only have a handful of friends at a time. But then I look at the two or three that have stuck with me through it all (and none of them live around me) I'm grateful for them and that's really all I need!

    Stick to your passion, make this blog about you and what you love. Opportunities will start flowing in before you know it! :)

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  21. I wish every blogger could read this post. Very well thought out and I love your honesty!

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  22. Glad you will continue to blog! I have been going through some issues to figure out who I am on my blog... just don't give up.

    And yes people look at me weird when I call people my blog or twitter friends, but I adore them (you) and consider y'all a real part of my life. :)

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  23. I quoted you on my facebook page and gave you credit for it, of course. I especially like the "sound of music" album cover on the wall in the background. -cleavage

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  24. I completely agree with so much of what you've said here, and I'm glad you shared this experience, your feelings and thoughts on it, through blog posts. I think it was a big hurdle that you overcame and now it's something you'll be able to look back on in a very raw, very real sense. Blogging is sometimes like a time capsule in that way.

    So glad you're sticking with it and embracing YOU, sweets! Because nobody else can!

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