Many people have reached out to me wanting to better understand what I am doing with blogging, how I got into it, and what it takes to keep it up. Well, when more than person asks the same question, it's deserving of an answer, so here it goes.
What is blogging?
First off, blogging is litterally like writing in a digital journal, and adding pictures/ vides and links to make your journal writing more appealing to the eye. One can blog about anything, and everyone has different motives to blog. Some people use it as a space to strictly sell goods and services, other use it as a space to connect with others who have had similar past experiences. The variety of bloggers are endless. Also, the goals of each blogger are vastly different from one to the next. One blogger might want to use his/her blog to create a small community of digital friends and others may want to turn their blog into a power house with the intention to reach millions of people. Again, blogging as a whole, is a big world.
Why did you start to blog? And how did you start?
I fell into blogging because my big vision, my big dream is that one day, I want to be booked as a motivational speaker. The dream is to be able to help people who have had similar life struggles, like myself, and share what I have learned about life, and how to get past certain hurdles, so that you can accomplish what you desire. My first thoughts were, "I'm going to write a book!" I began to feel overwhelmed about the idea of writing a book, and so I kept saying, "maybe later, maybe during the summer, and maybe when I can take some time off from my job." Also, I thought about, if I did write this so-called book, why would anyone buy my book? No one knows me, and it may turn into my dissertation or my published co-authored chapters from the academic world, that only a handful of people have read.
I continued to think, and one day, I was looking through my instagram feed, and I noticed women who were posting and blogging about clothes, hair, crafts, family experiences, etc. I thought to myself, "I can do that! I can start blogging about everything: health, food, fashion, teaching...I can talk about everything in my life!" Well, soon enough, that started feeling overwhelming too. My first few posts were about my daughter and my puppy. After these first few posts, I was over it. I was like, "Hmmm....this isn't fun anymore." Also, I recognized very quickly, that an easier way to draw people into my digital world was by connecting with them on a distinct topic, that we both mutually enjoyed.
Soooo, I began to think about what I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY liked. It took me a while, and it came to me, "I LOVE clothes!" I remember my fascination for clothes since I was a toddler, dressing up Barbie dolls, asking my parents to buy me more outfit changes for my dolls, because my dolls NEEDED clothes...lol. I recall going to the thrift shop in high school and working on a small budget, so that I could get more looks. I have always had a love affair with clothes, and I'm in my glee that I get to talk about it 'till i'm dog tired on this blog.
Anyhow, let's get to the nitty gritty...
How did I start, and what do I do to keep this engine going?
The first thing I did was buy a domain through squarespace.com. I decided on the name of a website and I enrolled on a monthly business account to keep the website live. Squarespace is an awesome space that has lovely templates, and it's very easy to learn how to start blogging and editing. Well, I might have to take that back...it took me a few weeks to figure out what I was doing, but they have a bunch of tutorial videos, and through trial and error, I learned how to work this thing.
How do you have so many pictures?
At the beginning of my blogging, Mario took a few pictures, and then he was like, "nah, i can't do this all the time"...lol. So, I decided to start taking pictures of myself with my phone on a timer. That was exhausting!! To get a good photo with a timer on my phone, it used to take me forever! Even though people liked, and raved about the pictures I was taking of myself, I knew that if this was my method, I was going to have to quit or push out very little content. This method may work for someone that has a lot more time on their hands, close friends nearby, but I am a working mother, in St. Louis (away from close family and friends), and my time is LIMITED! Can I say LIMITED again! Also, my motivation to take pics on a daily basis is LOW. I have to be in the mood...lol.
I decided to reach out to my family photographer, shared with her my vision, and we have been good ever since. I have a photoshoot approximately every two weeks, but before the photo-shoot, I plan my looks in detail. I try to balance them in color, occasion, and style. The goal is to have 10-14 looks for my photoshoot. During the week, I think about them, change them a bit, and sometimes, I add or get rid of a few, so that I only take pictures of my best looks. For the most part, I buy all of my clothes, and I mix them with stuff that I already had in my closet. The day of the photo shoot, I may book a professional make-up artist, and of course, I get my hair done the day before.
The Next Step: Blogging
After I receive my pictures, I'm able to write about whatever I want. I'm not on a schedule, as it relates to blogging, but right now, I probably blog 2-3 times a week. I tend to do it after Milan goes to sleep, early in the morning (3am or 4am), or on the weekend. At the beginning, a blog used to take me 3-4 hours, but I am a lot more comfortable, so I can crank out a blog in about 2 hours. Also, it depends hon how long of a blog I decide to write, but the average blog takes me 2 hours.
The Next Step: Instagram, Facebook, Youtube Pinterest, & Twitter
After you blog, you have to try and let people know about your content. Right now, I lean heavily on Instagram to promote my blog by sharing my looks. At the end of the day, the whole goal is to get people to come and check out your blog. That's the source. I'm not doing that great of a job using other social media outlets, and mainly because I get overwhelmed, and I tell myself, "one thing at a time." I recognize that this is a journey, and like the saying goes: Rome wasn't built in a day. This blogging world takes A LOT OF WORK! Many of you see the cute pics on instagram, and may think that I enjoy taking pictures of myself, and possibly may just be looking for likes. If that was the driver, I would have quit a long time ago. The hustle, the focused energy, really comes from the desire to create something much bigger, but the blog is my step into the world that I want to be a part of.
So, there you have it....how I started, how I keep this engine going, and what keeps me driven.
A little more, before you leave...
If you want to blog, please don't be discouraged by what I just shared. I want to add that you don't NEED a professional photographer, you don't NEED to pay for a space to keep your blog, and you don't NEED to crank out content as much as I try to do. I had to make these decisions because I am naturally EXTRA, which means I do the most. And I may not NEED to do the most, but it is what it is...that's who I am. There are so many other bloggers that do this with their own camera, a free blog space account, and only blog once a week or every other week. My biggest advice would be: if you're interested in blogging, just take your first step. After you begin, you can decide to take another step, and then another step, until you begin to make decisions that support your own vision and dream.
I promise, last thought:
Your blogging is your canvas of art, that's continually changing and evolving. At the end of the day, your blog should represent You, how You want to do this, and how You want to come across in the digital world. There are all these tips on how you should do it this way or that way, but the reality is, people are going to fall for YOU. It's no different than what clothes you wear every day. Your unique style is your signature and no one can take that away from you.
*Can I get a high-five for closing this blog with a metaphor about fashion :)
Below, you will find the link for this cute work dress!
Wish you the best!