What I've learnt from 6 years of blogging
Six years ago, I sat on my bed, opened my laptop and typed a word in the search bar. This wasn’t an abnormal activity. I’d typed in thousands of words at this point. However, little did I know, this word went on to change my life.
The word in question was ‘Blogger’.
I selected the first website to come up and set up an account. Within five minutes, I was the owner of a website called ‘Pippa Says’.
Thousands of people have gone through this experience. Some blogs last two weeks, others go on for years. At that moment, you have no idea what will happen with the blog – all you feel is the empowerment of finally having a space to express yourself.
The purpose of this post isn’t to share the history of Pippa Says. I did that last year, which you’re welcome to read here.
I want to share something incredibly honest with you that I’ve wanted to write for a long time, but could never find the words.
Four months ago, I thought about shutting Pippa Says down. Blogging wasn’t fun anymore and I lost sight of who Pippa Says was. My alter ego and I had finally fallen out, after all these years.
I thought that moving to Brighton would be the making of Pippa Says, but I’d lived here for three months at that point and was stuck in a writer’s block. I could only write as Pippa Says, and she was nowhere to be found.
I kept reading articles like ‘how to improve your blog’, ‘the secrets to blogging success’ and ‘why you’re not a super blogger yet’. I became bogged down in the mistakes I’d made, convincing myself that they’d ruined any chance I had of being a professional blogger.
I wasn’t cut out for blogging, I told myself.
One Sunday morning in July, I took my journal to the beach and wrote it all down. The reality of moving to Brighton was completely different from my expectations, the blogging industry is more cut throat than I thought and I missed the feeling of turning into my alter ego when I write.
Within two hours, I’d got lost in 23 pages painting an eye-opening picture: I really didn’t want to lose Pippa Says and I had to do something about it.
I decided to run an experiment. For the whole of August, I was going to post every day, and set myself a brief of what to write about. The briefs all related to one theme: ‘how to be a better blogger’.
I took everything I’d learnt from the countless ‘Your Blog Is Shit If You Don’t Do This’ posts I’d read and dedicated myself to trying out their advice. I was to take outfit posts everyday and put them at the bottom of each post, too.
I managed 13 out of 30 days.
I failed the challenge. For some part, life got in the way, but towards the end I felt restricted and couldn’t wait for the month to be over.
My expectations of the challenge were that if I followed all the rules, I’d fall in love with blogging again. I was wrong.
Breaking the rules made me fall in love with blogging again.
I don’t like doing daily outfit posts or writing about my shopping ‘hauls’. I don’t just write about one topic. My instagram profile doesn’t have the “clean bloggers look”. It’s also very rare for me to take “model-esque” photos of myself (you only need to see the photos in this post to figure that out.) Not to say I don’t respect those who do.
Somehow I got so caught up in comparing myself to other bloggers, I forgot the core reason why I blog: to express myself.
I’m not in this game for the money, or the popularity, I’m here because I’m a storyteller and I have a lot of stories to tell.
I know I sound painfully cliché. The moral of this post is essentially ‘remember why you started’ and ‘always be yourself’. I guess I just didn’t realise how important these two values are.
As I write this, someone in the world is creating their Blogger account and experiencing the empowering energy that comes from creating their own little space on the internet. To that person, and everyone else in the blogging industry, consider this…
You are not the next Zoella, or Tanya Burr, or Tyler Oakley. You are YOU. And YOU have the power to make a difference to someone’s life. Don’t limit yourself to doing what people expect, be honest with who you are and run with it.
Thank you for your support over the last six years. You’ve helped me to love who I’ve become.