A year of blogging and adjusting expectations

As blogging brings both meaning and frustration to my life, I find it most useful to store it all right in the belly of the beast – the blog itself. Also, I always find it so soothing when other bloggers share their blogging kitchens, traumas and tribulations, so maybe this will serendipitously serve somebody else too. I already shared my six-months-of-blogging rant here.

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The traffic has gotten nicer in those six months, a typical week hits around 50 visitors which is enough for me to not be anxious. Obviously, it’s arbitrary but not having ’empty’ days is what makes me calm enough. The traffic spikes you see in July, December and January were (1) me asking for a click-gift on Facebook in July upon turning 29.5, (2) Instagram traffic fueled by a photo of mine being shared on the official KonMari account, and (3) the February Swap going more viral than ever before and bringing in traffic. And the occasional comment of ‘your content is great, thank you’ really makes my day.

Curiously enough, that’s something I never thought about when reading other blogs, even the ones I’ve followed for years. Generous comments is a really powerful tool to bring joy to your favorite small-time blogger. I imagine that with certain amount it becomes overwhelming and more of a chore, but I’m far from that, obviously.

This was a nice surprise and brought in quite some traffic and a lot of joy, thank you, KonMari admins:

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I am immensely proud of myself for the grit it has taken to keep doing this. This is the post Nº107 (obviously, I have an spreadsheet tracking them), and there have been two posts every week since February 3, 2017. Showing up consistently has built my confidence, outfit photos is part of my life now and I don’t need an empty home to do them anymore. Taking my time away from other activities (hi, PhD thesis!) is now legitimate for me, because I enjoy it. It fucking sparks joy! So everybody will have to roll their eyes and live with it.

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And now for the dark parts… while my ‘suddenly going viral’ fantasies have not become true, I keep playing with hypothetical decisions I might have to make someday, and few of them are becoming very clear and, surprise-surprise, all against monetizing, ugh!
I won’t be linking to examples, as that would be just mean and everybody acts according to their own criteria. Also, there are so many examples that it’s surprising to find somebody that has certain amount of internet ‘success’ and doesn’t do some of this.

(1) I hate sponsored content. By know psychologists have done enough for us all to know that unconscious bias and priming is a thing, especially if your livelihood depends on it. I also find the whole idea that my readers should hurry on and buy these ultra-ethical pants made far away just because I tried them and am offering a 10% off code completely ridiculous. Nope. I need to be able to carefully and proactively chose my things without somebody pushing their fair trade handbags on me. I need to spend my own scarce euros so that the things have an actual price and fit my real lifestyle. I need to be able to bash and criticize however I want, and to lament my poor decisions if need be. And, after all, the focus is sustainability and my own carefully curated minimal wardrobe: packages of sponsored garments flying across the globe to appear modest and do the ‘I tried three but kept one of these fine cashmere garments that costs several hundreds each’ is absurd.

Also, (2) I have very little respect for full-time bloggers. I can tolerate it if those are pretty-picture blogs that consist of fashion editorials, basically, and then we all know that they need the sponsored garments to both create new content and to live. But anybody who peddles a lifestyle while their only income comes from that lifestyle is bound to be out of touch with reality. And while we perceive that rather more realistically with the food and fashion bloggers and are perfectly aware that spending hours frolicking in snow while donning a supercute vintage dress and no coat or developing a new vegan ice cream every week on top of 3 other balanced meals per day is not normal, I do think that there’s a bubble surrounding all the minimalist, mindfulness, organizing bloggers. If you are giving people advice on how to keep heads, homes and wardrobes ordered while that’s the only thing you are thinking about, it has to become weird. How can you give ‘practical advice to everyday people’ if you are not living the everyday life?

The best of my rage is dedicated to globe-trotting eco-bloggers that clearly haven’t received the memo that flying is, ehm, well, kind of a problem… and when coupled with sponsored stays in eco-resorts in Bali and trying out these fabulous eco-beanies, courtesy of this company you should really check out. Dude, really, I cannot even…

Also, if you take outfit photos but work from home, where do you go in those outfits (that explains all the boring mom jeans and a gray t-shirt bloggers)? Grocery shopping and on ‘date nights’ with your partner who is the only one bringing in a solid paycheck (ugh, scary shit)? Quality blogging takes hours, yes. Much more if your content depends on other people, e.g. podcast editing, photoshoot support, etc., indeed. The efforts to balance out the three focuses of (a) aesthetic pleasure, (b) practical advice for others, and (c) income generating often end up creating weird beasts. In my mind, it requires a blog to be a side-gig to strike a balance: then the time you can dedicate to it is limited (because blogging is like housework – it can be stretched out indefinitely) and there’s an attachment to reality.

(3) Obviously, advertisement banners and such are tacky + everything about sponsored content still applies.

(4) The products, ugh! Condensing some of your ‘wisdom’ into a 80-page pamphlet with pretty pictures and little (but very deep!) text and selling that pdf as your exclusive minimalist e-book. Gosh! And when it gets to material ones with printed t-shirts, stationery and actual books… oh, my! There are very few books edited these days that deserved to become books. The whole business of (a) having a successful blog, (b) doing a TED talk, (c) writing a book has made bookshops very dangerous places. And don’t get me started about on-line courses…

(5) The whole thing of creating content only on Instagram or YouTube is too recent for me and feels wrong. I might not be millennial enough. Give me words!

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Me? I have too little traffic to even be offered sponsored content. And I’m planning to be on unemployment benefit vacations by October, after defending my PhD thesis. We’ll see how that will go… this blog may or may not take a surprising turn towards more of ‘what I read while wearing my pajamas (again)’ concept.

What are your blog-world frustrations or pet peeves? What are you willing to forgive to your favorite bloggers and where do you put a line? What would you like to know about the creative choices, income, and other invisible aspects of how your favorite digital content is made?

Also, to celebrate the 1 year of blogging and keep the content evergreen instead of duplicating, throughout the year I’ll be going back to my posts from a year ago and adding links, updates at the end of the posts, maybe correcting a typo. Here you have revised The Minimalist Wardrobe Masterpost: What Do People Do and Why? and My Wardrobe, Part 1: What Do I Have and How Did I Get Here.

Share it with a friend!

Luīze

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