Knock. Knock. Is anybody there?
I can’t believe it’s been over a year since my last blog post! I’ve always believed in the saying that you don’t owe anyone an explanation or justification… however, as someone who was very active in the blogosphere, I thought I’d open up one last time and share with you my whys and lessons behind quitting this blog. Better late than never!
Buckle up, this is going to be a long one.
I started my blog in 2009 because I wanted to connect with other people interested in fashion and the arts. I had just started studying fine arts (shifted to fashion later) and wanted to cultivate a creative thinking habit. It became an online portfolio of sorts and a haven for my creative energy for seven years.
It was a beautiful run – working with top brands, creatives and fellow bloggers, being featured in international and local media, being named as one of the country’s young achievers, being invited to speak at high schools and universities, being sent to different places, and much more. How fabulous you might think. Except, increasingly, it didn’t feel fabulous. I felt a growing sense of unease and knew something had to change.
I ultimately decided to stop blogging in early 2016 for a number of reasons which I’ll elaborate on later. Not to diminish any of those amazing opportunities or experiences, but to say that I have grown is putting it gently.
Blogging was my hobby. I was doing it my way and I obviously didn’t plan to monetize it. Thinking about how my posts will be received (will people love this? hate this?) or what I’ll be working on next did not cross my mind.
Eventually, however, I noticed that I was getting more views and traffic. I found myself working with various companies and attending events left and right. I was getting fan artworks and emails from people who somehow found some tiny form of inspiration from my blog. I got signed by the country’s top blog advertising company and had a Talent Manager – all while being a full-time student. My blog was not only a passion project but it also became a working, functioning business in some ways. It’s a blessing that I still can’t believe I had been gifted with.
Sure, blogging looks glamorous but what most people don’t realize is that it isn’t just about writing. It involves hard work and is a huge responsibility in itself. Essentially, running a fashion blog is like running your own online version of a fashion magazine. It involves content creation and curation, styling outfits, shooting photos, responding to emails and arranging work, replying to readers, managing social media and sometimes doing website tweaks, among others. Been there, done that.
A single post can take several hours from conception to publishing – can you imagine?! This is why I can honestly say that I deeply respect bloggers whether they’re doing it professionally or blogging just for fun, and no matter what niche their blog is about. Also, I’d just like to put it out there that there’s nothing wrong with people who make a full-time income blogging. Just because it’s not the traditional 9-to-5 job doesn’t make it any less of one.
I was hooked and blogged as often as I could. It was crazy, intense and I couldn’t shut off from this type of work but it was fun and rewarding while it lasted.
Over the course of time, I began losing my rhythm. I was posting less of my work and accepted projects that paid well but made me slightly cringe at my own voice. I felt this constant pressure to get things done. I kept committing to things that ended up being huge amounts of work. The deadlines. The contracts. The nitty-gritty of disclosure rules and guidelines. And those never-ending emails. I was starting to feel burned out and didn’t have much life balance.
On top of that, I had privacy issues. I was especially concerned about respecting my family and friends’ privacy and how I could maintain my growing online presence without revealing too much of their personal lives. If you’ve been following me on social media for a while, you’d probably notice how I rarely post about them – but that doesn’t mean I don’t treasure them.
I let myself have a couple of weeks off and re-evaluated myself, my blog, its purpose and everything in-between. Quitting wasn’t an option so I got back into blogging. I removed all ads, minimized the number of events I was attending and stopped doing sponsored posts even though I was offered money to do so. I tried to focus on myself, my readers and nothing else.
I still struggled. I couldn’t count how many times I said “sorry for the lack of updates!” and felt uninspired to write. Accordingly, I took a few days to rest again. But days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months.
During my “second break”, I was able to think clearly and spend more time with my family, socialize with my friends, see more of the world and enjoy being in the moment. I was able to go to bed peacefully without a stream of things to do running through my mind.
Although I didn’t treat my blog as a tell-all reality TV show, I grew tired of publicly sharing about the things I do. Too much attention made me feel quite uncomfortable. I’ve never wanted to live off likes or validation but I appreciate compliments from people for whatever reason. I just knew I didn’t want to blog anymore. It’s true what they say, “when you know, you just know”. The well had run utterly dry.
But with every story is a silver lining. Deciding to finally quit blogging was a massive relief. It was quickly replaced by excitement to focus on my true passions: design and illustration. I’ve worked for international companies and set up my own business. I realized that I needed to spend more time doing stuff I really love rather than blogging.
It’s not to say I don’t appreciate shopping or wearing gorgeous outfits. I still like fashion. The psychology of fashion and its visual, technical and business aspects. After all, I studied fashion. It’s just that my priorities and fulfillment methods have changed. My closet is no longer filled with free gifts from brands and events, and I love it that way.
I haven’t totally disappeared off the face of the earth. In case you’re interested, you can follow me on Instagram @tiniglesias (eek, promoting myself feels awkward now). Why Instagram and not Facebook, you may ask? Well I occasionally dabble in photography and Instagram is a highly visual platform. I’ve been updating it on a regular basis but the difference now is that I don’t post sponsored content anymore. No branded tags. No branded hashtags. Just things that I like, places I’ve been to and OK, maybe (terrible) puns too.
As for Facebook, I simply wasn’t using it for the longest time so I deactivated it. The novelty had completely worn off. Oddly, by disconnecting from a social media platform, I have reconnected and began to communicate more with my friends and family through mobile messaging apps and in real life. When I meet up with them, their news is actual news. I react from the heart rather than with a half-baked sense of “yeah, I read your status”. I also found out surprisingly which friends made an effort to keep in touch and remembered my birthday without Facebook reminding them. Remember that not every social media platform will appeal to you and that’s just fine.
I prefer Twitter over Facebook (my account’s currently set to private though). It’s very simple yet so interactive, it requires less attention, it’s easier to learn more about someone’s opinions, the 140-character limit saves too much of nonsense, news are covered and confirmed faster, etc. But I digress.
If you’ve reached this point, congratulations! I promise I’ll wrap up soon…
I still have a long way to go but I’m aware that I’ve come so far and I owe this blog so much. I feel very lucky to have met so many amazing people, to have made good friends, to have shared my work, knowledge and experiences, and to have helped people in ways I never thought possible. As cheesy as this may sound, I’m forever grateful for all the love and support, for my entire blogging journey and the valuable lessons I’ve learned along the way.
My last bit of advice: Whatever you do, let it be something you love or genuinely enjoy doing. If it no longer makes you happy, get rid of it. Do something else. Find where you flourish and stay there. When you let go of the wrong things, it gives way to attract the right things into your life. Remain humble and low-key as you work hard towards achieving your goals. Keep on being you and just own it.