February 2018 marks 9 years since I started A Beauty Junkie in London. A fact which pretty firmly puts me into the ‘OG blogger’ category. For anyone unsure, when I say OG Blogger what mean is bloggers who started their blogs in perhaps the pre 2010-11 years? No, the date that makes you an ‘OG’ is not set in stone and I’m certainly not the one to set the rules. But Those of us who created our little spaces on the internet in the 08/09/10 years would definitely consider ourselves in this grouping.
**FYI – For anyone scratching their head at the OG reference (perhaps I’m the only one who watches trash TV like MTV’s Teen Mom OG….) but OG is slang for ‘original gangster’ it basically means original/first wave or someone who has been around a long time…**
Before anyone rolls their eyes I want to really clearly say this is NOT at all a lament for the ‘good old days’ of blogging. Sure, I’ve had moments where I’ve felt that way and missed some of the things I loved about early years of blogging. Yes, the blog world has changed beyond almost all recognition. With this comes a HUGE amount of positive change too. But we are where we are and the blog/youtube/instagram world is where it is today. I just know that I and a lot of fellow OG bloggers have had doubts creeping in, motivation or self-belief lacking and I wanted to try and flip this on its head a bit and look forward to the year ahead with a few little reminders for us OG bloggers (that in all honesty can apply to anyone in blogging, OG or otherwise).
We’ve come this far – we can keep going!
Anyone doing this for 5/6/7 and beyond years – you have come this far. Do you think a Doctor gets to eight years into their career and thinks they can’t do it anymore? No, they actually are more likely to say I have ‘X years’ experience’ I know what I’m doing and have a lot of knowledge to offer. And you know what, that’s exactly how anyone feeling like an OG blogger should take it – we’ve come this far, have a lot to offer and can certainly keep going. In fact, if it wasn’t for those early days of blogging then it wouldn’t BE where we’re at today – so why do we feel the need to ‘step down’ and leave it behind? When you think of it that way the idea of throwing in the towel now is just a bit silly really…
We started from scratch – why do we need to follow rules now?
Look back to when we started, it was early days. There wasn’t really anyone flying high to follow, copy or aspire to be like. Sure, people led the way in terms of photography, blog design, style of post etc. But it wasn’t like now where there’s a sort of mould you could fit into to immediately ‘tick the boxes’ of being a blogger and try to take the fast track towards ‘success’ (which generally now in the most simplistic form translates to followers/samples/money). That’s not to say the OG bloggers invented the blogging ‘wheel’ as such, but we each in our own way definitely helped chip it from a slightly clunky square to a more smooth circular shape it is today. If that make sense.
So why do we all of a sudden feel like we need to follow or fit into the shape of blogging as it is today? Essentially it’s like highschool – the popular girls all wore Kickers, so I wanted to wear Kickers to fit in. When actually, the shoes I felt best in were a pair of heeled court shoes that were that bit too high and my mum wouldn’t let me wear them (so I snuck them in my bag like contraband). But yeah, they weren’t Kickers but they were great in their own way and made me feel good so that’s what I wore once I snapped out of the Kickers bubble. Lets just say it’s pretty dull if everyone is wearing Kickers. Same with blogging, when everything is the same we all start to look like clones and no-one stands out – no matter how perfectly they tick those blogger boxes.
Basically, we didn’t fit a mould or follow rules when we started out and it’s gotten us this far. So why do we feel we need to follow anyone now? Want to take professional level photos with a photographer? Crack on. Want to shoot exclusively on iPhone? Go for it. Want to blog about your love or Tupperware and jazz music? You do you. Want to fill your feed with marble and copper flat lays? That’s all good. Want to write every blog in the form of a poem? Perfect. Want to post once a month and delete Instagram? Awesome, if that works for you then go for it. You get the drift – the ‘rules’ of what you ‘have’ to do as a blogger are self created and beyond the ones that really matter (disclosure of sponsorships – always follow the ASA guidelines) there really aren’t any rules you HAVE to follow.
You do you – it’s where you came from so keep doing it! Have faith in your own style – you’re doing something right to get you this far.
Why so serious?
I started writing a post a couple of months ago trying to put into words how I was a bit fed up with taking it all so seriously. The culture of #GirlBoss and how there’s the constant pressure to be busy-busy, exhausted and working all hours, planning your grid, scheduling all your posts, tweeting on schedule, going through analytics with a fine tooth comb and generally doing all these mega things all the time. It’s a bit much.
I’m absolutely ALL for being professional when it comes to blogging – especially if blogging is your main income source or a chunk of it. But there’s a balance between being professional and taking it a little *too* seriously? After all, it started as a hobby and fun. When and why did it become such a slog of work?! The joy of it was the fact it was all in your control and you don’t HAVE to do any of it. You can choose exactly how you run it and how you blog and how seriously you take it. You know what – if you don’t post for a week the internet won’t fall away and vanish and forget you ever existed. Take a holiday, have weekends away from the internet. Don’t work into the early hours. Or do – if that suits you. Just find that balance between enjoying it, being professional and taking it seriously that works.
Most of all – DON’T GIVE UP!
The internet is a BIG place. There’s space for everyone and whatever style of blogging you want to follow and there are people out there who will enjoy at follow it. Sure, some might leave and not engage anymore but you will also pick up new ones who do share an interest in what you’re sharing. It’s a fluid thing as you change your audience will too.
My current style is a very different one to where it was three, four, or five years ago. I’m currently talking more about pregnancy and baby things than I am about beauty at the moment. But I like to think my blog has grown with me – as my own interests change. I could try and pretend I’m still fawning over each and every beauty launch that comes my way but in all honesty. I’m not. I still get VERY excited about beauty of course but in a slightly more pared-back way and that will reflect on my blog.
Here’s to the OG Blogger
Please don’t be disheartened – you CAN do this. You wouldn’t be here today if you hadn’t been able to adapt and keep going through all the changes of the years since you started. If it helps at all I wrote a post on how to break out of a blogging rut which includes a few things I do when I’m feeling a bit blah about my blog and have that ‘I can’t do this’ moment. I’ve had many of them over the last year or so but when you flip it around and think – I’ve come this far, I can do it my way as it is what got me to where I am now. Why would I stop?
Keep going, you can do this. Here’s to the OG bloggers still going strong and making 2018 our own.
All photography by www.bangonstyleblog.com