Hi friends and if you are new here… you came on a doozy of a day!
Are you a fellow DIY or design blogger? If so, this post is for you!
Now, when I say ‘doozy of a day’ that does not have a negative connotation to it at all. I just mean to say you’ve been invited to a unique and outstanding kind of blog post. I’m going to touch on the blogger slump and why it just might be a good thing. I’m going to share about GOD FORBID! the sponsored post, the DIY/design sandbox, blogging etiquette, blog conferences…the whole SHEBANG!
As some of you may know, I am not in my home right now. My family and I had the unique opportunity to live on the East Coast this summer. So, for the rest of the summer Connecticut is my home. With this comes many great and wonderful things…like trips to the Cape, NYC, a Boston day trip, Rhode Island beaches…and the list goes on and on.
But, when you are a DIY and design blogger, this kind of summer is not conducive to putting out project tutorials and home decor tips every week.
I’m just keeping it real here. It felt like a slump. A blogger slump. I’m thinking to myself, I can’t dump a million photos on you of my kids at the beach every day and nor do I want to. But, they are pretty cute…maybe I can…NO!
You see, I really just want to enjoy this summer out here. Explore, play, and have fun under the sun without the pressures of blogging projects all summer long.
So, let’s talk about…
You’re like, “This is a thing??? This ‘blogger guilt’ as she calls it.”
Yes, it is a thing and I was feeling it the other day. Maybe some of you other bloggers out there can back me up on this. I feel a weird duty to my readers to keep the blog posts a coming! Here’s the thing though…I don’t feel inspired to decorate an apartment that I’m only going to be living in for a remaining month and 20 days. I could force something, but that would be forcing something and that is never a good way to blog.
So, here’s what I have decided… I will blog when I feel inspired to do so while I am in East Coast Kristy mode. It will be sporadic. It might be about a decor project, it might be about a summer recipe I just concocted, or it might be about a place I just visited. I’d rather share a bit of who I am and what season of life I’m in than pump out a tutorial just because that’s what I feel you expect.
I will be back in my Illinois home before I know it and back in my project mode soon enough. There are some really great projects and things to come. I wish I could spill the beans now, but it will all have to wait. I am really excited and design happy here working on the details of all those projects. It has been so fun to plan and work on furniture designs and inspiration boards. I feel like I have a wealth of time to perfect what I am going to do.
This will all begin when I am back home and it will be fun to get back at it, but for now I am on a summer hiatus.
Blogger Guilt: 0
East Coast Kristy: 1
I have complete freedom of spirit now to enjoy every waking second of playing with my kids in the ocean, taking family hikes, and doing really touristy things like going to the Statue of Liberty and taking a million pictures EVERY DAY.
Thinking about blogger guilt made me thing about…
I’ve just been observing that this has become like the FOUR LETTER WORD of blogging. Since I am in East Coast Kristy mode and I have had a lot more time to reflect on the past 2 years of blogging, I’ve seen the good and the bad with sponsored posts.
I remember the first time I got paid to do a sponsored post. I was like,”Oh goodness, honey, SO-AND-SO is GOING TO PAY ME to do a project with their BLEEPITY-BLEEP and all I have to do is post it on my blog!”
It is a good thing to have brands reach out to you and want to work with you, but it is a slippery-slope. I really have reflected on what I want this blog to be lately. If you do a sponsored post and you are just not feeling it and if you blog it, you are in turn lying to your readers and not being authentic. It’s ugly. Nobody likes ugly, and you just might be losing your readers along the way. I have stopped reading some blogs lately because it just seems that all they are doing is trying to get me to buy something.
Don’t get me wrong. Sponsored posts can be a good thing for the blogger and reader when it is the right partnership.
I have decided to be even more choosy with sponsored posts here at B@H. I considered myself pretty choosy before, but now it’s choosy on crack! I would suggest this line of thought to any of you blogging out there. Big blogs or small blogs…it’s just not worth it unless it fits into what you are doing and allows you creative freedom.
There are a lot of boxes a sponsored post has to check off in my book. Here are a few I’ve come up with for my own consideration:
If a sponsored post proposal can’t check off those boxes…then it will not be considered. That last one has become really important to me. It fits in with personal blog goals which I will touch on soon here.
Here’s the thing. I love what I do! I love it so much that I have lists and lists of ideas, design plans, things I want to tackle in our home…I just want to do what I want to do. This blog is a reflection of who I am and what I love to share.
That is pretty much how I feel about my blog.
“Whatever I feel like I wanna share. Gosh!”
And here’s the truth. The brand relationships I love most are the ones that I approached first. I brought them my idea. Don’t be afraid to pitch a brand your idea. It just may turn out to be a lasting and wonderful relationship!
Stay true to you and what you love and share it in the best way you know how. I’m always looking at new ways to style a shoot, create an interesting post, etc. Never quit learning and improving your skills.
This in turn made me think about…
Now, being in a blogging slump is pretty normal. Just as in life there are peaks and valleys; they also exist here in your blogging journey. And just like in life, you can throw yourself a little pity party or just recognize it for what it is and move on.
There are a lot of talented designers and creatives out there in our DIY/design niche. One thing I notice a lot in our niche, is the comparison game. Everyone is comparing! You may feel at times that others are excelling while you are moving at a glacial pace. That’s okay and normal! Every blogger has felt this at one time or another.
Focus on your work and your brand. Do what you are talented at and enjoy it.
It’s a great thing to support your fellow bloggers and praise them for a job well done. Just don’t fall into the trap of comparing! You don’t want to become that person. Easier said than done sometimes I guess.
I want everyone in our niche to succeed!
Bloggers are getting in magazines, working with great brands, getting recognized on larger websites. Some are even landing themselves on TV. It is a really amazing niche to be in!
Some bloggers have massive followings and pageviews that seem unfathomable. Well, it didn’t happen overnight. Chances are, it was a mix of talent and really hard work, dedication, having a teachable spirit, and being noticed at the right time. Plus, in all of that, staying true to who they are and their own personal style.
My advice to you is this. Set clear goals. Short-term and long-term. Update them when needed and look at them when you are feeling you fall short. I do this at least once a year (lately more often) and it gives me perspective and direction on what I want out of blogging.
Here’s some things to take into mind when making your goals:
Oh, and these successful bloggers– I’m sure they will tell you they didn’t do it alone. It took a great support system. Supportive spouses and partners and a great group of blogging friends. It takes a village to raise a blog…no, really it does…
My favorite thing about blogging is hands down the friendships I have made along the way. It is a cool thing to connect with someone miles away and even cooler when that connection becomes a real friendship. If not for blogging, I would not have some of the great friends I have now.
Our niche is pretty amazing, is it not?!
This little niche of ours made me look at the projects being put out in the blogosphere which then made me think about…
Not every single day are you going to have a brilliant idea to share with the world. If you do, then it must be really great being you!
Good quality project posts take time, preparation, trial and error, and WORK.
Then, you have to photograph it, write it, share it. It’s a lot to do.
You are taking an idea from conception to fruition. I’ve just learned it is better to go at your own pace whatever that might be. I’d rather go weeks between posts if that meant that I was sharing something I am really, really proud of! This is a lesson you have to learn, and everyone is a little different.
If you are just pumping out posts just to have content all the time chances are you are going to get some bad eggs along the way…
Unless you have hired help, you are usually a one man or woman show when it comes to all that. To do it well is definitely a talent and you have to learn to be a jack-of-all-trades so to speak.
If you notice this just circles back to the sponsored post dilemma mentioned above!
Putting out good content made me think about…
Oh, man! Have I opened a can of worms today!
Tell me if you have had this happen.
You get an email from a fellow blogger that they saw your project on another blogger’s site and it wasn’t linked to. Or, another blogger has copied your project and not given you a shout out saying that their project was inspired by yours or that they got the idea from your fab project…OUCH! This can be such a messy one!
Just do the right thing. If you saw another blogger’s project and you love it and you do it and then blog it– give them a link in your post. Cite your source, just do it.
The truth of it is, that there aren’t too many original ideas out there. Chances are someone else has done it or there is a similar project out there somewhere. Just give credit where credit’s due and everyone’s happy.
Another one I hate is when I see an un-watermarked image taken right off another blogger’s site. Just don’t do that, okay? I know some bloggers are of the mind that it shouldn’t matter if they are linking to you and giving you pageviews because of it. But, really, with Pinterest being such a huge force in directing readers to your blog these days, it is just bad etiquette. Use a water-marked image.
I don’t pull images from another blogger’s site now without their consent. I hardly ever want to do that anyways. I’d rather produce my own unique content. A lot of times, I just do a text link, so that readers will pin from their site. You can even say that in your post,”pin from so-and-so’s blog please.”
There are going to be some that disagree with me on that, but I have seen and know what that feels like. You don’t want to rub your fellow creatives the wrong way. We are so protective of our work and brands. It’s just good blogger etiquette. Nobody wants to see their baby stolen! Don’t be the baby-snatcher!
And just, FYI, not everyone in blogland is going to give you warm fuzzies. There are all kinds of personalities in our niche. I just want to be nice and friendly to everyone, but not everyone is like that. I’ve quit reading some blogs after I’ve met the blogger behind the blog if that tells you anything. I don’t have time for that! But, for the most part, everyone is really, really nice in our niche! We are pretty lucky to all be in the same sand-box together.
Speaking of our sand-box…
Last year, I attended my first blog conference and let me tell you something…I’m glad I did!
Not all blog conferences are created equal, and I really think starting out you should go to one for your specific niche. It is so great to connect with people who are cuckoo for all things DIY and design like you are. Haven is a great one to attend, especially if you are new to blogging. I learned a lot last year from the sessions.
I admit though, I was super nervous! I only knew a few people going into it, so when I walked into a room full of faces and had no idea who anyone was, it was a bit intimidating. That quickly faded once I started talking to people. I think I had a perma-smile and probably came off a little too strong at first though.
Also, I’ve seen some bloggers get all starry-eyed meeting a blogger who in their eyes is BIG TIME…but really, it doesn’t need to be like that. I admire many bloggers, but to me it’s more about relationships than being star struck.
This year, I just want to have fun with it. I’m excited to see my blogging friends and make new ones. I feel so relaxed about it all the second time around.
My blogging circles have been filled with discussions on what to wear and bring. The best advice I can give you is to be yourself. Wear what you are comfortable in. Don’t worry about how everyone else will look. If you don’t wear make-up normally, don’t feel pressured to do so. If you are a fashionista flaunt your fab style! Bring a good attitude and a smile and you can’t go wrong!
The main thing to remember at these things is that everyone wants to feel included. Be the person that is approachable. If you see someone standing alone, introduce yourself and make them feel welcome.
So, if you are going to Haven this week…
I’ll be there!
Oh, and if you see a tall blonde girl that looks like Kristin from Bliss at Home, please come and say hi! I’d love to meet you!
So, for me, this blog slump of mine is really a good thing. It made me think a lot about blogging and my own personal space here in the blogosphere.
Maybe in another 2 years, I’ll have some kernels of wisdom to share again.
I’d also like to thank my special group of blogging friends (you know who you are) who inspired today’s post. Without our conversations, I probably would not have written about this today.
What do you guys think about all this? Worth the blog post? I’d love to hear your thoughts!