New year reflections about blogging

Happy New Year!

I’ve never been very good at New Year’s resolutions, but I’ve been ruminating a lot lately about blogging. I’ve done a few style profiles and interviews (see here for my “Featured” page), and one question I’ve come across more than once is “Why did you start blogging?” I’ve even answered that question myself in this post.

Librarian for Life + Style | Reflections about blogging

Lately, I’ve been thinking about a different, but related question:  “Why do you continue to blog?

"Keep Calm and Blog" by Carolyn Coles is licensed under a CC Attribution 2.0 license

“Keep Calm and Blog” by Carolyn Coles is licensed under a CC Attribution 2.0 license

But first, I digress. This fall has been one of extreme change for me, including for this style blog. I learned (a few months late) that WordPress changed its policies to allow affiliate links and sponsored posts, and I wrote in this post about why I decided to go ahead with an affiliate program in which I receive a few cents each time a reader clicks on an affiliate link. And if you’re a regular reader — thank you! — you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been doing more review posts lately, as a few companies have contacted me this past fall about working with me. In many ways, that feels AWESOME. That over 2.5 years of blogging (in my spare time) have started to pay off! Slowly and steadily, my readership has grown — again, thank you — and because of that, some companies want to work with me. Me? I have influence? I have readers?! Still blows my mind. And keeps me humble.

But I want to make sure I stay real and relatable. I want to stay true to my voice and my style. I’ve said no thanks to a few companies that have reached out to me, because I didn’t feel like it was a good match for me or for them. And when I do work with a new company, I want to make sure I am transparent about it on my blog.

It feels like a time of change in blogging, as well.  Some of my very favorite bloggers are closing down their blogs — I am still GUTTED by Sherry and John making the tough decision to discontinue new posts over at Young House Love, and I was sad to learn recently that Whitney finally deleted her old Along the Lines of Style blog, which was one of my early faves. And sob, I just found out this week that Marionberry Style will be no more. 😦

More bloggers are also questioning the ethics of certain current blogging trends. This recent post at Franish, “Putting your best internet foot forward:  How far is too far?,” sent me reeling. Come to find out, there’s such a thing as a “slimming app” to visually slim your body in pics?! Whaaaa?! Before this year, I had never even heard of a “thigh gap” — probably because I have never had one, hah! There’s also been a big scandal about bloggers buying followers on Instagram. I’m not on Instagram, but I didn’t even know you could purchase followers! (Again, thank you, real readers. I know you’re real, and you know I’m real. So we’re all good.)

Sometimes I feel so naive, even after blogging for more than 2 years. But then, I always did relate more to the tortoise than the hare; slow and steady wins the race INDEED.

Librarian for Life + Style | No "thigh gap"? No problem!

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So in a time when more and more real-life bloggers are feeling the pressure to “keep up,” I think it’s good to reflect about one’s own motivations. And this is a good time of year to do that. It’s a good practice at any time of the year. I like to question myself from time to time, to help assess my own priorities as well as reflect on my own personal (and professional) ethics and standards.

That got me thinking… what do I want others to know about my own blogging ethics and standards? Here’s a preliminary list that I came up with:

  • That the outfits I wear on the blog are outfits I wear in real life. And have worn in real life. And will probably wear again in real life.
  • That I take pics in “real time” whenever possible — meaning on the day that I wear them. When that’s not possible — hello, winter time when it’s dark when I leave for work and dark when I get home — then I try to recreate outfits AFTER I’ve worn them. That distinction feels important to me.
  • That I write all my own content. (Gotta keep putting my B.A. in English to good use!)
  • That my opinions are real and honest and reflective of my own experiences.
  • That I don’t photoshop my body shape in pictures. Yes, I edit photos for lighting or color-correction, and I erase things like cat hair from close-ups. So. much. cat. hair. But those hips and booty you see in my pics? Yep, those are real. I’m all about that bass, y’all. 😉
  • That I am open to finding inspiration from anywhere, anytime, from anyone. And sharing that inspiration on my blog. And giving credit to others when they have inspired me.
  • That I am committed to remixing items from my own closet. Remixing = real life.
  • That I like style and fashion and color-coordinating.
  • That I like blogging.

That’s right, I like blogging. I still find it fun. It’s still a side project, as I will always be a “librarian for life.” (It’s RIGHT THERE in my blog title — my long, wordy, unwieldy blog title. But it’s truthful.) I love being a librarian. I love style. That’s me.

Librarian for Life + Style | All about that bass

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I do like to keep my style blog a bit separate from my regular life. I like to keep things positive and fun on this blog. It’s my own little corner of happiness, and thank goodness I happen to be a smiley picture taker. I’m not always smiley in real life, and while I love being a librarian, my job is super-stressful a lot of the time. (Hello, I am a professional problem-solver. And I deal with people needing help on an hourly basis. I am a filter for other people’s stress and personal deadlines. Some of that stress is bound to stick.) Therefore, I don’t feel the need to spread that stress on this blog.

Thinking about style makes me smile. It always has. And if you are inspired by something I’ve shared on my blog and smile, then that’s great! And that’s what I want for this blog and why I share what I wear and WHY I wear it.

I’ve found it helps to be consistent. To schedule myself time to blog. And to keep a regular schedule of posts. I’m usually a week, sometimes two, ahead when writing and scheduling posts. I’m a librarian — I like to be organized. And having a structure in which to blog helps keep me engaged in my blog. For others, that kind of structure might seem offputting or stifling  — I can feel my husband nodding right now as he reads this — but for me, it works. And I think my consistency in blogging — 5 posts during the week, mostly “outfit of the day” posts chronicling the personal style journey of a librarian on a budget — has helped build a consistent readership. Again, that kind of schedule is not for everyone, but it is working for me.

It also really, really helps that I have a supportive partner. My husband, last seen here, has been supportive of this side venture from the beginning. He’s a huge part of this blog — after all, he takes most of the pictures! It’s sweet sometimes to catch his reactions when he reads my blog. He doesn’t usually get to see the pictures until I publish the posts! He also is okay with being IN some of the pictures. He’s a blogger, too, so sometimes we spend our time after work together, side-by-side, blogging and talking and laughing and sharing. It’s sweet to share this kind of experience with him, and I know that not every blogger is able to do that. It’s a luxury, and I am thankful for it. ♥
Librarian for Life + Style | Stephanie and I at a JASNA eventAlso, it helps to have supportive friends. Another huge thank you goes to my friend and fellow librarian Stephanie, last seen here on my blog. She has taken more and more pics this past year, in part thanks to Style Imitating Art challenges. (We usually try to wear SIA-inspired outfits on the same day, so we can take pics for each other.) Not too many work colleagues and friends know about my style blog, but it feels huge to have a friend at work who not only knows about it but is also supportive and participatory in it! Stephanie also asks me questions about blogging, questions that often make me stop and think. Like about why sometimes I post outfits in an order different than when I wore them — because she knows when I really wore something, hah! And there’s always a reason, but it’s fun to think about the reason. And trust me, there’s ALWAYS a reason with a librarian. 😉

I also continue to blog because I am still inspired. Y’all inspire me! Your thoughtful, sweet comments inspire me. And yes, I read every comment. And I reply to them on the blog or through email. I tear up — with happiness! — at some of your comments and emails. Thank you.

Other bloggers inspire me to keep blogging. Real bloggers of different shapes and sizes inspire me. Bloggers who share why they wore a certain outfit, or reveal why they put this look or those colors together. Or perhaps why they didn’t like an outfit. Personal perspective and reasons behind personal style, that’s what I find interesting. And that’s why I share those kinds of things on my blog. I like pretty pictures, sure — I visit blogs like Atlantic-Pacific sometimes just for the striking pictures — but ultimately, I keep returning to style blogs that reveal and share something a little deeper. So thank you to those bloggers who keep on keepin’ it real. (You can visit my daily style blog reads on my “Blog Love” page.)

And if you’ve made it to the end of this rambling post, a huge thank you goes out to you! Seriously, it means a lot to me. I hope your 2015 is off to a wonderful start!

If you’re a reader, whether newer or longtime, why do you keep reading my blog? Or perhaps you have a question you’d like to ask me about my blog? I promise I’ll reply. 🙂

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16 thoughts on “New year reflections about blogging

  1. Stephanie

    Thanks for the shout out! I feel blessed to talk with you about style and blogging. I have drawn much style inspiration from you, and from other style bloggers whose sites I’ve started to visit, especially in terms of color and pattern mixing. I had no idea there were “body slimming” apps — gah! I appreciate that you — and other bloggers I’ve discovered via your site — keep it real, showing that style is for all sizes and shapes. I also appreciate your willingness to always try new things, to post outtakes, and to have a sense of humor apparent in your posts.

    Reply
  2. Salazar

    This is a really honest post, Jen, and I appreciate you sharing it with us. I’ve been asking myself why I keep blogging too (going on 4 years now, I can’t believe it!), and for me, the answer is very simple – it’s a hobby. And just like any hobby, I’m going to keep doing it until I get bored or find something else more rewarding. But with blog friends like you, that won’t be any time soon 🙂

    Happy new year, and keep up the good work!

    Reply
  3. Rebecca Young

    I always enjoying reading your posts. Your style is inspiring and I can relate to it as you post on “normal everyday clothes.” I have been blogging myself for a year now but not that seriously. I started to document my thoughts when I converted from being a skirts/dresses only person to an occasional trousers (pants) wearer and have continued with items which may be of interest since. I don’t get many viewers or comments but that doesn’t worry me

    Reply
    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      Thank you, Rebecca! It’s lovely to read that you feel my style is inspiring. And I’m glad you’re getting personal joy out of blogging — that’s the main point, right? And I DO hope you buy a pair of jeans this year! I’m a relatively recent convert to skinny jeans myself — never thought I’d feel comfortable in them, being pear-shaped — and I have to say, my oldest pair of skinny jeans is one of the most comfortable items of clothing I have! It helps to get a pair with a medium rise, which covers everything on the back, sides, and front, but is still comfortable to sit in.

      Reply
  4. momofdox

    I’ve followed your blog for more than a year, I think, Jen, and keep reading because you ARE REAL. Your posts are inspiring, uplifting, and regular – thoroughly enjoyable! Thanks for sharing your smiles with us! 🙂

    Reply
  5. Erin @ Loop Looks

    What a great post!! I don’t always comment but I definitely read every one of your posts because this space IS so positive and genuine. Plus, I love that Sam is so supportive and that you guys get out to take pictures at so many fun places. It’s clear that while this is a hobby it’s one that you guys do together and that it makes you happy.

    Reply
    1. Gina @ On the Daily Express

      ^^^ Sorry about that! Accidental keystroke = submit comment before I was finished typing! Now I look like a random spammer up there! At any rate, as I was saying, I really enjoyed your post and your thoughts on authenticity and why you continue to blog. I am 100% with you on pretty pictures vs. something deeper. My blog read list used to be filled with the “pretty picture” people, but after starting my own blog, I’ve managed to find a lot more “real people” bloggers and have stopped following most of the ones who wear unrealistic outfits (either because of cost or lifestyle). Anyway, thanks for keeping it real and sharing your thoughts here!
      Gina- On the Daily Express

      Reply
      1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

        The comment about looking like a random spammer made me laugh — I’ve totally done that, too! And thank you for your (longer) comment – 😉 — and support! It’s hard to take a deep breath and post something (gulp) honest, but it feels worth it in the end. 🙂

        Reply
  6. maeamor

    Yes! Thank you so much for this post! I am almost teary eyed after reading this because it hits close to home. It can be challenging to “keep up” in the blogging community. I have a booty and have never had a thigh gap either. Sure I like to look like I’m in shape, but I have curves and I’m okay with it. Someone left an unpleasant comment about my tummy the other day and, while it affected me, I just sort of felt like “whatever, this is what I look like.” Then I promptly deleted the comment in a moment of weakness. Oops. Thank you SO much for keeping it real and encouraging others (myself included) to do the same. I stand by the no photoshop (other than to adjust lighting and remove dog hair) rule and I loved all of your standards. Thanks again!

    xo, Mae

    Reply
    1. Jen @ Librarian for Life and Style Post author

      I teared up reading your lovely and supportive comment, Mae! And I think it’s totally ok that you deleted that negative body image comment — it’s your blog, and you get to have a say about its overall message and tone and focus. And YAY for curves and being true to yourself! 😀

      Reply

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