27 June 2018

The One Where I Ramble About How I’m Blogging Again

So… two years later. It’s been long enough that I figured I needed to write a transition post before jumping back into regular programming. I never intended to stop blogging, but somewhere between trying to build my career, balancing that with other freelance jobs, family and social responsibilities, and living life, it simply became the thing that fell by the wayside.  One month became two months, which became six months, and so on, until by the time I realized so much time had passed, I felt like coming back to write a random post would just be awkward. 

For the first time in over a decade, I wasn’t actively blogging about anything, and I have to admit that at first, it felt freeing. I’m one of those people who tends to overcommit, overbook, and overfill my life with commitments to the point where even activities that I enjoy feel like a chore. Simply slipping away from this blog and having one less obligation demanding my time felt like the easy and obvious choice. 

Fast-forward two plus years and so much has changed. Last fall, I made the difficult decision to walk away from Erlūm, the knitwear line I’d co-founded and poured my heart and soul into for four years. As I processed that transition, this old blog starting popping into my mind. I missed it. And suddenly, I had room in my life again. But month after month, I pushed the thought away as I focused on my day job and made plans for the future. 

There were times when I logged in here and puttered around a bit, tweaking design elements and reviewing old posts. I kept looking for excuses, reasons to tell myself it was too late for me. When I first started this blog, lifestyle blogging was still a fairly new concept. Now the Internet is totally inundated with bloggers. Back in 2010, I had thousands of supportive readers eager to follow me over from my wedding blog. How many of them would still be interested? And what was the likelihood of my humble blog attracting brand new followers when they have all the aforementioned superstar bloggers to choose from? 

Yet all these months later, I still feel myself being pulled back in. In the two years I’ve been away, I’ve experienced a crazy amount of personal growth. (Failure will do that for you.) One principle I’ve trusted in to guide my future is acting on my instincts as rapidly as possible. In the past, I’ve had a lot of ideas I’ve been passionate about but my tendency has been to avoid and procrastinate, to back away in fear. But one hard lesson I’ve learned is that those ideas that just won’t go away, the ones that seem the very craziest, are the ones that have power and magic in them. 

Moving forward, I’ve committed to facing my sometimes paralyzing amount of fear and doubt and to simply give things a try. I say it’s worth the risk. So in my most empowered voice I pronounce, like Kevin McCallister in Home Alone, “I’m not afraid anymore.” If I’m going to make this commitment generally in my life, I surely must apply it to this blog, my little corner of the Internet that's never stopped nagging me from the back of my head somewhere.

In the past, blogging has been a very serendipitously rewarding endeavor for me. Technically, I started blogging before it was a “thing.” Remember the Xanga days?  As a young girl at an unfamiliar high school in the early 2000s, I felt very unknown. Lunch hour was particularly humiliating, as I sought hiding places to eat my lunch in like the bathroom or the parking lot, anywhere where I didn’t have to be seen sitting alone. After school, I would come home and write on my Xanga blog for hours, a cathartic outpouring of my most personal thoughts. For some reason, I felt comfortable sharing them on my blog. Connecting with strangers made me feel less alone and more confident in sharing. As time went on, some of my classmates began discovering my blog and something magical happened- these online connections forged with my peers transferred themselves to school, blossoming into real-life friendships.

Years later, I experienced something similar when blogging for Weddingbee. As the youngest of my friends to get married, I didn’t feel like I had many people to talk to about wedding planning and marriage. My blog not only allowed me to ramble on about topics that no one else in my life was interested in; it also made me feel like in this strange new stage of life, I had a massive crowd of women cheering me on! Blogging for Weddingbee and having our wedding featured on Style Me Pretty opened up so many doors for me, from networking to career opportunities to real life friendships, some of which still continue on today. 

I tend to be a private person so it’s always seemed like a paradox that I love blogging. I rarely post on Facebook and have mostly succeeded in hiding my blogs from people I know in real life. Strangely, I’m happy to share with total strangers but have always felt weirdly creeped out by people who actually know me reading this. You’d think after all of these years, I’d have learned my lesson. Risky as it may be, putting myself out there, attempting to create meaningful community from behind a computer screen, has always led to good things!

Another reason I became weary of blogging is that I felt convicted about promoting over-consumerism on my blog by focusing so much on products. Considering my love for fashion and interior design, most people would be surprised to find that I’m a minimalist. I rarely buy clothes or decor items  (maybe a couple times a year,) and try to stick to purchasing quality items that I absolutely love or need. In my own life, I try to be conscious about not attaching too much importance to possessions. It’s so tempting to tell yourself that you need a certain pair of shoes to nail a job interview, a specific outfit to make your vacation all that you envisioned, or even a certain set of dishes to feel like your house is nice enough to invite people over. Basically, this feeling of inadequacy is something I really don’t want to inspire in anyone and I hate to think that by sharing products, I’m contributing to someone else’s problems by influencing them to purchase items they don’t need. 

However, I’ve done some thinking on this. Whether we like it or not, there are lots of things we need to buy in life. And when I do need something, I like to research my options to ensure that I’m getting the most value for my money and choosing the option that I feel happiest about and will want to keep around for the longest. I follow a handful of bloggers and Instagrammers whose style I admire, and I generally look to them for recommendations for the items I need. When I find them, I feel thankful, as though I've been provided with a service. Based on this revelation, I will continue to post about products, with this caveat- I hope I can recommend brands and products that enhance your life, but please don’t buy something you don’t need or can’t afford because you saw it on my blog! Okay, deal! ;)

Finally, I want to address my vision for this blog moving forward. I don’t consider myself a stereotypical style blogger, as I don't feel comfortable doing “outfit photos,” and honestly, don’t even feel very comfortable appearing in photos at all. Although I love following many women who are style bloggers, this has just never been an aspiration of mine. When this started to become the standard for “bloggers,” I questioned whether I was really cut out for blogging. 

The first lifestyle blog I remember stumbling upon was Oh Joy, back in 2008. For me, it was like one of those scenes in a movie where the sun comes out and the angels start to sing. The idea that there was a whole website where you could click from page to page discovering an endless array of cool things was so mind-blowing and inspiring to me at the time. This type of blog is considered to be kind of old-school now as content creation has become such a vibrant and competitive industry. But I still love them, and that concept that originally got me so excited is one element of what I’m hoping to recreate here. 

Secondly, there are so many things in life I get excited to share about. Some moments when I’ve been tempted to bring back this blog have been when people in my life have asked me to share things, from Paris recommendations to how I make my pie crusts to what natural beauty products I use. Every time something like this comes up, I’ve thought, my blog would have been the perfect place for this! 

I also have to give a special shoutout here to a certain follower who sweetly responded to one of my Instagram stories a while back. I’d posted a random picture of my coffee table, and she asked if I would ever consider doing a house tour. At the time, that was exactly the type of encouragement I needed to consider doing this again. (By the way, I apologize to all of the people who faithfully followed me through the first stage of fixing up our little ranch house. I’m thinking of doing an updated house tour this fall, and I seriously owe it to you guys!)

Finally, most people who know me know how passionate I am about travel. Inspired by some recent trips, I’m thinking I want to make this blog even more travel-focused than before. I obsessively research every single detail of our adventures, and I'd love to see someone besides me benefit from the fruits of my labor. In the next few posts, I’ll be sharing some favorite finds from our recent trip to Scotland. 

Anyway, if any of my blog followers from back in the day are still hanging around, please please please leave a comment! I would absolutely love to know who you are and thank you for your support. This time around, I’ve also chosen to share this part of my life with my friends and family, so hello to you too! If anyone has any thoughts or requests for future posts, definitely let me know. 

I can’t guarantee what the future holds for this blog, or how it will play into my life path. I can’t promise that I’ll keep the layout the same, or even keep the same name, but I promise I’m here to stay. I also promise I'll never write a post this long again. ;) As I shared with you, blogging has brought so many good things into my life in the past, so I trust in good faith that it will continue to do the same. Here’s to the next chapter!

Sincerely, Brianne