I've been thinking a lot about blogging lately and this post from Živa - Nothin' Fancy Really on her Facebook page gave me the final push I needed to share a few things that have been on my mind with you.
I'm sure you've noticed that I've been posting a lot less regularly for the past year or so, and went from posting three times a week, to posting maybe once a week with a week of silence in between or something similar like that.
The truth is that the whole blogging thing changed a lot in these past years. The community changed, the relationships between bloggers changed, the relationships between bloggers and companies changed, I've changed. And honestly, I'm not the biggest fan of the majority of these changes.
You see, blogging has always been a hobby for me, something to do for fun, a creative outlet if you will. And it was never my intention to turn it into something more. But the majority of the blogging community seems to not agree with my point of view. There has been so much talk recently about getting paid for writing blog posts, how to get more followers, how to get more ''free'' products, actually attacking companies for not being invited to their events/not getting their products, how to make a brand out of your blog, how to get more views, buying likes or followers, tips on how to improve your photos which most times than not turns into a bunch of bloggers having pretty much the same photos. And I think it's getting a bit out of hand.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to throw shade at anyone or claim that my point of view is the right one. I'm just trying to share my opinion about the whole situation. I actually had the next part saved in my drafts for more than a year now, but I wasn't sure if I wanted to post it or not. I really hope no one gets offended by this, keep in mind that this is just my opinion/my observations, and even if you recognise yourself in some things, please don't take it personally, because I'm not targeting anyone.
I've noticed that a lot of bloggers are asking themselves ''Where is this even going?'' and I'm asking myself ''Why does it have to even go somewhere?''.
Personally, I don't have a purpose for all of this. I don't have a final destination or a goal I want to reach when it comes to blogging. All I know that it makes/made me happy and it allows me to express myself about the things that I like or don't like.
I definitely love seeing my little place grow, and even after all this time I still get extremely excited with every single comment, view and gained follower, like everyone else I would assume. I love seeing myself getting better at taking photos, expressing my opinion, getting involved in social media, working with new companies and all that. I love that all of this has given me the opportunity to work with different brands and companies, some that I've loved for years & years, and as you all know I do get send products for reviewing purposes, but that's where things end for me. Even though I put more & more effort and time into it, and even though blogging sometimes occupies as much time as a full time job, I don't want to make money out of it. I know it wouldn't bring me as much happiness as it does now, cause it would probably start to feel more like an obligation (not saying that you should agree with me on that).
You see, even if all of this was taken from me, if I never got a chance to work with a brand again, if everyone stopped reading my blog and if I lost all of my followers, I would most likely still be writing it. This place, Sparkle with Laughter, has started out as a hobby, as something that I was sure would only get read by a few of my friends & I, it still is a hobby, and will continue to be a hobby. This is a place for me to look back on, a place to see what I thought about certain products a year ago and if they're still worth repurchasing now. A place for me to look back on and see what 10 things made me happy last November, or how my answers to some tag would've changed. And I'm fine with it being ''just'' that. Because I'm doing this for ME.
In these years I saw quite a lot of blogs that I used to enjoy reading turn into something I can't possibly connect to. Yes, we all enjoy looking at nice photos, but how am I supposed to relate to someone who for example has a photographer to take photos for them, has their photos extremely edited or airbrushed, includes only one ''staged'' photo, when all I want to do is see how a product looks on someone, that for example has a similar skin tone to mine.
You see for me, blogs have been a way of knowing which products are worth buying and which are not, a way to learn about new things, a way to admire fantastic make-up looks from talented people, a way to find new recipes to try out, a way to see the places I would want to visit one day,... And honestly, I just don't get that from five completely perfect white photos with a bunch of products that aren't even related to (let's say) a brush you're trying to review and a couple of sentences from which I can only gather that you liked the product. That's the reason I found myself reading less and less blogs, mainly from bloggers that are the actual real deal for me - those who include swatches, those who aren't so bothered that their photos have the most perfect white/marble backgrounds, those who don't have the need to include the majority of their make-up collection/everything they own on a photo, those who actually share something personal with their readers, and most importantly, those who actually tell me all the details I would ever want to know about the product /topic they're talking about.
And don't even get me started on the whole 'only one photo of the beauty product at the begging of the post' trend. We cannot get a lot of products here in Slovenia, which means online shopping is our best friend. And there's nothing worse than seeing a review on a product that I really want/am planning on purchasing, from a blogger that I trust and there are no swatches or no close ups of that product. Yes, you managed to get a gorgeous photo that could easily be featured in a magazine, but that doesn't help me as a potential buyer of that product in the slightest.
If I wanted that, I would just buy a beauty magazine. But what I actually wanted/was searching for, was an honest & detailed opinion from a fellow beauty lover. Truth be told, I would rather read a detailed post that has a lot of ''bad'' or unedited photos, than a post that has one photo that checks all the ''right'' boxes (white background, composition, brightness, a bunch of other ''props'' etc).
I didn't want to turn this into a rant and I don't really know where I'm going with it. Maybe I just wanted to tell you that I think that it's alright if you don't know where you're going with your blog/have an end goal, if you're getting a bit lost in this ''right way to blog'' trend, or if your blog isn't doing as well as you think it should compared to other bloggers, or if you're not getting invited to events or get the same PR packages as the others do, as long as it brings you joy.
Sometimes a hobby just needs to stay a hobby. And it should be enough for you if that's what you really want. Don't feel pressured to take it to ''a next level''/change it just because everyone else seems to be doing so. There will always be someone ''better'' than you and someone ''worse'' than you, you just have to stay true to yourself and the things you believe in. And if you really feel like blogging is something you want to pursue as a career more than anything else, than screw all of what I just said, go for it and kick ass while doing it.
It wasn't really my intention to write about all of these things, I only wanted to let you know that I decided to take a bit of a break from blogging, but once I started typing everything, I couldn't really stop.
I have so many other things going on right now, and I just can't keep up with everything anymore. I'm the type of person that wants to do everything at once, starts feeling very overwhelmed and then burns out. I always dedicated a lot of time & love to the whole blogging process, it was something that brought me a lot of joy, something that relaxed me. And if I try to do that now, I feel guilty because it means that I'm most likely neglecting something more important and due to lack of time, I do everything in a hurry & without my heart really being in it. It went from being something that I did for me, to something that I felt obligated to do because of all the things I buy and get.
And if I'm not blogging, it means that I'm not only letting down myself cause I don't get to carry out all of these ideas I have written down in my notebook, but I'm also letting down companies that send me their products in hopes I'll talk about them, companies that trust me & want to hear my opinion, and I once again feel guilty - probably even more. I had to turn down quite a lot of events recently, which once again made me feel guilty, cause it means that I turned down opportunities to network, chat & get to know brands even more and also catch up with my fellow Slovenian bloggers.
I've been lucky enough to receive so many amazing products from even more amazing companies since I started blogging and I do feel like I'm letting everyone down with taking this break, since I'm already so behind with my posts. I'm really sorry about that and the last thing I want, is to come off looking like I'm being ungrateful, because I truly am extremely grateful & excited about every single package that I get, just like I was when I got my first one. And I can promise you that I'll find a way and time to talk about the products that I had the privilege to get send. Just not right now.
As I said, blogging has always been ''only'' my hobby and I intend to keep it this way, and unfortunately it can't be on top of my priority list as of now. I just need to have some time to finish off some other things (like exams) and to turn blogging from something that makes me feel guilty, back to something that makes me excited and brings me joy.
I know some of you might find this ''rant'' and update completely unnecessary, especially since I'm not even sure how long this hiatus will last (who knows, I might be back in a week or two) and I'll mostly likely still be active on all of my other social platforms, but I'm not the kind of person who just leaves without explaining herself.
And once again, I hope no one gets offended by reading my views on the ''current'' situation in the blogging community, as I said, it wasn't target toward anyone specifically.
Thank you for reading this lengthy chit-chat and thank you for always leaving me lovely comments.
Talk to you soon,