I’ve lost my BLOGGING MOJO.
There I said it. Truth be told, I’d drafted and re-drafted clever ways on how to say that in a more introspective and witty kind of way but non. The simple truth of the matter is that for a long, long time now… my heart has not been into blogging. As much as I love Twenty York Street aka @20YS, I just was not inspired by it or for it.
How about that for my very first official post for 2016?
I’ve spent many fruitless nights thinking about why this is and most importantly, thinking of how I can turn this around. In fact, I’ve traveled near and I’ve traveled far (as you can see in these photos where I’m somewhere in Asia near where the water flows to the vastness that is the Pacific Ocean) in an attempt to re-ignite the passion, fuel the inspiration and “discover myself” yet as I write this, I just haven’t got a clue. Maybe I’ve fallen out of love with blogging or… blogging has fallen out of love with me. Whichever statement is true, one thing that’s for certain is that blogging is not what it’s used to be.
THE CURRENT STATE OF BLOGGING 2015-2016
And since I’m no spring chicken, I may know a little of why that is.
Not that I’m claiming this to be the absolute scientific truth (well, it’s blogging not physics so it couldn’t be that scientific, could it?) but there are a few other bloggers who share the same sentiments as I do.
Blogging is not what it used to be. When I first started blogging, my objectives were simple and straightforward and perhaps looking back, also a bit naive. I just wanted to have platform to publish, primarily, my writing, secondly, my style and thirdly, other people’s style and talents whether they are local stores or emerging artists, musicians or fashion designers. I recruited one of my best friends / co-worker who was starting to get interested in photography to be my photographer. So a blogging partnership was born in a sort of Garance Doré X Scott Schumann kind of way. We would run downstairs from the office and shoot during our coffee breaks or cut our lunch short if we are to shoot something more elaborate. He would shoot, I would write. The next day, we would publish.
That was then.
Now, EVERYTHING CHANGED.
Gone was the simple point and shoot we once did. Now, I shoot with real professional photographers and I also travel with one. Whether its for store openings, fashion week or simply #OOTD posts, I work with a number of photographers and sometimes, videographers and none of this is simple anymore. Especially not if you add the plethora of other characters that became involved with the process such as PR companies, brands, stylists, make-up artists, etc. More significantly, the reason I blog changed.
In the past, I never thought Twenty York Street would be what is it today and it would be provide me with such grand opportunities I’ve never even dreamed of. When things started to pick up and things did picked up right away, the motivation from creating content shifted from what I do I love to talk about to what brand or product or partnership is paying me the most. Though I hate to admit it, the focus became too much on monetizing the blog. Not that I consciously and strategically planned it that way. As a matter of fact, I have yet to reach out and pitch myself to a brand. It just organically evolved that way and just like the saying money brings more money, blog offers did bring more blog offers and things just exploded from there.
But as much as I LOVE and APPRECIATE getting these sponsorships and collaborations and invitations to the latest and most exclusive of events, I also lost a bit of me along the way. I lost a bit of my soul in the name of the almighty dollar. Sounds quite dramatic, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not quite that life and death as it sounds Negative Nancy.
What I meant to say was that in my quest to be better and better and to have more and more, blogging no longer was my passion project to escape work, rather, blogging became work.
THE PERPETUAL RAT RACE
And this is a slowly unraveling revelation that’s not exclusive to our space here but in general. All over social media, be it Twitter, Facebook and other online forums (not quite Instagram as who really reveals anything personal there aside from envy-inducing heavily edited images), you can find a plethora of bloggers openly admitting they’ve reach either a blogger burnout: a plateau, a wall or THE END. You can read more eloquent posts here, here and here about the future of blogging or at least the projections and predictions on how things are going to be in 2016 and beyond.
Have we reached the end of the blog era? I don’t know. But one of the most general realizations that we can all agree upon is that blogs have become the anti-thesis of the very establishment it used to rebel against. In the past, blogs used to be the opposite of glossy, highly curated fashion and lifestyle magazines where highly impossible, evidently impractical and obviously unattainable outfits, cars, houses and travels are splashed all over pages and pages supposedly designed to inspire us. Blogs then were supposed to be raw and real and just relatable. We are now our own personal BRANDS.
The same way with other brands, we now have agents representing us. We now have PR companies promoting us and we now have interns, well, interning for us. Everything is curated and edited and somehow it doesn’t feel authentic. That’s not to say that we are neither honest or transparent. That’s just to say that what you see in Instagram or Facebook is only one part of the bigger picture. Yes, it’s the truth but it’s only part of the truth.
Amidst the glamour of designer clothes, the fancy hotels, the long stretched limos and the jet setting lifestyle, which all seem to come easy and free is NOT FREE AT ALL. There is always an exchange of something… it is after all a business (with exceptions of course to those blogs who remained free of sponsorships and monetization). Business is about getting more clients, more contracts, more collaborations, more products to review, more events to go to so with all that, it became, in and of itself, another perpetual rat race. We’re like hamsters on wheels only this time, we are dressed in designer clothes, shoes and purses and the wheels are made of gold and sequins.
Nevertheless, like other industries, blogging also comes with the same baggage face by other creatives such as artists, musicians, photographers, etc. Some are perceived or imagined such as self-imposed goals, competition and jealousy and others are mundanely tangible such as clients not paying on time or not paying at all. More than that, it became the numbers game, it was all about the stats. With these major shifts in what used to be simple and accessible, blogging has gone the other way and somehow, it’s lost its magic.
WHY DO YOU BLOG IN THE FIRST PLACE
While I can’t speak for the whole industry, I can point you to a less than general direction of this being a widespread and infectious affliction, if I may call it that (read the New York Times Article When Blogging Becomes a Slog), amongst many bloggers, across many genres and across the globe. It’s that gnawing annoying thought that we can’t quite push away – it’s that at the moment, it feels off.
For me, it felt off for awhile and it was eating at me and I knew I had to do something about it. I took a back seat to re-evaluate everything and I took a break from being online, all the time (hence, all the beach photos in this post. Oh woe is me!). Please don’t get me wrong – for the record – I have enjoyed everything I wrote to be enjoyable here and I stand by products, services and places I blogged to be fantastic but at the same time, I know I have more to give and I want to go back to why I started blogging in the first place.
BACK TO BASICS IN BLOGGING IN 2016 AND BEYOND
It was NEVER ABOUT THE MONEY. Or the free clothes and shoes and trips and so on. I honestly (like honestly!) never even thought of it as when I started blogging, I just jumped! I didn’t bother researching how to do it or how does blogging works, I just took a leap of faith and did it. Remember… I just wanted to write and share about things I love, products I’ve discovered, places I’ve visited and people I’ve met. It was raw, it was unplanned, it was authentic.
Now, I’m not saying I’m turning down sponsored posts and paid partnerships or I’ll stop hosting store openings or special events or quit doing TV and radio. in fact, I want to do more of all of that. I just want to do it with more heart.
In all seriousness, 2015 year has been a mixed bag of high and low, both personally, professionally and also blog-wise. I have to admit that there were times filled with difficulty and uncertainty but I had sooo many people: friends, family and colleagues (you know who you ALL are!) who’s not only supported me and were kind to me but believed in me to give me opportunities to really shine.
Personally, 2015, was one of the worsts. We lost so many family members including two of our dearly beloved grandmothers. Professionally, took another degree and finished university with a CUM LAUDE. Bloggingly (okay, I made that word up but y’all know what I mean), 2015 was beyond a banner year for us. It was a MASSIVE SUCCESS.
In the end, I believe when you hard work very hard and you have such solid determination, one way or another, things will turn up FABULOUSLY!
So, it is with a full and humble heart that I say, Goodbye 2015, Hello 2016. More importantly, I want to THANK YOU SO MUCH for the love and support and wish you all… a HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR!