Before I dive into this post, I quickly wanted to say thank you to all of you who checked in over the past few months. Every one of your “girl. you haven’t been blogging. you good and just mad at your computer/men or…?” messages really reminded me why I’ve kept blogging all these years and the joy I get from writing. Oh and PS, yes, I actually received that DM!
So why did I take a break from blogging? Go ahead and grab some coffee (or a glass of wine), this is a long one.
Why I Took a Break from Blogging: Lack of Inspiration
Last summer, I realized that I felt entirely uninspired. By fashion, by travel, by social media, by blogging. I looked on Instagram and every blogger was posting the same 5 outfits from the Nordstrom Sale. They all talked about the same destinations, in the same way, with the same restaurants and activities. Every social media and blog post I read felt so generic – like nobody had a unique voice or style anymore… including me.
I’d always prided myself on my unique voice and defined style. Aside from that one time I wore black to a bachelorette party in 2016 (for the official record, I was forced to do so), my style and voice have both been extremely consistent over the years. But, all of the sudden, I started feeling like I’d lost myself: I felt like I was saying the same thing over and over, just to get content out the door. I hated the feeling of “keeping up with the Joneses,” but felt like that was the only option in order to stay relevant.
As an example, I work full-time in addition to the blog – I couldn’t possibly do try-on sessions every day, even if I’d wanted to do so. And I didn’t want to do so. All of the sudden, everything I saw in stores looked like something I either (a) already owned or (b) didn’t want. It’s hard to be a fashion blogger, posting the newest styles, when you loathe everything you see in stores. How was I supposed to share the most up-to-date styles when I couldn’t even bring myself to try them on?
Why I Took a Break from Blogging: Lack of Self-Confidence
That last bit brings me to another issue I battled this fall, which led to me taking a break from blogging and social media: a lack of self-confidence. You know what you don’t want to do when you’re not feeling super confident? Try on clothes. You know what you really don’t want to do when you’re not feeling super confident? Take photos of yourself in said clothes and post them on the internet on a daily basis for thousands of strangers to view and criticize.
I’ve battled with my weight and self-love plenty over the years – more on that here. But in 2019, I suddenly found myself at a new low. All summer and early fall, I was going out with friends and going on several dates a week. I’d met a few guys I could somewhat stand, and I was enjoying getting to know them. Work had hit a snag and I was having a hard time with that, but I was distracting myself with plans every night. My pants were getting kind of tight with all of the dining out so I decided to finally replace my scale (it had broken in my move). When it arrived, I stepped on it. It said I weighed 175lbs.
I immediately fell apart on the floor of my bathroom. All that confidence went out the window in a matter of seconds. I’d never thought of myself as skinny, but that was 20lbs more than I’d weighed even 6 months prior. I felt like a huge failure, emphasis on huge. I stopped seeing friends or responding to messages. My work life began to suffer as I felt like I was hitting roadblock after roadblock. I was 29, overweight, single, and unhappy. Every part of my life screamed the same thing to me: you’re a failure.
Why would I write on the internet when I felt so crappy about myself? Who was I to give guidance to others when I couldn’t even get my own life together? I felt so lonely – the last thing I wanted to do was sit in a room, alone, and write.
Why I Took a Break from Blogging: a Perceived Lack of Support
I’m careful here to put “perceived” since I do truly believe this one was all in my head. But this was my perception last fall. I suddenly felt like my blog had become a burden to everybody in my life – started focusing on the complaints I heard from friends and family when I asked them to take photos for me. The negative feedback I received. The mocking eyerolls from complete strangers. It hurt me more and more that friends weren’t reading my posts – content I’d worked so hard to create. As I started my break from blogging, I felt like my friends didn’t care at all or, if anything, they were glad it was over.
I forgot about all of the times they had supported me – the times they’d circulated my posts or personally reached out to tell me they loved my content. I only focused on the bad. And all of this happened while I was losing my network.
In college, I had some really close friends. I always went out to parties and bars with these girls, and we always had a great time. But the friendship was surface-level. Any discussion of personal issues fell on deaf ears. They didn’t want to know me, but they did want to hang out with me. It took me years to figure out that these girls were not real friends, they were party friends. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s still a hard lesson to learn.
The Blogging “Community”
For years, some of my closest friends in Dallas were people I met through blogging. This network supported me by proof-reading my posts, taking my photos, engaging with my content, and more. While I was getting my MBA, I felt like we were all in this together: we were all creating content and supporting each other. And then I graduated and reentered corporate America in 2018, and I suddenly felt alone on an island.
I’d run into other bloggers at events, we would talk about their work (blogging) and its challenges, but then their eyes would glaze over when I talked about my work and its challenges. They would purposefully talk about events I hadn’t attended and trips I hadn’t been invited to join, and I would just smile and nod. Like a moron. I started feeling like a social pariah at events – like nobody wanted to talk to the freak who had decided not to blog full-time. I felt so judged and ostracized by these girls I had thought for years were my friends and support network.
Meanwhile, I realized that I truly had little in common with these ladies. Those with whom I had things in common (aka Kasey, Anna, Cameron, and Vanessa), would never treat me this way. Blogging had brought a list of true friends into my life, but I could still be saddened by the realization that that list of friends was limited. Again, I felt alone… and the last thing I wanted to do was sit in a room, alone, and write.
Why even bother if my blog isn’t even performing well?!
And if all of that wasn’t enough, my engagement on the blog and social media was dwindling. Every day, I woke up to a decreased follower count and a downward trendline on Google Analytics. Why should I open myself up on the internet if nobody is there to read it? My revenue decreased year over year, why should I keep this business on life support and not just walk away?
I’d forgotten why I started my blog: not for anybody else, but for my own creative outlet. As a way for me to share my life, style, travels, and experiences… and a few funny stories along the way. Every part of it had become “work”. I’d hopped on the Marie Kondo bandwagon and I realized the blog no longer brought me joy. I was extremely close to issuing a do not resuscitate for this business.
So Why Didn’t I Walk Away For Good?
So… yeah. All of that was going on behind the scenes in 2019. The issues with my blogger friends started in 2018, the lack of inspiration in spring of 2019, and the self-confidence issues last fall. It kind of just spiraled. For the first few weeks, I woke up thinking “today’s the day I’m going to sit down and write.” And then I didn’t.
As the months went by, I realized I needed to pull myself out of my funk. I’ve always been my happiest self while traveling, so I booked a trip to visit two of my closest friends in London. FOR A WEEKEND (ridiculous, I know).
The moment I made the decision to go, I saw a change in myself. The trip was weeks away, but I was already happier. I hosted my annual Halloween party and brought all of my friends together. At work, I changed my attitude. I opened up to my manager and director – shared my feelings of stagnation and helplessness. They helped me gain control of a project I love and get a promotion. I went on my trip, keeping away from social media, and had the most wonderful weekend. I returned feeling rejuvenated, and I had a feeling that surprised me: I missed blogging.
That’s when my break from blogging ended. Not today, when I actually posted for the first time in 6 months, but in mid-November, when I first missed it.
Since the holidays were coming up quickly, I decided to continue my hiatus. It would be too much for me to throw together my holiday guides and do all of the SEO work necessary to get the holiday traffic. Plus, I was starting a new role at work with a new team, so I wanted time to get settled there. I planned for a January 2020 relaunch, started mentally planning my content, and enjoyed the holiday season with my family.
Which Brings Me to Today…
Alright so I’m back from my break from blogging. Now what?
Well, first, I’ve created a plan to keep myself from approaching the same emotional cliffs as last year. I am taking steps to improve my physical and emotional health.
My 2020 Word of the Year
Since travel brings me such joy, my 2020 word of the year is Travel. I only really traveled three times last year for personal trips and not to visit family (to Buenos Aires, the Greenbrier, and to London, all for weekends). That really affected my mental and emotional health. I love traveling and I know I am my happiest self while traveling. Or planning travel. Or looking at old travel photos… or just talking about travel.
Thus, my goal for 2020 is to travel at least once a month. I may come to regret signing up for such a lofty goal (goodbye $$$), but I can always reevaluate if need be. I truly believe that this goal will help me keep being my happiest and most-fulfilled self. So far this year, I’ve planned my trips for:
- February – friend’s birthday in Florida
- March – friend’s 30th birthday in Las Vegas
- April – Japan with my mom for my 30th birthday
- May – London with my dad… because he felt left out from the Japan trip!
My January trip is still up in the air (despite the fact that we’re already a week into the month), so please let me know in the comments if you have any ideas!
Sounds fun! What about the blog?
As a result of all this change, the blog is going to change. Over the years, I’ve evolved from writing solely about style to being more lifestyle-focused. And the blog is going to continue to evolve and mature (partially because I find writing about clothes pretty boring truth be told!).
SO expect to see less style and more travel. The occasional hilarious dating story and a whole lot of interior design. Books I’ve read in book club, party hosting tips and tricks, and even some beauty and wellness pieces. I’ve already planned my content through June and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!
And PS all that new content starts THIS THURSDAY with my updated and [insanely] thorough Dallas Travel Guide!
Till then, leave a comment below if there’s anything in particular you want to see on Glitter & Spice. Thank you for reading and I’m excited to spend 2020 with you!