A mid-life blogging crisis…or just growing up?

Posted by Poppy Dinsey July 2, 2014 14 Comments

For a really long time now I haven’t felt massively excited about blogging. I’ve written a blog in some form or another since 1999 but I’ve never really felt so ‘lost’ about it all as I have done for the past year or so.

I’ve been trying to pinpoint why.

When I started blogging on MyOpenDiary in the pre-Millennium Bug era (who remembers that little guy?!) I didn’t expect to still be doing it – or making money from it – 15 years later. I’ve written on aaaaaaall sorts over that time, but my main ‘genres’ (from a commercial success point of view) have been real estate and fashion….all with a more than generous helping of ME ME ME thrown in.

The blogging landscape has changed humongously and I regularly feel irrelevant now. When I started doing outfit posts in 2010, a quick snap in the mirror on my phone would suffice for image content. Now it seems like a post ‘won’t do’ unless there are about 30 detail shots of every look – seemingly taken with the help of someone else and then edited. I would never have the time or inclination to do this, but I truly admire the people who do.

20.06.11-e1308672830753

An outfit post from 2011, when I lived with my parents and was prettier. God damn the passing of time!

I’ve been trying to think why I don’t really do outfit posts  any more and I came up with all these moaning myrtle reasons that I’m ‘too old’ and ‘too fat’ and ‘too non-hipster’, but actually I think it’s more that my priorities and interests have changed. I LOVE seeing what other people are wearing on their blogs, but I don’t always feel so enticed to join in. And I guess there’s no shame in that.

Once upon a time I would hit H&M, ASOS, Topshop, Primark and the like every *week* for new bits and pieces. There was plenty of fodder for outfit posts.  Now I shop very rarely, spending a lot more per item instead. I am worryingly proud of my collection of Issa dresses, but to fund them I’ve had to stop buying ‘throwaway fashion’ week after week. This is no bad thing by the way and I would definitely encourage people to try spending more but buying less….but it doesn’t make for great blog content. I rarely have new things to show off. I don’t really mind because I *love* the things I do have, but if you need that ‘I HAVE A NEW THING’ hit every Saturday night then you might get bored pretty quickly of living like this.

issa

I can’t really just post the same Issa dresses on WIWT week after week. Even though that’s the reality of what I’m usually wearing.

A good example is that I am going on holiday in a couple of weeks and haven’t bought ‘holiday clothes’. It feels VERY weird. But on the flipside I have a wedding to save for and a mortgage so can’t really justify buying what would probably be my 20th bikini. Literally my 20th bikini. I don’t need more bikinis than there are days on the holiday. I’m not Kim Kardashian.

Then aside from the outfit posts and all that there’s just the general sense that I feel like I want to be more private now. I don’t want my friends, family and fiancé to be ‘characters’ in my blog. Again, I bloody love to read that type of content from others (which is the main reason why I feel such a pull to join in and share all my relationships too) but having shared pretty much *everything* throughout my adolescence and early 20s it’s nice to now have a very private part of my life that I can keep all to myself. It does make me feel like a bad blogger though.

But in all my very self-centred angst I seem to have forgotten something pretty key – as I’ve grown up, a lot of my readers have too. My mistake has been that I’m often comparing myself to bloggers who are ten years younger than me. It’s a dangerous game.

I feel bad for not being ‘down with the kids’ and wearing Missguided (not a swipe at Missguided, it’s just a great example of a brand that only really came on the scene once I considered myself too old for it), but actually there’s a whole massive chunk of women who are in the ‘mental place’ I am….caring more about their monthly bills, relationships, careers and even boring things like washing machine manufacturers than they are about £2 eyeliners and stupendously fast fashion.

I still love to write about fast fashion, I just can’t always justify buying into it myself and posting pics for the world to see. I could get PR samples, sure….but that wouldn’t feel authentic in the same way. Not to me, anyway.

There have been some positives to generally blogging about ‘myself’ less. I’ve found I’m happier. I enjoy things because I’m doing them there and then, rather than thinking about the blog content I’ll get out of it later. I might snap something for Instagram (there’s no denying that the rise of Instagram and Twitter have hugely contributed to my blogging laziness) but I don’t go on holiday any more worrying about how many posts I can get out of it on my return. It’s a HUGE relief, actually.

I want to make more time to blog (I spend so much time writing for other people that I often don’t have any time/ideas left for my own blog) and I just need to learn to be confident about sharing things which are relevant to my life NOW. I’m just going to have to let go of the fact that some people will find what I write about boring. (That being said my next post is going to be about our wedding cake and even if you are 15 I’m sure you can get excited about A CAKE FULL OF BAILEYS).

I also need to remember that people follow blogs from all sorts of bloggers, it’s not like I need to panic that my readers have to be exclusively like me. I read SO many ‘mummy blogs’ (hate that term though!) and I don’t have children. And the best blogs I read often have the blogger sharing a LOT about certain subjects, but keeping other things very private. So I’m pretty sure I can do that too.

I don’t really know what the point of this post is, maybe I’m so ‘lost in the sea of blogging’ at the moment that I can’t even write a blog post about blogging. Well done, me.

But I thought it was worth sharing, because I suspect there are lots of other bloggers who have been around for a long time who have – at some point- felt similarly to how I feel. It may be as simple as feeling like you have already written EVERYTHING EVER. I wanted to write a festival post the other day then remembered a really great one I wrote in 2010…do I just rehash my own work? That seemed boring. I think I had a biscuit instead.

In ‘real life’ I’m super confident with what I’ve achieved and unspeakably happy. There’s no reason this can’t translate to my blog just because I’m not 18 any more.

I tell aspiring bloggers all the time to write for themselves rather than for other people. I think it’s about time I followed my own advice.

x

There are 14 Comments

  1. You’re doing a grand job. I always try and remember to blog for me, or else there’s no point really. I’d love to see more personal posts from you – I’m a nosey cow. ;)

  2. - July 2, 2014
      -   Reply

    Evolution is completely normal and as you say quite a few of your readers have grown with you. As a reader you can tell when a blogger is going through the motions to fulfil a content schedule and it can be a turn off. Feel free to write about cake non-stop!

  3. - July 2, 2014
      -   Reply

    Such a great post, Poppy!

    We have almost-parallel lives – I too started blogging on Open Diary and have been doing it ever since. I’m 28 now and I have an entirely different set of priorities to the ones I had when I started my current blog aged 23.

    That’s why I’m completely redesigning my blog – new name, new platform, new focus. I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved but it’s just not who I am anymore. And although many readers have grown up with me, I feel there are others who expect a certain ‘type’ of content that I don’t want to provide now I’m older.

    So I’m starting again, and although it sounds like I’m on a gentle decline into middle age I am *so* excited to feature more home interiors, travel and beauty content rather than outfitsoutfitsoutfits.

    I saw you tweet a few days ago about a possible redesign for this site – honestly, I can’t recommend it enough for reinvigorating a love for blogging. I cannot WAIT to get started in a new space! x

  4. - July 2, 2014
      -   Reply

    I understand your sentiment entirely! The Tweet which contained this post literally leapt off my screen at me.

    A couple of years ago I’d get up extra early for work so that I could post an outfit on WIWT. I’d buy beauty products just to review them and I’d spend every spare minute thinking about blogging and social media.

    Nowadays I only post when I feel like I have something I really need to say. I still love reading blogs and seeing other people experiment with fashion but I’m so busy being a “grown up” that it doesn’t feel right for me to do it. Plus, I look at the other bloggers and realise I am a minimum of 5 years older than them in most cases.

    Thank you for this post, it’s actually made me feel younger and more normal to know that you’re thinking similar thoughts to me!!!

  5. Sarah
    - July 2, 2014
      -   Reply

    Please don’t stop blogging! You’re a breath of fresh air amongst the blogs with hundreds of shots of one outfit, interspersed with pastel macaroons. I was starting to think I was the only one who didn’t buy Chanel sunglasses every week. Whichever angle you take, I think it’s more your ‘you-ness’ that makes this successful (Y)

  6. - July 2, 2014
      -   Reply

    I totally relate to this, and have been going through something similar lately. I had a “personal” blog, which morphed into an outfit blog, and is slowly changing back again, as I realise I can’t actually post photos of me essentially wearing exactly the same thing every damn day. I’m a lot older than most other fashion bloggers, and, like you, I feel quite out of touch with the Misguided crowd: not that I’ve ever consciously tried to keep up with them, mind you, but I’ve been feeling increasingly irrelevant, and worried that there’s just nothing I can say that’s of interest any more.

    I think you have totally the right idea, though: post when you have something you want to share, and don’t worry about the times when you don’t. I don’t think your readers will be going anywhere in a hurry :)

  7. - July 2, 2014
      -   Reply

    Yep, yep and yep.

    I’ve been blogging for six years and I can totally relate to this sentiment. I have a few bloggy friends who are going through a similar thing at the moment too. We’ve grown, evolved and our feelings have just changed about our blogs.

    I think rather than putting pressure on ourselves to blog the way we used to, I think it’s better to let the blog evolve with us. Sure, that might mean that we lose some followers. But I am at a point where maybe I need a new set of readers who are interested in where I am currently at.

    Your writing is too good, too funny and too smart not to share. I think it would be a great shame to stop.

    I’ve followed your blog and WIWT for years and have admired your journey from afar. I know you’ve mentioned that you want to be more private, but I’d love to hear more about your professional journey, a day in your life… that kind of thing.

    And for what it’s worth, I didn’t really follow your blog for the outfits (as lovely as they are), I enjoyed your wit and perspective.

  8. Pingback A New Page | one more notebook

  9. Amber
    - July 3, 2014
      -   Reply

    I started following you because we have a mutual acquaintance and because I got my start in a tech startup and have worked in digital in small companies since.

    I kept following you because you’re basically the same age as me (I’m 28), you live in London like me and don’t take yourself too seriously. And every single product or service that you’ve suggested that I’ve tried has been bang on worth it. Every single one.

    I get my eyebrows threaded because you said to. I go to Strip because you said to. I got IPL because you said to (best decision ever over a year on). I take some (rather than no) care of my skin because you said to. I’ve become aware of certain brands/bars/events because you’ve mentioned them and am yet to have a bad experience.

    We don’t like all the same things by any stretch but I trust your opinion and if there’s something I’m thinking of doing that you’ve posted about, I go with the place/brand that you suggest 90% of the time. Not because you’re a hotshot blogger with the prettiest site or the best writing or the most personal style, but because you’re honest and accurate.

    I don’t follow because of the clothes, in fact I don’t like most of your clothes; we have different tastes in that area. I follow because you’re a woman in your late twenties living in this city who knows what she’s talking about. I bet plenty of others follow for that reason to.

  10. - July 3, 2014
      -   Reply

    It was so great to read this Poppy. I’ve been feeling the same way for a while – I haven’t blogged for over a month and, while at one point I would have freaked out and stuck up a filler post that was a little bit rubbish, now I’m feeling just meh.

    In all honesty, I began blogging seriously because of you (cheese!!) but I admired your business model and your writing style. I enjoy reading your posts more than your outfit based ones because I like how you write. I don’t visit WIWT all that often these days whereas a few years ago it got a daily view. We are all changing!

    Please do write for yourself. I know I’ll be more inclined to read and I’ll be taking your advice too – as you say, the badly composed mirror-on-phone shot of some blah outfit I’ve worn a million times before just doesn’t cut it these days. Plus, I’m not interested, so why would the few people that read my blog be interested too?

    xx

  11. Rebecca Martin
    - July 3, 2014
      -   Reply

    Another comment, another person feeling EXACTLY the same. I started a blog pretty recently as a portfolio of sorts for my writing but have recently been battling the feeling that I’m just not a ‘blogger’. I don’t like macarons (gasp!), I don’t want to beg my long suffering boyfriend to turn photographer/editor so that I can take images that compete with most of those out there (he’d tell me to sod off anyway) and I am frankly more likely to be spending my time and pennies on more exciting things, like buying wood flooring (jokes/sarcasm – I despise wiling away my hours in B&Q but needs must if the house is to look presentable for the mother-in-law).

    Truth of the matter is I’m not a blogger, I’m a writer. Anyone who chooses to follow my blog must very quickly move on, realising that the words: picture ratio sways hugely towards the former. And who really looks at a blog for the writing? I’ve hauled my ass, and my portfolio, to Contently and I’m leaving this blogging lark to the young guns.

    You on the other hand shouldn’t. I follow you on twitter because you’re a good laugh and because you’re writing style is witty and honest enough to make me actually want to read what you have written. I’m also wildly envious of your writing career and sort of hoping you might one day put out a tweet asking for an understudy. I think you’re a beacon of for us creative over-25’s and your content reigns supreme over posts laden with pastel skorts, white cleats and bloody Laudree macarons! Your posts have substance, and while that will never win you an ASOS FF award, it has done well at winning you a cracking career.

    Now, don’t get me started on vlogs…

  12. - July 8, 2014
      -   Reply

    Hey Poppy, such a great post. It’s true that as you grow up you buy less fast fashion (well some people) but I love the blogs which have the amazing designer pieces too. Yes the blog posts might not be as frequent but when the post is uploaded, it is worth the wait. I know it is important to post frequently but that doesn’t mean you can’t take an instagram pic…upload it to a post and just write until your heart is content. I enjoy reading your posts as your writing style is so easy to read and humourous! p.s please don’t stop blogging!! You are clearly talented so keep on writing!!

  13. Heidi
    - July 8, 2014
      -   Reply

    I don’t blog but have always loved WIWT even though as you say I’ve always been a bit too old to get away with the throw away fashion. I look forward to your updates because they make me smile and provide some light relief. I think people enjoy effectively watching you ‘grow up’, so please write shiz about weddings and swimming and nice shoes and anything else which comes along. The quality is what counts. Xxx

  14. Pingback The one where….I start a new blog. Kinda. | PoppyD.com

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