I’ve spent a long time debating the reasons why I stopped blogging this summer. I was given some incredible opportunities for the first six months or so of the year and then I suddenly got struck down with imposter syndrome. My motivation and inspiration went from one hundred to zero and I found myself feeling like a fraud. I felt like I didn’t ‘fit in’ online and anything I posted didn’t seem to have a purpose. I know that I’m not the only one to have experienced this, and I certainly won’t be the last. So here I am, back on my corner of the blogosphere typing up my thoughts in the hope that it may help some of you.
I can’t quite believe it’s been six whole years since I sat down and wrote the first post on this little corner of the blogosphere. Not only have I grown up in that time, but the blog has certainly changed too. From signing off each post with my initials and an ‘xo’ (back when it was popular to put an ‘xo’ at the end of usernames and signing off messages) to going self-hosted and totally winging it with very little help. This platform has always been my go-to space to visit on good days and bad. It’s got me through a lot, which is why this post is more of a ‘thank you’ for sticking with me throughout this time. Six years later and I’m still sat here at my laptop creating content for this small corner of the internet because quite frankly, I can’t imagine my life without it now.
So, to mark 280 posts I thought I would delve into the archives and share with you some of my favourite posts (for new readers and those of you who have been with me for the long haul). Here’s to the next 6 + years…
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about change. Perhaps the hot weather has got to me and I’m over-thinking things, but I do believe change can be good. Taking a leap of faith can be daunting but maybe it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. You can spend a long time thinking about it yet it never feels quite right, but let me tell you why now is the perfect time…
Hello! I’m back where I belong – on the blog and creating content again.
The last few months of my life have been an adventure. The best few months of my life, in fact. After unintentionally taking some time out to immerse myself in living in the moment and not feeling the need to document experiences and thoughts for the blog, I’m ready to return to my little corner of the internet and kick off a new year with fresh new content.
Are you ready?
Recently life has got a lot busier, what with work stepping up a gear or two and then deciding that I would hold a fundraising event in six weeks with no budget (more on that later). My favourite corner of the internet has had to take a back seat for a number of reasons, but as it’s always been my online sanctuary where I can reflect and share experiences, I thought that perhaps it’s about time I talk about something a little more personal.
How I deal with anxiety.
Many of us sweat the small stuff on a daily basis, forgetting the more important things in life that should concern us. Well, I’ve decided enough is enough – and I’m asking you to join me.
What does happiness mean to you?
Happiness can mean something different for everyone. Some may find happiness in a good job whilst others are their happiest when they are a free spirit travelling the world!
I’m at my happiest when I’m doing something I’m passionate about – blogging.
After leaving my job towards the end of 2014, I have been on the hunt for something new to sink my teeth into. After not really finding anything that I particularly loved, I made a decision to take some time out and focus on my blog. It’s my online source of happiness. Ever since I can remember I have had a passion for writing and photography and I’m lucky that I can combine both of these talents here on the blogosphere. It wasn’t an easy decision, in fact I was constantly having to reason with myself and others why I was doing this. Now I’m at the point where I don’t want to, I don’t need to.
I choose happiness.
I can be extremely hard on myself which then reflects on how I behave, making me extremely anxious. I hate feeling like I need to apologise for making a choice that makes me happy, but sometimes when you meet people who don’t understand the blogging thing it’s automatic to act defensive. I’ve made a choice that is right for me right now, it’s so important to make yourself happy first – to follow your dreams is a happy life.
Comparison will only leave you with self-doubt and it will turn you into a bitter person. Remember that nobody is perfect, behind the smoke and mirrors even Beyonce is likely to be unhappy about something! I have spent most of my life comparing myself to others in one way or another, especially growing up with how the media portrays the rich and famous – it’s bound to make you yearn for unattainable attributes. Don’t follow the crowd, love yourself first and do what makes you happy.
I’m lucky to have a network of supportive friends and family around me, as well as a bunch of lovely ladies I’ve met through blogging. Stop hanging out with those who make judgement, surround yourself with people who remind you to continue doing what you love and will be there if you need them. I have a couple of close friends who have been the best example of this and I can’t tell you how important these people are.
Who knows how I will feel in a week or two, but right now I’m just going to keep doing my thing and I’ll be content. There will be days (like earlier this week) where I will trip up and lose my way a bit but these moments will only make you stronger. Be the best that you can be and don’t compare yourself to anyone.
If you are in a position where you can be selfish and base decisions on what will make you happy – just do it! Not to sound cliche but the world is your oyster and opportunities will only come to those who work for them.
Some days you just have to create your own sunshine.
Tomorrow is Katie Charlotte Blogs’ second birthday. It feels like I’ve had this little online sanctuary for so much longer, whilst at the same time these two years have gone by in a flash.
I’ve encouraged a few of my friends to start their own since I got the blogging bug in 2013 (although it dates back further to 2011 where I started Girl About Town, how so much has changed!), so as the anniversary is approaching I thought I would write up my own experiences and pass on some advice to those who want to start blogging or have just dipped their toes in the water and need a few tips.
Why you should start a blog…
For me it has always been somewhere I can be creative and combine my love for writing and photography. Whether you want your blog to be an online diary of your travels, a place to share your recipes or perhaps you have a passion for fashion and beauty – blogging is a fun hobby that can turn into a full-time business if you pursue with it hard enough.
I used to struggle with finding a hobby that I loved. Whilst many of my friends were out playing different sports, I lacked enthusiasm to do the same so I began reading beauty and fashion blogs in my spare time instead. It wasn’t long before I decided to start my own blog, writing about things I was passionate about – beauty, fashion, food, travel and the media! Four years later I’m still blogging and enjoying it more than ever.
Everyone has something unique to say. You never know who you might be inspiring and what you write could make a difference to a stranger’s life – helping others in one way or another is one of the greatest aspects about blogging.
Finding your passion…
Do your friends admire how you dress and do your makeup? Perhaps you like to experiment with cooking and are always being asked for that tasty recipe you made for friends? When you begin to think about what you enjoy and what you are told you are good at it becomes much easier to pin point what you could write about. It’s important to lead with your strengths – so you’re not the best writer but you have a good eye when it comes to taking photos? Ask a friend or family member to check you blog text and make your photography the main focus. Depending on what you are writing about, good quality imagery can prove more prominent.
It’s easy to compare what you are doing with what other bloggers are creating so keep reminding yourself of the reason why you wanted to start blogging – it’s important to be unique in the content you create whilst keeping the quality strong. Readers can usually tell if you are doing it for pleasure or for payment, and passion is the biggest pay off in the end.
Blog hosting sites to use…
Most bloggers use Blogger or WordPress, and after using both I decided to opt for the latter. It’s personal preference so each person’s experience will be different, but I felt WordPress gave me more creative independence. There is a variety of free themes to choose from alongside premium layouts that require payment, so there is something to float everyone’s boat. With scheduling posts made easy and a mobile app that is great for blogging on the go, there aren’t too many problem areas I can bore you with.
You can choose to keep your free ‘wordpress.com/.org’ address if you wish, or you can opt to pay for a domain name instead. For the initial few months I kept it and then once my followers grew I chose to go with GoDaddy around November 2013. I pay around £3 per year for my domain name (katiecharlotteblogs.co.uk) and $13 per year to WordPress to use it which suits me well at the moment.
For tech-savvy bloggers and those who aren’t quite down with HTML (like myself), WordPress is a great place to start your blog.
Starting your own online sanctuary, as I like to call it, can be the start of a new world of socialising. It’s important to network and get to know other bloggers so it’s vital that you have a Twitter account in particular to speak to like-minded individuals and brands. Other social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook also hold importance, as this is where you can share photos from your blog posts and promote your content. Retweeting and favouriting tweets are a great way to engage in conversation, as well as using popular hashtags.
The blogging community is amazing and some of the most supportive people you are likely to meet, so it’s important that you make an effort in keeping those relationships alive. Be present online and you’ll be amazed with the results.
Content and scheduling…
To ensure blog growth it’s important to keep your content consistent, most readers like routine. Schedule your posts to what times suits you but also think about your readers – weekday evenings between 5 and 10pm are a good time to post as this is when most people are likely to be online (after work/school).
I post different content on different days and will usually schedule up to 6 posts per week. I’m not always consistent with this and that’s okay – remember to give yourself a break from time to time to gather your ideas and inspiration. There is nothing worse than lacking motivation and feeling uninspired, so take a step back and brainstorm new ideas.
My experience so far…
I’ll keep this part short and sweet and promise to try and not get too soppy. Starting this blog has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. At a time where my confidence was low and felt lost in what I wanted to do post-University, this little blog kind of saved me. I say kind of – of course I made a conscious effort myself to go out and do more, but with a happy focus on my blog my confidence grew and after a few months so did my readers. I had found something I felt strongly passionate about and it seemed that a few people liked what I had to say.
Who knows! And that is the best part of it all, opportunities arise when you least expect it and right now I’ve got a few exciting things lined up for the blog. I’ve already been invited to NYFW which I’m looking forward to in September (after not being able to attend next week!), and have a bloggers event later this month in London (#BloggersLoveLFW).
I went along to my first blogger event #TheBloggersMarket last weekend in Camden which was set up by inspiring bloggers Olivia, Carrie, Dunya, Lucy and Kristabel. Bloggers united to shop for bargains, eat cake and chat in a cool London location, I dragged my bestie along to enjoy the treats and also bumped into the gorgeous Kayleigh from Very Berry Cosmo! I’ve been chatting to her on Twitter for what feels like forever so it was so lovely to finally meet her – we bonded over overpacked bags and MAC lipstick, gotta love a girl after your own heart! (Also a shout out to the lovely Soph who I got to meet too, hopefully see you very soon!)
I suppose my hopes for the blog this year is to grow even further, meet more bloggers, work with brands I admire and most importantly, continue writing content that others enjoy reading.
If you have any questions or want to share your advice, leave them down below in the comments 🙂