On Blogging: A Decade Later!
This December will mark ten years of galadarling.com. A decade! In the blogging world, this is almost unheard of. Most people throw in the towel after a year and a half. And I’ve been blogging for a lot longer than that!
I learned how to code websites in Notepad when I was 13, and ever since, I had been spilling my guts online. Sometimes it was bad poetry, sometimes it took the form of a super-overshare. Designing and coding websites was one of my favourite things to do, and I didn’t realise it at the time, but it was essentially a decade-long apprenticeship in the work I do now. Over that span of time I discovered what would captivate an audience, how to take a selfie (before they were called selfies — we called them self-portraits, y’know!), and where the line was (I crossed it repeatedly).
When I started galadarling.com in 2006, I wanted it to be useful. So my blog was all about the how to: how to throw a picnic, how to dress like Marie Antoinette, how to move to New York City on a wing and a prayer. But as the years tick by, my desire to share this kind of information has fizzled. I look around at other blogs and want to take a big nap. It’s either a sponsored post or something with a click-baitty title that never lives up to its promise.
In fact, I barely read blogs anymore. I am much more interested in Instagram as a way of sharing a snapshot of someone’s life. And that all goes back to the online journalling world — the place where my love affair with the internet began. The blogs I enjoy are personal in nature. Danielle LaPorte writes short and sweet sermons, Alexandra Franzen is the queen of conveying a heartfelt message in a concise manner, Love Taza operates like a digital photo album of Naomi’s family, and Nubby Twiglet is my favourite way to get a peek into Shauna’s life. Those are basically the only blogs I read. Sure, I follow other people in Bloglovin, but I mostly just scroll past. I’m so out of the fashion blogging loop that I didn’t even know that Emily Schuman of Cupcakes & Cashmere had a baby. Her daughter just turned 1!
Shauna and I are in the middle of redesigning my site, and as we brainstormed, I stepped back to look at the bigger picture. The blogging landscape looks totally different than it did a few years ago, and that’s great, but it’s also tricky. This is the crux of the online word: you gotta adapt, you have to keep evolving. For me, that constant sensation of transformation is what keeps things interesting. It’s unbelievably thrilling for me to have made the transition from blogger to author, to be travelling the world and speaking to audiences. And while this blog will always exist, I’m hankering for more changes…
The way that I create has evolved too. I share a lot of what I’m working on or thinking about through Instagram these days, and I love creating videos to share my thoughts. And as I dig deeper into the process of writing my second book (!!!), there are only so many places I can put my creative energy, only so much scattering of thought I can do before I become unfocussed.
It all brings me around to the question: what do I want to write about? How do I want to use this space?
I want to share my personal experiences. I don’t want to reduce my stories and my life to listicles and bulletpoints. I want to write about falling in love, taking chances, dancing along the knife’s edge of taking a risk and the joy of the other side. I want to write about what it means to love yourself in a practical, everyday way, and what challenges I bump up against. I want to share my favourite spells and empower you to bring magic into your own life. I want to show you photos of my neighbourhood, of the cities I travel to. I want to share my life with you. I want you to see things through my eyes.
For years, I was obsessed with being “helpful” — I wanted to take everyone by the hand and show them exactly how to do things. But now I have the confidence to realise that I can be helpful by simply showing up as my whole self.
Writing blog posts and working on your writing craft are not the same thing. After almost 20 years, I believe I’ve got “how to write a blog post” on lock. Now I want to work on my writing. I want to share with you in a deeper, more meaningful manner. I want to be challenged in new ways. And I hope you’ll join me on the journey.