It’s not an exaggeration to say that blogging changed my life.
I know it SOUNDS like an exaggeration, obviously, but it’s true: I’ve written before about how much I hated office work, but because I couldn’t really think of anything I could do instead, I assumed my entire life would be spent doing something I hated, and feeling totally miserable as a result. I was a right little ray of sunshine, to be sure.
Well, the rest of that story is one you probably already know, if you’re a regular reader: I quit my job, started a blog, and here I am, writing this post while still not quite believing that THIS is my job now, because how nuts is that, seriously?
So, blogging changed my life in one huge, almost incomprehensible kind of way – but it also changed my life in lots of little ways, too. Here are just four of them…
Bloggers are always being criticised for being permanently attached to their phones, and I’m not gonna lie – I left my phone at home one day last week, and when I realised I didn’t have it with me, I just couldn’t see a reason to go on living, true story. In all seriousness, though, while yeah, sure, I could probably let Terry just eat his dinner rather than spending ten minutes photographing the hell out of it, the flip side of being so focused on the Instagram-potential (Even my parents have started to use the word “Instagrammable”…) of everything you see, is that it really makes you stop for a second (or, OK, quite a few seconds) and appreciate things you might not otherwise have paid much attention to.
I really noticed this when Terry and I were in Tenerife last year. We were staying on a part of the island we’ve visited a few times now, but this year I suddenly found myself noticing things that had always been there, but which I’ve previously just looked at without really seeing. Now that I look at everything through an iPhone lens, however, I’ve started to really pay attention to the details of the streets I walk down and the landscapes I pass by every day. I’ve started to see the beauty in a crumbling old wall, or a cup of coffee, and you can laugh all you like, but I think that’s pretty cool, all things considered.
It taught me everything I know about style
I mean, I’m not saying I know a LOT about style, obviously, but everything I DO know, I learned from blogging – and specifically by taking photos of my outfits and then looking back at them. That hasn’t always been a pleasant experience: last week, for instance, I took two sets of outfit photos which will never see the light of day (and in one case, the thing I was wearing went right into the “donate” pile the second I got home), but at least I know now that those particular items/styles don’t really work for me. I would never have known that from all of the fashion magazines I used to read, or from the myriad of advice that’s out there on the internet. I probably wouldn’t even have learned it by trial and error, because sometimes I find that an outfit that looks just fine in the mirror will look all kinds of awful on camera: I know the camera can lie, but probably not THAT much, so I’ll always be grateful to blogging for helping me understand my style a little better, and helping me (slowly) build a wardrobe that I can one day be proud of.
It helped me document my memories
A lot of this actually links back to my first point, about taking photos of things. Before I started blogging, it would never have occurred to me to take a photo of myself purely to document what I was wearing – and yes, I know, some of you probably think that would’ve been a GOOD thing, but when I look back on photos from years ago, those are the details that most interest me. I mean, let’s face it, most of us aren’t that interested in flicking through tons of photos of scenery or whatever, but it’s really fun to look back and remember what you were like back then – which includes things like how you used to dress and do your hair.
If someone were to break into my house and go through all of my photo albums (the ACTUAL albums, I mean, not the ones on my computer), they’d probably assume I grew up on a horse ranch in Florida, because most of the photos I have of myself are from holidays or riding lessons. If you looked at the ones from the early years of my relationship with Terry, meanwhile, you’d assume he always used to travel alone: again, the only shots are from holidays, Christmas, etc, and because he was always more into video than photography, I’d be behind the lens, rather than in front of it. It actually seems really strange to me now that it didn’t ever occur to me to document a regular day, as opposed to the “different” ones – and it definitely didn’t occur to me (or not often, anyway!) to hand the camera to someone else, and ask them to take a photo just of ME. I mean, how weird would THAT have been, right?
It gave me confidence in my writing
Writing has always been my “thing”. I’m the kind of person who can’t really have a thought or an experience without wanting to immediately get it down on paper, and I can’t even remember a time when that wasn’t the case. I’ve probably written hundreds of thousands of words over the course of my life, but until I started a blog (And by “a blog” I mean “a Livejournal”, which, same kinda thing…), I hadn’t allowed anyone to read any of them. (Well, other than that “novel” I wrote when I was eleven. I was pretty sure that book was going to make my fortune, so I let my friends read it, and for the first time ever, I find myself feeling really grateful that I didn’t have a lot of friends back then…) I mean that literally, by the way: I remember in my final year of high school, we had to submit a personal essay, which counted towards our final mark. I was so freaked out at the thought of anyone actually READING my writing (I mean, can you EVEN?!) that I threatened to pull out of the class – aaaand now I’m starting to understand WHY I didn’t have many friends. GOD.
(You can totally see why journalism was the natural career choice for me, can’t you? Ahem.)
Working in journalism really helped build my confidence in my writing, but of course, the writing I was doing back then wasn’t exactly personal/creative, so it was blogging that really made the difference here. When I started my blog, it was the first time I’d actively WANTED people to read what I had to say, and I guess that was the biggest change of all for me. I still have my moments when I worry about people actually reading this thing – one of the main reasons I don’t ever give copy approval on sponsored posts is because I always feel completely mortified by the idea of clients poring over my words before they’re actually published – but it goes without saying that if I hadn’t managed to get over that particular hurdle, I wouldn’t be where I am today – doing a job I love, and still having to pinch myself sometimes, just to make sure I’m not imagining it.