My second blogiversary just passed, and my 29th birthday is coming up in a few weeks. Milestones tend to make me introspective, so I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my goals for the blog. Obviously, you know, I’d love to be insanely popular and quit my job and go to fashion shows and have companies pay me to write about them, but even I tend to derisively snort laugh when I consider the likelihood of that happening.
Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m a pretty good blogger, but I don’t really have a niche. I consider myself primarily a fashion blogger, but I don’t want to stop writing about bad romance novels or politics (although I haven’t done much of that lately) or whatever else I feel like at the moment. Even if that’s not a deal breaker, I’m all over the map as a fashion blogger. I’m not well-connected or rich enough to be an “aspirational” blogger, but I’m not especially thrifty either. I’m a little modern for some of the vintage lovers, but I’m way too vintage for the typical “fashion” people. I don’t give advice (on the blog, anyway; in real life I’m kind of a know-it-all), and I don’t buy enough stuff that other people want to buy to really make a name for myself as a reviewer. I put a lot of effort into creating looks that I like and taking engaging photos, but that doesn’t necessarily equal success. It’s a crowded market, and I feel like you have to be pretty focused in order to find your audience.
You know how some women have a “uniform”? A closet full of similar, if not identical, items, each perfectly tailored to her body and her personality, all of which can be mixed and matched in various ways. I keep reading about it, especially in the context of a capsule wardrobe; that’s not to say that there are very many women who can actually do that, but I certainly see the appeal. Knowing not just what looks good on you, but what really works for you and your life feels like a sign of… something. Stability, maybe? Like you’ve figured yourself out, and you feel reasonably confident and comfortable with who that person is.
I feel like I have a certain sensibility – definitely vintage or retro, but styled with an eye towards modernity – but within that idea, I zigzag all over the spectrum. One day I’m in love with everything 1920s, and I’m searching for anything with a drop waist or folk embroidery; the next it’s 60s mod style, and I’m drooling over candy colored shift dresses; then it’s on to men’s sportswear from the 30s, and I decide that what I really need in my life is more V-neck sweater vests and bow ties. If it sounds like I’m exaggerating, believe me, I’m not. All it takes is one great fashion show or cool vintage image to pop up on my screen, and I’m off on another tangent, adding yet another style into my already… well, let’s say “eclectic” wardrobe, although spastic might be the more appropriate word. There’s basically never a point in my life where I’m not actively looking for something, trying to realize a particular idea, and it can be kind of exhausting.
When Instagram started talking about moving from chronological to algorithmic feeds, I saw a lot of advice for how to still reach your audience even with the changes. One of the things that came up over and over again is to look at what gets the most likes, and post more stuff like that. If you think of yourself as brand, that makes a lot of sense – promoting yourself is your business, and focusing on the things that appeal to your audience is going to help make your business successful. It just feels a bit silly to think of myself in that way, though. I’m very conscious of trying not to look like I take myself too seriously, probably because I actually do take myself really seriously and I don’t want people to know how pretentious I am. I mean, it’s one thing to think that you’re awesome, and another to go around telling a lot of people how awesome you are, and that kind of self-promotion is basically a requirement of the business.
So what does all of this mean? I don’t entirely know, to be honest. Part of me wants to shrug my shoulders and just carry on as I always have, doing the stuff that I like and not worrying too much about who’s seeing it. But… well, I wonder sometimes if I don’t try because I don’t want to deal with the possibility of failure. I like what I do, and I feel like if more people saw my photos and read my writing they would enjoy it, but what if I spend time and money promoting myself and it turns out they don’t? I’m trying not to let thoughts like that hold me back anymore, though. I don’t plan on sacrificing the things that I find fun at the altar of popularity, but I do want to find some ways to broaden my appeal that don’t involve pigeonholing myself. Spend a little money on advertising, reach out for collaborations, comment on more blogs, maybe try to write an article for an online publication. And if it doesn’t work… well, then it doesn’t work. I go on being me and doing my thing.