Blogging is not quite as simple as it may look from the outside looking in. I guess looking objectively, it might seem as easy as – i) come up with an idea for a blog post, ii) type it up, iii) hit publish and hey presto. Perhaps iv) the occasional Instagram upload with an unrelated caption. Maybe. That said, there are, without a doubt, a few behind-the-scenes nuggets required for everything to slot together before that “publish” button can even be hit.
Here are a few of the things you don’t see…
The Truth About Shoot Days
I really love the results of a shoot day, and I always think my photographer Marianne manages to magically make me look way better than I actually do. But – the process to getting to these results is one I can’t say that I enjoy. Shooting is really not as glamorous as it may look from the outside looking in: for one, the weather in London is more often than not craps meaning you’re likely to end up shivering outside somewhere for an hour, trying to play it down, whilst constantly checking your phone to see if you’re going to get the shoot done in time to miss the rain (which is inevitable in England). If you get super unlucky, the rain can even manage to cancel your shoot day all together. You’re likely going to be taking photos outside a random rich old person’s house (the standard Notting Hill – if you know), and if that person comes home or comes out of their house, that occasionally makes for a rather awkward situation. Then there’s the complicated process of getting different outfits shot, you could end up doing a lot of your changing around quiet street corners, strategically slipping things on and off in the smartest way that means you stay as clothed as possible (and change in record time, I’m talking seconds). And if this isn’t possible, the local grimey maccy dees or pub toilets will be your go-to for that session.
Shoot days are honestly so tiring, it takes only one hour (lets add an extra 30-45 mins on for travel, and that’s just one way), but I become increasingly exhausted as time goes on and by the time I get to the last outfit, I’m almost falling asleep standing up. There’s actually a ton of effort that goes into a shoot “day” and creating all the content that you see here, it’s 100% not my favourite thing apart from the fact that it’s a good excuse to catch up with my photographer who’s pretty fab.
The Truth About Collaborations
Negotiations, negotiations, negotiations. Plus decisions. Plus deadlines. Back in university – I’ll be honest, for (almost) anyone that wanted to work with me, I was usually pretty open to it. Sponsored posts, random products, the lot – I lived in my overdraft so any money was good money and plus, in the even earlier days when I first realised I could possibly get some things for free, I was so excited about the fact that I said yes for everything (and ended up with very random products collecting dust in my room such as fake tattoos and children’s nail polish, err…) But now that I’m working and this blog is not a primary source of income it have given me more wiggle room to put a bit more thought into the collaborations that I do. For example, back in the day I would accept a lot of pre-written, usually quite poor quality articles to publish in exchange for some coins, but now if I’m going to be doing a collaboration/sponsorship you can rest assured, it will always be my words and I always would have been very careful to ensure that whatever the topic is I post about to incorporate the company will be something I think my readers will genuinely care to read and something that will actually bring value. Sometimes, collaborations come with some negotiations. As I mentioned in my changing the way I do blogging post, I’m generally open to collaborations and fairly easy going about them as I think it’s a great way to get some contacts and build out my portfolio especially at this stage (if it suits my style, of course) – but the truth is sometimes you’ll be approached by companies that do try to take the p*ss out of your life. Every collaboration should be a two way street in some way shape or form, and occasionally I’ll get e-mails pop up in my inbox that make the said “collaborations” very 1-sided – so then comes the negotiations, the back and forth e-mails, and either a new post on Skylish or a deal that falls away. It’s no longer as simple as “can you do X?” “Sure” and a 14 day wait for a new PayPal invoice to pop up in my inbox.
The Truth About Balancing Blogging with a 9-5
I work 9-5 (well, let’s call it 8-8), I workout ~5x a week and I like to cook myself a homemade dinner as much as possible which means that a lot of my blogging work actually gets done either on the weekend or in the night. For example, you’ll often find me up at 12am either checking through e-mails, planning my blogging TDL, responding to comments or writing and editing new blogs. I tend to sleep quite late and sure – a lot of this is due to me “procrastinating” sleeping (I’ll honestly stay up late doing bs and watching random videos instead of sleeping), but a lot of this is also because the way I’m wired, I’ve never quite had my life set up in that I’m only putting my focus into one thing, I’ve always had my own little “side hustle” (or 2, or 3…), and these things need time – and when I’m working, sometimes that time only comes late at night. Personally, I think this sums off the life of a “non-full time blogger” pretty perfectly – the struggle to balance everything – but I for sure wouldn’t change it as it keeps me sane. Plus I’m used to working late and running on little sleep either i) due to the odd very late night in the office and ii) due to the fact that I would always end up working crazy late in uni especially when I was studying for exams – don’t we all?
The Truth About Managing Your Social Media
When you’re a blogger and/or a social media influencer – social media isn’t quite just “social media”, suddenly it becomes entangled with a whole lot of strategy. For example – back when I had an Instagram account not connected to my blog – it was a private page, with new photos added maybe once a month, there was no such thing as a theme and the amount of followers said account had never even registered in my mind. These days, I make it a thing to post regularly, I occassionally try and make my posts mini-blogs in themselves (detailed captions are definitely a thing these days), I try and align my grid and the formatting of this grid (although I’m not overly militant about this), and although I’ve cared a lot less recently – I definitely do take note of my follower account from time to time. It’s also something that pops into my mind a lot – and my boyfriend knows this more than anyone as if we’re travelling, or the sun decides to shine in London, he transforms into my personal photographer on the day and all that floats through my mind is “ooh – this would make a great Instagram!” Social media is definitely a tool that can drive a ton of traffic to whatever it is you’re doing, and it’s an important tool to get right if you’re running something of your own. That said, and I’ve mentioned this before, if you get too wrapped up in the numbers you’ll drive yourself crazy. I used to refresh my Instagram page at least once an hour and track the follower number as if I was tracking a graph, and when I realised I had peaked in my level of obsession I toned it down to the point that I now often go days without taking note of the number (it’s a much simpler way to live). Everything definitely needs to be finely balanced.
All the above taken into account, blogging is one of my favourite things. And whilst this post is centered around blogging, and the fact that it’s not quite as simple as you may think at first glance, I don’t actually think this is specific to blogging. The truth is that for most things you output (be it a new business, or a piece of work in the office), if you had a crystal ball that showed you the process of getting to the end point you’ll likely find that a lot more blood, sweat and tears were required. But nothing worth having comes easy – right?