It feels so weird to sit down and write this because I haven’t written a post in what feels like months. It’s terribly sad, because I love this blog. Heck, I pay almost R500 a year keeping this blog going, but I never really made use of it and I felt that I should explain myself…
When people stop blogging, others assume that they stopped for the following reasons:
- It was just a phase, that person didn’t really have the intention of actually becoming a blogger.
- It was for the freebies and all those nice perks that come with having a blog
- The blogger was just downright lazy and doesn’t actually have what it takes to be a real blogger.
Okay, maybe number 3 is partially true but not enough reason to keep my blog going, so why is it still up? Why am I still here and why on earth am I even writing this?
You see, in 2015, when blogging was still relatively new, I walked into university and I was honestly so unhappy with my classes, I felt that I needed an outlet. I loved writing, from a very young age I always had my nose in a book and every month I would ask my mom to buy countless magazines just so I could read articles and get beauty freebies. So I turned my love for beauty, fashion and lifestyle into a blog. I knew absolutely nothing, but I liked that I had my own little place on the internet where my voice actually mattered. People were leaving lovely comments, following me on social media, asking to know more about me. And so began Sincerely Deeanne.
However, with all of this came its challenges. As my blog and following grew, so did the blogging world and people who also wanted to jump on the bandwagon. My passion that burned so wildly for blogging was slowly but surely being put out and here’s why:
Blogging became a numbers game
Once I had hit about 3000 followers on my old account (which has since been deactivated since my account had been compromised), there was suddenly a large demand for even more numbers. I was so confused. I didn’t understand why I needed a reach larger than what I had already, but companies didn’t care, they needed tens of thousands of followers if not more in order to be reached out to and to work with you. Now don’t get me wrong, if a brand doesn’t want to work with me, I don’t take it to heart. I take it as a challenge. But then it became a regular occurrence. I wasn’t big enough, I wasn’t busy enough and eventually I felt like my blog was not good enough. My favourite occurrence that grates my TITS is when you put your life and soul into a post thinking it’s so good and a brand responds with a heart emoji. Wow, okay. Next time instead of that heart emoji, you might as well send me the middle finger because you basically told me to get lost and take my content with me, because you couldn’t care less. This is what contributed to the lack of posts, as I couldn’t afford to review every brand out there on a student budget. Not to mention the hype around people with fake followers. Even though I read an article that actually supported people buying fake followers, it was just something that I couldn’t see myself doing. Firstly because I felt like it was an easy way out instead of actually taking the time to get to know your followers and secondly because even if for some crazy reason I actually wanted to, I wouldn’t be able to afford it (girl, when I say I’m hella cheap I mean I AM DEAD. ASS. CHEAP.). What hit me the most was that I had learned that people with huge followings were making money off of creating content, even though they weren’t actually content creators. I never went into blogging for money, so I was disheartened to learn that people with fake followers would make money off of something that I genuinely enjoyed doing.
Click, Click, Snap
The average blogger posts almost twice daily. Instagram algorithm, blah blah. So I decided to do it too. What I didn’t realize was that it was becoming so exhausting. I constantly had to have images ready, make sure my feed was in order, manage accounts, tag brands, make sure the picture is good enough to be featured. This lead to me becoming unhealthily obsessed with the way I looked. I would fuss over every picture of myself and would delete almost 30 posts at one point just because I didn’t like how I looked in photos. If friends tagged me in photos that I thought I couldn’t associate with my brand, I’d have that tag removed faster than you can say “selfie”. I became more focused on products and featuring that rather than beauty and lifestyle posts associated with myself. I became a victim of the gram sham. Where my life looked pretty darn dandy on camera but was falling apart in real life. This lead me to take a break from social media to focus on myself.
PR Lists & all the glitz
Who doesn’t love PR? I remember my first PR package. It was a gift from Cosmetix and even though it was probably the smallest gift ever, I was finally being recognized and sent all these nice things. Don’t get me wrong, I love the thrill of being asked for my delivery address and waking up to the delivery man dropping off something nice. That was until I stopped receiving them on a whole. No, I didn’t go into blogging for PR — please don’t come for me. When I would see other people getting PR, I would over analyze and I would think that maybe I was doing something wrong. What if I wasn’t good enough? What can I do to be better? This is what lead to all the unhealthy comparisons and endless nights I would spend crying because I finally felt like my blog had maybe reached its expiry date.
Here’s one of the real kickers. I’m not necessarily angry about this situation but I felt like it did contribute to me asking myself “why the actual heck am I still doing this?”. I was once e-mailed by a brand asking to be featured on my blog every week as promotion for their clothing line. I love clothes so I thought, wow. A brand actually wants me to regularly curate content for them. Then, they continued to say that as compensation, they would offer me a 10% discount code that I could provide to my readers. Yup, you got it ladies and gentlemen. A whole ass 10%. I feel like I need to add that their clothes weren’t exactly cheap. This is another problem that I feel has become an issue in the blogging world. So many companies and brands expect bloggers to work for them for free. Yes, it’s work. We don’t just sit around and take pretty photos and go to events like people think. We take time out of our day to create posts and spend hours shooting products, even though we’ll end up with 50 images and only be happy with one. Not to mention the effort it takes to share our content because it’s not just going to sit on the blog and market itself. The cherry on the cake: I was only offered that discount because I was considered a “small blogger”. As if all the hard work I had done was great but not good enough. I felt like someone had given me a pat on the back and said “yup, that’s nice and all but we don’t really care because your numbers aren’t big enough”.
2018 was not the best of years for me. My grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and is currently in a weak state as he is deteriorating, I quit my job as a promoter and no longer had an income to buy products to review, I have no job security for next year and my final year of varsity kicked me so hard in the butt that I didn’t even know if I was coming or going. Yes, there are people in more terrible situations than myself and I count my blessings each and every day but my mental health had taken such a toll at this point that I decided to leave my keyboard for good and focus on my studies. It happens. Yet here we are, 1257 words later and we’re still going.
Call me lazy, silly or even weird for thinking that these reasons justify my absence in the blogging world, but truth be told, it’s the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the damn truth. I love this blog with all my heart and soul and I am grateful for every opportunity that it had afforded me. It’s still my little place on the internet where I matter and that will never change. My passion for creating content still burns wildly inside me and will never die, it’s just that it has to be fueled again. It will, when the blogging world least expects it.