16 Lessons I’ve Learnt From IG & Blogging

Since I was very kindly nominated for the Blogger Recognition Award, and had to give two pieces of advice to new bloggers, I’ve been turning over in my head what my blogging and IG (my other primary platform) pearls of wisdom actually are. Turns out I have 16 of them. Some of them are funny, some of the are serious- I guarantee all of them are useful…

Her butt probably isn’t that big

Ahh the world of filters and facial readjustment on phones (which, yes, some people use on their butts apparently). Through blogging and IG I have learnt to look at every image with a bit more scrutiny, and appreciate that it isn’t real life. Take everything with a pinch of salt.

However big/small her butt is, it is fine the way it is

To the BO-PO movement! One of the most reassuring lessons learnt: every body is fine. You do you.

Don’t respond to comments that aren’t quite haters- but are basically out to ruin your day

Yep, had a few of these. Everyone has different opinions, but I have a hell of a lot more respect for people who actually message me, and speak to me like a human being if they have a problem- rather than wanting to pick a fight on my IG feed. If I’ve learnt anything it’s not to engage with people who want to cause an outright scene. Sometimes people forget that I’m a human sat behind the screen; call me out if you feel I’ve done something wrong, but have the respect to treat me as one such human. Oh, and use proper grammar.

Persistence pays off

I’ve been doing this for 4 years now. And only in the past 6-12 months has my blog and IG been noticed, and have people started to read my posts. If you really want to blog, then just do it! Enjoy doing it for the sake of it, and if you’re persistent, others will end up enjoying your work too.

There’s a massive community out there, so join in

I joined Blogger originally, but WordPress is now my home (read about my move here). WordPress has a much more active blogging community, and it’s always lovely to hear from fellow bloggers, or discover a new blog. Alternatively, I’ve met some bloggers in real life, and they weren’t too keen to chat- compared to them, I am in all honesty unheard of, so I can see why. So, the flipside of this lesson is to appreciate that not everyone is going to want to be your friend.

Keep a schedule…

Keep a master-list of posts and a week by week timetable of when they need to be prepared and going up by. I aim for 3-4 posts a week, and this method allows me to ensure I have a range of content going up- as well as meaning I don’t forget any important dates or ideas.

…But keep it flexible

This has been a massive learning curve during my third year of uni. Some weeks I am horrendously busy with essays, study groups, seminars, lectures, trying to have a social life, freelancing, and reading course materials (approx. 3 books, 6 extra readings, and sometimes compulsory extra readings – per week). Oh, I have to sleep too, and in winter, when it’s dark a lot of the time, I have to work around when the lighting is best. I have to consider if I can afford certain ingredients at times. Another factor is my flatmates: I can’t go whapping out the blender at 7am when they’re in bed. My blogging schedule has plenty of tipex on it, from where I’ve swapped posts around. My master-posts list means I can simply find a post that does fit in, and get swapping. Some weeks I may not get 4 posts up, but 2 or 3- and that’s fine. Quality over quantity, and try to remain consistent as far as possible.

Don’t do it for the money/freebies…

Someone once asked me how many freebies I got from blogging. The answer? Well, No.1 : if that’s why you’re doing it then close your blog down now. No one wants to read a permanent advert 24/7. No.2: in the past 6 -12 months I’ve probably had 7ish companies send me things for free. One of these companies I’ve had a long-standing relationship with because I really believe in and love their products, and they gave me a chance when this was still a very small blog. I’ve been offered things I have turned down because they aren’t what I blog about or I don’t like the product (cocktail making kits for example, retaining at a jaw-dropping £50. I don’t drink, though the packaging of this did look beautiful). If I blogged for the freebies, then I would have taken them…and risked my blog’s integrity. Working with brands is fun, and it can open lots of doors, but I’m glad it wasn’t something I was really approached to do in the first year to two years of blogging and IG-ing; this meant I established my blog’s message and instilled in me a selectiveness about who I accept things from.

Have a purpose

You have to have a reason as to why you’re blogging. I wanted to share recipes, and inspire people to find out that a balanced life is not only possible but fun, and highly individual. I also wanted to spread a bit of awareness about ED and mental health, as something I’ve had issues with- and show that although it’s difficult recovery is possible. Part of this to me meant showing hobbies outside of food, and so I included my love of books and writing on this blog as well.

Effort

Effort in your posts, effort in your photography, effort in maintaining contacts, effort in editing…it takes a lot of effort. I had to teach myself to improve my photography, without professional equipment, for example. I had to teach myself how to customise my layout, create drop downs- on Blogger I had to trawl the internet for HTML codes to copy and paste into the blog’s code, to make it do what I wanted it to do.

Proof read

 Sentence arrangement, punctuation, grammar…I try and make the most of my degree here. I have to say, creative writing really helps me out when it comes to having my sentences flow. Being a poet means I like every word to have meaning, and not waste too many of the little blighters as well.

You don’t need fancy things

I use a Samsung to take ALL of my images, and though a camera would be nice, it isn’t practical for me right now. You don’t need to pay for a domain- just get the free one. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to get started, or make your blog look amazing: just start now and make all the effort that you can. Your content is what attracts readers.

Be honest…

Don’t lie about things on your blog, or spread a message that you don’t believe in. If something you’re sent (to go to an earlier example) is shite, then either review it honestly, or don’t review it at all. I often warn companies that my reviews are all honest, and sometimes they then mysteriously stop messaging me. Another side to this lesson: you’re entitled to change your mind and grow as a person. Every post I write is honest, but I’m also more than prepared to write a later post on the same subject, if I’ve change my mind or learnt something new, or something didn’t work out as planned. This is, equally, being honest.

…But know that sometimes honesty is hard

Admitting you’ve changed your mind is hard, but my major example here is this: I still struggle with some issues around food. I’m working on these, but I often don’t say much about them, unlike with the issues I’ve already overcome. I’m open about the fact I have some issues, but it’s hard to talk about something that’s still a bit…well, too current. As I’ve become more comfortable on here, I am considering writing posts about what I’m doing now, inspired by some of the women in my Inspiring Women Online post. But this is me being honest with you: honesty is hard.

Don’t compare your blog/IG, but do draw inspiration from others

You know how people say not to compare your body, or anything else about yourself, to other people? Well, same with the blog/IG. Don’t compare followers, don’t compare who they’re working with, don’t compare their content, don’t compare their life. Look for inspiration: like their flat-lays? Message them saying so, and ask if they have tips. Love their content? Message asking where they get their ideas from. Draw inspiration from others, but don’t compare- it’s hard to do, but you gradually end up happier in your own little blogging bubble.

Take pride in your work

Leading on nicely from the above: be proud of what you turn out, what you learn, and how far you’ve come. I look back at my earlier posts and cringe sometimes. However, I’m proud that I had the guts to blog anyway, even when I didn’t really know what I was doing. I’m proud of my blog now, and I’m proud of every post I turn out- and you should be proud of yours too, whatever stage you’re at.

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