Above: long lost images used on my first blog in 2007. My tagline was "don't waste the pretty". And it was long before I worried about my arms looking fat in photos. Bask in the quality.
Some years ago, I decided to start a blog about styling one’s closet. It was suitably named Closet Styl*d. In my mind—the asterisk added just the right touch of flair. It’s okay—I know it was awful. Amateur even. Like someone designed it whilst drinking a bottle of red wine. Which was true.
But I needed to write. I was bored and working in a retail store. The content presented itself to me and I could not resist it. Like a birthday cake sitting in the office break room. Who has that kind of willpower? It could not be denied. I shared my love for stylish tips and notable moments with coworkers and clients that I encountered on the sales floor. Everyone knows I love a good story and the retail industry offered a plethora of doozies. Like the curly haired brunette that I found sloshed in a puddle of champagne inside a fitting room. Somehow she concealed the bottle in her Prada bag. I was actually impressed.
The blog platform was created for people like me. I embrace my generation's need to overshare. Photograph what I bought on sale. Express my feelings in 160 characters or less. I grew comfortable in such a vulnerable place. (The Internet.) Eventually I shifted my kitschy closet blog into a space that helped me find my voice. But with the overwhelming amount of change in the blogger realm—I lost it.
What I remember was an excitement to write about something I truly was passionate about. And as we grow—those things can change. I can’t remember the exact moment I noticed my content shifting, but my undoing came from writing five-to-seven posts a week about trends and outfits, working full-time, and worrying about what everyone thought about me. And that’s not to say I didn’t find success. I had clothes sent to my door. Retailers were willing to give me money, not much, but some compensation to have an ad on my site. Parents and friends were impressed. They didn’t understand it. But hey, they were impressed!
I feel like I should tell you that I never started a blog to make money. I remember my writing professor on the first day of class speaking from his gut, “If you’re here to get published and get rich—you’re in the wrong class.” It made me smile. I just wanted to write and be authentic in my pursuit.
After awhile, the air of competition in the blogging realm became too thick. Blogs were conceived like bunnies. Women were copying content, layouts, and keeping their secrets to readership success to themselves. I was lucky enough to make incredible friends despite this. They are glimmers of what’s real in a community that is often criticized for being contrived. It’s hard to see genuine content through the lens of professional photographers and products being pushed for monetization. It’s hard to know what is real on fashion blogs anymore. It’s a business now, and I learned that’s not for me and that’s okay. Some people are great at it. I would let it die like my Tamagotchi pet I had in the seventh grade. I just can’t keep up with its demands.
When I started Closet Styl*d with the ugly asterisk, I was twenty-three. I’ll be thirty this next summer and like I said, as we grow—things can change. I believe all bloggers, at some point, ask themselves what can I do different? For me, it’s going back to square one. Write about things that don’t fit into a box. Write the content that presents itself so well that I cannot deny it—like that birthday cake in the office break room. I’m going to stick to just being a writer: a writer who really likes cake.