The BlogHer Diaries: Fighting Blogger (and Life) Burnout
I go through at least one existential blogging crisis a year. My friends are used to them by now, although I think the first time I was all, “Who am I? What am I doing with my life?? What else can one say about lip gloss?!?”, they were un poquito alarmed.
It seems impossible that time has sped by so quickly, but I’ve been blogging for six-and-a-half years. In blogger-time, this means I am so old as to metaphorically qualify for my AARP card.
Honestly, it can be difficult to keep things fresh while writing EVERY SINGLE DAY, not to mention remain excited while confining it all to beauty products. (But, but–I have other interests. A cool new hotel just opened. I’ve mastered another recipe. Kate Middleton was photographed wearing a pretty dress. Let my blogging people go!)
When I started beauty blogging, there was essentially no competition–now, it’s an entirely different story. If I were the complacent sort, I might be satisfied with the milestones I’ve already reached, the genuine impact I made on beauty and the magazine industry, and the fact that I published two books before turning 30. But when I toss and turn in bed at night, the question that haunts me is, “Yeah…but what have you done lately?” There’s still so much more to accomplish! And while your fair Jolie is mostly cheerful and appreciative, as a neurotic writer, it’s hard to be that way all the time.
This weekend, I attended my 1st BlogHer conference down in San Diego thanks to a stipend/sponsorship from CVS, and I’m so glad I did. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, having heard horror stories of mommy bloggers run amok during years past, but it ended up being a fantastic trip, especially since some of my favorite fellow beauty bloggies were attending. (Shout outs to Aly Walansky, Lianne Farbes, Amber Katz, Anne Fritz, Christina Farrell, Marie Denee, and Amber Murray!) The only seminar I was interested in was called “Old-School Bloggers: How to Avoid Burnout” – obviously, highly applicable to me. Hearing other long-time bloggers discussing their concerns–which are basically the exact same thoughts, fears, doubts, struggles and annoyances that I have–was helpful beyond measure. It’s so nice to know that you’re not in it alone!
One of my personal blogging struggles centers on how much to share with you guys. I’m something of an over-sharer and would feel much happier telling you everything. Writing–real writing–is my catharsis, and since there are a million other blogs where you can get beauty info, I hope that you mostly enjoy hearing what I have to say beyond the basic press releases and new launches. (Yes, yes, I know Kate Middleton doesn’t apply. Sigh. She’s just so pretty!)
I got pretty personal a few years ago. (And if I’m being totally honest, I’m still not over my mother’s death–it’s been weighing me down the past several months in subtle but very real ways.) However, shortly after Mama Jolie died, close friends mentioned that they felt my blog was getting too heavy, and that I should stick to the light beauty stuff. I agreed, but the angry, still-grieving side of me privately thought, “My blog is getting heavy? You’re kidding me! Hey, on a totally unrelated note, did you know that my mom just died?”
It will always probably be a balancing act on this end, figuring out where to draw the line between you, me, and my thoughts beyond the beauty industry. I know that mine isn’t a personal blog, per se, although I also like to think that we’ve developed a true relationship over the years that goes deeper than cosmetics. But I hope that, as long as I keep providing you with fresh content, an honest take on the products I think are worth your time, a generous avoidance of all the not-good-enough products I get bombarded with (Oh, God, there are thousands), and a little humor, love and guidance along the way, we can keep this thing going for another six–or hell, sixty!–years.
At the risk of getting all weepy, I cherish each and every one of you, and feel SO grateful to have so many awesome readers behind me.
I love you all!