The Highs and Lows of Blogging

Monday 14 January 2013

Blogging is a rather odd hobby and a foreign concept to some people. Let's be honest here. It IS a strange phenomenon which has spread to all corners of the earth faster than the current virulent epidemic, thanks to a colder than usual winter. Every man, woman, kid and dog (remember Boo, the Pomeranian?) has a blog. Calling yourself a blogger gets you the same response as announcing to your friends that you're an Amway distributor.

It's completely narcissistic in nature. It can also make you feel depressed about your own life after seeing nubile gazelles in their jet-setting lifestyle, carrying the latest It bag with a wardrobe which probably cost the same as a hefty down payment for a house in an exclusive area. Humans are more like magpies than we realize. We're strangely drawn to beautiful things yet we detest the fact that we do. You may call it a form of escapism when for a brief moment in time, you're living a different life until the green eyed monster rears its ugly head. But it's not reality.

You see, it's a case of editing the yucky bits out of the blog and maintaining a positive and deliriously happy front. Kind of like Disney World if you know what I mean. It's a balancing act being successful in your field yet remain resolutely humble (Garance Dore and Wendy Nguyen come to mind as well as the majority of bloggers I'd featured on Pass It Forward. You know who you are ). It's uplifting and a relief to hear both successes and struggles to know that we're not alone. That it's okay to fail and pick yourself up again. A braggart may draw temporary applause but a gracious and self effacing individual earns the respect of others.

It's also a numbers game akin to the statistics I have to collect for my psychology paper in university. Let's face it. It's a popularity contest, not all too different to our experience in high school. To succeed in the blogosphere, it's important to multiply the number of followers on your blog and every social media that has ever been invented to date exponentially. Likes, comments and retweets are the currency to measure the amount of love you're getting from the cyberworld. The posts that get plenty of hits would be "how to get more traffic to your blog".

Despite my incoherent whinging, blogging has exposed me to a community of like-minded and inspirational women that I never would have the opportunity to meet otherwise. The friendship alone nullify any drawbacks to blogging. Reading YOUR blogs has opened my eyes to a whole new world (cue music from Aladdin) whether it's fashion, ideas or life.

What are your highs and lows, blogging wise?


  1. What a great post. You're absolutely right about the green eyed monster! Apart from the fun of it all, I reckon becoming a blogger has negatively impacted my wallet due to seeing all the gorgeous clothes that wouldn't have otherwise been on my radar. But it's fun and I love it!

  2. "If a woman writes about herself, she’s a narcissist. If a man does the same, he’s describing the human condition." - Emily Gould

    Great post! I personally enjoy blogging when I have the time, because I enjoy the individual components of blogging: photography, writing, coding, designing, etc. But sometimes, when you put it all together, it almost seems like each of the individual pieces that go into a blog post would have been more noble separately pursued than together in the form of a blog post. Perhaps it's because I'm much more vulnerable because it's all so identifiably about me--blogging, at least how I do it, is really personal--which always gets me really nervous. It's different if it's just text or photos or webdesign. So, I guess we all get a little touchy about the state of our blogs because we view it as a reflection of ourselves. Personally, I like being anonymous haha. I don't know what I would do if I came under close, public scrutiny--probably close my blog completely!

  3. Hi there! A very insightful post, I would say the lows of blogging for me would be coming up with constant inspiration and ideas to post about and having to take photos of myself for outfit posts. The main high is the friendships made-over my nearly 5 years of blogging I have met and spoken to some really lovely ladies and its great to talk to like minded people about style and fashion.

  4. I agree with you that blogging has enabled me to meet some like-minded and inspirational people, like yourself. :) That aside, I enjoy blogging as it's a creative outlet that not only enables me to share my style with others but also enable me to be more creative than wearing the same tried-and-true outfits. I will admit that at times the stats are discouraging but I remind myself that I'm not doing it solely for the numbers! ;)

  5. I listed all of my highs and lows iften enough in my old blog to where i have nothing to say about it..ha. Blogging is an amazing place to learn about others as well as ourselves. We may discover something we dont even know about ourselves through blogging. It does take time to figure things out, separate blog life from offline line and learn to be true to yourself. That can be difficult to begin with for most bloggers.

    I am glad that after 2-3 years later, i have found a happy balance in my blogging life. No pressure, no comparison, no fame, no stat and simply enjoy blogging when i feel like it. But for some who want to take blogging to another level to be widely recognized, that's a full time job right there plus loads of stress and did i mention haters?

  6. Such a great post Marlene, thanks so much for posting this! The lows in blogging would be the damage it has caused to my wallet and there are always phases I go through struggling to find the spirit to keep on blogging, indeed the emptiness it can create in the real life (or is it just the real life?). The highs would be meeting people I otherwise would have never met (like you) and challenging the creative part of myself (which really needed some challenging). For me it will always remain a strange phenomenon. On one side it's a way to express myself on the other side I can't ignore how narcissistic it seems or just is...

  7. Fantastic post!!!! It's like you went into my head and took my thoughts out and wrote about them much better than I ever would. One of the downsides for me, is that I'm not a thin fashionista with a designer wardrobe and I'm very critical of my picture, so I sometimes feel that I really don't fit into the "blogger" world. I do it because I like to share my ideas and I enjoy meeting other people regardless of what we have in common. I love learning and i love learning about other people.

  8. Hahahahahaha. Same goes how to become a famous model, celebrity, actor etc.
    I'm a discreet type blogger, too much press exposure on the net and print does not guarantee long term success, it's boredom.

  9. I enjoy it but it also gives me a lot of anxiety because I'm very private and an introvert, it's a constant tussle for me and at least once a month I want to hit the big old delete button.

    1. I have the same dilemma, I know that inherently some part of blogging is wanting to be public and share what you have with the public - but I struggle because I love my privacy and am also a secret introvert. The friendships that have come from blogging though have been invaluable.

    2. I agree with Tabitha and Katherine about being public and still wanting privacy. I want my blog to be a "happy place" for my own sanity and partially to keep private things private. And yes, I agree that it's sometimes a popularity contest that makes me want to hide like I did in high school!

      All that being said, I've met the most amazing people that I never would have had the chance to otherwise. (Ahem... like you!) And I feel like it's brought back a creativity that's been hidden away for a long time! My middle school teacher suggested to my parents that I go to an art high school, and we know how that ended up! It's fun to see the immediate results of an idea on a blog post!

    3. Tabitha's comment sums me up! Glad to see you back blogging M, your posts are always a refreshing treat! I love your witty banter especially regarding your personal
      photos, you sound exactly like me. We are our own worst critics. xx

  10. Great post! Honest and poignant. I agree about the friendships that come and the support. It's not the reason I started blogging but it's one of the main reasons I keep doing it now.

  11. Dear Marlene, another wonderful post and the reasons why I found and fell in love with your blog in the first place: you're "on the mouche" post themes and writing skills. Like many of us (amateurs) bloggers, I often find myself wondering if it's worth it. Although I had some ups and downs my overall blogging experience has been somewhat positive. I have met wonderful people and having the possibilty to share ones passion with many people sharing the same interest is priceless. But sometimes it's hard to find the time to do it all. I started my blog while taking care of my second boy, literally the easiest baby a mum can have. One and a half years later, I am back to work with greater responsabilities and with two toddler (and very active) boys. It can be frustrating having to sacrifice the blog on the busy days (honestly, I need 30 hour-days to do everything!) but I have learnt to accept it. It is my personal blog, I decide when I'm ready for a blog post. I also realised that I was way more narcissistic tgan I thought, I found myself counting the number of likes I got on each IG pictures and with adrenaline rushes everytime I got more than 50 (yes, doctor I know it's bad)... I have learnt to take it easier though, thank God ;) Take care, dear xx

  12. I do enjoy reading eight or so blogs regularly , and yours is one . Thankyou!
    I don't comment too often , and that's laziness .
    Laziness is one of the reasons I could never consider writing my own blog , I'm not all that interested in my own life but find others lives riveting ...
    Especially sartorial lives , in fact lifestyle blogs aren't for me either.
    But clothe. You and one or two others are responsible for my choices . Saves me looking myself and gives me the enthusiasm and energy to make the most of myself .

  13. I love to blog,... n own one too... But buying every new stuff (expensive, cheap) etc and keeping up with the pace of new releases... It is really difficult.. So now I just blog for fun... I make some friends.. and that is all .,, :)

  14. Great post Marlene! I think my personal highs in blogging outweigh the lows and some of them are things like getting to meet awesome people that I totally wouldn't get to meet otherwise in my daily life, being able to share my own personal style, and having another creative outlet in my life. I'm just taking things as they come with my blog and having fun with it in the process. I had actually wanted to start one for years but never got around to doing it so I'm just happy that I finally did so. It's been rewarding and I've learned a lot. One of the lows would be that it's sometimes tricky to maintain it when you have a lot of other things going on in life but at the end of the day, those who really support you will stick around regardless if you have to take some downtime. :)


  15. Oooh...I like this post.
    Well, I don't really have any lows yet as my blog is relatively new. I'm just having fun with it and if people do want to come along and have a read, look at the photos or whatever, that's great.
    Of course, it'd be great to have a jet set lifestyle and get masses of clothes given to you, but if it doesn't happen I'm perfectly fine with just writing my blog and having fun with it. Because it is fun. And it's great to see what other girls and women around the globe are wearing, eating, thinking etc...

  16. A brilliant post from one of my favourite bloggers because you always have your finger on the pulse and you say aloud all the thoughts that we all secretly or not so secretly squirrel away. Blogging has proven to be a far more rewarding past time than I thought possible as it's given me the opportunity to meet and speak to lots of lovely like minded, intelligent people who have common interests and common experiences. I've not had too many negative experiences from the blogging community itself but I have found that it can have a negative impact on (1) your own finances as you find yourself buying another beautiful thing which someone featured but you never knew you needed, (2) a little on your own identity - do we blog to appeal to certain parts of our audiences to ensure they stay interested and it most definitely has had a negative impact on (3) the tidiness of my house! But I wouldn't like to stop ... just yet. I'm slowly learning to step outside the box and not be too sucked in by the stats but it's a given - everyone wants to know if there is someone out there reading what you've written.

  17. Great post Marlene! I've often thought about giving up but just can't bring myself to, there have been plenty of low's and times I wonder why I invest so much time in it but now I take it easy and try not to feel guilty if I am too busy to post for a few days xx

  18. It's a fine line we bloggers walk. That grey line between baring our souls, pouring forth our thoughts and emotions which would otherwise have been left untold, unshared in our minds; and the need to hold onto some shred of privacy, an aspect, quite frankly, nonexistent within the blogosphere. It's an internal battle I've only begun waging since blogging is a relatively new playground for me but the need to hide behind others, to be the wallflower and go quietly unnoticed is something I've lived with all my life. You would think quite the opposite if you know me (which you do, Marlene ;p) but it's true. At this moment, I'm finding great satisfaction in blogging. In all candour, I love the idea of showing off to the world without having the eyes of the world "physically" fixed on me. I enjoy the compliments (they work wonders on my ego and insecurities) and am grateful for not having to quickly think of an intelligent response thereto because it's not delivered in person. That said, my opinion may very well change at the first whiff of a less than positive comment (I "did" say I'm emotionally fragile) and/or I get overwhelmed with the other aspects of being a working mother with three teenage children. Until then, I would say my personal #1 high is the ability to communicate effusively when I feel so inclined, and turning off the Mac when I couldn't be sussed to be civil. The lowest low? When I power down my laptop, it's still me, and only me. Unless I make the effort to cross geographical boundaries, my online "friends" remain online, not real.

  19. This is a fantastic post, my friend. I would say a high would be meeting so many amazing like minded individuals that love food as much as I do--the low is that between the vlogging/blogging, I spend a lot of time by myself with hours of post-production that it can get lonely and none of my other friends really ever understand it.

  20. Another fantastic post, Marlene. I've been blogging for a little more than an year and on the whole I can say that the experience has been positive.

    I enjoy having a little space that I can curate myself and that allows me to express a little bit of creativity (which is something I don't get from my day job). Besides, it's also been a great way to meet people with similar interests (which, again, I something I hardly come across in my male-dominated job).

    The negative side, I'd say it's probably the impact on your identity, as Sue mentions above. I feel that too often I ask myself whether or not my readers will enjoy a specific topic/ post or whether or not I'm blogging as often as my readers would like, or feeding them with the type of posts I think they'd enjoy. These thoughts upset me because they go against the reason why I first started the blog - i.e. to be an escape from my daily obligations, a place where I write if/when and about what I like only.

  21. Hehe! The little illustration really made me laugh! :)
    I couldn't agree more with what you've said & it's been really interesting to read the comments too.
    For me the best parts have been the people I've met & the friends I've made, I honestly think that's one of the biggest rewards & the thing that always keeps me going despite the downsides to blogging. It's also helped develop my personal style, as well as my self confidence. I'm still awkward in front of the camera, and it's not something I enjoy, but I don't hate it like I used to (always a plus for the girlfriend of a photographer! Ha!). The main downside for me is juggling the blog with other things in my life, I feel bad if I don't update as frequently as I usually do, but at the same time it's not my main job & I have my family & a social life to take care of too. It can sometimes be hard to find the right balance with it.

  22. Dear Marlene, such a wonderful post. I completely agree with you, it has become too much about the numbers. It stresses me out when I visit blogs and they are full of advertising, link ups, giveaways - there's no real content. I've started a series on how I'm growing my blog, but in it I say by growing I mean quality not quantity. I have an upcoming post based on comments and meaningful commenting - I've been looking for bloggers to send me examples of a meaningful comment that got left on their blog and how it perhaps led to them interacting with the blogger who left it. Please email me if you're interested in sharing your experience :) And 'famous' is relative - we (Mandi and I, and Patrick and I) talk about you like you're famous! xoxoxo

  23. Its the sad truth... the comic was rather entertaining I must admit.

  24. Marlene,

    I feel like I could write a long response, but ultimately, I feel the same way everyone else has commented. Like Sonia, my day job has nothing to do with what I blog about so it's been a great escape. I knew I wanted to start a blog, but didn't really want one about myself because the thought of taking picture after picture of me looking over my shoulder or throwing up a peace sign was not appealing. But now that I've been blogging, I feel this guilt of ever stopping it because it's like once you put it out there, it's not like you can give someone your 30 days notice and move on to another "job." The escape and not wanting to blog about myself now feels like I have this blog that is really not representative of me. Sometimes, I feel like I'm perpetuating the frenzy or blogger hoarding that goes on with certain "IT" pieces. One person commented one time on tMP and said the only reason she visited my blog or wore IM was because she knew it would bring traffic to her blog, and I thought, man that is really not who I want as an audience or what I want to represent.

    I started my own personal blog, and I really am trying to stay away from things that seem like what you should do for a blog to get traffic. I look at it now as just something that truly reflects me. I think in that sense, when I try to not put any pressure on what it should be, it then feels less narcissistic.

    A great thing I will say is how positive/supportive bloggers are of each other. Sometimes, I think in what other environment would you have women constantly supporting and complimenting each other. Even if it may be, "I love your boots," to me it's more, "I support what you're doing and want you to keep doing it." That has been really great for me...

    Aliya :)

  25. Another great topic Marlene but even better, look at the amount of discourse your post has brought. Reading through the comments really shows you how we as bloggers are more alike than we think. I think most bloggers get to a stage where the numbers game don't mean anything anymore. I love the way you express with yourself with dashes of wit and humour. That's one of the qualities that attracted me to your blog right away. Seriously, I feel like this post was so well written, it should be published in some magazine or something. I'm off to tweet it now.

    xx Jenee C.
    {camo meets couture}

  26. Such truth in this entire post - I always feel slightly narcissistic about the fact that I am posting photos of myself on the internet, but honestly, if you met me in person, the last thing I will ever mention to anyone I know is that i have a blog because I'm shy to the point I find it embarrassing! Kind of ironic hey?

    For me, I tend to focus more on the highs, which is the amazing blogging community that is out there, and the enjoyment that I get from seeing an idea thought n a whim develop into what it is today

  27. My husband constantly teasing me everytime he sees me on the computer "Are you famous yet? When do I get that Porshe 911?" Naughty! But the thing is I never dream to be famous or a famous blogger. Blogging is just a hobby that I picked do that I do something and maintain something other than the family. It is very healthy, in my opinion. Good topic, by the way :)

    Kisses from Dubai!

  28. Great post Marlene, I think you hit the nail on the head for most of us here. I've been blogging for 12 years now, and some times still struggle with it. My blog started as a personal blog for (and with) my friends as a tool to keep in touch so it was very contradicting when it started to gain a following back then. My interest renewed when I moved to Sydney because I needed a way to keep in touch with my friends back home. Then I've got myself a stalker in Sydney for about a year and a half and it's caused me a lot of grief. I think every few months or so I used to want to just stop but I realise that I mostly blog for me so I've kept on. And only in the last year have I started style blogging which is a great compromise because it's a lot less personal and a lot more fun especially with the community I've come to get to know - you included!

    steph /

  29. I'm very "young" in blogging, only started 10 months ago. And so far i've managed to keep this activity a secret to all my family (except my daughter who sometimes helps for the pics). So in this way i can really say it's my well-kept secret garden. I'm sure that Mon Chéri has noticed that i try to get dressed better than before. Also financially speaking i mean... I even get compliments from my 7 year-old-boy (or is it bootlicking (!?!).
    But it's an understatement to say that if you don't have the means, you're nothing. Comments and followers only abound when you have an enviable wardrobe, perfectly knowing that most comments are pure networking.
    The hardest thing is to stay away from statistics. Once you've reached that, all the rest is pure fun and uplifting oneself. Finding the good compromise between family life and spending time behind a screen.

  30. Love this post and your insightful musings. I'm totally with you on not liking the popularity side of things. Thinking about stats/followers can get super stressful when you get sucked into it. I definitely try to focus on the positive side of things and the people that I've had the chance to get to know through blogging. That's the real part that keeps me blogging. xx

  31. what a great post....
    to me blogging takes a lot of work and discipline and also the escape of my ordinary life/world.

  32. Love this post! It's like you read my mind!

  33. Brilliant reflection on blogging Marlene. You always have such a balanced perspective.

    Personally, I've loved blogging (so far) for so many reasons. The lovely ladies I've met, being able to do something completely different than my daily job, being able to work with my parnter Tom (him doing photographs), actually taking photographs so I have some memories (I hated doing this beforehand) and for the reason it has made me uncomfortable, made me push myself and expand my mind. Getting in front of a camera and giving up some of my privacy was a huge hurdle. Generally I think it has made me grow personally in leaps and bounds as I was extremely shy. Also just having to commit to something that is totally self driven has been a great thing. You definitely learn alot about yourself. It's definitely opened my eyes and made me appreciate the time and effort every blogger (big or small) goes through to deliver 'free' blogging content to the readers of their blogs.

    The downside for me has been the time involved and the initial 'obsession' with it, just trying to get everything right. Feeling like I should be blogging when I have nothing to say or post. That feels so contrived but in some aspects is the essence of some forms of blogging.

    I really love the blogging community though. That anyone can have one, express their views, life, photo's, just take the direction they personally want. That it's not necessarily governed by a person's background, education, weight, looks, money, location... That is so refreshing and just seeing people support and compliment each other. Providing us all with the opportunity to connect. Somehow that makes it all worth while.

  34. I enjoyed reading everyone's response.. such a great post, Marlene!

    Like some of the ladies here, my day job has little to do with fashion and keeping a blog allows me to dwell on frivolous things, and takes my mind off serious stuff on raising kids and worrying about their future. I started the blog mainly to get connected with my loved ones, and also have some form of documentation of my life, fragments of my thoughts and feelings. Then I started getting acquainted with wonderful people around the world who share similar tastes and passion, and it has become a place where I get connected with women from all walks of life and be inspired by their stories.

    You are definitely one of those ladies who have inspired and "enabled" me! *hugs*

    ps. I got to try both sandrine in FR38 and 40 and will be keeping the FR40!

  35. hi! Love how you do this post. What I love most in this blogging community is the chance to be friends and meet other people in different parts of the world and in different levels. Like what you said gaining ideas about life and fashion is what i love most here.:)


  36. Great post Marlene - thank you! I started my blog as a reaction to another I had for many years that had sponsorships, events etc and learnt everything the hard way with all the pitfalls that could possibly happen. If you are clear about your intentions and have integrity, it's always much easier. Inceasingly I'm finding certain types of blogs harder to stomach and do feel some bloggers doth protest too much methinks! But I enjoy and am grateful for the vast majority.
    I'm also delighted to have found your blog and the connection with others I would never have achieved otherwise. And never in a million years did I ever think others would be remotely interested in anything I had to blog about!! This makes me very appreciative and humble. It's a privilege to able to blog as my tiny creative outlet and I hope never to forget that.

  37. Great post!

    I think one of the most insidious, disturbing side effects of fashion blogging involves the perpetual promotion of luxury brands. I've witnessed girls as young as 15 become literally obsessed by brand identity, unable to settle until they have acquired their first Chanel handbag.
    These are the negatives, of course, and there are absolutely many positives, but I feel that the more uncomfortable elements are often overlooked.

  38. This is such a great post Marlene! I loved reading everyone's comments too. Such good food for thought. The blogs that I enjoy most are the ones that spark meaningful dialogue. I think that's been the best part of blogging for me and of course I've met such AMAZING and inspiring women. I feel very privileged and humbled to have such a community. I look up to a lot of my readers.

    I enjoy writing about all things Fashion/style. For me, blogging has never been about sharing what I have. I actually started out not doing outfit posts at all, but readers were curious and persistent. I can't help but think that my blog is also a nice way to document my 20s and the life that I'm building for myself. My friends are surprised because I'm a beyond private person. I think that's been the biggest struggle for me finding the balance. One of the difficulties I've had is when I feel like that line has been crossed. I'm never sure what to do when someone starts reaching out under the guise of the blog for career help or an introduction. I'm also a type A perfectionist so it's very hard for me to let go of an idea and release it out to the blog world.

  39. Great post :)

    I started the blog because the hub thinks I should "connect" with like minded people keen in fashiony and ahem..frivolous stuff. There aren't that many friends in my usual circle, both in real life and in my personal blog (of mommy life, daily grouse etc) that are keen in such stuff.

    My personal blog only allows access to friends whom I know personally. So when I started the "fashion" blog, it was a huge step and really a scary thought to be suddenly "out there". I'm so much an introvert, I'm still not comfortable showing the face yet. LOL. (psst..mainly I am a considerate person too. I don't really wanna scare pp out there).

    I have to confess though that initially, readership is my worry. Because face it, you want to have people reading your blog. Or else, you are better off keeping a private diary.

    But it has never crossed my mind to be a famous blogger (errr..I am a realistic person. My kind of blog has not reached that kind of professional standard yet).

    I'm no longer obsessed with readership now. I'm at this comfortable stage (giving up stage?haha) where I blog what I like and when I like it. Obviously, I don't resist more readers but I think I am pretty settled in right now.

    I enjoy reading comments though. I like to hear of what people think of my getup and better so, if they have suggestions. Afterall, this blog was started because I wanted to share and connect with like minded people. :)

  40. Thank you for this post!



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