It’s Wednesday and that little voice in my head tells me I need to get that blog post out. In fact, it’s told me I should’ve had it completed this weekend and pre-scheduled to publish tonight. “Terra”, it says, “You knew you were traveling twice this week. You should have planned better and earlier”. According to my content calendar, tonight’s post was supposed to be a “10 Minute Holiday Makeup” tutorial. The plan was to film that tutorial over the weekend, but in never happened because I was sick.
They say “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”, but in the world of fashion and beauty blogging it’s “the busiest time of the year”– or for a one year vet like myself, “the most overwhelming time of the year.” There are Cyber Monday sales to share, gift guides to create, sparkly holiday outfits to style– and a whole lot of pressure to step things up because everyone else is. But the reality is I’m overwhelmed. I’m tired. No, I’m exhausted. My passion for this blog stems from it being a creative outlet to share style and beauty advice in a way that positively impacts you. Lately though it feels like the fun has been sucked out and there’s one big reason at the heart of that.
Enter Instagram. To non-bloggers, Instagram is a social media platform for sharing photos with friends and family, but for us late-night writers it’s a totally different beast. Instagram is a very powerful platform to create awareness and drive traffic to a blog and it’s where the majority of brands that reach out for collaborations first discover my content.
But behind the scenes, Instagram can be a dark, dark place. As a new blogger, networking with other bloggers has been important to learn and grow, and I’ve been fortunate to develop close friendships with amazing girls thanks to the ‘gram. But every time I look at another blogger’s Instagram account, the three numbers at the top cause my brain to instinctively compare success. These numbers immediately tell me how long another blogger has been at it and her success in terms of followers relative to mine. I don’t want to compare, and it has never affected a relationship with another blogger for me, but there it is smacking me in the face. And as I scroll down, there is a beautiful gal with amazing hair, living a seemingly perfect life. Nothing like mine, I think…then I realize my feed probably strikes her the exact same way. Compare, compare, compare. And that little voice inside my head tells me, “no Terra, don’t, you can’t.” And for once, that little voice is right. I’m a mom to a four year old, I have a demanding full time career. Maybe they do too, but then again perhaps they don’t. And besides, what does it matter? What matters is my dialogue with my readership (“following”, in the Insta lingo). It’s about helping make your beauty routine and wardrobe easier and more functional. And that’s where I’m struggling. Lately I’ve been worrying instead about the numbers and worrying about getting that “perfect” shot, because when I post something not up to snuff I lose followers.
It’s brutal. Or maybe, I’ve just let it be brutal.
The other day I was thinking back a year. I had a following of less than 500 and I was having so much fun. Fun creating outfits, fun coming up with posts, fun taking photos- which of late has become a stress fest for the reason above.
I’m realizing I need to completely reset and not look at the numbers. I need to continue to operate like no one is watching, even if there are thousands of eyes on every photo I share. And if I share one that makes people stop following me, so what? They probably weren’t Fifteen Minutes to Flawless’ biggest fans to begin with. Do I want to grow? Absolutely. But I need to remind myself it’s not about the growth, it’s about fulfilling on my mission. If I can develop content I am proud of, that genuinely helps you, then I’m happy. It’s time to let go of the negative voice and let go of comparison. And finally, it’s time to let go of fear, the fear that I’m not pretty enough or that my photos aren’t alluring enough. I’ve always known I have something of value to offer, and it’s time to refocus on that.
If you happen to be another blogger reading this, I’d love to know what helped you avoid comparison and turn off the Insta- “noise”.
And I promise I’ll still be sharing that 10 Minute Holiday Makeup Tutorial. 🙂 Thank you so much for letting me take tonight to share this struggle with you. It’s amazing how much better I feel just after just “writing it out.”
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