Why We Blog // A Collaboration

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A few weeks ago I put up a post "What If I Stopped Blogging?" In response to that, my real-life friend and fellow blogger Laura texted me saying she wanted to collaborate on a post about why we blog. I thought it was a great idea.

Not only could sharing our stories be interesting for others, but it's good for us as bloggers to take a minute to reflect on why we're doing all of this anyway. After wondering What if I stopped?, I reminded myself Here's why I haven't.

W H Y  I  B L O G

I couldn't tell you what made me first consider starting a blog. Since high school, every couple of years I would toss around the idea but never went anywhere with it, probably because I was afraid of being judged. There were a couple of anonymous blogs that I created over the years where I would write for a few weeks and then abandon it. This blog, explosive bagel, is the first with my name attached to it.

Two weeks after graduating college, I went on vacation with my family. About halfway through, I said to them, "When we get back home, I'm going to start a blog. What should I call it?" The best part, now that I think of it, was that nobody asked why. None of them were surprised or asked what I could possibly write about. They just nodded and threw out name suggestions. And I think that's a sign that blogging is something that, for me, just makes sense.

The question of why I blog is particularly interesting because my blog doesn't really have just one focus. I'm all over the place. I write about books, products, shows, random thoughts, things going on in my life. I've even put up a couple of more abstract, creative-writing-type posts (do they count as poems if they're not good?). I blog about pretty much anything and everything. And I do it all in addition to a full-time job.

But why? Aside from Because I like writing, I think at this point my main reason for blogging is to connect with people.

I post about books I've read in case you're looking for something to read or want to swap recommendations.
I post about what shows I've been watching so we can talk about them if you've watched them too.
When I post about how I'm feeling, I'm honest about it, so you can feel like you're not alone.
I post about things that have been on my mind to spark a conversation or get you thinking about it too.
I post about what's going on in my life because that's what friends do.

I blog so I can be your Internet friend. It's more fun that way.

W H Y  S H E  B L O G S
Written by Laura, The Fashionable Fox

I started The Fashionable Fox back in 2013 as a sophomore in college with a broken heart and a spark of ambition. As a recently single hot mess, I wanted to do something that made me happy and brought me back to who I really was before; a girl with big dreams who loved to write and knew a thing or two about fashion.

Rewind ten years and you'd find me in a basketball uniform, or better yet, a knight costume at a tea party themed birthday celebration. How'd I get here, you ask? Well, I'm still asking myself the same thing. But that's a good thing.

Bloggers all have moments of self-doubt; asking ourselves "why am I doing this?" and "is anyone actually reading?" If a blogger tells you they DON'T ask themselves those questions, sorry but, they're lying.

It's good to ask those questions! In our fit of anger, frustration or sadness, asking "why am I doing this?" can level you out and bring you back to the center to come face to face with the REAL reason you started to blog in the first place.

I didn't start my blog to rip my hair out when it rains the only day I can shoot for a post over the weekend. I didn't start it to second guess if I'm posting a photo on Instagram at the time of day that will get me the most "likes." And I definitely didn't start it to make myself compare my growth to the success of other bloggers.

I started my blog because when my mom began dragging me along thrifting with her as a kid, I realized it wasn't as "gross" as people made it up to be. My first job at a resale clothing store taught me about name brands and designer items, so I put my knowledge and experience together to inspire women to dress their best on a budget and to prove that you can hunt down some pretty amazing stuff from the thrift store. I have a voice that wants to share what I find and what I learn, and the blog allows me to do just that. 

My blog is the lifeline I didn't know I needed at the time, but it has since helped me to grow by giving me the courage to move forward, change my major in college, learn more, be more and do more. So on the bad days when I'm ready to throw in the towel, I remind myself that I didn't just start a blog because it was cool; I started it to change my life. And that's reason enough to keep going.

Q. What is one post that you are particularly proud of and why?

The post that stands out to me as one I am most proud of is my “Oh the places you should go” post where I partnered with Turo to talk about two of my favorite local “hidden gems” in Morris, Illinois.

This was one of my first posts where I partnered with a brand and I had a really great time spending the day with my mom shooting photos at two of my favorite places – Letty Mae’s Tea Room and Our Home to Yours consignment store.

The post was really popular with my audience and both places reached out to thank me and share my work. It was a perfect day and a lot of fun to write about, but I’m most proud that I had the opportunity to shine a light on two small businesses that I love.

Q. How do you stay inspired and avoid writing slumps?

It may sound kind of crazy, but when I’m looking for inspiration, I go shopping! I don’t necessarily always go shopping to buy things; sometimes I just go to do a little research. I love seeing what’s new in stores and studying window displays for outfit combos. If it’s something I can’t afford, I make a mental note on how to recreate a look for less, or to look for similar pieces while thrifting.

I feel most inspired after a good day at the thrift store. If I find some really awesome items, I’m always so excited to put looks together and feature them on the blog.

But like every blogger, I’ll hit a creative slump, and when that happens, I try to sneak away from fashion-related content for a moment and write about something personal or fun, which is nice for me to write about something different and also nice for my readers to get to know me more on a personal level instead of just what I’m wearing at the moment.

Q. What is one thing blogging has taught you?

I’ve been blogging for a little over four years, and it has taught me that it’s WAY harder than it looks! It’s so much more than just writing; you have to plan a posting schedule, take good photos, have content ideas, share on social media, know about coding for your website, etc., etc., ETC.! The list really goes on. Although it is a lot of work, I love how much I’ve learned and I’m constantly trying to find new ways to improve.

Besides blogging teaching me that it’s not a cake walk, it has also taught me to always blog for myself FIRST. It’s so easy to lose sight of why you started when comparing yourself to other bloggers. Even though the audience is a key ingredient, if you’re not working on your blog to make yourself happy, you’ll be miserable. Do it because YOU love it. Your voice will be more authentic that way.

Head on over to Laura's page to see what questions SHE asked ME about blogging.

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