Friday, January 27, 2017

Why I Stopped Beauty Blogging After 3+ Years

Back in June, I made a post explaining that due to a hectic summer internship, I would be taking a an unexpected hiatus until September.

I haven't made a post since then. It's January.

It's not that I haven't thought about writing a post. It's not even that I haven't felt like writing a post. But I sort of dropped off the face of the Earth (even in social media), and I thought you all deserved a reason as to why--or a whole post, in fact.

1. I broke a habit

Yeah, okay. The simplest and most obvious reason. 

For the first time since I started blogging back in March of 2013, this was the longest break I've ever taken. and one of the only breaks I've ever taken. Besides the occasional Finals Week hiatus, I never skipped a week. 

But like anything, once you stop doing something, it's hard to get back into it again. 

My Favorite Things: September 2015

2. It felt like a job

Now we're starting to get into the nitty-gritty. 

When I came home from my internship in September, I found a pile of products from companies sitting on my dresser. Now when I'm working with a company, I like to give the products they send to me a fair trial: a few weeks of testing followed by an objective review. It's never required; it's just something I like to do. It's how I can afford to try so many new products, because like most up-and-coming twenty-somethings, my beauty budget is very slim. 

But when I was three months behind and it all piled up, just thinking about them all sounded like a chore. Which, I know, #FirstWorldProblems, but I like to put the maximum amount of effort into my blog posts, and if I'm not feeling up to it, I know it won't come out to my standards. At first I couldn't explain why I felt that way, but when I thought about it ...

3. I never really felt qualified

I am not a makeup artist. I am not an esthetician. I am merely a beauty enthusiast. And although I may do a ton of research from the above two professionals when compiling blog posts, I do not have the training of either one.

It's something I've battled with for a long time. Am I qualified to give someone else advice? Am I reputable? Though I have done an enormous amount of research and have used that to help people and provide recommendations in the past, is it right of me to do so? It's a philosophical question that I've never been able to answer.

Besides that, another reason why I've been putting off posting is ...

4. I've never been big on social media

Before I started blogging, I was never a big social media user. It was only when I had to promote blog posts that I started putting work into it. I've always just been of the belief that the majority of strangers on the internet don't care what I have to say, and for the people that do care, I'd rather just have a conversation and tell them one-on-one.

When I first started blogging, I was by no means social media savvy by any means. I usually just posted once a week (and not even on all platforms -gasp-) that I'd updated my blog. It wasn't until I really started getting into blogging that I got into marketing.

Not having to force it on social media for my blog was a weight off my shoulders (see #2). If you've never had to run active social media accounts across many platforms for a job or blog, you probably won't understand it is to have frequent, captivating content. It's a little exhausting, and probably my least enjoyable part of having a blog. Writing the actual blog posts is only a small portion of actually blogging.

But then when I thought about it, even that wasn't the reason why I wasn't posting on my blog. When I thought about it, I realized ...

Greek Goddess Makeup Challenge: Demeter

5. It made me feel shallow

Now I am by no means saying beauty bloggers or fashion bloggers are shallow--I would never. In my 3+ years as a blogger, I have came across many kind, wonderful people in the blogging community. 

But I found that whenever I was explaining my blog to someone in real life, I always felt awkward. It felt superficial, materialistic, trivial. Not everyone is going to be as enthusiastic about your interest as you are, I get it. Some people are going to look down upon it, and it's their right to do so. But during my hiatus, I found that I was starting to feel the same way as them. It all just seemed so pointless to me. I barely had time to apply makeup in the morning when I was an intern, so when I finally got the chance, I didn't care which lipstick I was reaching for.

I realized I'm just not as eager to share my beauty knowledge as I used to be. Which leads into my next point:

6. Beauty blogging didn't feel like me

Confession: I have never been a Sammi.

My friends have always called my Sam. I will always be Samantha to family.

I originally took on the alias Sammi because I thought it sounded more feminine--and that's what you want for a beauty blog right? Plus, I found it was easier to differentiate personal and work emails from blog emails just by reading the salutation.

It kind of become an alternate version of myself. When marketing blog posts, I tried to channel them through Cheerful and Upbeat Sammi. Now I've always considered myself a sensible person; the Responsible Friend. This is not to say that responsible people don't wear makeup, but I've always felt that my personality and my values didn't connect with the beauty blogger persona that I exhibited. Not that I ever lied (and there are plenty of people who will still describe me as cheerful and upbeat) but social media and blogging as a whole always felt sort of forced to me. In order to capture people's interests, especially when promoting something, you have to act positive. I'm not always positive; nobody is. (see #4)

As much as I love sharing the fun, little things with you, I also want to share the bad things. The sad things. The life-changing things. My deep thoughts and dreams. Things that matter to me. And although I still enjoy beauty and skincare, perhaps it doesn't matter as much to me as it used to. Because all in all...

Rainy Day Manicure: Trust Fund Beauty in Elegantly Wasted

7. I've changed

Three and a half years is a long time, especially when you're only 23. I've done a lot of growing up and maturing in that time. I graduated from college. I've transitioned from College Student to New Adult. A lot has happened in my life.

When I started this blog, I was wearing makeup daily and always put effort into my appearance. It was just a fun hobby I enjoyed. But nowadays, my work in theatre always has me in some sort of uniform (paint clothes, all black, etc). I never find a reason to wear makeup on the regular, and if I'm not wearing any, I have nothing new to share. As much as I enjoy beauty, I hardly have a reason (or motivation) to indulge. And being that this blog is solely a beauty blog, there's nothing else that I can really share.

I've always thought that not having a specific niche would hold me back as a blogger and not capture as much interest, but I think this time around, I just want to write for me. If beauty companies don't want to send me products, that's okay. If my follower count drops, that's okay, too. But I want to keep blogging! I've worked so hard on creating my little part of the internet that I don't want to see it all go to waste. And I truly do enjoy blogging: the photographing, the connecting, the writing. 

I have so many interests besides beauty: cooking, writing, reading, music, drawing, painting, theatre. Not only that, but there are so many current events and general lifestyle issues that I'd love to talk about on here, because what's the purpose of a platform if you don't use it for the greater good, right? I'll probably still stick some beauty in here once in awhile, but I would really love this blog to be fully encompass me, on all sides. 

I really want to get back into the swing of things and blogging at least once a week, but I'd like to do a rebranding first. Change my theme, my domain, decide what I'm going to blog about. I'm leaning towards making this a general lifestyle blog so I can sprinkle a bit of everything in here. But I promise I won't be gone forever! 

I'll also still be poking around my favorite corners of the internet, and you're always welcome to contact me through any of my social media if you have any questions or just want to chat (I still lurk on them, even if I don't always post). One thing I've missed about not blogging is you guys! Interacting with you all is one of my favorite parts, and I don't think that will ever change. 

But for now, that's where we're at. Full disclosure. It feels good! I've had a lot of these things floating around in my brain for awhile.  

If this blog wasn't solely about beauty anymore, do you think you'd stick around?

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