How to dream fearlessly & other lessons I’ve learned from one year of blogging
Restitchstance turns one year old on March 26, 2018!
It’s been quite the ride, and I’ve learned so much about sustainable and ethical fashion, blogging, and myself along the way. Here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned.
One: It’s all about that human connection.
Like any other human on the planet, I crave meaningful connections with other people; and like many other introverts, my social awkwardness makes this really hard. I hate small talk, mostly because I’m bad at it, and trying to get to know someone in person usually gives me horrible social anxiety. For the longest time, the only way I could clearly articulate my thoughts and feelings was through writing.
When I discovered social media and instant messaging, it was like a shining beacon of light. Finally, I could talk to people, really talk to them and get to know them, without my social anxiety flaring up and without wanting the ground to swallow me up.
So it’s no wonder that blogging, for me, is all about the connections I’ve made with other people. Blogging enables me to throw my thoughts out into the world, and connect with people who resonate with what I’ve said.
Thank you, to everyone who’s read what I’ve written and shared your thoughts with me. You make it all worth it!
Two: Being a blogger is like running my own business.
From the outside, blogging (especially fashion blogging) seems kind of glamorous. Brands send you free clothes, and you get to post cute pictures of yourself on Instagram and rack up the likes.
Yeah, well, surprise, it turns out it’s actually a ton of work! Although at first, I was more than happy to accept “free” stuff in exchange for content creation, I quickly realized that blogging was too much work (and too valuable) to do for free. After all, I’m my own creative director, stylist, writer, editor, digital and social media marketer, and web/tech support. I also work full-time, so I don’t have a lot of free time to promote products for free.
For some reason—and I think it has a lot to do with how so many fashion and lifestyle bloggers are women and how many begin blogging as a hobby, not as a way to make money—blogging is a seriously undervalued business. I’ve had brands approach me and ask me to promote their products…for nothing in return. Not even “free” product. And obviously I don’t have a huge audience, but this also happens to bloggers with hundreds of thousands of pageviews per month and followers on Instagram.
It’s been disheartening and also revealing—tbh, I have a mental list of “sustainable and ethical” brands I won’t support because a company can’t be “ethical” if it doesn’t pay people fairly for the labor, and that includes bloggers.
On the plus side, I’ve learned how to set my own rates, pitch to brands, and negotiate for payment. I’ve learned how to stand up for the value of my work, and that’s such a valuable life skill in creative work. If I ever want to start my own business or do freelance work more seriously, I have the skills and the confidence to do so.
Three: Don’t be afraid to dream big, and dream fearlessly.
I’ve always wanted to try blogging, but I didn’t until last year. And looking back, as cliche as it sounds, the only thing stopping me was myself.
The past year has been a journey of personal revelation. I discovered that I already knew what I needed to do to be happy and feel fulfilled, but that I’d obfuscated these truths with self-doubt. It was only when I pushed past the fear that I had clarity about what I really wanted to do with my life and what really made me happy.
After finally squashing my self-doubt (which was what my very first blog post was all about!) and experiencing all the wonderful support, community, and opportunities that came about as a result, I refuse to let myself stop me from doing the things that make me happy, no matter how scared I am that I’ll fail. That’s what dreaming fearlessly means to me: I might be very, very afraid, but the fear doesn’t matter. My dreams are what matter.
Let me know if any of these lessons speak to you! If you’re also a blogger, what lessons have you learned from blogging?
Silk cami: thrifted
Bralette: Lively Palm Lace bralette – super comfy and cute! kind of in love. (get $10 off your first order!)
Sandals: Nisolo Isla slides in latte (review; get $25 off your first order of $100!)