Well, actually it is! Today, September 1, 2012, my blog turns a year old. *sniffle* I can’t believe it’s been a year already . . . but in some ways, I can’t believe it’s only been a year. I’ve made new friends. I’ve learned a ton about the fashion industry. And I’ve finally given birth to that idea that was a mere seedling for years and years.
In honor of Curvy CEO’s First Birthday, I’d like to present: Five Lessons I’ve Learned During My First Year of Blogging.
Lesson #1 – Nothing is new under the sun . . . and that’s oh-kay. I cannot tell you how many times I would come up with an idea and was so sure it was “fresh” and “unique” content that no one had ever thought of . . . only to find it already done bigger and better by other bloggers. (Yes, Marie Denee, I’m looking at you! *lol*) After having this experience a couple of times, I’ve finally accepted the fact that there really is nothing new under the sun . . . but you know what? That’s okay. My blog posts may not be the first time anyone has ever given their take on a particular subject, but that doesn’t mean that I have nothing to contribute. While I believe it is my responsibility as a blogger to do my research and see what else has been said on a topic, I shouldn’t silence my own voice. If nothing else, by finding out others’ views on a particular topic, I’m giving myself the opportunity to add to the conversation and maybe even come up with insights that haven’t been offered previously. Also, it allows me to practice good blogger etiquette by offering links to interesting, useful posts by other writers. And speaking of other writers . . . .
Lesson #2 – Learn from those around you. I cannot tell you what an invaluable part other bloggers have played in my journey thus far. Honestly, if it wasn’t for Emily Kate Hargrove taking me under her wing so early in the process, I wouldn’t know nearly as much about blogging and what opportunities are out there for recovering lawyers like us I have also been able to learn a lot by being a semi-groupie of fantastic, high-quality blogs like Black Girl’s Guide to Weightloss, Stylish Curves, Scandalous Beauty, and the aforementioned Curvy Fashionista – the authors of all of these blogs have been so generous with their time and their insights. I’ve also made friends with other bloggers (*waves to Robrette, Nic, Vivi, Nae, Telena, Natasha, and Georgette*) and shared the ups and downs of breaking into the fashion blogging world. Having their support (and the support of so many others – both in my blogging life and my “real” life) has made ALL the difference. If it wasn’t for such positive encouragement, I would’ve given up before Christmas 2011.
Lesson #3 – Get in where you fit in. This is sort of a mash-up of Lessons 1 and 2. In the short year I’ve been blogging, I’ve learned that there is a hierarchy in the blogging community, particularly in the fashion/style blogging community. You have your “pioneers” who paved the way when blogging was still a novel concept during the first decade of the 21st century. You have the true fashionistas – the trendsetters, the jet-setters, the ballers and shot-callers . . . the ones who always have their fingers on the pulses of what is HOT and what is NOW. You have the entreprenuers who have managed to leverage blogging into full-time careers and are making BANK. And then, there are people like me . . . who are just starting out, trying to make their way, aspiring to greater things in the future. I have to admit, being that I’m so accomplished in my personal/professional life, it is rather humbling to be a newbie in the blogging world. This isn’t a “bad” thing per se . . . but it did take some getting used to. I swear, in the beginning my ego was like, “Uhm, excuse me – I’ve been blogging for three whole weeks! Where’s my book deal and endorsements? Don’t you know who I am?!?!” Of course, I’m exaggerating. But yeah, it was definitely tough to keep myself motivated when I had only two readers – my mom and me. But you know what? Writing when it seemed like I was my only audience forced me to consider what I really wanted out of this experience. And like Alyssa of Stylish Curves, I realized that my “success” at blogging shouldn’t be measured against anyone else. Instead I have to remember that “[a]s bloggers we all have our own voices, niches, and audience.” At the end of the day, the goal should be “honing your own skills and talents to make YOUR blog greater than it already is.”
Lesson 4 – It’s a big world out there. This year of blogging has exposed me to so many new designers and retailers that I didn’t even know existed before – or at least didn’t know they made plus-size apparel. I mean, Vince Camuto? Adriana Papell? Rachel Pally? Who knew?!?! Also, I’ve been introduced to wonderful brands from abroad that I never would have had the guts to try previously – ASOS Curve tops the list . . . and I’m itching to give Marisota a try.
Lesson 5 – To be successful, you must put in the work. Blogging is like a job . . . for real. I would estimate that I spend 10-15 hours per week writing and re-writing posts, brainstorming and researching ideas, searching for and putting together images . . . all usually happening in the wee hours of the night or on weekends. In fact, I’ve found that the same things that have made me successful as a lawyer and lobbyist are also what make me successful as a blogger: an analytical mindset, thorough research and writing skills, the ability to network fearlessly, and the diligence to persevere when faced with a challenging task. While it can feel burdensome at times, I have learned (from Erin at Scandalous Beauty) that you cannot fake the funk. If I’m not feelin’ it, I cannot produce quality content. On the flipside, when I’m feeling inspired (which is more often than not), I can crank out a week’s worth of posts like it ain’t no thang! In fact, there were many times over the course of the last year when blogging was the only thing that gave me any enjoyment. When work sucked or my love life was in the toilet, I could say to myself, “Well, at least I still have my blog.” It’s my own little corner of the universe and I’m in charge.
So, Happy Birthday CurvyCEO.com. And thank you, dear readers, for taking this journey with me. Here’s to many more years of plus-size professional style!
*makes a wish, blows out the candle*
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