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More and more of us today are choosing to write a blog. Whether for monetary gain, to practice writing, or just simply for pleasure, blogging is one way to hone your expression and voice, and make your opinions heard.
Blogging used to be something the geeky kids did, those who progressed from daily journaling with a fluffy pink pen to typing away. But today it’s a profession with, if you make it, a (N.B. irregular) salary worth all the time and effort.
Identifying as a blogger myself, in the past three and a half years of curating my blog Kulayrosas (kulayrosas.com), it has only been in the last year that I’ve found my niche, developed a coherent and strong personal voice, and get the following that we all are after deep down. The best thing is when I receive a message about a post; to know my words have made an impact on someone always brings tears to my eyes.
Now in a perfect world, blogging and studying would go hand in hand. But they don’t. It’s not easy balancing time between your passion, and your degree. As much as I love the subjects I study, they are not what I talk about in my blog posts. I often find myself blogging in the library instead of studying or revising, but then studying or revising in my bed rather than blogging. Swings and roundabouts. I usually blog whenever I’ve been inspired, or when I have a free moment. Words often just come to me, I have found, and so if I don’t write them down immediately I forget what I wanted to say.
Admittedly, I’ve blogged in lectures when I should’ve been taking notes, due to sudden inspiration (code word for boredom), but then always compensated and caught up at home. It’s been a lot easier to manage my time now that I have a lot to juggle, even if that sounds illogical. I work part-time, do a Joint Honours, have my own business, do publicity/social media for Her Campus and LAEL Society, and write for SCAN, all while managing my blog. So, it is possible. And anyone can do it.
Fellow fashion and beauty bloggers of Lancaster University, Emy Cragoe (emy-cragoe.squarespace.com), Alex Dale (southerneruptnorth.wordpress.com), Abbie Lawton (maisiemouseadventures.wordpress.com) and Lauren Bentley (lifethroughlauren.wordpress.com), share how their blogs began and how they balance blogging with studying…
How do you balance blogging with studying for a degree?
EC: University work has to come first, as ultimately I’m here to get a degree for my future and it’s something I am paying for. But it’s a hard balance, it becomes very tempting to write a blog post instead of writing a very uninteresting essay, you just need to have you priorities set.
AD: I really don’t blog as often as I’d like. With my degree requiring a seemingly endless amount of essays, it’s unfortunate thqt my creative outlet is writing as that’s often the last thing I want to do after spending the day in lectures. When I do get round to blogging, a lot of it is influenced by my degree subject too which is alright when you study Media and Cultural Studies and you write a lifestyle blog, but still… At the end of the day, you can’t force inspiration. I blog when I have something I feel passionately enough about that I can’t help but blog, and I know when I’m a little less stressed the inspiration will come thick and fast.
AL: If I wasn’t studying for a degree I would be blogging all the time. And, I wouldn’t be lying if I said I sometimes procrastinate by blogging instead of revising, but I do really try to keep my degree my number one priority. It makes sense…if I want to make blogging part of my career, it would be useful to get a degree first.
LB: I tend to use my blog as a revision break. Whenever I’m feeling stressed or a little emotional, I will open my blog and either draft my next post, or write a full one read to share. I do advise to keep your degree your first priority, but my blog has become a form of therapy and stress relief, so I make sure I used it only as a break, or whenever I have free time.
Has there been a defining moment since you began blogging when you knew it was the right thing to do?
EC: Absolutely. I was nervous to reveal my writing to the world, there’s no doubt about that. But there was one moment, just after I posted about my blog on social media, when friends from school who I hadn’t spoken to in years, just started messaging me to congratulate me on my blog and how much they liked it. Validation from people is an amazing feeling, especially when you know those people have gone out of there way to say something nice to you. It is definitely something that has kept me motivated to keep going
AD:My blog has slowly become a portfolio, as well as an outlet for my thoughts. I’m currently applying for jobs that require published writing, and my blog is evidence of that. I was at a career’s event recently and was chatting to one of the speakers about tips on making it in a creative industry. She asked if I had a blog and when I replied yes, she said, “That’s fantastic! It doesn’t matter if you have 0 readers or 100, the point is you’re publicly declaring your passion and that’s what employers want to see – passion”.
AL: I started my blog as a way to express my thoughts and document my memories, make use of my camera, and most importantly share my experiences with others. I wouldn’t really say there has been a defining moment, I just know it’s right for me right now!
LB: At the beginning of this year, I went through a very dark period which changed me as a person, and I became a shell of myself. My parents encouraged me to get help from both counsellors and the doctor. I’ve always been interested in beauty, fashion, and giving advice too people (I’m the Agony Aunt in my group of friends); it felt as though this would be a good way of expressing myself and my interests, as well as being able to help others going through similar situations to me.
What/who do you draw inspiration for your blog from?
EC: Blogging is not a new phenomenon, so there’s plenty of competition out there. But, I see this as something position as it challenges bloggers to be more creative and original. Personally, I don’t think you can’t not draw inspiration from others from a similar field. Competition will inspire your creativity, challenge you to engage your audience more, and keep you on your toes. YouTube plays a big part in what I base my content on, but I always listen to feedback from my readers, and try to cater to their wishes. My parents also inspire me (yes cheesy); they are the most hardworking people I have ever met, and I don’t think I will ever understand how they can be parents, husband and wife, best friends and amazing business partners at the same time.
AD: I don’t really have any inspirations for my blog. I read loads of other blogs and definitely have my favourites, but blogging is so personal I’d never try to imitate someone else or recreate their style.
AL: I couldn’t say I have had one or even a few inspirations for my blog. I watched Zoella when I was younger…I guess she kind of inspired a whole new generation of content creators. Maybe I was one of them? I’m not too sure.
LB: My first inspiration has to be myself. If I didn’t inspire myself, I wouldn’t have taken the plunge and started such a personal blog. Although it’s mostly, fashion and beauty with inspiration coming from the likes of Holly Boon, Imogen Hudson and Sarah Ashcroft, I did this blog for myself, as a method of healing and therapy; to take my mind away from my problems and focus it on something positive instead.
What tips would you give to a fellow student wanting to start a blog, but unsure where to start?
EC: First of all, blogging is a trend – so only do it if you genuinely want to, not because everyone else is doing it. It takes up a lot of your time, especially if you want it to go places. A blog can help you in the job world, but it can also be something really personal to help you through difficult moments in your life. I would say, write what is most relevant to you and your experiences. It should come from the heart.
AD: The hardest part is starting. But if you want to write, just sit down and write. I could write about fashion and style all day. Whether it be cooking, or cars, or even something as niche as origami, if you have something to say, let ut be heard – or rather, read!
LB: Firstly, it begins with your passion. A blog doesn’t just have to be about fashion and beauty, it can be about literally anything: travelling, politics, education, food…you name it! As long as there’s a topic inspires you enough to write about it, and express it to others, then go for it. Even if you don’t publish the blog to the world, doing it for yourself is very therapeutic.
So the five of us who place ourselves within the blogosphere, we all say go for it. If blogging or writing is your passion, sign up and get tying away. We’re lucky to be part of an online community that is so supportive, and generous with tips and advice that it’s a happy place, rather than dog eats dog like some professions. Whether it’s a career your after, or just a new hobby, express away until your fingers are numb, and share your thoughts with the world!