When I began my blog in 2013, I was so broke, I didn’t even have a smartphone, never mind a camera or any other blogging equipment.
I had a part-time job which I didn’t like very much and as I’d moved to Dublin from Galway a few months beforehand, I didn’t know many people in Dublin.
I had a lot of free time and needed an inexpensive hobby to entertain myself with.
I thought about starting a blog years before but was afraid to “put myself out there.” Eventually I decided to just go for it, because I had nothing to lose.
I soon realised blogging was rekindling my passion for writing and it made me feel excited.
I’d completed a psychology degree in 2010 but since leaving college, I’d floundered.
I had done some subbing in a school for autistic children and I also worked in a summer camp for special needs children abroad but I found the work very emotionally draining and was deeply unhappy.
When I started my blog in 2013, I was working in retail but that certainly wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life.
When I began blogging, I found it helped me in various aspects of my life.
Although I am very outgoing and have never had problems making friends or chatting to strangers, I sometimes suffer from a lack of confidence in myself and my own ideas and opinions.
At this point in my life, I would go out of my way to avoid talking about my personal life with other people, as I didn’t want them to know I worked in retail and wasn’t as successful as some of my friends.
I was also suffering from extreme anxiety, particularly at work. After enduring severe bullying in a previous job, I found myself unable to articulate myself properly to managers in work.
I would find my hands shaking during routine work meetings or speaking to managers one-on-one.
When someone criticised my work, I would take it very personally and feel as though I was being bullied again.
Once I began my blog, I had something I enjoyed talking about and I gradually began to feel more confident in myself and my own abilities.
I still struggle with anxiety and low self-esteem from time to time like many people, but blogging helped me regain a lot of the confidence I was missing.
When I was younger, I was determined to have a creative career. Being from a rural background, there was a lot of pressure to go down a traditional route, like primary school teaching.
I cannot tell you how many times people tried to dissuade me from pursuing my interests and tried to steer me towards teaching. (No shade to all the amazing teachers but I would have made a REALLY terrible teacher!)
Ever since I was a young child, I loved fashion and art and hoped to pursue fashion design. After spending the year after Leaving Cert doing an art portfolio course, I wasn’t quite so sure and decided to study psychology instead.
However, once I began writing about fashion, I knew I had found something I really wanted to do.
It also rekindled my interest in writing about other topics and media in general. I began to write other pieces for online magazines and really enjoyed it.
A few months after I began my blog, I realised I wanted to do a postgraduate course in journalism.
It took another two and a half years for me to get my act together and save the money and while it was extremely tough, it was also the best thing I ever did.
I’m now working as a digital journalist and while I’m now 29 and slightly older than some of my colleagues, I also have experience in other areas on my CV.
Before I found my current position, I had applied for a LOT of jobs and at the interviews, the interviewers were always curious about my blog.
It certainly helped me get a previous internship and my current job and I am very grateful for that.
3. Community & Friendship
At first, I used to just tweet my blog link into cyberspace or sometimes share on my own personal Facebook page.
Needless to say, I didn’t get many clicks, apart from a few from curious friends.
I joined several blogging groups on Facebook, including the Irish Bloggers Group. Here I found an amazing community of bloggers, blogging about diverse topics and openly sharing personal experiences, such as mental and physical health problems, relationships and bereavements.
I learned many tips from other bloggers here and all about the basics of blogging. What I didn’t know, I researched.
The day I met my blogging friends sticks out in my mind for several reasons.
Earlier that day, I’d been to an inquest into my dad’s sudden death a year before. It was a very sad and difficult day and I thought about skipping the meetup.
But once I got there and met the founder Sinead (SineadSocial) and the other bloggers, I was so excited to chat to other people about blogging and share blogging tips and stories.
I left feeling happy and I’ve gone on to become good friends with other bloggers.
They are Sinead, who coaches other bloggers on starting a blog, social media and blogging resources, Kathryn (ViolinKit), who shares my love for vintage clothes and thrifty finds and Ciara (Irish Travel Key), who is passionate about travelling abroad and day trips in Ireland.
Then there’s Martina (From the tiny flat), who blogs about healthy eating, exercise and training on her blog, Senan (Oakleaf Adventure) who blogs all about outdoor life and Eadaoin (Firechild Photography) who is an avid photographer.
Meeting these people was crucial to my enjoyment and knowledge of blogging.
I’ve also connected with some lovely fellow bloggers online who I’ve never met but enjoy their content.
My blogging journey has been very positive in general but I have experienced some jealousy and resentment at times. Blogging can also be lonely, so having a supportive group of blogger friends makes all the difference.
I’m so glad I have my blogging friends and I’d recommend anyone who wants to learn more about blogging to join the Girlcrew Bloggers.
There were several times in my life when I felt like abandoning my blog. I was filled with self-doubt when I compared my humble blog to that of prolific bloggers. I had thoughts like “I’m no good at this”, “no-one will be interested” and “I don’t have enough followers.”
Counting followers, clicks and hits and comparing your blog to that of others will only make you unhappy. If you admire another blogger, see what you can learn from them but never try to copy their content.
It’s good to keep track of your followers and hits on your blog so you can assess what type of content your readers enjoy most but don’t let that take over.
In 2014 I contemplated completly abandoning my blog. My dad had just died and I hadn’t posted in several months. I was very upset for months afterwards and I found daily life a massive struggle.
I found it hard that life around me was still going on as normal while my life seemed so empty and sad.
Gradually I began posting again and although I was still dealing with the bereavement for many months afterwards, it helped having something I still cared about.
I’m so glad I didn’t give up on my blog as it proved crucial in helping me find work in the INSANELY tough media industry.
While my blog is still quite small, it fills a huge part of my life.
It’s a hobby, something I can put on my CV, it has taught me so many skills I never would’ve learned on my own (SEO, basic code, basic photography etc.) and I’ve also enjoyed some moderate success.
In the first year of my blog, I made the long-list for the Irish Blog Awards and in 2015 and 2016, I was delighted to be shortlisted for Best Fashion category.
I used to think I couldn’t blog because I didn’t have the best equipment or loads of money for clothes and I have a tendency to look awkward in photos.But in reality, it was only my own fear holding me back.
I can never keep a straight face while posing for a photo so if I take an #OOTD it’s usually with a big cheesy grin on my face.
Although the world of fashion blogging can be competitive, I’ve found my niche with thrifty style.
Hope you all enjoyed this post and thanks for bearing with me on this one.