Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Six Months In: A Nomination and Some Reflections



I got some really exciting and unexpected news about 10 days ago. I have been shortlisted for Best New Blogger at the British Plus Size Awards! I am absolutely thrilled, not least because there are some other wonderful bloggers in this category. There is going to be an awards dinner and the chance to mingle with fellow bloggers and members of the plus size community which I am very excited about - this is a chance to wear a pretty, fancy dress - eeek! And meet some of my heroes - double eeek! But winning would be pretty incredible too, so it would be amazing if you would vote for me here.



Today I have been blogging for six months. This, coupled with the news of the nomination has made me a little reflective. I am just overwhelmed that in six months so much has happened to this little blog of mine and I feel really grateful and quite blessed to be honest. I have met some wonderful people through this blog and my interactions online, I have already had some great opportunities, and I feel myself growing with the blog.  In what has already been a tumultuous but exciting year, blogging and what I've done as a result of it my blog has certainly been a highlight. So please indulge me as I reflect a little on what I've learnt so far on this short but eventful journey...

It's been a busy six months...

It's good to have a hobby
I am one of those weird people who really actually loves my day job. Sometimes to my detriment. I get sucked in, and kind of let the rest of my life suffer a bit sometimes. I get really dull and talk about work a lot, and my hours become super anti social. So, this year I figured I'd get a hobby. And that's what this blog is. It's already grown much quicker than I might have hoped, and I am so pleased that other people enjoy it, but it started for me. In typical Hayley fashion I have blogged to the max, and I've probably traded talking about work for talking about my blog so not sure my friends are really feeling the benefit here, but my work/life balance is a lot better. Having a hobby

Make time for it, until it becomes a habit
In the beginning doing something new is really exciting, and then after a little bit when you are not feeling super inspired or life is busy it gets hard. You just have to push on through until it becomes a habit. I found scheduling in some time for my blogging (and the social media that goes with it) really helpful. My working life is quite busy, so I actually write a lot of my posts on my phone on the bus (having taking the pictures whenever I can find someone willing to take them) and then lay them out and proof read them usually on a Sunday evening. I also make sure I always have a note book handy - I should really make notes on my phone but in that way I am really still a paper gal - for when inspiration strikes.

Rely on the kindness of your friends
With any undertaking in life, if you don't the have support of your nearest and dearest it's gonna be a struggle. For me actually letting people know I was starting this project made me feel quite vulnerable - I was putting a piece of myself out there. Some of my posts are of a personal nature and other posts detail hang ups that I have spent a lifetime hiding. I also worried I might look a little vain - all these photos and talking about what I like about myself and what I look good in. Eeek! But what wasted worries - pretty much everyone I care about was super supportive and amazingly helpful. They were my first followers and likers. They were the ones taking my blog pictures (still are, and very patient about it too! I need to get a tripod!) and my best friend designed my beautiful blog banner and helped me make my site navigable. They have really made this endeavour so much easier and enjoyable. So use your friends and family - they're your very first fans!

Do what you love
Okay, this is obvious, and on everyone's list of hints and tips I'm sure, but it can be really tempting to copy what other people have done successfully. But do what comes naturally to you. Write about the things you love, wear the clothes that you like and make you feel good, and write in your own voice. Sure, learn things from your favourite bloggers, but make sure whatever you are writing is authentically you, because being anything else will get old and tired quickly. I write about the clothes I love, and write the sorts of posts I would want to read. Sometimes I blend in other things I care about, because that's what's important to me. It might not work for everyone but this is my blog and something I have committed to, so I better enjoy doing it :)

A sense of Community
Sometimes you don't realise you are missing something until you find it. Over the past few years, prior to starting this blog, I found myself getting more and more involved in body positivity online. It was something I went looking for as an alternative to the diet and body shaming culture I saw pretty much everywhere. One that made me see my body for something it was - pretty amazing - rather than as a flawed, shameful burden to carry and hide. When I found this community of women who were also sick of the way we berate any body that doesn't fit the ideal (even momentarily - think of the cellulite shaming of celebrities every summer!) it was with a sense of relief I began to unburden myself of all these feelings of inadequacy. I didn't matter that the things I was reading were written by people with experiences from across the world. They were telling my stories. I was instantly a part of this group. My tribe. For me there are still things I want to change about my body, but it is important to be at peace with what you have now instead of constantly focusing on what you want to be different.

Be kind
I find that getting along as a blogger, much like getting along as a human being, is just easier when you're nice. Being new to any community comes with its challenges - you're feeling your way, and learning about all the people who have recently become your peers. A big draw to becoming a blogger was the people - their journeys to body confidence, their amazing personal styles, the incredible support and help they give their readers. The blogger sisterhood (that's what it feels like to me) and plus size community has been one of the most positive and life affirming groups I have ever interacted with. Compliments flow, advice is freely given, and people have been genuinely really supportive. So thank you to all of you - my blogging heroes, my readers, my friends - you have made this an awesome and worthwhile six months.

Anyway, that's that little ramble. I hope some of it was interesting, or at least not too dull. Back to fashion next post. And if you do get the chance - GO VOTE!


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5 comments

  1. Oh wow, only 6 months and look at what you've achieved! I need to step up my game! Go you! <3

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    Replies
    1. I've had a lot of luck, and tend to be quite single minded when I start something haha. But thanks honey xxx

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  2. And what a super achievement after those 6 months. I truly feel so blessed and lucky that I first saw you at your shoot with Velvet and you joined such a wonderful community that I was also part of. My Fellow blogging sister x

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  3. I really enjoyed meeting you today at Razz for Life and wish I'd been able to have a longer chat with you.
    This is a brilliant and truly personal post. I totally get the difficulty of finding a work / life balance and just like you I have probably replaced my ravings about my job with ravings about my blog. Ha.
    You have achieved so much! I can't believe you've only been blogging for six months. Well done you.
    I'm going to head over to the voting site and vote for you. Well done on the nomination !!
    xx Kat http://www.dandelionblue.co.uk/

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