A Year In Review + End Of The Year Reflections
I hope you all had a happy holiday! It’s been quite some time where I’ve taken the time to write a full post that comes straight from the heart.
Many of you may have noticed that over the last few months I haven’t been posting much or at all. Life definitely caught up to me in small and big ways. Since moving to Portland and starting my dream job, life seemed to literally fly right by me. I started focusing less on blogging and more on other things that needed more attention.
In the last few weeks, I haven’t been posting as much on Instagram. While I kept making excuses for it to friends or other bloggers who of course kept asking “what are you doing with your blog?” My answer remains the same, I don’t actually know.
When I think back on this past year, it was really a growing moment for Brunchinista. I felt like I was growing a ton but my engagement remained the same. Like many, I became obsessed with this idea of “getting to 10K” that I completely started losing sight of why I even started to blog to begin with, to write, to share stories because that is what I love to do. The first half of this year I completely threw myself into Brunchinista and it was amazing and wonderful while the second half I slowly started to step away from it. In fact I got rid of A TON of followers. Maybe I was having a quarter life blogger crisis or maybe I became too fixated on these little minute details that don’t matter, but after I did it, I felt liberated. LIBERATED I tell you.
I started seeing content I wanted to see that had been buried for weeks, months and maybe even years! I began to actually looking at things a lot differently and started to realize what a disease it was that had taken over me to become obsessed with numbers, likes, followers. So I got rid of everything that “mattered” and decided that’s it, no more of this non-sense. I decided to do this for two reasons, I felt that after years of having the same Instagram account I just accumulated garbage. In fact over 7 years of it. Yes I’ve had my Instagram since 2011. Which is CRAZY to think. I was also able to see who every single one of my followers was. Maybe this is a complete and utter mistake but I still to this day don’t regret it.
Being an all or nothing type of personality, I obviously went to another extreme to prove my point that you can lose it all in a day and it won’t matter. There are bigger things that matter. Like writing things that we love, taking photos we want to take not because we “have to”. And yes when you become someone who creates content, a brand is depending on you to post a photo by a certain deadline. So yes, you HAVE to do it. I guess I had just had enough of it all.
For anyone who says the numbers don’t matter, they’re lying. Every blogger I’ve known at one point or another has said it has bothered them and they hate it. The problem is, we all just keep living this vicious, endless cycle of comparing ourselves to other people and placing our value in someone else’s hands.
I’ve had a lot to say for a while but honestly this all just felt fake to me. I did everything to stay on top of blogging by doing several things that a lot of bloggers do. I joined said comment/like pods which are in fact just dumb and exhausting. I gave it a whirl and it was way more stressful than I needed my life to be. At one point years ago, when you could buy followers, pre-brunchinista era, I bought some and you know what? I was extremely disappointed to find out they were all bots. I emailed the company that I wanted the refund and was appalled by this service. They did in fact give me a refund me but I was stuck with 2500 dead accounts. That’s right! 2500. This all happened in 2013 but for some reason it continued to bother me for years. I also tried giveaways which also in a way felt pointless and not genuine. It wasn’t fun. It was stressful and also exhausting.
So now that I’ve laid all that out on the table, was it worth it? Not really. Were all my followers fake? Definitely not! But I felt like I needed to be transparent with all of you through this journey of blogging and the lengths that people go to become successful. I’d say about 6K were all real and the rest were inactive accounts, lurkers, or robots. Perhaps more but who knows at this point. To break this down, inactive is someone who hasn’t posted or engaged in 90 days, a lurker is someone who follows you and watches what you do but never engages with your content, and the robots are fake accounts that look like real accounts.
I felt that for the last few years I’ve been carrying around dead weight and it was time to get rid of it all. ALL inactive, bots, lurkers so I could see who my genuine audience was. But I didn’t stop there, I decided to just do a master clean of it all down to 1.7K which is where I’m at now. If you’re wondering why I’m telling you this, it’s because my Instagram was 7 years worth of work all just gone in a matter of a week. And I think it made me realize that I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I’m 100 percent thankful for how much I grew, how many brands I collaborated with and all the wonderful people I met. But I felt that it was time to look at the bigger picture. Was this making me happy? Was this something I needed to keep doing?
With moving to Portland, working on my rehabbing leg, writing for magazines, writing for myself (I’m writing poetry these days), working at my dream job, and living over 100 miles away from the man I love, it has not been an easy thing to find balance for blogging and everything else in my life. Most of my weekends are spent traveling to Eugene or doing fun things in Portland with my boyfriend and friends. The days where I would stay up late for a blog post and cram photography sessions into a weekend just really haven’t looked appealing.
So as far as 2019 goes, I still have a lot of thinking to do. I think I’m going to continue to write, I’m going to continue to post, occasionally, because I do love sharing stories with all of you loyal readers. That’s why I became a writer.
If you’re here because you’re going through the exact same thing and don’t know what to do, take a break. It literally isn’t going to kill you. It will all be there when you come back, I promise. That and invest more time in something that has more value. I’d honestly love to spend more time actually blogging than thinking about what my next Instagram post is going to be. I’ve thought about what the next year will be like and have come up with some things I want to work on.
Some of my resolutions for the next year are to not take myself too seriously. I struggle with this because I’m exceptionally high-strung, to a fault and am probably the definition of no chill. BUT some of the best moments I’ve had in my life were when I just chilled out and went with the flow. I’m also working on self-love, confidence and becoming a better human in general. I think sometimes when we lose sight of what’s really important, life is really great at reminding us just what truly matters.
So I’ll leave you with this. I have no idea where Brunchinista will be next year but I’m hoping eating brunch with some amazing ladies that I’ve met through my passion project @portlandbloggers, and enjoying Portlandia for all it has to offer. It really has been amazing to live in the city again.
Enjoy your holidays all! I can’t thank you all enough for your endless support. Until next year.