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Blogger existential crisis (and an outfit)

red and green in the rain
red and green in the rain
red and green in the rain
red and green in the rain

The text for this post was going to be about my day when I wore this. About how I’d had plans to get dressed up, but then ended up being still hungover and in my pyamas at 3pm and about the thought of wrestling with tights just being a step too far, and how I picked whatever was in my ‘already worn’ pile, but how I then discovered that the combination actually looked pretty nice with all the volume, and the trousers like a maxi skirt. And how that persuaded me to take pictures even in the rain. And how those trousers are 15 years old and still going, and proof that there was a time when h&m sold things not made of tissue paper.

But then I checked my email, and an email from IFB caught my eye which had an interview with a girl from Get Off My Internets in it, so I clicked through, and through again to the actual GOMI site. I’d been on there before, not a huge amount, but people have told me about specific posts, and one time a commenter linked (in a nice way) to my ‘why I will never be a professional fashion blogger‘ post from something about accepting too much free shit, and so I followed the trail from all the traffic I was getting. So it wasn’t as if I wasn’t aware, it had just never really appealed to me so I didn’t linger.

But this time, I got sucked in. I spent a good hour and a half clicking through the archives and I discovered all this stuff. Mostly, I thought the writers calling people out on their ludicrous behavior seemed justified (choice posts: the Man Repeller pretended to be single for a year and a half while actually in the process of getting engaged! Jessica Quirk really really hates poor and fat people and does not care who knows it!). It was often very funny and it’s not as if they just randomly have a go at people, it’s all based on things people wrote or did on their blogs, with lots of quotes and screenshots backing everything up. I definitely have no problem with GOMI’s existence.

But the thing is, after bingeing on stories of bad blogger behavior, I was completely paralysed. I actually could not bring myself to write anything. I just kept seeing myself through the lens of a GOMI post and thinking how ridiculous what I was doing was. What was I doing posting these terrible photos that I’d failed to improve with editing and so just shoved a filter over? Who the hell cares about my hangovers, or trousers I bought when I was 16? Who actually cares about anything?

I had a complete existential blogger crisis. Which has never happened to me before. I’ve felt caught in a vortex of unwanted competition and pressure to comment in the past, I’ve been stressed with trying to keep up quality posts. But I had never before actually questioned the validity of what I was doing. I’m definitely not one of those bloggers that wants to make a career out of it, and I don’t think it’s a revolution of democratic bottom up style power. But it’s always seemed to me to be a fair enough thing to do with your time, and a rewarding experience. And it’s always been something creative I’ve done mainly for myself and not for external validation. I’m not trying to grow grow grow I’m usually totally fine with criticism, and actually welcome it if it’s constructive, rational and respectful. So why a load of bitching about other people sent me into such a state I really don’t know.

Has this ever happened to you?

Outfit stats: * liberty fabric blouse – vintage shop * trousers – h&m, circa 1998 * bag – gift, camvbridge satchel company * shoes – clarks * jacket – promod * cowl – I made it * brollie – hema *

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Veshoevius 30 April 2012, 7:38 am

    Hey Franca – forget about them. I have a suspicion I’m somewhere on that site too since they left a comment on one of my posts. I didn’t bother to dig too hard. Sincerely – there are always going to be people who question the validity of what you do, whether that is who you work for, who you vote for, what you believe in and care about and what you choose to do in your spare time – and mostly just because it doesn’t agree with someone elses belief or value system, which is all to some extent subjective anyway. Do you enjoy blogging? Do you enjoy clothes? You’re a great and thoughtful writer so I expect you enjoy writing as well as like having fun with dress and this is a place you can do both – don’t let people bully you out of doing what you like. If I had a pound for every person who looks at me like I’ve sprouted an extra head every time I tell them I am a flamenco dancer (or worse a personal style blogger!) in my spare time I’d be a rich woman. Many people think this is a really dumb thing to be doing – but I love it and am I going to let what other people think about what I enjoy doing spoil my enjoyment of it? Hell no. Ditto with blogging xxx
    Yes we could all be blogging about more serious things but blogging is an outlet and hobby for many people who already do very serious things with their time offline – the internet is PUBLIC and so varied in content as a consequence, that’s the beauty of it – who says GOMI sets the rules and standards? They don’t.
    Veshoevius recently posted..BoathouseMy Profile

  • Danielle 30 April 2012, 9:44 am

    Since I haven’t been able do outfit posts lately as I’m travelling and don’t have much of a wardrobe, I’ve struggled with posting at all. I don’t really have much to say aside from some day to day life stuff. I often wonder who would want to read it and am I just wasting my time. But I try to remind myself that I enjoyed writing the blog even before I let anyone know that I had it at all. I think ‘good for you’ for posting even in the midst of self-doubt. And talking about it. Because that’s what makes us little bloggers special. We don’t have an image to uphold. We can just be who we are. And that is always, always enough.
    Danielle recently posted..Easter SundayMy Profile

  • J 30 April 2012, 9:48 am

    I have no directly comparable experience, as I’m not a blogger. But I do, quite often, have the experience of others questioning the validity of what I do; you see, I am a stay at home mum, with no external career – not a choice which many make nowadays, and one which many do not see as valid. But I believe in what I do, and I don’t think one needs external validation, really: all the reasons that you enjoy blogging are just the right sort of reasons to be doing it.
    Also, this outfit is great! I really like your rainy pictures, and every time you show that liberty print shirt it makes me happy. Also, I am wearing a dress I bought when I was about 17 today (that would be 16 years ago), and in fact I do care that you have had those trousers for so long! Not that you need my validation 😉 – but others certainly enjoy you doing your blog too!

  • Andi B. Goode 30 April 2012, 10:36 am

    I’ve never bothered to read the site, I must admit. But I understand where you’re coming from! I would feel the exact same way, I’m sure. Sometimes I think I’m being silly and wasting my time but then I think ‘stuff it!’ I’m an awesome babe with great style and sharing it with the internet is fun for me (most of the time). And I truly enjoy your blog. I feel like mine has little substance beyond my awesome style but I think you have a really nice balance of your awesome style as well as things that set me thinking.
    -Andi x
    Andi B. Goode recently posted..Silver Screen Sunday {The War of the Worlds}My Profile

  • StephC 30 April 2012, 10:56 am

    Well, I never heard of the site, but it sounds pretty negative. In a general sense.

    I start to feel like that when I get distracted by wondering what I “should” write, instead of just writing and blogging to please myself. So sometimes I allow a miss for a day or two and come back, though I’m sure it makes me terribly inconsistent. But my blogging is for me, really. A way to meet up with other people who may be quite far away.

    I’m glad you blog. You’re a cool, interesting person who has a life very different from mine, and I enjoy reading your writing as much as I spend time plotting a cat burglary style heist of your wardrobe… 😉 Trousers with the skirt is rad.
    StephC recently posted..Fixing My Pink Wrinkly BottomMy Profile

  • Yasmeen (Castle Fashion) 30 April 2012, 12:13 pm

    I’ve had blogger paralysis before but it’s usually for other reasons (not feeling inspired, hating how every comment I get is “omg come to my blog!” etc.)

    I do get it though. It feels like a rat race. And, for some bloggers, that’s exactly what it is. There’s one blogger that pops into my head because she seems to be the top commenter on all the popular blogs’ new posts. I’ll scroll down to comment and think, “Huh…how the fuck does she do that!?” Lol. It makes me think some bloggers just sit at their computer waiting for new posts by the top guns. That’s when it’s out of hand. Trying to produce quality content isn’t a problem in my mind. If it gets stressful, you should take a break and re-focus (I’ve done it several times) but ultimately you’re putting yourself out into the world; you want to be proud of whatever you convey. That’s one of the reasons I waited so long to blog. I didn’t want to be posting poor cell phone pictures with no life in them. Everyone has different reasons for their blog. I have two specific reasons for my blog: 1. I love doing photo shoots. I just think they’re fun 🙂 and 2. I want to design something one day! The free stuff is nice but that’s not really the end goal. I didn’t have a chance to be selective with my career so this is my alternate route.

    If you know you don’t want to turn this into a career, that’s even less pressure! I wish I could say the same. 🙂 In the end, it’s your blog, your face, and your writing so do what you want (as long as it’s not racist, classist, elitist etc. Lol)
    Yasmeen (Castle Fashion) recently posted..Outfit | WarmthMy Profile

  • Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys 30 April 2012, 3:17 pm

    I got sucked in by and addicted to them too. I even found a forum thread about myself, saying I’m super smug! 🙂 But I don’t think the purpose of GOMI is to discourage people from blogging at all… The writers and commenters are obviously big-time blog readers, and they’re clearly pretty fond of various bloggers–they’re just calling the especially stupid/annoying/privileged/bitchy ones out on being all of those things. You don’t fit into any of the above categories, and indeed I often see the commenters wishing there were more thoughtful, analytical fashion blogs.
    Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys recently posted..barcelona by dayMy Profile

  • Bella Q 30 April 2012, 4:29 pm

    I’ve been mentioned on that site, and it was hard to read- fortunately for me, I’m not interesting enough to go on and on about. I’ve considered writing about GOMI, but IFB beat me to the punch. It seems to be the elephant in the room for fashion bloggers- we delete negative comments but there’s sometimes something to the criticism and we could learn a bit from it. I took some to the criticism to heart and cleaned up my blog (they said my font which was large made it seem like I was yelling) and also own up to the fact that when you put yourself out there you’re going to attract some haters.

    But I appreciate the venue- they said stuff (in a meaner way than I would have) that I think about some bloggers, (Quark, anyone?) and there needs to be a place to go to talk shit- that’s human nature. I think a crisis = opportunity; here is your chance to be clear as to why you blog, and who you are blogging to. I enjoy your perspective as its more than mere fashion, and here’s to a pair of pants that are still kicking it 15 years later in your closet.

    Your face is looking quite sweet lately, by the way. Marriage and moving might be good for you! xo. -Bella
    Bella Q recently posted..Picture Perfect: Blue Diamonds, Red TulipMy Profile

  • madam0wl 30 April 2012, 6:31 pm

    I’ve been lurking over at GOMI for a few months recently, I forgot what it was that sent me there at first. Possibly something related to dooce.com or What I Wore? I find myself smirking and laughing at a lot of what is written on that blog and in the community forums. Fortunately I’m under the radar enough to not get noticed, though a year or two ago I did get snarked by that one tumblr chick that was picking people out of wardrobe_remix and calling them “rejects.” So I kind of know what that kind of criticism might feel like.

    I have to agree with what someone said above though, despite all the snarking, I think many of the GOMI peeps really do *like* to read fashion blogs… so I don’t think they are trying to undermine the validity of blogging as a whole.

    Either way, even without criticism, I’ve been questioning my need/want to blog a lot lately. Jenny @ frecklewonder recently wrote about how she was getting burned out and took a short break, and how now she is more selective/focused with what she reads and feels better about why/what she likes about blogging, etc.

    I think as long as it is a creative outlet or hobby, and you don’t take yourself too seriously, or get too snooty, just keeping things real and so on, then you can keep on doing what you are doing and try not to worry too much about it. As long as it makes you happy and/or feeling connected…
    madam0wl recently posted..Woo hoo! Ugh!My Profile

  • Sadie 30 April 2012, 7:09 pm

    I love your compass necklace – does it actually work as a compass?

    I’m currently going through a bit of an existential blogging crisis myself, without even the impetus of negative comments – it just seems ridiculous that anyone would be interested in a woman rapidly approaching middle age posting pictures of the clothes she wears, or burbling about knitting – so I do know where you’re coming from!
    Sadie recently posted..A shawl a day keeps the blues awayMy Profile

  • Terri 30 April 2012, 11:00 pm

    Oh, please don’t stop blogging. I’ve never spent any time on the website you mention…I can recognize bad behavior for myself. And like you, I’m not in it for the popularity or the pennies that can be made for someone else. My existential crises tend to happen every 4 months or so. I counted back and realized that every 4 months, I need to take some sort of break–to bring a fresh perspective to blogging so that what I’m writing is not like everyone else.

    Your bit of a ramble reminded me of the way Jennie Zhang writes.
    Terri recently posted..Visible Monday: a Pencil Skirt EditionMy Profile

  • poet 1 May 2012, 5:11 am

    Ouch, an existential crisis is a nasty thing to catch! I hope you can pull through it, sometimes a little while off the blog helps. I recently stopped blogging for a month just because I couldn’t be bothered with all the other things happening in my life, and also because it had started to feel like a chore, but during the first year of blogging or so I remember that I felt *ashamed* for doing something as “superficial” as writing about fashion! But then I started suspecting that this was just a bunch of internalized misogyny, and maybe some of the hatred / questioning of fashion bloggers blows from that direction too. I wonder… Haven’t read GOMI though since I try to stay away from hater blogs and this seems eerily similar. Anyway, your outfit looks great, and even if it didn’t, wanting to play with colors & shapes is all the justification anyone ever needs for blogging about fashion.
    poet recently posted..In the gardenMy Profile

  • Rhianne 1 May 2012, 11:04 am

    OK, secret confession, I kind like GOMI – not for the bitching – but for the little bit of blogger awareness balance it gives me. In some ways GOMI is the opposite blog spectrum of all the bigger bloggers who seem to have perfect lifes, clothes, houses etc and its so easy to get caught up in all that ‘perfection’ and to feel a bit rubbish about myself.

    I do find both spectrums intimidating if I’m honest though – the lack of ‘perfection’ in my life/ blog in comparison to many of the bigger ones and also the fear that I take myself too seriously when reading GOMI – but as with most things, its about finding balance and what you’re happy with. I wouldn’t let any other blogs bother you, it is difficult not too I know but as long as you are happy with why you do what you do and what you share, then you don’t need to worry, not really.
    Rhianne recently posted..Around the Barn…My Profile

  • Rachel 1 May 2012, 11:58 am

    I had never heard of GOMI before now, and I’m pretty glad. But I’ve heard of you before (and met you!) and I’m glad about that too. The balance is right as far as I’m concerned. And I LOVE that blouse.

  • Señora Allnut 1 May 2012, 9:33 pm

    I think I’ve never commented here, but I’m used to read/watch your blog. So I would like to say how much I like it, because it’s fresh, unpretentious, honest, and also funny to read!.
    Please, don’t care if you’re questioning your own ‘blogging activities’, that kind of existencial crisis is quite usual!. But I would like to encourage you to stay enjoying your blog and your colorful style, because we enjoy it too!, no matter what other people could think about it!
    Señora Allnut recently posted..plaid inspirationMy Profile

  • Rebekah Jaunty 2 May 2012, 2:33 am

    In the immortal words of the internet, “haters gonna hate.” It will always be easier to criticize than to create.

    But platitudes aside, I get plenty nervous about posting— Any time I post an outfit photo, I know that it won’t impress style gurus and that I may be written off as just one more young, white, cisgendered woman with a camera. Any time I write about anything remotely important, I remember that most of my readers are better-educated than me and could shoot holes in any argument I may present… sharing is scary. Thank you for braving the internet to share your life with us.
    Rebekah Jaunty recently posted..The Perfect Title for Your New Indie AlbumMy Profile

  • Jamillah 2 May 2012, 9:54 pm

    Ok, I totally missed that article and will definitely check it out and I had not heard of this site although I am about to get sucked in b/c it’s waiting for me on my next tab.

    I think we are all putting ourselves out there and that comes w/ the risk of totally getting the smack down. I often get really nervous when I post b/c I’m wondering if I’m being diligent enough or smart enough with my research and posting…blogging anxiety is a more apt description of that I guess. But all the reasons you’ve stated for blogging are all the reasons I think you need. Maybe no one does care…but you do! And it’s fulfilling for you and that’s all that matters.
    Jamillah recently posted..Guest Post: Smile File-Miles of Hope Fashion ShowMy Profile