For this episode of my 'Bloggers Guide' series, I wanted to look at a side of blogging that isn't so frequently talked about as new clothes or the latest beauty products. I started blogging back in 2009, and it was Adrian who inspired me to do so. He knew that I loved fashion and that I also loved to write, and he was the person that recommended I start taking these hobbies and using them to start my own website. He helped me to find the platform I would use, and he also helped me with the design, editing and styling of my blog layout and provided the hand drawn font for my header and blog buttons. He was also on hand (and still is!) to take the copious amount of photographs I need to include with every post, and show me how to use Photoshop to (basically) resize and edit pictures. I have had to Google some of the techniques, mind you, if he is at work when I need to use them!
I've been really lucky to have Adrian to help support me and encourage me to maintain and update Credit Crunch Chic, even when I've wanted to completely delete the entire site because I've critically compared my blog to other, much bigger and better, ones. I can understand why bloggers quit; I've been very close to doing so on several occasions but Adrian has always managed to talk me out out doing that and help me to appreciate the great content that I do have and strive to achieve; one of my favourite quotes is 'comparison is the thief of joy' and it really rings true; my blog is not like anyone else's, but then again, no one else's is like Credit Crunch Chic, and I'm proud of that!
The crux of this 'Blogger's Guide' was to talk about the importance of maintaining a work/life balance whilst running a website. It's difficult; social media and the internet make it so that we never really switch off; I will write a blog post, spend time putting it together and editing the pictures, writing the copy and making sure I'm happy with it, then spend more time feeding it out over social media, responding to tweets, alongside sharing choice images over Instagram and Facebook, (running the blog's FB page concurrently) and responding to emails and building up a network of PR and agency contacts. It is my hobby, but more so than ever it is becoming a full time one. I already have a full time, 40 hour a week job; juggling this with running the website can mean that I feel like I am permanently working, be that at my day job or behind a desk with the blog. This can be overwhelming and actually quite lonely, spending all your time at work or at home can be demoralising and definitely means that social obligations take a backseat.
Until it pays my bills, my website remains a hobby, and I have made a conscientious effort to view it that way. I try to avoid spending too much time on social media; sometimes, the amount of effort it takes to keep up is draining and I feel anxious that I am missing out. There are so many hashtagged blogger chats to join in with on Twitter, so many pages to comment on Facebook, images to like on Instagram and that's before I've had the chance to even glance over other blogs on my reading list. I sometimes feel that there just isn't enough time to get through everything, and it's taken me a long time to appreciate that that's ok.
Credit Crunch Chic is a huge portfolio of work which has built up over the last 6 years and I am incredibly proud of it. I know I haven't won any awards or been to many fashion shows, and it's been a lesson in hard work. What I've learnt is not to take it too seriously, to enjoy the content that I publish and spend time and effort thinking up exciting new material that I look forward to posting every day, but not to let it take over my life or try to do too much, just to have fun and enjoy it. I make time to take part in other hobbies, too, like my ballroom dancing classes, yoga and charity shopping, which is important because I enjoy those and it always helps me to refocus on my blog if I step away from it for a time, even if just a couple of hours now and again to do something completely different.