I have found it hard to write anything on here for the last couple of weeks.
The world seems too serious at the moment for lighthearted food reviews, recipes or my own half formed ramblings (though this obviously falls in the latter category!)
I'm also becoming more and more unsure of my place in the "blogosphere" and to be honest I have always operated on the fringes of this space.
I don't want to sell you anything. I don't want to bombard you with content for content's sake. I don't want to recommend things that I haven't really tried or I don't really believe in.
I don't want to be in your face and make you feel bad becaue your life doesn't look like my highlights.
I don't want to share EVERY single aspect of my life.
I do want to share something though. Develop windows into myself and my experiences.
I just don't know how to do this operating in a space where beautiful (men and) women basically sell their beautiful lives.
Whilst there are some bloggers out there who I really respect for their honesty, to be honest so much of this seems... vapid. Disingenuous. Fake. I could go on.
We are all well trained enough to be able to spot clever product placement. We can all spot unenthusiastic sponsored posts from a mile off, even if they aren't correctly labeled as such.
More and more I'm reading posts that just seem so half arsed and exist solely to sell me shit I don't need.
This all seems so paradoxical in an industry which started out as an authentic expression of the individual.
The blogosphere is an echo chamber
I started reading blogs because I wanted to hear from people like me. Boring and normal, but strangely diverse too.
I loved the fact that people were carving out their own creative spaces from their bedrooms or sofas. I loved hearing about the mundane aspects of their life - because it was honest and real.
When I open Bloglovin at the moment I click read immediately on about 90% of the posts. Most of these are by bloggers who I have followed for years!
I do this because there is often nothing new. A lot of content seems old and stale, done before and rehashed again without much thought. I must admit that I'm just as guilty of this as anyone else.
Even on sites like Medium, I still find myself frustrated at the limited variety of content, much of which is just the same old ideas put out there again and again (though I recognise there are some amazing people in many spaces doing unique things.)
Chasing views, not chasing dreams
From personal experience, I think a lot of my issues when it comes to writing new content come from the fact that I feel I have to write content which "does well" rather than what I'm actually interested in.
This perpetuates the echo chamber, as we all try to capture readers using retrograde metrics which only tell us what readers have previously liked.
"X has done well with listicles - I'm going to write a listicle!"
However what this doesn't account for is the possibility that comes from trying something new. We know what people have enjoyed reading in the past, but we don't know what they could potentially like in the future.
Part of this involves trail and error, which also involves failure - something which a lot of people aren't comfortable with.
However there are ways to take the sting out of a less than perfect result.
Create content that is meaningful to you and hopefully meaningful to others
If you believe in what you write, the chances are someone else will too.
This conviction will show in your craft, whether that's writing, composing, videography, painting. If it reflects a true sense of your self, people will also connect with it on a much deeper level.
I'm not saying we should all focus on super serious subjects and become conceptual outliers here - if white toned flat lays are your passion, then you go and do the best damn one you can.
All I'm arguing for is that we should be free to explore our creativity in non-standard ways and not be afraid of breaching stereotypes. Not only is this much more interesting to our readers/viewers, it's also fun.
At the end of the day, that's what I write for - to have fun, explore my own thoughts and practice my craft.