Hello dear readers. I want to talk to you about something that I wonder if others out there battle with that I’ve been battling with A LOT lately. It has to do with blogging and my career as a “pro” blogger and deciding just where I’m at with it all. And I need to share this because it comes from the heart and I’ve always prided myself on being as completely transparent as possible because I think you deserve it as my friends and readers.
You may not have seen me a lot on my blog this summer. I was sick for months during my first trimester (thankfully that’s over!) and had a book to produce, then write. During my quiet pause, I’ve been blogging weekly but also mix in posts from some wonderful columnists whom I’ve hired to write on decor8, and they’ve been doing a beautiful job providing quality content covering everything from trend reports to home tours. And I love them so much because they are the best bunch of women ever. I feel so blessed!
But I miss blogging full-time, daily, tremendously. In fact I feel concerned over my lack of full-time presence here, not because I’m trying to be the queen of some popularity contest because frankly, my blog is still receiving amazing press coverage each month from magazines, newspapers and television networks all over the world. I’m not worried about advertisers or numbers or anything at all related to income. It has to do with JOY. You can ask my husband, I am one of those rare people whom success and money does nothing to contribute to my joy. I was as joyful before blogging as I am today, just in different ways, and I’m happy to report that I had little monetarily in my life ten years ago – I went from zero to financial hero thanks to starting my own business and I’m proud of that but it only makes me proud in the sense that I like doing what makes me, and others, happy. If it ever becomes miserable, or dishonest, or “selling out”, I will quit immediately and become a full-time interior designer or shop owner or whatever else – anything to avoid doing something that isn’t genuine and meaningful. JOY MATTERS PEOPLE. Really.
I’ve seen a lot of blogs go pro and those blog authors change. Their blogs are like infomercials and peppered with links and sponsored everything (without bothering to disclose it) and while that works for them, I don’t read blogs like that because their voices have changed. I prefer to earn money through books, teaching, consulting and the many other ways that help me to personally monetize my brand without feeling like my advertisers own me. Lots of bloggers are doing very honest and lovely things to monetize their blogs and I’m super proud of them, some have great videos and gorgeous photos and work with sponsors to produce wonderful things but others are completely forgetting the values that made blogging successful in the first place – which is not only going to damage them in the long run but could ultimately damage all of us if we don’t fight hard to stay true to our own vision and voice. It’s okay to have ads, and sponsors and whatever else you can do to drive your business forward – I do it – and so do the best of the best on the web who write on their blogs. But we have to remember why blogging became so successful in the first place…
Bloggers became popular for ONE reason. Sincere, honest reviews.
Before bloggers were deemed cool and lonnnng before sponsored posts, ads and affiliate links, we just wrote stuff from the heart and sometimes, we even bitched and moaned about things we didn’t like which then motivated a lot of large companies to stop playing around with the little guy and to listen more to their consumers. Now that companies see the ENORMOUS income potential by working with bloggers, because frankly our audiences come to us FOR our honest reviews, they’ve entered our space and often try to change us to become more like them – a bit sly, thinking about our bottom line despite whether or not we feel good about it. And though I love working with companies that respect where I draw the line, and have partnered with some amazing companies on advertorials for magazines, etc. many of my own blogger friends have stepped wayyyy over their line of comfort to a zone that they cannot return from once going over “there”. But this blog post isn’t really about all of this. It’s about ME and where I’m personally at as a blogger. It’s about whether I’m blogging for money or blogging for me.
I’m blogging for me. Then for my brand, because blogging has given me a way to grow it out and reach more lovely people. Then for money because I need to earn a certain amount of money to survive – my husband and I both freelance, it’s not an easy life. So I wanted to level with everyone and tell you where I’m at.
So here’s where I’m at.
I will take a year off from book writing and from accepting a million projects that don’t fuel me and traveling a ton for the sake of booking speaking engagements – some of which I feel no personal connection to. I want FOCUS. If I get on a plane, it will be to connect with you or to teach, not to stand before an audience at a trade show where I often feel incredibly uncomfortable. In 2014, I’m not going to write a single book. I’ve been writing a book-a-year for the past 3 years and I’ve loved every second of it, and I can’t WAIT for you to see my next title set to release next Spring – we’re throwing a big party in London in May and hopefully a few more in America – and I’d love to see you. But you won’t see anymore books or book launch parties or book tours from me after that for at least another 1-2 years.
I want my focus to go back to where my heart really is which is RIGHT HERE with all of you and in my e-classes and teaching live workshops as time (and my new baby on the way!) permits. I have so much to give to you all, especially as I get older and just see MORE at this age than I did when I started 8 years ago, and I want to do that on decor8 more and through Blogging Your Way… And I have learned through all of the other wonderful jobs that I’ve taken over the years as a blogger, that blogging is my absolute joy. It’s where I can always be spontaneous, where I can be me, and where I have never cared what advertisers or sponsors wanted from me – and this will never change.
So that’s where I’m at. I’ve been quiet around here lately but I’m planning to be here a lot more the moment my book is finished, which will be in October, then I’m back daily to share with you along with my columnists at least until the baby comes, then I may be blogging with baby on my lap as he merrily taps on the keys along with me.
Remember friends and fellow bloggers – finding balance and joy trumps ALL other things.
(image of me by thorsten becker, outtakes from my upcoming book)
I’m forever getting lost in Scandinavian blogs like Home By Linn that is authored by a 27-year-old blogger and mom based in Rogaland, Norway. I could look at them all day! Their light, bright rooms and how amazingly pulled together spaces always look – it’s nothing short of inspirational. I often wonder how people manage in spaces so well-edited and perfectly clean, but knowing some of my friends who do live this way, it is possible if you are very tidy and constantly minding yourself. I have a friend in Denmark with toddlers who lives in an all-white home and yes, she has a live-in housekeeper but still – her home is spotless without a fingerprint in sight. I have a housekeeper who visits once every two weeks and still, it’s hard to manage keeping things so clean and there is only two of us (with one on the way!). So before my baby arrives, I’ve been thinking more and more about uncluttering, throwing a big sale at my home and streamlining things.
I’ve also been thinking about investing in some nice new pieces of furniture too and some cozy rugs for Fall/Winter since I know we’ll want to spend a lot of time at home with our new baby when the little one arrives in January. My mother is planning to come spend a few months with us this winter too so I think the nursery will be her room and the baby will just sleep in our room so she doesn’t have to stay in a hotel. But this means also preparing the room for baby and grandma. So there is much to be done and I’m nearly halfway through my pregnancy so I need to get to work on this sooner than later. Who knows how I’ll feel later this year! I’ve been looking at lots of gorgeous homes lately online so I can pinpoint exactly how I envision things around my own home. As soon as get everything pulled together, I’ll share some photos on decor8.
Until then, we’ll all have to find inspiration through wonderful blogs like Home By Linn. Her style is so simple and pretty so do visit her blog, it’s amazing. Don’t miss her other blog, Life By Linn, either.
(images: home by linn)
I discovered the most delightful Eastern European “fusion style” food blog recently called Kwestia Smaku, which roughly translates to “Matter of Taste” in Polish. The food on this blog will make your mouth water! I just lost 20 lbs from pregnancy illness and can barely eat a thing, so all I think about lately is when I can eat again and all of the healthy, wonderful food that I will cook for me and my growing baby. For now, I can only look and not touch. But for the rest of you, feast your eyes and try out some of this blogger’s delicious recipes. Such a gorgeous collection of foods both savory and sweet.
Behind this blog sits a talented team. First there is Joanna, a lady who simply LOVES to cook and who attributes her passion to her mother who taught her how and gave her the cooking bug at an early age. She developes the recipes and the overall concept. As a young girl, Joanna was involved in preparing family meals and has now become so much more as she and her partner produce all of her own recipes, photos and content for her stunning blog. About her focus on Eastern European food she says, “I live in Poland and while my heritage is Polish I do like to experiment with the tradition a lot. Being a fan of the modern Polish fusion cuisine, I try to take our traditional recipes to the next level. I believe that culinary art should constantly evolve. While we mustn’t forget about our culinary roots, we should also adopt new techniques.” Well said! Then there is Tomasz, the other half of her team, who does the photography and assists in video production. What a great team they make!
By the way, if you open this blog in Google Chrome, it will give you the option to translate it into your language. And a bonus is that if you go to this page and click on the recipes that interest you, they also come with a gorgeous video!
(images: Kwestia Smaku)
Hello everyone! There is this blog I’ve been reading lately in Germany called Nicest Things and the blogger, Vera, takes the prettiest photos of things she cooks or items she uses to decorate with around her home. It’s so nice to peek into her life and see what she’s cooked up next or what she is interested in using in her home currently to spruce it up. She loves to decorate, a lady after my own heart! I know most of you don’t read German, but you can always translate the blog using Google Translate or simply pin and drool over her pretty photos.
I love all of the color palettes that she plays with – she’s definitely not stuck in a color rut which I think is the most inspiring thing about her blog since so many of us have a particular palette that begins to almost define us – but Vera just explores and explores and the results are so interesting. I also like her various projects and where she shoots, from a picnic at a lake to a country field to making some homemade peach tea ice cream pops in her cute little kitchen, these types of creative bloggers – the super personal ones that provides peeks into the blogger’s life, are so special to me. I find myself going back to them time and time again. It’s nice to feel a connection with strangers and to feel like you could instantly like them if you’d ever met in person.
Blogging is so beautiful like that, isn’t it? Through a person’s aesthetic and writing alone, you can feel something that reaches the heart. Vera has created a special blog and I think it’s just lovely.
(images: vera/nicest things)