Today I am going to be talking about one of the sadnesses of 2014 - the bloggers who left us behind.
As we've explored before, blogging is a tough gig. It tends to burn brightly ... and then fizzle, and this year has seen its fair share of bloggers who burnt out.
Luckily, some of them have been willing to share their stories, but before we get to that, let's share a moment for those no longer blogging -
The Polish Well
We also have several ladies on bloggus interruptus -
Manicurator (now on the way back - hurrah)
Manicurity - I haven't heard from Emma for 3 months, not even via Digit-al Dozen
Let Them Have Polish - Cris has struggled off an on for 18 months now
Pish Posh and Polish
Nails and Noms
The Gore Princess
Fierce Make-up and Nails (occasional posts only)
So, what makes Blogger Burnout terminal? When does it go from "I need a break" to "we're breaking up"? Here, some of this year's retirees tell their stories -
First up, Jolene from Follow Gashin.
My name is Jolène. I blogged at Follow Gashin for about a year and a half, and then I disappeared. What happened?
I came to nail art at a very curious time in my life. I was on leave from work for health reasons, and I needed something low-stress that could nonetheless keep my attention and prevent me from running into cabin fever. A friend had posted a link to Sarah's Eye of Sauron nails over at Chalkboard Nails and I was hooked. For me, it was a reprising of something I'd done as a child, so it was a bit of a homecoming.
I spent lots of time on nail art. I painted my nail mostly every day, sometimes every other day, and would often put in at least 2 hours on a design, sometimes significantly longer. It became my routine, my usual. On top of that, of course, there was clean-up, photo taking, photo editing, and post writing. The total could easily be 3 to 4 hours per time I did my nails. It was a huge investment of time, but I did have lots of time!
I never marketed myself, really, so I didn't achieve a huge following; by the end, I had about 5,000 Instagram followers and 2,000 Bloglovin followers. I was happy with my numbers -- the whole enterprise was more about my mental health than fame and fortune!
I quit when I found a job last spring. Suddenly I no longer had the time for it, which was huge, but I also found that I no longer had the desire, either. I found that my attentions were more on things here-and-now: work, seeing friends, making plans for the future. My creative drive was redirected into being in the moment instead of creating small masterpieces.
I now look for ways to direct my creativity that tie into my other interests, like soft pastel, or watercolour. But mostly I find my drive to create is taking a back seat to the art of staying alive on a day to day basis! I can't say that I miss nail art, if I'm being honest. It feels like a rewarding phase that I went through. I won't rule out ever doing it again, especially on other people's nails, but I don't see myself returning to blogging again. Never say never, I suppose, but it seems unlikely for the foreseeable future.
Rachel, from Polished Criminails
Before I begin I just want to say a huge thank you to the wonderful Crumpet herself for asking me to be a part of her wonderful blog. I don't know about you, but I absolutely love her round up posts, it helps me to keep somewhat updated with all things nails and what's happening in the blogoshpere.
For those of you who don't know me, I'm Rachel-Karina, or simply Raych. When I first started blogging, I had an interest in nails, a huge collection of about 30 nail polishes (at least what I thought was huge at that time of my life, now it's nearing the 700 mark), I'd been reading blogs for about 4/5 months prior to starting my own and I just thought 'hey, why not try it myself?' and in October 2011 Polished Criminails was born. I blogged, I'd say pretty regularly, for just under 2 years, mainly posting swatches, as my nail art skills are somewhat to be desired, but I did try and dip my feet into the nail art waters a few times throughout my posts. As for my audience, by the time it came to the beginning of my blogging downfall, I was at around 2,500 followers on blogger, and recieving anywhere from 20,000 - 50,000 page views a week. Which by all means isn't a huge following that you see in other blogs, but it was also something I didn't take lightly and would spend countless hours a week swatching, editing and writing posts, I could literally sit there swatching and re-swatching polishes anywhere up to 6 hours a day.
As Summer 2013 came round, I found that my passion for blogging was starting to disappear. I was going through a really rough time in my life (my relationship of 4 1/2 years ended, I left the house I called home for 4 years and moved back to my parents) and I just didn't have the physical or mental energy to sit and do all the things I needed to in order to carry on my blog. I tried, and even swatched quite a few polishes from time to time, but the writing process is where I really struggled, I just didn't feel like the post I was writing was good enough to be published.
I never wanted to stop blogging, and to this day I still miss that world, blogging is a community and I had made some really good friends in doing so, there's nothing I find better than connecting with people who have the same amount of passion for something that you yourself have, and understand the struggles and some what amount of pressure to perform through your blog. My hobby started to become my curse and as nails became such a pop culture and new blogs were coming out, some of which were incredible, my little blog started to feel inadequate and I started losing my confidence 'Those pictures are awful, why are they so blurry' 'Why can't my photos look like that' 'They're so much better at writing and explaining than I am' I decided it was time for me to truly hang up my blogging hat.
I'm not saying that I won't be back, even though for a time I started to lose my interest in nail polishes all together, my nails went unpainted for weeks on end, they were uneven, chipped, peeling, I've started doing all of those things again, and taking pride in my nails.
I don't think you've seen the last of Polished Criminails, the blogger in me is still in there somewhere dying to get back out there, but I think for now, she's hiding under excuses not to appear again. So it's not a goodbye, just a see you later!
Next we have one of my best friends, Ashley from Smashley Sparkles
Hi there Crumpet readers! This is Ashley, from Smashley Sparkles. My blog was born a little more than 3 years ago now. When I was blogging I was probably putting about 10-15 hours a week into my blog, 20+ hours a week more when I was posting daily during a stint of unemployment. I think my blog was somewhere in the middle levels of success. I worked quite hard on it.
I decided to quit blogging after a lot of internal back and forth. It was a fairly slow build of me not feeling inspired or motivated to do nail art or write about it. (For me it was mostly the writing part, because I never particularly enjoyed that.) I know now that I made the right choice, as I felt a sense of relief after allowing myself to step away. I do miss it at times, but I also don't feel any burning desire to spend my time doing it. Its possible that I will pop up with a post here and there in the future though, never say never! In the meantime I have picked up a new hobby... hooping/hoop dancing! If you're interested in watching my journey in that, feel free to follow me on Instagram, @smashley_spins.
Here's another DD alum, Sam from Fingerfood. Sam was a burnout we could see coming. Her blogging volume was high - and I know from personal experience that that is just not sustainable long-term.
Hi, I’m Sam and my blog is/was FingerFood. I blogged in total for about two years but 18 months was fairly intensive with at least one post per day. I took part in almost every challenge going and was lucky enough to be featured in all the nail mags (including a cover - yay!). I was painting my nails several times a day and spent the evenings writing blog posts and posting links all over social media, but then one day, completely out of the blue, I totally fell out of love with the whole thing. Not the nail art, I still love that (although I’m on an enforced break even from that in the hope of getting my mojo back), but the writing, linking, repetitive posting to a ton of sites/FB pages and especially the overall levels of arse kissing required to get anywhere in the nail/beauty blogging world.
I tried to continue for a couple of months, more because I didn’t want to burn bridges in case my enthusiasm suddenly came flooding back, but in the end I accepted that it wasn’t going to happen any time soon and I started leaving various groups. The relief I felt as the pressure lifted was instantaneous! I haven’t missed the time pressure at all. I miss the camaraderie from a small group of bloggers who I consider friends, but that’s about it.
I still post the occasional mani on IG and on my FB page - one edited photo and a few words suit me down to the ground nowadays.
I hope to be back. One day. I’d still like to do the odd guest post and will still be working with a couple of the magazines. I’ve been (slowly) building a nail art website which may actually be ready to go live one day and that excites me. I’ve thrown myself into “real world work” a little more this year so my blogging time has disappeared even if I wanted to do it, plus with a new diagnosis of PTSD, I have some other stuff to work on too.
I suppose I woke up one morning and nail art wasn’t the “be all and end all” for me any more. Its still important - I just need some time to find out where it fits into my life from here on in.
And finally, Claudia, the Holographic Hussy
I began my obsession with photographing nail polish shortly after I discovered Llarowe. I blame my love of all things holo solely on Leah Ann's shoulders! It's through her that I found a sustainable supply of holographic polish, before I'd only ever had OPI DS range and when I found the Llarowe gold mine I was in holo heaven, Glitter Gal and then HITS just sealed the holo deal for me!
I started doing a bit of photography (all be it AWFUL photographs, above) for the Llarowe shop site and from there I was encouraged to set up my own blog. It was two years in the making, it took a lot of persuasion to think that I might be good enough to do my own blog but once Holographic Hussy was born the response was phenomenal.
The blog grew very fast and I gained a substantial number of followers in a very short space of time. I specialised in indie polish and tried to put my heart into each review. The process of photographing, editing, watermarking and writing the post itself was taking around two hours each night. I had many requests from highly successful indie makers asking me to feature their creations and I was absolutely thrilled that they trusted me with their reputation and products.
Things went really well for the first year but after that I began to loose my passion for blogging. I was finding the amount of samples being sent to me was overwhelming, nail polish and blogging became more like a job than a fun hobby and I decided to take a step back, it all happened very quickly. After that I never really returned to blogging again.
I still adore nail polish and now I use Instagram instead of blogging (I'm @holohussy), it's much quicker and easier to use and I personally only really want a short review and a good swatch to make me buy a polish so that's what I do now.
I don't miss blogging or regret my decision to quit, I've regained my love for polish and it's become a fun hobby again.
Will I ever return to blogging? All I can say is never say never....
Firstly, can I say a MASSIVE thank you to all the ladies for sharing their personal stories. As someone who very nearly walked away from blogging this year, I felt this was a really important post to write, and I hope you've enjoyed it.
There is one final story to tell, the story of Kerrie from Pish Posh and Polish and the UK indie brand Quirk, and that is such a detailed story, that Kerrie and I will be telling it in a separate post.