It’s been a pretty slow start to the new year over here on The Pleb Life (and on my Instagram). Ever since Christmas, social media just hasn’t been the same for me. I have felt very little motivation or desire to post or even to look at others’ posts. I’ve been spending less than 10 minutes daily on Instagram, which for this girl, who used to consume hours daily, is a pretty big shift. My phone used to not be far from my hands, but now I can leave my phone for hours and hardly notice it being away from my side.
This break in posting and in consuming media has been absolutely wonderful. I’ve found motivation to start my 365 days of gratitude journaling, where I take the time to reflect and write three things I’m grateful for that day (I’m trying not to repeat things, and so far, it’s been going great!). I’ve found time to read again before bedtime. I’ve found even more contentment with my wardrobe now that I’m not comparing it against those of others via scrolling through Instagram.
During this time away, I’ve also been contemplating how to move forward with this little space of mine: Do I want to continue to post outfit photos? Do I even care about documenting my outfits anymore? How will I approach sponsored content this year? Is my blog more centered around minimalism or ethical fashion? What do I want this blog and my Instagram to document? How can Instagram and my blog spark joy within me again?
That last question has been on my mind a lot these days. I’m sure by now, we’ve all binged Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up on Netflix at the start of this new year. Even after spending a year and a half decluttering my wardrobe and our apartment, I still managed to find many things to declutter in our 400-square-foot studio apartment after watching that show. The one thing that kept resonating in my head though, was the idea that while I’m surrounded by material things that spark joy in my apartment–my books, my 65 pieces of clothing, my stuff–I was also amongst non-material things in my life–my career, my online habits, my eating habits–that weren’t sparking a whole lot of joy in my life.
And so, just as I did with my wardrobe and all my books, I began to take all of the things that are a part of Instagram and my blog, and I put them on the table: content creation, my posting schedule, my Instagram theme, sponsorships, blog posts, and contributions to other blogs. I held them one by one, and reflected on each of them to see if they sparked joy within me–or specifically, what parts of them sparked joy within me.
CONTENT CREATION | When it comes to content creation, I enjoy it most when it’s not forced–when I’m not forcing myself to stick to a certain posting schedule; when I’m not forcing myself to come up with a great new outfit even though I don’t want to wear a new different combination; when I’m not forcing myself to go out and interrupt my day to shoot. Some of my favorite outfit photos are the ones that came organically and spontaneously, and so I only want to shoot when those outfits come around–however far and few between that may be.
I actually prefer to be behind the camera than I do to be in front of it. The photos from this particular day in this blog post were not forced. I had just grabbed lunch with Sara from Petra Alexandra, and afterwards, Brandon and I walked down to the beach. We sat and talked for a long while, watching the sunset and people pass us by. It is these kinds of moments that I want to document more and remember in the years to come.
MY POSTING SCHEDULE | When it came to Instagram, I tried to post everyday, if not at least 4-5 times a week. Towards the end of 2018, this felt like too much, and I was stretching myself thin and forcing myself to create content that didn’t feel authentic or genuine. Other than my monthly Closet Updates (which are my favorite posts to write), I don’t have a set schedule when it comes to The Pleb Life–and I find myself enjoying that much more. Therefore, I am going to release myself from posting a certain number of times on Instagram, and to just let it happen organically.
MY INSTAGRAM THEME | My Instagram theme was actually one of the few things that did bring my joy: I love how curated it is. I love how I’ve grown to edit my photos. I love alternating between outfit photos and non-outfit photos. And while I can find my theme limiting at times, this is something I know won’t change–mostly because of just how OCD I am with my feed, but also because, I just genuinely love how my Instagram feed looks.
SPONSORSHIPS | I will say that this aspect of blogging was a mixed bag. There were definitely sponsorships that brought me SO much joy in 2018 (Everlane, Free Label, Velé, and MeMi Collective); however, there were also a few sponsorships that were stressful and quite honestly, didn’t feel all that genuine. Going forward, I’m going to be even more selective with my sponsorships, and will only say yes to brands that spark a whole lot of joy within me. I absolutely love how Leah from Style Wise is moving forward with sponsorships and may want to do the same in 2019.
BLOG POSTS | Blogging actually brings me so much more joy than Instagram does (mostly because I’m pretty long-winded and there’s no limit on a blog post ha). Similarly to my Instagram theme, I love curating a set of images for a blog post. I also really love writing meaningful blog posts. I especially love how my blog has documented (and will continue to document) my journey on minimalism and on my life. I am hoping to write more blog posts going forward. My blog is something I’m quite proud of, and therefore, I want to put more efforts into it than I do my Instagram.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO OTHER BLOGS | Last year, I was fortunate to contribute to a few blogs: I helped Velé over the summer and wrote a few blog posts for them; and then I contributed to The Minimalist Wardrobe for a few months. Contributing to these blogs did bring me a lot of joy, but as I dug deep as to why they did, I realized that they gave me more validation than joy. Seeing my writing published on sites that were not my own made me feel like I was a good writer and that I was good enough to contribute to the ethical and minimalist communities. The events that happened over Christmas, however, made me realize that I alone want to be in control of my words and how my words are marketed. And so, unless I am freelancing for a company, I will no longer be contributing to other blogs.
I’m hoping that after this declutter, blogging and Instagram will spark joy within me again. It is a goal of mine this year to find a healthier relationship with social media, particularly not letting it be a vehicle for comparison and for making me feel less than worthy. I think this reflection process is a first step towards the right direction.
Thank you to those of you who are following along on this little blog of mine. I am so grateful for each one of you; for every page view; for every new visitor; for every time someone shops via one of my affiliate links. I cannot wait to see this space grow in 2019.