WHY I’M STILL FEELING THE FEAR AFTER SIX MONTHS OF BLOGGING
Six months ago, I hit the publish button on my lifestyle blog, The FT Times and properly shit myself! Sat in my local library – one of my now many remote ‘office’ spaces, along with several coffee shops that I swear turn the air conditioning on to try and freeze me out when I’ve overstayed my wireless welcome – I felt equally sick and satisfied as I posted on Instagram that my blog was finally live!
It’s one of the scariest things I’ve done in terms of work and even whilst comment after comment, like after like; all congratulating me on the birth of The FT Times came rolling in, there was still a massive part of me that felt very exposed and vulnerable.
I wrestled hard with my own negative thoughts that slowly started to creep in, despite all the positive compliments…
“Told you Fatima couldn’t write!”
“Fashion people just aren’t writers.”
“What a load of sychophantic shit!”
“Who cares, FT?”
“Why are you even bothering?”
“Blogging is so 2009!”
I could go on.
But then came the reason why I finally hit ‘publish’.
What prevailed over these crushing fears and what keeps me going even today whenever I question this digital landscape (which is most days, gah!) was this one, simple mantra – it’s my life.
Whether you prefer the Dr. Alban or Bon Jovi version (tough choice, innit?) those words keep me focused because FML, it really hasn’t been easy.
It’s not just the jargon of Word Press, SEO, meta data, keywords, links and analytics that have forced me to get to grips with the basics of blogging on a technical level, it’s mainly the somewhat self-interested, dare I say it, but ‘narcissistic’ side to it all that I often struggle with the most.
A prime example are these photographs taken last summer at Mayfield Lavender Farm.
As a family, we’d go most years as the organic farm is local to us. We run and hide through the lavender, eat scones and fairy cakes and it’s always a very picturesque afternoon.
However, through the years it’s got very busy and I reckon there are more selfie sticks on count than bumblebees!
Anyhow. Summer 2017 was my first solo visit. I say ‘alone’ I had my Olympus camera, prime lens and tripod in tow.
I was the first car to drive onto the gravel carpark at 9:30am as I wanted to get there super early while nobody was about so that I could made a total prick of myself in peace!
This was to be my first photoshoot for my blog and I felt like a right WANKER!
It was cringe as I took pictures trying to work out the self-timer whilst being very aware that the field was slowly starting to fill up.
I never published these photos purely because I was so traumatised, I couldn’t think about putting myself through it all again!
I questioned everything about my blog. Why I was doing it? What was its purpose?
If The FT Times was going to be something people enjoyed, then it had to be useful too, right?
I’ve worked nearly two decades on magazines as a Fashion & Beauty Editor, so I understand how good content has to be a balance between creative and attainable, unique yet useful.
Why would anyone want to see me in a lavender field wanging on about first world woes like how I think a white midi dress is a wardrobe classic in spite of its impractical colour?
I over thought the entire process and once again parked the blog and this set of pictures, poured the wine and started to look for local jobs. As my savings started to dwindled and as a time-rich but cash-poor freelancer, I free-fell into panic mode and started throwing my C.V. out to all manner of local businesses and left the blog locked away on my desktop.
Malbec, gin, Sons of Anarchy, Gilmore Girls and Nashville all helped me see that the problem was glaring me right in the face – it was ME!
Unlike before, I could no longer hide behind a national newspaper or magazine byline – I was putting myself out there and that farrking freaked me right out!
Suddenly I was the writer, the stylist, the photographer, the model, the muse, the hair & make-up artist, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker!
I was putting it all out there to be judged by everyone – from my friends and family to my peers and ex-colleagues.
I FELT SICK!
And six months on – do you know what? – I still feel exactly the same!
Granted, some days are better than others but I question this digital landscape a lot. Just ask Mr. Husband and he’ll tell you that I often say I’m going to quit at least twice a month!
And it’s not a question about having to create my own content (that part for me is The Best) or wanting to sound ungrateful that I now have that work/life balance I yearned for when I was working full-time.
The real issue once again lies in the fear of being in the spotlight – and being judged for putting myself in the spotlight!
Yes, I do suffer from episodes of low-self esteem.
I don’t ever think I am good enough.
I am my own worst critic and I am extremely sensitive.
But with that, I am also very conscientious, self-driven and determined.
I am a deep, deep thinker and according to the psychic who predicted we’d get our kitchen extension in 2019; I have a humanitarian spirit and am passionate for things to be just, to be right and to be good.
In as much as blogging is my creative outlet, it has allowed me the time and opportunity to look at ME, in so many ways.
A bit like listening to a recording of your voice or catching your reflection when you least expect it – so familiar, yet so surprising…
And ultimately, blogging is about putting your honesty out there and six months on, I’m still learning to have the confidence to do that – hence the reason why I don’t post as often as maybe I should.
It takes me blimmin’ ages to hit publish as I pore over my words and pictures. 54 revisions and amends later, I’ll eventually surrender and hit the publish button but still the negative voices whisper…
“I sound like a dick!”
“People will think I’m being sanctimonious.”
“Will they just think I’m bragging?”
In answer to those fears and questions, I’d sincerely hope you’d of course reply ‘No’ but as exhaustion overtakes, usually at 2am when I’ve finally set a blog post free, I have to keep reminding myself that ultimately, I just have to let it go, after all, it’s my life. Take it or leave it, as Dr. A would say. Or it’s now or never and I ain’t gonna live forever – depending if you’re in a soft-rock-hurr-kinda-mood…
Either way, I’m ready (I think!) for the next six months and although feeling the fear is bloody frightening and putting parts of my personal life out there does leave me very vulnerable, I sincerely believe that growth doesn’t really happen when we’re coasting in our comfort zones, innit?
It’s. My. Life. *hits ‘publish’
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