When I was a kid I considered myself a writer. I was a lover of words. I used to read the dictionary for fun and I’d collect words and hang them around my room, sounding them out until they felt right in my mouth and putting the definition in my own words so that I knew I knew what it meant. Story-craft was my hobby and I’d fill notebooks and binders full of my own characters and observations about my little kid world. I only have a fraction left of what I wrote back then, but I remember it all so vividly and I loved it all. I thought that when I grew up one of the ways I’d make my living was with my writing.
When I became a teenager and fascinated with all things expressed through garment and accessory, I imagined myself as a jet-setting fashion magazine editor. I’d travel the world attending fashion shows, conducting interviews with pioneers and legends in the industry, giving people insight through my writing about what was truly fashionable and what was simply tragic. I’d be degreed3 in fashion design, costume history, and global merchandising; an arbiter of style and culture in a devastatingly sick wardrobe. I wouldn’t have a home – the world would be my home.
So what happened?
What was so clear to me as a kid has since become grey and muddy over the years. My priorities changed and with it so too what I valued. Student loans, a father’s death,and several existential crises later I was left wondering what I really wanted. What type of living would make me happy? Or rather what type of living would best be for who I am? Even now I still don’t have the exact answer but when blogs began coming around they seemed like a natural platform for me to share my ideas and stories until I could figure it out.
Back in the day I coded my very first site in Angelfire . I wrote about my hair care well before I even knew what I was doing with it. I must have been twelve or thirteen at the time. I can’t remember how long I had it but I remember the painstaking time it took to code and deciding whether or not I wanted to use iframes. Those were the days. Then a few years later came Blogger and with them I had several different blogs throughout out my college and post grad years: The Phantasmagory, It Rains Under Trees, Style Method (which is still up as reminder of where I’ve been if you’re curious to see) all serving more or less as platforms for my writing centered around personal style and grooming. Style Method evolved into Truly Claire and here we are.
My readership stayed mostly non-existent until my most successful blog The Phantasmagory. My increasing numbers were mainly due to the fact that at the time I was an avid user of the street style collective site Lookbook.nu and blog bookmarklet site Bloglovin. Style Method was my attempt to take style blogging seriously. I wanted to be a voice for other women who looked like me and had similar ideas about style and the creation/expression of it. I also wanted to use it as a way to hold myself accountable to my sewing endeavors.
My most consistent time blogging was between 2011-2013. I blogged on average twice a week with very few dry spells. In January of 2013 I quit my job to work on my online clothing store full time and that’s when my posting began to fall off. Still, I genuinely enjoyed the process and felt fulfilled until my own unfounded expectations got in the way. I was solely responsible for the amount of pressure I placed on myself to be more like the established fashion bloggers and creators I read voraciously. I didn’t have the equipment, time, income, fashionable city, or photographer boyfriend to achieve what they had (so I thought) and would often get frustrated that I wasn’t living up to my potential. So I quit; deciding this thing wasn’t for me. I wasn’t cut out to be a style blogger or a blogger at all. The machine was so big and my voice so small so what was the point?
Still I wondered: Why couldn’t I blog? Why couldn’t I be consistent? What was so hard about it when Blogger, WordPress, and all the other blogging platforms made it so damn easy? Why were my expectations influenced so much by people that didn’t share my desires or values? I had some thinking to do. I thought about how I was as a kid and how that version of me would never be bothered -not even remotely concerned- with what other people were doing. I wrote for the hell of it. As a teenager I wore what I wanted for the hell of it and expressed myself openly and freely. So what happened? I still don’t have all the answers, but I knew that in order to get back to what I felt was my baseline I had to start again. I wanted to be a blogger because I wanted to be a writer. I could define what blogging meant for me. I didn’t have to go all the way back to the drawing board but I did I have to give myself permission to be okay with being a small voice. Small voices do not mean unimportant voices. I had to be okay with not necessarily being like everyone else. And lastly, I had to be okay with starting again. It is very true that I am most frustrated at how many times I attempt a thing before I finally hit my stride. I’m still working on getting over that.
One thing I knew I had to change if I was going to continue was my consistency. Writing regularly needed to become a habit like it was when I was younger if I wanted to create a blog of which I could be proud. I know posting every day is impossible for me right now and isn’t necessarily what I want to do. Posting weekly is enough of a challenge and one I’m almost ready to accept. When I consider that, for me, blogging is a marathon and not a race, weekly posting is the only thing that makes sense if I still want to be at this five years from now.
At the very least I think my voice has been as true to who I am as it can possibly be. I’ve been very open and honest about my struggles, but accepting of “this is what it is y’all”. This aspect of my writing is the one I’m most post proud of and will hold onto as I continue with this endeavor. Like my hair-not-a-journey-journey and many of the other skills I’ve honed over time this takes practice -and failing- and more practice. I’m nothing if not patient. However, that patience I reserve for everyone and everything else I am now giving to myself and to my space here in the digital world. A sincere thank you to everyone who has been with me all these years for your kindness and friendship. I can’t do what I do without you. No matter how big or how small my voice is or becomes I promise I will not ever forget the support you’ve given me.