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Dear diary: Blogging just got personal

Blogs, in general, have become a little stale for me lately. And I guess I better add the big, fat, flashing disclaimer here, that this is just my humble opinion. Pls don’t get pissy with me for exercising it, or think I’m sending subliminal messages or whatevs. And like I said before, I GET that there are bills to be paid and sponsored posts to be, er, posted.

I just don’t get as excited about reading blogs as I used to. Or, crucially, as much as I want to. Y’see, that’s the crux of it. I’m actively seeking something to fill the blog-shaped vortex currently in my life.

If that wasn’t the case, you could quite rightly write me off with a flourish of ‘well she’s the wrong target market anyway.’ But as someone who has surfed that sweet dot com tide for several years now, both professionally and personally, I know it can’t just be me who’s hungry for summin’ exciting to happen in the blogosphere, and soon.

Maybe I’ve been mulling this over because I’m currently trying to find my own blogging niche (again). I want to write – and regularly – but I’m not sure what to write about. I want to have some sort of theme or hook for consistency’s sake, so people know what to expect; so people will come back for more.

So, in order to answer my own question, I’ve been thinking about the type of blog posts I love reading. And d’you know what? In a nutshell, I bloody LOVE being nosey. That is, I love the ‘dear diary’ sort of blogs which detail the minutia of the writer’s day. This, don’t forget, is what blogs used to be all about – daily web logs. DO YOU SEE?

Waaaay back in 2006/2007, one of the blogs I love love LOVED reading was Liberty London Girl, in her first incarnation, when Sasha used to post daily anecdotes as a London fashion editor living in New York  – albeit anonymously. She’d pretty much post daily, so it was like a little soap opera unfolding on blogger.com, and I used to religiously return to get my next instalment. I had the same sort of feels when What Katie Wore launched in 2009.

Similarly, two blogs I love reading now are Vintage Vixen (I interviewed Vix here fyi) where Vix will not only give you a breakdown of whatever amazing bohemian outfit she’s conjured up that day, but you’ll also get a detailed run-through of what she did, too. I bloody love it – and a cursory glance at the number of comments she gets from loyal readers (and with zero self-promotion on social media!) proves that I’m not alone.

I also really love Hannah Gale‘s blog, and have been championing her for some time now (remember me when you’re big and famous, yeah HG?), as I love her writing style, which, as well as feeling like she’s IN YOUR MIND, is also very detailed about her day, and how she’s feeling rn. It’s honest and raw. Writing-wise, she bares all, and I know this ‘lack of polish’ sometimes bothers Hannah, but if she went and got all glossy on us and started self-editing too much, I’d probably get bored tbh. If I wanted high shine and all advertorial, I’d buy a bloody magazine. And you know my thoughts on those (see here)…
Sidenote: I think it was Hannah who I tweeted saying I think blogs are reaching #peakglossiness, so it’s about time I put my money where my maaaaarf is, eh?

The thing is, this nosiness, or inherent interest in other people’s lives isn’t a new thing for me. When I think back, I used to love diary-format books when I was growing up, from What Katy Did, to Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, Adrian Mole and even the aptly-titled Diary of a Teenage Worrier.

There’s something about the format; about being able to get to know the writer, to be allowed a peek inside their life, and to know that there’ll be something to dip into the next time you check back in.

It’s about being reassured by the knowledge that someone out there is feeling the same feels as you.

But I know humans are instinctively curious about what other humans are doing. It’s why I can’t help but rubber neck when I walk past a house with no net curtains for a good ol’ glimpse inside, and why reality TV is so popular. HELLZ, it’s even why we find ourselves watching a TV programme about PEOPLE WATCHING TV PROGRAMMES (hiyas Gogglebox), right?

Now, for me to get involved in this style of writing involves me overcoming a hurdle. I’m fiercely private. I hadn’t realised this until recently, but I do find it hard to open up, emotionally. There are certain parts of my life that I do not deem fit for public consumption. I also, for someone that can talk an inane amount o’shite, find it extremely hard to lay my feelings bare.

Conversely, there’s also this other side of me that wants to show-off. Meaning if I haven’t got something amazing or perfectly put together to post, then I don’t usually bother.

So, anyway, I KNOW I said I’d be posting daily (here) – and in fairness to me, I’ve had a shitty time of it of late (read here to catch up), and I have been poking my head above the blogging parapet more regularly recently, but it’s taken me a while to find my stride. I finally think I’ve found it.

This approach will also tie in nicely with my desire to start a daily journal – two birds, one stone and all that jazz. Nit-pickers among you will note I’ve essentially spent this entire post NOT talking about me or documenting my day but give a gal a break, eh?

I’m thinking about easing in with a few retrospective posts, about my time spent pre-Christmas in Gemma Cairney‘s amazing Margate apartment, and last Sunday in the Chiltern Hills. After that? I guess it’s over to me *gulp* So hope you’ll come on this journey with me (SEE header image – geddit? Oh, and note #NOFILTER cos I’m going to lay my soul bare, if I DARE)…

  • Comments

  • avatar
    Milly Y

    I love this, so much. In 2016, my aim is to put as much ‘personal’ as I can back into my blogging. Although I do love working on improving my photography, and writing about the places I go to and new things I love, I want to do it in my own way – not looking and sounding like something from a magazine’s website.

    Really looking forward to reading your upcoming posts!

    • avatar
      Natalie Wall

      Yayayay, glad to hear I’m not the only one feeling this way – and looking forward to reading your posts, too! #TEAMREAL

  • avatar
    Ree

    You literally spoke everything I was feeling. I’ve been super confused about the direction I want my blog to go in. I began wanting to do the whole skin care thing but I got bored and I wanna write more personal.. Anyway sorry to ramble, I just really love this post! It’s been great motivation to write how I wanna write and not to fit in with the gloss.

    • avatar
      Natalie Wall

      Glad I inspired you, Ree! You can still throw in the skin care stuff if ya wanna – but maybe write about it in a more personal way, mixing in elements of your day too: where you’ve been, what you’re thinking plus what you’re using on your skin. Make it less advertorial and more editorial? Just a thought!

  • avatar
    Mikayla

    This post is so on point! Blogs are an opportunity for connection, and how can you connect with someone who is so “glossy” and “staged” you can’t relate? I’m pretty private too, so I’m struggling to find a way to open up more without feeling overexposed. Thank you for sharing this! Love your writing style, by the way.

    • avatar
      Natalie Wall

      Thanks for the snaps, Mikayla! And YES to your comment, too – it’s ALL about that personal connection. It’s certainly going to be tricky for me to open up more but I’m looking forward to the challenge (when I find the damn time – but at the minute I’m also allll about actually living my life and enjoying the moment ahead of racing to document it… ????).

  • avatar
    Georgie

    Oh Nat….I couldn’t agree more!! You’ve totally hit the nail on the head with that post.
    And i look forward to reading/hearing all about your daily adventures xx

    • avatar
      Natalie Wall

      Hey Georgie! *waves* Thanks so much for your comment – and you know what? As I read your first blog post I actually thought YESSSSSS, this is what I’m after, so yay you! More of the same, please! xx

  • avatar
    M&MFASHIONBITES

    Nice pants 🙂
    Maria V.

    • avatar
      Natalie Wall

      N’awwww, thanks! Unbelievably, they’re from George at ASDA – I blogged about them here, in fact x

  • avatar
    Philippa

    Nat, I couldn’t agree with this post more. I started blogging in 2005 and there was something about that time where blogging was almost like a secret club, not everyone knew what it was and it was amazing to go online, write and share your life with people you’d never met but who felt like your friends. It’s really not the same anymore. I completely understand why blogging’s taken off and gone in the direction it has – heck, I was guilty of it myself – but it’s interesting that so many of us old-schoolers are yearning for the good old days a bit and wanting to bring it back. Less polish. More streams of consciousness.

    Like you, the reason I read blogs then and the reason I still read some now (my Feedly feed is a lot smaller than it used to be) is because I’m interested in the people who write them. I’m super nosy too and just want to see details about their lives. I like seeing what tea they buy, whether they got a bargain in TKMaxx, what they’re reading, as well as their thoughts and opinions on the bigger issues.

    I also struggle with the balance between what to share and what to keep private – says the woman who’s just published a memoir, bwahaha – because I got burned very badly in the good old days by being too vulnerable with what I revealed. While it was a much-needed life lesson, it does keep me from hitting ‘publish’ on many posts. Will 2016 be the year I say ‘fuck it’ and publish anyway? Who knows! But I definitely feel the pull to write more and connect with people again, which was why I started blogging in the first place. I’m just going to write from the heart, share what I want to share, and be myself. It’s always worked.

    Looking forward to seeing your posts this year – I always read them but I’m the worst commenter these days (sorry!). I resolve to change that in 2016 too!

    Phil x

    • avatar
      Natalie Wall

      Thanks sooo much for taking the time to comment, Philippa (I’m the worst in the world for that btw – but then maybe many of us aren’t propelled to comment on blogs any more when they’re so impersonal and read like ads? Just a thought..)! Totally agree with everything you said, and ironically I get a bit sniffy about people who OVERshare, and constantly, so I think you’re quite right: it’s all about striking a happy balance. But ultimately? JUST DO YOU, as they say! x

      • avatar
        Miranda

        I also started blogging and reading blogs in 2004, 2005 and missed those days really soooo much!! I had as faves the Petite Anglaise blog about that chick who moved to France and she would tell the best stories about her daily life, her job, her people, and to my eyes she did not overshare, but she was very honest and very funy and poignant and real!! And she wrote soooooo well. There was also this portuguese girl living and studying in LOndon who, despite sounding a bit too polished in all, had witt and spoke about her daily struggles with flair and one kept coming back for more because one ended up being interested in their views and opinions and their lives. There’s not much like that anymore now a days, everything is so chirpy and so happy and so grateful for their wonderful sparkling lives… it’s boring. I don’t care for the oversharing, for that awkward moment when one thinks “Too much information” while reading a post, but I care for honesty, bluntness, grittiness, real people and real lives.
        http://bloglairdutemps.blogspot.pt/

  • avatar
    Chloe Robinson

    I couldn’t agree with this more, I just want to know what’s going on in people’s heads all the time and I don’t want this to be filtered! I bloody love your blog and Hannah Gale’s too, my two favourites out there (not just biggin’ you up either)

    Also, I hear you on the wanting to find your own blogging niche too, I want to write but nothing fits a ‘category’ it’s just a mix-match of random posts and I think I’m ok with that! x

  • avatar
    Arora Appleby

    love, love, LOVE this! I’ve started countless blogs trying to match up to all the glossy, prim and proper ones but that’s just not me. I like graffiti and gangster rap, I like the raw conversations you have with strangers in a field at 3am whilst drunk off cheap cider. I’ve tried the minimal wardrobe and the beauty hauls but 1. i change my look WAY too much depending on my mood and lol i am deffo not a beauty/fashion expert. So I stuck to what I do best – rambling about whatever pops into my mind and trying to be funny ~ha ha ha~ and the odd but of advice because hello I wanted to be a counsellor before i realised i’d get too invested in other peoples problems and probably have a melt down. ANYWAY I think there’s a lot of personal blogs out there, just we don’t know SEO and how to promo our blogs properly haha. I’m looking forward to reading your more personal posts (cause im nosey) and I hope you get over the privacy hurdle you touched upon x
    -Arora x
    http://www.aappleby.blogspot.co.uk

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