Last year as my blog anniversary approached I wrote a little post about lessons learned through perfume blogging. I focused on the sniffing and evaluating part of the process, not on writing, which I meant to discuss at another time. Somehow it never happened. There was also this post I wrote three years ago and was a little more beauty focused (and I still stand behind every word). This weekend marked the 7th year anniversary of The Non-Blonde, so I thought it's a good time to share some thoughts about my process (sounds far too formal than what it is: me perching on the couch with my laptop while various cats are running around). I decided to stick to three topics: who I'm writing for, how I choose the images, and why I keep doing it.
1. My Imaginary Reader
When I first started blogging it was just me writing a blog I wanted to read. I couldn't be sure anyone else would ever be interested, so I just stuck to whatever I thought was interesting and fun. I still do. It doesn't matter if I'm covering perfume, makeup, pop-culture or the Royal Family, if I write something it's because I want to see it here. But I'm no longer alone and I am very much aware of having readers, regular and new ones. Are they new to perfume or season fragonerds? Makeup beginners or sophisticated aficionados? People I know in person? Does their virtual presence affects how I write here? Do I focus on someone specific as I type away? It varies.
For the most part I don't have anyone in mind when I blog. I know some of the people who read, but I don't write for them. I write for an abstract reader who I see as witty and sophisticated, curious and enjoys the little things. I'm vaguely aware as I blog about certain things that some people I know are likely to enjoy them-- Chanel lipstick fans vs. Armani devotees, cat lovers, a friend in Ohio who loves green perfume, those curious about the latest from Andy Tauer, my mom who loves purple eyeliner, vintage collectors, Kate Middleton fans, my scent twin... the list goes on. But there are also readers looking for answers, people who are new to this blog and still trying to figure out what all this stuff is about. I'm a teacher at heart; I need to share my knowledge. While I rarely (never? I'll need to check) write a truly beginner's guide to makeup, perfume or Kim Kardashian, I do try to be thorough and not to assume too much prior knowledge beyond basic Google skills.
I like my imaginary reader. She or he are someone whose company I'd probably enjoy. I talk to you fondly even when I'm cranky, and I always hope you'll come back the next day.
2. Blog Decor
One of my most favorite parts of blogging is the editor's role of choosing images. Obviously, makeup reviews require taking my own photos, but with almost everything else there's the freedom and responsibility for finding the right visuals for what I'm trying to say. Doing it right means enhancing the words and letting you a glimpse into the way I feel about the topic at hand. There's a magical moment when I find the perfect artwork or vintage photo that brings everything together for me. The synergy of verbiage and imagery is incredibly satisfying. More than that: I absolutely need it.
In order to reach this point I constantly collect pictures and research them. I have dozens of bookmarked sites for artists from days gone by as well as contemporary, collections of photos from different decades, old magazine covers, subscriptions to various newsletters-- anything that I find interesting and inspiring. It's like the scrapbooks I kept as a teenager, full of magazine clippings, postcards, song lyrics and occasionally my own illustrations. The two main differences are that said scrapbooks are now buried in a box in my basement while this blog is public, and there's a lot less George Michael or Robert Smith around here.
You may have noticed that I write a lot. I post on Sunday night as well as three posts a day Monday-Thursday and occasionally on Fridays. I schedule articles in advance when I know I'm going to be away, and barring a hurricane that makes everyone lose power there are no exceptions. And that's the way I want it to be. Blogging has become my happy place, a confidence booster, a distraction when I need it, and the source of enduring friendships. But more than anything I simply love doing this.
I also find that the longer I've been blogging the more disciplined about it I've become. Reviews, opinions, sharing my thoughts and stories- it flows more easily (that is, I only delete every other sentence). This is the advice I give to others. Blog and then blog some more. Don't let distractions get in the way (I mean that in a mostly-sane way. Or at least I hope I do), don't give up on yourself. I refuse to allow jet-lag, oral surgery or a pity party take away the joy I get from The Non-Blonde, its readers and the pretty, shiny, and smelly things we share.
As always, thank you for being here, my real and imaginary friends.
Photos via Stirred, Straight Up With A Twist; Dr. Macro.