Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Does My Blog Need To Be Useful?

berwick upon tweed bridge

I adore blogs. I love reading them, getting to know the person behind them, learning what makes them tick. They are all beautifully unique and crafted from a place of pure passion. It might seem like running a blog is a case of just having access to a laptop and the internet, but the effort that goes into these babies shouldn't be underestimated. It's a hobby that involves a lot of long hours and a lot of hard work.

When I'm looking for fashion advice, I turn to blogs. Not sure about a new makeup release? I'm sure to find a review on one of my favourite beauty blogs. Looking for advice? Bloggers got ya covered. Need help with the practical aspects of running your own blog? You'd be surprised how helpful and honest other people are with their tips and tricks, ranging from improving your photos to boosting your DA.

Basically, bloggers are excellent, underpaid, underappreciated writers who are like your personal stylist, your makeup artist, your tech expert, financial adviser, cook/baker, friendly librarian, entertainment correspondent and best friend all in one.

And then there's me.

I've had this little blog for two years now, and while I've been really keen to be much more committed to it (can we just take a second to realise it's only the 6th of the month and I've already posted as many blogs as I did for the entirety of January - even while on holiday!) I am really struggling to work out where I fit in.

All of my favourite bloggers (including, but not limited to, Gwennan, Rachel, Abbey, Lauren, JennyLisa, and Lauren) teach me things or introduce me to products I've never heard of before. They are genuinely useful and informative, and I learn so much from these hardworking people - more so than from any of the people paid a wage to share this kind of knowledge! 

I, on the other hand, don't have anything to teach. I don't have any particular skills to share, or any insight into how to fix a problem in your personal life. All I have to share with people are my own experiences - and that's all I do. 

Sometimes I find myself reluctant to post, as all I can seem to write are rambles based on the premise of 'poor me'. I live a very privileged lifestyle and am so thankful for what I have, but all I seem to do on here is complain about the hard parts. I hate being negative like this - I don't think it brings anything to anyone's life, including mine, to whinge all the time. 

However, every so often I receive a beautiful comment from someone, telling me how much they related to what I've written and even occasionally to thank me for writing it. Those moments are utterly priceless to me; to know that someone has enjoyed it is such an indescribable feeling. 

But I am highly aware that my rants about mental illness - or whatever else is bothering me - don't contain any actual, usable tips. I don't have advice to share. I don't know how to make things better, as much as I wish I could. There are so many bloggers, particularly Rachel, who manage to give real, practical advice on all aspects of mental health and wellbeing. I, on the other hand, just seem to constantly talk about my symptoms like a record on repeat.

I am fascinated by and inspired by the people who create how-to instructions, who can create a city guide with useful hints instead of just documenting where they went in a straightforward and explicit way, who can constantly come up with content that will improve or simplify things for other people. I can't even imagine how difficult it is to consistently create content like that, and there is a good reason why the people who can nail that so effectively are the same bloggers who always seem to be taking their blog to the next level. You guys are incredible! But I just can't do that.

Does my lack of answers mean that my blog is less worthy than others? Does the fact that I don't actually bring anything of any use to the table mean that my blog is less deserving in some way? Do people turn off from reading a blog that can't teach or help them? Is there any point in publishing what is, at some points, more like a diary than a functional, helpful resource?

Do I need to post useful, helpful content in order to have a successful blog?

I really hope that there is a point to what I write and share (more than just making myself feel a bit better and getting it off my chest). I'd like to believe that there is inherent value in us sharing our journeys with each other; that our comparable experiences will bring comfort and hope to people when we need them most. Even just knowing someone else understands how you feel can make all the difference. 

Perhaps of all the things we share with each other, these are the most useful after all.

I'd genuinely like to hear your opinions on this one - do you think a blog needs to have some kind of useful aspect in order for you to enjoy it? Do blogs that teach or advise you grab your attention, or do you prefer to read more personal posts?
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5 comments

  1. Firstly I've always loved your subscription box blog posts and would always rely on them for recs. Secondly I think you're being hard on yourself- a ramble might sound like a self deprecating ramble to you but to someone who just needed to know they're not alone; that my friend is useful. Thirdly thanks for the shout out love you xxxxx

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  2. Beth, everything you write is just so well put together, I am in awe! ❤️ I have definitely learned a lot from your blog - like Gwennan has said, your beauty box reviews are always something I take a good deal away from, and your honest posts about your experiences with BPD, workplace bullying and way more are posts that have stayed with me to this day! Just talking about mental health, whether it be symptoms or explicit advice posts like the lovely Rachel’s, is incredibly important just to show people that these conversations need to be had! I don’t just read blogs that advise or help me, I read them for a bit of an escape and in insight into someone else’s world, and you provide that every single time! You definitely are much too hard on yourself - your blog is always worth reading!

    Abbey ❤️ http://www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

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  3. Firstly, I’d like to think I fall under the friendly librarian category. My dream is to work in a library and I’d make sure I had my huge glasses, knitted cardigans and biscuits all the time to really embrace the stereotype 🤣 Back to the post! I love your blog, I think you write amazingly (you’re much better at stringing a sentence together than I am) and your photography in past posts has been to die for. I certainly don’t think all blogs need to be advice or “useful”. Like can you imagine if EVERY SINGLE BLOG was just throwing advice at you? Nobody would know what to blog about anymore. I think as long as you’re being you, honest and passionate then your blog will always mean something and have a valid place in the blogosphere. Don’t stop writing! Someone will always relate to your rambles 💜

    Jenny
    http://www.jennyinneverland.com

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  4. Beth, you are a lovely writer. I've never once not read any of your posts to the end, I always take something from them. And I think you're far too hard on yourself - thanks to you I learned how real life doesn't always imitate Pinterest when you're baking cakes, for example, ha ha. Your pieces on your mental health are outstanding - I would not like to call Word V***t a favourite, but I showed it to my husband and he was shaken. And you know how much I love your photography, it’s inspiring. So while I don’t believe a blog has to be useful to be successful, I don’t think you should regard yours as useless or rambling. You have a voice, I love hearing what you say, and you are one of the kindest, most thoughtful, and encouraging people I’ve come to know on here. And lastly thank you so much for the shout out, that exemplifies you all over! Xxx

    Lisa | www.lisasnotebook.com

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  5. Kind of reiterating what everyone else has said, but your blog is useful. Anyone needing to feel less alone would revel in your posts about mental health. You've posted about other topics too, and people come to like *you* and want to know what *you* uniquely think of products, services, places to travel, etc.

    I think I understand where you're coming from, though. I've been having similar thoughts about my own blog. As much as I write from what I know, and with passion, I'm not sure if anyone actually gets anything from it. Or if I even need that to be the case?!

    Who knows! But yes, keep doing what you're doing!

    www.thenorthleft.co.uk

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