ABOUT      |     ADVERTISE      |     BUILDING A REMIXABLE WARDROBE      |     WARDROBE FROM SCRATCH      |     STYLE & WARDROBE TIPS      |     ONE PIECE MANY WAYS

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Behind the Blog: Blog Beginnings



Guys, it's Saturday, and it's 2014, so we're gonna do something new.

Over the years I've gotten handfuls of emails asking for advice on starting a blog, and I decided that this year I'm actually going to write about it.  I personally love hearing the back story and getting behind-the-scenes looks at blogs and the people behind them, so I want to welcome you behind this blog!

Since I don't usually post on Saturdays I thought those would be good days for some peeks behind the blog.  (And if you only want to read about style, that's what the other days of the week are for.)  I don't plan on this being a cohesive series or a tutorial style thing, because then I'd want it to be perfectly planned out and would never actually start it.  For now I just plan to write random bits and pieces whichever weeks I can.

So if you're game, all are welcome!



How it Began
After being fascinated by style blogs through discovering them via a Facebook ad (I guess those things actually work?) I really wanted to be part of the style blogging community and start my own.  There was one huge thing stopping me, though: I was a big fat chicken and could not pull the trigger.

I thought long and hard about the blog, coming up with a name and a concept, but I was still too chicken to do it.  I was scared I wouldn't be "stylish enough" or that people would wonder why on earth someone like me had a blog, but mostly it was my fear of not feeling "ready" that stopped me.  Like I alluded to earlier, I can get obsessively compulsive about wanting to have things meticulously strategically planned out before I start something, and as unrealistic as that is to attain, it kept me from starting at all.


Two Purposes
Since I had thought long and hard about it, I knew there were two things I was certain of--the two major purposes for the blog: 1) Be part of a community of people who loved style just like me, and 2) If the blog grew into anything at all, I wanted it to help others, especially women who felt style-challenged.  The second was a big fat "if" and more a far off hope because I didn't really know if anyone would think I had anything helpful to say.  But I still hoped and tried to grow the blog in that direction to see if it would catch.


Blog Names
I brainstormed blog names with Benson, looking for one that would capture the idea that this blog was for my own style journey (or at least started out that way) but could also potentially lend itself as a place to help others on their own journeys.  Putting Me Together was thrown into the mix because the comment I got most often from friends was that I always looked so "put together."  I eventually landed on that as the name because I recognized that that was the bar that I hoped to set if the blog ever grew into purpose #2.  This blog (and I) wouldn't strive to be super fancy, trendy, unique, outside-the-box or push the envelope of style, but at the very least we could just feel more put together.

Though I had a name and a clear concept, I still didn't want to start the blog.  But Benson, being the great husband he is, created the domain name for the blog even though I wasn't ready.  That pushed me to start sooner than I felt comfortable with because...hello...the site is up and running, so I figured it was even more embarrassing to have nothing up there at all.  That, and the fact that Kendi was about to host another 30x30 Remix and I wanted to be part of it!  So I started.  I was terrified, but I started.  And here we are!



What I Learned
I said this wasn't going to be tutorial-style, but I at least want to highlight the advice I would give to anyone looking for it.

1.  Have a clear purpose in mind.  I'm really big on focus and clarity of purpose.  This is true in almost ALL things I do in life, not just blogging.  I know it's not everyone's style or personality type, which is fine.  I also recognize that purpose can evolve over time.  Nonetheless, I personally thrive when I have a clear purpose.



I believe a clear purpose allows you to be intentional about what you do.  Clarity of purpose has helped me be intentional about what topics I cover, how I write, WHY I write, what opportunities I've said yes and no to, and so on.  And all of that has helped me write for and reach the type of people I wanted to reach.  I didn't just want to reach anyone and everyone, but I wanted to reach those who felt like they needed basic style help.  (I'll write more specifically on this another day.)

It's also given me motivation and inspiration to continue writing because instead of starting at an overwhelming sea of topics I could write about, or on the flip side, not knowing what to write about at all, I always have ideas percolating about style questions people need help with.  I think that's also why after 2.5 years of blogging I can still say that I'm personally growing, I can see how the blog can continue growing, and I'm still having fun with it.

And yes, your purpose can change over time.  You can try one direction and decide that that's not where you want to go anymore.  It's completely okay to change your purpose later in the game, and don't worry about time wasted.  It wasn't time wasted--think of it as research and development.  You spent a while trying something out and came to realize it's not what you want to do.  That's actually really useful information and will help you clarify even better what you DO want to do in the future!

Whether your purpose is to grow your own style, to make new friends, to give yourself a creative outlet, to help other people, at some point define what your blog is going to be about.  Working with a purpose--big thumbs up in my book!


2.  Just start.  Perhaps you guys are all much braver than I and are not scared to dive head first into something.  Me?  I dip my toes and then sloooooowly slink into the water, even though I've fully prepared myself.  But I learned big time through this blog that sometimes you just have to start, even if you're not ready.  It's something I'm trying to apply to other areas of my life, not just blogging.


While I wanted to have a lot more things figured out before I started, the reality is that experience is a great teacher.  Now that I've seen what this blog has grown into even though I wasn't ready to dive in initially, I'm trying not to let my fears stop me from starting and working on giving myself grace to be a beginner in the rest of my life.  When I look back on my first year's posts (which I honestly try not to do) I cringe, for sure.  What was I doing?!  No idea.  But if it wasn't for those cringe-worthy posts I wouldn't have been able to grow into the blogger I am today.  Sometimes you've just gotta start, give yourself grace, and let experience teach you along the way!

Till next time, people.  Happy Saturday!



Catch the rest of the Behind the Blog series by clicking here.


54 comments:

  1. Nice office space. Would love to know what goes into a post, how long it takes, how u take your pictures, etc. you take the best inside pictures. Would love to know the secret. You've done really well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bree @ Merriment and GraceSaturday, January 04, 2014

    What a great post! I'm excited to read these posts along with your style posts. I just recently started my own style blog too.

    Bree
    Merriment and Grace

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love this I always love to hear how other people started blogging. My website & blog has for sure has evolved over time as it started without anything of me or my style just shopping. Love where it has taken me!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your blog is so dynamic, you have done a wonderful job! I couldn't agree more with just doing it now! That's how I began my blog, I thought about doing it on a Monday and by that Friday I was up and running!

    xo
    Katelyn
    www.katelynnow.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. HappinessatmidlifeSaturday, January 04, 2014

    Love this! So awesome to have such a supportive hubby!


    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. Good post! Thanks for sharing. I'm looking forward to your Saturday posts

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for sharing this post and your blog.I have learned so much from you about how to "put myself together". It has been a slow process, but I am learning and exploring thanks to you. I appreciate you and this space that you have created!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you for this post! I am relating all to well to this right now. I love that about reading blogs in that you can feel like you're just chatting with a friend; gathering insight and relating to each other, usually with people you don't even know. I will say though your blog has been inspirational to me in learning how to create a "wearable" wardrobe. So goal accomplished!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love your blog and sometimes use it as a reference when planning outfits. I think you're adorable, have a great sense of style and are a fantastic writer to boot! Keep up the great work!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Could you write a blog post about closet/drawer organization sometime? I find that as females you tend you accumulate a lot of random pieces. I really struggle with finding a simple way to organize it all and keep it that way. Really loved your post about how you organized your vanity table...so would love some insight on how you wrangle clothes and keep them in check. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  11. VersatilestylebytraceySaturday, January 04, 2014

    Great new feature and will be helpful to many!

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is a great post, and I'm looking forward to the entire series.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Great post Audrey! I'm almost at the end of my first year of blogging. I have so many ideas for the blog, but for some reason I just can't get past basic outfit posts. I do try and mix things up, but when pushed for time an outfit post is the quickest (because I've done so many). Any advice on how to mix things up a bit?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great advices :-) Especially this one: "just start" :-) Blogging isn't about hesitating, it's about doing! Greetings from Poland, Audrey, and I hope your blog will be better and better :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. Domesticated Working WomanSunday, January 05, 2014

    I'm so excited for this series! I fear I dove in too quickly and just started really defining my blog recently. Better late than never!

    ReplyDelete
  16. This is a great idea for a series of posts. I especially liked the part where you said, "I wasn't going to try to reach everybody." Also, as a blogger, I think that this is helpful because there are some things that I don't know how to do (i.e. css, ads, etc.) and I think that it is great to have someone who is willing to give advice and not worry that we are "competing" for readers. Stop by: www.teachinstyle.com
    Carla

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you for writing this! I always like seeing the inspiration and motivation behind people's blogs. I was freaking out before I started my blog as well! You gave some wonderful tips! :)
    ~Sara

    ReplyDelete
  18. ty for sharing this with us, it´s so inspiring.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oooh I love this new series! I totally know the feeling about wanting to be PERFECT before you start, but I also love that with blogs you can learn as you go… Your site is one of my favorites & I really enjoy getting a look behind the curtains :)

    xx
    Here&Now

    Enter my current giveaway!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am super nosey and *love* knowing why other people started their blogs! It's so inspirational! Thanks for sharing!


    xo
    Shay
    The Curly Casualista

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks for sharing! Great post
    xo

    http://berrytrendy.com/
    Twitter: @berrytrendyblog

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love this. I also am super nosey and LOVE finding out why others starting their blog & the name behind it. I think it makes the blog more personal & able to create relationships. So glad that I found your blog by just searching around.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I totally agree with everything you've said! I'm nosey too :) but it definitely helps me feel more connected to the blogger when they share behind the scenes stuff.

    Glad you're here!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wow, Jess! That means so much to me coming from you. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Definitely better late than never! Let me know if you want any help or feedback!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I TOTALLY know what you mean. I don't post non-outfit posts nearly as much as I want to because they are really time consuming and take more forethought.

    I can write a longer post about this topic but for now my quick advice is 1) scheduling the post in a calendar and 2) breaking up the project into a few different tasks and scheduling 3 mini sessions (or however many you need) of when you'll work in them. (Ex. Which pics i need to take, writing it, gathering links, creating graphics) It might take me like a week or two to finish all the pieces of a larger post because I don't work on it all at once. Even though that takes a while, I probably won't get it done otherwise.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks Abby! And that sounds like a great idea. Probably long overdue as well! Quick answer: IKEA drawer organizers. Those little nylon cubes are organizational wonders.

    ReplyDelete
  28. You are so kind! Thank you so much, Rebekah!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Congrats on starting your own, Bree! Welcome to the club ;)

    ReplyDelete
  30. I love the "chatting with a friend" feeling. And yay for learning to create a wearable wardrobe!

    ReplyDelete
  31. This has given me so much inspiration, thank you x

    ReplyDelete
  32. Your style blog was one of the first I found when in"discovered" style blogs. I just love it!!!! Love your down t earth style. Your blog is one of the first I read in the morning! Keep up the great work- you're awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  33. you should have thought longer about the blog name... it's grammatically incorrect. It should be "Putting Myself Together."

    ReplyDelete
  34. I'm so glad you created this blog! You have helped and inspired me tremendously! I can relate to you and I love what you come up with from stores that the average person can afford. Keep up the good work!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Is it really necessary to be degrading? I feel that a simple, "Your blog name is grammatically incorrect" would have sufficed. We're all doing the best we can and the negativity doesn't help anyone to improve. Just a thought from a random fan of the blog!

    ReplyDelete
  36. this is a great help honestly. makes me rethink why I started and how I would like to go forward. keep up the great work. xoxo!!

    ReplyDelete
  37. This is a great inspirational post Audrey! I know the feeling of wanting the blog to be perfect but starting small with a clear purpose is an ideal approach to blogging. Keep up with the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  38. LOVE this!! I've always wanted to start a blog, but don't really have a clear purpose so I'll really think about it :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thanks for the inside peek. Good insights about being clear about your purpose and about just getting started, even if you don't feel completely ready. I recently began a blog in an area other than fashion and your points ring true there as well. Thanks -- and I love your accessible yet pulled together style.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I don't think my comment was necessarily degrading. Rather, I thought it was self-degrading on Audrey's behalf to spend so much time thinking about a title for the blog (a process she discusses extensively above) and then settle on something grammatically incorrect. In fact, the title undermines the other quality content on this blog. I also disagree with the saccharine, blanket statement "We're all doing the best we can." Criticism has its place in society; naivité and undeserved optimism do not.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I know! Were all doing the best we can with what GOD ALMIGHTY gave us and she has no right to come in with her grammer policeing and try to say shes better than us it really makes me so mad sometime thank you Rochelle for bringing a some POSITIVITY back into this persons life, GOD loves u for it!!

    ReplyDelete
  42. You guys, it’s okay.


    I appreciate your encouragement, but before this thread gets out of hand
    I just want to say that I do really appreciate your support at my defense, and also…it’s alright.

    Lauren, I don't mind criticism, but I do believe that there are helpful and constructive ways and not so helpful ways to share them. Your comment did come off as kind of condescending, at least without being able to read tone online, but if the tone was misread and you were sincerely trying to help me, then thanks.

    I have a genuine question about the grammar, though. Wouldn’t the use of “myself” only be true if it’s used in the reflexive form, like if I was the subject? Such as, “I am putting myself together.” That I recognize. But, wouldn’t that be incorrect if the subject was another party, like “SHE is putting me together” or “This blog is putting me together” or “You are helping to put me together”? It would be the same as “She is putting me in the room.” It’s my understanding that it’s incorrect to say “She is putting myself in the room” (though often incorrectly used) since “myself” is supposed to be reflexive and the subject is someone other than myself. When I decided on the title I didn’t not assume that I was the subject. I didn’t assume a subject at all--the title isn’t even a full sentence. Again, this is a genuine question.

    However, as a response to thinking that I am degrading myself, I will say that even if the title is grammatically incorrect, that doesn’t mean I didn’t think long enough about it. Putting Myself Together was an option, but 1) like I said, I didn’t want to assume a subject, and 2) I simply liked the sound of Putting Me Together better. That might make you cringe and disrespect me more, but the way I see it is that titles of things like songs and blogs and poems and such don’t always need to be correct. Like, if I were to call my blog or a song I wrote “Ain’t No Thang,” that’s obviously incorrect grammar, but I would choose that over “It Isn’t a Thing” because I prefer the ring to it. I personally don't see a problem with that, especially when it comes to mediums that lend themselves to a more creative and artistic aspect. And maybe at that we just differ in opinions which I also think is okay.



    But again, if you were genuinely trying to help, then thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I loved reading this post! I have just started my own blog and it's mad how many things I could relate to. My boyfriend bought my domain name too because I was too scared to start one! But I'm glad I did now :) it hasn't been up for long but I'm enjoying it so far.
    Bea x
    www.beasbeautyblog.com

    ReplyDelete
  44. I love your blog! I'm fashion-challenged and I love how you put simple pieces together. I visit often and probably re-visit even more often! I also believe that blogging is a great way to get in touch with a community - I did the same thing. :) Thank you for sharing yourself with us!!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Hey there! I LOVE your blog and I love this post! I just (like just) started my own fashion blog called Good Girl Gone Glam. I am reading your words and you hit every thought I have had in the past/year/month/week/day. Especially the questions you ask yourself like "Am I stylish enough" etc. Nothing is worse then self doubt and putting yourself out there. I have wanted to start my blog for a good year and a half and I have just made the leap! Your advice is so good and this post couldn't have come at a better time! Thank you so much for your constant inspiration!!

    -Marianne

    www.goodgirlgoneglam.com

    ReplyDelete
  46. This paragraph really resonated with me:

    "And yes, your purpose can change over time. You can try one direction and decide that that's not where you want to go anymore. It's completely okay to change your purpose later in the game, and don't worry about time wasted. It wasn't time wasted--think of it as research and development. You spent a while trying something out and came to realize it's not what you want to do. That's actually really useful information and will help you clarify even better what you DO want to do in the future! "

    That's happened with my own blog, but it's also a good tip for life in general! Thanks for this post, I loved reading about your beginnings. Your style blog is my favorite because your goal of providing style help is exactly what I appreciate about your posts (versus other style blogs that are more just pretty pictures).

    ReplyDelete
  47. Esther Victoria Kay PlasterThursday, January 09, 2014

    friend, this is exactly what i needed to read this morning. i am in the beginning stages of my social media presence and its so great to know others experience the fear and insecurities of (gasp) putting oneself 'out there.' really enjoying reading your blog and appreciate your bravery.

    ReplyDelete
  48. This post has inspired me in so many ways. I've been wanting to start a blog for years... and after joining bloglovin just one week ago and seeing this post only 4 days ago...I've began my blog! It's amazing how one person's story can motivate and create someone elses. Thanks a lot :) Keep up the awesome work. oh and yessss I LOVE your blog! #addicting Lol

    ReplyDelete
  49. This is such a great read. I've been wanting to start a blog for such a long time, but I like to plan to the max, too. My New Year's resolution this year was to just get over it and start one, so I did! And your post makes me feel so much better about it :) Thanks for this!

    ReplyDelete
  50. What a fantastic post, Audrey! I love hearing about why other bloggers decide to begin their blog, and I enjoyed reading about how your blog has evolved and changed. I really like the story about how your blog got its name as well...it's catchy and fits you so well! Your words of wisdom are great as well - I remember when I first started to think about creating my own blog, I emailed a handful of my favorite bloggers to get their advice (you included!!). It was SO helpful, and hearing encouraging words from my favorites was exactly the push I needed to hit the "publish" button. It's been almost a year now since I started (next week!), and I've never had a hobby that I've loved like blogging. Thank you for being one of the major factors in my blogging journey!! XOXO

    ReplyDelete
  51. I'm so glad you decided to start this series! I've been quietly reading your blog for several months, and have been wanting to start a blog of my own for awhile now. Do you have a link to your first post? It is so nice to know I'm not the only person who is nervous about jumping into the world of blogging!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blogging tips