... a battle I'm constantly fighting when it comes to my writing and the content I produce.
Both my social media channels and my blog served as, for a very long time, an online diary; a visual journal that allowed me to document experiences, make memories concrete and share a few thoughts and feelings in the hope that they resonated with you. I always wrote from the heart, with little care or attention as to how my words would be received. That's not to say that I was at all careless, just unfiltered, open. And I can't help but feel I've let a part of that go.
Last week, I published an article that received more page views in one evening than any other post in the history of my blog. It was the hardest I have ever had to write and yet, the one I am most proud of. Even today, I am still receiving emails, messages and comments in response. I received messages from people I'd never spoken to before, people I admire and look up to, people I love and people I hadn't heard from in years. And you shared your own stories with me, opened up to me and broke your own silences for the first time. It was more powerful and moving than I could ever have imagined.
So though numbers are important to brands and sadly, a reason for competitiveness in others, I will never value anything more than the quality of those numbers, than the connection I have with my audience - no matter how big or small.
That relationship, to me, is the most rewarding aspect of my career.
Because it's all too easy to get caught up in the rat race, to forget why you really started.
So I suppose this is a declaration of sorts. Though I will always strive to improve my content, to work with new brands and to take on projects that make me too excited to sleep, I will also strive to stay connected. I want to keep sharing, keep talking and create discussions between you and I. Because if I don't, my online space loses its purpose. I lose my purpose.
And I'll be honest, it's not an easy balance to maintain. Those 3am theories about the meaning of life while I shove popcorn in my mouth? Amusing for Internet friends but not perhaps, for the brand that was considering me for their Christmas campaign.
The example above is in fact born out of experience, as I'm sure you all know. But the wonderful thing about what I do and this space, is that there are no rules. So when I'm experiencing a dip in motivation or a lack of inspiration, I have to sit down alone and really question why. I'm never short of things to say, to write about. I'm just scared. Because maybe what I want to write about won't secure my next pay cheque. But if I don't write it? I'm being dishonest with myself - and with you.
So to anyone putting themselves out there, whether it's writing a blog or posting a photo, my advice would be this: stay true to yourself, regardless of your reason for doing it. Be mindful of your audience but absolutely never change your style or principles. You're wonderful because you're unique and because you can offer something different. Value that. Use it to your advantage.
But I too want you to be happy with what you see and read here. If you have any suggestions for posts or topics that you want me to cover, please do let me know. This is your space as much as it is mine.