Man-fluence: A Single Girl’s Guide To Blogging

Once upon a time, I went on a few dates with a smart, handsome guy who worked in real estate. I was basically unemployed at the time, and on our first date I told him (rather shyly) that I spent much of my time writing a personal style and fashion blog. On our second date, he looked me in the eyes as we waited for a table in a hip Brooklyn restaurant: “Can I tell you something?” he asked.

I nodded, eyebrows perked in curiosity – unsure of what kind of confession he had to make so early on.

I read your blog last night.” he grinned.

Suddenly my mind was racing back to my most recent posts – Were they intelligent? What did I talk about? Was I funny?

Now usually, I'll tell just about anyone who will listen that I write a fashion blog and that I absolutely love it. For some reason though, knowing this very accomplished, fully-employed guy I was romantically interested in was reading my personal ranting and raving about fashion – made me incredibly self-conscious.

Clearly, things with this guy didn't work out, or this post wouldn't be titled “A Single Girl's Guide to Blogging.” However, this failed romance was a catalyst for me to look at my blog in a whole new way. Long after we stopped seeing each other, as I wrote my posts, I thought about whether or not I'd want him to read them.

The specific him quickly morphed into the royal him: The dream guy, the perfect specimen whom I admire and respect, who admires, respects and adores me. Would I proudly show him every blog post?

Throughout my various flings, trysts and flirtations, as these men wine, dine, waltz, tweet and Facebook-stalk in and out of my life, their critical opinion is always on my mind. I want to be smart for them. I want them to be impressed, proud and maybe even a little turned on when they read my blog – if not totally bewildered by my love for print mixing.

How does this so-called man-fluence affect my blog?

Well, to be sure, dressing for a man and writing for a man are two very different things. I find that I blog my best when I write as if Ryan Gosling (or some other manifestation of intelligence and charm) were reading my every post. Here are the ways I tweak my content for “the royal him,” but never my sense of self or my sense of style:

  • I tinker with my vocabulary. There are more adjectives than cute, adorbs and totes amaze.
  • I write with humor.
  • never take myself or my reflections on style too seriously.
  • I proofread.
  • I ask myself if I would say aloud to him, what I have just written.
  • I mind my tweets and Facebook updates in the same way. (Whether or not someone follows you, they can certainly Google search you and your blog name!)

Before you go banging the gong for feminism and writing your blog for you – hear me out. I always put myself first when it comes to my blog content (and you should too).  No one is blogging in a vacuum, and to ignore your audience (and potential audience) is to totally miss the beauty of being an online self-publisher. The thrill of imagining who could be clicking on your posts can be powerful motivation to display the best version of yourself and your writing. 

Blog to impress someone.

Whether it's a romantic interest, a professor, a potential employer, your parents, Anna Wintour – think about how you would feel if the most amazing person you could think of, the person you would most want to dazzle in the whole world – read your post about floral jeans. While this person might not be passionate about denim trends, they should be passionate about you. Invite that passionate attraction to your blog through engaging, smart and sexy content. After all, with the magic of social media, you never know who might be reading every word you write.

 

Who do you blog for? Has your content evolved as your readership has grown? Who influences you and motivates you to blog well? Let us know in the comments!

 

[Image credit: Be Frassy.]

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34 Responses

  1. Justine {Stop Me if You've Heard This One}

    I can see why what you’ve written here would upset some people, but I really think I get what you’re saying. It’s not a matter of impressing, necessarily, but really trying to do your best all the time.

    I know I fall into the trap of just hammering out a post and publishing just to have something new on my homepage. Would I ever submit that post to a magazine or use it as a clip? Definitely not.

    So what is the value? By always writing to “impress,” you’re really just making an effort. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

    Reply
  2. Kristie

    My inner feminist almost made me hit close tab, I am glad i didn’t though.

    This is great advice, I’m most proud of the posts on my blog that I’ve written with my mother in mind, I feel like my language is more sophisticated in those ones. I’ve never used a guy though, but I see what you’re saying.

    Great article!

    Reply
  3. eye4style

    This is fantastic advice, and I follow a similar credo. If the man angle isn’t appealing, imagine that your dream employer or dream brand is reading instead. It should always be “best foot forward!”

    Reply
  4. Sarah

    I love this! Your blog is sort of your resume, these days, so it’s important to think about how it makes you come off.

    Reply
  5. Incognito

    Interesting point of view. When writing I always think of the reader and me but never think about the closest person to me or my love interest. I will keep in mind this article because we also would like to have some men reading our blog :). Thanks a lot for this article !

    Shug’A’Very

    Reply
  6. Yasmeen (Castle Fashion)

    Writing for someone definitely helps but it’s important to just work on perfecting a writing style in general. One aspect of my blog that’s grown exponentially since its inception is its “voice” and I find that my writing is sharpest when I write in that voice, regardless of the reader. The list of things I want to convey is pretty short: I’m intelligent, quirky, childish, and analytical. I want to come off as thoughtful but relaxed; it’s also the writing style that I most enjoy reading (see Park&Cube). If I keep those qualities in mind, it doesn’t really matter who I’m writing for! But, for some writers, this method may help too.

    Yasmeen
    Castle Fashion

    Reply
    • Incognito

      You also have an interesting point there. Both the article and your comment are helpful ! But isn’t finding your “voice” hard ? How do you make it possible ? I mean how do you find your inspiration to be able to perfect your writing style ?

      Shug’A’Very

      Reply
  7. Charley Helfet

    I also try to incorporate humour and witticisms as much as possible.

    I’m a DIY fashion blogger and since DIY fashion blogging is gaining popularity among the blogging community, I always try and stay ahead of the game by taking on the most technically ambitious projects I possibly can and coming up with creative solutions that other people don’t think of. I’ll try to be as meticulous as possible and experiment with effects and novel approaches. However, I like to throw in the odd simple, accessible entry like this one – http://chiccheat.co.uk/2012/05/true-collars/ – so as not to alienate readers and so that there’s something for everyone.

    My current goal is to come up with a new technique or solution that’s also easy to do, for a tutorial that doesn’t take forever – an obvious and simple task, you’d think, but you’d be surprised!

    I also like to add in some fashion background-related commentary to add a sense of context, rather than it just being a tutorial.

    Here’s the link to my blog http://chiccheat.co.uk/
    Do I fulfil those criteria to you?

    Reply
  8. k s

    taylor i love this! i’m laughing because recently a guy said it to me and i was so caught off guard and literally couldn’t remember what my post that day was – but i knew i was a little embarrassed and i wasn’t sure why. i knew without a doubt he had never seen any other fashion blogs so i’m sure he was confused/intrigued – too funny!

    Reply
  9. Ruth @ My Love Wedding Ring

    I think this is top advice, there is no reason for it not to be a man although it could be anyone, it could be your Mom, your son, your sister, your colleague – it is about doing it as well as you can whilst still being true to you – well done for saying it!

    Reply
  10. Rena @ TheVintageDesignShop

    Great post! It’s always a good idea to write to impress your audience. It does help to imagine a specific person sitting down to read your post, I find. Pick your best friend, Mom, a celebrity… just pick someone! I just do my best to stick to my voice and write with humour. And proofread. Twice!

    Reply
  11. Jade

    I definitely make sure that the writing sounds like “me” as I know a lot of my friends and family read my blog and would probably call me out if I wasn’t being myself on my blog. Some of my co-workers also read it so I make sure that a lot of it sounds intelligent and not too whingy and basically just talking like I would at work (eg, no excessive whinging, complaining etc). But I also agree about sometimes writing for a current guy in case they do decide to read my blog as I wouldn’t want to be embaressed if they read it.

    Reply
  12. arleendee

    LOVED this post, I’ve found myself feeling the same way, and I think it is good to think of some “imaginary” person we would want to impress because I feel like it’s a reflection of how we want to see ourselves.

    Reply
  13. Karalyn

    This is so great. I don’t know if I would tell a guy on a first date that I wrote a fashion blog. I don’t know if a guy would understand the complex relationship that is a girl and her blog (and fashion).

    Reply
  14. Rachael

    I think its great to write as if someone important will be reading it, whether it be your future lover, future employer, or future children. I’ve applied for jobs in the past where a blog would be a relevant resume item, but have held back, knowing that blogs I’ve owned in the past weren’t always employer ready and it probably hurt my chances. They say things that get put out on the internet can never be taken back, so perhaps we should all write with the ideal someone in mind and think about if we’d want them to know about that hookup, hangover, or bad day at work.

    Reply
  15. de la Pen

    This is probably one of the most interesting posts I’ve read here on IFB and I mean that in a good way! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing for a current or future romantic interest. I mean you want your love interest to care about what you do so the best way to do that is to blog in a way that would make them care.

    Also, guys aren’t like women, they like their information to be simple and unique. In essence, writing for a male love interest could attract more male readers because you’ve broadened your style which will lead to a growth in your audience. I write for men and women although most of my coverage tends to be womenswear b/c emerging men’s designers seems to be few and far between here in NYC. I plan to change this soon though. Either way, awesome post! 🙂

    Reply
  16. Rachel

    This is certainly great advice!!!!!! I think it is important to keep in mind who your audience is if that’s who you are writing for (I truly think some bloggers out there do it just as a creative outlet and to connect with other people and don’t necessarily want to have to write for an audience). I blog from a very personal perspective and have no professional background in fashion, but I always think “what if I wanted to go into the fashion industry someday?” So far, my personal fashion blog would be the ONLY thing I have to show my experience and understanding of trends, etc. That’s why I agree with you 100% that it is important to think about writing for someone and what I read in someone’s comment, to almost think of it as your resume. At the same time, I do feel there are some people out there just looking to connect with others with similar interests while some have more of a professional outlook and business goals connected with their blogs. Clearly, the most important thing to do is know what the purpose of your blog is and why you started it (personal, personal + professional, professional/business) and write the way you would with this purpose in mind!

    Reply
  17. April

    Good points here! When I blog, I try to keep in mind that many people, from my co-workers to my grandma, read my blog…plus I’m sure there’s some new people who stumble by each day…so whenever I write, I always try to do the best I can. And I like my writing simple, and to the point…I feel that posts that are too long and drawn out can loose people.

    Reply
  18. Elissa

    I think this is great advice. My boyfriend is constantly reading my blog and telling me if I use poor grammar, if what I’m writing doesn’t make sense, or if I look less than perfect in my photos (lol). I’m lucky to have him as my proofreader, and I often find myself writing to impress him, which hopefully translates to impressing others, too.

    Reply
  19. Jessica of I'll Take That in Purple

    This is an awesome post, and I feel the same way. I think proofreading and vocabulary are so important when it comes to blogging! I actually got my current job because my (then) prospective employers read my blog. It is always important to blog with the intention that someone fabulous/smart/important will read your every post.

    Reply
  20. The Closet Anthropologist

    I love this idea, you should definitely be proud of what you write! Not everyone may “get” what you are writing about, but if you feel confident about what you post, that’s all that matters.

    Reply
  21. debi c

    i totally get what you mean..if a feminist gets upset at this then either they didn’t read this or missing out on what feminism means.i am a feminist not a man hater..anyway i recently discovered a blogger i LOVE is following me..i got so excited and then afraid that i couldn’t bring myself to write anything for a few days.every time i thought of something i was like, “but that’s not good enough for her,she’s so cool!”
    i have calmed down a bit now though..and hopefully i keep bringing out interesting content on my blog.

    Reply
  22. modernsky

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    Reply
  23. Meh

    This is horrible. All the comments about “inner feminism” is ludicrous and demeaning. Why on earth would a man’s approval improve your writing? If someone’s a poor writer to begin with, then surely the invisible gaze of a man won’t improve it. I’m not going to bang on about “writing for yourself” because it’s a cliché, and of course everyone is writing to impress someone. But to write to make a man find you attractive? And to assume that only a man could point out grammatical errors and bad syntax? That’s the most demeaning sentiment of all.

    Say “totes amaze” if that’s what you want to say. If that’s what you feel like saying to describe something, then go ahead. I think it’s fucked up to have to change anything about yourself to make you attractive. I’m actually saddened.

    Reply
    • Catherine

      My sentiments exactly. I definitely understand writing to impress – most bloggers do if they have some sort of audience – but I don’t like idea of appeasing the virtual male gaze (that you refer to as man-fluence). “I want to be smart for them”? As I said, I get the desire to impress someone, but the man-fluence mentioned/discussed in this is a little demeaning. In this article, it’s easy to mistake that it all comes down to what men approve of (whether or not that was the theme), and I think that’s a little ridiculous.

      I want my content to be engaging and smart, but why must it be sexy?

      I just don’t see why single girls need a guide to blogging.

      Reply
  24. h-vogue

    I love this! Your blog is sort of your resume, these days, so it’s important to think about how it makes you come off.

    Reply
  25. FMFashionMixer

    You are so true, I just “re-started” my blog for the third time and when I tell people about my blog I want them to be impressed. I always try to look at my blog in a way where if I were a random person who has never seen my blog would I be blown away with the content, pictures, etc…..And if you don’t want to impress other people at least impress yourself.

    Reply