3 Years Later: What I’d Tell My Beginning Blogger Self

Okay, so I know three years isn't really all that long. However, in the lifespan of fashion and style blogging, I think that makes me pretty much an expert. Couple that with nearly a year here at IFB and I'm practically ancient – a Yoda of blogging wisdom. Get more traffic you will! Shoot with a DSLR camera, you must!

Corny jokes aside, working at IFB really has put me on a fast-track for observing, understanding, loving, hating, respecting and  evolving the fashion blogging community. Our team spends more collective hours looking at blogs and connecting with the people who create them than probably anyone else – maybe ever.

While writing for IFB (and Eat, Sleep, Denim) daily, I've also been trying to keep up my own personal blog when I can. I started it on a whim back in 2009, after an inspiring vacation in Paris. Oddly enough, my dad told me that fashion blogs were “the new thing” and I should start one to build a writing and photography portfolio.  (At the time I was living at home, interning and working in reatail and badly in need of some stimulation.)

Somewhat begrudgingly, I started my blog, but quickly found it to be a much-needed outlet, and one that I really enjoyed. So what would I tell my beginning blogger self, if I could go back and tap her on the shoulder as she types away in the basement of her parents house? It's hard to say really, because at the time I had no idea what I was doing, and I learned as I went along. I'm not sure I'd want to skip all the growing pains.

For the sake of this post though, let's pretend…

Dear Taylor of 2009,

First of all, it's a good thing you listened to Dad. You have no idea now, but this blog is going to open so many doors for you in the next few years. You're going to make amazing, genuine new friends, attend all kinds of fabulous parties, and believe it or not – you'll manage to land an editorial gig in New York City thanks to this thing. (Yep – you're moving there in about a year so do us a favor and start saving your money.)

As for this blog – I love the name, but it's a little long. Something just as snappy but a little shorter would have been easier to tell people, create a URL from, print on business cards and mention on Twitter. Oh my god, speaking of Twitter – you're going to love it. Get involved right now – and don't listen to your friends who think it's lame. You will come to rely on it so heavily for attracting new readers, communicating with fellow bloggers and keeping up on eve-ry-thing.  Also, this thing called a “hashtag” is going to change your life.

Take Mom's DSLR everywhere. The point-and-shoot feels fine now, but you're going to wish you had taken a little more consideration with your street style photos in the future. By the way though, I'm proud of you for photographing so many “stylish” people at Seattle events. While the photos are bad and the outfits are even worse, you'll get some traffic and notice for blogging about local events (SEO!) and much-needed confidence in approaching strangers for photos in the future.

Also, these first outfit photos are rough. Like, girl, black leggings are not look. Save those for your off days – and focus more on how you dress for your internships, what you wear to First Thursdays at the Seattle Art Museum, and chic rain gear. (God knows the people of Seattle could use a hint.) I respect your use of Dad's tripod in the backyard, but again – trust in the DSLR, and use bigger images!

Finally, hold onto your quirky humor and keep telling these personal stories about your life and your style. These unique traits about your blog will be what eventually gets you an award, a readership of thousands and that job I mentioned earlier. In just a few years there will be many, many blogs a lot like yours, and if you don't go against the grain a little you'll get totally lost and begin to bore even yourself.

The sooner you take this thing seriously, the the sooner everyone else will too. People are going to turn their blogs into full-time jobs, and you could be one of these people if you really work your ass off. So don't slack, keep the faith and steal more of Mom's vintage jewelry.

Good luck,

Taylor of 2012

Looking back through my old blog content is like peeking into a time capsule. My social life, my friends, my discoveries of blogs like Jak & Jil and Garance Dore… It's all there. While I'm slightly embarrassed at some of the shoddy quality photographs, sort of pointless posts and not chic outfits – reflecting on the evolution of my blog from its fledgling days is like looking back on an awkward childhood: You cringe, you smile, and you realize that all these missteps have only strengthened the person (and the blog) you are now.

 

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60 Responses

  1. Kaitlin

    I love it. I definitely agree with “The sooner you take this thing seriously, the the sooner everyone else will too.” great post, Taylor!! x

    Reply
  2. Rachel

    Actually, I do not have a clue what I would say to my blogger self three and a half years when I started, but I loved your letter!

    Reply
  3. Miss Mellalina

    I just started my blog about a month ago, I really hope I don’t have any regrets 3 years down the line………
    This post makes me start wondering, ARE my outfits not chic enough? DOES it really matter that I can’t afford a fancy camera and use a pretty crappy cheap digital one? AAAHHHH so much pressure!

    Facebook.com/MissMellalina

    Reply
  4. Corleen

    Love the writing style you chose to communicate blogging tips! As I’m new, I really appreciate the advice as well

    Reply
  5. danielle

    haha- i’d say “stop taking pictures in front of your blinds, light sockets, and any other household items that make photos awkward”, “get a remote because 10 second timer is leaving you looking frantic and sweaty in outfit pics” and finally “please don’t post those terribly blurry outfit pics. no outfit post is better than an incredibly crappy one.” oh to go back in time a year and a half. can’t imagine how i’ll feel in 3 years! congrats!

    Reply
  6. beautifulfall

    Love this post, extremely helpful for new bloggers or bloggers that aren’t quite new but still not quite fully founded yet either (guilty…..). Huge fan of your blog by the way and completely agree with the DSLR thing, it completely changes everything. Thanks again for these guidelines! http://www.elegantidiosyncrasy.com/

    Reply
  7. Alicia

    Loved this letter/post Taylor! I could not agree more… the awkward first posts are fun to look back on and it’s all been a learning process! I feel like my blog and I have grown up together over the past few years and my blog has given me many opportunities that I would never have dreamed of. ;)) x

    Reply
  8. Jami

    I really like this post. It’s really inspiring because I am just starting out as a fashion blogger. I feel that in a few years time you can learn alot and wish you knew it all when starting out. This makes me feel that I am doing all this hard work for a reason (:
    http://fashion-hoarder.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  9. Lauren - Slowburn Fastburn

    Such a great article! I feel this way even though my blog is about 5 months old, and definitely feel like I’ve grown so much is such a short amount of time, so I can’t even imagine 3 years down the road! I am lucky enough to have a boyfriend with a DSLR who knows a thing or two about photography, or I still might not have caught on. This article was touching and I feel like I can relate. I only hope to get even a percentage of the opportunities that you were able to! Congrats on the success!

    xx lauren
    http://slowburnfastburn.com

    Reply
  10. Art Diva

    I tip my hat to you! I recently started blogging “for real” (although I’ve been doing it on and off for a few years) and just wrote a note to my younger self albeit not near as eloquently. My personal lesson is to save the outfit posts for special occasions. Sure, it’s easy and exciting to come up with fun outfits to wear to your dayjob when you first start blogging, but if you’re doing it just to keep up appearances, chances are you’ll burn out after the honeymoon phase ends. Understanding the roots of what inspires you will actually help you grow, learn and keep things fresh so that blogging will enrich your real life, not take away from it.

    Reply
  11. Kathryn

    I’ve often wished I could send a similar letter to my younger, less experienced self. Fun read! Thank you!

    Reply
  12. Kate

    I´m just starting with my blog and I really loved this post. I especially appreciate the part about being yourself. I have been very blessed and have had lots of help so far with mine, my boyfriend has the camera, my best friend is a general web whiz, but sometimes I worry that I need to fit into a cookie cutter and that people won´t appreciate who “I” am. Thanks so much for pointing out that to be different you have to be yourself! And ps, what an inspiring story!!

    Besos, Kate

    http://www.katemariela.com

    Reply
  13. Andrea

    What a lovely letter to your former self, it really made me smile. Personally I can’t believe how many doors can obviously open for one’s self through a personal style blog. I can’t wait until blogging becomes a bit more popular in Austria, where we bloggers are still some kind of oddity. Sometimes our beautiful country is a bit behind on things. 😉
    xo Andrea
    Wonderful and Marvelous

    Reply
  14. Margo

    I love everything about this post! I’m 6 months into my blog, and I know I have a lot of growing to do, but I can’t wait to look back and reflect on how far I’ve come within the next year! Thanks for sharing your story with us!

    Reply
  15. Hippie Fruit

    Wow . I really enjoyed reading this. The letter was beautifully written and I love how it shows the ability to laugh at ones past self!!

    xx

    Hippie Fruit

    Reply
  16. Danielle

    I found myself smiling as I read your letter. So many of those points hit home with me (and some were a little bit of a wake up call!).
    One of my favorite parts of blogging is that it’s always changing at such a rapid pace. It’s important to keep up but it’s just as important to be yourself (which makes looking back more fun). Thanks for sharing this!

    Danielle
    LouWhatWear.com

    Reply
  17. Catarina

    Those tips are really helpful, I’m glad I stopped by 🙂
    And don’t you worry about the name of your blog, as a follower, I can tell you it’s catchy. I’m starting too, so let’s see if I don’t mess it up 😛
    Kisses from Portugal *

    Reply
  18. Maja

    I’m pms-ing, so this made me tear up a little. 😀 heh
    I’m glad all of these wonderful things happened to you. I hope one day I’ll do what I love, and not have to “work”.
    Thank you for the inspiration!

    inwithdnew.blogspot.com

    Reply
  19. Judy

    Thanks for the words of wisdom. I am one year into my blog and still learning and I appreciate the info you shared. It’s concise yet conveys that you care about us newbies and are willing to help us grow.
    Hope to see you at the IFB conference!

    Reply
  20. Style Studette

    Really enjoyed reading this. Just started my blog, and found this really inspiring and encouraging to keep going in the competitive world of fashion blogging!

    Reply
  21. Wil Harris

    This post is so insightful! Congratulations on all your accomplishments; you inspire us. My sisters and I started our blog 6 months ago and we still have a long way to go. We’re excited to see where our blog will be 6 months from now.

    Reply
  22. Sascha

    Love this post! Oh, the things I’d tell my beginner-blogger self…I’ve changed lots since then! Hopefully for the better…

    Reply
  23. Lori

    Thanks for this great post, Taylor! It’s really positive and encouraging. Mostly appreciate it!

    Lori
    glamsavestyle.com

    Reply
  24. DesignThrift

    amazing that it’s your dad who told YOU about fashion blogging, haha. I can’t imagine my father ever saying anything remotely near that. great story and sense of humor too!

    Reply
  25. Jazmine McPhee

    Wow this post was so necessary for me to see. I’ve just recently taken my blog more seriously and I am trying to determine my voice and brand.. I needed to see this. Thank you so much.

    http://mineyb.blospot.com

    Reply
  26. yaz raja

    omg this is soo cute! congrats on your 3 years of blogging, this truly is inspiring and lovely to read! Thank you for sharing!

    – Yaz Raja

    Reply
  27. RoisinElizabeth

    I love looking at some of my favourite blogs first few months of posts – its reassuring that people with big glossy photos and every item in their wardrobe seemingly being ‘care of’ still started photographing themselves in their bedroom mirrors and didn’t resize their photos once upon a time!

    Reply
  28. liya

    I hv been blogging for about 2 years and I really look back sometimes and think,’really girl, that photo is pointlessly blur/we don’t need to say the same photos posted 5x doing the same things & some crap out of line stuff’ but it was all for the fun of it and we learn along the way from other pro bloggers!

    thenuliya.blogspot.sg

    Reply
  29. stefania

    very valuable information. I also liked how you were creative in writing this post as a journal entry, very unique and fun to read. Thanks for the advice!

    Reply
  30. Lucinda Reid

    this was so helpful as I have been blogging for about 6 months and wondering whether I will ever get more people reading it! It has also made me even more sure that I want a DSLR for christmas!

    imnotwearingvintage.blogspot.com

    Reply
  31. Saimastyle

    Oh shiiiite I think I’m making most of these mistakes, particularly pertaining to the pictures – must save for DSLR asap….or ask for it as a gift!Thank you for the tips, its the closest thing to a manual i’ve ever encountered 🙂
    Saima
    http://saimastyle.blogspot.ca/

    Reply
  32. Mimi

    Wow, these are all things I admit have mistakenly done myself! I believe it’s all part of the learning process though. Some posts were so bad(picture quality, fugly outfit) that I admit I deleted them about a year later. I guess they could probably be found somewhere in cyberspace anyway?!! I assume that in another 3 years or so, I will cringe once again at a few posts, but I’m having so much fun, I’m willing to handle giving my future self the creeps:)

    Reply
  33. Emily Jenny

    Taylor! I can totally relate to you in this post. I started my blog 3 years ago and seriously some of the posts are just RIDICULOUS! First of all I was EMO as shit…and secondly the quality of my personal photos was terrible. I could definitely use this little Letter to Emily 2009 exercise. And keep staying quirky, it’s the only way to be really.

    xo
    Emily Jenny

    http://www.stilettobeats.com

    Reply
  34. Katie

    These may be words for yourself three years ago, but they are great words for me today! Even though I’ve had a blog for a year and a half now, it still can feel daunting at times. This is a great reminder as to why we do it, and why we should continue to do it. Congrats on all your success.

    Reply
  35. Marianne Krohn

    Awesome article! I hope I’ll be able to look on such a huge development in a few years time… 🙂

    Reply
  36. Maggie

    That is amazing! Definitely made me reflect on what I need to improve on to allow my blog to open doors for me as well. Thank You for posting this!

    Reply
  37. iris

    Dear Taylor,

    Hi! You don’t know me but I have felt so related to your letter. It’s been three years this summer too for me since I started my blog and I feel like you:) I started and I actually didn’t know much about blogs, just visited some American ones and thought it would be fun to communicate with girls from all over the world with the same passion… never thought it would help me with so many things and helped me to get a 2nd job collaborating with the communication of a brand I love. I still have so many things to learn and I’m actually only taking it a little bit more seriously now – 3 years later! – and that’s a great thing. Never stop learning and never stop loving what you do.

    Love from Madrid
    xxx

    Reply
  38. Michelle

    I enjoyed the letter to your younger blogger self. It is interesting to go back and read your first blog postings. It shows how much you have grown and changed. What was important to you then that may not be so important now. The friends you had and the new ones you gained. Even seeing how your favorite designers have evolved over time. Sometimes looking back is the best motivation to help keep going forward. Great posting.

    Reply
  39. shanda

    Thanks for all and any helpful insight…..I love my site and blogging!!!!

    Reply
  40. Nathaly

    I usually don’t read whole articles bu I loved yours. Your letter was cute and funny. Thanks for the “indirect” tips

    Reply
  41. SoarThumb

    I love all of your blog work Taylor! And I would sooo tell my beginning blogger self the same things. I would also add that- there aint nothing to it but to do it!- I spent so much time in my first year of blogging opening and closing blogs, that I feel like a freshman again! I am definitely a bit more confident in my ability and more gungho about not sweating the small stuff!

    Reply