If you have never failed at anything, please raise your hand.
No hands up, right? We've all been there, again and again, over and over. Whether it's in school, in your job, as a friend, as a parent, you name it – it's unavoidable. We've also all probably read all those quotes about how failure makes you better, right? I bet you saw one just yesterday in a pretty font on Pinterest.
I will be the first one to type here before you and say “Failing sucks.” You feel terrible about yourself. You begin to doubt yourself and your abilities. You might even want to hibernate for a while while you lick your wounds. I say, do those things if you must, but not for too long. Because, as much as it pains me to say it, each failure really is a learning experience and indeed, what doesn't kill you – say it with me now – will make you stronger!
So, what about when it comes to fashion blogging? How does failing in some aspect of blogging actually help?
1. There's no rule that says you can't start over.
If you're frustrated, fed up, bitter, exhausted, bored, disinterested – stop for a second. If your blog isn't what you want it to be, why not shutter it and start fresh? We have anxiety about new beginnings sometimes, but truly they are the most exciting times, and definitely more fun than clinging to a project or a blog or a relationship that doesn't make you feel happy or successful.
2. That skin, it will get thicker.
Really, it will. Once you've been bumped and bruised (literally and figuratively) your skin will start to build up a resistance. The little things will bother you less, take up less of your time, and become little more than a brief distraction or a blip on the radar.
3. Haters gon' hate, but sometimes they have a point.
I'm talking about constructive criticism, not outright mean or nasty comments. Critical opinions are sometimes the most difficult to stomach when you know that they might be right or true. Take it in, mull it over, and search for something valuable. If there's nothing to be learned or gained, just bitterness, jealousy or troll-ness, forget it and move on! (Read more about how you can benefit from criticism and rejection.)
4. Examine your lowest-traffic posts and nix 'em!
Did you have a new post idea that flopped? Is one of your series just not resonating with your audience? Like they say: You can lead a horse to water but you can't make 'em drink. Well, you can lead a reader to content, but you can't make em like it. Don't force it. You have to decide for yourself how to balance what you want and what your readers want, but nixing what isn't working will let you spend more time on what works well.
5. Freedom to experiement.
Trial-and-error is how just about everything works in blogging. What has been proven successful for one person's site may not work for yours. You have a unique audience, a unique voice and your own goals. There are no rules, and if something you've tried didn't work, try something else. And something else after that. Have fun with the possibilities and opportunities you think up all on your own. Who knows – you may find the secret ingredient or missing step you've been looking for all along.
6. You can stop talking, and start listening.
It's amazing what you can learn when you close your own mouth, isn't it? If you're feeling burned from a failed project or blog, take a moment to silence yourself, and listen and look around. See what other people are doing. Ask for advice and then listen to it earnestly. Making a specific intention to listen more is an amazing way to learn about yourself, your community and what people want.
7. You can't do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.
Change it up! Trucking away doing exactly what you always do and expecting that one day a light bulb will go on in the collective brains of your potential audience is just silly. If your tweets aren't driving traffic – change up your approach. If your posts don't get any feedback – start asking questions. Nothing will change unless you do.
8. If it didn't work, it probably wasn't right anyway.
Think about your dealings with brands. When a project has been successful, wasn't it because it was a great fit? You love the brand, the people are nice, the project was fun and your audience really related to it, right? When you look at a potential project that didn't work out – look closely. You may find that as much as it wasn't a match on their end, it wouldn't have worked well for you either.
9. It's an opportunity to get educated.
If you feel like you're not good enough at something you want to achieve, make a conscious effort to learn more and get better. Take a photography class. Join a writing workshop. Attend an open mic night to get inspired. Spend some time reading or studying an element of blogging or a subject that interests you. Why not learn HTML coding so you can customize your site exactly how you want it?
10. It's not over until you say it is.
Failure? What failure? If you're not willing to give up and admit defeat – then don't! You are the one in charge, and you call the shots with your blog. (It's yours, you know.) Whatever the struggle is that you are facing; declining traffic, lack of comments, disinterest from brands; if you don't let it drag you down or dampen your spirits – you'll come out on the other end stronger, more resilient, and confident than anyone.