Friday, July 15, 2011

Why Do You** Blog?

**Disclaimer: This post is my opinion about my own experience blogging. I do not judge other bloggers' styles or motives, and I sincerely hope that comes across.


Photo credit: Natalie Dee

After reading a recent post by one of my favorite bloggers, who wrote that she's going through a blogging slump, I spent a few minutes thinking about my own motives in starting this blog. I won't lie—it began as a part-selfish endeavor. I hoped to draw new members to my forum, as conversations go through a lull in the warmer months, and I also hoped to be one of the lucky bloggers who receives PR samples from the brands I love or would love to try, especially since I am a relatively late bloomer with my makeup exploration, which that all of your wonderful beauty blogs helped ignite.

Photo credit: Natalie Dee

So I approached blogging a bit like a a business. I worked very hard those first couple months to write lots of honest reviews with tons of pictures (and how horrible some of those early, dim photos were!); I used search-friendly post titles, hoping my blog would come up near the top in search results. I scurried to stay on top of new collections, and tried to beat all the veterans in getting my post up first! It was fun—even exhilarating—but it became less so when I began to sound like nothing more than a review churner. I also quickly realized how stressful and labor intensive it is to keep up, to write compelling reviews about beauty products in fresh and different ways, especially since I wanted to write as well as my favorite bloggers.

So now what was my goal? I still wanted to provide visual access to hard-to-find or niche brands, the way you all did before me. Many brands are not readily accessible to me—I would have to drive 90 minutes each way to look at a single nail polish or blush or eyeshadow—so over the years I relied heavily on online reviews with detailed photographs and skin swatches, especially those swatches that compared the reviewed item to others like it; those were invaluable because color is only useful when put in context. I also wanted to add my voice, swatches and colors to the very tiny community of pale, purely cool-toned bloggers, as the makeup industry seems designed for warm or warm-neutral, medium skins.

So slowly, and despite my blog's selfish origins, I found it more rewarding to give back to anyone out there who is researching one of the products I review, the way bloggers had done before me. Nothing warms the cockles of my heart more quickly than receiving a comment or e-mail from someone who bought something I reviewed and loves it. Of course there is always the chance that someone will buy something I loved and hate it, maybe even be angry at me. The risk increases when we buy makeup we swatched on skin tones that are nothing like our own.

Hannibal is so exhausted, he can't bear to look
I know I needn't tell you bloggers and readers of blogs how time consuming and exhausting maintaining a blog can be, not to mention (potentially) expensive. If I am reviewing, for example, a new eyeshadow palette, I need excellent light to take the most helpful photographs, and ideally, several types of light (direct and indirect sun, indoor/natural lighting, flash/no flash). Sometimes I have to wait several days for the sun to come out. I must allocate time to select and then edit each photo from the dozens of shots I too, in order that what you see online matches the color of the product I hold in my hand. To provide that, I remove distractions (cat scratches on my hand!), and adjust exposure, contrast, saturation, tint, and remove shadows. I try to label photos with product names when I swatch several together, so you can tell them apart without having to look at the caption (captions don't show up in Google images), and I always remind myself to add a watermark to each photo, since so many photos are stolen for use on eBay and other sites, including other blogs.

I had no idea what to expect when I started blogging. I assumed it could be competitive, maybe even catty. And yet I was quickly accepted, guided by kind people, promoted by generous people, and embroidered into a tightly-knit, global community of like-minded people. And how small that world is. To be sure, there are some negative aspects (SPAM, mean comments, a tiny percentage of other beauty bloggers who won't give you the time of day, and so on), but the positive far outweighs any negative. As for using search-friendly titles, I still try to think of what someone like me would enter into a search field, if I were looking for a review of a product, and it can work in unexpected ways: It was quite amusing to read (and reject!) some of the comments I received  for my nude post. (Made you click, didn't I?)

I started to relax about my content, but I found myself worrying about my blog's popularity, wondering why some blogs that started around the same time as I had double or triple the number of followers. And like the writer I mentioned in my intro paragraph, I found myself obsessing over statistics, especially views by post and what my traffic sources were. For anyone who has a Blogger blog, I probably don't have to tell you how unhelpful their out-of-the-box tats are, and as for the followers ... well. Increasing those numbers goes back to my original intent for this blog, where I assumed more followers = more popular = perks. It felt a little like trying to get in with the "in" crowd in school, and that was when I started to take a really hard look at what I wanted for myself and from this blog. I realized that trying to increase followers purely for the sake of increasing numbers felt hollow, and it made me reexamine my motives.

My day job pays me to write professionally (so please forgive lazy writing on this blog, where I come to relax without fear of the editor's red pen), and the golden rule is Know Your Audience. There's little point in writing if no one is reading, so having lots of people who click "follow" and never visit my blog again would make me feel sad. I would much rather have fewer followers but know that they follow because they are interested in reading what I post, at least once in a while.

As for the PR samples, no one was more surprised than I when those gifts felt a tiny bit like a burden. I insist that my posts be unadulterated by fear of having the goods shut off, just because I write an honest review that a PR firm might interpret as negative. If samples come my way, fun! I will write about them (with full disclosure) only if I like them, and I will give them away if I don't. I do not care about this blog becoming "famous." As a fairly private person, too much attention would make me uncomfortable, so I have little interest in being invited to special events. You won't see me doing YouTube video reviews, and I am certainly not looking for a job working for Miranda Priestly. I already have a job that I love. This blog is a happy hobby, nothing more.


About a quarter of what was once my total stash
I love beauty-products, especially makeup, but I discovered that after months of accumulating new products to review, I felt inundated, overwhelmed. I enjoyed makeup less because I wasn't giving myself time to enjoy it, so quickly was I moving on to the next new thing. So I have slowed down the tidal wave of product, hoping there are other ways I can add value than by churning through new products several times a week. I'm not saying I'll stop buying product—I've already tried abstinence and it didn't take. But my purchases will be more discerning and reflective. How many different shades of taupe does one person need, anyway? Don't answer that, Elvira!





So why do I blog? For fun, friendship, and I guess I feel like I have something to contribute to this small inner world of beauty. I hope that by sharing my thoughts with this community, some of you feel the same way. Very few women in my 3D life even wear makeup, so I can't talk to them about my love of beauty products.

I also hope that by writing more thought-provoking posts (and potentially fewer product reviews) I won't lose anyone, but I am willing to take that risk. Like any hobby, blogging must find a place of balance within my life. I don't want to spend the entire summer glued to the monitor when I could be enjoying my gardens outside

Why do you blog? I suspect many of you want to give back, but if you are doing it for samples or an internship or to be flown free to IMATS or to become as famous as The Arm (KarlaSugar), fantastic! Please leave a comment and tell me what that's like—I'd really love to know. I do not judge, I merely observe. And as I mentioned in my first sentence, my slight shift in focus is based purely on my own experience, a blog evolution, after makeup started to feel a little less fun. At one time, I wanted it all and maybe I will again.


My photos. Illustrations by Natalie Dee

35 comments:

  1. I loved reading this post! I started blogging just because I liked the whole idea and having no one to share and talk about my make-up obsession I felt I needed somewhere to vent.

    I totally agree with you when you say there's no point in having loads of followers and then less than half actually read/comment on blogposts. I'm already experiencing this even if my blog is still very small, only a handful of people actually take their time to read and comment which is frustrating!

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  2. I enjoyed this post as well as Modesty Brown's. I started blogging to share pictures and looks. Lately it has become less fun and more of a chore to review things I buy. I think I need a break soon.

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  3. First off, the cartoons you posted are priceless! I had a wonderful chortle over them.

    Second, this was such a thoughtful post and I can relate to so many of those ups and downs and round and rounds that come with blogging. I go through mini slumps all the time, and I confess that I often feel insecure about how slow growing I perceive my blog to be. Usually a mental slap is in order, as well as a reminder to myself as to why I started blogging. For me, it's the pictures. I love art, photos, colors, and things like that. My blog is an artistic outlet. (Not saying I'm an artist, or even really that good at it. I just enjoy it.) It's so fun for me to line all my shiny products up and photograph them. Writing is a bit difficult for me, but I love to share my thoughts with other enthusiasts who won't think I'm crazy. Once I get my head straight, blogging becomes enjoyable again. And every once in a while, another blogger gives you unexpected props, or a thoughtful comment--- and it makes it all worth it.

    Finally, I was surprised (although not so surprised in retrospect) to see that you write for a living. The composition and structure of your posts are always wonderful, so this makes so much sense. I really hope you do go out on that limb and write more thought and opinion posts; I'm quite addicted to them already. I think we all (or at least me) try on different blogging hats and styles, as inspired by bloggers around us, and eventually find our niche!

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  4. I love this post. I started blogging because I really wanted to contribute to the beauty community clear swatches and images. I also wanted to give an honest opinion on how products work. There are so many times I'd buy something out of hype then wonder why it didn't work.

    I agree with you that it does take a lot of work to maintain a blog. However, I write when I want to and when I have the time. For those of us who have a full time job, it's not easy to post everyday, multiple times a day. When blogging stops being fun, I will walk away. It's not a source of income or even a place to get PR samples. For me, it's a hobby, an outlet for my love of makeup, and hopefully a place where I can help someone make a right decision when deciding to buy something.

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  5. Thank you so much for writing this, Zuzu. I have enjoyed every single one of your posts, and am now also a happy little newbie on the forum. I am delighted and inspired by your honesty, clarity and engaging writing style. the pictures are fabulous to boot. Though not a blogger, I am an appreciator, and thank you and your like for all that you put in to this!! You do help me to buy stuff; you also help me not to buy stuff. Thanks for this. And even more thanks for keeping us thoughtful!

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  6. I so enjoyed reading this. You know that I've had some of this reflection time myself. I do love blogging and still want to do it to reach out to the friends I've made and I'm still a bit surprised by the stats obsession. I have same feelings towards followers as you. I know there are some sure fire ways to increase numbers but it's a hollow victory...

    The blogs that really enjoy are those that allow a little personality in so I know I shall enjoy whatever you write. Hopefully you will inspire others that are feeling pressured to step back and consider what their goal really is.

    Thanks as always for sharing your thoughts,
    Jane x

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  7. Really interesting post. I started blogging because I felt isolated after falling ill for so long and I have always been passionate about beauty. Being unable to visit stores, I really valued swatches and online reviews and felt I could contribute to that. My aim with blogging is always to make the post I am writing as helpful to others as possible, by including swatches, release dates, comparisons to similar products etc. As long as I achieve that, I'm happy.

    I haven't checked my stats since last year and doubt I will again. I have met some great people through blogging and it has proved a wonderful disraction, albeit an expensive one! Jennifer x

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  8. I started blogging because no one I know is interested in makeup, and I wanted to talk about it! haha :)

    Loved reading this post, and I loved how honest you were. :)

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  9. Wow buoy could have been writing about my life! I initially got into bloggIng for similar reasons - not to provide swatches but to give the depth of scientific info that I wanted to read that the press releases didn't provide. I also wanted to feel like I was using my brain again. But then there was the hope that is get freebies...and I did. Fearing that I wouldn't get any more samples I accepted everything that was offered to me. But now I feel the same burden you are going through. I have 5 reviews I need to write but it feels like a chore to write them. The crazy thing is that the products I am getting for free, ordinarily I would have loved but as I have so many to move on to and try I will never get the chance to finish them so am giving them away. I gave my Sid a serum and she asked why I didn't like it and I told her that I actually loved it but have too many to get through.

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  10. Thank you for writing such a thoughtful post! I loved every moment of it.

    I began blogging because I needed a creative outlet. I have an English degree and have always loved writing, so I wanted to do something with that. One day, as I was going through all of my makeup, it occurred to me that I get asked for advice by friends all the time, and that blogging might be a great option for me. I began by blogging about my favorite stand-by's and continued onward from there.

    As a new blogger, I do still get caught up in analytics, how many followers I have, and how many comments I receive on each post. I'm still very small, and sometimes it feels as if I'm expending an enormous amount of effort for very little readership. Then it occurs to me that I would be doing this for my friends and coworkers anyhow, and I continue on, trying to have faith that my blog will continue to grow and reach more people.

    As for free samples, etc.--well, I love me some free samples, but I don't allow them to be my motivation (or cause me to write inaccurate reviews). At the end of the day, I just like getting new things, and if they're free, more the better. But that can't be the reason I do things. And I don't see myself getting offered a free flight to IMATS any time in the foreseeable future!

    Thanks again for such a thought-provoking piece. You've made me realize some things about myself and my blog (and its place in my life).

    Shannon

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  11. I really loved reading this post from you. There are a number of things that resonate with me and my own experiences and I'm going through much of the same as a blogger. There are many things we learn through the blogging process - much of which is unexpected, I think. Thank you for sharing your blogging/thought process. Keep up the great work!

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  12. I agree, really interesting and honest post. I started blogging for the same reason as Dovey. I love art and design and see my blog as a creative outlet. I too, love lining up my shiny things and taking photographs of them, but find the writing part a chore sometimes because it doesn't always come naturally to me.

    I've found myself obsessing over page views and followers lately too and it's really taking the enjoyment part out of blogging. As others have mentioned, it's sometimes helpful to take a step back and think about what you actually want out of your blog. I've done this recently and have decided that I'm already happy with what I have. I've gained some lovely friends, become part of the beauty blogging community and discovered some fantastic products since I started writing.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Zuzu.

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  13. Thank you so much for this post. It was wonderful to be let in on the ups and downs you've experienced. I'm actually astounded by how much of a "job" this has become in my life. It is incredibly time consuming. That being said I am so very happy about it.

    There were a few reasons I started blogging. One main reason is that I was becoming increasingly obsessed by LMdB and there was very little information out there just a few months ago. (Now of course there are great swatch's on Karla's site and many others). I do all my shopping online and it was becoming frustrating. I thought even if I helped just a few people with swatches of my products it would be worth it. It is also difficult to find a lot of swatches out there on very fair skin (love you!!!). The other reason was after a couple years of reading other blogs and developing probably an unhealthy obsession with cosmetics that honestly I can't even afford, I was feeling ridiculous about fact that I have this incredibly beautiful collection and I had no one to share it with. I live in the middle of nowhere, work in a small office and rarely do anything socially. Buying all this makeup seemed so stupid with no one to even see it. Who was I doing it for (well me of course) but at least sharing it on a blog I felt like there would be more purpose to it.
    The friends I have made through starting this blog and the purpose it brings to my life filled a huge void and has made me a happier and more satisfied person and distracted me from the despair I was feeling in my own life. I shouldn't be getting so personal but I just am astounded at how much this, and all of you, have come to mean to me.
    I can see getting burned out at some point. I work full time, have a two and three year old, so finding the time to do this has been an incredible challenge and I know I can't devote the time to writing really thought provoking reviews or taking stunning pictures with comprehensive comparisons as I'm usually just sneaking off from the kids for a few mins before I leave for work to snap a few pics but hopefully it is enough to help someone. I do not have counter access, I will never be the first blog to share the newest release since I have to wait for things to arrive online and usually order them from another country but still I hammer along!
    I too have been surprised at caring so much about how my blog is taking off because I never set out with that in mind, thinking in my position it was simply an impossibility but I think most woman tend to want to excel when we put our minds to something don't we? ;-)
    Thanks again Zuzu. I've enjoyed your post so much as well as the comments everyone is leaving.

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  14. I love this post and really appreciate your honesty! I too write for a living - about serious topics - and my blog is a chance to write about things I'm actually interested in! I'm also a review obsessive/geek - about absolutely everything that I buy - so if I can help someone else make the right decision in choosing a product, then bonus!

    Have been reading and loving lots of your posts tonight!

    Nic xx

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  15. Great thought-provoking post! For me, I know that if it isn't fun, I'm not doing it right. I didn't set out with any goal in mind except to use the blog as (a) an outlet to talk about makeup which I love, and (b) to practice writing, which I'm not lucky enough to do as a part of my day job! If PR samples and fame follows, great. I try not to stress over followers and stats too much because that just leads to insecurity and pandering to others' expectations rather than putting out honest messages I can stand behind. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for being so honest! Sometimes our intentions also change as time goes on and we become more experienced, which is perfectly fine. I see blogging as the chronicling of a journey and there are going to be many twists and turns. :)

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  16. I just wanted to stop in and say that I love this post. You really are great at writing features that make me stop and think. I originally started to blog because I like looking at pretty makeup pictures and thought some people might like to see pretty pictures of my makeup as well. It is hard for me to keep up with it sometimes because as a student, I do not have the disposable income that some others have. I definitely agree that its hard to blog if you feel no one is reading. I must say that now that I have made some beauty blogger friends, I am much more motivated to write. Its nice to know someones reading :)

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  17. I am overwhelmed by the responses I have received and it feels so good to know I am either not alone or that you understand because maybe you went through a similar evolution with your own blogs.

    Carla, I do agree that when a blog has followers that never comment it can be disconcerting. But I don't really mind, as long as they are getting something out of it. I assume they occasionally read posts, and as both a member and owner of various forums over the years, I know that a large percentage of the membership often lurks. Some people are just shy, but it also occurred to me that perhaps some of these followers don't have their own blogs. I read beauty blogs for a few years and rarely left a comment because I assumed the blog owners wouldn't want to hear from me. How silly that was of me, but it took becoming a blogger in my own right to realize how much we love comments from people.

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  18. Martha, I agree that if blogging starts to feel like a chore it's time to take a break, and hopefully you will come back to it with renewed love and enthusiasm. You write such excellent posts and provide such beautiful pictures, I don't know how you do it with the demands of a young family like yours! Sometimes blogging must feel like you have a fifth child.

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  19. Dovey, I borrowed those images from Natalie Dee. I love her art work. She never fails to make me smile or laugh.

    It's good to know that the rest of you who have been blogging much longer go through slumps and question yourself. I don't mean to sound glib, I just feel bolstered by the fact that what I am feeling is normal. I was afraid blogging might be just another fickle part of my life, but I don't believe it is. I have felt compelled to write since I was six years old, so it's wonderful to have such a far-reaching, free outlet to let loose my thoughts, good or bad.

    I also love the artistic part of it, the photographs, but that is the most agonizing part! It's easy for me to write words, but it takes so long for me to decide which photo to include in a post. Your pictures are excellent, and so are your reviews. The one on NARS Coconut Grove blew me away, so if the writing part is hard for you, it certainly doesn't show.

    Thank you for your lovely compliment about my composition. The writing I do for a living is very dry. I enjoy it, but writing software manuals is not the most creative outlet. In fact, the fewer words I use the better for readers! So it's really nice to be able to use adjectives. :)

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  20. Kristie, I am sure everyone would agree with me that you are contributing gorgeous and clear swatches and images. Your photos inspire me and I love your honesty. Sometimes I am so surprised when I get to the end of a post, in which you'd included images so detailed and perfect I can see every nuance, including shimmer, to discover you didn't actually like it! But I can tell you it's honestly like that which keeps me coming back for more. I feel a little wary of reviewers who LOVE each and every product she reviews.

    Your posts have definitely guided me in my purchases (Rouge d'Armani!), and I have been very happy in that I got exactly what I was expecting. So thank you! I hope blogging remains fun for you because losing your voice would leave a huge hole.

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  21. keridaren, thanks so much for your positive feedback. I really look forward to getting to know you better here and at the forum. I am so glad I can help you with your beauty pursuits. I wasn't a blogger for a long time, and I relied on such product reviews to buy things I could not check out in person. Helping you NOT to buy stuff is equally good, as we all know the disappointment of buying that hyped-up product and wondering what all the fuss was about.

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  22. Jane, it was your post that inspired me, but I think you figured that out already. ;) I wonder why we care about stats. Maybe some of us are just more interested in the details and the underpinnings of how things work. In my day job, I always have to ask not just 'what' but 'how' so I am trained to look for that. If you've read the comments, others haven't looked at their stats in years! In any case, I can assure you that your blog is well read and well loved, and your voice is one that rises to the top constantly. I really value the variety of topics you write about, including (and especially) your thought-provoking pieces. You might find this amusing, but I'll be thinking of an issue not related to a new product and suddenly you'll be musing about it in your blog! Great minds think alike and all that, but sometimes I want to race over and pull your pigtails for getting there first, lol. And I HOPE you take that in the spirit it was inten

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  23. Jennifer, I am sorry to hear you were ill and isolated. I've been similarly isolated when I lived in Bar Harbor and they rolled the sidewalks up in October, and I then had to endure more than 8 months of silence and snow and utter isolation. It can be really difficult and lonely, and blogging is certainly one way, one beautiful way to stay connected.

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  24. Vintage, yes, exactly! It's so hard on we beauty lovers to have no one in our 3D lives who care about makeup and other beauty-related products. Some of us have families (like Martha's all-boy household) who couldn't care less; some of us work in industries where makeup is unheard of, even on the women (Polartec and Keens, anyone?), and still others are just at a different place in our lives. I have girlfriends, but none of them wears makeup. Yikes. Thank goodness for all of you.

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  25. Sarah, your blog is one I keep meaning to come and read in depth because I can't wait to read your thoughts about the science behind it. I just finished a vacation that was very work intensive, so I look forward to catching up with you now that I have time.

    Samples are so much fun, but it's best if they are trickled in slowly, in between the items I'd have bought anyway. If I were getting lots of samples all at once, I'd probably feel stressed because I like to test a product for a week or more, even longer if it's skincare (at least a month). It's nice that you have someone you can give your items away to, though! I could bring a giant box to work with a FREE sign on it, and no one would take it.

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  26. Ha, Shannon, I knew we were separated at birth. I also have an English degree and flailed around for a while trying to find my niche. I often wish blogging and (hell!) even the internet had been around when I graduated from college, as my life and career might have taken a different route.

    I think I discovered your blog via Olivia, though I would have bumped into you eventually, as whenever I see someone comment who says something that interests me, I check her profile to see if she has a blog. Your blog WILL grow. How could it not? You write beautifully and post gorgeous pictures about product everyone is interested in.

    As for analytics, the funny thing is I write about them! I tell database administrators how to use them, so maybe that's my obsession. OK, that's my story, and I am sticking to it. ;)

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  27. Sabrina, thank you for commenting. I am glad I could write something that resonated with you, and it is really interesting the unexpected things we learn about blogging (and ourselves) as we go along. I think it only fair to tell you that you have been a heavy inspiration to me, and your blog and one other were my top two, the ones I always checked first, for the longest time ... long before I discovered so many other beauty blogs which seemed to explode in the last couple years. For a while The Beauty Look Book was my home page. I didn't follow or comment for years because I didn't get it. Now I do, so thank you for being such an incredible pioneer and inspiration for me.

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  28. Nat, your love of art shows in your posts, and I love reading everything you write, even if I don't always comment. I know how important that is to all of us, but the more I blog, and the more people I follow and read, the harder and harder it gets to write meaningful comments, which I feel every post deserves. I'd rather not comment then write a "me, too" reply. I hope everyone knows what I mean, since I am sure the rest of you are far busier with your more established blogs than I. In fact, I am so behind on replying to all of your wonderful comments to this post, I was starting to feel guilty and selfish.

    As for the analytics, maybe we could step back and use that information as interesting trivia, not a sign that our blogs are worthy or popular. I'm glad you are happy with what you have because it is a blog to be proud of. You have your own unique voice and something worthwhile to say with plenty of value to contribute to this tiny beauty world.

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  29. PP, I cannot imagine the work involved in documenting your FOTD. Every time you do it, I am astounded by the meticulous attention to detail, and I really relate to you because I recognize someone who loves makeup every bit as much as I do but lives in a location where no one else appreciates it, so we do it for ourselves, but sometimes that just isn't enough.

    And thank God for people like you and Jenn and Christina who are blogging about LMDB. I agree that a few months ago there was so very little online about the brand I wanted to know more about. And I STILL can't see it in person unless I am willing to travel. (Did I mention I recently snagged the Splendid Frost? My first kaleidoscope!)

    I also agree it was really hard to find reviews and swatches written by pale, cool-toned women, as most of the more fair bloggers were at least NC30/35, which is slightly darker and certainly warmer than my skin (NW15). And now there are several of us pale faces, and we are taking over, lol. I am not at all surprised your blog is taking off. You review products not everyone is reviewing, you have unique coloring that is filling a void in the blogging community, and your blog has the coolest name. What's not to love?

    I wonder if in order to not get burned out, we allow ourselves to take breaks. No one will stop reading us just because we don't post every day. Some of my favorite blogs post 1-3 times a week, and I race over every time I see a new post. I am trying to step back a bit myself and not worry that fewer posts means less interest. If it does, so be it.

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  30. I wanted to reply to each of your kind comments individually, but I have run out of time tonight, so tomorrow I will come back for Nic, Liz, and Christina.

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  31. Zuzu, it's so nice of you to reply to each of us individually. Your post was so thoughtful and honest, and it obviously resonated with a lot of us.

    Of course we all have ups and downs! I actually started my blog way back in June of 2010. I knew nothing about blogging, nothing about promoting a blog, and admittedly, my initial posts weren't necessarily "must-read" material. Over the last year, I've gone on hiatus several times, the last time being from Feb-April, after the death of my mother. During that time off, I decided to take my blogging seriously or not do it at all, and chose to give it a go this time...for real. It's a tribute to my mom, who got me into makeup and skin care in the first place.

    At the end of the day, my blog is for me...but it certainly is gratifying to have people read what I have to say and comment on my reviews. I know that in the future (probably the near future, as I'm set to go back to work in 2 weeks with the new school year beginning), the temptation will be there to stop writing and reviewing. However, I made a vow to myself to do this for a minimum of one full year (my "new" anniversary will be April 5, 2012), and I intend to honor it. At that point, if it's no longer fun and fulfilling, I'll re-evaluate.

    In the meantime, I'm meeting so many wonderful people, and I'm so glad I chose to do this! Remember, part of blogging is developing a support system...and as you can see, there are many of us out here who are there to bolster you when you need it!

    Sorry about the long post...guess I had more to say than I initially thought!

    Shannon

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  32. Shannon I'm so sorry that you lost your mum... how lovely that you see your blog as a tribute to her.
    Nic xx

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  33. I've experienced very similar feelings in what I call my blogging journey. I've had many ups and downs in the last two and half years, which I've also chronicled in many a post. Blogging, for me, isn't a popularity contest. Instead, for me it's about connecting with people with similar interests, and as a result, I am a huge advocate for writing about what you are passionate about. The passion always shines through and that is what attracts people and keeps them coming back. All in all, another great thought-provoking post!

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  34. I blog as a way to give back. Of course, theres the other side of me thats also looking for a small side income, but making really good money on a blog takes a lot of work and a lot of time. Expecting to make a full time salary is very ambitious and requires a lot of business know-how and planning. Right now I blog because I’ve learned so much from other blogs and wanted to give back in my own way. I also find so much cool stuff around the internet and learn something new everyday, so I want a way to share that, beyond just social networking.

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