Sunday, 10 April 2016

Zoella and I'm NOT Disordered?



Now my dream and reality is simultaneous,
And work your own way to the top,
If they put you on a pedestal, they can take you off,
And there's a higher level than the top

I'm hoping that this post might inspire budding bloggers to begin putting their thoughts and plans into action by taking that all important first step and creating your account on the blog platform of your choice. But I'm also hoping that newcomers to the blog-o-sphere who are perhaps feeling like they aren't getting anywhere; that things are moving too slowly, will be motivated to carry on typing.
Probably one of the most common things that I am asked by readers is "how do you carry it on? I gave up my blog after a few posts." This usually invokes memories from when I first began blogging; three and a half years ago, there wasn't a lot out there about bloggers and the successes they experience these days; and so my motivation to blog began and ended in documenting my journey through mental health recovery. I think that this factor was essential in my continued blogging whilst my readers took months to get to 100; because I didn't care. I wasn't doing it for the views. These days, it's understandable that some might go into blogging having heard that those successful in it, are offered the most amazing opportunities and can become very rich. When these people see that this does not happen overnight, some are often discouraged; and perhaps that is a good thing because blogging for money and fame etc. is not the right reason to become a blogger.
You need passion. Determination. Persistence. Dedication.
In blogging, I've found my calling in life. And after years of unhappiness, feeling unworthy, and as though my life is pointless and has no meaning; this feeling is a huge force behind my continued blogging. Once I realised that I had found the career I would most likely stay in for the rest of my life, I looked for inspiration: role models. I first came across Zoella when she hit the one million subscribers mark on YouTube, and I followed her journey from there; through launching a beauty line, to getting a puppy, to buying a million pound house. When I watched her best friend cry at the beauty launch, saying "I just remember when we started all of this; filming in our bedrooms..." I recognised this as a thought I'd had often recently; it had all become so surreal and overwhelming to think of the position I was in when I'm NOT Disordered was born, to the crazy opportunities I was being offered. I remember when the room was being set up for my 100k+ party in November and there were flags with my blog's name on!
I watched Zoella's YouTube videos from the very beginning of her channel, and was encouraged to see that she started out like any other YouTuber and Blogger; with an uncertainty, nervousness and worry that no one might care what she had to say. But they did. And it spiralled. I found the perfect example of how overwhelming this can be in one of her videos where her car is surrounded by fans and she starts crying. I still have 'is-this-really-my-life?' moments; for example when I walked into a newsagents and saw my photo on the front page of a newspaper, and then a magazine... And sometimes I'm rushing around at an event and I pause, look around, and smile to myself. It can be incredibly overwhelming, but I make that into a positive thing and not negative; so that I can enjoy, and make the most of this craziness!
For a while, I got it into my head that having a successful blog meant that you were being gifted tons of beauty products. So, that's what I worked to achieve. And I was sent freebies. But it didn't mean anything to me; I wasn't smitten with the packaging, or knowledgeable on pigment and consistency, and I certainly couldn't review the products to the standards of a blogger with a focus on beauty. It wasn't relevant to my audience and it didn't make me happy. So I came up other goals that were focused in MY blogging focus; mental health. I decided I wanted to write for such-and-such a blog. Volunteer and such-such event. Work with such-and-such organisation. And every time I've achieved these, I set more. And I immediately saw the difference from my old way of thinking: I was happier for achieving things that meant more to me, and as I posted about events, campaigns and partnerships, so were you guys!
Zoella now has over 10 million subscribers, and there are over 128,000 of you reading this.
My message through this post is: don't look at the success of others and use it to judge your own. View them as inspiration and not standards. See the similarities. Acknowledge what you have achieved. Decide what your next goal is. And recognise the differences in your journeys...

'Try not to get lost in comparing yourself to others. Discover your gifts and let them shine!'
- Jennie Finch