Friend Friday: Goals, Imperfection, and Finding Your Voice

At the beginning of a new year, it is natural for us to take stock, measure our hits and misses, and set new goals—at least for me, it is. I like the idea of getting a fresh start, of aiming higher than I did last year. I’m just the kind of person who is always looking to improve, in all areas of my life.

Of course, now that I’m a blogaholic, the need to one-up myself in the blogosphere is a given. And that’s this week’s Friend Friday* topic—blog resolutions and the propensity we all have to think perfection is not only desirable, but attainable. Let’s just settle this right now: it ain’t. Not in the blogosphere, or anywhere else.

Refelcting amongst the spectacular rocks of Bronte Beach, in Sydney, Australia.

Have you ever looked at someone’s blog and thought yours will never measure up?

Uh, yeah! My blog is so lame compared to some I’ve seen when it comes to design, monetization, photography, videography. But I never really worry about it too much; I never think that I’ll ”never measure up.” Rather, I’m inspired by prolific, smart, creative bloggers—I know that eventually, I will be able to transform my blog into what I really want it to be. That’s the beauty of blogging…there isn’t a single standard. There is room for diversity in design, approach, and personality.

In the last year, specifically, I’ve really begun to enjoy where blogging is taking me on and individual and professsional level. I’m learning new things all the time, and that is partly why I’ve stuck with blogging for so long—it’s not just about money and the end result. For me, blogging is about taming the technolgical beast, self-realization, and the joy of discovery—not the pursuit of a perfectly curated blog and life. Perfection is a farce. Well, except in the case of designer Tom Ford. Talk about curation. But I digress.

Do you feel pressure to meet some undefined standard for fashion bloggers?

I don’t feel pressure to meet any standard other than my own. That said, I feel like I’m just starting to “get” blogging, so I’m excited to push the boundaries and see where I can go with it.

Just yesterday I read an excellent post on this topic by Already Pretty blogger Sally McGraw. In Some Thoughts on Style Blogging and Apparent Perfection (which I discovered via a Dramatis Personae Links to Love post), McGraw discusses blogger envy and she makes several important points:

Back in April, a Jezebel contributor coined the term Marthettes to describe crafty, stylish bloggers who post a seemingly endless stream of perfectly composed photos of themselves, their lives, their food, and their craft projects. She went on to say that these bloggers filled her with feelings of self-loathing and inadequacy.

…But here’s the thing: No blogger reveals her whole self to her readership. Not even me. Not even Dooce or The Blogess. Reading someone’s blog gives you access to a tiny sliver of her life, the sliver she has chosen to share. And filtering out the bad stuff is her prerogative, as is focusing on triumphs, prized skills, amazing photos, best outfits, and cool new purchases. Style bloggers who absolutely never post an outtake photo, or fess up to wearing knockoff shoes, or talk about feeling ugly or lonely or stupid have made a conscious choice to showcase the shiny and the pretty. It may seem disingenuous and it may irritate you, but it’s well within the spectrum of acceptable blogging behavior. And just as it’s their choice to focus on the shiny-pretty, it’s your choice to read other blogs instead.

…There are millions upon millions of women who have more money than me, more opportunities than me, more socially-sanctioned beauty than me. And I could work myself up into a jealous froth about that if I wanted. But instead I try to remember that their situations in life have nothing to do with my own, and that any comparisons would be apples to oranges.

Besides, those other women may appear to have “more,” but I can see only tiny, carefully-chosen slivers of their lives.

Carefully-chosen slivers…so very true. But there is something to be said for holding some things back in the blog world. I really am not interested in seeing snapshots of the mundane—bloggers in their sweats or barefoot in photos (exception: photos on the beach). I want to be entertained. I don’t really want to see the same things I see in everyday life.

I know this answer is long-winded, but I have to share a little story here, because it was this situation that finally taught me that the grass isn’t greener on the other side, and that we really only see what others want us to see.

Image via lindsayolson.com.

Grass does appear to be greener on the other side—usually there’s a whole lot of manure fertilizing it.

I once had a friend who fell in love with and married a handsome and wealthy man. She seemed to have everything…a massive house, luxury vehicles, fancy vacations, designer goods, a husband who adored her, and a great job. As I struggled to lay the foundation of my own career and life in my late 20s and early 30s, I felt some envy with regard to this friend, although I never let on. I’m really not a jealous person. Let’s just say some people have all the luck kept reverberating in my mind.

As my friend became more deeply entrenched in her lifestyle and her children, and for other reasons, we grew apart. I’d see her here and there and she seemed to be flying high. Then one day I heard that she had separated and was planning to divorce her husband because she’d caught him with his hands in another woman’s cookie jar. But I had just seen her and she never let on! Huh? Obviously, she was humiliated. He’d been partaking of those cookies for more than a year behind her back. The house was put on the market, she discovered he’d amassed a joint credit debt that had many zeroes on the end, he took the cars, and she was forced to pick up the pieces and make herself a new and significantly less luxurious life. And then her ex-husband married his mistress. Since they have children together, that meant she would have to see both her ex and his mistress-turned-wife for at least 10 more years.

And I thought I had it bad. Yes, as Sally put it, apples and oranges. And I’m sure my friend didn’t like them apples.

Many established fashion bloggers are also extraordinary DIYers, bakers, and crafty people. Do you think you need to combine all of these things to be successful at blogging?

Hell no, people!

That’s a silly thought. You know why? Cause I really do none of the above. I’ve said this before: I’m a buyer, not a DIYer. Unless you count slicing frozen cookie dough onto a baking sheet and throwing it into the oven—because that is truly as close as I get to being Martha Stewart.

Blogging is not about being multi-talented. It’s about being YOU, and presenting whatever it is that’s your thing in a way that is appealing to others. For me, a successful blog is one in which I connect with the blogger’s personality and gain knowledge or enjoyment from visiting. How boring would our Style Nation be if all bloggers took the same approach? I like cookie recipes and all that, but honestly, if I wanted to read recipes and see meticulously styled food, I’d just hit foodnetwork.com.

The most successful blogs are the ones that have their own personal voice—how are you developing your voice or how did you find yours?

I don’t think I ever had to “find” my voice, and I’m sure that there are some people out there that wish I’d just lose it. I am who I am, and I make no apologies for it—I’ve always been outspoken.

Writing has been in my blood from childhood, but I do believe that over the years, writing for different genres/publications has helped cultivate my voice. As has reading. Writing for different audiences helped me learn what types of writing I don’t particularly enjoy, what I do enjoy, and which medium(s) I like the most. Every experience with writing/photography/videography/Web development that I have is a brush stroke on a canvas, a layer. Separately, these experiences are less significant. But cumulatively, they paint the proverbial picture.

I think the best way to find your voice is to be a sponge. Just soak it all up. And then one day you will just know…you’ll feel it. And you’ll squeeze all that knowledge, all those experiences back out in a symphony of realization and knowingness that you never realized you had. And you will marvel at how in retrospect, even your failures contributed to what seems like a perfectly-laid plan. We should revel in our imperfections. They make us who we are.

New bloggers, youngsters, trust me on this. Learn. Ask questions. Know that even the people who seem to know what they are doing are still learning something new all the time.

Even in our anonymity and imperfection, we are written in the book of life. Marker in a cemetery in Newtown, New South Wales, Australia. I took this photo.

Toot your own horn… what’s one thing you do that is unique to you and your blog? What gives your blog an edge?

My badassness?! My spiked heels? Ha! I have no idea.

Maybe it’s because I approach fashion blogging from the perspective of a content developer/writer. That I’m as interested in what’s going on on the back-end of the blog as the front. I don’t know. Why don’t you all help me?

What do you think gives G&G an edge? Why do you keep coming back, lovelies?


*The Friend Friday project by Modly Chic is a way for fashion bloggers to share more about themselves and create a friendly connection with other bloggers. Join the conversation by joining the Fashion Beauty Friend Friday Google Group.

Comments

  1. says

    Hey V! I just wanted to say thanks for your advice on twitter about Thesis, i just bought it and am playing around with the settings now! It’s amazing, can’t wait to do friend friday too!

    • says

      No problem! Good luck with it. I’ve had some challenges, but have been very pleased overall. Going to pop over and see what you are up to now.

  2. says

    In my opinion G&G has an edge because you are a fashion blog with a twist – the twist being you continually provide your readers with content and information in an entertaining way.

    Its inevitable that with the New Year you start thinking of all these things – where do I want my blog to go and how do I want it to get there. I want so much from life and blogging and everything else that it overwhelms me sometimes, but I’ll get there. We all will!

  3. says

    Great post V! I think your posts are always well-written, logical and very wise. I feel like you just exude experience and are a bit of a mentor to all of us newbies!
    Jen’s latest post: Cha-Cha-ChangesMy Profile

  4. says

    Awesome post, as usual!
    What keeps me coming back: your writing style, your interesting posts, your commentary on the blogosphere and other issues.
    Am thinking about my own responses to these questions; need to film a vlog :)
    Leia’s latest post: Sun-dried Tomato PestoMy Profile

  5. says

    I’ve been AFK for 2 weeks. Spent those 2 weeks soaking up sun in Hawaii and didn’t really think about my blog at all (had a substitute blogger! hah!) Gotta say I was feeling overwhelmed last night when we hit the ground and I felt like I HAD to pick up my computer straight away, but I didn’t know if I even wanted to. It’s a great post! More on goalsetting for our blogs plz! :)

    • says

      DO, thank you for your comment, and for the tweet. I totally get where you are coming from…really, after Hawaii, who wants to go back to any aspect of real life?!

      I’m taking your goal setting request under consideration…thanks for the request!

  6. says

    Your “finding your voice” answer cracked me up! I pretty much have the same thought about myself.

    I keep coming back because you’re articulate, expressive, interesting and cover a topic that I have a lot of passion for. All the while, your character shines through and I happen to like how it does. Content without personality is nothing more than an owner’s manual. How’s that for an answer!

    Keep rockin’ it, V:)
    Fabienne Jach’s latest post: Q &amp A- Daily Clothes FixMy Profile

  7. says

    I think we all go thru different stages. Only being a blogger for a short time, I have had the ups and downs and questioning why I do this. You look at some other blogs and you can’t help but admire. And sometimes you look at some blogs and thing “why” why are they so popular? Anyway, great post V. Your posts always get my mind thinking more.

    LOx
    Lee Oliveira’s latest post: On the streets of Hong Kong… Salisbury RoadMy Profile

    • says

      So true, Lee. We do have ups and downs. I’m still shocked by some of the bloggers who have quit their blogs for what seems like this very reason…envy, or feeling like you don’t measure up. I think it’s sad. Blogging is supposed to be fun, you know?!

      Thanks for your comment!

    • says

      Gah, my macbook has died!
      Lee, I totally hear you on this when I first started blogging and reading other blogs, you can’t help but wish yours ‘looked better’, ‘had better writing’, ‘better photography etc..’. But V has knocked it right on the head again with her inspirational viewpoints in this post. It only makes me wanna improve or be stronger in the areas where I’m weak or would like to grow. I’m all for learning and yes it should be fun! I’m just not entirely sure on the direction I’d like to take yet….
      ********
      V- as always such a fantastic post for the new year and thanks for being such an inspiration (and saying it how it is)! I could write an essay on why I keep coming back for my hit of G&G… but I think your readers already know why G&G is so awesome!

      Hope you’ve had a brilliant start to 2011 gorgeous!
      x.o.x.o
      Thanks for sharing Already Pretty’s site… will have to go check her out!
      A Brit Greek’s latest post: 2010 Welcome 2011!My Profile

  8. says

    “blogging is about taming the technolgical beast, self-realization, and the joy of discovery—not the pursuit of a perfectly curated blog and life. Perfection is a farce.”
    So true! And Sally McGraws blog post really hit the nail on the head too.
    Loved your answers.
    I think G&G’s edge is that it has a lot to offer when people visit, great writing, photography and vlogs, its informative, your love of fashion is infectious and you don’t shy away from tackling the bull by the horns on thorny issues and saying what you think with passion, conviction and intelligent discussion. It’s a great package!
    Veshoevius’s latest post: Anti Fashion ResolutionsMy Profile

  9. THE-LOUDMOUTH says

    “Every experience with writing/photography/videography/Web development that I have is a brush stroke on a canvas, a layer.” I love this analogy! “A brush stroke on a canvas.” Beautiful, V. :)

    Also, I’d like to thank you for taking the time leave comments on my new blog. I know you’re a busy person, and it means a lot that you stop by!

    T-LM
    THE-LOUDMOUTH’s latest post: StaycationMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you…and no worries! I wish I had more time to be able to respond here and on EVERY commenter’s blog. Your comments mean a lot to me.

  10. THE-LOUDMOUTH says

    Um, I left a comment and I don’t know what happened! Anyway, I loved your analogy about everything you do being a “brush stroke on a canvas, a layer” — beautiful! :) Also, thank you so much for taking the time to stop by my new blog and leave comments. You’re the best V!
    THE-LOUDMOUTH’s latest post: StaycationMy Profile

  11. says

    I loved, this post! I just posted mine, and I actually made lots of similar points. particularly about blogging being about self development and self realisation, not the pursuit of perfection.

    What I really like about your blog is the emphasis on content. You write intelligently and a lot, and your layout is simple, it’s not all about presentation, and that’s what I’m after!
    Franca’s latest post: Christmas Eve outfit – red and blackMy Profile

    • says

      Franca, thank you! I’m going to read your post now.

      I appreciate your feedback, too. It’s good to know others appreciate my minimalist blog. Though
      I am planning a bit of a facelift, though. I feel like I need a little change.

    • says

      Thank you, Sacramento! And YOU are unique, if I’ve ever seen a unique woman. That’s probably why I adore you to pieces and hold you in such high regard.

  12. says

    Vahni, another excellent post. My favourite thing about your blog is its self-consciousness about blogging as an activity and a lifestyle choice. I like that distance; it makes for one of the most intelligent reads out in the blogopshere. As for perfection, of course it doesn’t exist in blogs. I think looking at the more visually polished and my perfect life-esque blogs that I’m back in glossy magazine-land, which is more or less what I prefer to avoid in fashion-based blogs.
    xx Comtesse xx
    comtessedeferveur’s latest post: Three new looks out of my closetMy Profile

    • says

      WOW! What an incredible compliment you paid me. Thank you!

      I will never be a Chic Muse or a Glamourai…I’m not young enough or skinny enough, and I don’t have a pro photographer at my disposal. But blogging has always been a more cerebral endeavor for me, even from the beginning. So it means a lot to me that you and so many of my readers GET and APPRECIATE that.

  13. says

    This post really opened my eyes, and I’m excited to Sally McGraw’s article as well. I have suffered from blog envy so much in the past year that I have quit blogging all together, came back and quit again. Much to the annoyance of my readers. Why? All because I felt that my blog wasn’t measuring up to the ones I was reading. It didn’t receive as many comments, it wasn’t viewed by as many people. I didn’t know what to say to become the blogger super star I wanted to be…

    Silly. I know.

    I’m slowly learning how to get over it now. In the three months that I took a break from blogging, I studied articles in Writer’s Digest, the Internet and everywhere else that you could think or not think of blog advice to appear from, and I decided to try my blog again. I do need to realize that it isn’t going to be perfect and that it doesn’t have to be. This post was very inspiring. I never even realized that blog envy was the reason I had quit in the first place!
    Ashley Lorelle’s latest post: Greetings From Not So Sunny Florida!My Profile

    • says

      Ashley, thank you for sharing your experience with me. I don’t think you are silly at all. We ALL experience confusion, envy, frustration, elation, and the whole gamut of emotions throughout our blogging journeys. The key is to realize, as you have, that it is a highly individual endeavor, and there is no one “right” or “perfect” equation or answer.

      It takes a lot of guts to make the admission you made above, and I applaud you for it. The only thing I would say to you is that the moment blogging ceases to be fun or interesting to you is the moment it is no longer working for you. Maybe it IS for you, maybe it’s not. Either way, it’s OK!

  14. says

    V,

    Thanks for an amazing and inspiring post!! I absolutely love your blog, because it does not look like every other “fashion blog” that I read on a regular basis. Your post are introspective, entertaining, and informative, creating a blog that is not self-serving, because through your blog, you help newbie bloggers like myself as well!!!

    -Rocquelle P.
    http://www.considermelovely.com
    Twitter: ConsiderMeLuvly

    • says

      Thank you Rocquelle. I sincerely appreciate your comment, and I am glad you find G&G to be informative AND entertaining!

  15. says

    In my four years of blogging, I can say my goals, voice and approach have changed and I finally feel that my blog is the truest reflection of who I am. With that said, there have been plenty of times I have looked at other blogs and have thought ” wow this is so good, how can I ever be that good?’ (Grit and Glamour is one them!) But your advice that “blogging isn’t about perfection, it’s about being YOU” couldn’t be more true. Every person is unique and will approach blogging with a different perspective. At the end of the day, I want my blog to inspire people, make them laugh and be the best reflection of me.

    As usual, beautifully written post V!

    • says

      Fajr, I feel the same way about my blog…it takes a while to understand it all.

      Thanks for you sweet comment…I think your blog DOES inspire, and I love that you are committed to being totally you. I wish more bloggers could believe that originality is the hallmark of a great blog.

  16. says

    From one fellow nonDIYer to another – high five!!

    In my humble opinion, I think what gives your blog the edge is that fact that you aren’t afraid to share your wealth of information. Whether it’s how to wear those badass shoes you own or how to build a better blog, you always leave here learning something new! :)
    MJ’s latest post: Friend Friday- The Measure of Blogger SuccessMy Profile

  17. says

    Thanks for sharing! There is a lot to be learned from you, and your willingness to share your experiences is so helpful to new bloggers like me. I appreciate your outlook on “not measuring up” to other blogs…it’s all to easy to get Negative Nancy when really we should feel inspired!
    Santina’s latest post: The necklace that saved New Years EveMy Profile

  18. says

    The first time I visited your site, I had learn a lot of stuff, insights and things about blogging…I may disagree with some big bloggers out there because they all seemed to be oh soo perfect which makes me look at my life and what blogging is really about? The reason why I started blogging was to compile all my adventures and experiences until I found friends online, learn from them, change a bit of my blog, learned another lesson from them…every day is a learning experience from me…and I totally agree…I may have a lot of I WISH but I think being a fashion blogger or blogger per say is to have your own unique stand with things…which I am so happy to have found it in your blog, Kristy’s, Rachel and alot of my favorite bloggers. Thank you for this wonderful insight babe!!!

    Kisses
    Sweet
    PensandLens

    • says

      Aw, thank you Sweet! I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this. And your kind words. I am so glad you find G&G worthy of your time.

  19. says

    HI V, i loved this post of yours!
    i’ve been struggling very much in the last year- unfortunately a really challenging one for me- in understanding why i couldn’t find a job worth my experience, studies and level of commitment, while some of my university fellow students (some of them really bland and untalented) had amazing offers from companies or won scholarships abroad… i stalked linkedin’s profiles and google for hours, without realizing that, well, i was losing precious time that i could have used to do MY things!
    so my motto for 2011 is “inspire and BE INSPIRED”, as i wanna learn from others, and believe me, sometimes it’s a big slice of humble pie.
    also, as in the story of your friend, sometimes i realized that it’s not gold all that glitters.

    for why we readers keep coming back to your blog, what speaks to me it’s your attitude to say things as they are – that, mybe mistakenly, i feel very related to the mediterranean culture, i’m myself from italy and i have loads of greeek friends and love their being sthraight to the point :)
    you having being an expat is the second point of attraction for me ( i lived in japan and now i’m in uk), as i love reading about your experience and challenges abroad.
    …and last but not least your edgy outfits, of course :)

    please keep up the good job!
    silvia

    • says

      Silvia, my sweetie, thank you!

      You wrote:

      “i stalked linkedin’s profiles and google for hours, without realizing that, well, i was losing precious time that i could have used to do MY things!
      so my motto for 2011 is “inspire and BE INSPIRED”, as i wanna learn from others, and believe me, sometimes it’s a big slice of humble pie.”

      Hallelujah! You are so right. You need to do what is right for YOU, what is YOU! Whether you speak from your experiences as an expat (we learn soooo much), a lover of fashion—or whatever—the point is that no one walking in your shoes but you. And that is a story in itself.

      Thanks again for you comment, lovely.

    • says

      There are no rules here, love. Actually, I lie. There is only one rule: to treat others as you would like to be treated. So no worries!

  20. says

    Vahni – Great answers as usual. I’d say one of the things that give you an edge is the amazing content you constantly come up with. The other thing that give you an edge is the way you interact in the blogging community and with your readers! And of course the spiked heels help. – Katy
    Katy’s latest post: Friend Friday- Blogging up to the hypeMy Profile

  21. says

    I always seem to look forward to yours and Leia’s FF posts, glad they’re back. I think you have a clear concise voice and you answer the questions well and provide useful links to other sources. You also make points that are very true, most bloggers don’t publish all the bad stuff that happens to them as that’s not the point. I recently did a 2010 round up post that must make my life sound amazing, but there were definitely some tricky times throughout it all. I think it’s a great thing to focus on the positive as it keeps you determined to keep making these things happen.

  22. says

    First I’d like to say thanks for showing me how to get hooked up and started on the Friend Friday thing. I had been seeing the posts on a few blogs but mainly yours and wanted to get in on the action.

    I think that is one of the thing that brings me back to your blog. I have said it in the past and I’ll say it again it’s the sense of community I get from your blog. Well written posts are of course standard as well, but with some blogs/bloggers it’s like the author never really get’s involved. You’ll post a comment asking them a question and it’s often ignored, but on this blog I feel that you’ll actively try and engage your readers and help them out. Whether that be on twitter or by replying to a comment. This creates a good connection between yourself and the readers. Even with the huge amounts of comments you receive I know you have mentioned in the past you still try and make time to thank people for them which I think is cool.

    At least that is my 2 cents ;-)

    Blog:http://www.arashmazinani.com
    Twitter:@arashmazinani
    Arash Mazinani’s latest post: 5 Tips to Help You Survive the Sale SeasonMy Profile

    • says

      No worries, Arash. I am SO glad you’re on board with #FBFF. Again, you add another dimension, and I love it.

      Thank you for your comment. It means so much to me, as ALL your comments do. They are always exceedingly thoughtful, and I am so appreciative that you are willing to share your perspective.

  23. says

    I love your blog first of all because you are true to YOU. From meeting you, I can tell that your “voice” is the same in your blog as you are in person! You are not afraid to be YOU and say how you feel!!

    Your blog is also a great way for beginners to learn that they don’t have to put pressure on themselves to have the “best blog”, but a blog that is reflective of their personality!!

    Meghan Rae

    • says

      Hi sweetpea…thank you! This is priceless, because it is SO what I am about:

      “Your blog is also a great way for beginners to learn that they don’t have to put pressure on themselves to have the “best blog”, but a blog that is reflective of their personality!!”

      Amen, amen, amen!

      Totally looking forward to seeing you in NYC next month! Woot!

  24. says

    Oops! I hit enter and that posted!

    Such a great post on finding your *voice* – I feel like that’s one of the key components of blogging, for me this year. My writing seems formal and stiff and this post is great feedback on how to get to where I want to be. :) Thanks!
    birdie’s latest post: Blue Not Suede ShoesMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you, Birdie…for me, voice is integral to blogging. I need something deeper…I like discovering and connecting with new personalities. It’s a great goal. And for the record, I do think you already have a wonderful, wise voice, my dear!

  25. says

    I keep coming back here because I always learn something. Something about you, about blogging, about fashion/style or even about myself. Content and composition on your blog are always enlightening, entertaining or educational. I just started my blog in October and you have been such a great support. I have learned ALOT from reading your posts here or your contributions to the IFB.
    Sometimes I contemplate my blog, followers and analytics, and I think “What am I doing wrong? What do I need to improve? What advice would Vahni give me? What’s the point of all this?”
    Then I mentally shake myself and hear your “voice” telling me Rome wasn’t built in a day!” So I keep going……. :)
    Thanks for sharing your slivers with the rest of us!
    http://www.fashnlvr.blogspot.com
    Fashnlvr’s latest post: Blackless Dress- The ChallengeMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you Yvonne, what a sweet, sweet comment!

      I had to laugh at this: “What advice would Vahni give me? What’s the point of all this?” Funny. I’d probably say have a drink or something. But you are right: Rome wasn’t built in a day. So I’m glad you…and so many…keep going. Just like me. We’re all in this together, sugar!

  26. says

    Good God, lady, how i LOVE you. I’m just going to start blurting out the sentiment that keeps fluttering up every time I read a gorgeous post from G&G. And is fluttering up now, like lashes on a butterfly.

    Fantastic post, fantastic blog. “Blogging is not about being multi-talented. It’s about being YOU” Not only are you keen in your observations and spot on, you are so good at saying them. Yes. I love blogs that reflect the personalities of the bloggers. YOUR blog screams of you, of Vahni “Spikliness is next to Godliness” G, and that is why we come back. Because you are “fierce” and cool and warm as the sun locked in a car, and whip-smart and savvy and generous. It feels like hitting the lottery whenever I mosey over to read your latest posts, and it’s a place where we all win.

    Coincidentally today I wrote a short post regarding my views on blogging. I wrote that ulitimately good blogging is GREAT storytelling. And lady you are like the Shakespeare in the bloggosphere.
    -Bella Q
    http://thecitizenrosebud.com
    tweet me: @citizenrosebudz

    • says

      Man, OK. You are officially the QUEEN of COMMENTING, Bella! I adore your comments. Of course, they make me feel great, but you also have such a lovely way with words, and I know you are totally sincere. Thank you so much! And thank you for sharing this post too.

      PS: Loved the post you referenced. So good.

  27. says

    Why do I keep coming back? You are such a great writer–very articulate with an edge. It would take me paragraphs to say what you can say in a sentence. I am constantly amazed—
    Love the grass is greener story. So true in life.
    Paula
    Paula’s latest post: Friend Friday-Do I Measure UpMy Profile

  28. says

    Vahni–excellent post. The most important point I thought you made was the IMPORTANCE of READING in developing one’s voice. Leia mentioned in her FriendFriday vlog that she preferred blogs with more photos than writing…and i found myself pondering what voice could possibly mean if something was only photos.
    Terri’s latest post: Ad Knock-offs- HilfigerMy Profile

    • says

      “…i found myself pondering what voice could possibly mean if something was only photos.”

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. I agree. I prefer personality along with photos.

      Thanks for your comment, Terri!

    • says

      Thank you, Kim. And it is so not wrong if you want to think of me as you blog mother. But can we make it your Fairy Blog Godmother?! I’m so not mom material!

  29. says

    I LOVE your blog because of its content of course, every time I come here, I ALWAYS learn something new, I LOVE your honesty, your feistiness (is that a word? :)), and I LOVE all of your advice

    To me, you are never boring, and you ROCK!!!

    Love you Sweetie
    Jemina
    xoxo

    • says

      Thank you, Jemina. Of course, I love your feistiness too (that IS a word). On your blog, it is visual feistiness, and I adore it.

  30. says

    God, Vahni, this is such a great read. Though I’ve “measured” my blog against others, I am not really concerned with that. There are “big” blogs out there that might be popular but honestly, I would never want to be the creator of. And there are much smaller blogs that have posts that genuinely make me think or inspire me. What’s popular isn’t always right and vice versa. Though I’d love to see some more responsible, community-oriented bloggers go viral, I personally have no problem with slowly growing with a community of bloggers that I truly adore and respect.

    And this is why I love your post. I feel like I can truly connect to what your saying. As always you present such a logical and smart opinion. And I like your example about your friend with that seemingly perfect life. Everyone has problems, and they usually don’t go telling anyone who will listen about them. And that’s a good thing. It’s a good thing that bloggers don’t spend all their time sharing the crappy, the unprofessional, the boring or mundane. Because many of us see blogging as an extension of our professional lives and there’s nothing wrong with that. It depresses me to think that anyone would go to a blog and feel inadequate or insecure. That’s like the exact opposite of what most blogs are intended to accomplish. But there you have it.
    Kristy’s latest post: Vogues at DuskMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you, princess, for your depth, vision, and wisdom. We are two peas in a pod, you and me. I echo your thoughts, and treasure your friendship.

  31. says

    I definitely find your build a better blog series one thing that is unique to your blog- I’ve seen tips else where but none as organized as your or in a series. And you have a fantastic way with words and sense of humor. :D Great answers.

  32. says

    Dude, do our recipes annoy you? AHAHAHA. I like it when blogs don’t try too hard. When they truly focus on what lights them up versus covering things they think they should be covering in order to become more popular. Meg loves to cook and decorate. I like clothes. But then again, so does she….and I’ve been known to have baking marathons. The important thing is we write about what we like. And so do you. That’s why I keep coming back to G&G…because you’re clearly passionate about your content! xoxo

    • says

      No, Kristin, they don’t…you two cover a range of things, so the occasional recipe is great! I think I’ve shared one on G&G before…or a link to one. I just prefer not to be inundated with them. Only because I’m more into fashion blogs. It’s all about personal choice, though, right? We all have to do what’s right for us.

      Thanks for your comment!

  33. says

    I think that you are down to earth and that makes you so personable. I really get what your saying in regards to the story about the grass being greener, it’s not always as good as it looks on the other side. We all are constantly growing and learning. I really love how you help new and seasoned bloggers with questions whether it be technical or design oriented. That’s such a good connection.
    http://www.bubblingwitheleganceandgrace.com

  34. says

    I keep coming back because I absolutely love your style of writing. Its clear, concise, very informative and most of all entertaining. I always take something away from it, be it something to help my own blog, marveling your style, or today, that inspirational pic you took of the marker in the cemetery. Amazing. As always. :)
    jessica’s latest post: Vintage Designer History- Edith HeadMy Profile

  35. says

    I so appreciate all the points you made in this post. Masterfully done as ever, V. The apparent “perfection” in a lot of blogs can be intimidating, but I try to establish a perspective of inspiration, gathering ideas on how to implement a little bit of would-be “perfection” into my day-to-day for the pure fun of it. Two of the first blogs I ever read were Sandra Beijer’s Niotillfem (http://rodeo.net/niotillfem/ – fair warning, her host has a LOT of adverts: her Flickr is a faster look into her life, http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandypandycandy) and Elsa Billgren’s Need Help Dressing? (http://elsa.elle.se/), and I’ll never forget how envious I was at first seeing their gorgeous pictures of their gorgeous selves and their gorgeous friends at all their gorgeous events and parties. I would always think, “I want that to be MY life!” But charmed lives aren’t perfect lives, and I’m sure they’re both not without the occasional bad hair day or humdrum Saturday night.

    But anyway. There isn’t really one specific thing that keeps me coming back to G&G – I think rather it’s a collective of wonderful elements that make up a truly enriching blog-reading experience. Of course, it all comes back to YOU, fabulous you. Your style, your personality, your voice, your insight, it’s all invaluable and it all adds up. The other thing that I can rely on is your consistency. One of the things I’ve learned in my almost-year of blogging is that it’s not easy, not everyone can really pull off a successful blog. While I take care not to blog out of obligation I still find that I’m not always “on”, mostly from a writing standpoint. For example, I was keeping the fab Imelda May (rockabilly singer-songwriter) in my arsenal until just the right moment to do a post about her style and even though my excitement about the post had been building for weeks I was still shockingly unimpressed when I finally published it. I have a few posts that I consider to be the highlights of my blog, but they’re a very strict few. With you, I feel like everything you create through G&G is impeccably “on” and every post deserves a special bit of attention. I always leave feeling inspired both as a blogger and a fashionista!

    Okay, sorry this is such a long comment. Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! xo
    Casee Marie’s latest post: Cinderbella’s Parisian DelightsMy Profile

  36. says

    Just stopping by to read more of your fabulous posts after Bree from The Blog Stylist Twittered your Wikifashion how-to link. So appreciate you posting that and I finally put my page up today. Look forward to reading more from you.
    Nikki

  37. says

    Great post! The picture of the memorial (or whatever it is) brought tears to my eyes.
    The problem about “being yourself” is: You attract readers by doing what everybody does rather than by being yourself. For example: I love to write and the texts are the part of my blog in which I put the most effort and time. But (if I get comments at all) I get comments on pictures not on what I wrote. That can be a little frustrating.
    T.’s latest post: Lost my headMy Profile

  38. says

    Seriously, V! This rocked my world. Your words have reached my core. I have really learned many of these lessons said here in the past year. Just being YOU and loving yourself gets you so much further than be envious of what you do not have. I love how you say you see other bloggers and innovators as inspiration – this is brilliant. And this is why I am so in love with the blogging world.

    Your blog is a favorite because of this. Everything you just said. Because you are YOU, no one else. You have a spark and sass that is purely Vahni. And well, we happen to really like her :)

    Can’t wait to see you next month!

    Xo,
    Erika
    http://www.styleactivist
    Erika’s latest post: The Abominable SnowmanMy Profile

    • says

      AWWWWW! You always write so many nice things, Erika. It means a lot to me. And you know I think the same about you…talk about SPARK! And you and I both know I’m not the only one who sees it, Ms. MAN MAGNET!

  39. says

    Wow I loved reading this from you! And you know what I love most, your honesty! I adore that about you, and not every blogger does this. In the first question alone, I have read so many blogs that said they never envy other blogs or wish their blog would have been as successful. Well, I just find that really hard to believe. Well at least I know you and I have done it! HAHAH!!
    I love what you do, and I love that you care so much about evolving your blog technically etc and that you help others as well!
    Can’t wait to see what you do in 2011!!

    XX
    Angela Deaton’s latest post: A Styling Opportunity for the Non-Profit Autumns DawnMy Profile

  40. says

    So many thrilling, supportive, amazing comments! Thank you to ALL of you, for not only taking the time to comment, but for sharing your experiences and kindness.

  41. says

    This post is such a lovely one! Wow, I think anyone who wants to blog, dapples with these questions, especially with the millions of mercurial blogs out there that seems to have everything! It’s just in the past year that I am getting into my blogging groove and not feeling like a fraud!
    Britta’s latest post: The Memory of Her Perfume LingersMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you, Britta! It does take some time to get your sea legs in blogging. Glad you liked this post and that you’ve hit your stride.

  42. says

    It kills me that I missed this Friend Friday post and wasn’t able to participate. This is probably one of my favorite topics that have been covered so far, and I LOVE your responses.

    First, I love that you started your post by saying that perfection is a farce. So very true. Also? It’s boring. The idea of it bores me. If something is “perfect’ it can no longer evolve. Who wants that, really?

    Second, this paragraph was probably my favorite (along with that shot from the cemetery):

    “Blogging is not about being multi-talented. It’s about being YOU, and presenting whatever it is that’s your thing in a way that is appealing to others. For me, a successful blog is one in which I connect with the blogger’s personality and gain knowledge or enjoyment from visiting. How boring would our Style Nation be if all bloggers took the same approach?”

    That is how I approach blogging… specifically because people don’t get to see much of me (little to no photos/outfits/etc) I try to make sure that my personality comes through via my writing. I want my readers to get a sense of who I am through my writing, and as I grow and evolve, so will my blog.

    Thanks for another great post V – I could keep commenting on it but then it would be as long as your original post!
    Beautifully Invisible’s latest post: Children and the Fashion Industry- When are they TOO youngMy Profile

    • says

      Aw, B…your comments always get me. Thank you! You know I think so highly of your blog (and approach) too. I think your personality does come through, and for a fashion blogger who doesn’t do outfit posts, that’s HUGE!

  43. says

    I made a mental note to come back and read this post properly last week, and I’m really glad I did, because once again, you’ve hit so many nails on some many heads here (as has Sally). I LOVE the quote about the Marthettes, and it really reasonates with me because God, yes, I’ve been there: I’ve looked at other blogs (particulalry style blogs) and thought, “My God, I will never be as stylish/pretty/young as her, so I may as well give up now.” And I’ve looked at other types of blogs and thought, “Huh, she gets 100 comments just for posting a photo of her breakfast and I struggle to get ten on a post that took me hours – DOIN IT RONG!” But you’re so right: these are just tiny slivers of people’s lives and they’re carefully selected ones at that. That’s actually something I learned from the occasional critical comments I get on my blog. People will post comments saying, “Oh, you’re so this, or that, or the next thing” and I’ll think, “Huh? You don’t even know me: you’re judging me purely on the basis of a few words and pictures on a screen, and that’s nothing LIKE the full picture”. I think it’s the same for all bloggers: it’s NEVER the full picture, so it’s silly to allow other people’s blogs to affect the way you feel about yourself. (Silly but natural, I guess.)

    Also: ” I’m a buyer, not a DIYer”. THANK GOD. So happy you wrote this: I’m exactly the same: I can’t sew to save my life, and am bored rigid by crafting and baking and all those things – I thought it was just me!

    • says

      Hello love, thank you for that comment! We are very much alike, in our abilities and blogging philosophy. I’m glad to know that you found this post struck a chord with you. As a fellow writer, you know how much that means!

  44. says

    Hands-down your candor and generosity. Also I learn so much reading G&G and it really gets me thinking about blogging in a more-than-page-views-and-popularity capacity.

    x
    Laura’s latest post: hair todayMy Profile

    • says

      Laura, thank you doll! It makes my heart sing to know so many bloggers are thinking about blogging more in terms of community than as a popularity contest. Sure, we ALL want to be wildly successful in the blogosphere. But the one thing people don’t think about is that once you amass a sizable following, it becomes harder to interact and respond. And that bothers me, at least. So it’s a bit of a double-edged sword.

  45. says

    I feel like reading your blog enlightens me. That sounds way too serious though. I’m a little baby blogger. I feel like you hit the nail on the head. Don’t be jealous, be inspired by other people’s blogs. I feel like I’m finding my voice slowly in blogging. I’m a budget blogger. I’m not ashamed of being cheap. It’s out of necessity. I’m thrifty, and I can diy a little. But, I know my limits. I’m not going to be telling anyone how to build a bookshelf anytime soon.
    vanessa’s latest post: 2011 Critics Choice Awards Red Carpet Fashion My Best Dressed ListMy Profile

    • says

      Thank you Vanessa! I love when a newbie leaves me a note that they are getting these things it took me years to learn! You are wise, sweetie, to know your strengths and weaknesses. That is really half the battle.

      Thanks for your comment!

  46. says

    I L O V E D this post! I certainly can relate in feeling inadequate when other blogs have more traffic, great photos, etc etc. And then I realize their are a number of factors that go into it: their blogs are older then mine, and these blogs are always improving. With time & effort, and the will to improve and learn new things, each one of us have the power to make our blogs grow in the direction we’d like them too. Even if we can never attain perfection, working towards it still lands you in a pretty great place. As they say, “reach for the moon & you’ll land among the stars”

    xx.
    Judy

    • says

      Thank you Judy…I appreciate that this post was meaningful to you, and that you took the time to let me know. I am so in agreement with your last sentence. I think we should ALL strive to be the best version of ourselves. There is totally nothing wrong with that!

    • says

      OMG, are you serious, honey? I look at yours and think I have remedial photography skills. And don’t even get me started on your AMAZING first video! Thank you Ioana, but you are doing such beautiful work you don’t need to change a thing!

  47. says

    I love this article – just what I needed this week! I agree with Judy above – ‘Perfection’ doesn’t really exist but if you’re always improving be happy :)

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