The Honest Blogging Project

Honest Blogging Project

This post is long overdue.

I’ve had countless conversations over multiple months lamenting the future of this blog. I started blogging almost six years ago as a creative outlet from my unbelievably boring day job. Unexpectedly, a few more people than just my parents began reading it. Then a few more.

I never could have dreamed, when I published that first blog post, that it would take me on incredible trips around the world, give me the confidence to write a novel (well, the first draft at least) and allow me to work as a freelance digital marketer in London.

My blogging career has been beyond my wildest expectations.

And yet.

Those conversations I mentioned? They’ve mostly been me despairing that my blog isn’t where I want it to be, that I don’t know which direction to take it in, or that it doesn’t make enough money for me to put more time into it, leaving me in a chicken-and-egg type cycle. I know, I know. First world problems.

Some days I feel like a total fraud. Other days I compare myself to others and feel completely inadequate.

Quite frankly, I’ve lost my blogging mojo.

Outside of blogging though, I’m positively brimming with creativity and ideas. There’s plenty I could be writing about, but I’m just not. I’m too focused on being ‘on brand’, whatever that means. I’m a blogger, for goodness’ sake, not a multinational corporation! I am my brand.

But somehow over the years, my real life and my real personality have taken a back seat to SEO, shareable content and affiliate links. Which basically means I’ve just let all the details bog me down.

Or perhaps I’ve let fear hold me back. Being honest means being vulnerable. And being vulnerable means facing rejection.

But enough is enough.

Honest Blogging Project

I’m embarking on a new project, called The Honest Blogging Project. I’m sure you saw the recent headlines when Essena O’Neil ‘quit’ social media in protest of the false nature of the digital world. Don’t worry. I’m not going to do that.

What I am going to do is inject a lot more personality back into A Bird in the Hand. I will still write about travel, of course, but I’m more than my latest passport stamp.

So what’s going to change? I’ll still be posting right here – but I’m not going to suddenly turn into someone negative and moany. That’s not what I mean by honesty. What you can expect is food, home stuff, DIY, fitness, London tidbits, and posts just because I’ve got something on my mind. Real life, basically.

And I’m not the only one. I was inspired to write this post after reading Hannah Gale’s predictions for blogging in 2016. Amen, sister. I’m a normal girl. And I’m about to sew my heart right on my sleeve. Because it’s time to take blogging back and make it fun again.

So there you have it. My mission for the new year (and well beyond): The Honest Blogging Project.

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  • Hello there. Found this old post because I had the idea that it might be nice to create a space where bloggers were truly honest. It would have to be interesting to hear people’s honest perspectives, the things we might normally keep secret, the things that we feel vulnerable about. I miss the kinds of blogs that aren’t just trying to market to some niche data, or inspiration, or even travel advice, but instead, real people just telling their stories. So, then I thought, someone else might have thought of this, let me ask google. And here you are. I’m off to see how you’ve done so far. I’m sure it is a process. I’ve been told my blog is honest, but they have no idea what they don’t know. If it were, my shoulders and neck wouldn’t be so stiff. That’s how I’ll know when I’ve gotten there.

  • Amen to this, sister! I posted something similar recently, blogging isn’t what it was – sadly. Let’s reclaim it!

  • Steph says:

    Love this so much Lauren. Just catching up on all my reads after my holidays and this pretty much summed up everything I’ve been pondering about my own blogging and creative freedom. This year was a tough year, and I took a blogging sabbatical because I didn’t know how to merge my real life with the digital life I thought I needed to curate. My own inauthenticity stopped me in my tracks. What an exhausting way to create! I’m clearer now on what I want to experience from blogging and how I want to show up in the world (on and offline). Thanks for your Honest Blogging Project. I shall be joining you. Love you! xx

    • Elle Croft says:

      Oh, Steph, coming from you that means so much!
      It’s so nice to know I’m not the only one who feels like they’re living a bit of a double life. It can be totally crippling. I’m so happy you’re joining me in this, and I can’t wait to see what you’ll be creating in 2016! xxx

  • Jodie Young says:

    I couldn’t agree more Elle! I have been thinking this so much with my blog lately. Getting more personal and worrying less about being on brand sounds like the perfect mix up. Can’t wait to read more of your blogs.

  • Julie says:

    Love this – and don’t you find that when you really just write about, well, real life, it just comes so much easier? I sometimes just kill myself over how to describe a neighbourhood in London (for example) in a way that doesn’t sound so old and tired. But when I’m writing about how much my dog likes to eat trash off the sidewalk? Easiest thing ever! Looking forward to seeing where this takes you!

    • Elle Croft says:

      Haha, I love this Julie! I don’t have a dog (although I seriously wish I did) but I know exactly what you mean! Plus, I love reading about other bloggers’ lives, dogs, meals, hobbies etc. So why on earth don’t I write about it myself?! Thanks for your comment :-) x

  • Freya says:

    What a lovely thing to write about! I totally agree that it can be so hard to feel proud of your blog because as a blogger it’s always so easy to compare it to other peoples and however hard I try it’s never ‘quite’ where I want it to be!

    I for one, love and admire your blog so remember to give yourself a pat on the back every now and then! I’m definitely going to try and start reminding myself what I like about my work to get a bit more confidence back in to my writing.

    I love Hannah’s blog and really enjoyed that post she wrote about blogging in 2016 so I’m glad you liked it too! I can’t wait to read more of your blog posts about london and everything else you get up to x

    • Elle Croft says:

      You’re so kind, Freya! Thank you – I don’t hate my blog or anything – I just think it needs a bit of an overhaul. It’s good to take stock every once in a while and refresh what you can so it’s fun again! I look forward to what your blog has in store for 2016…more travel? ;-)

  • Joella says:

    Just reading this now Lauren- I completely agree. Everyone says you have to have a niche and write this list or that post, but what’s the point if you don’t enjoy it? It’s one thing if you make millions but, as most of us don’t, I think it’s best just to post what we want. The most interesting blogs are the ones where people really care about what they write. If it’s DIY one day and travel the next- then that’s awesome. I sometimes find that when a blogger sticks very rigidly to a niche or one format of posts then I read their posts less after a while as I no longer need to “learn” about that topic. The bloggers who write more personal posts or more varied topics will keep me coming back. It’s fun to mix it up!
    Personally, I know my blog could have a bigger audience if I did certain things and really went after promoting myself more- but I don’t enjoy that. Some people are great at it and enjoy doing social media promotions and I wish I did too. But I don’t so I just accept that I do what I feel happy with- I have some lovely loyal readers and some close blog friends and I actually enjoy blogging. Anyway, we’ve evolved a lot since our style blogger days haha and I’m sure our blogs/writing will continue to do so as we grow and change. Happy New Year!

    • Elle Croft says:

      Thanks Joella, I love your thoughts on this! I’d never considered your point about not wanting to go back to blogs that just write the same thing – it’s so true, I’d just never really thought about it.
      We sure have evolved, and I’m sure we’ll continue to do so – hopefully having a load of fun in the process!! Happy New Year to you too, lovely xxx

  • Oh my goodness, I love this post. I wrote the other month about the problem with having a blogging niche and I was in such a pickle about what I could and couldn’t write about in the bid to keep my blog on brand. It’s taken all the fun out of it though, we are our own brand and I think the more bloggers can inject more personality into their blog the more interesting it is to read and, ultimately, it becomes more fun to write. I can’t wait to start 2016 fresh with more ideas and blog posts because I’m writing about what I want to write about and not writing just to fit in with my blog. My blog needs to fit in with me and I can’t wait! Here’s to honest blogging ?

    • Elle Croft says:

      Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment, Emma. I love your post and I totally understand the struggle between blogging your niche or just your day to day life! Best of luck with keeping your blog fresh in 2016 too – I can’t wait to read about alpacas and ice cream ;-)

  • Flora Baker says:

    Yayy great stuff!! I look forward to much more personal content from you :) I think it’s really important to stay true to why we started writing online in the first place.

    • Elle Croft says:

      THANK YOU! Yep, I think going back to writing without worrying about numbers etc is going to have a huge effect on how I feel about blogging. I am already more excited about it after writing this post – hurrah! x

  • I definitely feel what you’re saying, I start to feel lacking in creativity if I do too many reviews and not enough personal posts. I’m also going to be more personal in 2016. Here’s to honest blogging!
    Lots of love,

  • Tink Jayne says:

    Well done! Great plan I say.
    I wrote something similar last week, admitting I want to pump more personality back into my blog, more ME.
    It felt weirdly vein writing it ‘I want more ME’ but it’s true. These are our blogs and they should reflect what makes us happy, what makes us tick, or even what makes us mad/unhappy/crazy. But I think many of us have become bogged down by what & how we are ‘supposed’ to blog these days.
    Looking forward to reading all this brand new content.
    Happy New Year my dear :)
    x tink jayne x

    • Elle Croft says:

      Ah, I LOVE your post! I feel like we’re reading each others’ minds a bit here :-)
      It does feel vain but then the blogs I adore, and come back to, are ones with personality injected into them. It feels weird to write it but reading it is so interesting.
      The real question is: with this newfound honesty, do we have to start using our real names?! Haha

  • Being honest is definitely scary, but I’m looking forward to reading your blog in 2016. I also often struggle with the question of how much the blog is really a reflection of me. I don’t want to think about numbers and SEO, but it’s almost impossible not to. And it’s not even why I started blogging in the first place! I think it’s great that you’re doing this, and what better moment to do it than at the beginning of a new year.

    • Elle Croft says:

      Thanks Jacintha – I think it’s inevitably going to be a struggle for bloggers, and sometimes the balance will tip one way or the other – my balance has just been tipped for far too long, so the new year seemed like a great time to change that!

  • Kelly says:

    Looking forward to the new content that will be popping up in your blog. I much prefer life stuff than just a particular niche…I can’t wait for bloggers to realise that their niche is themselves.

    Forever Amber wrote a post about her predictions for the blogging world in 2016 and I think there is going to be a big change.


    • Elle Croft says:

      Thanks Kelly! I’m definitely looking forward to writing it too!
      I just went and read the Forever Amber post and it’s great – I reaaaaallly hope that brands do start looking behind the social media numbers!!

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