Friday, September 4, 2009

Dear Editor,

Thanks to this blog, I regularly receive emails that begin as such. They're from various up-and-coming fashion lines and companies who would like me to write about them and feature their wares/services on this site. I suppose it strikes me as funny, a little odd. Editor? What editor? Oh, wait. That's me. Allow me to clarify. Emails like these are, originally, the reason I got into fashion blogging-- so I could essentially become a one-woman PR show and write quality content for fashion companies, in the hopes that I will one day break into magazine publishing. And, oh, get paid.


I'm going to level with you-- I like fashion and all, but I've been puzzling over what I want to do with this blog, what it means for me. Some people are able to make blogging into a vocation (I've been fortunate enough to start my freelance writing "career" this way). But I'll be honest with you; the pay is shabby at best. I was told by various college professors that writing is a "thankless job with little pay," but I didn't mind it then; given my passion for art and music, I knew I'd wind up in a creative field and have always thought of myself as a starving artist.

Then today, I got a little too hungry. Literally. Stomach rumbling, nothing to eat. Sure, I may own some pretty clothes (I'll never worry about going naked!), but things are rough when you can barely afford a cup of coffee. My student loans are killing me. I know I need to get out of my financial rut-- it's not quite Confessions of a Shopaholic caliber, but it's close enough! So lately, I've been reassessing my skills and career goals.

I've been out of school for two years. I work part-time. I write part-time. Blog part-time. Perform part-time. If I keep this up, I'll never be full-time anything or actually get anywhere (wherever it is I want to be going). I'm not sure what it is I want to do, but whatever it is, exactly, doesn't involve struggling like this.

Sorry if this seems like whining; it's not. I'm trying to get a little more real here. I know everyone struggles one way or another. I just wish I'd been a little smarter, made some better choices while earning my undergrad. Yeah, I worked hard for it; just maybe not hard enough.

So what's the plan now? A little begrudgingly, I'm going back to school. All this time I've been hoping that my B.A. would somehow be "enough," and that I'd land a job based on that. But in the rough, choppy waters that are These Economic Times, I'm quickly learning that, for some people, even a Master's degree is not enough. My goal now is to find an M.A. program that will allow me to hone my current skills while narrowing my focus; I want to add on top of the degree I've already earned so that I'm better prepared for the workforce. Because right now, a few publishing rejections into my writing "career," my confidence is pretty shaky. It's high time to build it up again and see where life takes me.

I've got a long road ahead of me. Since I'm finally caving and applying to grad school, and I only recently decided on this, I've got to quickly register - and cram! - for the GRE, contact old professors for recommendations, and fill out several applications (I'm too scared to put all my eggs in that one proverbial basket). All this, and musical rehearsals for a show that runs in October. Y-i-k-e-s. It's a vast undertaking. And I'm a-crazy.

In light of all this serious-type-stuff, I'm sometimes reluctant to do "outfit posts"; they seem superfluous. Obviously I love fashion and pretty, girlie things, but sometimes getting all gussied up and snapping pictures of myself to share on the internet feels wildly narcissistic and self-indulgent. Is it?
Elbows in the air! Now this is a fashion blog-y pose.

Until now, I haven't regarded it that way. Mostly I just love reading other style blogs and wanted to do something similar here. Straight-up fashion reporting is fun, but outfit posts make everything feel more personal, like I'm swapping wardrobe woes and joys with a friend. I think it's just my ridiculous self-consciousness that has me wondering if I'm really just a pretentious windbag for thinking that I need to document every single time I wear something cute and blog about it post-haste, as if I'm missing out on something if I fail to do so. As though the world would stop turning.

Ooh, looking at the ground. That's a good one, too.

There's also this tiny worry about getting too caught up in material things. After all, what are they again? Just things. Don't get me wrong, I adore lacy dresses, peep-toe pumps and cardigans with pearlized buttons like the Mad Men-obsessed girl-next-door. Obviously we know there's more to life than that; we aren't shallow enough to think otherwise. The style blogs I read on a near-daily basis are penned by wonderfully smart, retrospective, artistic young women with big dreams and goals and witty things to say. I wouldn't dare call fashion bloggers shallow; these girls are innovators. Simply, on my end, it's difficult to drum up excitement over clothes and blogging when my bills are taunting me. I guess that's even more reason to get creative.

Hanging from a gazebo might help. Yes?

Tell me the truth: Am I just being a little too reflective here? Does anyone else ever feel this way? I'm curious to know your thoughts.

And now that I've gotten all this off my chest, that's the last I'm going to speak of such things for a while. Hardship. Crisis. Financial woes. Recessionista. (Love how that's an official word in our lexicon now and SpellCheck didn't dare correct me). Blah. I'm with these two:

And thanks to everyone who gave me photo storage and uploading advice; I plan to try some of your tricks soon. And thank you, too, if you managed to plod through this mammoth entry. Just wait'll you read the novel! ;)


Diary of a Young Designer said...

Darling I couldn't relate to you more. I can understand what you are going through. Yes, it is hard to be thinking "oh pretty clothes" when you barely have enough to support yourself. As you may know, I got out of school a year ago also thinking a B.S. in Engineering was enough to take over the world, but I guess sometimes some of us are to re-adjust our priorities and dreams. I wish you the best of luck with you GRE, and you should post some pics or wids of you preforming. ^-^


Sher said...

We're still laughing here over "puppies" Had to play 3 times for the boys.

I know what you mean by a "fashion blog" being so materialistic, frivolous etc and there are more important things in the world. I do know...while my son was in surgery clothes were the farthest thing from my mind.

But I blog for fun. When it becomes not fun anymore I will stop.

I suggest that changing the topic of your blog to something that inspires you. I just love your photography. You might want to change it to that instead.

(hugs) on going back to school or rediscovering what you want for a career. but remember blogging also is a great support group. We will always be there encouraging your on.

Lexie said...

i think that blogging should be treated as a hobby and not much more than that. if you're spending hours and hours trying to perfect every detail of every photo you post and hours and hours scouring the internet for more fashion blogs to read and comment on ... maybe you have a problem. but that doesnt sound like you!

i treat fashion/shopping/vintage-ing like other people treat golf. or running or cycling or whatever. all of those things require lots of money (even though they might not seem like it at first), and what makes their hobby and more or less frivolous than mine?

i'm just spewin' thoughts here, but i hope you dont quit posting! i loooove outfit posts!

Elaine said...

I often want to close my blog. It's so time-consuming and even my husband starts to complain about it. I mean...what's the point? Just to dress better? But there is a correlation between dressing well and feeling good about yourself. And I'm tired of feeling bad about myself. But that's not what my blog is about. Yes, there is the occasional self-esteem boost but really, I still feel the same. I still buy clothes. But my blog is to help ME be creative with the clothes I have without having high-end designer items and not spending a lot of money to look and feel good. And my blog also has no monetary value for me. (Wouldn't it be nice though?) And about your "outfit posts"... I know you must think the fashion bloggers are so self-absorbed and just want to show off! Maybe they do, maybe they don't. But I was a little offended...I mean I am one of those bloggers! Am I narcissistic? self-indulgent? No. But I still do it show the clothes. If I could do it without showing myself, I would. But it always looks better ON you than showcased on your bed or on the floor... Anyway...this is my 2 cents...or 25!!! Sorry it's so long :)

ana b. said...

I think you'd made a good decision to go back to school and do an MA. It sounds like it's a bit of struggle trying to find a full time job doing what you love at the moment. You're very brave for entering a fickle, tempestuous creative career like writing. I've been a lawyer for two years now (straight out of law school) but feel I would love to take the leap into something more creative. But it takes guts.

As for outfit posts - I don't think it's narcissistic, self-indulgent, or consumerist. You earn your money - you're well within your rights to spend it on whatever you like. The thinking behind outfit posts being narcissistic or like it doesn't matter - all goes back to the belief that women who are interested in clothing, shopping and fashion are somehow uninteresting, vapid, vain, and dumb. From my experience in real life and the blogosphere - this is just. not. true. Linda Grant's "The Thoughtful Dresser" is a great book by a Man Booker Prize winner on exactly that issue.

Wow! This comment is long. Hope this makes sense. And good luck!

KD said...

Ouch...sounds like you hit a nerve here. You voiced the unspoken and it has stirred up a lot of reflection.

Can't wait to read the novel. You have a way of uncovering truth. Deep calls to deep.

Loved the suggestion about photography. Keep inspiring your readers!

Excellente, filha. Ciao.

Elaine said...

Hey Erin, I'm sorry aobut some of things I wrote! I think I was taking it too personally. This is what I should've wrote.....

Good luck with grad school! That takes a lot of courage in my opinion. I always thought I was going to go but I realized I'm not very smart...and I'm tired of classes and debt! But I'm sure after I graduate with a BS that I won't be getting many job opps either... That's what's so hard these days! And I love outfit posts. I get inspiration from other people's blogs. And I'm sure a lot of your readers do from you too so please continue :). And I thought your picture comments were funny :) Things people think but never say out loud!!!

a frock a day said...

Good luck with grad school! I can relate to your fears. I also lean towards more artistic pursuits which don't really pay much. I hope you find a job that you like which will also give you the financial stability you are looking for.

Sometimes I feel silly about my outfit posts, which is why I don't really show my face in my photos. My blog is sort of about my style but I prefer to do it in an anonymous way.

I guess I just wanted another way to express my creativity because I love fashion even if I don't have a lot of money. I love other blogs that have DIYs and thrifting tips. But basically, I love fashion in any shape or form!

Raquel said...

oh darling, many times i find myself thinking if I am being shallow for posting fashion and looks on the internet. but really I do not consider myself or any other fashion blogger shallow, exactly the opposite actualy.
I understand the crisis in your life, I live one myself too, but we all hope that one day our dreams come true and we can live an happy and fullfuling life!

so i wish you the best luck for your GRE!!