What It's Like to Run a Blog

What It's Like to Run a Blog

You may have observed that I was MIA last week.  Sadly, I was not doing anything thrilling like taking a last minute jaunt to the Greek isles or whatevs - nope, that's the result of a weekend of ill health (how much can you sleep in a 24 hour period?  Quite a lot, it turns out) and then a week of Full On Work Times (got to say hi to my old friends the cleaners though, so that was nice).  Since I'm my own boss over here on the blog, there was no awkward conversation about why I hadn't achieved my KPIs, but it did cause me to reflect on how much work goes into Mode & Methodology on a weekly basis and I thought - hey, maybe the blog audience would find this interesting too *pondering emoji*

In an ordinary week, I create the following:

  • three fashion/style posts 
  • one beauty post
  • one newsletter for subscribers
  • 5-7 Instagram posts 
  • a Facebook post for every blog post (so, 4 of those)
  • a varying amount of Instagram Stories, but I try to do something almost every day because I know my Mum likes to see what I'm up to (hi Mum!)
  • I'm supposed to be doing a TradeMe round up on Sunday nights but that's proving to be impossible to remember to do. Sigh. 

So here's how it goes. 

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Once a month, I bust out my handy whiteboard calendar and I plan the entire month ahead. If I don't do this, I will slowly die from the decision fatigue of thinking up 16 blog post ideas on the hoof.  I also plan my monthly Capital column (content and photos) and any work I need to do for the following month (like interviews or research).  This is the most fun, because it's all ideas and no actual work. 

Every weekend, I shoot between 2 and 4 outfits etc (usually at least 3).  Step one is to pull together the various outfits (why do I always create an unholy mess doing this?) and, if I haven't already figured this out, lock down the locations for the photos.  I then walk/drive all over the city to various locations to get the photos, often changing in my car or in public toilets.  It is super glamorous. 

One blog post only needs 5 or 6 photos, but because I shoot my own photos 95% of the time, I will take around 40 photos to get those shots.  That's me, with a tripod and a remote, playing photographer friend to myself.  Sometimes it will take 15 minutes, sometimes it will take much longer - depends on a lot of factors but the main one is usually how "Vogue" I'm feeling versus how many photos just look like me being an awkward tourist.  Two of my worst outcomes: (1) not checking my photos as I go and realising that I've just shot 20 grainy/over-exposed/weirdly angled shots and (2) getting to a location and realising I've forgotten my remote.  I usually spend at least three hours of a weekend prepping for and then taking photos for the blog. 

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Depending on what else I have on over the weekend, I will sometimes review all the photos for the week in one go, but usually that doesn't happen (gotta have that social life y'all).  Instead, every Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night I do the following:

  • I come home from work.  It is not usually 5.30pm, although I have been doing better at that this year.  I make dinner.  I do various tasks that are required of me because adult life is not the ice cream and TV festival I hoped it would  be (also, when you live alone you have to do ALL THE CHORES.  Do not recommend). 
  • I go into my home office.  I procrastinate for between 10 and 30 minutes. 
  • I run through all the photos for the next day's blog post and pick the ones that look the best.  I laugh quite hard at several accidental shots where I look...unusual. 
  • I narrow that down from around 12 to the top 5 or 6
  • Those top 5 or 6 usually then need some simple editing: straightening, cropping, or some brightening.  I do not Photoshop because, as I've said before, if I had those skills I'd be using them to create entertainment for my friends.  
  • Then I upload each of those photos into the Squarespace template individually.  Sometimes it is slow, sometimes it is fast.  The internet is a cruel and unreliable mistress. 
  • I already know the theme of what I'm going to write about.  I now write that post, usually into Word so I can see and read the entire thing in one go (if it's an interview it will have been written and checked ahead of time).  This takes up to 45 minutes, usually.  
  • I check the text, add in all the hyperlinks, delete anything that is too fevered (it's usually late and I'm usually hysterical with tiredness).  I then copy this into Squarespace.
  • I spend a tortured 10 to 15 minutes trying to think up a title.  
  • I add the categories so the post will appear under the correct link at the top of the home page. 
  • I publish!
  • I check the published piece. 
  • I correct any errors (this kills me).
  • I publish again!
  • I pick up the link and create the Facebook post.  I sometimes would just like to write "I WROTE THIS JUST DO ME A FAVOUR AND READ IT" but so far I have resisted (even at 1 am, I am a true hero).  I schedule that post. 
  • I transfer photos into Google Drive so I can pick them up for Instagram the next day. 
  • I go to bed. JUST JOKES. 
  • I send various emails and do a variety of other planning tasks. 
  • Now I go to bed. 

When I wake up, I check my Facebook post has gone out as scheduled.  Then I usually forget I wrote a blog post until some point during the day where I think "OOPS" and that's when you see my Instagram post.  I will check in on the stats for the blog post during the day if it's one where I worked with somebody else (like a friend, a photographer, or an interviewee) but usually I just take a look in the evening.  The Very Serious Job does, at least, stop me from falling down the black hole of social media and blog analytics. 

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Last weekend, I was sick.  As a result, I shot no photos.  During the week, I was at work or a work event (in one case) until 10pm or later every evening.  As a result, I wrote no posts (which would have been boring anyway because: no photos) and released no newsletter.  It was The Worst.  I know I just described this blog as a huge amount of work, but it's work I enjoy.  It's work I miss doing even when I know it's a good idea to just take a week off (although I am about to restructure the work so I can have evenings off during the week for, y'know, stuff not involving a keyboard).  

It's about a thousand per cent easier than being a lawyer/manager in the financial industry because:

  1. the work load involved is lolzy lolz compared to my work load in my day job, which is at about 150% of available time, at all times, and where I have multiple deadlines in any given week;
  2. writing about coats, for example, is ridiculously easy compared to (for example) trying to figure out when a transaction is a Material Transaction with a Related Party that will require shareholder approval and if so, whether or not a waiver is likely to be granted, over the phone while hearing the fact scenario for the very first time; and
  3. this is a one woman project so I can be totally selfish and just not do it when I'm busy with other stuff.  My team is always my first priority, and I work a lot with other teams/people, so I spend a lot of time being very available.  Like most people, I cannot turn up to my job and just say "you know what?  I'm not doing this today" and then kick back with a coffee on one of the bean bags I bought my team for Christmas. 

I guess what I'm saying is: sorry about last week.  If I'm not here, please know that I would love to be, but I must be getting overwhelmed somewhere else.  I will be back!  And also - this thing takes a lot of work so please tell a friend about it.  Thanks *finger guns*