Believe it or not, 2017 marks the seventh year of Colours and Carousels. I started this little blog when I was just fifteen years old, still in high school, and still oh so young. Over the past few years, I've learned a lot through my blog, be that about myself or in a more practical aspect. It's kind of amazing, really, to see just what oversharing on the Internet has done for me and the ways that it has changed my life. Last week, I hit 10,000 followers on Twitter, and since then I've been feeling a bit nostalgic (and proud) of how far I've come since I sat down and wrote my very first post that day after school all those years ago. So, to summarise my little feels-fest, here are seven things having a blog has taught me in (nearly) seven years.
My voice has value
I suppose this has been the biggest thing for me, and in a way, it ties into a lot of the other life lessons that have come from blogging. As Lis will tell you I can be just a tad self-deprecating at times, but seeing people actually care about what I have to say or what I've been up to has shown me that my work really does matter. In school, I had some very talented friends, and I kind of felt like I was being overshadowed by their achievements a lot of the time, so having this space and this platform that I've built for myself from the ground up makes me feel so damn proud.
Having confidence in myself
Okay, again, this ties into the first point. I've always been a shy person and I was lacking in confidence for most of my teenage years, but watching my blog grow has given me a whole new lease of belief in myself. So many people have commented on how self-assured I am now in comparison to a few years ago, and if other people are noticing it then it surely must be true.
I can do anything I set my mind to
Sorry, this is yet another point that fits in a bit too nicely with the previous two, but I promise the next four are kind of different. In seven years of blogging I have built myself a platform, an audience and I suppose a style, I have I worked with incredible brands, met amazing people and had fantastic experiences because of it. Although some of it is down to luck, it's mostly down to my own hard work and determination. My blog has paid for my tuition fees, and every time I think about that I get a little bit overwhelmed with how proud I am of myself. I'm putting myself through a new degree because of the heart and soul I've poured into my corner of the internet.
What I want to do in life
I've always been an internet kid, but getting into blogging opened up a whole new side of my online life and in turn showed me exactly what my passions are, career-wise. Before blogging I never really felt an affinity to any particular path in life, but since discovering the world of digital marketing and social media I've uncovered a passion that I indulge at every step possible. I spend a lot of my free time researching new trends in digital marketing, figuring out exactly what is happening in the world of social media and teaching myself valuable skills that will hopefully do me the world of good when it comes to my professional life.
How to promote myself
Does anyone really like promoting themselves? Personally, I really struggle with it, be that writing my about me page, updating my CV or filling in applications for universities. Blogging is competitive, and if I wasn't constantly putting myself out there and trying to build a network I think I would have really struggled to get to where I am today. Pushing my achievements, no matter how big or small I may see them, has helped me get jobs, work experience and new opportunities. It helped me get into my current course, speak at events and even arrange some of my own.
Practical skills for life on the internet and beyond
I taught myself how to use Photoshop and very basic HTML to make Bebo skins and Piczo sites, but I use those skills on a daily basis now for my blog, my coursework and in a professional environment too. I've honed my writing, I can write a killer email in my sleep, and I work on my photography at every chance I get. Over the past seven years I've taught myself how to tweak my site to my heart's desire, how to edit videos and photos, as well as the ins and outs of copyright law, advertising practice and accounts. I spend my evenings teaching myself CSS and the inner workings of analytics, I have a surprisingly in-depth knowledge of social media platforms and I can tell you where to get the best beauty on a budget. I think I'm pretty much set for life there, right? Throw in the whole networking, confidence and belief in myself thing and I think I'm good to go.
How to get my shit together
Today is my day off, and instead of sleeping in till the afternoon like I used to, I had my alarm set for 7am and dragged myself out of bed to head down to my desk and start working. Blogging has taught me how to keep things in order, be that my life, my accounts or my deadlines, as well as giving me the drive to continually work on myself and my skill set thanks to my pure love of the blogosphere. I'm more organised than I've ever been and I know what ways to work are the most efficient for me. I've kicked myself into gear with how I approach deadlines and how I motivate myself. I'm accountable for my own actions and my own success, so I know that if I don't work on it it won't work for me.