Sunday, March 24, 2013

breaking the rules

One of the first things I ever learned about design is that once you learn the rules of design you are allowed to break them. Things like the rule of thirds, how to kern your text, which colors go together and which don't are all very important aspects of art/design. Follow those rules and you will create beautiful things.

And once you learn how to make beautiful things by following the rules, you gain the freedom and ability to figure out how to create beautiful things by breaking the rules.

There are a lot of things in life that seem to have "rules". I'm not talking about laws or moral rights and wrongs. I'm talking about the unwritten rules of things like dating, girl code, blogging, etc. And sometimes, rules are meant to be broken. Sometimes, the most beautiful things happen when you break the rules.

For example, how many stories have you heard where someone got married because their roommate had a crush on a boy and they ended up dating him. SO against girl code, am I right? But obviously breaking that rule worked out for the best.

I've come to realize that I'm kind of a rule breaker. And I like it. Sometimes it seems like the rules of blogging are make sure you post 3-4 times a week and feel bad if you skip a week or two or a month and if you don't blog for a while you should apologize for being a bad blogger like 7 times in your post. And you probably shouldn't redesign your blog every other month. And you're only a great blogger if you get 2 billion page views a month. And you have to have the coolest business cards, also run an etsy shop, and probably own an iPhone so you can be on vine. (And you never start sentences with the word "and".)

The thing I like most about blogging is doing what I want. It's my blog, it's my space, and I love the GUTS out of the people who care to read it. I want people to read my blog because they care about what I care about. I have a lot of respect for many "big time bloggers" who have those 2 billion readers and post all the time and have people pay them to be sponsors. And I enjoy reading many of their blogs. But that's just not me. I don't want to follow those rules to get those results.

I took sponsoring off my blog a couple months ago. I was sick of highlighting my sponsors and managing ad swaps and filling sponsor spots... I didn't enjoy it. I think it's really awesome that people can monetize their blogs. (And I really love those people who wanted to sponsor me.) But for me, it wasn't worth the effort that I was putting into it. I also took down my design shop. (Actually, it still exists somewhere, but there is no link to it on my blog.) And guess what, it has been SO freeing. I don't feel like I have to blog because my sponsors should get the sidebar views they paid for. I don't feel like I have to grow my blog presence and gain followers. Sure, it would be cool if I got 2 billion page views a month, but I really like the 600 some odd people that read my blog right now.

I used to stress about always having pictures on my posts, because I know those are more enjoyable to read. But when it gets to the point that you're losing sleep because you're so concerned about editing your pictures for your post tomorrow, enough is enough. The people who care will read my blog because they like me and they like the way I write. With or without pictures.

I love the guts out of blogging. I'm in awe with all the amazing people I've met. But I am sick of people who introduce themselves and their blog and say "oh, I'm just a little blogger". Blogger status isn't so much about how many followers you have or how much money you make or which companies are sending you clothing. Blogging is not high school. So stop wishing you were at the table with the popular girls and own up to who you are. You're a blogger because you blog. A blogger writes, cares, reads, comments, contributes, builds relationships and friendships, supports businesses and products they love.

I guess what I'm saying is that I've learned to find a lot more happiness in doing what I want instead of what I think I should want or what other people think I should do. The secret to life is a lot more about doing what you love and a lot less about doing what will get other people to love you.
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