This space is imperfect, just like me

March 12, 2018

Six years ago today, I published my first ever post here on TAS.

I was fresh out of college, working full time as an administrative assistant, and in desperate need of a creative outlet. After being inspired by a few blogs I found via StumbleUpon, I created a blogspot account, registered a domain and got started - armed with only an entry-level DSLR my mom bought me as a graduation present and the HTML knowledge I had from a 101 class I took at Georgia State. I had all I needed, or so I thought.

Soon I realized my kit lens was not cutting it. The quality of my photos were not on par with the quality I intended to produce, and as blogosphere began to explode, my homemade template began to feel inferior. In short, the demon of comparison began to creep in. Those sentiments were present in this post. *cringe*

After all this time, two things have remained constant in this space: my core categories (life, love, music, food and atlanta) and my name/domain. It took me all of 20 minutes to pick a name for my blog, and even less time to choose what I wanted to blog about. TAS was created as a form of self-expression, so, naturally, I built this platform around my personality.

Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes...


Not much has changed since day one, but at the same time, nothing is the same. I still live in Atlanta, love food, enjoy writing about music and am (occasionally) spilling my thoughts on love. However, the following things are different.

My Writing 

There were many times when I felt so constrained by my collegiate experience. My senior year was full of 10+ page papers, structured poetry pieces and APA vs. MLA formatting. By the time my degree came in the mail, I just wanted to write for the sake of writing, so that's what I did.

My early posts were full of grammatical errors and typos, and I hardly proofread before hitting the publish button. I recorded my thoughts and went on about my business. My readership was minimal (such is still the case), so who cared if I missed a few commas here and there? Not me. All those linguistic rules could kick rocks. I even put a disclaimer in my about me page, something along the lines of please excuse my writing, this space is imperfect, just like me.

These days? I CARE. My blog link is sprinkled throughout my various social profiles, including my online portfolio, which means increased visibility with potential clients. In short, flawed blog writing can now interfere with my side hustle. *record scratch*

I cleaned up my act and am continually working to improve my blog writing process, mostly as a way of honing my craft. I no longer spill my thoughts and hit publish; I review, revise and refine. Sometimes I even find ways to challenge myself, like only writing in the past tense for a whole post or only using simple sentences to convey my message. Funny how my relationship with constraints and structure has come full circle.

Visuals

I have always cared about the visuals here, but I now care less about how others will receive them. I snap and post photos for my own enjoyment more than anything else. In doing so, I have become more confident in my photography skills; I have also gotten better at curating photos for my content (a skill I also conveniently use at work). I am itching to upgrade my gear this year, so hopefully that will happen soon, but I will definitely be shooting more 35mm film in the coming months.

Layout

Okay now. This one changed quite often. I have updated my blog template every year, sometimes twice each year. At first I was upgrading for newer and newer features, then I could hardly settle on a design. Sometimes I just got bored, and this may always be the case, but I will always choose a simple layout with lots of white space. This year I tried to introduce a little color - grey - in the navigation bar up top.

Baby steps.

A Word on Content


It has taken time to streamline the kind of content I truly want to post, for me and only me (and whomever else may have similar interests). As I said earlier, my categories have remained constant, but I now only share ideas in line with my own interests, not necessarily in compliance with what may be popular.

There were times when I looked at my blog and compared it to others'; there were times when I looked at my blog and felt wholly unsatisfied, for no apparent reason; there were times when I considered shamelessly promoting my blog and possibly monetizing, but ultimately, that is not the goal of the content I share.

TAS is my baby. There was never a time when I thought of quitting. There was never even a time when I considered changing the url; it is literally the definition of my first name - fitting since this space is representative of my persona, through and through.

Moving Forward & Breaking "Rules"


Sometimes I may share posts with just a few photos and very little text (»»), because maybe I have nothing to say; maybe I just want to share the pictures and keep it moving. No longer will I feel a self-imposed pressure to "say something" about every single photo.

I have never tracked statistics, analytics, views, likes, impressions, subscribers, followers, etc. In our society, the more you have, the higher your numbers, the "better." I have opted out. Numbers are too often used as an indicator of value, and in my opinion, the true value of something/someone should not and cannot be quantified. This is why I hardly use instagram (algorithm schmalgorithm), and this is why I post on random days and nights and refuse to follow a posting schedule.

Letting go of what I should or should not do is a process, especially when there are so many rules to remember: do not post irregularly, do have a niche, do not post on Saturday, do self-host, do not publish a post with no photos, do send an e-mail newsletter and the list goes on... I am not here to keep up with the "blogging best practices" out there. After almost 400 posts and 76 drafts (where all my bad ideas go to rot), I still struggle with what to share sometimes, but I will continue to disregard the things I should/not do in this space.

Through it all, I am so deeply grateful for the people of the internet who choose to read, comment and otherwise engage with my posts. This year I am making more of a conscious effort to leave comments on all the posts I read, because I want to do my part to keep blog comments alive and engage with other writers of the internet. As far as I am concerned, if you author a blog, you are a writer, and I stand with you. ✊🏽✊🏻✊🏿✊🏼✊🏾

Other Randomness



  • I like everything in my template lowercase because e.e. cummings is one of my favorite poets.
  • Titles are difficult for me, so I usually write the post first and pull the title from what I have written. I got the idea from a one of my favorite short stories: "Poor Devil" by Charles Baxter.  
  • My relationship with instagram is tumultuous, but it is another space in which I only post for my own creative enjoyment.
  • My goodreads link is in the navigation bar with the rest of my social icons. Hashtag follow me.
  • I am still active on Tumblr. I love how follow-count does not matter over there.
  • My old posts get lots of spam comments, which is why I require approval for ones older than two weeks.
  • Long posts, like these, are rarely planned. I start with a paragraph of thoughts in mind and they bloom into something like this.
  • I look forward to the next six years! 👀 🥂


photo source »»

8 comments

  1. Happy Blog Birthday Disa! I agree, there are sooo many rules to remember when it comes to blogging these days that it's just easier to follow the first rule of simply blogging for yourself. Super thankful to have "met" you via blogging and consider you a dear blog friend. Keep doing you mama. :) xo

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    1. Thanks, love! I'm so happy to have "met" you as well! Crazy how invested in your life I am, and I've never even hugged your neck. 20yrs ago, people would've called us crazy. Now it's normal. <3

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  2. Happy Blog Birthday Girl! The longer I blot, I noticed it's always better to just walk and beat to your own drum. If everyone was the same then nothing would be authentic anymore. That's something I want to do is create more of my own content for my blog instead of using stock photos I have been slacking lately.

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    1. Thank you! And i completely agree. I've gotten way pickier about the blogs I follow. No more "10 Ways to Do X" and "How to Build X with Y." I'm only here for authenticity, and hopefully more and more people will do the same.

      In regards to stock photos, don't sweat it. I used to feel inferior for using them, but taking photos is a full-time job (as you know already), and I already have one of those, and a side hustle, and other responsibilities... not much time left for taking enough blog photos to pair with all the things I want to write about. I still click through and read your posts no matter what kind of photos you post. ❤️

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  3. This post really talked me off the ledge of completely stepping away from blogging. I truly appreciate your ability to remain true to why you started and why you're still here. I've always loved your blog!

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    1. Thank you, Carla! Please, please do not stop blogging. I enjoy your updates so much, and that would be one less relatable blog in the blogosphere. We're already endangered!

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  4. Oh how I can relate to all of this. Happy six years of blogging! I just celebrated five years this month :) and feel like I could have written this post myself. You're definitely one of the bloggers/writers that reminds me to stay true to myself. There's soooo much noise out there these days. Blogs like yours are grounding and I'm thankful you continue to show up and share with us. So happy I stumbled across this space and look forward to what the next six years will bring! xoxo

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    1. thanks so much, Tyshia! i read this comment over and over because it gave me such warm and fuzzies lol.

      i truly enjoy your blog as well. thanks for sharing the moments you share, and I look forward many more years of updates from you, too!

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