I've been thinking a lot about my perfume blog lately and wondering what makes a good blog. I started blogging in March 2010. Like many, I was possibly quite idealistic when I started. A year and nine months later, having blogged extensively and also read many other perfume blogs extensively, I have come to realise that while a lot of people can be dismissive about blogging, it very often is quite a challenge to keep it up.
I love writing about perfume, but to be honest, there are days (or weeks sometimes) where I run out of ideas, thoughts and inspiration. When I started blogging, I researched what I was going to write about, kept a diary of perfume ideas, reviews and thoughts, and went over posts a number of times before publishing them. Perhaps a lot of you still do, but these days I find my blog posts tend to be quite instinctive and reactive in a way - an idea pops into my head and boom, I get it down in a post and fire away. I don't know if I should be revealing this. After all, for all I know each of you spends hours fine-tuning your ideas and articles.
Having read a lot of perfume blogs, I think that bloggers tend to generally fall into one of two types. You get the blogger who researches a lot and spends time composing a post and then you get the blogger who shoots from the hip. I think these days I tend to fall into the latter. Actually, I am typing this post exactly like that. I haven't thought about this at all but am simply making this up as I go along. Brilliant eh? Hmm.
So, what is the point of this post then? Actually, what I am trying to do, in a roundabout sort of way, is justify my existence as a blogger. After twenty months of blogging, I realise that I am not a naturally gifted writer. I don't have a background in publishing, magazines, or even freelance writing. I've also realised that I have no credentials to write about perfume. I think in fairness I do know a fair bit about perfume, and I am definitely a perfume lover, but I do not have any qualifications - I'm not a chemist, I have no background in fashion.
I've also looked very generally at the responses I get to my posts. I realised quite early on that my technical posts, for want of a better term, very seldom garner any attention. No one out there really cares whether I think a perfume smells woody and evokes the atmosphere of driving along a coastal road at sunset. To put it in perspective, I get more comments for a picture of my cat. So much for a perfume blog then!
I can understand the response. Let's think of my own attitude to blogs. I have to be honest and state that I love reading articles and posts about technical aspects of perfume. For example I like to know the history of musk in perfumery, what all the synthetic musks are, which perfumes are good examples of musk and so forth. I love to read a series of posts that cover a perfume family for example. Great examples of these sorts of bloggers include Perfume Shrine and Perfume Smellin' Things. I also like the everyday, matter-of-fact sort of blogs that keep me up to date with latest releases. Now Smell This was one of, if not the first blog I ever read and I still read it daily. It is a perfect example of this sort of blog. While I am interested in the history of perfume, I have to admit to being a little bored by too much of that sort of thing, but I will dip my toe into that sort of proverbial water. Then, I love the bread-and-butter blogs, those that feel like coming home after a tough day out. I'm not going to mention names, but read my blog list and the vast majority of those bloggers are precisely like this, and I would in fairness include myself in that category.
I think what I'm really trying to get at in this post is that a blog should reflect the character of its creator or creators. I think that's the most important thing. And to stay true to that character. I'm not saying that a blog can't adapt or develop, nor that its creator can't experiment and develop too, but ultimately, the blog should be the genuine reflection of its creator's spirit, whatever that spirit might be.
In some ways, I feel that I occasionally blog just to keep in touch and not fall by the wayside, and if I am being honest, not all my posts are inspired. But they do reflect where I am in my life and mostly what I am. This year, I am feeling both excited and also cautious about the future. In real life, my world faces an uncertain future. Without being too melodramatic, Britain and Europe, and many parts of the world, are in the throes of an economic crisis unheard of certainly in our lifetime. I just hope it all works out.
On a personal front, I want my perfume blog this year to truly reflect who I am. I can't guarantee it will work out that way, but I will do my darn best to try deliver that. I have a few ideas to write about this year. I'm not saying that they are original ideas, or even that they are that interesting, necessarily, but they will represent me, and whether that is simply mundane or not, will be left to fate.
I invite you to continue to join me, if you will. I like company, and have come to the conclusion that it is the quality rather than quantity that matters. Sometimes I might post every day; otherwise it could be once a week. I don't know, it depends.
So, here's to 2012, and I look forward to continuing on my perfume journey and look forward to being a passenger on yours too, if you will have me.