*Good Riddance (Time of Your Life Plays)*
I have finished my degree. I studied law at the University of Manchester for 3 years, and will be officially graduating with first class honours on July 17th. I couldn’t be more thrilled, but now as I enter the dreaded land of post-graduation and I wanted to write a bit of a frank and honest plan of action. So:
Full-time blogger?During the final year of my degree, I decided that I don’t really want to be a lawyer (not in the very near future, at any rate). I have also thought a lot about the fact that I have been in education solidly since the age of 4. With that in mind, I’ve decided that I want to take a year out of sorts, but not really. I’m fortunate enough that I have been able to call my blog a ‘part-time job’ alongside my studies for the last year or so, and now my plan of action is to work extremely hard and make my blog my job, or there abouts.As far as the logistics of this go, going from being a supported student in Manchester to an unsupported graduate in London is an astronomical step financially. I have been somewhat sensible and saved up a lot of the money I have earned this year, so I have a little bit of a buffer to figure myself out in the first few months of moving down. I’m not ruling out part time or even full time work of a different nature and in some respects I think I would really enjoy and benefit from a ‘real job’ related to what I’m doing with my blog or writing, but this is getting into very hypothetical territory and I will be crossing that bridge when I come to it.The TLDR to all this is that, for now at least, I am a FULL TIME BLOGGER.What this means, is that I’m going to be refining and working a lot harder on my content. Now, my satisfaction level with what I’m posting is at about 6/10. I love clothes and I love putting together outfits and don’t intend to stop photographing them for this blog, but what I’d really love to do is start writing more about what I am passionate about. I’ll make angry, socially and politically charged tweets, post pictures from gigs on Instagram, but none of that really translates here at the moment. You might have noticed a slight increase in music related posts, and this is definitely a step in the right direction for me. In essence, I want my blog to be more reflective of myself as a whole, rather than exclusively about what I’m wearing or the products I’m putting on my face. Ok? Ok.
Moving to London!The second fairly huge post-graduation life decision I’ve made, which I’ve basically already given away above, is to pack up and move myself to the capital in September. Obviously this is somewhat related to being a ‘full time blogger’; sadly the industry (as with most things creative) is still very London-centric and so it makes a lot of sense for me to be there. I love Manchester to death and am already getting overwhelming waves of nostalgia whenever I walk around the city, but I have lived here for three years (and nearby all my life), and I am itching for a little change. This plan materialised earlier this year with my friend Lowri; she is going back to university in London, and I essentially invited myself along. Although I’m sad to leave a lot of people in Manchester, I couldn’t be more excited to move. I’ll be blogging as much of my moving experience as possible (and selling most of my worldly possessions on Depop), so I hope you’re going to be interested in hearing about that.
My outfit was very simple and hardly needs discussing, although I feel like this knitted halter-neck top from Primark deserves a special mention because I’ve worn it so much on my holiday and it was only a fiver. Thoughts?
There’s some twisted irony in the fact that at the time of writing this post, my stress levels are at a record high and I have a negligible amount of time remaining to bash out the final few thousand words of my dissertation… HELP.
Anyway, I digress. One of the questions I’m most frequently asked when people find out that I am a full time student as well as a blogger, is ‘how do you manage your time?‘. I usually give a relatively vague answer about knowing when to prioritise one over the other, but as I’m at the very peak of my busiest ever time at university (specifically, the end of my final year) I thought it appropriate to give my time management techniques, both conscious and subconscious, a little more thought. In doing so I hope to both help myself in this final stretch, and help others who are perhaps struggling to manage blogging (or another hobby or flexible job) alongside university, college or school.
Tip #4 – don’t compare your blog to a full time blogger’s blog
Finally I think it’s important to avoid comparing yourself and your work to others generally, but sometimes it is helpful to gauge where you are at in comparison to your peers. This becomes less helpful, however, when you start comparing your blog to a full time blogger’s blog. Blogging is very time consuming, and naturally those who are fortunate enough to call it a career have a lot more time to put into it. Whenever I’m getting a bit stressed about the quality and frequency of my posts, I just remember that many of my friends and others who I admire simply have a lot more hours in the day to dedicate to blogging than I do.
In conclusion, balancing blogging and university is about just that: balance. Sometimes I give university work a little more weight, sometimes I prioritise blogging, and of course don’t forget to add having an actual social life into that mix too. I hope that these tips are helpful or at least in some way cathartic if you’re in the same position as me; don’t stress too much, it’s not that hard and you’re doing great!
Happy International Women’s Day!
Ok, one last ‘resolutions’ post then we can all get on with our lives for another 12 months. As we enter the second full week of 2015, 2014 seems practically prehistoric and I’m keen to collect my plans, ideas and motivations for hannahlouisef in one place.
- Take better photosI’m really, really keen to improve my photography this year. Because my content is predominantly my own outfit photos, I don’t get to take them and so I just don’t get much practice behind the camera as I would like. I bought myself a Canon 700D a few months ago and am definitely getting to grips with it now, but I’m nowhere near confident as I want to be and need a lot of time to play around before I feel even a little satisfied with photos I take. Once I start feeling happier with my own photos, I think I’ll feel happier creating more varied content, which is another goal for 2015!
- Document more of my life
I think this one goes hand in hand with wanting to take better photographs, and is particularly applicable to travel. Despite travelling quite a lot in 2014, I blogged none of it aside from taking advantage of some different locations to shoot outfits in. I think it’s important to take some time off from blogging every now and again and I don’t want to feel pressure to create and record at all times (especially when on holiday), but in hindsight it would have been nice to write a little more about my trips, and I find it much easier to do this when I can illustrate with lovely photographs. If you read my other life resolutions post, you’ll know that I intend to travel more in 2015 – I hope that I can talk about and document this on my blog in the coming 12 months.
I also want to talk more about music, as I discussed here, as it really is quite a defining part of my character and is what I spend much of my free time preoccupied with, but I just don’t think this comes across in any way except for the odd Instagram post from a show. I don’t think my blog is the right place for music journalist style album or live reviews and there are already a plethora of great music magazines and blogs, but I’m busy brainstorming ways to incorporate my own musical preferences into my fashion and lifestyle posts – if you have any ideas, please do let me know in a comment!
This is the most unambiguous of my 2015 blogging goals, in that I will either succeed or fail definitively. If I am going to actually make videos, it’s going to be now or never. I’m still extremely dubious and nervous about this, and have been putting it off throughout 2014 because even the thought of myself on camera makes me cringe. However, as I get more into YouTube as a viewer, I’m feeling more inspired by some of my favourite bloggers who started YouTube in the past year (like Olivia, Amy, and Arabella), and I really want to be able to create videos that I’m not painfully embarrassed by. Watch this space, and please send your words of encouragement (and any specific video requests) if you would actually like to see me on YouTube.
I don’t want to set numerical goals based on stats, I just want to become a better creator; vary my content whilst refining my skills, and try to encapsulate and represent myself in a more well-rounded manner. Do you share any of these blogging resolutions? Have a wonderful year everyone!