My Pretty Sydney (MPS) turned 3 years old on the 2nd September 2015. So technically, this blog is 3 years and 2 weeks old today!
MPS was launched on Sunday the 2nd September 2012 at a corner table at the Art Gallery of NSW café after my lovely friend Mari and I had looked at an exhibition. Our aim was to be a girly guide to Sydney, an online community for interstate and foreign girls moving here for the first time, as well as locals looking for things to do, see and eat in Sydney. Our first post introducing the blog is here and Mari wrote our first real post here.
Six months later, Mari moved to New York leaving me to run MPS as more of a personal blog. It was sad to see her go and I missed her contributions and ideas for MPS (in addition to her friendship of course!). The frequency of posts decreased as a result so I gave myself a goal to post 3 times a week at least. Pretty soon I realized this was a stretch given that I have a full time job in the financial services industry, so I paired it back to once a week. There was another lull between August and December 2013 when I first started dating my lovely boyfriend and went off the radar. But I got back into it in 2014 and publish a post at least once a month.
MPS is a labour of love, a time consuming hobby, sometimes a burden but a passion that I just can’t let go of. For those of you who don’t blog, a single post requires generating ideas, taking photos, writing the post, editing the photos, editing the writing, curating and finally publishing. I never do this in one go. I usually spread the process over a few days. From start to finish, though, it can take anything from 3 to 8 hours. It’s a fun process though, and never feels that long because it’s a hobby and something I enjoy.
Since I started working with a few PR agencies last year, I’ve seen how blogging can actually become ‘work’. Figuring out whether their product fits with my theme, finding an angle to market the product, restaurant or idea subtly and making sure the company is also happy is quite hard. I can only imagine the hard work and stress that the superstar bloggers endure to stay on top and earn a living.
After working with a number of PR agencies around May this year, I experienced ‘blogger burnout’. I was so tired of it and didn’t want to blog, take photos, write, read other blogs or look at Instagram or Pinterest. Blogging had suddenly become a job rather than a hobby. But I actually like my real job and want MPS to be my hobby and creative outlet. So I decided to blog for myself and only work with some PR agencies for products or ideas that I truly believe everyone should know about. But when it comes to restaurant or bar reviews, I would rather take myself out and experience the meal and service without the special attention. For me, that’s the difference between a restaurant review in a newspaper versus an independent blog.
So MPS continues to be my creative outlet after working with numbers and finance facts during the day. It’s a space to share my thoughts and experiences and hopefully help Sydney-siders – both local and newcomers – find some interesting things to see, do and eat!
For my 3 year blogging anniversary, I’m doing a 3-theme post where I’m sharing things about blogging and myself, with 3 things for each topic….
3 lessons I learned from blogging
1. People are visual and like pictures. Always have pretty pictures to accompany your posts.
2. Always edit and re-edit, even go back to old published posts and re-edit. It’s really important to have a post that reads well and doesn’t have spelling mistakes.
3. Share your posts on other platforms like Facebook and Instagram. I only started sharing my posts a year and a half after starting this blog, because frankly I was too shy. But I read somewhere that not sharing your posts on facebook is like writing and rehearsing for a play but never showing it to an audience…
3 of the coolest things that happened to me during this journey
1. Forcing me to be a tourist in my own city and have a passion outside of work.
2. Receiving products to review and invitations to blogger events from PR agencies. Even if I decide to not review the product or go to the event, it still feels nice to be included and invited!
3. Meeting celebrity chefs (like Bill Granger), other bloggers and PR agents whom I never would have known about had it not been for this blog.
3 things I find challenging about blogging
1. Getting caught up in the numbers… followers, stats, likes etc. I have to always remind myself that it’s a hobby and not work, so I can forget the numbers and just write and take photos for me.
2. Occasionally feeling envious and comparing myself to other bloggers.
3. The unnecessary pressure I sometimes put on myself to deliver a weekly post.
3 ways I overcame blogger burnout
1. Took a break from blogging altogether, which meant not looking at other blogs, reading about blogging or anything blog-related and definitely not reading any PR or guest blogger request emails. In fact stopping the emails was a great way to switch off.
2. Reflected on why I started blogging in the first place and rekindled my passion.
3. Stopped looking at the numbers and statistics and focussed on creating content that was enjoyable for me first, and then the readers.
3 ways I find creativity and inspiration
1. Reading magazines, books and other blogs.
2. Going for a walk.
3 things I want to do for this blog:
1. Explore more of Sydney and find things for you to do and places to eat.
2. Travel more in New South Wales to bring you posts about the gorgeous little towns and countryside that you can visit on weekends.
3. Improve my writing and photography skills so you can enjoy these posts much, much more.
3 things you may not have known about me
1. I pole dance for fun and fitness. (If you’re new to this blog, you can read my post about it here.)
2. I work in financial services and although I enjoy it, I don’t write about it because you’ll fall asleep and may not come back here again…
3. I watch trashy TV like ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ when I’m tired and need something mindless to wind down.
3 favourite comfort foods
1. Mum’s chicken curry with Sri Lankan milk rice. There’s nothing quite like Mum’s cooking, is there?
2. Trident Hot & Spicy instant noodles. Very bad for you health-wise, but comforting especially when sick or tired.
3. Vegemite on toast and a hot cup of tea. Simple, comforting and homely.
3 blogs I always check in to
1. The Londoner. Although she doesn’t seem like someone I would be friends with, I do like her amazing photographs of travel, fashion and burgers and she can also writes a good story.
2. Lauren Conrad for great articles on health, fitness, beauty, fashion, books and lifestyle. I also loved LC on ‘The Hills’.
3. Marc and Angel Hack Life for really good life advice.
I’m so glad that MPS was born 3 years (and 2 weeks!) ago. It has been quite the journey so far… Thank you for reading what I have to say and for visiting my little corner of the interweb.
Image 1, 2, 3 via Pinterest.