Why I Still Love Blogging After 7 Years

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I can’t believe that tomorrow is Keep Calm and Chiffon’s seventh birthday. They grow up so fast, don’t they? It feels both silly and somehow perfectly accurate to compare this blog to a person, but in the last seven years so much has changed. The hosting site, the social media game, the content itself—and yet the one thing that never has is my excitement that comes from hitting publish on a new post and sharing something with the world. If you’re a long-time reader, you probably already know that this blog is a mishmash of old musings and almost diary-like entries and posts as well as rejected pitches from my jobs at both Nylon and Interview from my editor days, and I’m grateful for every single post whether it was a slam dunk or a slight stumble. If you’re unfamiliar with the Keep Calm and Chiffon origin story and have somehow stumbled upon this site with no context, feel free to give this a read.

When I first started out, I didn’t expect to still be doing this seven years on. Heck, I don’t think I would have anticipated keeping it up for more than six months. But somehow, it stuck around and I am so grateful for it. Through my blog I’ve made friends all across the world, I used it to create writing samples to land magazine internships and ultimately jobs, I’ve made actual Cash Money on paid posts and collaborations, and I’ve made some content that I’m really proud of. The thing is, I’ll never outgrow my blog because I grow along with it. I’m not necessarily saying I’ll still be posting on here in my 60’s, but anything is possible. I’ll still be writing, creating content, or telling stories in some way, and that’s one thing I’ll never stop doing.

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create your own path

I used this blog as a way to create my own opportunities. I used my blog to publish the writing samples I’d need for magazine internships.

Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—no matter how big you get on Instagram, or any third-party site, it’s so important to have content that is yours. Something you own. You don’t want to be building a business entirely on borrowed land so get yourself a domain, upload a quick bio and about section and you will be in a much better position for your business. I also wish email list building is something I’d done earlier and I will be continuing to grow and expand that in the months to come. Sometimes I feel like I’m not doing enough by only posting once a week on the blog, but I’m trying to spend more time promoting the content I’ve already created so I can keep attracting readers and a new audience rather than trying to burn myself out to keep up with other people. It’s all about the long game guys. I’m seven years in now and feel like I can tell you that it does pay off in the end so just stay the course and trust your gut.

For last year’s anniversary post I shared some of my biggest blogging milestones from my first paid campaign to my first fashion week and the year before that I shared my five biggest blogging lessons I’ve learned so far. This year, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and I thought it might be fun to give you a look back to some of my all-time favorite posts I’ve ever done as a blogger.

My First Summer Intern Diary

In this post I shared my experience working for a designer in the Garment District. I still had no idea what I wanted to do in the fashion industry and after this…I knew being a designer was not for me. I have so much respect for designers because everything is so complicated from the designing to the production, but I was grateful for the experience to be able to see firsthand how a collection came to life.

How To Survive Winter (Black Shoe Edition)

A bit of a shift from my more journal-like posts, this was one of my early helpful fashion posts that could have also been called 5 essential black shoes for surviving winter in NYC. I loved the photographs I took in my Barnard dorm against the hardwood floors for this post.

Next Phase, New Wave

When I moved my blog over to Squarespace, I immediately felt so legit. It was finally my own domain with a clean layout and format and I felt like I was finally getting the hang of what made my photos stand out and what made them feel exciting and different from everyone else’s. I was so, so excited the day I re-launched on this host.

One Dress, Three Ways

I styled this post for early fall, which is one of my favorite times to get dressed. This particular dress was from Free People (I was still working there so I got my employee discount on everything I bought) and I had this idea of styling this dress for different parts of the fall season. My mom helped me shoot it in our backyard.

How to Pitch and Get Published

A blog post that would ultimately inspire me to create Right on Pitch, this post came once people started asking me how they could get their stories published in Interview and what the best way to pitch an editor was.

Fashion Week is Broken, How Can We Fix It?

This was more of a think piece that I was so excited to write about that I couldn’t wait to pitch it anywhere and decided to self-publish. Man, I felt like Vanessa Friedman when I wrote this. I think the way that NYFW has shifted with the introduction of influencers and Instagram is so interesting and the industry has a lot of work to do to make sure it stays relevant in seasons to come.

The Best New York City Coffee Shops For Freelancers

A guide I still send out at least once a month to my office-less friends who need to get their stuff done. I scoured the city for places with tons of seating, outlets, fast WiFi, and bathrooms (seriously, you’d be surprised how many places don't have them!) so that if you’re ever looking for a spot to plop down with a laptop for a few hours, you’ll know where to go.

What Even Is My Job, Exactly?

This is one of those blog posts that took me a few weeks to sort through all of my thoughts but it was definitely worth it in the end. I loved being able to explore the weird nature of slashies and multi-hyphenates who have a few different job titles. I was so thrilled at the response to this one and am glad to know I’m not alone in feeling this way.

Over the years, my blog has grown from just sharing outfit photos to being more well-rounded, focusing on career, travel, and lifestyle as well as fashion and beauty and I’m grateful to be able to share stories across multiple topics and still get the readership and the feedback that I do from everyone who has been here since the beginning. Here’s to year seven and many more.

yours,

Austen

Photographs by Sarah Ratner