If you’ve stuck with me the past four years, you know this blog has been a lot of things. I created Coffee and Cardigans in my sophomore year of college — undoubtedly on a late night whim after reading too much Kendi Everyday. It started as a personal style blog full of awkward outfit photos and weekend craft projects. Many of those outfits have since been retired and returned to the thrift store where they belong… because 20-year-old Callie really didn’t know how to dress herself. But between snapping outfit photos and dreaming put post titles, I fell in love with blogging.
Then came my junior year of college. So many of my professors were thrilled to know I had an established blog, but furrowed their brows when I told them exactly what I blogged about. “Do you want to work in fashion PR? Because those are the only people that will take this seriously.”
It was a comment I heard more than once — and I was stupid enough to listen. There was nothing wrong with the fashion industry; I had been the girl in high school with a plan to move to New York and become Andy Sachs. But it wasn’t the dream anymore — I was already two years into a public relations degree. So slowly, I shaped my content around the aspiring PR girl I wanted to be. If I wanted to be an “expert” in my field, I had to write about it… right?
So I abandoned my fashion blogger ways and committed myself to a new beat. I churned out content for a niche audience even though I didn’t understand (or even like) it. The change got me noticed in class and on campus; I beamed every time a professor mentioned reading a recent post of mine on professional networking or media relations. But the glee didn’t sustain me and things began to shift (again). Sitting down to blog left me frustrated and I usually ended walking away from my computer after hours with only an incomplete blog post to show for it. Even after a redesign last summer (thanks again, Melissa), there was still a deep, jagged gap I couldn’t bridge.
For the last year, I let that blogging discontentment fester, waffling back and forth between two extremes. Sometimes, I forced myself to commit. Though it didn't help that any post I was creating came from a sense of obligation to my editorial calendar. Other times, I let myself say "screw it." But of course, there was always self-imposed guilt to follow — especially as I started building my business over the summer.
Either way I looked at it, blogging was a chore.
The word "hiatus" first came up in conversation in early September, sitting down to coffee one morning with a good friend and blogger. An extended vacation away from the passion project I'd come to loath? Sure, it was worth a shot. I went home that afternoon to hide old posts, type of the announcement and shout it to the world. Coffee and Cardigans was going on hiatus. Clicking the "publish" button, I knew there was a really good possibility I wasn't coming back.
I’ve loved watching Coffee and Cardigans grow, but at the same time, I hate what I let the blog become come. Through all the rebranding and restricting, I let the first (and most important) purpose of my blog get lost in translation. This was my blog — my creative outlet — to enjoy. It took me four weeks to really understand what I missed about blogging. It wasn’t the editorial calendar or traffic numbers or free products — it was the writing. I also missed you, the absurdly forgiving reader who has kept Coffee and Cardigans bookmarked to this day.
Those small realizations helped me make the big decision. I could either walk away... or start over. So here I am, starting over with a fresh appreciation and understanding of how Coffee and Cardigans fits into my life. I don't want writing to be a chore anymore. I want it to be something I love. So here is what I’m going to do:
- I’m putting the editorial calendar away and publishing the words as inspiration strikes.
- I'm focusing on the things in life that I really love — this isn't about monetizing.
- I'm getting over my fear of saying the wrong thing and tiptoeing around topics.
If you're still reading this, thank you. I'm so excited to start the autumn season fresh — and blogging is just the top of my list. Coffee and Cardigans is still on Facebook and Twitter. You can also find me blogging about social media, digital strategy and business over here. I'd love to have you follow along.