How do I do this whole blog + real life thing?
Short answer: sacrifice sleep.
No, but really. Doing it all even remotely well means maximizing the hours in a day. We all get 24; it’s up to you how you use ‘em (there’s a Beyoncé reference hiding in there, I think). I balance a 9-5 job as a content strategist, a freelance content strategy gig, and ol’ Le Stylo Rouge. And also totally keep my drinking habit in check. Somehow. For me, it’s carving out weekend time to get the bulk of the work done to prep a post, staying up late to proofread and answer emails, and waking up super early on post days.
The long answer: The blog needs time to be something I’m proud of. I can’t just throw it together. It’s not to say that over the years I haven’t been able to achieve a level of efficiency where I know how/when to effectively save time. But for the most part, it’s a lot of work. Worthy work; work I love- but work.
So here’s the breakdown:
- Weekends: shooting + editing + writing.
- Weekdays: posting + promoting + planning.
I devote time on the weekends for shooting + editing. My photographer (Sabrina, a total badass + one of my best friends) and I get together on Friday evenings and/or Saturday mornings (a combo of weather forecasting and the balance of social commitments) to shoot up to 3-4 outfits. I try and have my act together in time for her arrival; outfit planning ideally happens in my head during the week (and then dumped into my Evernote, and is guided by any outstanding product reviews or new purchases I want to showcase). But there are times when Sabrina shows up and I say something to the effect of, “Haha, I have no idea what I’m going to wear.”
Hair + makeup take about an hour before a shoot starts. With my hair, it’s more taming than actual styling. I usually run some argan oil through it or throw it in a ponytail if it’s really looking wonky. Makeup is legit effort; I wear more makeup (higher coverage, heavier liner, a bolder lip) for a shoot than I do in my everyday life, as it’s required when shooting high-res images.
Sabrina and I can shoot 4 outfits in an hour, give or take, and then I log another few hours per outfit for editing. Paring photos down from the initial shoot, color + lighting correction, editing out any lipstick on my teeth or stray hairs in my face, you know the drill.
Writing the initial post takes another hour, and includes sourcing shopping + affiliate links. I work through the weekend to get the upcoming week’s posts edited + written because it means I can sit and actually focus, uninterrupted, rather than rushing to throw something together during the busy work week.
The day before a post goes live, I proofread. It’s a quick step, but so important. Usually it means minor language tweaks, the adding in of any announcements, and making sure all the links are still in good working order.
On post day (or post pre-dawn, I should say), I’m up at 5:00ish to start returning all the comments received on the previous post. I try to get as much of this done before I have to get ready to go into work, where meetings + my actual job impede Blog Life.
Returning comments is a key traffic driver. It’s also important to me to show respect for my fellow bloggers who took the time to comment. Comments are a blogger’s currency. (Bonus: I’ve also met a ton of pals through commenting on each other’s blogs!) I’ll also use this time to schedule promo around the post on my social platforms for the rest of the week.
It’s a busy existence; I always have something blog-related to attend to. Evernote, a running to-do list, my planner, and calendar reminders all help keep me organized. You know what keeps me sane? My friends, family, and boyfriend. Their support of my blog keeps me going in moments where I’m overloaded + stressed. And I can’t forget my fellow bloggers! Their constant feedback helps me litmus test my content- am I resonating with readers? Am I completely off my rocker? Feedback is so important.
Hope you enjoyed a little rundown of how I do it!
Ashley blogs at Le Stylo Rouge and is a co-founder of The Blogger Collective.