First of all, I'm not quitting. I felt the need to avoid any clickbait confusion early on, if not at least to save you the trouble of scrolling all the way to the bottom of the page to find out 'oh, she isn't even quitting??? That's two minutes I'll never get back'. No, instead I've just been contemplating a change in direction. A next step, if you will - some form of navigation as opposed to the floating around I've been occupied with over the past few months.
Towards the end of April, I decided to take two weeks off. I wanted to recharge my batteries and reignite the curiosity which has always motivated me to write, but I came back to my desk feeling like the fog had yet to lift completely. Ironically, feeling like I didn't know quite what to write encouraged me to write a post about just that - this kind of hazy grey in-between space that I'd come to inhabit, half-knowing which direction I wanted to move in but half-struggling to make it happen. Like a claw machine at an arcade, I could see the prize, but I just couldn't get that fucking claw to grab anything. If I could juuuust squeeze my hand through the prize window...
Maybe I was naive for thinking that two weeks of not working was going to birth a newfound clarity as transformational as discovering AirDrop, but a month or so on, I finally feel like the various parts of my puzzle are starting to fall into place. It could be the warm weather, the whiff of a tan I picked up in Italy or the fact I've been solo drinking prosecco all weekend, but I'm actually feeling pretty optimistic about the week ahead. It's a busy one, with three campaigns to shoot (yes, I'm aware that saying "campaigns to shoot" makes me sound like a tit, but the bubbles are making me feel brave ok), an obligatory trip to the capital and a shed-load of freelancing to catch up on, but I've gone crazy with the colour coding in my calendar and do you know what? I actually might be able to do this lads.
Other than pulling my finger out when it comes to organising my time, I've also had to sit down and seriously think about what's next for TLP. After deciding I didn't want to do YouTube and that blogging probably wasn't what I wanted to pursue forever, I'd come to an impasse. I wanted to do something different - to breathe new life into my writing and my inspirations and, hopefully, into what you decent lot enjoy reading - but I didn't know what that was. At some points I think I was overcomplicating it, thinking up elaborate schemes for monthly features which would surely go viral and planning entire shoot days which were more effort than they were worth. At other times, I was probably being a bit lazy. The ideas will come! I convinced myself, as I shovelled cream scone number four down my gullet.
But we're here now, and that's what matters. I'm feeling quietly confident that the grey is lifting and as I've started to plan my content out, I've noticed a slight shift in the direction we're heading in.
The fashion element is here to stay. It's how I started, and if I ever stop, it's how I will go out (in a blaze of ultra-predictable black jeans and camel jumpers). The opinion pieces are set to stay too, although I do think the lengthy thought-dives that I more often than not choose to occupy my weekly posts will begin to slow down. This isn't because I don't want to write them anymore, but because they take quite a lot of time and brain power to pull together. Not just brain power, either. Some of the more emotionally charged pieces are almost exhausting to write, and afterwards I just want to lay face down on my desk whilst Keiran feeds me rosé through an IV drip. This is all well and good if writing posts is all I have to do, but gradually freelancing is starting to take up more of my time and, if I want to keep posting what I want to post and not have to pick up paid campaigns that I'm not particularly ecstatic about, I have to let my other job earn the cash monies.
Realistically, blogging is back to being more of a part-time gig for me. And actually, I'm okay with that. The world of influencer marketing is rerouting into territory I'm not sure if I want to tread, and so I'm making the choice to not rely on blogging and Instagram as my primary earner anymore. That way I get to go back to creating for choice, rather than creating out of fear that I'll be left behind in the dust. This does mean I'm having to rebalance though, and conceding that my think-pieces are a little too weighty to be producing three times a week is part of that.
Fucking get on with it woman - what is ACTUALLY going to change? Yep, I hear you, I'm elaborating a little too much.
Overall, I want to move TLP in a more lifestyle-orientated direction. I want to talk about the books I've been enjoying, the music I've been listening to and how best to go about growing veg in your garden if you're an absolute beginner. I want to talk about the super-easy recipes I've been loving, which restaurants I'd recommend for both meat-eaters and veggies, and which online shops are the best for picking up new interior pieces on the cheap. I still want to have a good moan up and take a deeper look at the things which, on the surface may strike us as underwhelming (our relationship with our hair, for example), but I also want to broaden my horizons a little and list four of my favourite new-in wardrobe buys without worrying that I'm being ~ boring ~.
It's hardly the switch up of the century, but it does feel like somewhat of a fresh start. And who knows? Maybe this rare moment of cautious optimism will blossom, and I'll finally start writing that book, organising that podcast and planning my café.