Monday, December 14, 2015

The VLP Files

Hey everyone,

To clear up your most pressing question: VLP stands for "varnish lacquer polish", which, if you weren't aware of for some reason or other, is my blog URL. Now that we got that out of the way, let me explain (most of) the stuff that I've been thinking about lately, or, in some cases, for a pretty long time, concerning this very blog. It's gonna be a long one, so grab a drink, a snack, whatever floats your boat, and buckle up. Oh, and I'm not gonna hold back on language, so just be aware that there will be curse words.

My thinking process already started a long time ago. My first post went live on January 28, 2012. 2012! Wow. That's almost four years ago. And man, was I into doing shit back then. My most productive year was 2013, though. Looking back, I can see how far I've come since the beginning.

I'll be frank with you (as I always am, really, and I hope you peeps know that): I'm an appreciation whore. I thrive on positive attention, even though I rarely admit it, because in my opinion it makes me less appealing as a person. So what was my goal starting this blog? Getting more positive attention, obviously. I have to say that that was my biggest motivation, although I would like to think that getting involved with the community also played a part.

I had only gotten into nail polish about a month and a half prior to starting my blog, and it's all thanks to one YouTuber named Brooke (youtube.com/user/sayanythingbr00ke). She has since stopped making videos, which I'm sad about every now and then.

Being a person who loves languages, and English in particular, the choice of language for blogging wasn't too hard for me. And surely, writing in English would help attract more people to the blog, right? What I didn't realize is that I put myself in a bit of a niche with that, maybe even kind of a corner. At least that's how I soon began to feel, and since then the sentiment has only become stronger.

How did that happen? Well, there is one thing I remember that gave me this impression, and yes, I am about to elaborate. Some time after I had started blogging - and I don't remember anymore the exact time this event transpired, but it's not really important - I saw a ranking site for beauty blogs pop up and blogs I followed became members. So I thought to myself hey, I could do that as well!

The thing is, you could only be a member if you had a German blog. In my naïveté I thought well, I am a German in Germany and I blog, so I could do that as well, right? Well, no, unfortunately not. I tweeted them and the response was that you could only be a member if your blogging language was German. And that is totally okay, you know, but I felt a bit disheartened after that.

As I said, the feeling that I'd made the wrong choice there grew (if only a little) with time. I began to doubt myself in that respect, and that usually leads to me doubting everything - that's just the way my brain works (unfortunately). That and other distractions (instagram is the worst offender here) led to silence or long stretches of nothingness here and there. I even abandoned "Lacke in Farbe ...und bunt!", something that I had kept going even when I had nothing else happening on the blog.

So, what options do I have? Well, here's some that I've come up with; if you have more let me know:
1. make the blog bilingual in some form or another
2. continue in all English
3. switch over to all German
4. have two separate blogs
5. abandon this one and make a new blog in all German

I haven't given the pros and cons of each of these options any thought yet. The only thing that popped into my head thinking about the more, well, work-intensive options, was that with me being a lazy ass, they probably aren't the best ones.

You see, even when I do swatching, I usually don't note or in some other way record any details on the polishes I'm trying out, which wasn't as big of a problem in the beginning. However, with time, I've wanted to increase the quality of my content more and more (my biggest role model here is probably Emily from youtube.com/user/emilynoel83), which just doesn't work when you can't even remember how many coats of a polish you put on. You might have seen my spiel of "I don't remember how many coats this needed" in quite a few posts; my last two even omitted information on coats, application, etc. completely - because, you guessed it, I didn't know anymore and didn't want to draw attention to my memory failing me.

Now you might read this and think gdi woman, why don't you keep some sort of journal or whatever then? The answer is: I don't know. I just always seem to magically forget to take notes. I even have a notebook set aside for that exact purpose, but for some reason, I haven't used it yet. Lord knows why. That is something I know I need and really want to work on because as I said, I do want to increase the quality of my content.

I also know I still have a bit of a way to go when it comes to taking photos. The quality is usually pretty good, even though not everything I want to be in focus necessarily always is. I try to provide as much color accuracy as possible, but I don't have any sort of grasp on what my camera (which is a Nikon D-3200 if you were curious at all) can actually do. It was a gift from my boyfriend a few years ago (two, maybe?) and he, being much more tech-savvy and in general better with electronics than me, set up everything for me. Here comes some more lazy ass-attitude for you: I just can't be bothered to read that manual. I would really have to force myself and that's something I don't see happening in the near future - especially since I think my photos are quite good the way they are.

Another topic that is very much relevant right now is the dark winter months - daylight isn't in as ample supply as most of us would like, so taking good photos becomes more of a hassle. While I do have a daylight lamp, I, again, don't have much of an idea of how to make the best use of it. I don't have a softbox, light box, or any other photography equipment for that matter - just a camera and a daylight lamp on a tripod. I don't even have a tripod for my camera. As you can see, there's still a lot to do.

What I would also like to do is increase the consistency of my tags and titles, and possibly even go back to old posts to adjust. However, I would have to find a great red thread to follow first. And then I think to myself that, oh well, it's not as big of a deal, really.

Something that isn't as much of a problem is that I edit my photos in Paint. Yeah, THE Paint. Really what I do is just resize, crop, and add the blog URL to avoid having my photos used without my permission again (yes, it happened before, though I wouldn't wanna blow that out of proportion). That, however, often leads to the photos in one post not always being the same size - I don't know if it is possible to somehow achieve that in Paint. I just crop the photos in such a way that makes the end result look esthetically pleasing to me.

Problem is, I don't really know how to move forward. And here, one of my biggest weaknesses (or possibly the biggest one of them all) comes in: When I don't really know how to do something properly, perfectly, I won't do shit - rather than trying and possibly failing, I become paralyzed and just do nothing at all. This is especially true for things I care about in some way.

I do realize that I sort of hold myself back with all of this, believe me. Here's an example: There have been two or three indie brands reaching out on instagram looking for bloggers who would swatch for them. And of course they have requirements for who they want to assign this task to - that's a no-brainer, really. With my blog having been a barren field for a few months, my inability to really make use of my daylight lamp, and my non-existant knowledge concerning German laws on the whole shebang that is sponsoring, product placement, etc., I was too afraid to "apply", although I would love to get into that sort of thing.

And I suppose most of those things wouldn't be that hard to learn, but motivation has always been hard for me to find. I don't know why. Maybe it's my perfectionism, maybe it's laziness, maybe it's both, maybe it's a ton of other things thrown into the mix as well, I just can't be sure. I'm only human, and I'm trying.

I think that's pretty much everything that's been going round and round in my head. Feel free to leave a comment, let me know your thoughts. I'd love to hear from y'all.


Andrea

2 comments:

  1. I honestly think that you're overthinking this. Why don't you just give the bilingual option a try for while and see if it suits you. I follow quite a few bilingual blogs. Since we're both Germans, right now conversing in English ;) I think you will only broaden your audience if anything.
    When it comes to sponsering and product placement, many bloggers have made "how to's" about it (Kalter Kaffee I think, for example) and it's really pretty simple.
    To me it kinda seems as if you lack motivation to really change anything right now and maybe you just need to take some time "off" to figure stuff out. Worked wonders for me!

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  2. Hach, mir ist so viel eingefallen - aber das würde hier Seiten füllen ;)

    Aber in einem Punkt muss ich Marina ganz besonders recht geben - an der Motivation dreht keiner was, da muss man selber drehen und vielleicht hilft's ja auch einfach, sich das alles mal von der Seele geschrieben zu haben. *Däumchendrück*

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Danke, dass du dir die Zeit genommen hast, hier zu lesen und zu kommentieren!/Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!