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Rubin

countryside in Autumn

Autumn berries

vapour trails in the sky

Rubin

Well, folks, it looks like that wardrobe crisis I keep mentioning (and which is still very much ongoing), has given birth to a small blogging crisis too. Well, there’s only so many full skirts or skinny black pants I can show you all, and given that that’s literally ALL I wear these days, it doesn’t really leave me with much to talk about, huh?

And the fact is, this was never actually supposed to be an outfit blog anyway. When I first started this site, it was purely a personal journal, and I wrote about absolutely everything. Or absolutely nothing, rather: even back then, I was working from home, and basically working seven days a week (freelancing and running a business: the joys!), so my “journal” was mostly filled with the little daily details that are part of the tapestry of a not-particularly-exciting life. I documented all of these things, and it didn’t really matter: no one was reading, so I had the freedom to write about absolutely ANYTHING, without fear of disappointing loyal readers, or upsetting someone with an opinion which wasn’t appropriately politically correct.

What would you choose to write about if you had the freedom to write absolutely anything? Looking back at my archive, I see I mostly used that freedom to write about my failed attempts to exercise, the minutiae of life as a freelance writer, and my ongoing issues with my neighbourhood.Oh.

I wrote about all of these things, not because they were particularly interesting, but because the blog was the story of my life, and these were the things that had happened to me in that life, at that time. There’s not much point in keeping a journal of your life if you don’t actually write about your life in it, is there? So I faithfully recorded all of these mundane, and sometimes not-so-mundane little details, and I didn’t really think too much about it. I felt I had a right to tell those stories: they were part of MY story, and MY life, and as I said, there’s really no point in writing about your life if you’re going to miss out all of the interesting bits.

Lately I feel like I’ve been missing out of all the interesting bits. And I can’t really figure out a way around that. The fact is, that although this blog started out as the story of my life, I very quickly learned that it couldn’t possibly stay that way. As with most of my life lessons, I learned this the hard way, when one of my neighbours took exception to my posts about the neighbourhood, and started harassing me in the comments, to the point where we seriously considered moving because of it.  I stopped writing about the neighbourhood after that: in fact, I stopped writing about a lot of things. While I still felt that I had a right to tell those stories, it had never been my intention to upset or offend anyone, and the fact that I had done that made me seriously consider giving up personal blogging altogether.

What that experience taught me is that it is almost impossible to write about your life on the internet without editing it. Even taking angry neighbours out of the equation, it is SO easy to unwitting offend someone, and I’ve learned (again, always the hard way) that even what I think is a  totally innocuous, entirely factual comment, can cause drama I hadn’t even imagined. Hell, over on The Fashion Police, I’m frequently lambasted just for daring to venture an opinion on an item of clothing, so I can only imagine the hell that would break loose if I ever said something that was ACTUALLY controversial. Or, you know, interesting.

As you can imagine, this makes blogging about my life difficult. For the past few years, I’ve been increasingly aware that the only things I CAN safely write about are the boring things. If something interesting happens, it almost always falls into the category of Things That Should Not Be Mentioned on the Internet. The LESS interesting things, meanwhile, are just… less interesting… so I don’t write about those either. There are a lot of the Less Interesting things these days: I mean, I work from home, I live in a small village – don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining about these things (in fact, I’m very grateful for them), but they do leave me with very little in the way of blog fodder.  The result is that gradually, my blog has become less and less personal, and more and more sanitised. I’ve been leaving out the interesting bits, in other words.

So, what does a personal blogger do when she realises she can’t write a “diary” without either boring people rigid or offending the hell out of them? Well, in my case, I started blogging about my outfits. Honestly, at that point I felt it was the only “safe” thing left. I had started second-guessing every single thing I wrote: worrying if I should say this, and whether it would be OK to mention that, and if so-and-so would be angry with me if I mentioned such-and-such. At the same time, my day-job meant that I was spending  much more time thinking about fashion than  I ever had before: most of the blogs I was reading were personal style blogs, and it just made sense to follow suit, and start writing about my outfits. As I said at the time, I didn’t make the switch because I thought those outfits were particularly noteworthy, or that they deserved to be blogged about: I did it purely to have SOMETHING, anything to write about – something non-controversial, and which would always provide me with a source of material, even on days when nothing else happened.

Now, though, I’m feeling so uninspired by everything I wear that I don’t even want to write about that, which leaves me with a big ol’ case of Blogger’s Block. I’m hoping it’ll end soon, and that I’ll somehow manage to get my groove back, but until then, here are some photos of my dog, and the surrounding countryside. I’ve never been a fan of posting just for the sake of it – I would rather only publish something here if I actually have something to say – so the content may be a little more sporadic around here until I find my way out of this funk, but I’m sure you’ll all cope with that just fine. And, as always, if you have any suggestions on how to break the block, I’d love to hear them…

 

28 Comments

  • A little bit of a blogging crisis: http://t.co/STWC5F1HV3

  • Emily Jayne says:

    Aww, we all get a bit of bloggers block now and then, don’t panic. I think sometimes you need to take a step back , and let inspiration come to you.

    I love reading your blog though, so I hope it’s not too big a step back!

    I’ve just started incorporating a bit more diary/life/opinion into my blog, and have been acutely aware of tying to get the balance right – offering opinion without insulting, making sure people who are included are happy to be so etc. It’s hard, but often these are the parts that people really enjoy reading about.

    I generally go with the rule that if I’d shout it on a street corner, I can probably put it on the internet, but we will all make mistakes from time to time! It’s such a relatively new thing for us all to be able to broadcast our lives so publicly, we kind of all just have to muck in and write the rules / figure out the etiquette as we go along!

    • Amber says:

      I think that’s a pretty good rule to blog by! I’ve always just tried to work on the assumption that everyone I’ve ever met, or ever will meet, will one day find my blog(s) and read every single word of them: that means I can go to bed at night safe in the knowledge that I haven’t said anything I wouldn’t stand behind 100% (don’t-say-anything-you-wouldn’t-say-in-real-life, basically…) but it can be pretty stifling to have all of those people in your head when you’re writing – and not just “real life” people, but readers too. I find myself constantly second-guessing everything and tying myself in knots thinking about what everyone will say/think – aargh!

  • xony says:

    Amber, I’ve been a fan of you since I can’t even remember when! Your posts always make me roar with laughter, especially those ‘interesting parts’ that you’ve now given up for the sake of not stirring any trouble. If you ask me, I say write what you want, we love it! Don’t let anyone censor you.
    If you feel like you absolutely shouldn’t blog about personal stuff, then maybe you need a break. Focus on your other writing, start a home-project, try a new hobby — just don’t try to cut your own hair again.
    Anyway, know that we adore you and will support you 100% in whatever you choose!

  • Anne says:

    I first saw your blog when it was posted on a “25 easy up-dos” montage. I started following when your tutorial made me laugh. One of the reasons I enjoy your blog so much is that you don’t only do posts about your clothes – as adorable as they are. It’s nice to read a blog with more than two lines of text about how perfect that blogger’s life is. I enjoy your writing style and sense of humor.

  • Corinne says:

    I’ve been having bloggers block too lately! I’ve gone from posting every other day to around every 3 – 4 days, but I’m trying not to get too upset about it. It’s hard to split time between a full time job, exercise, blogging and candy crush (yes, I’m a candy crush addict, don’t judge please).

    I’ve never thought of your blog as boring – you write a very clever and unique way. I do hear you on the whole not posting about personal stuff though. To read my blog, you would probably thing I have a pretty simple and happy life when really I have a very complicated and emotionally intense life. Haha. But those are things not for the internet!

    Keep doing what you are doing, if that fails, just keep posting more pictures of your dog. No complaints on that front here.

    Corinne x
    http://www.skinnedcartree.com

  • Erika says:

    I have been a fan of yours since before you wrote about your outfits and it was those posts you wrote back then that made me keep coming back. You also happen to have such a great sense of fashion, I love to stop by and see what you wore. The one thing I dislike about the ‘normal’ fashion blogger is the lack of verbal personality. I enjoy your writing the most, and I always look forward to your posts for that reason. :-)
    I may be no help with your blogging slump, but for me, when I feel a bit of writer’s block, my personal life helps get me going again.

  • anne on says:

    I loved reading the saga of your house-hunting adventures. Would you consider posting about setting up your new home?

    • Amber says:

      There’s not really much to say about it, unfortunately: other than the dressing room, we’ve not actually done anything! We were really lucky in that the house is quite new, so it doesn’t need a lot of work – we were basically able to just put our furniture down and start living in it. The garden, on the other hand, was completely undeveloped, and had basically been allowed to run wild, so all of our time/money has had to be spent on trying to fix it up as best we can before winter, just so Rubin can go out there without getting lost in the waist-high weeds, or dragging mud back through the house! We do have plans for the house itself, but it’ll probably be next year now before we’ll have the budget to tackle any of them. You never know, though – Terry keeps talking about knocking down a wall, so I’m sure that would provide plenty of material for me!

  • Allan says:

    I know the feeling. I suffer from a bad case of writers block as well. The latest post on my blog is from the 13th of July.

    But we’ll be here when you get back. I’ve followed your blog for ages as well as follow you on twitter, Instagram and Facebook (in a non-stalker way :-)), so I’ll be here when your writers block is lifted.

    Best wishes from Denmark

  • Katie says:

    I’m sorry to hear you’ve got Blogger’s Block. I think it’s amazing how consistently you’ve been able to write such funny, interesting stories. Most of my posts are “Ate some toast. Watched something with Hugh Jackman’s face in it.”.

    In a way, I feel lucky that my blog only has about 8 readers; I think it’s diminished the chance of my getting any comments from people being offended about what I’ve said (although I did lose a few followers after I admitted to spending £35 on chocolate buttons in one go….).

    I hope you feel inspired again soon and, in the meantime, enjoy living your life in your lovely new house! :) xx

  • aunt fiona says:

    you should write about what you want. freedom of speech comes to mind. if people don’t like it, maybe they shouldn’t read it. you are just in a funk because of the weather. take a mini break somewhere and get your groove back. xxx

  • Whew! I didn’t realize i was holding my breath…I so enjoy reading your blog, and would be sad if you retired Forever Amber…I mean you are forever aren’t you?! It’s a pity about the pressures that come with increased readership. It didn’t occur to me when I started sharing bits of my world on the internet, and now that I have more than my Mom reading, I find myself over-thinking much of my content. Which is really about nothing more than cats and sewing, and wearing clothing. You’d think it would be difficult to find something offensive in that. Anyways, back to you…you’re a gifted writer…you could write about paint drying and I’d be hooked.

  • Nicole says:

    Oh, I can totally relate to this. I don’t blog, but find myself constantly worrying about offending someone/making someone mad at me in my everyday life, that I feel slightly stifled all the time. Not a very fun way to live! I am not particularly interested in fashion, and although I really enjoy all of your outfit posts, to me, you are at your best as a writer when writing about your life, thoughts, observations, personal things (the post on Terry’s illness is a terrific example of that). That is not to say you should be blogging about your personal life if you don’t feel comfortable. I agree with the previous poster, take a step back, time to breathe, the content will come. And we will be here to read it when it does!

  • Mandy Aldridge says:

    As I have only recently found your blog, I am working my way through your past entries and have to say that I find the fashion and outfits elements especially interesting, so whilst you may feel these aren’t inspirational, please know that you have followers who are fascinated by your wardrobe creations.

    Within my work, I write formal communications that are worked reworked and then ran by HR for approval and it can kill any spark of style or creativity that I try to instil- but at least I am not having to self censor about my own life!

    As someone old enough to be your mum (although in denial most of the time), my advise would be ‘to thine own self be true’ – And don’t let others stifle your voice…

  • Mana Smith says:

    I’m having bloggers apathy right now. My dog is really ill and I just can’t function right now. But I tend to say what I good and well please, because I’ll say nearly anything to someone’s face. I only censor for my nearest and dearest, everyone else gets the complete unkind honesty. However I do censor my blog. I figure teens probably read it, so I watch my language and the most controversial thing I’ve ever blogged about was going to gay pride with a dear friend of mine.
    When I’m at a loss for what to blog about I either do a wish list post, tag or a get the look post.
    Mana
    http://www.fashionandhappythings.com

  • Laura says:

    I agree that you should just write about whatever you want. I’ve liked your blog for a long time, and it’s due to your humor and clever writing! People will most likely want to read what you have to say about anything!

    As far as having a fashion block, I’ve had the same problem this fall. I think it is global warming. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said things like “I hate pants!” while rooting through my closet since the start of September. We had an extra-warm summer and it provided lots of cute fashion ideas—ahem, skater dresses? This fall is kind of blah in comparison.

    The only things I’m finding to get excited about this fall: MOTO JACKETS (but these stop being cool once you see five women in the same room wearing one), grunge fashion (doc martens, grunge plaids—which the magazines say are different than regular plaids), braids and boho hair still being in style, shots of color in your hair, plum lips, dewy skin, wavy bobs…OK, see? I’m obviously getting into beauty territory and I’ve already run out of fashiony things….

    I’m sorry, but the black-and-gold trend and the bright blue trend—that’s what they’re giving us this fall? Since when is blue a fall color? Sometimes I think they just choose these things arbitrarily!

  • Suzanne says:

    I have to say that I prefer the blog posts that are more personal and detailed about real life and your take on it, which is often hilarious and the reason I started following you in the first place. Getting to know the person behind the great outfits is what makes it interesting. It is such a shame that your neighbour got so bent out of shape.

    When my husband and I both were taken seriously ill this year it changed my perspective about blogging. Before I’d write about little mundane bit and pieces. Some funny stories but rarely anything too personal or controversial. Afterwards when we both managed to make it through the other side (well I will have my final test in Nov) all bets were off. I figured I’m only going around this merry-go-round once I needed to connect by being real.

    Just yesterday I had another blogger get upset with me because of a comment I wrote on her blog about hunting and her little girl being excited about shooting her first deer. This is the first time someone has really called me out. But that’s okay. We can agree to disagree and I addressed that on my blog.

    I’m still going to write and blog and be honest.

    I appreciate and seek out honest bloggers. They don’t have to like everything I do, but they do need to have character and stand for something. Even if that something is fit and flare dresses and a little white dog : )

    Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.

    As I wrote yesterday…

    “Is there anything real anymore?

    Or so we simply go through life trying to placate each other?”

    bisous
    Suzanne

    • Amber says:

      Oh, I’m sorry to hear about your health issues: that kind of thing really does put things in perspective.

      For me, having a totally “honest” blog isn’t really worth upsetting people in real life, so I just keep personal stuff out of it. Not so difficult at the moment, because there’s really nothing much happening, even if I DID want to write personal posts!

  • aida says:

    i’m sorry to hear (read) about the harassing neighbor. i know i’d be quite traumatised by that if it happened to me…..

    • Amber says:

      Thanks: it was a while ago now, but it was pretty horrible at the time – we didn’t know who the person was, so I ended up suspecting everyone and feeling sick every time I left the house in case they were going to come and have a go at me in person – not fun!

  • Leslie says:

    I was really stressing there for a moment. I thought for sure you were shutting this baby down! (Of course, this IS your blog to do with as you see fit..but still!) It’s sad that a neighbor actually accosted you on your blog. I personally look forward to your posts no matter the content and if I were your neighbor, I’d probably laugh along with you, because let’s face it–even Beverly Hills has its downside. I’m sure it’s a prettier downside, but a downside nonetheless.
    I love your humor and your catchy turn of phrase. I have laughed until I cried at so many of your posts: stories of your trips to beloved Florida, tales of Ruben’s escapades, woes with the red weals, and encounters with The Others just to name a few. No matter what happens, we will always check in to read Forever Amber. Take your time and something will come to you soon…..if nothing else, we just have to find out what Terry will be for Halloween this year!

    • Amber says:

      Ah, thank you for saying that! I don’t think I would ever shut it down completely – it’s too much a part of me now! I think I’ll probably just have to accept that there will be times when I don’t post nearly as often, purely because there’s nothing much to say!

  • Sandy says:

    It’s a shame that we (well, more like you and other bloggers really!) have to censor what we type just in case we might offend someone. Even on places like FB I go to comment, think about it too much, wonder if I sound mean/stupid/crazy and then delete it and not comment at all!

    I hope you do manage to find things to blog about as I adore your style of story telling and as someone else in the comments said….just post pics of Rubin until you’re ready! You can’t beat a cute wolf pic! LOL!

  • I love your full skirt/black pants posts Amber because they are so ‘you’. You aren’t ruled by current trend and rushing out for the latest rockstuds (YAWN) or whatever the hell in ‘on trend’.

    When I found your blog last year via ShoeGal Fi I read almost every single post, the funny ones about Nigel, the gorgeous holiday pics in Miama/Florida, the autumn ones and everything in between.

    If you have nothing to say right now, enjoy taking a wee break, don’t feel pressurised to post if you don’t want to talk about the ‘interesting’ things that might offend people. We’ll still be here when you get back :)

  • Laura says:

    I can see your dilemma, especially after what happened with your neighbor. I had a sort of similar situation once so I know the feeling of panic that rises from the pit of your stomach, it must have been horrible facing that so close to your home.
    I can’t offer any tips on beating the block as I don’t write but I will just say whatever you write about you always fill it with your unique style, wit and personality and that’s why I and I’m sure many others keep coming back. Your outfits are of course fabulous but if you suddenly started wearing tracksuits and trainers everyday I’d still keep reading!
    Until you find inspiration, pics of the adorable Rubin are fine with me! Maybe he could take over for a bit while you have a break! xx

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