My blog 10 years ago

Okay, so I KNOW you guys, after all my whining, are like "Seriously Ellet, what in the world was so great with old school blogging? I bet you were as useless then as you are now!" and lemme tell ya; No, I was more useless! I didn't add any concrete value to anyone's life because that was the common way of blogging back then (now I'm at least giving out warnings about dyeing your own leather chairs, right). The haphazardness of it all made it quite relaxing and not as demanding, even though the bouts of "why do I do this?" were present then as well. But I'm sure you're all skeptical still, so I thought I'd dig deep in my old archives and just show you.

So, where WAS the blog ten years ago?

Well, how about looking at this masterpiece from 2009! I can't cite any posts closer to the 14th of August because... well let's just say my blog was anonymous for a reason...

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The girl that was wrapped around his leg on that party hooked him for reals shortly after, and is now his wife and the mother of his child. So we never did find out his secret.

And then there was stuff like this; Blog Awards. And yeah, there were real awards and conventions that people went to, but there was also these silly little badges and awards that individual bloggers themselves gave out, and I got at least four of them. So nice. They plastered the side of my blog because fun.

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Awards I was given!

Nowadays I have to unfollow people because they get shilly with brands and trying to sneak-sell products (or get pregnant, sorry, I'm not about that mom blogger life), back then I sometimes had to unfollow in pure grief because the blogger in question got a book deal and therefore disappeared or made the blog to be just about the book they were releasing.

I narrated my living in the dorm that I called the cookie collective, me moving across the country, my jobs, my unemployment (with a twist: Unemployement Idol!), and wrote an epic 18-part story about everything that led up to me kissing a man that wasn't my boyfriend that one time. I gave my friends thoughtful aliases and made e-friends that turned into real life friends. And I had a great time doing it all, inspite of doubts and blogger's block and all that jazz.

I read classics like "Getting Single" (that cliffhanger yo, it went on for months, so EXCITING!), The Angry Owl, The Monster Apathy, SecretOfficeConfessions, Steam Me Up Kid, Erisgirl, Hyperbole and A Half (ya know, before she released an awesome book and now is picked apart in sourceless memes), Father Muskrat, Living Shallow Living Well.

Some are still semi-active, like Vegetable Assassin, *Insert My Blog Name Here*, Pearl.. Why You Little, Bridget Jones Has Nothing On Me and The Junk Drawer.

And I'm still around too, though under another name for the fifth time.

So what's in for the next ten years of this blog?

In 2005, I started my first blog on LiveJournal, when I moved away from home for the first time, and since then I’ve been at it. That in itself says something, right? And after having a blog in one form or the other for almost 15 years by now, one of the greatest questions isn't -really- whether to blog or not, but it's whether to blog anonymously or not. Being a heathen from a Protestant country, I somehow carry the severe Catholic shame that leads me to feel in my entire existence that if I, say, joke about sex or drinking, on the internet I will ruin all chances of a future career and probably get shunned by society. But having an anonymous blog in turn makes it impossible to tell everyday stories or use my own pictures as people in my life can recognise them so easily, which takes away some of the fun of blogging as well. Back then, soo many wonderful writers were anonymous, having their own little secret online. It was fun!

At this point I've settled on my actual life and voice being more interesting than any seedier sides (I mean, if my life had any) and therefor even have my face plastered on here. To get my point across; I got a bottle of tequila for my birthday last year. It's been in the pantry for nine months. Still unopened. BOOYAH!

For the coming years, I’m probably just gonna chug along, doing my stuff. I have no plans, no goals, I just figure I’ll be doing whatever I feel like. Maybe I should make an award badge, just for old times sake…

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I choose social internet, and opt-out of social media

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I feel like a broken record, nagging about social media and its ever-changing algorithms and how everything just seems to speed up, watering down voices to favour pretty pictures. Like the old crumpled lady that I am, I'm reminiscing about the golden days of blogging while remarking that the fast media just isn't for me.

I've been on social media (Instagram, have hated Facebook since the start) since 2010, trying to keep the amount of dumb scrolling to a minimum, but you know how it goes; you're just gonna check the date and suddenly you find yourself having wasted 20 minutes on Instagram anyways. Instagram has so much to offer, but the algorithms and the tag clouds and the ads and the super-dopamine inducing UI just finally ruin the joy I had with the app.

Another point of contention is the feeling that if I let the scraps of connection with my non-IRL previously-blogger-now-Instagram friends go, that's it. Then they're out. And I don't want that.

But I've been dragging along, questioning why I'm still blogging when the social relations on the internet feels so lackluster for me. I've thought about shoving the blog into the box of memories and just keeping on with social media instead. There are far more people there, on Instagram, both IRL- and non-IRL friends, than there is in the blogging realm as of now. So why save the blog if I want to prioritize relationships?

But after I dug a rabbit hole for myself by frustratedly googling "old-school blogging" in a bout of questioning why I even bother to blog when everything feels off, the doubt crystallized into the realization that I don't think I am connecting with those people over Instagram. That's what's been tickling my tech-skeptic, and I realise I've bundled the blog in the social-media-swamp. To be truthful, I think blogs and social media are worlds apart in how much I enjoy and savour the content.

On Instagram, I see what they see momentarily; the cliffs that they sip wine on or the flowers outside their houses, but I still don't know much, or anything at all, about how they're feeling, what they're up to, what they're thinking or what their plans are. Essentially, it's like passing someone by now and then and overhearing six seconds of their conversation with a friend. Is that quality? Does that build relationships? In some ways, yes. In others, no. Even though I do care about the people, I'm actually not that interested in what they're commonplace DOING (we all need to cook, right), I'm much more interested in what they're thinking. And while I could just ask every one of them personal questions to follow up their posts, I know I won't. Partly because it's weird, and partly because I long for volunteer storytelling. Hanging around, scrolling through Instagram has been my last scrap of those connections.

I have been active on Instagram throughout the years and while there's nothing inherently wrong with that, for me it's been intermingled with a gnawing feeling of doubt, self-doubt and... it feels like screaming out into the void. Some likes trickle in like usual, but it's... more of a thumbs up from across the street, and less of a conversation. Ya know?

It's like Instagram is such a pseudo-social media, going under the guise of connectivity but when there is so little actual personality and speech, it all becomes depersonalized making new, and sometimes old, connections more difficult. For me at least. Following and getting a follow back and then never ever see them even liking anything I post. Commenting on a post and getting a like on my comment back. I feel like I'm flashing acquaintances passing by images of my life and they smile a little, then move on to the next person flashing images.

Honestly, it's draining.

And let's not get into the fact that while scrolling, I can see pictures I've liked, that I can't remember having seen. The meaninglessness of the whole thing becomes jarring.

So we're doing it again. Going off of social media, once again, but I think with more clarity this time. Earlier, it has been a more diffuse sense of really not fitting in, but now I'm more set in why I feel out of place. I will have no time limit. It's all an investment in putting my energy towards getting off of the couch and into the real world, though not necessarily out of the house. I AM an introvert after all. YOU CAN'T MAKE ME GO OUTSIDE!

I'm not deleting any apps. Instagram is my main time-waster but I'm keeping the app in order not to miss private messages. The main objective is to mindfully consume content on the internet that brings me value while giving myself all the possibilities of connecting with friends and meeting people IRL.

I will check in on Facebook, maybe once a week or so, because of events. Being an event-arranger myself and getting invited to smaller events here and there, abandoning a part of a platform I currently have and risk missing real-life hangouts is beside the purpose of the digital semi-detox.

Lastly, I will absolutely and definitely keep updating my blog and keep reading the blogs I have selected to go into my Feedly feed. It's not content-devouring itself that is the problem, it's partly when platforms decide what I get to see that my frustration arises. Blogs have always been my favourite kind of content because it's people's voices, on their own platforms I get to take part of, and that's a wonderful thing. I've been called a storyteller and I enjoy stringing together words and putting images to those words, however serious or humorous the result may be. I hope that spending more time adding value will inspire me to write more often and better, as well.

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The Pro-crastinator.

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I am not a writer. So if I'm not a writer, I can't be besieged by writer's block, right? Well, how come I am then, Mr. Semantics?!

All these post ideas, all this time, and no words.

I mean I COULD just write posts that are really straight forward and to the point, but that's no fun. I want to make up words and write sentences that are "too long". I want to tumble down the linguistical grassy knolls with a witty lover and get myself private bits-deep into the ugly synonym swamps of the West Germanic heritage. I seek to subdue the lingua franca and inherit the world in a language that is not my native one, and I want to carry on the storytelling legacy by reciting my own measly life adventures in a way that evokes joy, emotions and preferably, a little laughter here and there.

So, you know. No pressure.

Side note, I'm this far into this post and Grammarly is already shouting at me to change eight "writing issues", of which nature's I cannot see until I pay them 123 dollars upfront, or 30 dollars a month. I, on my individual vocabulary quest, should, of course, accept this terminological teacher's hand on my shoulder, but I will not! Because I'm crazy and puzzling in my life choices! Hee!

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Is this were I start caring about what Grammarly is trying to tell me? Naw! Another day!

Back to my main objective - blogging about blogging. I hear it's a lucrative business. What? So this kind of blogging about blogging ISN'T the lucrative kind? Oh well, just like the ways I do everything then; unpaid, unwanted, and just good enough for me because I made it.

And you know what? There's nothing wrong with living life that way as long as it makes you happy!

BUT! Back to my main objective once again. I procrastinate, I collect ideas and roll around haunted by mosquitoes in the grass to get that good snapshot of what an absolute trainwreck the old neglected vegetable patch in the garden is now compared to the mowed lawn.
Then I go inside again, patch up my wounds and... you know, do anything else than write. For days. Because writing is hard. And then, suddenly, I realise I haven't posted in two weeks. Again! Dangit! I am going to blame it on the complex nature of man and our kind's approach to deadlines, aka, "my humanity makes me procrastinate!".

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Trainwreck. But the bumblebees love it, so win!

- 40 minutes of silence-

Okay, so I'm back. I took the time to read up on procrastination, snapped a few photos, got myself cookies, cleaned the kitchen counters and googled redcurrant recipes instead of writing. What were we talking about? Oh, right, procrastination...


As Monty Python says; GET ON WITH IT!

What I am trying to say is that I need to get my writing shit together. Just do it, just like I am right now. Because it's fun, and doing fun things makes your life better. So writing should make my life better. Why am I avoiding it then? Now is the time you say; "Just like you're avoiding dealing with your eating habits, your health issues, your come-and-go depression, your childhood traumas and painting that dang kitchen because you know that when you've done that, you have to work on the curtains and that's going to be a bitch in the kitchen?".

I mean, you didn't have to get so SERIOUS... but... yeah. All of the above.

The point of this post isn't really to promise you or me anything in particular. It's just what I happened to think about today. And a post came out of it! It just happened!

Have I cured it?! Have I?!

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10 things you should know when you’re starting a blog

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Yes, this is a reiteration of an old post that is now hidden within the depths of one of my stealthy, hidden old blogs because I have the decency to take down my deserted blogs instead of just leaving them to die alone out there in the freezing cold that is the internet and its over-saturated social media. Not to throw shade or anything, it’s just severely e-depressing to come happily skipping onto a blog and realize it’s been abandoned since 2014 without as much as a ”Goodbye”.

But, I’m not gonna whine too much about that now, seeing as HERE AND HERE I’m already sporting the aura of an old lady, clutching the good old days of blogging near my left south-wandering boob while screaming at modern clickbait sites to get the F off my lawn, and by lawn I mean my internets.

  

1. Don’t post blurry images

I’m not gonna lie. I’ve entered so many wonderfully designed blogs, with all the right recipes for catching readers, bold headlines, clickbaity titles, read more-links and easily melted content… and then encountered the visual blurry 2004-pigfest-style photos trying to match up with the glossy finish of the site, making me skedaddle right out of there. Out of focus makeup flat-lays, images where everything is a little blurry causing me to doubt my hawkish eyes for a second or images taken too far from the object they’re trying to portrait. Wrong colour temperature also makes it really hard to see if that lipstick is cool or warm, ya know?

I mean, I wrote the original post five years ago, and while the glossy finished blogs has increased dramatically since then, the discrepancy between imagery and magazine layouts has only become more jarring.

 All in all: Manual focus and white balance settings, use them!


* And yes, I’m sporting a blurry pic of myself on the blog. But that’s alright, right? Hurr hurr. It’s worth it because it’s at least taken by someone else than myself and those are far and few between!

 

2. It’s normal to doubt yourself like every 90 days

It’s a common occurrence. Fresh faced and inspired, you start a blog. It’s fun, you’ve thought about it for a while and you’re crunching out content for a couple of months because… well it’s fun! Then that crampy Tuesday comes, maybe it’s February and the sun hasn’t showed itself in three months, maybe you’re feeling uninspired, sick of influencers, sick of Instagram highlighters and the lonely feeling when no one comments on your carefully thought out posts.

Just... take it easy. Breathe a little. Cut the crap out of your feeds and enjoy only quality stuff on the blessing and curse we call the internet. Go out into the world and enjoy your real life friends, so you can return to your blog a little later and continue posting content to which no one comments. It’s a harsh environment for many of us, but if you like it, you like it. Do it. Keep at it. Because it’s mainly for you, right? That nail polish you want to post already has five hundred swatches on other blogs, so what? Add your flair and post it anyways!

And a little side note: Even I, with my teensy meensy little space on the huge internet, have made real life friends from my little side gig. Worth every second of it.


 3. Be careful choosing Wordpress.com if you’re a total e-novice

Only choose Wordpress as your blog host if you’re ready to swear, scream and break your entire blog when you’re having a go at CSS (backup that code before editing, fellow blogger. Every single time. It’s not worth taking that risk.) and is ready to accept that your plugins will stop working without explanation or updates, oh, and the solutions found on google won’t help you out at all. Shit’s not as easy as people make it out to be. Blogger is far easier, and while I now reside on Squarespace, I can say that Squarespace isn’t for everyone. I’m happy with them though!

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In case you didn’t believe me when I said that mysterious thing about real life friends.


4. Proof-read your own content

In an effort to catch all those stupid mistakes your flanges make on the keyboard, and remove the visible brain farts and post-editing double wordings or even missing words (I will have some in this post just because I’m bringing it up, I just know it), draft your post and then return to it the day after before posting it for the world to see. Proof read that shit. Bloglovin’ snatches your content and does not update it later, and knowing that everyone who reads your posts through Bloglovin’ in the future will stare at that time you wrote ”fucket” instead of ”bucket”, well, it’s worth double checking.

  

 5. If you’re pretty you get more readers

Yeah.

 

6. It’s a bit like high school sometimes

You will e-hang around groups of cool bloggers that start clubs with each other, and you won’t get to join. Instead, you get to stand on the other side of the hedge, just seeing and hearing how much fun they’re having while you clear your side from weeds and old tags that you should have formulated better when you started your blog journey, swearing you’re left out in the cold because your Bloglovin’ feed still shows that post title as ”Whats you’re best Christmas memory?”

  

7. You will be less fun than you wished you were

You will constantly judge your own morals and sense of humour, grading everything you want to throw out there on a scale from ”no one could possibly be offended by this but it’s also boring” to ”Shit… ahh well fuck it, it’s worth it!”. From my experience, one most often ends up on the boring side just to play it really safe, and then your blog get… bland and suffers a lack of personality. Like wheat crackers without salt or cheese, and you’re not even getting any desert wine with your tragic platter!

 

8. What goes on the internet, stays on the internet

Ahh, that old caveat. All those stories that you want to tell your audience and especially those two faithful readers that always seem to come back and read everything you post, blurry images and all, but you can’t; because what goes on the internet, stays on the internet. And who knows what’s in store for the future? I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be a politician, but am I ready for people at, say, that new job that I’m starting, to already know about that one time I had a medieval style mishap with a menstrual cup in a public restroom ten years ago and that I were blindingly drunk that random Friday night? Am I? I don’t know.

  

9. If your blog is boring, SEO or links can’t help you

You need to get that ship sailing into interesting, frightful territory so your potential readers don’t clickity-click on that X as soon as they lay their eyes on your detailed description of what your breakfast consisted of and that you took a walk in an unnamed location and it was kind of nice but ya know, not really THAT nice. If your space is boring, you can roam around on the internet and link, comment, share and engage all you want, but it won’t make people stay on your site. You’re gonna die alone on the internet, clutching your worn-out laptop with its broken modem (yeah, I said it!) anyways.

 

10. You’re gonna learn that some people are all talk and no action

Like me. I’ve had blogs since 2005, and I have never had more than 100-ish daily visitors. I know, I know, ”but your blog is a little glossy and have sharp pictures and you spell correctly (most of the time) just like you’ve recommended in this post and you’re funny as shit too! Haven’t you always done that?”

Yes, yes I have. But the type of content I put out isn’t for everyone (it’s too smart I guess*). It’s just how it is, and I have no plans of changing that really. Because, like item nr 2 says, I’m keeping at it because I like it. It’s mostly for me nowadays and for my faithful 10-ish or so long time readers; it would be hard to claim anything else when I’ve had nine comments on my blog the last 12 months.

So I have learnt more stuff, comment down below if you’re interes… JK I know that doesn’t work. Still love this whole blogging thing though, fourteen years later!



* I’m kidding of course. I couldn’t be an influencer even if I tried.

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Let's talk blogs

So I MAY be jacked up on cold brew with condensed milk (Unngh) but bear with me here.

 I have had blogs in one form or another since 2005, and I have enjoyed reading other people’s blogs for as long. Sometimes people speak of the great blog death, and having been in the game during the years between ´06 and´12, a part of me agrees. Because dang, I had so much fun! Writing myself (resulting in real life friends, that win?!) and reading so many great ones. Men and women told stories of their lives, embroidered tales with twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat for a week waiting for the next chapter. There was a true sense of getting to know someone, through their words and speech, without having any idea of who they were IRL. People with messages they wanted to throw out into the world and see who responds. Communities made. Link love and silly awards. Less polished surfaces and more creative joy.

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 This morning I tried finding a bunch of my old favourites again that I know have thrown in the towel, but most of them have gone into the obscurity of the internet. The few I could reach being dead end pages echoing words written in 2010, 2011, 2012.

 I don’t want to be a reactionary person, but I think I am in this case. I look back at the past blogging times with rosy, glittery glasses and reminisce about how it was before everything got so heavily saturated by consumerism and affiliate links, and the sense that every blog should be a business.

 I don’t mind affiliate links, as long as their context is part of some kind of storytelling. There’s obviously a market for short paragraphed statements, flashy pictures of happy people brunching and ”You can find my dress here!”, but I just don’t get it.

 I understand that time moves on, that people find other things to do with their time when life gets more complicated, and that social media is just so much easier to access and make a little time for, here and there. The waning engagement and lessening of traffic may discourage bloggers from putting in time and effort into something that just isn’t gaining the traction that it did initially, and I get that. It doesn’t make me miss the old times any less, though.

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 Stubborn as I am, I’ve always been a teensy meensy blogger. People who are like ”In the beginning, I ONLY had 100 visitors a day on my blog!”. That’s my high point, man. In 2015. I don’t appeal to the general public, my wording makes my posts unsearchable and my topics only affect the few. And that’s fine with me. Writing and reading blogs is the next best thing of the internet, a close second to information searching and you know, life stuff like paying bills and communicating with friends. Without blogs, socially, there would only be the regular social media. Fast media, made to capture you for pin pricks of endorphin rushes as you scroll through endless feeds of wordless images or statements pressed into short sentences because no one cares to read text anymore*.

It’s just not for me. I’m not a perfect blog-wizard with a super regular posting schedule nor do I always perform my absolute best, but I still have the joy of blogging with me.

 I don’t really know what I’m trying to say with this post, but I’m gonna let it out there anyway. Maybe my point is just that I won’t give up, because I love it. The dorkiness of it all. Writing for writing’s sake, storytelling because storytelling is awesome. Reading because taking part of other people’s stories is great. I shout into the fancy winds that I want more of the regular people’s lives, and if you know someone who has a great blog, or if you do yourself, tell me. I want it all, to sift through and find new favourites apart from the few I have today.

 Because blogging is great, and I want more people to do it.

 *The worst of all the blogging tips that pop up now and then.

Ellet goes international

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Yes! It's time. I thought I'd just branch out just a little and make myself eligible for creating contacts extending outside the borders of Sweden, so I'm gonna start writing in English. I can't promise that Swengrish won't get into the mix, and I do realize that I, like the native Swedish speaker I am and by media inundated by both American and British English, will mix both versions of English because I most often don’t even consider what word is of American or British persuasion. I hope you swedies don't mind the change, it's gonna make my presence on the internets just a tad easier and easy is the way to go nowadays. 

Little by little I'm gonna translate the current posts on the blog into English and sort through and tidy up a little. I have to change all the labels and buttons and stuff, so that will happen over time too.

I've been thinking about this for a while now, and I think it's the right decision. Let's hope I don't change my mind and have to redo everything again later on. 

Cheerio! 

A Saturday

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It’s Saturday morning. I have already bambi’ed over the ice to the gym, unreasonably early in order to ensure myself that no one else was crazy enough to be there. I was right, no one visits gyms at 7.30 on a Saturday morning, who knew haha. Now I’m lounging with my computer and my cup of caramel latte is a little too cool, but I’m still drinking it.

I think about the blog often. This seems to be the great struggle with the whole thing, to blog or not to blog. When I have thought about it lately, I’ve felt kind of blank inside, depleted of ideas or inspiration. But I’ll leave it, it’s better to let it rest a little when I’m feeling uninspired and then let it live again when I find the energy.

I don’t know what it is really. I feel fine, I’m out there being social, I’m doing stuff I like doing, but I just don’t feel the need to document it. Is it my age? Do you grow out of blogging? Have I gotten shyer? I have blogged since 2005 with varying regularity. My favorite blog was my more anonymous one where I could express myself a little more freely and joke around more about things I wouldn’t tell the public in my own name, but the less anonymous kind of blog has given me real life friends! That value!

The blog form is still my favorite, a little safe haven from the click-baity Instagram and the likes-chasing and two second long clips because no one wants to keep their attention to a single image for more than that. I mean, I use them too, but there’s not many options and I never really feel at home there.

The ultra-fast clicky stuff wins nowadays, and I’m not keeping up. I want to be slow and thoughtful. Write for the writing in itself. Yeah. I’m gonna try a little more, to do what I like. Yeah.

Saliga äro de saktmodiga, ty de skola besitta jorden. Eller hur?

Let us rejoice in the times of returning

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I sat there, one summer night. The apartment was filled with smoke, my eyes stung and the eerie fog witnessed that just mere minutes ago, a bag of popcorn had been burned beyond recognition.  My roommate soldiered on but had to give up after a few minutes and opened the patio door in order to clear the mists of stupidity in order to keep on playing his computer game.

Yes. Yesterday, I tipped things over in the kitchen to the degree that while I was trying to stop tipping things over and straightening the things back up again, I forgot a bag of popcorn in the microwave until it almost caught fire. Not my proudest moment, I might add.

While laying in my bed a little later, indulging in the sweeping smell of wasted carbohydrates, I realized that I miss my blog.

So let’s start the thing up again!