TRUTH BE TOLD

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I am getting real today because truth be told I have been struggling with something the last few months. Wether or not I get answers, affirmation or a burst of inspiration from this, I decided it needs to be out in the world.  For me to call this my creative space, this is sure the hardest thing I have ever had to write on A Dash of Details.  The thing is when I started this blog in December of 2010, I was sitting at my desk at my first real job bored out of my mind and realizing I was missing something in my life. I thought I was going to be doing creative things when I took my first post-college job, but instead I was writing copy for a PA announcer and shuffling 20-30 pound boxes around the office (sounds glamorous, right?).  The funny thing is the minute I left there were over 500 people gunning for that same job. So here is a little back story:

I went to college with all intentions on becoming a doctor. After my second semester, I realized I didn’t know what the heck I was thinking and low and behold, I started to question everything.  The life I thought I knew was crumbling all around me.  It was not to say that I couldn’t have graduated at the top of my class, but I came to the realization didn’t want to be in school for 12 years and to start my life at 28 years old (sorry to all my doctor friends, it just wasn’t my thing).  S0, here I was one year into my degree and I wanted to start over. At this moment, I realized I could do anything I wanted in this world. From one extreme to the next, I told my parents I wanted to become a graphic designer or interior designer and then a curator. With a little push from my dad, I settled somewhere in the middle, or what I thought was the middle.  A double major: Business Marketing and Art History. For the next 3 years, I took business classes that I was never passionate about. I would memorize the material and move on, that is except for my art history courses.  I would write 20 page essays on Jackson Pollock and not complain. While I wasn’t the one actually creating the art, I felt fulfilled when I would step into a museum or gallery and know the story behing the artist, the meaning of the piece and how I felt looking at it.  But really, you are probably wondering why I have gone into this whole story about my college life. Well, this is the first time in my life I realized it was okay to question EVERYTHING.

Like I said before, I starting this blog in 2010 when I was sitting at my first job post college questioning how I got to where I was. When I starting A Dash of Details, I was 21 years old, living in my boyfriend’s parents basement and feeling like I could accomplish anything but nothing at the same time. In 2010, I decided to buy Adobe Design and teach myself Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.  I watched too many tutorials to count, practice for hours on end, and over time I felt confident in my skills. Now looking back, my work was so amateur and if I am being completely candid- I still question if what I do will ever be good enough.  I have built every A Dash of Details website (with a little help from friends). The first few generations of the site were a little rough around the edges, but as I got more confident, the site grew into what it is today.

So this is really what the post is about: Will I ever being good enough. And I guess the answer is, whatever I decide is good enough for myself. In a world filled with comparison and numbers, this blog has gone from a space to share my thoughts, loves and life to something I think I should be doing every day. I have been blogging for 5 years. Although 5 years doesn’t seem like a long time, it is in this world.  When I starting it was well before it was popular to have a blog. I didn’t even tell my friends or family for the first few years (this was my first mistake).  It was before Pinterest, Instagram or affiliate marketing, and really before people knew there was a real potential to create a career out of a passion.  And since I am being honest, I have not been as successful as I would like in comparison to my fellow blogger friends.  Most of the girls I connected with in the very early days of blogging have created successful brands for themselves, have started stores or published books and are still striving.  I am so proud of these women for following their passions and working hard everyday to do something they love. So I guess for me, I am having a difficult time deciding where I went wrong or if I went wrong. My best friend and I were chatting yesterday and she brought up the quote, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle,” but I am having a hard time justifying this when we started at the same time.  I look at myself from when I started to where I am now, and I am happy with my life. I have an amazing husband, great friends and family who would do anything for me, so the answer to my question, will I ever be good enough, I guess my answer is yes. My life is full and that is all that should matter.

A Dash of Details started as a place to share my life.  So today, I sit here questioning everything again, just like I did 8 years ago.  I can’t imagine my life without A Dash of Details, but I no longer want to compare my version of success with anyone else.  While my growth may be slow (and sometimes it feels like a snails pace), it is still growing and always has been.  So instead of looking at what my peers are doing, who they are working with, and always assuming that I missing the mark, I am going to keep creating and doing what I love to do.  I want to work with brands that share my same passion, spend time creating content that is meaningful and beautiful, and making real connections with women that lift each other and help them grow because that is why I started A Dash of Details in the first place.  While this blog will always be my second job (and I am envious of the women who have created successful careers from their passion), I will always be forever grateful that I was able to do this with my life.  It has given me an outlet to be my complete self, where no one tells me what to do and when to do it.  I would be lying if I didn’t say that my amazing readers who have stuck with me for the last five years wasn’t a huge reason I kept this blog going. The constant support I get from my husband, friends, family and readers allows me to feel like this space means something in this world.  While, it may be an itsy, bitsy piece of the internet, it is all mine.

Thanks for reading!

xox- a dash of details

 

25 replies
  1. Samantha McClelland
    Samantha McClelland says:

    I love your honesty. I am in the exact same boat, I’ve been in the blogging game for almost six years and it’s still a second job for me, I’ve debated about throwing in the towel, but realize I started it for a reason and for myself and to continue on my path, which is no one else’s but my own!

    Reply
    • ALI LEIGH
      ALI LEIGH says:

      Sam, I know we have talked about this time and time again. I love that I have someone that can relate, because it reminds me that I am not alone in this crazy world. Thank you so much for your support along the way! We have both been doing this for a long time, and I hope it fulfills you as much as it does me! xox- Ali

      Reply
  2. Alyssa
    Alyssa says:

    Hey Ali – I just read your post, and I think it was awesome of you to be so honest. I struggle with the same things myself. I just want to say this – I have read probably over 100 blogs over the past 5-6 years – With life being so busy I stopped reading most of them, and I only check 2 a day anymore and one of them is yours. I hope that makes you feel good :)

    Keep doing what you’re doing. Your blog is amazing, and I really look forward to your posts.

    All the best! xo.

    Reply
    • ALI LEIGH
      ALI LEIGH says:

      Alyssa, that is so kind and this is the reason I could never give it up. I love what I do and what I can create in this space and I am so glad you keep coming back :) Thank you so much!

      xox- Ali

      Reply
  3. Jess P
    Jess P says:

    Hi friend- I love this post! Hard to be so honest and up front on some things. It makes me think of a quote that I see often,

    “For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”- F. Scott Fitzgerald

    I don’t have a blog so I don’t have these exact concerns, but I still worry about this stuff too. I am 28 and confused about parts of my life.. I am applying to go to a Masters program for something totally different than my undergrad, thinking about moving states, questioning traveling before doing all of this… it is overwhelming at times because I have friends that seem to have it all figured out. I just have to look inward and make decisions that are best for me. Not anyone else.

    I love your blog and always look forward to new posts. Love you! xo

    Reply
    • ALI LEIGH
      ALI LEIGH says:

      I love everything about this quote and you! You are such a constant cheerleader in my life and I am so lucky to have a you as my friend. And as far as life goes, we are definitely on an adventure and I know no one really has the answers, so for me I think you should follow your heart and do what you feel is the right thing to do. Selfishly, I think you should travel so I can live vicariously through your journey. The experiences that you have had traveling have shaped who you are today. And I think that person is pretty amazing. Love you! xox- Ali

      Reply
  4. Helen Rapp
    Helen Rapp says:

    Ali, thank you so much for sharing this. I’m much newer on my blogging journey– 11 months– and really struggle with maintaining the inner joy as I check my measly analytics and read reports of bloggers making $1 million. I view you and your blog as my dream, even as you might be wishing it was something more. It’s a wonderful thing to find sources of happiness in life, and I am glad you have one on your “itsy, bitsy piece of the internet”!

    And selfishly, I’m so glad you’re sticking with it. I visit religiously and really enjoy your content, and I look forward to reading future posts.

    Reply
    • ALI LEIGH
      ALI LEIGH says:

      Helen, you got this! If you want it bad enough and work hard, you will be able to make it happen. I have talked with so many people in this community and the ticket to success is, what you put in, is what you get out. I am so happy to hear from you and thanks so much for following along! xox- Ali

      Reply
  5. Jess Zimlich
    Jess Zimlich says:

    I really admire you for writing this post, Ali! I started my blog almost three years ago and it’s safe to say we all experience feelings of comparison. I really love everything you do in this space (and your Instagram feed is spectacular). I hope you find the burst of inspiration to keep creating. :)

    Reply
    • ALI LEIGH
      ALI LEIGH says:

      Jess! Thanks so much. You have been so wonderful and a faithful follower of A Dash of Details. Not a day goes unnoticed when you comment and make my day :) xox- Ali

      Reply
  6. Lindsey Wyrick
    Lindsey Wyrick says:

    Your blog is one of my favorites! On the other side of the screen, you come across as genuine and easy to relate to. I used to have a blog, so I understand the time it takes and the struggle to make it a success, especially in today’s world. If I could offer one piece of advice, it would be to post more regularly. I understand you may not have the time to post every day, but I would recommend at least following some sort of blogging schedule so readers know when to expect posts. For example, 9 to 5 Chic only posts three times a week, but I don’t mind because I know when to expect a new post (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). Anyways, I hope that is helpful and I encourage you to keep doing what makes you happy!

    Reply
    • ALI LEIGH
      ALI LEIGH says:

      Lindsey, that is so sweet! I completely agree with you on making a consistent schedule. This past week I wrote down 5 things I can do to make this blog better and that was at the top of my list. Hopefully you will be seeing this strategy in the next few weeks! Thank you so much for reading! xox- Ali

      Reply
    • ALI LEIGH
      ALI LEIGH says:

      Laura, thank you so much! I follow all of your posts on your blog and Instagram! You should be so proud of the content you create! xox- Ali

      Reply
  7. Minna Lee
    Minna Lee says:

    Ali, I loved this! Thanks so much for sharing your personal journey. I think that feeling of wondering “am I good enough” and questioning what makes yourself stand out in this crowded blogger community really speaks to us all. It’s a good feeling to have, to question and push yourself, but also to trust in your gut that we each have our own individual voices that make us special to our audience. Keep it up, I have been loving following along as a new follower! Also, I loved your Style Me Pretty blogger bride series- gorgeous wedding.

    Going to share this post in my Friday roundups this week :)

    Minna

    Reply
    • ALI LEIGH
      ALI LEIGH says:

      Thank you for the kind words Minna Lee. I am so glad you like the Style Me Pretty Series, it was one of my biggest blogging accomplishments and of course, we had the best time doing it! So good to hear from you :)

      Reply
  8. Monica {Cake & Lilies}
    Monica {Cake & Lilies} says:

    This is a great post, Ali. I think we all (bloggers and non-bloggers alike) fall into the comparison rut, it it’s hard to come out of sometimes. I get what you mean about not sharing your blog as much as you wish you had in the beginning–I feel the same way and some days it bugs me and some days it doesn’t, because I know I can’t go back and change the past but can pick my moves going forward. I’m so glad to have found your blog a few months ago…keep up the great work!
    xox

    Reply
    • ALI LEIGH
      ALI LEIGH says:

      Thanks so much Monica! It is so true, the comparison game is real and hard to not follow. I guess being happy with what you have and who you are should always come first :)

      Reply
  9. Katie Carlin
    Katie Carlin says:

    I am 100% in the same boat, and I can not remember the last time I commented on a blog. I started by blog “daily crush” and then found myself constantly comparing to others. I tried to juggle a full time job at a software company and a blog at the same time and boy was it a disaster, i’ve been on “hiatus” now for about a year. When things were going well and I was making $ through affiliate links everything else in my life felt like it was being neglected. I think you do a great job with the blog and it is one of the few that I still actually read.

    Reply
  10. Gretchen
    Gretchen says:

    Just came across your blog and I can already tell that a great deal of hard work, dedication, and passion have gone into making it what it is today! Although you might not feel like you have “made it”, never forget that what you have created is all yours, and your success is something that many people would love to have! You created something that contributes to your happiness and the happiness of many other people – to me it doesn’t get much better than that!

    Reply
  11. Amy @ Girl for Granted
    Amy @ Girl for Granted says:

    Ali, I really relate to this post. I’ve been blogging for a few years now and it’s swings and roundabouts. Some weeks I’ll post 3-4 times, and then go months without posting anything. I recently took a break from blogging altogether because I had stopped loving it and couldn’t help but be disappointed that I couldn’t keep up with (it felt like at the time) every other blogger, whilst also performing well at my full time job in creative advertising – I wrote about it recently, and just that simple act made me feel so much better about it. I hope writing this post was cathartic for you. Thanks for being so honest with us, and keep doing you! x

    Reply

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