4 years as Pawlean
Today, Pawlean turns 4 years old.
And I have been officially blogging since 2008… that’s a loooonng time.
I never thought that I would go back to blogging after abandoning it to focus on my A-Levels at the time. But now, it just makes so much sense for me to continue the most loved hobby that has brought me happiness, joy and more opportunities than I have ever imagined.
⌨️The story: Logging back on
One late July afternoon, I contacted my good old friend Kassy in excitement about my blog. I couldn’t wait to set it up again, I honestly felt like I had awakened some neurons that hadn’t been fired since 2012 which was the year I had wrote my last blog post. This time was different, gone were the days of embarrassing URLs. I stuck with Pawlean; my Xbox Live Gamertag at the time.
If it wasn’t for a conversation that brought up my secret hobby, I don’t think I would’ve entered the digital space in this way again. Encouragement to the point of pestering turned the conversations into action, the panda in space told me to create and write again because of the light and sparkle in my eyes he had seen when I spoke about it. Still undecided, I thought about it a lot during one of my lectures (I do listen though, I promise) where fruit flies were thrown at me (and a few others.) That lecture was pivotal for me. Unexpectedly, that was the ball of inspiration or whatever you call it that kicked me to start writing again.
👗The digital world had changed
Bloggers now have the opportunity to be paid to publish posts. Almost everyone I now meet has some sort of publishing platform they post their thoughts onto – whether that be things like Medium or even on social platforms like Instagram (also known as ‘micro-blogging’) I’ve seen businesses use blogs as part of their communications strategy.
I found this shift intriguing. Blogging was always something I did in my room in my own little world, I couldn’t earn a penny from it and the time I spoke about it openly, nobody exactly lit up happy for me (in fact, quite the opposite in my case)
This shift affected me more than I realised at the time.
Everybody was suddenly fashion bloggers, I felt like I needed to do the same!
And despite inspiration hitting me (literally) that day, I felt disconnected in my first few posts.
My writing didn’t feel good enough, I lacked the consistency I once had and I didn’t have posts like everyone else. There were moments where I wanted to close it all down again because it felt pointless trying to be at the same standard as newer, more modern bloggers in the space.
The voice of reason from him came again, “Pawlean was never meant to just have 5 posts. I want to read more. Don’t give up.”
So what did I do? What do you do when you find yourself out of that loop?
I tried to visualize my 8-year-old self on my parents’ clunky computer bursting with creativity. I loved to create for the love of it, trying to generate engagement was never effective because I was not my authentic self and looking back, it definitely showed in my posts.
At that age, all I wanted to do was:
- Discover the discoverable on the machine and the internet
- Listen to the AOL dial-up sound when I switched on the computer
- Learn things, create things and share that I did the thing. At the time, it was creating Photoshop Artwork. Or what the cool kids used to call, “blends” and building up my online diary.
Re-focusing on what truly matters worked, reminding myself why I started when I was that 8-year-old girl re-connected and grounded me.
I decided to stop trying to fit into a niche and publish whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.
I had always written about my life and it will definitely continue this way! But now that I’m older, I have understood the benefits (and importance) of filtering what I post. I had to set myself a rule to no longer write extensive essays about all my crushes with an exception, of course. 😆
🕐Hours on the internet was never a waste of time
I’m sure we have all had that, “If you don’t get off that computer, I will switch the internet off, missy!” conversation with our parents at some point growing up. 😂
The time I spent on my blog never felt like a waste of time, in fact upon really reflecting on it, I have benefited from this world in more ways than I ever thought I would!
- ✏️Improved writing skills over time.
- 🌐Cultivating a supportive network of friends online. I now know the coolest people online (with whom I practically grew up with) who have always given me advice and support in all aspects of life when I need it.
- 👋🏼Reaching more people. My reach has continued to improve. Every day, it makes me happy to connect with more and more like-minded people. I have also got the chance to talk to loads of people around the world about my blog every day during interviews, talks and daily conversations which all contribute to these incredible connections.
- 💻Improved digital and web-development skills. Blogging is what sparked my interest in technology and was my safe place for learning how to code.
- 💆🏻♀️ Free therapy. Honestly, the whole process of creating a post is so therapeutic for me! It’s calming and helps whenever I feel on edge.
- ⚡️Opened opportunities I didn’t know existed. My blog was read by someone who then offered me a bunch of freelancing video projects because he was impressed by what I was talking about and the audience I continue to build. I have also partnered up with some great brands and have been paid for my writing and ‘influence‘!
- 🍀This blog contributed greatly during my job search. My placement year and current summer placement loved my blogging and digital background.
- 🎤Speaking opportunities
🎙Speaking about Pawlean
🌟Core values and aim
Growing up online has been quite a journey. Although the digital world is continuously changing with trends coming and going and of course, on top of that, me developing every single day… I will always keep personal values to heart when it comes to Pawlean…
- I will always be real and authentic in my creative work
- I will never try to be someone that I’m not (I’m never meant to be in the Fashion Blogging world)
- I will never let views and statistics blur my blog’s aim to create a space for me to be creative and inspire others.
The best of Pawlean
I have these listed on my Online page, but I wanted to bring light again to the blog posts I loved writing and sharing:
- A year of positive habits and focus on self-care: where my health and well-being journey began!
- Somewhere Only We Know: a letter to the one, during a time in space.
- 5 things I have learnt in 2016: you’ll find me doing these a lot. I am the self-reflection queen.
- Paying it Forward: how community work changed my life
- Practicing Mindfulness: the first time I mentioned meditation on my blog, since then it’s discussed daily.
- A reflection of my placement year: I was thrown into the “real world” for a year, here’s what I thought about it.
- People reading and connecting from around the world
- Speaking about Pawlean at conferences e.g. Inspire WiT and Code First: Girls Northern Conference
- Having Pawlean shared at University – literally everywhere!
- Winning awards that mention Pawlean (even if it isn’t the main reason I won the award)
- Having the chance to be interviewed and featured on things because of Pawlean’s identity
- Being recognised in real life and giving people real life hugs!!!!
- Meeting blogger friends
- Shipping 40+ Pawlean stickers and business cards across the world in the last two weeks.
"Omg this is weird but are you Pauline? I read your blog!!!" 😱
— Pauline P. Narvas (@paulienuh) April 24, 2017
Omw to work this morning, a girl came up to me and was like "Hey, this is gonna be weird but you're pauline right? as in p-a-w-l-e-a-n"
— Pauline P. Narvas (@paulienuh) February 9, 2017
🎉 Giveaway time
To celebrate Pawlean’s birthday, I’m giving away a copy of Gary Vee’s book “Crushing It!” along with a Pawlean sticker.
This book is an interesting one that really highlights the impact of the platforms we use every day. To me, it was intriguing and motivating to embrace changes in the digital world and really take advantage of these tools, if we want to! I found reading it very creatively stimulating. 🤩
For a chance to win, comment below how you found Pawlean!
Thank you to everyone that has followed along with my journey in life through my digital lens, I appreciate it the daily and growing love. I can’t say it enough! 🤗
Here’s to more Pawlean birthdays 🎂💜
Interested in starting your own blog? I have just the blog post for it!
TL:DR: As cliche as it sounds… just start. It’s not going to be perfect right off the bat, but don’t you think that there is something great about seeing progress over time?