Friday, 25 April 2014

Going Through Changes

Those of you who have been here at Zombies for a long time are probably wondering why I've changed Zombies into a music blog and how she's recently turned her back on her beauty blogging roots. Thanks to the #fblchat last night, I've been giving this topic of transitioning blogs a lot of thought, and it was about time I offered you an explanation, apology and promise all in one. 

THE EXPLANATION - There are a thousand massive fundamental differences between beauty and music blogging, and every single one of them was my reason for changing allegiances. While utterly incomparable in terms of their content, beauty and music seemed like chalk and cheese to me. Beauty blogging consists of taking a product at face value, considering it's packaging, look and feel, then comparing it with its wearability, staying power, value and whether it's fit for purpose. But begin discussing when the product was released and why this is a key point in the brand's development and readers will soon lose interest, even faster if you started introducing a potted history of the brand, or even the type of product itself. Music is a permeable topic that can be compared with the artist's previous output and even the output of other artists, so it's easier to convey a message to the audience 'if you like that, you'll like this'.

Of course, you could take beauty blogging to the next level and introduce discussions on the parabens and nasty ingredients, just like you can with music by stripping a track down to the bare bones, but Zombies' mission statement was always to treat the reader as an at-a-glance beauty consumer, with very little time to waste in the drugstore researching the ins and outs of a product, never mind the lack of interest in whether a product is good for you at an atomic level - I was always more interested in consumers who want to know if something works and how long for. 

A beauty review can be finished in a day, providing the weather and lighting is on your side, but a music review takes a week at the very least. Music journalism requires a heck of a lot more research and foundation work, which I'm used to after my degree, and I feel like a weight's lifted off my shoulders when I've finished a music review because it's taken countless hours to research the band, their previous albums, their current and previous labels, their mission statement, the band members and their individual skills with their instruments. It's not a case of taking a look at an album and thinking to yourself, 'well it looks nice, it must be good' - it's about listening to that album more times than you care to count, until you know every note, every lyric, every emotion. It's a more involved, personal process and I fell in love with it.

It's not that I've lost my interest in beauty products, not by any means, but that beauty blogging just didn't seem to suit me. I found the language I was striving to use in posts was a bit simple, and I wasn't happy with any post I published because they felt childish and plain. At least with my music posts, I feel accomplished and proud to publish my material because I've spent days and nights contemplating the structure and content of each and every sentence. The amount of work that goes into an album or gig review is reflected by the blog readers, who don't expect a review every day and certainly don't put on any pressure to keep blogging regularly. As you might already know from beauty blogging yourself or from reading that kind of blogs, it's easy to fall into the trap of feeling compelled to blog every day just to keep your readership. I've seen this kind of pressure take its toll on many beauty blogging friends over the two years I've been here, and it really does damage your confidence and your ability to enjoy yourself when you're feeling like you really should finish that review today or it won't be live by tomorrow. Music blogging isn't exactly casual, but its a lot less of a pressurised environment when readers see how much research goes into each post.

Constant beauty blogging was getting far too expensive for me, and I just grew tired of slotting my hard-earned money back into the tills at Superdrug. Along with the compulsion to blog regularly, the habit became too costly for a student like  me, as it turns out I barely have enough money coming in for my own necessary cosmetics repurchases, never mind impulse buys, brand new releases and the dreaded 3 for 2 deal.

The one advantage that beauty holds over music is the ability bloggers have to write about a product no matter how long it's been since it was released. It could be that you stumbled upon a fantastic eyeliner in the drugstore and have no idea when it was released, but still write about it anyway. However, review a decade old album at your peril, unless of course your niche depends on hearing about music they've probably already heard. This is one reason why I haven't totally abandoned beauty blogging, because it's easy to drop back in with a review of something I've been using for months or only just discovered, and it would fit in just fine.

I guess the most important reason for this change is my focus on my future career. Having finished university bar two exams, I need to concentrate on where I'm heading next, and music journalism was always part of my plan, to work up to writing for rock magazines or even just writing in my spare time. Now I have the time to dedicate to such an involved process, I feel like I can produce the kind of journalism I always knew I was capable of. I adore writing about bands, band members, albums, gigs, you name it - it's not just a step towards a career, it's a passion and I'm finally realising it. I've always written about bands with a drive to let bands know how inspirational they are to the kids like me sat in their rooms, playing their records on loop because their lives depend on them. It's a critic that can make or break a musician's career, and that kind of responsibility is frightening but somewhat exciting nonetheless. I'll be making every attempt to get my writing out onto as many different platforms as possible, whether it be music dedicated blogs, online magazines - this is a path I've only dared to dream about since I was a teenager, so being given the chance to live it is just unbelievable to me.

THE APOLOGY - If you're solely here for my beauty reviews, then I can only apologise for the lack of applicable content here. I'm sorry for changing my direction and I'm aware I'll have lost the niche I entered blogging with. But bear in mind I'm not departing beauty blogging forever, I'll be back with some beauty posts every so often, but just not as regularly as before. I'm throwing in some style posts with OOTDs as well, so if that's your kind of thing, there's more to look forward to than the next beauty review.

THE PROMISE - I'm still the same old Ali Zombie. I haven't changed. You probably know I started a separate music blog Zombies Wear Band Shirts about a year ago, so music has always been a part of me, but I wanted to bring it forward to Eyeliner so it had more of a permanent, accepting home. Of course, if things don't work out over here on the main blog, I'll shuffle the music related posts back to Band Shirts and ensure this blog is kept alive with lifestyle and fashion posts, but until then, I think change is good. Change keeps us going. So fancy keeping going with me?

If any of you lovely readers have any advice for me in advancing a music journalism career, whether it's hints, tips, or recommended websites to pursue about publishing my work, I'd love to hear from you through the comments or the gazillion social networking sites I frequent.
Blimey, that was a long post! If you're still reading, congratulations, have a cookie, but I can't promise it won't be half-eaten.

A post about changes wouldn't be 'me' if it didn't involve a reference to Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne, would it?

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