Stages of a Perfume Blogger (A Cautionary Tale)


First quickly – Vero Profumo’s new Mito, coming in September.  Green, floral, Sous le Vent turns hippie, completely with flowers in hair, weird – you’ll love it!! Notes citrus, magnoli, jasmine, galbanum, hyacinth, cypress and moss.

Rehashing last week’s “Who gets to Write About Perfume” isn’t where I’m heading, though I have to say it was fun to read.  Engagement at that level and with such thoughtful people commenting is exhilarating – thanks to everyone who played and to Ari for bringing it up.  My opinion now and forever will be – everyone gets a voice at this table through reviews, blogging, commenting, YouTube, and I’m happy for there to be 4 or 4,000.

What I hope everyone who read it took away is that there is room for every voice.  Perfume Blogs can have 2 fans or 20,000, and it makes neither more valid, just more popular.  If you haven’t read it, you should read Brian’s post at I Smell Therefore I am (a commenter referenced this, and thanks for doing so!). It is also thoughtful, and I found myself nodding in complete agreement with most or all of it.  It could be my advancing years, but watching an arbitrary “smart blogger” Internet Sorting Hat Ceremony playing out about perfume (perfume! not world peace!) is equal parts weird and funny!  It also makes me incredibly empathic about that stage of blogging, having been on both sides at one time.

Oh,also, also.  Our linking policy. We didn’t really have one until recently because it’s one detail of life I just kind of ignore unless someone asks. If you have a perfume blog and want to be linked here, I’m happy to do that, just click the contact us at the top and send me your link.  The only think I ask is that you post regularly, link back to us and have been blogging for at least three months. I don’t really care personally about some of those criteria, but I don’t like going through a bunch of links on someone’s sidebar and finding about 50% of them are dead.  I will comb through our links monthly, and anything that’s not been updated in a month gets unlisted. I installed a new link thingie  ->  look over there to the right, down, down, down.  There. See, it shows all the perfume blogs we link to and when they were last updated.  If your link goes to 30 days since last update, it’s gone!   But as long as you know my guidelines so nobody gets their feelings hurt, send me your perfume blog links.  I’m thinking of adding a perfume blogger feature once a month. No, not reviewing perfume bloggers, just doing one or two and what their approach is, introducing them to our readers for more exposure.  As I was mid-write on this, I decided I have not made enough time to go visit my OWN scented blogroll, clicked over to Ari’s post from last week and see she’s already reaching out, and it’s a great idea!

I’ve been perfume blogging for 7 years, blogging in general for 9.  When I started, perfume bloggers were –  Robin at Now Smell This, Marina at Perfume Smellin’ things, Victoria at Bois de Jasmin,  and a few others that started around when I did that are no longer blogging – Katie, Cait, Ina and more!  The perfume bloggers still here and actively blogging have continually reformulated their blogs and style – adding new writers, writing less, taking a long break, refraining from public snarks and criticism.  I won’t pretend for a second that any of us haven’t felt any number of things that weren’t charitable or complained privately or otherwise about things that have been done or said over the years. What I think we all did pretty well was made sure there were no public fights and no public pretense of some superiority to any other blogger.  We all just kept doing the work. 

Some brilliant bloggers – if you didn’t read some of these people, you missed something really special – wrote for a while and then eventually quit, and all of them were solo blogs.  If you are blogging on your own and have any intention of blogging beyond a couple of years, my best advice?  Get a friend or two to start writing with/for you or get guest posters, collaborate with another blogger to post their content on your blog and yours on theirs – it will build your audience, give you fresh content, and keep you from burning out.  Blogs survive if you have new content every day or at least five days a week – you build community and readership and stability. No one wants to click on a favorite blog day after day and find nothing new – they eventually stop visiting.  When I was by myself – before the Darling Miss March pestered me so much that I asked her to start writing just so she’d stop e-mailing me every three hours – cranking out five blogs a week on perfume was exhausting. I couldn’t do it, and I admired the bloggers that did. I tried, sometimes did it, sometimes didn’t, but knew that was heading for a major crash and burn without reinforcements.  Besides, I’m not that funny or entertaining even one day a week, keeping it up five days a week won’t happen – ask my ex-husbands.

March, Lee, Bryan, Anita, Ann, Tom, along with new and also brilliant, fun other writers in the last couple of months, provide those unique voices on the Posse.  March and I, when we renamed it Perfume Posse, to reflect multi-authorship, really had no clue that we would ever find writing 2-3 times a week hard and would need more writers.    When my enthusiasm was lagging at some point or life was so horrible in others, my co-writers kept on writing and entertained you and made you think when I could barely manage to put two sentences together.  Friends don’t let other friends blog alone.

There are stages in blogging, whether about perfume or some other shared passion – could be wine, Bulldogs or Pez dispensers.

Stage One Egg 

OMG, I LOVE perfume, I want to try everything and it’s all so wonderful, and man, how can I get more samples to try and I lovelovelove this and want to tell everyone how great it is, and hey, I need one of those perfume blogs (the actual trajectory of thought may vary, this was something close to my head back then!)  Potential blogger may be misinformed about all the “free perfume loot” bloggers actually get.  What they have in abundance is passion, and they want a place to express everything they are trying and feeling about it.  What they lack, usually, unless they have been writing publicly in some other venue, is a concrete idea about their own style of approaching perfume writing.  Style will start out differently for each one – technical, pure passion, humor, lyrical, feeling – and may stay in the same style or evolve.  Each one, as they enter into writing about perfume, will be reaching out to find their unique voice.  But they are an egg, still forming. They should be treated gently, encouraged.

I was an ugly little egg, speckled and unformed, which is not who I am in real life, but trying to write about perfume will drive you to madness if you do not figure out quickly how you want to talk about it.  I tried to write like other people I read, at least until it became clear that, while emulation is flattering, it’s not pretty to read. Alyssa Harad has a great little segment (sorry, Alyssa, I’m talking about your book!) in  Coming to My Senses that talks about her first forays into reading The Posse, which is hysterical. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but Alyssa’s brief story within her book reminded me of the things I already knew. Well, I’m not about to spoil it for you!  Get a copy of the book when it’s released next month, and you’ll see for yourself!

By the time we hit the egg, we had found our voice – March and me – and it wasn’t really like anyone else’s – at least not then – but it was authentic, even if it was not always ladylike, poetic or genteel.  We appealed to some readers, and others clicked  little Red X.  That’s what’s so nifty about the world – not everyone is gonna like you, and chances are the people that clicked the Red X aren’t people I’d spend time with in my real life, and they wouldn’t want to spend time with me.

Sometimes, though, if you push yourself a little, you find room for someone’s opinion of how to do things different from your own.  Life should be a surprise, but only if you stop excluding everything/one that disagrees with you.

Get backup, and don’t worry about making everyone like you.

Stage Two Worm – Hey, got a few months of blogging, have some readers, I’m great

AND awesome! 

I’m thinking I might just be The.Next.Perfume.Critic.Genius.  Watch out Chandler and Luca, I’m on your 6 and about to buzz your famous scented little heads with my hot perfume blogging action.  What’s annoying about this perfume blogging = there are so many new perfume bloggers, not to mention those old-timer boring perfume blogs!  Wow, won’t they ever stop? They are worse than a plague of uninformed locusts. 

This stage?  Ew, it’s kinda icky, and I went through it too briefly.  The “exclusionary” phase.  Keep the rabble out, protect our turf, except I went through it at a time when about five blogs were the entire turf available, so every new perfume blogger was, in theory, taking turf.  Lucky for me, I’m fairly oblivious,  really dislike drama that takes more time than a phone call with your best girlfriend, and I have the attention span of a gnat. Combined, I don’t get terribly anxious about how life works out, as did the other “older” blog sites, and we all just carried on, each continuing to develop our own unique voice, finding space for other writers on our blogs, expanding, carving out what we did best.    Some blogs don’t make it past this stage, they just don’t hit their stride, lost passion for the subject or writing about it, didn’t have the energy to blog regularly.

The Posse? We know who we are, and we aren’t serious, never have been.  Sometimes we will touch on deeply personal subjects, but we talk about that to express something about how a perfume makes us feel.  We love perfume, but we will never pretend to be anything beyond huge fans. We used to be a lot snarkier, but that changed once we knew what a few ugly, but clever, negative remarks can do to an indie perfume line –  you put the “mean” pin back in the grenade after you’ve seen Perfumer Body Parts blown to bits on their distribution channel.  

We did some of our most inspired work in those years – Posse 101, 201, Drugstore Cowgirls, blind scent smelling with other blogs, and got links from The Financial Times, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, etc.  This stage can be intoxicating and lead to an overdeveloped sense of your own importance, and it is usually the stage of a successful blog right before BlogDeath.  In this stage, develop a sense of humility or it will be foisted upon you from somewhere that will probably be more public and painful.  Learn to respect those new Eggs hatching, many of them will be more brilliant than you, and that is so damn awesome!  They learned from you, from reading you and your peers, and then they did it better, smarter.  If someone is emulating you? Feel flattered and just keep going.

Stage Three Pupa – What the hell happened, genius? 

No inspiration, jaded, disillusioned, weary, and cranking out posts every week – 2, 3, 4, doesn’t matter – is turning into drudgery. I don’t have anything to say!  I want to be left alone!!!  This stage may come on naturally, or you may get tossed into the uninspired writing pile by personal life upheavals.  For me, it was the latter.  A divorce, some deep unhappiness in other areas of my life that I felt trapped in will suck all the enthusiasm you have out of you.  Even getting down to writing less often – one or two times a week, was more than I could manage.  March and Anita took things over, and I’m so glad they did.  They kept everything all sparkly and shiny so you would notice less that depressed person over in the corner sobbing in their champagne.  Well, okay, you noticed, but you politely averted your eyes. I am grateful.

Advice in this stage – shore up and call in even more backups because you will need them for the moment life smacks you between the eyes with a tragedy or difficulty that will take your head completely out of writing.  Your blog must go on without you, or you need it to Die.  Many bloggers elect BlogEradication, they get sporadic with posting, once a week, then skip a couple of weeks while on vacation, and then months go by, and if they think about blogging again, they come back to crickets because everyone who read them is gone.

This stage is the darkness, it is the lack of direction, the formless. The voice you thought you had seems trite or not authentic anymore – you changed, life changed, your attitude changed.  You will either go in, sort it all out and find out who you turned into as a writer, or you’ll stop this pointless blog-xistence.  You really don’t care anymore about all those damn upstarts with their shiny new WordPress blogs, you just wish they’d come write your blog post every day so you could ignore the blank pages.

I don’t know what the averages are, but I would speculate wildly and without any statistics to back me up except watching blogs die for 9 years that about 90% of blogs die in this stage.  I still mourn some incredibly clever writers.

Stage Four Butterfly – You have inflicted your worst on your blog, and it survived! 

One day you wake up and look around and go, hey!  I love this writing thing, and I LOVE writing about perfume. Well, okay, love it some of the time. You don’t need a voice or a gimmick or angle.  You are free to be you and try and help others if they want or ask for it.  Of course, Patty defines “help” as talking them into writing for her blog for the, um … yeah!  exposure!  No, seriously, I love reading new perfume bloggers in all of their stages – well, except Stage Two hitting its zenith, nobody wants to see that – they bring life and enthusiasm to the subject, and if you listen and pay attention, you’ll find that little spark down inside of you that never went out, that loves perfume and wants to talk about it. Those little eggs and worms are what re-fuels us into falling in love with perfume over and over.  It’s also good for readers – if your favorite blogs just aren’t getting you excited about any perfume at all, go find some new ones!  Trust me, you’ll find some that will have a completely different approach that will probably get you interested again.

Advice?  Just get there. It is a beautiful journey to write through the darkness, blind and uncaring, so turned inward on your own pain that you just want to fall on your blog and go out in a blaze of glory rather than keep writing. Okay, that part of the journey isn’t that beautiful, it’s really pretty miserable, but when you come out the other side? – And you will –  the sun will be shining brighter than before, and you won’t care about blogging heirarchy or who is the smartest or most popular or has a mean Social Game that is completely kicking your ass on readership.  You are just so damn happy to have this space to talk about something you love and some really kind, lovely, lively people to share with you in the conversation.

BTW, I am NOT criticizing any blogger out there.  This is a really general observation about the stages I went through and observing others going through it from outside, not just in perfume blogging, but other kinds as well.

If you got to the end – yeah!!!! – let’s have cupcakes!  Okay, can’t send those out, but I do have those new Guerlain things, the Desert whatevers? I haven’t reviewed them and may not.  Oud’s not really my thing. One of them is refined, one is rosey, one is skanky. There, done. 🙂  But!  Drop a comment, and if you’re inclined, share how reading blogs has helped or not in your perfume journey. Do you prefer a single voice on a blog, or is the MPD of a multi-person blog working better? I’ll give away three sets of those samples to commenters.

  • Portia says:

    Hello Patty,
    As a first stage blogger, late stage addict, I wanted to say thanks for trailblazing and letting us baby bloggers jump in. Seriously can’t wait to get to the later part of stage 2 because I’m already pretty damn up myself, this could get totally Joan Crawford.
    Portia xx

  • Brooke says:

    I have to chime in because I am one of the many who read your blog religiously but don’t comment very often. For the last 5 years, perfume blogs (Posse, Now smell This, Bois de Jasmin, the Non-blonde, and a dozen others) have brought me an enormous amount of pleasure. I like both a single voice blog and multi-contributors as long as the postings are frequent and current. Each blog has a different voice and point of view but I love the sense of community surrounding all. Thank you for being so engaging and embracing your readers (especially with comments). The underlying thread of commonality is a shared love of not just fragrance, but fragrance lovers too.

  • nozknoz says:

    I read several perfume blogs regularly and I guess they are fairly evenly split between single author and multi-author. I don’t see how the single authors do it, since it’s clear that a lot of work and time go into testing, writing and finding great illustrations. I’m terribly grateful to you and other bloggers for sharing your knowledge, experiences, warmth, wit, wisdom, talent and creativity. Not to mention samples! I’m very curious about these desert Guerlains!

    • Patty says:

      I talked to Musette tonight, and she can’t even imagine a time when March and I were cranking out 2-3 posts apiece a week.

      We always get to a point if we are down a writer that we think about not having a post on Friday or some other day, and I just hate that! It seems so naked!

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    Now this reminds me to get started on that pile of unsniffed and worn decants that need to be reviewed. I’m in that lethargic stage where I just don’t wanna blog at all. And sometimes the weather is so fickle (65 degrees until 5pm then goes to 90 degrees) that I really can’t make a fair judgement.

    • Patty says:

      Summer is brutal for perfume blogging! I just wear Dior Grand Bal or Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan or one of the Bvlgari teas. colorado is so freaking hot right now. We are sandwiched in between two big wildfires – northern Colorado and New Mexico, and the sky is smoke, and it feels like we are living in scorched hell.

      I really, really can’t wait until it’s time to go on our Alaskan Cruise!!!

  • Perfumista8 says:

    I enjoy reading some blogs more than others because there are different voices & opinions from which to learn. As in real life, I’m not interested in surrounding myself with a bunch of clones. I want to be challenged, surprised or amused sometimes. Other times I find I’m melancholy, grateful or don’t know where I am. Blogs are a way we can go on journeys together with all types of tour guides.

    • Patty says:

      Yeah, finding a good match for your day or week or month is a great way to go ! Even if it’s finding the opposite to try and pull yourself out of a place you don’t want to be. I think reading younger, incredibly enthusiastic blogs are a great place to go when you’re feeling disenchanted with the direction of perfumery.

  • Meg says:

    Really interesting take on perfumista evolution, Patty. I’m not sure where I fit, what stage I currently inhabit. Even if its results are public, writing (like reading) is such a private thing– an inward communion, an outward communication, a clearing-away of the clouds. I feel a sort of all-encompassing “Aaaaahhhh…” when I do it. I imagine it’s the same for everyone who writes, and (I hope) also for those who read. Ego rewards, reader stats, “likes”, pundit status, free stuff = unintelligible in the face of the big “Aaaaahhhh….”

    • Patty says:

      Yeah, I think that’s it. the weird stages are the ones where those “aaaaahhhhhs” become so far apart. It’s like when sex is few and far between, you just want to almost stop rather than get to the good part because the after without, not knowing when the next one is coming – oh, the puns, sorry! – is depressing. Better to not have than to go through that. Not that I’m suggesting that! But it’s a feeling that passes through, and I think some people heed it just by ignoring it.

      Writing is creating, and creating is doubt, if you are really doing it, really writing from the place inside that’s completely you. LIving in the big question for long periods of time is incredibly painful. I know that from probably every angle of my life. Most times I deal with it okay, and other times I have too many big questions to be able to breathe. 🙂

      • Meg says:

        RE: the parallel you draw between writing & sex– this made me smile and nod my head at the same time. (I once had a friend who said, “Every conversation should be like really amazing sex, and all sex ought to be a really amazing conversation.” True blue rule for living!) And what you said about “living in the big question” = I feel this too with my hand over my heart. The pain of it can drive you toward creativity, and it can take you far away from it, too.

  • Musette says:

    I remember when the first Web Logs came out. I remember when a friend got paid SMOKIN’ money for a website that was, basically, two posts a week about bees. I thought they were nuts! Then I woke up from a 100-yr old nap and everybody was blogging! I think your stages are spot-on! And your advice is, too! I love writing and admining for the Posse but can’t imagine taking on all the background ‘stuff’ you do to keep this train on the tracks! You rock, Miss Patty. Yew. Jes’ ROCK!

    xoxoxo :Devil:

  • rosiegreen says:

    I have been reading the Posse for about 6 years and I really appreciate the fact that you are still going strong. It has been a wonderful perfumed journey for me to find other people who enjoy the perfumed life. The blogs that I appreciate the most have shared love of perfume, different points of view and personal experiences that have added to my life journey. Bravo to all the perfumista’s who share this passion with the world.

  • Joan says:

    Thanks for telling me about the stages, Patty. I hadn’t thought about it, but you just helped me do so. Pretty sure I’ve been hanging around at 3.

    I’m starting to review food and other things, so I can come up with more to post more often. I have enormous respect for people who can do this every day.

    • Patty says:

      Joan, it is brutal! I think if you are by yourself, you just have to do a realistic schedule, even if it’s 2x a week. And then you run dry for weeks at a time. I know I go through it and just phone it in until i can get either time or interest or something back.

      I hope I never revert back to Phase 3, but know it’s highly likely to be a revisit at least once or twice more in my life. xoxo

  • Nina Z says:

    Before I’d even finished reading this post, I thought, I must share this with my blogging partner (Baxter Bell, with whom I write the Yoga for Healthy Aging blog)! Because recently I’ve started to look around for a few more regular contributors because I became concerned about keeping up with the pace of posting 5 days a week (even though I still love blogging). And there’s so much other advice in here that’s valuable for bloggers on any topic!

    At first reading the perfume blogs was all about perfume for me. I loved your voices and your passion for perfume (had try all the perfumes on your 6 perfumes that are my loves post), etc. But I was also unconsciously learning about how to blog! And when the circumstances were right, I was all primed to jump in and create a yoga blog inspired by, um, perfume blogs something I don’t necessarily share with my readers. So thanks for continuing to guide me! (I still love perfume and perfume blogs, by the way. My guilty non-yogic pleasure.)

    • Patty says:

      What’s your yoga blog link, Nina?

      Yeah, this is advice for any blogger, not specific to perfume. I’ve seen some crazy stuff on blogs. It’s much more prevalent on political blogs, passionate people, cult of personality, egos and stress of writing go up, criticism, meltdowns. Seriously nuts. Entertaining at first, but then it just got uncomfortable to watch. Haven’t seen that sort of crazy in perfume. Anyone that’s on the nutty side now, perfume or otherwise, I just take a wide berth.

      I do recommend some guest posters or friends that will fill in, even if it’s just to do a “best of” thing while you’re away or if something happens, a family emergency. It’s just not great to worry about your blog when you have life mortar shells going off everywhere.

    • Patty says:

      Never mind, figured it out, clicked on your name. nice blog, I’ll keep visiting! You know I love yoga!

  • dremybluz says:

    Well a writer I am not, so the thought of writing a blog is completely out of the question. When I started this new perfume journey I found the possee by luck and chance. Patty and March became my givers of Mother’s Milk and teething biscuits concerning perfume. I was elated to know that there were all these crazy people like me who had a marvelous love of perfume. It was so great finding I could be a member of such a wonderful family. I have laughed and cried along with all the others members with all the glorious stories that have unfolded here on the blog. I learned to branch out and find other blogs—now I have more blogs that I can even begin to read. Daily each one brings a new facet into my life. I have enjoyed the new voices on the possee but am always the happiest when the original Moms are writing for us.Patty, March, and Anita I thank all of you and the others for making my life feel more complete. I bow and give you all praise for the diligent time you have invested, and all the hard work you have done to make the Possee one of the best blogs out there, and I hope that the blog continues to bloom and grow so to be able to continue to feed and nurture all it’s brood.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, you’re gonna make me tear up! Hey, thanks of reading us and sticking with us through the years, I think it’s as much of a commitment sometimes on the reader side to keep up with everything! xoxo

  • I have found so many lovely perfumes due to the efforts of bloggers. There are so many options I would never have known about. Not to mention that it was very reassuring to find out that I am no some perfume obsessed one of a kind freak! No, not alone in this at all.
    Great post Patty!

  • Nita says:

    Blogs have been a god-send for me- I have no one to share my interest in perfume, and live well over an hour from any source of any but the most mass- market fragrances. I view the internet as a marvelous educational tool, and it has increased my knowledge about and enjoyment of fragrance immeasurably. Thank you to ALL of you who write singly or sharing a blog with other writers- I continue to enjoy a number of different voices with their varying outlooks.

  • Jared says:

    Wow, blogs were crucial to my interest in perfumery! I think it’s been about 4 years now (crazy), but reading these blogs was such an integral part of my acquisition of knowledge and interest that I can’t imagine the fabric of my day-to-day rhythms without them! Thanks for sticking through to butterfly stage! And this has lit a fire under me for my own blogging…I can totally relate. What I have in mind now is checking out those additional sidebar links and casting the net a little wider to see who else is out there. I stick with my faves, but a little exploration might be interesting. I think multiple voices on blogs are ok by me, as long as I recognize them. There’s probably a cap on the number of voices before things get too chaotic, you know? Things stay interesting and complex at a certain number, but cross that threshold and it’s too confusing. (I’ve been reading a lot of complexity theory lately. Nerd.) I don’t know what that threshold is yet, though 🙂

    • Patty says:

      jared, I don’t know what that threshhold is either! What’s fun is trying to figure it out.

      We are kind of uniquely positioned because people that read us tend to read us for the occasional lunacy when we lose our minds somehow or another. People that find that offputting go read other blogs. So when I asked for writers, people that are interested are ones that have been reading us, like the informal style, and write more like that. Plus, I’m pretty laid back about what people write. Just no politics or religion (religion is okay as a passing reference if it relates to perfume, which a lot of perfumes will do). Easy. 🙂

      There are a LOT of blogs out there. I’ve been incredibly neglectful of keeping up on them, so it’s taking a while to find my way around!

  • Poodle says:

    I love the perfume blogs and gradually I’m getting around to checking more of them out. They are immensely helpful in my crazy little hobby/obsession. I love different writers and viewpoints and usually find them entertaining even if I don’t agree with them. I have thought about blogging and probably will throw my hat into the blogging ring but I can assure you it won’t be about perfume though I would probably mention it. I’m not that well versed in fragrance to think I could blog exclusively about it and I admire people who are able to. I love the people who comment as well and think their voices are just as important. I do comment on a few but I lurk on quite a few more. Sometimes I have nothing to say and other days I just can’t shut up. I like the fact that for the most part on the perfume blogs it’s okay to have differing opinions. If you hate a fragrance no one holds it against you and they understand because I think we’ve all been there. I think every blogger and commenter has something to bring to the table and I miss those voices when they disappear for what ever reason.

    • Patty says:

      I couldn’t agree more about the commenters! Perfume blogging is a little unique in that it’s a much better experience with those readers’ voices thrown in. It gives depth, feedback, additional opinions, some of them on the complete opposite side! I think that’s great because then people know that good-hearted people with some experience in perfume can disagree on what is good/great/wearable.

      i know there are commenters that have gone over the years, and I still miss so many of them. I know lives just move on sometimes, and you may read or not, but just went down some other path.

      what would you blog about? If you ever start that blog, let me know, I’ll be there to read it!

  • Sam says:

    I love your perfume reviews–but lately I’ve been having so much fun reading your posts, like this one, on broader topics. This was just great.

    I discovered perfume blogs in 2006–and they changed my world. I’d been a frag fanatic for decades at that point but suddenly I realized I could type in the name of a favorite fragrance (say, Eau de Camille, to pick one completely at random :Happy-Grin:) and read what others had to say about it. And such poetry they wrote–or such detailed, professional assessments–or such hilarious skewers of loathsome frags! A world opened up to me. I didn’t feel any need to add my voice to the perfume-blog universe at that point, but I adored reading my favorite blogs (of which Perfume Posse was certainly one–tho, at the time, the graphic you used caused a bit of consternation at work, when others looked over my shoulder to see what I was reading!) every day. Those blogs inspired a million (well, close) new purchases as well–so, uh, it was a mixed blessing. 😉

    As for whether I prefer single-voice blogs vs multi-voice blogs, I’ve learned over the years that it really depends on the voices. One of my fav blogs added new voices, and I couldn’t stand them. They were waaaay wrong for me, and I eventually stopped reading that blog. Perfume Posse (you’ll think I’m shining you on, but I’m not–really), perhaps because it was already multi-voice when I found it (you, March, Lee–at least), always worked for me. So did another blog that has featured multiple voices for years; tho the voices change every so often, the personality of that blog always shines through. And like you said, you can read the voices you love best and leave the rest for others to enjoy.

    Jeez. Long. Really what I most mean to say is: long live perfume blogs, in all their guises!

    • Patty says:

      I’ve thought about what I would have written about, if I could have without having people wonder wtf just happened, during some of the worst of those times. Probably relationships, betrayal, the nature of hate and forgiveness, and how you navigate the balance of trying to hold great love for a person with great hate without compromising either. I’d love to write about those things, and I even thought about doing a relationship blog for a while, then decided I was nuts to even think for a second that I could do two blogs. but I’d still like to write that stuff, I might just have to do it as some other thing.

      I really need to get around and read more, but I usually have no time to even respond to comments, much less read other blogs, but I think I need to find the time somehow!

      • Sam says:

        I hope you do find the right vehicle (sorry for the ad speak) for your non-perfume writing. You have a great writing style and a lot of interesting things to say, and I KNOW I’m not alone in saying we’d love to hear it all!

  • Patty says:

    Excellent post. I’ve never had the desire to blog about perfume. Although I love fragrance, I don’t really have anything unique to add to the discussion, and just like to share my enthusiasm with others as a commenter. There wouldn’t be any perfume journey at all without the blogs. When I discovered them a few years ago, I had no idea there were nutty people out there like me. Reading blogs introduced me to the other nuts, taught me about the technical aspects of perfume, helped refine my tastes, and added a whole new dimension of fun to my life! Since I can’t possibly read all of them, I focus on the ones with “voices” that resonate for me.

    • Patty says:

      You know, that’s so great to hear. What we don’t always hear about are the readers/commenters that have been taking a journey while reading blogs – whether one, two or many! – and taking it along with us,just quietly. That’s a very cool thing to think about, thanks!

  • Asali says:

    Hi Patty, thank you SO much for this post. I love your description of your perfume posse journey, it’s so honest and I think will ring true with many bloggers.I hope some great bloggers will listen to your advice so they will stay around, and not suffer from blog-fatigue. The whole issue of who’s allowed and what should the level of knowledge be before writing about perfume, has, I find, always had the somewhat sour aftertaste, of the writer him or herself, thinking that what they did was the right way- no matter if veteran or newbie. And what I did when I found the whole thing was becoming a tad too self righteous; I pressed the little red cross. Instead I found new and great voices that I liked better, both ones I agreed with and ones I didn’t, but where I liked the individual style.
    I think, I don’t mind too much if it’s a one person’s blog or a ‘posse’:-) However, in a blogging community I think to me it’s important to feel that there’s a unanimity in approach. Like, here at the posse where things have always been of the laid back- I love perfume-kind, a chemist-know-it-all-writer would stick out and be confusing. Also, I think even multi-person-blogs need a heart, the one who started it all needs to be around enough for me to feel they still care.

    I can wholeheartedly say that I agree with everything you said and found it very helpful. But even more, I felt that as the first person ever you managed to write in a way which wasn’t judging and which was respectful towards all other bloggers.

    • Patty says:

      oh, gosh, thanks! I started writing this as a short piece, but my new “disciplined writing” regimen is leading to longer than normal posts. but I like it more than my crackblog style of doing it at 9 p.m. when it needs to be posted at 10 p.m. Putting those days gently behind me. 🙂

      I hope this helps too. I don’t think most bloggers wind up with big egos at all, I think there’s just a temptation for everyone – most/all don’t go there. the harder thing is that they will stop. I enjoy so many blogs, but over the years, so many have quit, it’s hard to pick up a new one, just to see it go the same way. It’s like losing this cherished part of your day. I’ve decided to just ignore that, go, read, enjoy, and if they quit in a year, I’ve had the joy of reading them during that time and their unique insights.

      I’m completely okay with where we are here – sense of humor about the whole thing, even though we have a level of fan-girl’ishness that’s a little embarrassing.

      I hope people know I wrote this to try and encourage people to keep writing, find another way to do it – whether joining up with some other independents or something. Because just about the time you are feeling good about your blog, something will hit to change it!

  • Marla says:

    I started perfume blogging 6 years ago, as a guest writer on PST, then as a regular. I never wanted my own blog because I was lazy and wanted to let Marina handle all the “stuff”. Also, I knew there would be times when I would have absolutely nothing to say about perfume, and she was cool with that. It’s been very rewarding.
    I love your Stages of Blogging and I think you are right on. I’ve just started my own blog (on gardening, but some perfumery-related gardening, too!), and I’m thinking of all these stages and going, “Uh oh…”- I’m in Stage 1 and lovin’ it when I see another country go green on my traffic map! I don’t want to get to the point where I don’t care when Croatia lights up….

    • Musette says:

      I think the stages come and go, Marla. So don’t be discouraged if you aren’t ‘feeling’ Croatia that day – you’ll be squealing with delight a few days later!!!

      xo :Devil: who LOVES your new blog, btw!

    • Patty says:

      Awesome.What is your gardening blog? I think perfumistas/os are multi-passionate (this word is getting thrown around so much these days, which I’ve decided just means ADHD) and could probably write bogs on a variety of subjects they love – books, gardening, cooking. Maybe we need a multi-passionate blog devoted just to all those other things for people who DON’T want to solo it, but want their own area to talk about their stuff.

      Hmmmmmm……. I might need to think about that, if there were enough interest. I mean, blogging has just zero money in it. There were pockets of money in it here and there, and some people at the very top of their niche do fine, not getting rich. I’ve tried to figure out for years how to get this blog do more than pay the bills. I do my little adsense and am trying amazon links, and it’s about enough to pay the expenses and sorta kinda cover my time of admin. I’m SURE there is some model out there that would allow for big blog cash to come pouring int so all the writers could be paid handsomely! Ha!

  • Mark Behnke says:

    As both blogger (although I hope I’m not seen as one of Zazie’s out of control ego-driven ones) and reader I definitely have watched the blogs I read and write for go through all of these stages Patty describes. I admire anyone who does a single person blog because I know how much work I have just posting twice a week and coordinating other writers; they are truly the passionate ones.
    Of the almost 60 blogs I read through on Saturday morning it is quite amazing to me to see how much passion is out there even when it reaches Stage 2-3.
    I also think there is a bit of a hibernation phase in there as in the last year both Perfume Posse and Bois de Jasmin got back up to speed after sort of idling a bit.
    I know my perfume universe is a much happier place when Patty and Victoria are writing regularly.
    Now if we can just coax March out of her hibernation things will be complete. 🙂

    • Patty says:

      Mark, you’re about the least ego-driven! Yeah, the single-person blogs, I do admire them, it’s hard, and some of them are so talented, I hope they don’t burn out and selfishly want to keep them writing!

      I think hibernation phase is a natural part of blogging, and you either come out of it or not. I am so happy that Victoria is back blogging regularly! We have two very, very different styles, but her thoughtful approach and genuine love of perfumery is a voice I’ve missed while she was less actively blogging.

      Miss March, I keep trying. We need to find a way to make her a millionaire so she has plenty of time on her hands to craft her great posts and a few books as well. I know how much time she spent on writing – she’s such a great writer and wants every word to be just right. I’m much more content to let it go because if I gave in to my obsessive “edit” bug, I’d never hit publish.

  • Eva S says:

    Reading blogs have meant everything to me when it comes to perfume, without them I would know nothing and have tried almost nothing, since not much perfume is availble where I live. I like both blogs with a single voice and those with a group of writers, as Kathryn says I read different blogs for different reasons, some for tecnical info, others for great descriptions, others because they are so amusing.

    • Patty says:

      Thanks, Eve. I think about that a lot too, that sometimes what we talk about creates a community for everyone who doesn’t have anyone to talk to about perfume – whether because of location or nobody that shares their interest. It’s not always just about perfume.

  • Kathryn says:

    My sole criterion for reading a blog is that it be interesting, I think that different blogs are great in different ways. Some have a deep knowledge of the history and chemistry of perfume. I read some just to see what’s new, who did what, and where new perfumes are available. The bloggers I like the most are skilled at describing the emotions perfumes summon and how those scents and emotions weave in and out of their lives. I don’t expect to find all these things in one place, but I’m delighted when I do. Probably having several writers increases the odds of that happening.

    Other things I look for are wit, good humor, and a nicely turned phrase. Regular posting definitely helps sustain my interest. On the rare occasions I encounter pedantry, sustained self-absorption or mean-spiritedness, I just stop reading. But mostly I’ve kept on reading, for close to five years now. Perfume Posse has been on my personal blog roll for all that time. This smart, kind, openhearted perfume community has added a lot of pleasure to my life. Yay, cupcakes!

    • Patty says:

      Yeah, that’s it exactly, Kathryn! I really like the diversity so on any day, whatever mood I’m in, I kinda know where to go to find the stuff I want.

      i think people are always interesting if they are writing from a place that reflects them and how they feel about life, perfume, etc. There are bloggers that I find interesting, but I don’t read them because it just doesn’t resonate with me.

      Having multiple authors, especially the number we have now, is a little worrisome, but everyone can figure out who resonates with them and hunt for their posts! It’s a balance of wanting to have regular posting and different voices, while maintaining some core consistency.

  • Patty says:

    Thanks, Zazie! I think the single voice is easier for all the reasons you state. For me, writing a single-voice blog for the time I did it early on, was easier to do, but I started boring myself. 🙂 Unless someone is uniquely and consistently entertaining and somewhat shocking – probably a little hysterical from time to time – it’s a tough act to maintain. I’ve read bloggers on other topics in the past that were all those things, but eventually in Phase 2, the nonstop drama becomes so me-centric, it’s painful to read the rants and threats to stop writing if people don’t do.what.I.want, etc.

    I don’t think that’s all sorts of love in perfume-dom at all. Not sure if I’ve ever put that out there. I always think of the people I like in perfume-dom and get all happy, and I just ignore the people that annoy the bejeezus out of me.

    I don’t even know who the big ego bloggers are! 🙂 I sometimes think that ego parts comes from building something, getting lots of praise, then fainting dead away in a pile of pliffle at the first word of criticism. I’ve gotten so used to it that I don’t really care about the praise or the criticism.

    I’m thinking I need to pull my head out of my obliviousness, I’m pretty clueless to any of the drama in the perfume circles. I think that’s something that happens in Stage 1-2, then stage 3 shuts it all off and you just see how petty and meaningless it all is to fight or even talk about.

    Yeah, agree. I’m not technically trained, and avoid talking about it except as I read the classification from a press release. I probably should stop talking about everything else and get back to perfume one of these days, but even though I keep finding things I really love, none of them are inspiring me to write much beyond a sentence or two.

    • Zazie says:

      “I probably should stop talking about everything else and get back to perfume one of these days” – actually some of my favorite posts here at the posse were not perfume related: I remember your entertaining quest of the perfect red lipstick and your wonderful pic with the shower-cap. Even if the blog went through the stages you mention, it has always been a smile-sprouting place. Smile-sprouting – I made that up.

      • Patty says:

        I think March was after the perfect red lipstick. her enthusiasm in the search prompted me to try too, but eeek, not made for red.

        I love that shower cap. I love smile-sprouting! If we can do that here regularly, then that’s perfect, thank you!

  • Zazie says:

    I really appreciated your take on the subject – those stages are quite representative!
    I loved the comparison with the egg: so much potential, so much to develop…
    Since you ask, I’ll tell you that, in an abstract sort of way, I prefer single voice blogs, as they have a very clear angle – as a reader it’s easier for me to feel at home. The downside is that a single voice becomes more easily predictable and repetitive, and apparently wears out faster.
    All blogging stages are fine with me (yes, even stage two: I have no problem with the BIG ego writers, honestly, I don’t give a dime for that false currency of “we are all friends in perfume-dom”, the diktat “we are politically correct but as false as a birkin on ebay” does not resonate with me.).
    There are however general behaviours that put me off:
    1) hysteric posts (“I am attacked”! or “all against the unfriendly blogger!” or “all against the unrespectful nose!”, etc…). Hysteric bloggers should shut down their blog pronto and find some real-life fix ASAP (I can give them a couple of suggestions, if needed.);
    2) use of objective definitions (chypre, oriental), nouns (lactones, indoles), etc as if they were subjective adjectives. You don’t need to be a trained perfumer to write a blog, but the language you use matters. If you’re not sure what chypre means, you don’t need to classify the fragrance, it’s your blog, just tell us how you feel about it.
    (No, it is not enough to state on your faq page that you write out of passion – and then report inaccurate technical information with a semi-professional vocabulary.)

    Ok, my comment is too long, my fingers ache, and I really appreciate the effort of creating and maintaining a public space dedicated to perfume. I also really appreciate today’s draw.
    Especialy after the review of a “king” blogger that I shouldn’t be reading according to my own criteria (see point number one), but that I love nonetheless!

  • sonomavelvet says:

    I don’t blog but I sure can relate. I think you may be describing the phases one goes through in any pursuit. I certainly recognized every single one of them with corresponding emotional shifts from fond remembrance to brief shame and back to warm solidarity. I’m very glad you made it through all of the stages and am anticipating finding out what comes next. I think in the end, if one can remember to value the process, the pursuit, and not worry too much about the results one can hope to negotiate the journey with grace and well, generally, great pleasure.

    • Patty says:

      I think that’s pretty accurate. Beautifully said about the journey. I think any time your head is fixed on a result, a person probably finds the journey excruciating on every level.

  • Ines says:

    I agree with everything you said. 🙂
    I’ve been blogging for more than 3 years now and when I hit my stride at phase 2, life happened and now I’m still battling my life and trying to reach phase 4. 🙂 I do believe I’ll get there eventually.
    In the meantime, I enjoy the multitude of blogs out there, even when I’m not in a mood to read any, one or two posts usually catch my attention (they wink at me from my reader feed).
    One of the best things from being a blogger and taking part in the community (even if it’s a really small part) – all the people you get to virtually meet and new friends you acquire on your way. 🙂

    • Patty says:

      that life happening part is an extreme fly in the ointment!

      you will get there, it’s just pushing through it, I think. Now watch something else come up and bite me that I’m not aware of yet! 🙂

      the community is amazing. I feel so blessed by the friendships.