2021 Recap + What’s Next for The Blog

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Hey. What’s Up. Hello. Do you remember me?

I know the blog posts haven’t been super frequent this past year, but I wanted to check in, give a bit of a recap of the highs and lows of last year, and talk about my new focus for 2022. Plus, I’ve been in COVID quarantine for the past six days, and while I still feel super sick, I’m feeling a bit restless and wanted to create some kind of content for you all.

So: let’s get honest here, and talk about the highs and lows of 2021 and what my plans are for this platform for 2022.

2021: The Highs

2021 is a year that I’ll never forget. It was a challenging year, but it was also a year that I could make a ton of incredible things happen. I hope you can also take some time to reflect and write down some of the magical moments of 2021 at home. As someone who lives with depression and anxiety, it’s easy for me to be hard on myself, but it really puts things into perspective when I sit down and think of all the good things that happened in the past year.

Some of the highs of 2021 include:

  • Moving across the country and calling Los Angeles home. You guys: I have only ever lived in the Mid-Atlantic my entire life. Born in Baltimore, raised in the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C., and had a few brief stints in Philly, NYC, Richmond, VA, and Charlottesville, VA. But in 2020, I was itching for a change and made plans to move to a city that I’ve always wanted to live in.
     
    Picking up and moving across the country was kind of scary, but I’m so glad I did it. L.A. has been incredible, and the big move forced me to get out of my comfort zone and make new friends, try new things, and foster new relationships. Do I get homesick from time to time? Absolutely — I’m human. But I love California living, and it’s been exciting to plant new roots on the West Coast.
     
  • Writing a book. I submitted a book proposal at the end of 2020 to a publisher, and I got word that I got the green light in December of that year. I started writing my book in January 2021 and after many months of drafts, writer’s block, revisions, and perseverance, I put the finishing touches on the manuscript and art direction in November.
     
    Writing a book was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my career, but man — once I saw the final mock-up and galley of the book, I knew it was worth it. My book is coming out in Summer 2022, and I cannot wait to share more with you all. As soon as there’s a preorder link for it, I’ll share! I still cannot believe that I’ll be able to call myself a published author in 2022.
     
  • Took a three-week cross-country road trip. When I moved this spring, I had the option to either ship my car to L.A. or drive it across the country. Since T and I are both self-employed and can work from anywhere, we both knew that we wanted to drive my car across the country and see parts of the U.S. we’ve never gotten to travel to before!
     
    Some of the highlights of the trip for me included seeing Marfa, Texas (a tiny art town in the middle of nowhere!), visiting White Sands National Park in New Mexico, and relaxing amongst the red rocks in Sedona, Arizona. Moving cross-country was expensive and I wasn’t able to do that much international travel as a result (and honestly, I wasn’t comfortable with flying again until July), but it was a treat to see how beautiful and diverse the Unites States is.
     
  • Finding my extrovert energy again. In those blissful months in between getting the vaccine and the omicron variant, I was amazed to find myself even more extroverted than ever. I don’t know whether it’s because it’s my personality or if it’s the climate of L.A., but I found myself striking up so many conversations with total strangers, befriending people in the most random places, and feeling confident enough to talk to pretty much anyone.
     
    Lockdown was tough for me as an extrovert, and admittedly, sometimes my anxiety made me feel awkward in social situations once things started opening back up. But I’m glad that with the help of therapy (and medication, to be honest), I was able to shut down those feelings of self-doubt and get back to feeling like my regular, outgoing self again.

2021: The Lows

I don’t want to dwell on the lows, but I also want to be transparent in this post. 2021 wasn’t easy for me, and I had a tough time with my mental health.

My depression hit new lows, and I had to adjust my antidepressant dosage. I fell into several depressive episodes for weeks at a time, and there were a few periods where I wouldn’t leave my apartment for days. I also struggled with body image a bit after post-COVID weight gain, but this is something I’m working on every day.

Business-wise, it was really hard for me to write a book, manage my mental health, move cross-country and stay consistent with blogging, so I didn’t produce as much content as I wanted to on my blog and social channels. However, instead of beating myself up, I’m trying to give myself a bit of grace, and come up with a game plan to make 2022 my most consistent year of content creation yet.

2022: What’s Next for Alicia Tenise

I touched on this in my Instagram Stories this week, but there are some changes coming up with the blog in 2022. Nothing major, but after reviewing my reach for the past year and taking social media trends into consideration, it’s time to make some adjustments with my content creation schedule.

  • Spending less time on Instagram. First and foremost, I’m thankful that Instagram is a free platform. With it, I’ve been able to connect with tens of thousands of people over the years. However, I understand that since it’s a free platform, they have the right to run ads and set their own algorithms. My reach has been pretty abysmal this past year, and my content isn’t being shown to a lot of my followers, which is pretty frustrating as a creator.
     
    I’ve unintentionally prioritized Instagram over the years, but I don’t think that Instagram has prioritized its creators. I really didn’t want to put that much effort into the app — after all, I started my blog ten years ago before IG was even a thing, but Instagram is the place where I get the most brand discovery and sponsored post placements. Another reason I want to spend some time away from the ‘gram? Truthfully, Instagram has been pretty detrimental for my mental health, and I don’t always enjoy my time on it. I’ve had to mute dozens of my colleagues (temporarily!) over the years to stop comparing myself to them and with my body image issues, sometimes the app just makes me feel bad about myself.
      
    Don’t worry; I’m not quitting Instagram cold turkey. I still appreciate that I can connect with a good chunk of you on IG, and I never want to take that for granted. However, it’s in my best interest to invest my time in other platforms and get back to nurturing the one thing that’s been a constant for the past ten years: this website.
     
  • Getting consistent with blogging. Hi, I do like to write — after all, I wrote a whole book, for heaven’s sake! Admittedly, I’ve neglected this blog a bit, but I want to get back in the swing of things. I’ll have two blog posts a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the future. Ideally, I’d like to get up to three posts a week, but I want to start with a more manageable goal to get the consistency back up.
     
  • More video creation. Fellow creators: whether you like it or not, the industry is shifting towards video. With the dominance of TikTok and Instagram making Reels a priority, it’s clear that the future is video.
     
    I started this blog because I liked writing and photography, so video has been outside my comfort zone for a while. However, if I want to start gaining a new audience, this is what I’ve gotta do. I’ve gotten better over the past year with editing short-form videos, and I can produce them quickly now. I’m still hoping to learn more about transitions, editing and storyboarding in 2022, but luckily L.A. is the perfect place to get into video production.
     
    Don’t worry: if video isn’t your thing, I’ll still have blog and Instagram content. However, you can give me a follow on TikTok and YouTube if you’re also into video content!

What were your highs and lows of 2021? Any thoughts on the new content plan for the blog? Let me know in the comments below!

Photos by Tom McGovern

Leave a Comment

14 Comments

  1. Brennon wrote:

    I was glad to see your post come through my email today! Yayy! Glad all is well and things are being managed. I understand about IG and plan to spend the majority of my time on my blog, as well-along with some new videos and such. Congratulations on the move and the book! Looking forward to more of your content. 🙂

    Posted 1.7.22 Reply
    • Alicia wrote:

      omg new videos? love that!! cannot wait to see you thrive in 2022!

      Posted 1.7.22 Reply
  2. Khaliah wrote:

    Wow thanks for sharing your ups and downs and being vulnerable. instagram has definitely changed over the last year or two. I guess i’ll follow you over on tik tok. that’s where i have been lately.

    Posted 1.7.22 Reply
    • Alicia wrote:

      thank you khaliah! isn’t tik tok so much fun?? hope you’re having a great start to the year love!

      Posted 1.7.22 Reply
  3. Kelsey wrote:

    I feel like blogs are making a comeback! I don’t think you are the only person who is frustrated with IG.

    Posted 1.8.22 Reply
    • Alicia wrote:

      oh thank goodness, I’m ready for them to come back!

      Posted 1.11.22 Reply
  4. “I’ve unintentionally prioritized Instagram over the years, but I don’t think that Instagram has prioritized its creators.” — YES!!! Preach! I’m so much like you when it comes to IG. Love the community aspect, hate that I need to mute friends every once in a while so that I don’t fall into a pit of despair. Love sharing content, hate that it only reaches 10% of my followers. It’s also frustrating as a small (very small…never figured out the secret to growing on IG) creator that brands care a LOT more about IG than blog posts. Looking forward to seeing what you share on the blog in 2022! And for your book!!! 🙂

    Posted 1.8.22 Reply
    • Alicia wrote:

      seriously though why does it only reach 10% of people??? ugh!! cheers to having a good year love (and getting frustrated by IG a lot less!)

      Posted 1.11.22 Reply
  5. Christine wrote:

    Guess it’s time for me to stop being lazy and check out all your new posts here instead of relying on Instagram! Excited to see what 2022 brings for you.

    Posted 1.8.22 Reply
    • Alicia wrote:

      oh goodness, you’re not lazy at all!! I trust you’ll have the best year, friend!

      Posted 1.11.22 Reply
  6. Wow, I missed the news that you moved, how exciting! I am a west coast girl (Oregon) but I always mentally flirt with the idea of living in the LA area. Excited for you.

    Great points about Instagram. I always want to get angry at the app, but you’re right, it’s free, and it’s their prerogative to make those choices. However, they sure don’t do content creators any favors!

    Looking forward to seeing more of you on your blog. xx

    Posted 1.15.22 Reply
    • Alicia wrote:

      Do it! LA is calling your name!! And yes, I guess that’s what happens when you use a “free” app!

      Posted 1.18.22 Reply
  7. Pamela Parran wrote:

    Blaze girl!

    I’m a new follower and I’m excited to see what’s next for you!!

    Posted 2.14.22 Reply
    • Alicia wrote:

      thank you!! and welcome to the fam!!

      Posted 2.21.22 Reply