„The Limits of Control“ - The blog of Laura Werner
How do you define a blog?
Laura Werner: My blog is like my diary. I write honestly about the things I experience and how I feel. I also want to share my opinion on certain issues.
Diaries are not usually available for the whole world to read. Do you think it is necessary to reveal so many private things? No, because I don’t publish anything online that people shouldn’t see. When I started my blog six years ago, I didn’t think anyone would read what I wrote. I just wanted to document certain topics and situations.
So you put your texts online even though you thought nobody would read them. Why?
Because I wanted people with the same problems as me to be able to read what I had written. It was also a way to get some feed-back and affirmation. For example, a girl from Munich can comment on one of my posts, whereas in all likelihood we’d never get to know each other in real life. The fact that I can share my opinion so easily is another reason why blogging and publishing appeal to me so much.
Do you see a relationship between exhibitionism and blogging?
I think that depends on the issue at hand. I wouldn’t say that exhibitionists show themselves as they really are. They want to be the centre of attention. I’m not like that. I always try to re-main true to myself, and I wouldn’t post anything that I don’t believe in entirely.
You dress up for outfit shoots and strike many poses. Are you the same in real life as in these photos?
Yes, definitely. And I don’t always look like I’m posing. If I’m laughing in a picture, for example, that’s because I really was laughing at that moment.
Blogging has become a profession these days. Do you earn money with your blog?
Yes, blogging is my part-time job. My main source of income is advertorials – and here I am free to give my own opinion. I add affiliate links to some outfit posts. If one of my readers buys the clothes in the picture by following this link, I receive some com-mission.
And how much do you earn with your blog?
That varies, and it always depends on the number of readers. On average, I earn 1,200 euros for an advertorial, and I make two or three of these a month. I also have an agency to represent me and to source work.
What exactly does the agency do for you?
There are not very many agencies for bloggers, and the criteria to be put on their books are quite strict. My agency offers my services to its customers with a view to starting collaborations or producing advertorials. It receives a commission whenever it succeeds in finding work.
How did this cooperation come about?
The agency approached me during Berlin Fashion Week in January 2014. I got in touch with them a week later.
You took your Abitur exams this year. What’s the next step?
I hope to become a full-time blogger. First of all, though, I want to study fashion and design management at the Academy of Fashion and Design in Berlin. A degree would allow me to get involved in everything from planning to production at a given company. I definitely want to stay in the fashion industry. I think that everything else will take its own course as I make new contacts and receive spontaneous offers.
You post a lot of things related to fashion.Why is fashion so important to you?
I’ve always been interested in fashion. Fashion lets me change a lot about my appearance and the way people see me. For example, an outfit can make me look completely different from one day
to the next. If you walk down the street wearing something in-credible, you also get a lot of attention. You can polarise people with fashion.
So turning heads is part of the appeal of fashion?
Yes, and the fact that you can reinvent yourself every day.
Do you have a specific goal you’d like to achieve with your blog?
No, I don’t, as it happens. Of course I want to reach more readers from more parts of the world, but I can’t really control that. I don’t think there are any tangible goals you can achieve in the blogging industry right now. There have been many changes in the scene over recent years, but blogging is still a young profession.
What’s the best way to get more followers?
People often ask me that, and I’m afraid it’s a question I cannot answer. I don’t think there’s any magic formula. You just have to do what you enjoy and write about what makes you happy.
Can you explain why you have so many followers?
When I started out six years ago, I got a lot of criticism. There was something of a shitstorm, and many users became aware of me because of that. A blessing in disguise, I guess, but I don’t recommend going through something like that just to get more readers.
So you’ve already had negative experiences with your blog?
Yes, it was especially difficult in the beginning. Another blog ridi culed my writing and photos, and some of my classmates ostracised me for it. It was pretty terrible. It’s a lot to put up with at the age of 13.
Did you experience anything like cyberbullying?
Yes, definitely. But I carried on with my blog because it’s something I do for myself. I was attacked at a personal level, and people wanted to hurt me. Some days I felt bad, but I reminded myself that they had not achieved what I had as a blogger – collaborations with big companies and a long list of contacts. Today I have a much thicker skin. In hindsight, I can say I have no regrets. I would do it all again the same way.
Laura Werner is 19 years old and lives in Berlin. She has just taken her final school examinations and began writing her blog ‘The Limits of Control’ when she was 13 years old. Her autobiographical book The Limits of Control – Wie mein Blog mich erwachsen machte was published in December 2014. In it she talks about her experiences as a blogger, some of which were far from positive.