Five Reasons Why You Should Keep Blogging

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So you’re blogging and you’ve reached the point every blogger reaches: Should I continue this blog? Before you close down shop and try something else go through the following five reasons below and ask yourself, am I helping anyone? Am I passionate about writing blog posts?

1. You’re the only one who can effectively blog your one-of-a-kind niche. Whether you have a fashion blog and there are hundreds of fashion blogs, yours is different. You have a different view, idea and purpose — all of which are valid points for blogging. Your content is exceptional and you’re the only one who’s going to release it.

2. You let others peek into the glorious world that is your own. Take photos, draw pictures, get people hooked into viewing things through your lenses.

3. You have to get better. Rome wasn’t built in a day, was it? How many times have you heard this? You have to start somewhere and that somewhere is pretty damn exceptional. So your layout isn’t what you dreamed and your first post didn’t get many comments, keep going. You can only improve.

4. You haven’t finished the task you set out to do. Why did you create your blog? What is the purpose behind marketing yourself and your business? With a set goal in mind you can effectively see if you’ve achieved it or not. Be sure your goals are trackable as well.

5. You’re simply experiencing writers block. Can’t seem to churn out the same expressive and inspiring content you were producing when you started your blog? Bring on guest authors, try mind-mapping and update past posts with new, valuable information.

Nasha Wooley is Inspired by Vintage Fashion

Meet my fellow blogger Nasha Woolery AKA the button owl. The Fashion Director of Street Savvy magazine, Nasha talks about fashion, her likes and her life. So check it out!

What does fashion mean to you? (in one word)

Fun.

Which store do you shop the most?

Topshop. I’m there so often I may as well live there!

Which decade do you think was fashion in its best form? Why?

The sixties. I just think fashion was fun back then, and it was pretty and modest yet still stylish. Back then, women were truly beautiful and fashion was really at its best.

Which actress/model can describe you the best?

I was asked this the other day and was soooo stuck. I think the actress/model that is most like me, if that’s what you mean, is Rachel McAdams. But only because we’re both sweetly spoken haha.

Who is your favorite designer? Why?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite when there are so many great designers out there. I think I’d have to go with Helen Furber though. You probably haven’t heard of her because I don’t think she’s very big, but she designs the quirkiest, prettiest heels you will ever see!

What made you want to be a writer?

Oh, I have no idea! I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, since I was a little tod. In fact, I recently found the first story I ever wrote, I think was about seven when I wrote it. It had something to do with bunnies and curly hair (?). I loved writing and reading from a very young age, and always had my head in a book. I think that love pushed me to go into writing. I originally wanted to be a novelist- and still do. But over the past couple of years I’ve delved more into the journalism side of things.

Who is the one person you want to be from the past?

Audrey Hepburn. She had pretty hair.

Which person, according to you, changed the fashion world? Why?

I’m going to pick a blogger instead of the usual ‘model’ or ‘designer’ and say Tavi Gevinson, simply because she changed the world’s view on fashion bloggers and age within the fashion industry.

Who is your inspiration?

This is going to sound a little weird, but my little sister is my inspiration. She’s odd and funny and will wear geek glasses with rainbow print trousers! I’m not sure why but that inspires me.

Quick favorites

Magazine: ELLE
Chocolate: Snickers
Band: Paramore
Movie: The Time Traveller’s Wife/How to Marry a Millionaire
Actress/Model: Coco Rocha
Perfume: Ghost
Country/City: London
TV Show: Um… Hannah Montana? haha!

Her Blog: The Button Owl (http://thebuttonowl.tumblr.com)
Her Website: Street Savvy (http://www.thestreetsavvy.com)

Getting Magnified With Nubby Twiglet

Visualize what you want out of life, big or small and work hard. Stay focused. It’s never supposed to be easy.

what i wore nubby twiglet fashion style outfit

Q.

Nubby! There are all kinds of creative people around the globe, but many of them find real difficulty in pinning down exactly what it is they would like to make a living doing. How did you take the plunge and commit to graphic design, and what advice would you give to people still ‘working it out’?

A.

It’s completely normal to experiment before committing to a career. I would start by asking yourself what you’re truly passionate about. What do you enjoy doing most in your free time? What’s the one thing that you’re willing to stay up late and do, no matter how tired you get?

In school, my two strongest subjects were always Art and English. I loved ripping up fashion magazines and making collages, playing with sheets of rub-on letters and flipping through old advertising and poster books. I knew that fine art is really subjective and that it wasn’t going to be an easy way to make a living right away. Graphic design combined my love of art and type with one of my other passions; advertising. The thing is, once your passion becomes a job, it’s not all about fun and leisure anymore. There’s a level of professionalism that goes into it and at the end of the day, there are certain things you have to do to ensure that you get paid. Even when you’re working for yourself, the money has to come from somewhere.

If you’re unsure of what you want to do, reach out to teachers, mentors and career counsellors. Take some classes for fun. The more things you try, the easier it is to realize what you DON’T want to do. When I was in college years ago, I did filing in offices, stuffed invoices into envelopes and worked retail. All of these jobs built character and made me appreciate the career that I have now.

Q.

You seem to have been incredibly practical in the pursuit of what many would consider an impractical or ‘risky’ career choice, is that how you see it? Did you face any naysayers along the way and, if so, how did you deal with that?

A.

I always felt that any career in art or design was really risky and that’s probably because my parents always worked traditional office jobs, doing sales. That’s one of the main reasons I went to school first for business. My mom encouraged me because she knew I had the potential and in a way, I think she wanted me to have something to ‘fall back on.’ After I completed that degree though, I just didn’t feel fulfilled. I had already started to do freelance design work but felt like I wasn’t as proficient or knowledgeable as I wanted to be. I had a lot of people around me who just didn’t get it…I was supposedly done with school and trying to go back for something completely different.

At 25, I didn’t want to waste another four years in school and this is why I chose to do a two year, limited entry graphic design program. I’d always dreamed of working at an ad agency and what I soon realized is that the combination of marketing and design backgrounds meshed perfectly for my career path. Listen to your instincts – there are always going to be naysayers. But, it’s your life. You know best.

magazine typofiles typography

Q.

Your work seems like so much more than a 9-5 for you, it is clear from your blog how intertwined your job, lifestyle, fashion sense and even home decor are! How important do you think it is to blur the lines between work, life and play in terms of career fulfillment?

A.

A career in design doesn’t necessarily have a starting and stopping point. Inspiration will hit you at completely random times and I think that as a designer, it’s a natural progression for your interests at that moment to seep into your outfit choices, home decor, blogging topics, etc. I’ve always strived to have a seamless line between my work, life, and blog. It’s definitely tricky because I am the face of my brand and my personality is interconnected heavily with my work.

I don’t think it’s necessary to blur the lines between your work, life and play – if anything, it’s probably a relief for most people to break away at the end of the day. I’ve done things differently because it makes sense in my life, but I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone. It has to feel like a natural progression.

week in pictures

Q.

You’ve mentioned both your brand and your personality and how key they are in your career, how important do you think a ‘personal brand’ is for a career in the creative industries? What advice would you give to someone looking to brand themselves within their market – where should they start?

A.

Most of the time, a person’s work speaks for itself but in a flooded market, often what makes someone stand apart is their personality and ability to potentially relate to their customers. There are so many designers out there – the personal connection you make with your customers is going to be the defining factor that keeps them coming back. I’ve always said that it doesn’t matter how good you are if nobody knows how to find you. Branding yourself in a recognizable, uncluttered manner will help you get remembered. Start by building an online presence through various social media platforms and showcase your work on your own domain, whether that’s a website or a blog. Reach out to people you admire – often, they’ll help you along and even show you the ropes, no questions asked. A simple logo that will mature with your work is also helpful. And, always have business cards handy! Some people think they’re extinct, but I promise you, there will be times where they pay off. You never know who you’re going to meet!

Q.

It looks like you’ve learnt a great deal about yourself and your field through your career so far, what one piece of advice would you liked to have given yourself, say, 5 years ago? And, conversely, where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

A.

I would have told myself that it was possible to work at an ad agency and that it wasn’t a pipe dream to run my own business full time. And, I definitely would have gotten started on my personal blog much sooner. It’s so easy now to look back and see things differently, but the reality is, life happens and we tend to just do the best we can at any particular time without knowing if the outcome is going to be what we hoped for.

And, five years from now… wow, that is a long time away! Five years ago, I hadn’t gone to school for design yet. I was finishing my business degree and had just returned home from a two month stay in New York. I hadn’t done my first solo art show yet. I was working at a shoe store and living with four boy roommates. My life was completely different! So, five years from now, I’m not exactly sure what I will be doing. I hope to be working at a fashion magazine (Elle!) in New York, working as an art director at an agency or running an agency with my brother. Though, he loves working at Nike, so he might be too cool to spend his days with me! I also want to write a how-to guide about marketing for designers and do workshops on what it takes to be a freelancer and how to build a portfolio. Oh, and I want to travel a lot. I guess I have a vague idea then…but life is meant to be lived. Setting anything in stone feels too rigid – I am just soaking up new experiences, trying to stay in the present and enjoying my life right now.

what i wore nubby twiglet pantone notebook design

Q.

You seem to have done things totally your own way, do you consider yourself Miseducated? If so, what makes you Miseducated and what final advice would you give to readers embarking on their own Miseducated careers?

A.

Since Miseducated is about embracing a unique, unconventional existence, I would say yes! Though I tend to make plans, set goals and keep a schedule, beyond that, I try to live the best life possible and to do things my way. You’re only going to live once so it’s important to stay true to your values and ethics – at the end of the day, you have to answer to YOU. That’s it. Do what makes you happy. When I was younger, I tried to fit into ideals, to do what I thought would make me happy by society’s standards. I quickly realized that wearing corporate casual attire, working at a mainstream office and living in the suburbs was not for me. I went to school for business because it seemed more practical. But, I wasn’t fulfilled so I went back for a design degree. Visualize what you want out of life, big or small and work hard. Stay focused. It’s never supposed to be easy. The things that you do that feel impossible and test your will do add character. If people tell you that something can’t be done, work even harder to prove them wrong. It’s up to you to create the life that you want.

Get Started Blogging and Have More Success

So blogging is quite a huge trend these days, it’s a hobby many creatives and non-creatives alike can get into. It opens up communication and discussion online, offers anyone the ability to make their own specialty of knowledge accessable to everyone. A new way to share inspirations and ideas alike. (I love blogging.)

If you’re getting into blogging (or are already into blogging) for the business aspect, this is not that kind of website. (I’m sure you noticed when you first looked around!) There are many great websites and blogs online devoted to business advice however, the information highway is in your hands.

We, as you may have guessed, are more of an artistic/personal expression and lifestyle blog — business is not the purpose here but is becoming a large chunk of time — we simply love sharing and creating.

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Comments

As you know, comments do not mean good content but they are a great encouragement to new and seasoned bloggers alike. Readers may contact you using a variety of the methods that you have available and the one that most bloggers obsess about is, you guessed it, comments. Comments do not mean quality or share-worthy content, they simply mean your post has started a discussion for a variety of reasons.

A great way to encourage comments in posts is to ask your readers questions and invite discussion into the topic you are writing about. The great thing about the blogosphere is that there are so many different bloggers and readers alike that opening up discussion is always a great idea.

The Best Way to Generate Lots of Comments on Your Next Blog Post via Problogger

Subscribers

Itching for more subscribers? Make sure that a subscription button is in a highly-visible area and create good content. Encourage your readers to subscribe at the end of your posts if you like, give them a reason to subscribe.

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Bookmark and Share

Content Ideas

This is my absolute favorite topic of blogging! I have this endless list of silly content rolling through my mind all the time, I have a ton of drafts waiting to be finished and even articles I’m too afraid to post. Now that I’ve forced myself to add a post a day, I save a lot of content, ideas and drafts. I often give our writers article ideas and always have a list of inspirations available on demand for all of our contributers.

Content is what is MOST important about your blog, how much people search for it, visit it, read it, like it, share it. That is what makes and breaks blogs because essentially that’s what they are, logs of content. Who wants to read a droning, slow, uninformative article very often?

Create an exciting, visual post of your inspirations or even your day.
Write about a topic people are invested in and offer a new perspective.
Write about a topic you are passionate and knowledgeable about, teach your readers about something or how to make something.
Write a valuable review.

Layout and Imagery

This is something I am often emailed about from visitors and something I really felt should be addressed. By using Google search you can search for free themes available for a variety of blogging platforms, myspace, etc. Customize the theme to suit your taste and don’t forget to give credit to the designer.

Keep it simple, the content is what’s most important and you’ll more than likely pick up skills for customizing your blog further along the way.

..and Remember

Success in Blogging is made of Little Victories also via Problogger

Design Your Own Career: Part Four

“Starting out to make money is the greatest mistake in life. Do what you feel you have a flair for doing, and if you are good enough at it, the money will come.”
– Greer Garson

money
We’ve identified our passion, worked out the skills we will need to pursue it, and found that we must keep learning in any creative career. Now the tricky bit, the question of the ‘M’ word, the point when we realise just how difficult the creative career is to achieve, and why so many abandon it or never even try: how do we make money? Firstly, there are two vital points to keep in mind when embarking on or living the creative career, if you want it to work financially.

Two Principles for Making Your Passion Pay

Not only do you have to love doing it, you have to have a certain amount of love for the work involved in doing it. For example, I would really like to be a property developer; I’m interested in buildings, interior design and the pleasure that comes from renewing something tired and old. However, I’m not one for physical labour – a bit here and there, sure, but stripping walls, plastering, painting – it just isn’t for me; I’m an ideas person. Therefore, I would either need a great deal of start-up money to outsource this work, or I’d need to partner up with someone who wants the challenge – it’s just logic. Whereas, when it comes to writing, I love the concept, the materials, the result and the work involved – it’s win win.

You have to think about who will pay you, and tailor your work for them. Making money always involves someone else; you don’t make money as an individual unless you have a licence to print it yourself. Now, if you know you won’t get paid as an isolated entity, then you need to quit thinking of your ‘working self’ as an isolated entity – you need to start thinking about your customer: the person who will pay you to do what you love. When you think about them, you bring yourself closer to making money, because you can see things from their point of view, and know why they would or wouldn’t part with their cash on your behalf. For example, if I wrote articles purely for myself, made them all about me and only relevant to my life, it’s pretty unlikely that anyone would ever pay me for them. Whereas, if I wrote them, yes out of a love for the craft, but also with a target audience in mind (publishers as well as readers) then I’ve tailored my work and I invite payment.

What about money now?

This is all well and good, but I’d be lying if I said these principles alone will make you a living from your passion: there are many more sides to the coin. Firstly, it is an elite few who have the resources to start a business from scratch and live off of it, and I’m going to assume you are not one of them. So how do you get a financial head start with a creative career?

Start early. If you want a lucrative, independent career, you must be prepared to walk a long, toll-taking road to success. Because you are not relying on anyone else for that ‘big break’, you have to build up all the things that separate entity would offer you: reputation, credibility, contacts, experience, knowledge etc. The sooner you start, the better.

Do it alongside study. Study, particularly undergraduate study, is probably one of the best times you could start working out a creative career, whilst still feeling grounded. You have plenty of free time, you might have a student loan, and you are surrounded by other creative, young individuals to join forces with.

Do it alongside other work. Many creatives assume an ‘all or nothing’ mentality, refusing conventional work altogether – but you don’t have to be one of them. A part time job can fund your creative endeavours if you want it to, and work doesn’t always have to be a 9-5 desk job. Do something that keeps you fit like being a kids water sports instructor; do something in a creative environment like work at an independent cinema; or even do something that you can do whilst working on your career, like evening babysitting.

Research possible creative grants and/or young person’s business loans. These exist, and they are actually far more plentiful than you might think. Whilst I wouldn’t recommend commercial debt, there are many government-backed schemes to help the entrepreneurs of the future: after all, it is in the interest of any economy that you make money. In terms of grants, if you’ve got the talent, show people – they may be willing to fund your potential success. Type ‘creative grants’ or ‘arts grants’ or whatever is relevant to your dream career, plus the area you live in into Google and see what you find.

…Ask parents or investors? For some of you this will be the obvious choice, for some it will be unthinkable, but we’ll leave that debate for another day. If you think your parents (or other members of your family) will be willing to invest in you, make it worth their while. Like I’ve said, think about the person attached to that fistful of cash and ask yourself ‘what’s in it for them?’ Draw up a business plan and approach them like any other lender, and, of course, pay them back when you are in the position to do so.

Want to know just what you could be doing that’s creative and will earn you a crust?

Here are some examples of possible creative careers: Writer, Blogger, Graphic/Web Designer, Cabinet Maker, Painter, Interior Designer, Fashion Designer, Textile Designer, Property Developer, Musician, Life Coach, Personal Stylist, Photographer, Potter, Illustrator, Chef, Baker, Landscape Gardener, Florist, Window Dresser, Advertising Creative, Copywriter, Thespian, Director, Set Designer, Dancer, Greetings Card Maker, Knitter etc.

You can follow just one of these paths, you could weave several of them together, or you could carve out a new career especially for yourself. There are people in every one of these careers making good money, why not pick your guru and research how they did it? And, more appropriately, how they made it pay. Don’t be disheartened if you’re not abundantly rich in your chosen career immediately, it can take several years to get on your feet – the point is to get there and, if you give up, you never will.

Where to go next

Don’t let this series be a waste of your precious reading minutes; get started on your dream creative career now. However old/young/ prepared/unprepared you might be – there’s something you could be doing to make the mission of earning money one that is fun, fulfilling and freeing.

That’s it for designing your own career.

Please let me know your thoughts on the series and ask any questions/request follow up articles. Remember – you’re my customer and I’m here to tailor my work to your needs 😉 If you want to throw a tip my way, well, that’s up to you!