It’s been a little while coming, but here’s my Path Two Action Plan for bloggers who want their blog to be a creative expression of themselves and to encourage creative/personal growth.
I’m the perfect person to talk about this, because this is pretty much the path I’ve taken. Luckily for me, it ended up with some non-compromising commercial opportunities attached to it, but that was a total fluke!
If you’re writing a blog as a way of expressing yourself, journalling, documenting or as a daily creative ritual, Path Two is all about you. Here’s some important elements when it comes to making it true-to-you:
This is a big one. In this age of bottom lines, it’s easy to assume that a creative blog without huge commercial ambitions is a frivolous pursuit. You might even feel that it’s self-indulgent or worse still, that you’re just faking it and are not REALLY a proper blogger or are not deserving of the ‘blogger’ title. I’m here to tell you that the very best people often suffer from this kind of imposter syndrome, and most of them have also been told to get a proper job many times along the line. Stand proud and give yourself permission to not only blog, but to call yourself a blogger (or writer!)
For me, blogging is an important creative ritual and if I don’t make time for my blog, I feel very frustrated and a bit out-of-sorts. Make time to blog. Pop an hour or two a week into your diary and get serious about this ritual that means so much to you. The beauty of creative habits is that they spark ideas and growth. Devoting time to doing this thing that you love will not only make you a better blogger/writer/photo-taker, it’ll improve your general sense of well-being and happiness. So get regular and reap the rewards.
Voice, Skills and Style
Make some notes on the blogging skills you’d like to improve and seek out ways to do just that. Maybe you need to write more, learn to tighten up your posts or gain the confidence to write the way you really think/feel. Perhaps you want to hone in on a simple but beautiful style to use across your posts – a way of pulling the images and words together that’s a treat to read? Perhaps you want to learn to take better photos or use programs like Photoshop to improve the visual aspects of your blog. Do that. There’s a heap of free ways to learn this stuff online, as well as paid eCourses from the pros. Put the time into growing your skill set and you’ll not only be more confident about expressing yourself, you’ll start an avalanche of fresh ideas in the process.
Take note of the things that inspire you and make you WANT to blog. Perhaps it’s taking lots of notes as you go about your daily life? Maybe it’s doing creative things like visiting galleries or museums? Perhaps it’s spending time with other bloggers or reading or watching interesting documentaries? Take the time to get to know what inspires and motivates you and love yourself enough to build those things into your life. It’s so important to be creatively fulfilled and if you are denying yourself the things that most inspire and excite you, you are doing yourself a BIG disservice. So don’t!
Community connections are one of the amazing benefits of blogging. Being able to talk to and be supported or understood by like-minded souls across the globe is a pretty unbeatable plus, right? KNOW that the community aspect of blogging can offer you not only friendship, but inspiration, information and support. Try to take the time to comment on other people’s blogs in a sincere and meaningful way. Check in on the people you connect with as often as you can. Build your own little online gang and remember that you are ambassadors for one another, and that these friendships pay all kinds of dividends if you are brave enough to pursue them. I know life is super busy, but so many other bloggers are keen to find people just like them… and you never know where these friendships can lead… New projects, new best friends, new business ideas, new directions?! You don’t know if you don’t take the time to make friends and foster community.
Some people operate really well with an editorial calendar, planning the content loosely around a particular schedule. Others find the idea of a schedule stifling and think it cripples their creative flow. It doesn’t matter which of these paths you choose, as long as it feels right to you. Don’t think you have to map everything out ahead of time if that’s not your style. Similarly, if the idea of just waking up and free-styling it, blog-wise, gives you anxiety then map that stuff out, by all means. Find the posting method that works for you creatively and unapologetically make that your blogging style.
Sometimes, creative types fall off the wagon when it comes to blogging. They get interested in other projects and forget to come back for a few weeks (months?!) Make a habit of forgiving yourself if this is you. It’s okay to take a break (and you don’t even need to explain or apologise for it!) Understand that life/ideas can divert us from our usual path and that’s totally okay.
The same goes for you if your skill set is not at the level you wish it was, and your posts are not ‘perfect’. Let yourself off the hook, forgive yourself and keep blogging. Spend a little bit of time each week trying to improve the areas you feel you’re falling short in, but remember how important it is to just keep writing/blogging. It’s your important work!
For bloggers who are blogging for creative or expressive purposes, there’s lots of leeway in terms of what and how you blog. Loosen things up and be a bit playful. You don’t have to stick to the conventional approaches/structure other bloggers use. Have a bit of a tool around and see what cute/fun/artful ideas you can come up with. Take the opportunity to improvise and experiment on your blog, whether that be with cute post layouts, differing post lengths, imagery or writing. Remember this should be fun, expressive, creative and that it’s your space to muck about!
Would you consider your own blog to be creatively satisfying?
Does it have commercial elements or is it purely for creative expression?