Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Hands Up How To Project - Starting the Journey

Jamie Ridler at Jamie Ridler Studios is hosting a great project called the Hands Up How To Project.  She is inviting everyone to share what they know from great recipes to starting up a blog or creative business.  You can read her vision here.  Here are my best tips and resources from starting my creative journey and blog.

As a bit of background, I've been blogging for about seven months.  To be honest, this time last year I wouldn't even leave comments on other people's blogs.  I just didn't have the confidence.  I'm not sure how I found myself in that position.  I used to have a good career in an industry I loved.  When I had my daughter, I gave it all up to look after her.  That is not a decision I have regretted for one minute.  The time I've spent with her has been the most precious thing and I wouldn't change a single thing.  But in the process of becoming a mother, I lost myself.   It turned out that that self was pretty tied up with my career and once that was gone, I kind of lost my identity.

I don't think my story is particularly unusual.  Many people are redefining themselves as their roles in life change and develop.  And I honestly think it's a great opportunity.  But it can also be daunting and hard to know where to start.    For me, I wanted a place to grow and develop my photography and creative self first and foremost.  My experience as a reader in the blog world was that people are generally kind and supportive and I was encouraged to see that it doesn't necessarily have to be about technical perfection in your chosen field.   Here are the things I found useful as I negotiated my way through finding the confidence to start a blog and the things I think were really useful lessons.  (Please note I do not have any affiliate links to any courses or books recommended here.  They are just the things I have tried that really helped me on my journey thus far and that I would personally recommend).   I really hope that some of these will help you if you are starting on a creative journey and/or starting up a blog.

1.  The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
A truly amazing book.  You do actually have to do the exercises rather than just read them (it took me a while to accept this!) but they are totally worth it.  In my opinion, the morning pages are second to none in unlocking your creativity.

2. Style Statement by Danielle LaPorte
There is a lot of talk about authenticity in blogging and creativity but if you are trying to  find yourself it can be really difficult to identify what your 'authentic' voice is.  This book is really good at starting this process (and is about core values, not just your wardrobe!).

3. Indie Business
This was the first ever ecourse I took and it really opened my eyes to the possibilities of blogging and starting up a creative business and some of the practicalities involved.  It has been revamped this year and is in two parts - the first part looks ideal in covering the basics of starting up a creative business and as this is one of my long term goals I personally found this aspect really useful in thinking about my blog.  Details are here.

4.  Blogging with Moxie by Joelle Reeder and Katherine Scoleri
Great practical blogging advice across the blogging platforms.

5. Blogging for Bliss by Tara Fey
Great tips for beginner bloggers, particularly for crafters, artists and creatives.

6. For the Love of Blogs and The Blog Guidebook have lots of advice and links for setting up your blog and making it look pretty (without spending a fortune).

7. If you enjoy photography there is a fantastic page on Through a Photographer's Eye which lists all the weekly photography link up challenges.  They are open to any level and are a great way to get inspired and meet some like minded people.

And a few personal tips from my experience:
  • Just get started.  Don't wait for the fancy camera, the perfect blog design etc.
  • Do consider your blog name and your audience.  It's your blog and up to you but (and especially if you think you might want to expand to a creative business) make sure content is appropriate for your audience and your name is unique (and then register the .com etc it so it remains unique!)
  • There is an amazing blogging community out there but it does take time to connect and establish a community.  Be prepared for it to take time and don't obsess over your stats page.
  • You can do it, you do have something to say.  You don't have to say it all in post 1.  Give yourself time, space and some kindness.
  • My favourite quote "Comparison is the enemy of creativity".  You are unique.  Celebrate that.  Appreciate and enjoy others work but know that you have your own unique gifts to share. 
  • Find your own rhythm.  I know bloggers who have their posts planned out weeks in advance because that's what works best for them.  I love that idea but for me it works more organically and I just tend to sit and write as the mood takes me.  I am learning to be OK with that!

I hope that someone out there finds some or all of this helpful.   All the submitted posts will be available from 25 December at Jamie Ridler Studio so whatever you are looking for, go and check it out.

If you have a link or tip that worked for you on the start of your journey, please share it in the comments.

Have a happy Christmas and here's to a creative 2012. :)


  1. Becs,

    Thanks for this post! I have been blogging for a year now, and it still is a work in progress. The resources you mentioned here are all new to me except The Artist's Way. I plan to look at the others you've listed here.

    I'll look forward to the other posts on Christmas Day by others.

  2. Some fantastic advice. I wish I would have known when I was strictly a homeschool blogger in the beginning that it would spark my passion for photography & I would have picked a different name :)


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