July marks four years of blogging for me. I can't quite believe how much time has passed since I sat down and turned my very neglected photography blog into From Roses. I've been thinking about sharing my blogging process for a while as I think it's so interesting to see how people work with their blogs. As July marks a milestone for me I thought it was the perfect time to share my process with you. I'm going to be covering four topics in this post; ideas, planning, photography and writing.
This is something that has changed so much over the years. I used to write about what I'd been buying and there wasn't that much of an idea behind the post. Now I like to think of concepts behind the content that I'm putting out. Single reviews aren't something I tend to read myself unless I'm really interested in the product so there not something I find myself wanting to write. There are quite a few things I do when brainstorming ideas. I tend to take myself away from the online world, not because there aren't good ideas out there, quite the opposite. Personally, I don't like to write content that is swayed by what's popular at the moment as I would like whatever the post is to be relevant whenever it's read.
When writing about beauty I sit down in front of my dresser and look at the products I have and think how could that work in a post? What am I using at the moment? What am I not enjoying the moment? I go through highs and lows when writing about beauty. Sometimes I will have a ton of ideas and sometimes the river runs dry and I feel a bit uninspired and that is when I go onto my other methods. I love flicking through magazines, I don't care what anybody says the editorial world will always be magical to me. This is usually where I get most of my inspiration from. Beauty is a topic that really excites me but it's not the new releases that make my heart flutter it's what beauty means to me and my own relationship with the products and how they make me feel.
Lifestyle content is a little different. 90% of my ideas stem from whatever is going on in my life at the time. These posts give me the opportunity to be more open with my readers and share snippets of my life. Although I'm a private person I think there is still a way to be honest with you guys so you don't think there is a robot churning out these daily posts. I don't like to share the really private parts of my life because I don't think the internet is the right place for them. Over the years, I've certainly moved into more of a lifestyle direction with my blog and I couldn't be happier about this shift. Although photographing and writing about beautiful products is nice I want my blog to be more than that. If I could back 4 years and know that everyone has a huge freak out when they get into their mid 20's I probably wouldn't have spent so much time worrying about everything. There is nothing more than comforting than knowing you're not alone with the irrational thoughts going through your mind.
As I post daily there is a lot of planning involved. Once I have ideas set in stone I then work through the week and see what posts flow well together. I like have a 60:40 ratio to lifestyle and beauty. Some weeks that might change so I always allow for wiggle room. I used to think I had to have content planned a month in advance but that was really taking the joy out of it so now I just stick to a weekly rota. When I've got an idea down on paper I then plan what needs doing to turn it into a post. What do I need to photograph for it? Does it require more than one image? By breaking down all these little factors, it helps me work more effectively and produce better content than just seeing how it goes. As I have other work other than my blog I don't have 7 days a week to dedicate to this space so planning is essential for my process.
I'm not sure I will ever completely share my photography process as I don't think it's that interesting or that it could be useful to anyone else. We all have a different way of doing things when it comes to the images that we take. Like I said I plan what needs going into the image and what background I want to use that day. I like to switch my background and layout up quite a lot. Totally a personal preference but I don't like my images to look too samey so I try and mix it up as much as I can. Once I've got my products and my set up, I snap away. I always have my laptop close to hand as you just can't trust the screen on the camera to check if things are in focus or not. Every Monday I shoot my posts for the week, that way I can keep the lighting consistent and it gives me room to re-shoot if I need to.
My editing process is super simple, I use the Camera Raw tool in Photoshop and that does exactly what I need. As I learnt to take pictures on a film camera there was no room for mistakes, you either got it in camera or you spent hours in the darkroom fixing your mistake. So I like to use this method in digital photography, just because you can edit doesn't mean you should rely on it. The tools I tend to use are exposure, contrast and temperature. Like I said it's super simple. Then I always use the 'save for web' option to keep the image looking as sharp as possible and upload.
A process that doesn't come naturally to me is actually writing posts. Even though I really enjoy the process it's not something that comes easily. During the planning process, I usually write what points that I want to cover and use them as jumping off points. As much as I would like to tell you I can sit down and write at any time and the words just flow out naturally, they don't. I tend to either write early in the morning or mid-afternoon, those are the two times that I find work well for me. Something I love to do is write when I'm on a train, it's so nice to tap away with no distractions.
If you're a regular reader then you will know that I use a lot of headers in my posts. I'm a big fan of those using headings as I find that it gives the paragraph structure. I'm not the best writer, I'm an arts graduate, not a literary one. Like every art student will know being forced to pretend you've got an academic mind is difficult. I try to break it down so that it's easier for me to make a cohesive piece of writing instead of rambling nonsensical one.
Writing a few days in advance is my best friend. It gives me the chance to go back over with a refreshed mind to proofread and fix mistakes. Even though I proofread multiple times I still miss mistakes, once your brain misses a mistake it automatically makes that mistake appear to be correct in your head. This is why it's always nice if somebody else can read your work, I don't have the luxury of somebody being around to do this for me. I use a Google Chrome extension called Grammarly and it's become my best friend. It doesn't pick everything up, but it tends to get those annoying little grammatical errors that we might miss.
This post was the perfect opportunity for me to say thank you to you guys, my awesome readers. I could have never imagined my blog to be at the place it is now, never. I feel so fortunate that I get the pleasure of connecting with like-minded people on a daily basis. Of course, there are some vile people in the online world. I don't need their insecurities and unhappiness projected onto me and my life. I'm under no illusion that everyone will like me, it's not the reason I blog and that's perfectly ok because you can't possibly like everybody.
Writing From Roses as cringeworthy as it might sound has changed my life. A couple of years ago I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and still to this day I'm constantly in and out of hospital. Having this online space has brought so much joy to my days and was there even in the lowest of lows. It's my happy place and it still continues to be just that. There are highs and lows that come with blogging, but the highs will always outweigh the lows for me.
I'm enormously proud of everything I've done with this little space. There are things that I would probably go back and change if I could but looking over the past 4 years and seeing everything that I've done gives me such a sense of pride. A feeling that every single blogger should feel, no matter how long you've been doing it. It's not arrogant to feel that way, we're the ones that put the work into every single post we create.
The future of this blog really excites me, there are so many things that I want to do and I don't think I'll ever bored of writing posts and the thrill of creating content and connecting with you guys. There are a few things coming up in the future that I hope you will be as excited for as I am. So again, thank you! Thank you for all the love and support I receive on a daily basis. It means the world to me and I hope that you continue to stay with me.