I caught up with creative writer Abria from the blog Bee Splendid earlier this month and here is what she had to say:
Tell us more about yourself Abria?
I’m Abria, a writer, designer, and bookseller based on Ottawa. Like every good Canadian I drown all foods in maple syrup and make a tidy sideline income from betting on moose races.
I blog over at Bee Splendid, where I talk about anything that could possibly nourish the creative spirit. I’m big on positivity, resources for research, good books, and sharing my experience with self publishing.
What got you into blogging?
Bee Splendid is the fourth blog I’ve had on four years. I started with a book blog that I kept until mid-2014; I had a blog on my author website before I converted it into a landing page; there was that brief fling with a short story review blog, and then Bee Splendid was born in November 2014.
The first time I got into blogging, it was because I was preparing to publish a book and every advice column I read told me, “you must have a blog.” Since then I’ve learned that blogging doesn’t necessarily translate into success as an author, but my blogs have helped me professionally over the years. When I got my first job in marketing, my book blog was like a 200-page digital resume of my design and writing skills.
As for Bee Splendid, I started it at a low point in my life. I was underemployed, depressed, and I’d lost my passion for blogging. I wanted a project, a place where I could talk about all the things that made me happy. Call it an exercise in positivity. For the first two months my posts were all totally random because I was trying to find my feet in this new space I’d created, but I’m happy with how it’s turning out now — my niche is gradually narrowing towards writing, publishing, and blogging posts.
Tell us more about Bee Splendid?
I call Bee Splendid a “creative lifestyle” blog because it’s the best way I can think to describe my intentions — to inspire people who truly live and breathe their art form. I hit a rough patch a few years ago where all the joy of creating went out of me, and I never want to feel that way again. Bee Splendid keeps me motivated, and allows me to feel like I’m encouraging other people on their creative journeys.
I’ve done some things with Bee Splendid that I’ve never done on any of my other blogs before, too, such as opening a shop. I sell a few handmade goods and freelance as a print designer/marketer.
Apart from running Bee Splendid, what do you get up to?
My main pursuits are writing, reading, and sewing. I’ve managed to find a way to get paid for all three, so I don’t think I can call them hobbies anymore. Right now I’m gearing up for Camp NaNoWriMo in April, working on sewing a few Spring skirts, and reading my massively backlogged TBR pile.
What keeps you inspired?
My husband is a great source of inspiration because he’s such a weirdo. More importantly, he gets me. Last week he said he missed the way I used to write so darkly, so cuttingly, and ten new ideas instantly sprang to mind. He has a way of getting into my head without me realizing it, keeping me challenged and focused. Plus, he relishes being “the muse.” He thinks it gives him license to act like an even bigger weirdo.
I think everyone should have an inspiration buddy in their life.
Favourite things about blogging?
The first thing that came to mind was the sense of fist-pumping satisfaction that comes from making a complexly formatted post look exactly the way you want it to. Anyone else know that feeling?
My other favourite thing is that blogging has given me a newfound respect for bloggers. The blogosphere has become my go-to for information about culture, current events, reviews, etc. It baffles me when I meet someone who isn’t connected to the world this way, or familiar with any blogs at all. On the other hand, I love getting to fangirl with someone when I discover that we like the same blogs. It happened just a few weeks ago when a group of teenage girls came into the store where I work looking to buy Zoella’s book, Girl Online.
Tell us more about your writing?
I like to keep things conversational when I blog, which is a nice way to keep it separate from the writing I do professionally. Writing web copy, media kits, and press releases requires a formal touch. With fiction I have to pick a style and stick to it relentlessly. On Bee Splendid, I get to let my hair down a little and just talk.
I can’t imagine a life in which I do not write. I’m not always working on fiction, but it was my first love and will probably always have the lion’s share of my heart.
How do you keep writers block at bay?
The secret is to have exactly 412 projects on the go at the same time. This has been my MO since I was a teenager. If I hit a snag with one project, I jump over to another. That way no time is “wasted” while I take a break from the stuck project, and the mind does have a way of riddling out problems when you’re not actively thinking about them.
And, of course, when in doubt about your ability to get past writers’ block — scrap everything you have and start over. It’s the prose’s way of telling you that it’s just not going to work out.
A few of your current favourite things?
For beauty, right now I’m digging Josie Maran’s argan oil concealer stick (it’s great for under-eye use because it softens the skin) and her Sweet Citrus body butter. The latter smells like a raspberry lemon tart. Also, Real Techniques eye brushes. Can’t say enough good things about them.
For the mind, I’d recommend “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes — but only if you’re in the mood for some serious feels. I’ve got a thing for tearjerkers. S’why I wrote one.
For the hands, check out the Hollyburn Skirt pattern by Sewaholic Patterns. I love this pattern so much I’m sewing it in three different colours.
For the soul — Cards Against Humanity, a gin and ginger ale, pear wrapped in prosciutto, and a friend to enjoy all three with. Nothing beats Tanqueray.
What are some of your favourite blogs at the moment?
I subscribe to a lot of blogs via Bloglovin’ but lately my favourites have been Wonder Forest, The Sunday Chapter, Oh, the Books!, Broad & Main, Autumn Leaves, Cider with Rosie, and Paper Fury.
It’s a pretty eclectic mix of lifestyle, tech, art, and book blogs. I like blogs that teach me things, and blogs that give me insight into the daily lives of other creative professionals.
What is to come on Bee Splendid in the future?
I’m excited to further develop my Self Publishing Series, which posts every Friday. It’s something I started irregularly on my author site years ago, but once I started planning to bring it back, ideas started flowing. I have weekly posts planned through to the end of 2015, and it’s only March.
Basically, I want Bee Splendid to be the sort of place where people come to be reminded, “Isn’t it awesome that we get to do the things we love?”
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