How I've Changed My Attitude Towards Blogging & What My Current Work Process Looks Like
When you've been doing something for a number of years it's somewhat obvious that it will change and your relationship with that thing will evolve. I'm now into my seventh year of blogging and not only has my relationship with this whole blogging thing changed but so has the way I do things and I thought I'd share my process with you today. Because as much as I love knowing the cleansers that people are using right now there is nothing better than knowing what goes on behind the scenes and how other people work with the content they produce.
I DON'T POST EVERY DAY ANYMORE
For years, I posted daily and only missed a handful of days and at the time that really worked for me and I loved it. I loved the buzz of creating something and it going out every 24 hours and being able to connect with the people that were reading the post so frequently and really create a relationship with my readers. And I still create a good 5/6 posts a week unless I've had to take time away [like when I had the flu] but I certainly don't post daily anymore and that's ok. Daily blogging was the thing to do a couple of years ago but now I'm much more focused on beefy well thought content that takes much longer to produce but I'd rather have quality over quantity. When I was posting daily the posts were so much shorter making it much easier to keep up that rhythm but now I can spend days on a single post. For so long I struggled with the idea of not posting daily, I worried not putting something out every day made me lazy which is obviously ridiculous so it's been a positive change for my mental state over anything else.
A heavy focus ON VISUALS
The entire reason I started this blog was because I loved taking pictures, obviously, I mean I was doing a photography degree at the time so you've probably already put the two together. But weirdly, when it came to blogging I felt like I had to do things a certain way, it had to just be one good image and that was it. Now I've shifted my focus to creating more visuals and letting my platform be more visually-led in general and it's made me so much happier.
BACK TO BASICS
We can all probably admit that if we blog and I know that's a lot of us it's all too easy to get carried away and let outside influences push what we do rather than what we actually want to do. I know that it's something that I've fallen into the trap of and it's one of those things that can only work for a short time as you only end up feeling frustrated. Blogging is something that I turn to when I want to hear people talk about things they love and most importantly they're being honest about how they feel. There can be all the dreamy imagery in the world but I really look for honest and friendly words. There is so much pressure to think of the most unique innovative content but the things that I always find myself connecting to the most are undeniably simple.
a new look
So you might have noticed that things are looking quite a lot different around here, I finally got myself into gear and finished off my redesign and I'm thrilled with the result. When you look at something every day then it's all too easy to become frustrated and bored with how it looks. And that's where I had got to with my current blog design, I liked it but I knew it could have been so much better.
letting go of what I thought was expected
Before blogs were elaborate websites the vast majority of people used the Blogger platform and they all generally looked the same. This isn't a bad thing but we all stuck to the same kind of look, a sidebar, header at the top and that was generally it. No fancy landing page or galleries, it was simple. For so long I held onto those simple things as I thought that's what I needed but letting them go felt so freeing. In the past whenever I've designed my site I've always kept things quite simple and clean. But this time I wanted to let my images do the talking and let it be a super visual place. As well as not being afraid to incorporate colour, I'm such a sucker for pastels and then deep earthy tones and I wanted to create a balance of the two. For far too long I was so scared of this, I thought if things weren't all white and airy then people would hate it but I shouldn't really base what I want on the fear of what other people might think.
designing a website by yourself
When I shared that I'd redone my website I got a few questions about the design so I thought I'd share all the details here. I use the platform Squarespace which I believe is the best platform out there for blogs, yes, it does have its drawbacks but for the price and the ease of use, it cannot be beaten. Blogger, unless you have a tonne of coding experience can be difficult to navigate and design and well Wordpress is just a whole different world for me. Anyway, designing a site yourself doesn't have to be as terrifying as it sounds. Of course, it does take a good chunk of time and you have to have patience and be willing to go back and forth but it can be done. It's easily one of the most satisfying things in the world when you see it all coming together. Anyway a little guide to designing your blog yourself;
- Create a mood board, gather inspiration from websites that you admire but do not copy them.
- Set aside time to do it and do one thing at a time, don' try and do a thousand elements at once.
- Accept it might look strange for a little while whilst you're rejigging everything.
- Google, Google and Google some more, this is my biggest tip. What might seem like a very dumb question you better believe someone has asked it before and the answer is online.
- Create a word document of any CSS you're using as well as all text codes.
HOW I CREATE CONTENT
I've written posts before about how I blog but as it's always evolving here's a little update.
ideas & planning
This is probably what has changed the most recently. Before I would sit down in front of my iCal and think of posts for weeks ahead of time. Nowadays I'm lucky if I'm even 3 days ahead of myself which if you'd told me even two years ago I would have freaked out but it works so well for me now. Writing really ahead of time is great for when you want to take time away but putting things out that are a little more recent feels more natural and honest. The way I plan my posts hasn't changed all that much but now I tend to let my photography ideas lead the way a post is going to go more than before. I still write everything in my notepad and give myself a little checklist but that's pretty much it. I've stripped away the editorial calendar that was strategic and created one that is a little more laid back.
2018 is the year that I really want to push my photography more and now it's much more of a collaborative effort between my boyfriend and I when we can get out together. He's got a busy work schedule and soon he will go back to touring more so I'm making the most of it whilst he's home. I'm a little bit, ok, a lot of a control freak when it comes to working and in general, if I'm not in total control then I don't tend to enjoy the final result. There are still a lot of flat lays and still life imagery of course because that's what I love to photograph and styling an image is what makes my heart really sing. But allowing myself to play more of a part in my images has been a big step for me and a really positive change and something I want to work more on. I've spoken in the past about how I don't really love being photographed and it makes me really self-conscious about the way I look so finding a way to do it where I feel comfortable has been quite the task. As well as trying to teach my boyfriend about how to get the most out of the equipment we have but the type of images I want, he has his own style and I have mine so we're working on a style that we can work on together. I'm currently working on a post all about the kit that I use when it comes to taking pictures for my blog and Instagram which will go live on Sunday so stayed tuned for that as it will be a lot more in depth than this.
For so many years, especially during my time at university I absolutely hated editing photographs and in general what I do isn't exactly mind-blowing but I do try and put a little more into the editing process now. Again this is something that I'm going to talk a lot more in-depth about in Sunday's post. But for my blog, I use two programmes, Photoshop and Lightroom, two programmes that I've used for so many years but still learning so much about. When it's a still life image then I tend to keep things quite simple in the editing stage and the typical steps I take are making it a little brighter, sharper and then add a little bit of contrast. And then if it's too blue or yellow then I will correct the colour temperature but that's it. As I now always shoot with a tripod inside it allows me to really try and get it all correct in the shot rather than the editing process. For my outdoors and nature photographs then I tend to go into Lightroom and play around with the filter packs that I have and then heavily tweak them to create my own filter. You've probably guessed this if you've seen those images but I really love deep dark earthy greens and rich tones. It's still a process that I'm playing around with and each time I shoot something I'll try something new and it's really fun. And that's all I do, something I feel pretty strongly about is not entirely changing an image, a topic that's very hot in the blogging world but I have no interest in creating something that isn't realistic at all.
Before photography was always the quickest part of the blogging process for me but not anymore. I probably spend a good 5-6 hours shooting and editing and then a good few hours writing a post. This does change from post to post but in general, as my posts are so much longer and require a lot more than it obviously does take a good chunk of time. Writing was always the thing that I used to struggle with the most but now it's one of my favourite things to do, when I'm in a good groove I feel like I could type forever. Typically I write best first thing in a morning, it's always the first thing I do with my work day now and I'll listen to a podcast and it's so enjoyable. I could go onto to explain proofreading, scheduling and the admin side of running a blog. But it's not really all that interesting and I don't do anything that special so we'll skip that.
What does your blogging process look like?