blog tips

Link Love // The Friday Files

Well Happy New Year strangers! After a blissful holiday spent in Boston with my family (during which I completely shut off) I am emerging from the holiday bubble and starting to get focused for 2016.  Despite being a Capricorn and having just celebrated my birthday this week, I happily admit that January isn’t one of my favourite months. I tend to find the flood of New Year’s resolutions a bit overwhelming and instead have created by own routine of allowing January to be a time of reflection and preparation, with real action always seeming to take place towards the end of the month. This year is panning out no different so if you haven’t yet hit your stride for 2016 don’t feel alone – and realise that you still have plenty of time to conquer those big dreams.

During these past few weeks of reflection I’ve realised how much I miss sharing my own personal journey here so while I will be sharing my thoughts on 2015 – what worked, what didn’t – soon, as well as what we have planned for 2016 – think more personalised services, events, new look website – I will promise that you’ll be hearing my voice more often and my words landing more frequenting in your inbox. In the meantime I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are easing into 2016 – let the adventure begin. As you can image, the link love this time of year is overflowing…enjoy below! x

  • Summer entertaining sorted with two words: cheese boards
  • My 2016 calendar craze continues with this printable
  • 17 things you should be doing before you hit publish on every blog post
  • Absolutely love this New Year’s (free!) download
  • Travel more. Here’s how.
  • How to handle rejection like a boss

Link Love // The Friday Files

It’s been a BIG week – the kind of week you look back on and go, ‘did that really happen?’  I’m still reeling from the excitement of buying our first home, an adorable unit in Sydney that will become the new Blog Society HQ and I can’t wait to start decorating once we move in, until that happens I’ll be spending an unhealthy amount of time on Pinterest.

We also announced our very first winners of the Digital Bravery Scholarship here and I was so grateful for the flood of heartfelt applications – massive thanks to everyone that applied, the decisions was so, so difficult to make. The announcement came on the heels of news that doors have opened for our next round of our 6 week digital marketing & social media e-course for creative, Digital Bravery.  This is perfect timing for everyone looking for a last minute kick start before the holidays and so that you can rest up over Christmas and hit the ground running next year. The course officially kicks off on 19 October however enrolment is on now with a pretty sweet Early Bird deal ending on Sunday, then the price goes up. 

And finally I’m still easing back into the blogging world after having slowed things down over August and truth be told I’m rather enjoying this slower pace.  With the change in seasons I’m beginning to feel a shift in energy so am going to sit back a bit longer and see how things go – in the meantime this weekend is going to be full of house packing and de-cluttering, I’m strangely looking forward to it. Here’s some link love to keep you inspired and I’ll see you next week! X Jac

  • Digital Bravery Early Bird ends Sunday – are you in?
  • Can’t wait for summer entertaining like this in our new backyard!
  • My new go to drink recipe for hot summer days
  • The must read guide for every blogger                         
  • Love this post about fresh starts and looking ahead
  • Self-employed? Here’s how to master your budget

How To Find Inspiration To Blog

By Sara Saqib

It would seem almost habitual to write up beautifully worded posts that draw the audience into the depths of the writers workspace. Especially when publishing three to four posts a week as if they were merely writing a thank you note to party attendees. Even super creative humans like these need to be inspired, constantly, in order to publish such art. Where do they get this inspiration from then?

Even when a brilliant post title has lit up like a light bulb in my head, it is still far from finished work. As I sit down to analyse how I chose to tackle this subject, I find myself constantly starting a new draft in order to get it just right.

This is when I stop thinking and start doing. I leave my desk in search for nature and the outdoors that has inspired so many others. I grab my sketchbook and my toddler and set off into the park, babbling non stop (Me, not my toddler) about everything around us. When the pen is in my hand, I don't write, I let it flow and everything comes together. The fresh air has released endorphins within me taking my mind to another level. I see more clearly and ink all the details into my trusted little book. When I don't have my book handy, my chunky camera phone works just fine, using only the memo and camera to capture my inspiration. I love the lens. It doesn't quite show what you see through your eyes and yet captures more than a thousand words. It makes the world stand still, forever a memory to keep. I have an endless roll of baby milestones piling up on my phone. I'm dreading the day my phone will finally inform me of my overloaded memory.

Sitting in the park now, I see the free spirit and innocence in the playing children. How wonderful must their thoughts be. Always questioning everything. When did we stop questioning the world and start shying away thinking the world will call us fools? It's amazing to put yourself in a toddlers shoes. It brings a whole new perspective to your blog. Maybe you can even think like a butterfly? Imagine the places that could take you.

Playing an instrument or painting can also open up realms of your mind that can inspire words. A simple hobby like baking or cooking can help relax your mind in order to get the creative juices flowing. I love the smell of freshly baked bread. That alone is enough to change a persons world around!

Inspiration doesn't come from hiding behind a desk but instead from the world around us. Being online all the time doesn't necessarily instill more knowledge into us to help tackle these issues. Instead we should focus on how to change our daily routine around to keep things fresh. It can be reading about everyday events to taking up a new hobby to striking up a conversation with a complete stranger. It's what takes us out of that bubble that gives us a spark and inspires us to become better than before. Whether that's better at blogging, better at parenting or even just a better human being.

So make a point of doing something new everyday or talking to someone new or reading a new piece of information. Changing your perspective could mean literally changing the height at which you sit to look at things from a different angle. Where will your inspiration take you today?

Sara's blog came about a few months after she had her baby girl, Jana. She had so much to ask, so much to say, she needed a diary to put everything into.  It gives her a chance to share her experiences with everyone and meet so many new people. The idea of her blog is to share her time with her little one, whether it’s traveling, food, milestones or the highs and the lows, in hopes that it might actually come in handy to a new mum. Sara wants to share in order to inspire, meet new mothers and to learn! Follow her on Twitter and Instagram

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Blog Biz // Give Yourself Permission

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By Rebecca Pitts

I'd love to talk to the Blog Society tribe about something that I've struggled with for almost a decade now...

I always wanted to do something creative and to run my own small business and brand, but I never really thought that I could just go ahead and do it.  Sure, there were (and are) lots of other people that  are putting their voice out there, running a blog, making things, or selling their wares and art. And here's what I thought: those people are simply more talented, more qualified and plain luckier than I am. 

I don't have permission to do that kind of work and live a creative life.

I'm happy to say that I'm speaking from the other side now and have finally pushed through the noise to launch my creative business and brand, Hudson + Daughterin early 2014. It's not perfect, and it's a work-in-progress, but I've had some surprising and thrilling successes, including a recent nomination as a Martha Stewart American Made finalist and a Country Living Magazine press mention.

Today, I'd love to talk with you about my creative struggle, and what finally lit the fire under me to put myself out there and launch my business... 

The untruths I had on repeat I was very, very busy for years--busy telling myself all of the reasons why I couldn't possibly start my own creative business. (So busy, that I wasn't doing the actual work.) Here are the three big un-truths that had me stuck in creative paralysis:

* Untruth #1: Am I really allowed to design, make, and sell things I make when I didn't go to art school? Truth: Well, actually yes. You are. And this is actually true of most fields, apart from the industries that require professional certification. The commercially successful illustrator and artist Lisa Congdon (and author of recently published Art, Inc.) never went to art school. She didn't even launch her art career until she was well into her thirties. And think what you will about Sheryl Sandberg and Leaning In, but the stats don't lie—men are more likely to apply (and therefore get) jobs that they are not exactly qualified for. Equally qualified women are more likely to talk themselves out of applying in the first place. 

* Untruth #2: Fear. What will people think? What if people don't like what I'm making or saying? Truth: Actually, most people aren't thinking about you at all. Ouchright?! But really, it's true. It may feel like such a big deal to send that email to your address book telling them what you're up to, and sure, you may have a judgmental relative to deal with at Christmas dinner. But most people will likely smile at your good news and be on their merry way. Here's an added bonus to getting over your fear of what people think: it will become immediately clear who's on your cheerleading team. Sure, you knew your best friend from forever ago would be your number one fan, but you might be pleasantly surprised at some of people who emerge as champions in your corner.

* Untruth #3: The people who are making their creative businesses work have more time, more money, more talent, and more connections than I do. Truth: Yep, they do. But so what. There will always be people who seem to have it all. Maybe it's not attractive to admit, but I get jealous really easily. I'm jealous of Anna Bond for her singular style and the immediately recognizable, alluring, and whimsical look of her work and brand that happens to have stretched into every adorable boutique across the nation. I'm jealous of Ina Garten for the life she has created for herselfplunging head first into a catering business (from a government desk job) and transforming that business into a cooking and entertaining media empire. Plus, she's got an awesome kitchen. Instead of internalizing that jealousy, and making it all about what I'm not, I pay attention to the feeling and ask myself what exactly is it about that person or her body of work or her lifestyle that I'm really after? I write it down. I make it a long term goal. Once you're clear about what it is that you're after, you're much more likely to make it happen for yourself.

What finally pushed me to move beyond these untruths and launch my creative business:

* Becoming a mom and losing all of that "me" time. John Lee Dumas calls it the baby effect. I've had less time then I've ever had in my entire life, and I've never been so productive. I've got one hour to design this piece or write this blog post or it's never, ever going to happen. Now's the time to seize that hour. Use the small amount of time you have. By committing to doing even one small thing each day, the days and weeks add up, and you've got a body of work and a business that is chugging along. 

* Putting myself out there and sharing my work. I'll be honest, some days it feels downright uncomfortable. And yes, sometimes I still cringe when I push the send or publish button if I'm pitching to a magazine or promoting a product. But here's a little secret: just keep on doing it. Notice what happens when the sales are lower than you had hoped for, or if you get a 'thanks but no thanks' reply: the world doesn't end. Surprisingly, I've taken these rejections far less personally than I would have ever imagined. And, not surprisingly, putting myself out there has led to the good stuffthe successes (the press features, the sales). This is the stuff that keeps fueling the creative fire.

* Connecting with a creative community, off-line. If you are lucky enough to have someone in your life who is like-minded and is also working on a creative project, talk things out with them. Meet for regular coffee dates. It's not necessary that you're working in similar disciplinesit's far more important to connect with a person who is open-minded, encouraging, and curious about her work (and yours). If it's proving difficult to find that person or group, try looking online for a group that meets in your area, or start your own.

* Wising up and getting older. This may be the most elusive one of all, and perhaps is the most important. At some point, the collective experiences of your lifeyour professional experiences, your studies, your personal growth, even the stuff that just happens to you and to the world that is out of your controlall of this meshes together and pushes you to evolve as a person. Meanwhile, the time is flying and the years are passing. Fast. Notice this. Does this scare the hell out of you? Good. Use this fear. Seize it. No one hands you the permission to go out and do the thing you're meant to do. You have to go ahead and take it.

Now, I'd love to ask you: what has held you back in the past? What was your turning point—when did you finally go ahead and give yourself permission? What happened? I'm so curious to hear!

Rebecca Pitt founded Hudson + Daughter in 2014 as a way to share the things she makes, open a shop, and to connect with readers, writers, artists, and makers.  She has a soft spot for indie comics, collage, beautifully illustrated children's books, Ernest Hemingway's first and third wives, modern architecture, the 5 o'clock spritz, first folios, Wes Anderson movies, rare book rooms, Lorrie Moore short stories, and flaky, buttery croissants (preferably paired with the perfect cup of dark roast coffee). She has lived in Connecticut, Italy, Boston, New York City, and is happy to call the lower Hudson Valley home. You can find her on her blog or on Instagram @hudsonanddaugher.

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All images by Rebecca Pitt

A special thank you and shout out to our Blog Society partners this month who proudly support us: Babe ScrubFarm & PrettyMartine Gallery and Bloggers Bazaar

Behind The Blog Scene // Breanna Rose of I'm Breanna Rose

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What a difference a week can make.

I can't even tell you how much my energy has been restored after last week's blogging break and my head is absolutely spinning (in a good way) with all the amazing content I have in store for you guys. Good things are on their way. I'm feeling especially grateful as I write this post for the astoundingly positive reaction I've received both here in Australia and in the US to this column. We've been so lucky to have such talented and generous ladies here each week sharing their tips and advice and I have so enjoyed getting a glimpse into their creative process. This week is no exception. 

Have you ever looked at a blog and immediately wanted to pin everything you see? That's kind of how I feel every time I look at Breanna Rose's blog, I'm Breanna Rose. A visual feast and magnet for any design lover, Breanna shares not only gorgeous images but solid, shareable business advice and support for freelancers. Whenever I need a visual pick me up or sound advice I head over to her blog and have never been disappointed - add her to your reading list, you'll thank me later.

Thanks Breanna for sharing your blog tips (and gorgeous images!) with us....

Describe your blog in 3 words...
Approachable, Simple, Informational
What is your blogging manifesto?
I don't have an official blogging manifesto or anything fancy like that, but I believe that if you are kind and truthful with what you're putting out into the world, only good things will come. Readers respect honesty, consistency, and like-minded personalities.
Top 3 blogging essentials?
Wordpress, Branding, Twitter
My biggest blogging moment/milestone was?
When I started posting original content about 95% of the time.
My dream collaboration would be?
Working with a travel related brand ( like Airbnb ) to go abroad and document just how easily travelers can infuse themselves into new culture when on the go, even if just for a week or two.
Right now I'm listening to...
Sia's new song called "Chandelier."
Best piece of advice to a newbie blogger?
It seems like everybody has a blog nowadays, so it's important to always be yourself and not somebody else. Create your own formula for success, otherwise it's already been done.
If I wasn't blogging I'd be...
Without a lot of great friendships I've created over the past three years. Needless to say, I'm so thankful for the opportunity + relationships the blogging world has created for me.
Behind the scenes of my blog looks like...
A routine. Week by week, I plan everything out and am very repetitive in terms of when I prep everything and how it all gets organized for scheduling.
In 2014 I'm most excited about ...
The launch of my new design studio and later, the release of an online freelancing workshop I'm working hard on with a good friend of mine. It's going to be the biggest year yet!

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