tips for bloggers

Are You Sharing Too Much Information With Your Readers?

By: Cassandra Lane

It’s a dangerous word.

And if it conjures up thoughts of being fearlessly real, daringly vulnerable and knee-knockingly personal, you’re not alone. After all,  you’ve probably heard this oft proclaimed (but seldom examined) nugget of  wisdom.  “To foster authentic connections with your customers and readers, you need to be real. You need to be vulnerable. And you need to be willing to share personal information. So naturally, fearfully, you plunge forward with being daringly real. You roll up your (heart on your) sleeves, whip out your laptop and begin sharing. Business challenges and triumphs, inspiring conversations with your companions, tales of adventure and daring, the stories pour out of you like blood from an open wound.  

When Blogs Bite
But then everything goes pear shaped. Readership drops, haters start hating and all of a sudden you’re feeling uncomfortably exposed. What went wrong? Ah. Good is the question, young Jedi. And the answer is reassuringly simple: there is a fine line between sharing personal information with your readers and accidentally oversharing - and unnecessarily revealing - the deets of your latest pap smear. But no harm no foul, right? You didn’t mean to tippy toe over that fine line, so it’s not a major problem.

 Well …not necessarily. 

You see in addition to potentially alienating your audience, Dr. Rebecca Ray, Clinical Psychologist and creator of the Happi Habits program, suggests that by sharing too much online “bloggers leave themselves open to risk psychologically”. This, she believes, is because “it’s likely that he or she is attaching their worth, or at least the worth of their creative blogging endeavours, to how well they are received. This can then cause them to experience negative effects to their self-esteem if they are openly criticised or ridiculed.”

But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn't share any personal information or stories with your tribe. I actually believe that sharing is caring and that the more real and honest you are with your readers, the more real and honest they will be with you. Again though, there’s that fine line. 

So what’s a mindful blogger to do? Here are five questions to ask yourself if you’re worried you’ve accidentally submitted a membership request to the TMI club:

1. Do you feel uncomfortable about what you’ve shared? And not in a consciousness expanding, cleansing, bettering yourself way, but in an oh-my-gosh-what-have-I-done-where-is-the-delete-button way. 
2. If you’re comfortable with your article, ask yourself whether it has a purpose and positive intention for your readers. I.e. why should your readers see your article? What value does it add to their lives? If there isn’t any, Dr Rebecca recommends questioning your own motives and considering whether it’s an attempt to be liked and to gain followers or to be seen in a certain way. 
3. In two, five, ten years will you still be happy with that article being online?
4. Does the article make you feel connected to your online tribe and readers, or disconnected?
5. Are you willing to accept the repercussions of posting the article online? For example, it may be a story that puts somebody else in a bad light. Can you deal with the repercussions of having that person see the article? Consider all aspects and possibilities before hitting the publish button. And if you’re still unsure whether your article has shared TMI, ask a (trusted) friend to give you their advice. Sometimes we’re too close to the subject matter to tell whether we’re being delightfully vulnerable or overwhelmingly personal, but an honest friend will be able to help you see the difference. 

Happy blogging! 

BONUS!
Not sure if your blog content is hitting the sweet spot? Wish you could combine passion and strategy for a high-vibing experience for your readers? Drop a comment below and tell us why you love blogging to go in the draw to win one of five free blog assessments from Cass and Wild Spirit Co. (valued at $300) 

Each blog assessment includes a review of your blog and the last three-months worth of posts as well as invaluable advice on how to harness your passion and creativity to foster a six-figure readerships.

Cassandra Lane is the happy Editor-in-Chief of online publication, Happiness + Wellbeing Magazine, designated Word Wizardress at her copywriting agency Wild Spirit Co. and the Blogger Extraordinaire at the Fauna Philosopher. A quintessential daydreamer with a penchant for cloud-watching, reading, chocolate-drinking and crisp, mountain air (or really, nature of any kind, but mountain air sounded a lot cooler), she can usually be found with a book in one hand and a journal in the other. The pen, of course, will be tucked behind her ear and quickly forgotten as she floats though the rest of her day.

8 Ways Lightroom & Photoshop Will Improve Your Blog

By Taylor Mathis

Do you use Lightroom and Photoshop in your blogging?

I know what you may be thinking. Isn’t Photoshop just for making models look unrealistically skinny?  Yes, Photoshop can be used for that, but there is so much more the software can do. In fact, incorporating the powerful features of Lightroom and Photoshop into your workflow will dramatically increase the effectiveness of your blogging and connecting with your audience!

So why do I mention Lightroom and Photoshop together? A little while ago, Adobe launched something called the Creative Cloud and in doing so decided to put all of their software (Lightroom, Photoshop, Indesign, Illustrator, Audition, Premiere, etc…) online and made everything accessible through a cloud membership.

In doing this, they also created a program called the Photography Plan. For $10 a month, you have access to the full versions of both Lightroom and Photoshop. In the past it would cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to purchase this software. Not anymore. For what you may spend for two cups of coffee, you can have the most powerful imaging software available to you!

So now that this software is affordable, you may be wondering, how will Lightroom and Photoshop help my blog? Here are 8 ways that I use the software to create content for my blogs.

Organization and editing with Lightroom

1) Staying Organized
Lightroom’s Library module brings organization and the ability to find your images when you need them! Whether you are taking the pictures yourself, or receive them from a photographer, there is a good chance that you will have hundreds of images on your blog! Do you know how to quickly find any image on there? With Lightroom, you can organize your images so that you will always be able to find whatever image you need!

2) Editing your images and taking them from good to great!
If you are shooting with a DSLR, in order to ensure you are capturing the best image you can, you need to shoot in RAW. Unsure what RAW is? Here is an article that explains why it is superior to shooting in JPG.

You will need software to view and edit RAW files. Lightroom can read your files and will allow you to edit them to bring the most out of your images. Changes in editing allow you to fix any exposure issues that you may have had and take your image from good to great! Here is an example of an image straight from the camera and one that has been edited in Lightroom.

Lightroom

3) Create images of any size and for any purpose!
Once your images are edited you will want to share them on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. There is a problem, though. Each of these social media forms likes their images to be a certain size. You could upload the same image to each social media platform and hope that it crops well or you could use lightroom’s cropping and export features to ensure that your images will appear exactly how you want them and display the message that you intend!

The size of your images will also affect the performance of your site. The more images you have in a post, the higher potential there is for the post to lag while loading. If you want to keep the attention of your reader, ensuring that your images are sized appropriately for your blog is a necessity! With Lightroom, you can export your images in the exact size you need.  

Creating Content With Photoshop

Photoshop and Lightroom work seamlessly together and you can quickly move images from one program to the other and back. Photoshop has editing tools that will allow you to perform more precise retouching and create composites, but the ability to blend your images with text to create content is something that can take your blog to the next level!

Here is an example of some of the content you can create for your blog with Photoshop.

4) Blend text with images
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes adding text to an image makes that image more powerful! With Photoshop you can easily incorporate text into your images to create more impactful content! Here is an example of what you can create.

Photoshop

5) Create Calls To Action for Sidebars, Headers, and Footers
Do you have an affiliate program for your site where you want others to share your products? Are you looking at advertising your site on another online site? You will need to create web advertisements for these purposes. In Photoshop, you can create correctly sized images that will showcase your site with a mix of text, graphics, and images.

Not interested in creating advertisements? Photoshop can still help. Is there an email list you want people to sign up for, or some other action you want readers to take? With Photoshop, you can create buttons and advertisements that can blend together images and text to share your message and signal what action you want a viewer to take!

6) Create PDFs
A PDF is an incredibly useful file that can serve a wide variety of purpose on your blog. You can create one with tips and resources and tips to use as a free opt-in to get people to sign up for your email list. You can go a step further and take your expertise to create a PDF to include in a digital course or product.  

7) Create Presentation slides
Are you creating an online course or giving a presentation? With Photoshop, you can quickly and easily slide templates that will allow you to incorporate your brand and messages into a beautiful presentation. These templates can be used in powerpoint or google slides and presented live or recorded through a screencast presentation like the video you see above!

8) Create Animation and Videos
With photoshop, you can add movement to your images and words to create animations and video perfect for a wide variety of resources. They can be introductions to videos, animated web advertising, or to tell a short story on social media! Once you learn the basics, there is no shortage to what you can create!

As you can see Lightroom and Photoshop do much more than just making models look skinnier. They are incredibly powerful tools that will bring you organization and allow you to create stunning and impactful content for your blog! This content can be used to grow your readership or even turn into digital products.

There is a problem, though. The software is now at an affordable price, but it isn’t the most intuitive or user friendly software to use. If you are interested in learning how you can use Lightroom and Photoshop to organize, edit, and create content with your images and graphics, check out Post-Processing and Content Creation for Creatives! * It is a course with over 70 videos, templates, and resources that will help you quickly and easily learn to use Lightroom and Photoshop to create content for your blog!

You can find Taylor blogging and sharing helpful biz tips over here - say hello! *I am a proud of affiliate of his program too!

The A-Z Guide To Soulful Blogging

A-Z Guide

By Janelle Ledwidge

After working in the digital media industry for nearly 15 years, I’ve seen plenty of blogs and websites come and go. This A-Z of soulful blogging includes my top tips and strategies to help get your blog bursting with creativity and be a magnet for readers and potential customers alike.

A: AUTHENTIC, ACTIVE & ASKING FOR HELP
A blog that’s written from a place of authenticity will easily blossom. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery however it’s exhausting keeping up the façade of trying to be something or someone you’re not. Be authentic and the writing and content creation will flow. Your tribe will gravitate towards you and your work, and will become loyal supporters in no time.

Asking for help isn’t always easy. Sometimes you might feel like a failure or needy by doing so, but the reality is you’ve just got to reach out to people, in or beyond your existing network. Do you have a friend who’s connected to someone you’d love to meet? Ask for an introduction. Stuck with a tech issue and need some guidance? Tap your existing network or find a group of likeminded bloggers where you can share tips and resources. Never shy away from asking and be ready to give back generously.

Being an active blogger means you’re regularly producing content and filling up your website, which is good for Google. It’s also great for developing your writing style and keeping your readers up to date and interested in what you’ve got to say. Part of being an active blogger also means looking after the backend of your blog by installing the latest plugins, security patches and backing up your content. Get familiar with your blog analytics to see what posts are performing and where your traffic is coming from.

B: BRAND & BLOG BOREDOM
More often than not, your blog or your website is the cornerstone of your business and an online extension of your voice, style and brand. It’s the place to showcase your latest articles, news, products and services and is a primary platform for people to find and connect with you. Provide readers with a brilliant and cohesive user experience by ensuring your blog is truly representative of who you are. If you’re a solopreneur, then what you publish online in the form of content and design actually becomes part of your personal brand.

Feeling bored with your blog? You’re most likely to get blog boredom (blogdom) more than your average reader because you’re often looking at your blog with a critical mindset and you’ve read the content over and over. Change up the look and feel with a new theme or swap out graphical elements to refresh the visual appeal. Tweaking the design and adding fresh content regularly keeps it interesting.

C: CONTENT CREATION & COLLABORATION
Content creation is the lifeblood of your blog and originality is key. It’s how readers get to know you and it’s what keeps them coming back for more. Collaborating with other bloggers is a great way to showcase your talent, cross pollinate ideas, forge alliances and expand your network. If you are inviting guest bloggers, keep the quality consistent and be sure to communicate your standards to any potential collaborators.

D: DYNAMISM
There’s no denying we live in a digital world and we are massive consumers of content 24/7. Your blog should look good and perform well online but also be mobile responsive so it’s viewable on a smartphone or tablet. Keep your blog dynamic and engaging with content that is disruptive. No one wants to read article after article that’s all about you. It’s like having a conversation at a party with someone who only speaks about themselves, which is really boring. When it comes to blogging it pays to know your strengths and weaknesses. If the technology aspect of blogging has you running in the opposite direction, consider delegating some of the set up or design work by using a service like Fiverr.com, Airtasker.com or with a VA (virtual assistant).

E: ENTREPRENEURSHIP & EFFICIENCY
It’s easy for your entrepreneurial spirit to be dampened if you find blogging to be a chore. What to write about and what will people think of your work are typical concerns when you’re first starting out. Think about the sort of experience you want readers to have when they visit your blog. What are you really passionate writing about? Blogging should be something you look forward to. Make the most of your time by blogging with efficiency. Spend some time writing articles and schedule blog posts and social media in advance to free up your creative time.

F: FOLLOWING, FREEBIES & FONTS
The blogosphere can be a lonely place, especially if you’re pouring your heart and soul into creating gorgeous content and no one seems to be visiting or leaving a comment on your blog. Is there anybody out there? It can take a while to build a loyal following and the key is quality content and consistency. Having a nice opt in freebie can be good for building your email list. Connecting with other likeminded bloggers can also help you to build your profile. If you read someone’s blog post and love it, be sure to say so by leaving a comment. Regularly check your favourite blogs and get to know the people behind the words. If you’re not getting the levels of traffic you want be sure to check your SEO and one of the simplest tips is check your fonts. You might love a particular, quirky font but if it looks odd on the screen or is difficult to read then people simply won’t stick around to read the content.

G: GENEROSITY
If you’re looking to position yourself as a thought-leader via your blog be generous with the information you’re sharing. You never know when or where your next potential client is coming from or how a new business relationship may eventuate. The Internet is a truly global marketplace. Your next customer might be from the same city or someone from a different country. When it comes to business and growing your online presence via your blog, remember we all start from humble beginnings. If you’re an established blogger, show your support to a new blog or biz that’s caught your eye by leaving a comment or sharing a mention on social media. It never hurts to give back and be grateful for any support that’s been shown to you on your blogging journey.

H: HUMILITY
The social and business networks built through blogging can become central to how well you establish your profile and brand in the offline world. Reach out and connect with your network in real life through events and local meet ups. If sales and generating revenue is part of your focus, then hone in on your business strategy to make sure you’re paying equal attention to the e-commerce side of your blog. If you’re a new blogger, avoid the typical 6 month burn out and perish syndrome and use the first year to try out new ideas with content creation and design to see what works best for you as you refine positioning and niche. As you’ll be hustling for opportunities, it pays to stay humble and offer your assistance to others when you can.

I: ISOLATION, INSPIRATION & INSECURITIES
As a society, technology connects us in ways not previously experienced by past generations. The flipside to this connectivity is there are many entrepreneurs and bloggers today working in isolation. Isolation can be hard to deal with particularly if you have an extroverted personality. With many opting for email communication it can even be challenging to have a phone conversation with someone. It pays to take a balanced approach to communication in business and in life so if you feel disconnected, try to incorporate a mix of styles to support you which could include face-to-face meetings or skype video calls, speaking engagements or networking groups.

Inspiring your readers with heartfelt, well written content will keep them coming back for more but it’s not enough to simply have a blog. People need to find you online and that’s where building a strong following on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter can really help. Instructional video content is growing in popularity and if this type of content appeals to you then overcome any insecurities you might have with being on screen and record a few videos at home for practice first. Improve your on-camera technique and get used to talking straight into the camera with emotion. Let your personality shine through. 

J: JEALOUSY
It can be frustrating when you’re not achieving the results you want from blogging and business and you see someone else nailing it on all fronts. But don’t let jealousy bite you or become consumed by it. We’re all on our own journey and are at different stages of our individual journeys. Being jealous of someone else’s success will detract you from your own mission and eat away at your confidence. Jettison jealously and focus on bringing your personal best to everything that you do and the results will come.

K: KIN & KINETIC
Kinfolk; your tribe, your circle. The people that will be your biggest supporters and most avid readers. As soon as you start blogging, start nurturing your tribe. Have a clear understanding about who they are and connect with them in a meaningful and authentic way. Producing content for the web means you’re creating for a kinetic platform. It’s an ever evolving, pervasive, dynamic environment so keep your content fresh, accessible and full of movement with beautiful visual elements.

L: LISTEN, LEARN & LEVERAGE
Take the time to listen to what your readers like and learn about their preferences. Once you have a clear understanding of this, creating compelling content will become so much easier. Ultimately you want to love what you do so leverage all your available resources to bring your blog to life.

M: MOTIVATION, MARKETING & MIXING IT UP
Stay motivated about your blog by preparing an editorial calendar that will keep you moving towards your writing goals and content creation like a pro. If you’ve reached a stage with your blog that has you questioning its overall direction, go back to your original vision and start formulating a plan that will bring you back into mission mode. Refresh your marketing approach and try out a few different ideas that might attract new readers like a competition, webinar or video series. Mix up content formats to see what works best with your tribe.

N: NEWSWORTHINESS
Neglected, abandoned blogs are everywhere so make sure your blog doesn’t perish by keeping your content newsworthy and interesting. Nurture your tribe and give your readers a mix of personal, inspirational and instructional content.

O: OBSTACLES, OPPORTUNITIES & AN OPEN MIND
Keep an open mind about the types of publicity activities you’re willing to undertake when building your brand and blog. If you dislike dealing with the media or reluctant to engage in public speaking try to overcome these obstacles and be prepared when opportunity knocks. Stick to a calendar system and practice diarising your daily to-dos to help you stay organised. To avoid task-overwhelm, group scheduled tasks by project and break down jobs within a project into manageable chunks that will enable you to progress and remain optimistic.

P: PROCRASTINATION, PASSION, PERSONALISATION & PROOFING
Procrastination is the nemesis of productivity. If you find yourself putting off a certain project take the time to question why and identify the real reason behind the reluctance to move forward. The most exciting projects are the ones we are most passionate about. Passion fuels creativity and it’s often the practical driving force that stretches us beyond our comfort zone when dealing with completing larger, more complex projects. Personalise your blog and give it a professional edge with original, proofread content and most importantly, protect your digital work from theft by using an online plagiarism tool like Copyscape.com.

Q: QUALITY
In the realms of content production, quality versus quantity is the winner every time. Thoughtful, beautifully written blog posts that occur with regularity will capture your reader’s interest and keep them engaged. Don’t sacrifice your standards to meet a publishing demand just for the sake of putting something out there. Know when to quit if an element on your blog or a particular topic isn’t generating interest. Question your readers to find out what they want you to write about and keep experimenting.

R: RESPOND & RELATIONSHIP
Running a blog is a two way communication channel. If someone takes the time to read your blog post and makes a comment, be sure to respond promptly and in a meaningful way. Move beyond the typical remarks and engage your readers in a conversation that forges a closer connection and opens up the dialogue. Think relationship building, not simply reply and you’ll create a richer engagement with your tribe and potential ideal clients.

S: SHARING & SOCIAL MEDIA
Sharing the content you’ve created is critical in driving traffic to your blog and building your online profile. Understand the content consumption preferences of your tribe and what social media platforms they’re using and schedule accordingly. Use social media to your advantage but don’t compromise your blogging efforts by spending all your time building your presence on different social platforms. Ultimately you want those connections and conversations to happen on your blog whenever possible where you have more chance of converting casual readers into valuable subscribers.

T: TRUST
Trust in your instincts. If you’re fretting over pushing the publish button on your latest blog post, go with it and trust in what you have written and what you have created. Sometimes what you write won’t hit the mark, but that’s OK. You learn from the experience, move on and try again. If you’ve been absent from your blog or need to take a break then be transparent with your readers and share what’s going on. They’ll appreciate your honesty and approachability.

U: UNIQUE
Make your blog an inviting destination by writing with your unique style and provide plenty of useful, relevant content to help readers improve their own lives. Maintain the upkeep of your blog and if you’re publishing via a blogging platform like Wordpress be sure to uninstall any untested plugins that could cause a stability issue.

V: VIRALITY & VISUALS
It’s almost impossible to predict what content will go viral so don’t create content hinging your hopes on it being a viral smash. What’s trending in content right now are visuals. Images and video grab attention and are a critical element in content marketing. The world needs to hear your voice via your blog but it also wants to look at pretty pictures too. Having a clear vision for your blog is also paramount. What do you want to achieve as a result of producing content? What’s the reason you want to create a blog in the first place? While we’ve talked a lot about blogging and business from an entrepreneurial viewpoint, there is absolutely no reason why you couldn’t apply the various strategies to a purely creative or personal blog. It’s often the case when we’re investing our time on a passionate pursuit, it can sometimes grow and become ripe for commercial interest and investment.

W: WRITE & WEAVE
The wonderful words you write and all the hard work you invest in building your blog will pay off and win the eyes of readers and the hearts of your destined tribe. Keep weaving your uniqueness through everything you produce for your blog and let people connect with your true, authentic self.

X: XENODOCHIAL & THE X-FACTOR
First impressions count online so make your blog a welcoming destination that is xenodochial with user friendly design, accessible type and the right mix of content. Give your blog the x-factor and give readers a reason to visit again and again.

Y: YES
Say yes to opportunities that will help you to build your blog and brand. How else will people get to know you and your work? Support yourself by saying yes more and embrace the possibilities that flow your way.

Z: ZERO IN
Before publishing your next post, check to see if you can tighten up the text by zeroing in and removing any unnecessary words or use a tool like PaperRater.com to improve your writing and readability. 

janelle-ledwidge

Janelle Ledwidge is a qualified life coach, Licensed Facilitator of The Desire Map, co-author of “A Faster Future” and holistic health coach-in-training. As the Curator of AGLITTERINGSOUL.COM, Janelle loves writing and designing relevant, heartfelt, actionable content to inspire creative, ambitious women and soulful entrepreneurs who understand that investing in personal development is the key to crafting a lifestyle rich with happiness, passion and purpose. Visit Janelle at AGLITTERINGSOUL.COM and connect on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.

10 Cool Family Photo Backgrounds For Bloggers // Photography Tips

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By Bethany Cleg

Family photos should be more than just a record of a particular day in the life of its members. Family photos should also make a clear and graphical statement about the interests, values and priorities of the family. There is allot of unsaid information communicated in a family photo. To ensure that your family photos are unique and capture the spirit of you and your loved ones, consider these ideas for backgrounds.

Secondly, I must preface that if you are planning on shooting family pictures yourself and its a “once a year” type of activity maybe consider renting a nicer camera and lenses for the shoot. Its not expensive and its cheaper than buying a camera that you may not end up using that much. 

Here in Australia I recommend this aussie camera hire site as I use them all the time.  Also if you have a baby in the family read this guide here first to get some tips on how to handle your baby for easier photos.

Around Your Community:

1. Every community has civic points of interest. Look for a noteworthy regional feature in your area such as an historic tree or an antique building that played a significant part in the town’s past.

2. If you live in the country, look for a classic barn and ask permission of the owner. To increase interest, frame the photo to include the barn door hardware which will add a distinctive graphic detail.

3. Nighttime settings can be especially romantic for a photo of a couple. Choose a glamor spot for night shots, keeping in mind that it may be necessary to consider a lighting hire for sufficient illumination.

4. Use as a background a place that has sentimental value for the people in the pictures. For instance, if the picture is of a couple who were high school sweethearts, use a building or other structure of the school such as the bleachers on the sports field. This is especially meaningful if the couple were involved in sports while in high school.

5. An old covered bridge cannot be equaled for nostalgia, romance and history. There are covered bridges in every state in the US, so check to see if there is one in your area.

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The Great Outdoors:

6. A zoological park can be a fabulous place for a photo if the subjects are animal lovers. A large mammal such as a big cat, elephant or giraffe will add a surprising and dramatic element to the picture and will make a statement about the importance of animals in the lives of the family members.

7. Moving water of any kind will add sparkle to a picture. Check with local parks and recreations 
offices to see what is in your area. Look for waterfalls, lakes or rapids and plan to shoot when the light will emphasize the water movement.

8. A botanical garden will provide many exceptional choices for backgrounds. Plants are naturally beautiful. Frame the family group between two trees or peeping through the leaves of a large plant. Flowers in bloom will add color and proportion to the photo.

In Your Home:

9. For pictures taken in the home, find a background that expresses a unique family trait. For instance, a family of readers might pose in front of a bookcase. A work shop or craft room would be an ideal location for a photo of a family of hobbyists. These settings will bring out smiles naturally as family members recall happy memories of fun and creative times together.

10. An athletic family will want to incorporate their love of sports into a photo. Larger equipment such as surfboards, snowboards, skis or boating gear can serve as a photo background and as an expression of the lively interests of the family members. Using authentic settings rather than artificial studio backgrounds on canvas will make your family photos one-of-a-kind as well as far more interesting.  Photos in real settings convey much more than a family likeness. Carefully chosen, the photo background will contribute to the family history and lore so that future generations will better understand their roots and where they came from, which is always a primary reason to take and preserve family photos.

Bethany is an avid writer and photography enthusiast - connect with her on Google+ or Twitter

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Behind The Blog Scene // Brittany Watson Jepsen from The House That Lars Built

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I'm having a big old pinch me moment with this week's interview.  The House That Lars Built has been a long time favourite, a bright and shiny blogging escape that led the way for many future DIY bloggers. I love how Brittany's path has been unconventional but she had the guts to follow her heart and I think that's a big lesson for me this week (and a timely reminder for many of you too I hope). If you are unfamiliar with her blog - brace yourself - and take some time to sit back and be impressed. It's visual, playful and captures the essence of what blogging is all about - having fun and making magic.  Go on and be inspired to create some of your own magic this week...

Describe your blog in 3 words…
Beautiful (hopefully!), whimsical, restrained
What is your blogging manifesto?
An artful life.  I have it right under my title because The House that Lars Built doesn't necessarily say "Here you will learn how to make projects for your life that add beautiful eye candy to your life."
Top 3 blogging essentials?
Patience, creativity, calendar!
My biggest blogging moment/milestone was....
Making a living from my blog. Nearly every day I'm still stunned at how we have food on the table from doing this!
My dream collaboration would be?
Oh wow. A collaboration with Tim Walker might nearly make me die. I'd just be happy to be on set with him as a fly on the wall.
Right now I'm listening to...
A Fine Frenzy's Now is the start. That is the theme song for this summer! The song screams happiness!
Best piece of advice to a newbie blogger?
Don't do it for what you think might be money. Do it because you want to add something valuable to the world.
If I wasn't blogging I'd be...
I have no idea. At an interior design firm? That's my background. Funny thing is, I tried so hard to get a 9-5 job and it just didn't work out. I was ready to play along, but I think someone had another plan for my life.
Behind the scenes of my blog looks like...
A mess. Seriously. My studio is a disaster.
In 2014 I'm most excited about...
Cleaning up my blog, getting a redesign, building my team, making magic!

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