10 things about blogging.

so you wanna start a blog, eh?

well…i’ve been blogging for four years now. and although i would not consider myself an expert by any stretch, i’ve learned a thing or twelve about putting oneself out here on the interwebs for all the world to see.  so i thought i might share some of my best blogging advice.

before i get started though, i want to say this.  i am a not-for-profit blogger.  ok sure i’ve got a blogher ad running over there on the right hand side…but with the money i’ve made from that, i might be able to treat us to a couple of grande mocha frappucinos.  so if you’re here reading this blog post looking for tips on how to quit your day job to stay home and blog.  or looking for tips on SEO and marketing/branding.  or how to create viral content that’s going to get pinned zillion times on pinterest or wind up in somebody’s facebook feed….well this post won’t be of much use to you.  sorry.

but, if what you want from blogging is a gratifying experience.  a place to express yourself.  a place to share your pictures and story.  a connection to other like-minded bloggers… well then i have a few thoughts that might help you on that journey.  so let’s get started shall we?

1) write the blog that you want to read.  i can’t stress this enough.  you have to write for yourself.  i sort of think of this space as, in the words of jean fleming in pursue the intentional life, my ‘old woman file’…. a collection of thoughts and stories that help me to make sense of my life.  honestly, i could never have imagined how incredibly cathartic it would become to express myself in this way.

2) don’t worry about what others think.  this is sort of a complement to #1.  but here’s the thing, some people are going to get what you have to say and some aren’t.  if you are writing from the heart as authentically as possible, that’s all that matters.  oh believe me, it totally sucks when share something that is really personal and all the sudden you lose five blog subscribers at once.  yeah…that happened to me.  and it made me question everything about why i started a blog in the first place.  but what it comes back to is a place for me to share my thoughts and my stories.  so…my advice to you is, in the words of the indomitable taylor swift, shake it off.

#bloggersgonnablog #ohyeahiwentthere  #mydaughteriscringingrightnow

3) don’t be afraid to blog about the weather.  so if you’re just getting started on your blog, you might be thinking to yourself, “what in the world am i going to blog about?”  and i totally get it.  four years of blog posts later…and i’ve blogged about everything from clean sheets to the meaning of life.  and it’s all good.  because once you have a certain amount of content under your belt you’ll start to make connections about your life.  you’ll start to understand yourself better.  and the best part… you’ll see the magic in your most ordinary days.

4) buy a notebook.  here’s the deal, once you open yourself to this kind of expression, get ready.  because before you know it, your creative mojo is going to start bubbling up.  you’ll be sitting at your desk at your ‘real job’ and all the sudden you’re going to have a great idea for a blog post about blog advice. or you’ll go for a run and come back with a million ideas for your blog.  so keep your notebook close by for those occasions.  trust me on this.

5) give yourself room to grow.  like i said before, in the past four years i’ve blogged about a lot of different things.  but that being said, there are also many themes that recur in my own life.  sort of like the seasons, a cyclical nature to things.  and what’s interesting is that even though summer still looks like summer, the thing that changes is me. each year as i’ve grown and evolved, my writing has grown and evolved, and perhaps more importantly, the way i see things has grown and evolved.  seeing the same old life through new eyes has profoundly changed me and i have blogging to thank for that.

6) there is nothing new under the sun.  it’s true, there is probably nothing you have to say that hasn’t already been said before.  but it doesn’t matter…you need to say it anyway.  i will tell you that this concept, while on the outside it might seem a bit defeating, it’s actually so liberating.  it takes all the pressure off trying to be original which was something that i really worried about in the beginning… how to tell my story in a new way.   but then i discovered this quote by c.s. lewis:

even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it.

see?  completely liberating!  so just tell your story…be honest, be ethical.  but tell your story because the world needs it.

7) play nice.  so my guess is that if you have the desire to start a blog, you’re probably also a fan of reading blogs.  and as austin kleon suggests in his book steal like an artist, as bloggers (artists), we gather inspiration from a variety of sources…including each other.  but i would also like to offer this – if you happen to come across a particular blog post that really speaks to you.  that really touches your heart in some way.  that inspires you to write something of your own… i think it’s always a nice gesture to give a little nod to that original post in your own post (or even better, leave that person a little blog love).  because as bloggers, we’re all just out here to trying make sense of our lives.  share our art.  spread some light.  and to know that something we wrote connected with someone else…well that’s an awesome feeling.

8) embrace imperfection. as bloggers we have to be careful.  because if the only thing we ever blog about is all the good stuff, the pretty stuff, then it can sometimes appear from outside that we lead these beautiful, perfect lives.  a life where everyone is happy and all our clothes are folded and neatly put away and our litter box empties itself.  which is not at all how my life is anyway.  so don’t be afraid to share your struggles (to the degree you feel comfortable)…because so often, that’s where grace lives.

9) blogging is not dead.  i read an article recently that said something along the lines of how instagram was chipping away at the traditional blog platforms (blogger, wordpress, typepad).  and to some degree i get it. i share a good bit of my life on instagram.  but i am going to say it again and declare right now that blogging is not dead.

there is no way that i could have put this all into an instagram post.  there are things in life that need more than a snapshot and a quip.  so if you feel compelled to blog about your life and your cat’s hairballs, and the changing of the leaves in the fall… then do that.  please.  tell the world about the time you discovered the light.  then share it.  because we need it.  the world needs your light.

10) say thank you…often.  once you’ve started blogging, it probably won’t be too long until people (other than your mom and your best friend) stumble across it.  and pretty soon, to your amazement, you’ll make friends and have a following of people who get you and what you have to say.  and these lovely souls will not only get it, but sometimes they will leave you the kindest comments.  just reach out to you and tell you that you’re doing a good job.  or share with you that something you said made them see something in their own life.  or that your words helped then in some way.  this is the most wonderful feeling.  but it’s also incredibly humbling.  so never….never ever ever ever forget their kindness.  and never, ever forget to say thank you.

so there you have…my ten best pieces of advice for new bloggers.  and now i’m going to turn the comments over to my incredibly talented and generous blogging friends and let them share their blogging advice in the comments.

and one final note.  thank you.  thank you for reading my blog.  that you for getting me.  you have profoundly touched my life and my heart.

love, kelly

Posted in 10 Things | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

because creativity doesn’t have to be so hard

for the past couple of weeks, i’ve been reading the artist’s way.  i’m only about one-third of the way through it. but one thing that has become apparent – i know this probably isn’t going to come as a shock to anyone – and that is i have a tendency to overthink things.

anyway, i am doing the prescribed tasks to nurture my creativity such as morning pages and positive affirmations.  but basically creativity looks a lot like showing up and doing the work.

IMG_5044-Edit_web

how about that.

 

ttbutton_kimklassen

Posted in photography | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

the weekend in pictures

IMG_4936_blogIMG_4939_blogIMG_4945_blog

kelly and carrie were here.

IMG_4952_blogIMG_4963_blogIMG_4967_blogIMG_4971_blogIMG_4973_blog

the morning after.

IMG_4980_blogIMG_4983_blogIMG_4977-Edit_365IMG_4985_blogIMG_4987_blogIMG_4990_blogIMG_4992_blogIMG_4996_blogIMG_4998_365-2IMG_5000_blogIMG_5010_blogIMG_5005_blogIMG_5004_blog

i left thursday afternoon for houston to visit my carrie and help her with her oldest son’s engagement party.  our friend stacey was there too (her daughter is the one that got married a few weeks ago).

at any rate,  i have two things to say about this.

1) when did i get old enough to have friends whose children are old enough to get married.

2) my friends carrie and stacey have more creativity in their pinky fingers than all of pinterest combined.

 

so happy that i got to share in this special day.

love,  kelly

Posted in life | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

letting the light shine in

it happens all the time.  i’ll either be on my way to work, or putzing around the house in the late afternoon.  and then i’ll see it, the way the light shines into my house.  falling on the floor or the bed or whatever.  and it literally stops me in my tracks.  and so whenever this happens, i’ll go grab my camera, snap a couple of shots, and then carry on with whatever the task is at hand.

which was exactly the case last tuesday morning.

IMG_4832_blog

hello my name is kelly and i am a light junkie.

so in addition to my ‘everyday’ photography like this, i’m also taking this be still 52 class with kim klassen.  it’s a class on still life photography, but kim is also really great at helping us explore our creativity.  and this past week, our lesson was to put together a series or find a common thread in our photography.

after i read the lesson i just hung my head.  and i thought to myself, ‘great.  the one thing i just cannot seem to figure out, and now it’s a lesson.’

honestly this is the ONE THING that i struggle with more than anything.  i watch scott kelby videos about putting together a portfolio.  about refining your portfolio, your voice, so it sends a clear message about who you are as a photographer.

it’s like i’ve always said… it’s not so much that i am trying to pursue a career in professional photography.  but it would be nice to say ‘this is my thing’ photographically speaking.

anyway, that was wednesday and i was knee-deep sending my girl off to college.  i didn’t really have time to think about it.  so i decided to just set this lesson on the back burner.

well so thursday i got up early and  i set off for my morning run.  and it was such a glorious, sunny morning.  and i was thinking about how pretty the light was that morning.  to me there is something really special about the light in august.  and i particularly love the way it pours in through my east-facing french doors this time of year.  as evidenced by the photo i took on tuesday (above).

and then i got to thinking about all the pictures i have taken of the morning sun pouring in through my east french doors.

IMG_3421_blogIMG_0101_blogIMG_3802_blogIMG_1329_blog

hello lightbulb moment.

could it be?  could this be my thing?

i thought about this all the way home from visiting my girl at her new apartment.  sort of refined the concept in my head.  and then when i got back home, i took a few minutes to go through my lightroom catalog.  and oh my God….

image

so many pictures.  dozens of shots of light shining in through windows and doors.

IMG_3512_blogIMG_0173_blogIMG_0057_blogIMG_8970_blogIMG_8495_blogIMG_7980_blogIMG_5657_blog2013 01 20_8311_blog

letting the light shine in.

i think about how long i have been trying to find my thing.  and there it was. all along.  right in front my eyes.

isn’t it always like that?

i’m sharing this with you today because i think it is quite often very hard to look at our own work objectively.  and maybe you’re in the same boat.  whether it’s photography or painting or some other creative endeavor.  maybe you’re trying to find your voice or refine your portfolio to show the world who you are and what you love.

and so here is what i would say to you.  it takes time.  it might not take you four years like it did for me – but then again i am the world’s biggest overthinker so it really shouldn’t come as a surprise at all.

but oh the joy when it all comes together.  seeing the light.

IMG_4875-Edit_blog

love, kelly

ttbutton_kimklassen

Posted in photography | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

while i was away

while i was away i went on vacation with my family to california.

IMG_4108_blogIMG_3689_blogIMG_4165_blogIMG_3565_365-2IMG_4287_blogIMG_4487_365IMG_3626_blogIMG_4577_blogIMG_4704_365

there are a few things i would like to tell you about our vacation. well actually there’s alot i would like to tell you, but for today here are the main things i would like you to know.

      1. the weather there is perfect.
      2. there are no bugs.
      3. i am now completely obsessed with palm trees.

IMG_8175

dear california…i totally get it why people love you so much.

while i was away i read this book.

IMG_8129

it was a nice departure from the deeper, more thought-provoking books i’ve been reading lately.

while i was away i did really awesome stuff like wash dishes and fold clothes.

IMG_4725_blogIMG_4718_365

i also cleaned the cat litter box but i’ll spare you the pictures. #yourewelcome.

while i was away i got a new iphone.

my friends, I would just like it to be know that for the first time EVER, momma has the newest technology in the family. ????

this is big you guys.  because this is first time since cell phones came out that i have the most up-to-date technology in the family.  now the only problem is that i don’t have the ‘you guys always get the good stuff’ card to play.  #firstworldprobs

while i was away i took pictures of my garden flowers.  big shock i know.

IMG_4855_blogIMG_4732_blog

i honestly cannot remember my plants looking this good in the middle of august.

while i was away my tomato plants have taken over my vegetable garden.

IMG_4893_blog

but sadly, i have yet to harvest one of my big tomatoes.  because we have a tomato bandit!

IMG_4741_blog

i actually witnessed it…a squirrel trying to climb up the tree with one of my HUGE tomatoes in his mouth.  but thing is, it was so big and heavy that he’d get about a foot up and then fall backward from the weight of it.  i swear…if i hadn’t been laughing so hard, i would have been pissed.

while i was away my basil has taken off as well.

I see lots of pesto in my future. ????

and so when life gives you basil you make pesto and pizza right?

84 degrees. grilled pizza. homemade pesto with basil from my garden. so much to be thankful for tonight. so wonderful to get to share it with @kelseyish before she leaves for school tomorrow. thank you Tuesday.

while i was away my family and i have eaten approximately 467,000 pounds of watermelon.  give or take.

IMG_4803_blog

while i was away, i have been slowly trying to catch up with some of my photography projects.

IMG_4870_blog

while i was away my girl left to go back to college.

IMG_4844_blog

dear summer…why do you always have to go so fast?

while i was away i went to help her and her dear friend/roommate feather their nest, so to speak.  of course a trip to target and hobby lobby was in order.  as well as an unplanned trip to home depot due to a small incident with a malfunctioning wall anchor that we shall not speak of again.

i also thought they needed a bouquet of flowers to start the year off right.

IMG_4875_blog

while i was away i took the opportunity to recharge. and i mean that in every possibly way – physically, mentally, creatively.  even though sometimes taking time away takes courage.  but it has been the best decision ever.  i now feel like i have a renewed well of inspiration from which to draw.

while i was away it gave me a chance to think about my blog.  i wondered if i really had anything left to say and if it was something that i wanted to continue to make time for.  is this beloved space still filling a place in my heart?  and if so, going forward, what kind of space do i want it to be?  how might that look?  evolve?

while i was away, it feel good (at first) not thinking about blogging.  but after a week or so i started missing it.  i found myself sharing my thoughts on instagram and flickr.  and it became clear to me that i indeed still had things to say.

thinking of my girl today as she heads back to school to start her senior year. I know how scary it feels when faced with the future and uncertainty. but this one thing I know...God is there, creating a path, putting the pieces together. so if you happen to be facing uncertainty, please have hope. have faith. God will never abandon you. ????

and so as always, i thank you so very much for letting me share it with you.

love, kelly

Posted in life | Tagged , , | 4 Comments