Why It's Ok to Take a Blog Break

I have a confession. 

I often fall down right after all my best intentions. 

Before my trip to Berlin, I read up on how to take a break from your blog. I packed a journal with the intention to  plan out how I will rewrite the website copy and restructure the pages. I set my email out of office to tell people I'd be checking in when I could. It all seemed very organised and I was going to be the person who had her stuff together and glided through a vacation with no blip in content or contact. 

Life got a bit, well, 'lifey' just before I left and those scheduled posts and up to date emails didn't happen. Berlin is distracting. A silence fell over me and I've not fought it. 

Easing in to some good relaxation time can fill you up again with creativity

Easing in to some good relaxation time can fill you up again with creativity

Instead I've built new nests in new surroundings and walked through the city with no real sense of purpose, just letting life wash over me a little. 

Why it's ok to take a blog break

It's felt good I won't lie. 

So what is my lesson from this? Blogs can be like a city break- you feel you need to cover all your bases, keep the momentum going and seize every opportunity. That can become particularly true when your audience and following is growing rapidly- suddenly you're aware of those eyes on you and it starts to gather a pace that even you don't know if you can keep up with.  

So be all means, schedule those posts, pre schedule some tweets but also? Just wander. Aimlessly wander and see what happens when life surprises you. You might just find yourself lost in it and longing for a little more time to notice the small things like the way a stitch catches the depth of a hand dyed yarn. 

Then you know that you're on to a good thing. Trust me x

5 Places to Find Blog Inspiration

Finding blogging inspiration has been at the heart of this month's creative theme for An Inspired 2015 so I am finishing this month with 5 tips from Blogtacular co founder Kat Molesworth, who was last week's guest on the podcast. I've loved hosting the 'Love Your Blog' challenge and would really enjoy hearing what you got up to next. Let's agree to keep in touch, ok?

In the meantime, I've been hanging out at the #blogtacular twitter chat (this was actually part of last night's chat so it seems there's lots of us thinking about inspiration and blogging) and cant wait to take part in Blogtacular 2015. If you're going, do let me know- I can't wait to meet everyone!

5 Places to Find Blog Inspiration

5 Places to Find Blog Inspiration by Kat Molesworth of Blogtacular 

When it comes to blogging you can sometimes feel like your ideas have run dry. If you have been taking part in the Love Your Blog challenge it might be a while since you were writing recently.

Generating ideas isn’t a passive activity, sometime you have to take action to get the juices flowing. Here are five places to find inspiration for new posts.

 

1.       Write a list.

List posts tell people exactly what they are getting and allow you to share ideas without much detail. You might even find inspiration for longer posts in the reactions to your list.

 

2.       Go somewhere new.

Not only will taking your camera along give you something to write about but stepping out of your normal surroundings changes your perspective. The old phrase ‘a change is as good as a rest’ has its base in truth. Go somewhere fun, inspiring or exciting – just get out and experience something different.

 

3.       Have a chat with your blog friends.

Whether you meet up or talk over Skype getting together with other bloggers is a great way to start the ideas flowing. If you have like-minded bloggers in your area why not plan a crafternoon once a month?

 

4.       Make something.

Get creative and make something with your hands. If you find the flow of knitting projects doesn’t feed your blog fast enough why not try another craft which gives rapid results? It doesn’t have to be craft, share your latest decorating project or a recipe you love.

 

5.       Tell us a story about you.

Blogging is all about connection and opening up can help your audience got to know you. It might be how you got into your craft or what you wanted to be when you grew up – share something with meaning and you will reconnect to your own motivations.

 

However you decide to kick start your inspiration writing something, anything, is the first step and one worth taking.

Love Your Blog: Gratitude

When I dreamed of this month exploring creativity and inspiration through blogging, I don't think I was quite prepared for the response I would get. It's been a month of comments, tweets, emails, messages, Ravelry chats and so, so many wonderful blog posts. The theme today was an obvious choice after a month where I heard YOUR voice, found your online home and we shared inspiration together as a community of makers. I feel like a traveller invited into the homes of strangers to gather, tell tales and share our common loves. 

If you've loved this creativity challenge then stay tuned as I have more fun planned for An Inspired 2015 and very shortly I will be launching a monthly newsletter with a very special invitation inside to keep you creative and inspired. Remember, you can share all your creative inspiration this year by following me and tagging me @aplayfulday and using the hashtag #aninspired2015 on all social media. 

Love Your Blog: Gratitude. 

Love Your Blog: Gratitude. 

This weekend I shared an interview with Kat Molesworth of Blogtacular in which she stated that one of the many amazing things about blogging is that it has given women a voice that is entirely their own, no one can edit that. Something inside of me cried 'YES' to this powerful statement and I know it spoke to many of you who listened too. I for one would love to see more bloggers, more voices and more exploration of this creative space that we're sharing together because without blogging I would simply not be the person I am today. 

I have blogged for 5 years now, sharing stories from myself as well as people I truly admire. A Playful Day has allowed me to meet women like Kat, to get to know readers who share their lives with me on social media and in the comments (yes, I know some of you have been here for years, I smile when I see your name pop up). Blogging has created a web of connections to so many inspiring women and I for one couldn't be more grateful for that. 

I started the blog with a simple mission: to find the playful in every day. It's not always easy and it's kept me on track when perhaps life has felt too overwhelming and full of too much clutter and noise distracting me from what I want to do. This last year it has held me in a place that I needed: positive, creative and safe. Thanks to this blog and all the many people it has invited into my life I have grown as a mother, a writer, a creator and a woman. I had the courage to be my own person, to beat my own drum and invite people to gather and listen. Blogging very much gave me that and I there's not a day goes by when I don't thank my lucky stars for the day I said 'I want to blog and I want to tell tales.'

 

So my show of gratitude today is to promise to keep going, to keep bringing you inspiration as you so frequently inspire me. I have so many more paths to walk down and you know what? I have a feeling we're going to find some real adventures down there. 

Keep blogging, keep sharing with me and I will keep creating. Stay tuned.... there's something on the horizon xx

 

Thank you to everyone who took part and took the time to drop you link. Remember you can read all the previous Love Your Blog posts from me here



Love Your Blog: Ugly

Ok I'm throwing this one out with a genuine heart because it's time we talked about what happens when blogging gets ugly. 

What to do when blogging gets ugly

Have you ever found yourself ready a blog post and suddenly feeling really negative? Perhaps you're feeling like you're not keeping up, that your life doesn't look like what's presented in front of you or worse, you feel a rising tide of jealousy about what this blogger is achieving. 

Me too. 

There I said it and I'm saying it because it really is ok. I have a really specific memory of crying about a post I read explaining how to sew quiet time books for your child that led to me deciding I wasn't doing enough as a mum (I was). I've stared in hopeless dismay at my tights, with a big fat hole in the toe, as I read about yet another great stylish outfit that I could add to my wardrobe. I've also sat feeling like maybe I don't really like a particular blogger because they're too close to the kind of blogger I would so love to be. 

You want to know what I do when I come up against that?

First, I stop reading. Seriously, stop feeding that negative feeling. I am a big believer that if you are in a pattern that's making you feel negative, you have the power to stop that. The second I feel this ugly side of blogging, I hit delete and put myself on a little time out. 

Then I do what I do best, I use it for good. My golden rule in hosting a blog or podcast is do what inspires you and even if that inspiration originates from something negative, you can totally use that for some great content! There's so many ways you can turn a negative into a positive so here's what I do:

1. Acknowledge it and understand it- Is there something in that blog post that you actually really strive for? Identify it and think about how you can use it to improve your own blogging. For example, I have a real need for better photography and after years of looking longingly at others blogs, I've signed up to a photography class with super blogger Emily Quinton. I can't wait!

2. Let it go- Time to make like a Disney girl and sing your heart out. Stop being your own worst critic and stop comparing your worst bits to someone else's best. You don't know what's going on behind the scenes. I personally create the most exciting and dynamic content I can muster when I'm feeling low and life is a little hard. I choose to embrace the ugly and walk a more positive path wherever else I can. My blog is my happy place even when behind me is chaos and destruction and I would hope that no one ever thinks that my life is perfect. Trust me dear readers, it really isn't. 

3. Collaborate- That person you're feeling ugly about, are they actually someone you secretly admire? Why not reach out and invite that inspiration into your digital home? My working motto is 'collaboration not competition' and if someone is doing something great, I will often reach out and let them know that. We all are stronger as a whole so it's time to join up!

4. Do what you love- Maybe it's time to stop looking over our shoulders and comparing ourselves. Bake that cake, switch off the laptop and do whatever makes you happy. It's just the internet after all. 

5. Look elsewhere- There's a particular kind of blogger that always triggers me and I've accepted that I need a voice that's got just the right mix of inspirational/ aspirational content with a little drop of humanity. I can remember reading posts from Kelle at Enjoying the Small Things where she admitted that she wasn't feeling good about her ability as a mother. It wasn't so raw that it felt awkward to read but it made me see that we all put our best foot forward and it's ok to let people know when you stumble. (Kelle btw is a personal content hero of mine, go read. Take popcorn. You'll be there a while)

 

So tell me about your ugly for this week's link drop!


Next week's theme seemed pretty obvious seeing as it's the final prompt....

Gratitude

Thanks so much for joining in with this #loveyourblog challenge everyone! Don't forget to share with me @aplayfulday. 

Love Your Blog: Beginnings

Welcome back to our weekly Love Your Blog link drop! It's been fascinating reading so many wonderful blog posts from people exploring their sense of Community and Interaction. This week, I'm asking you to add your blog post about 'Beginnings' and return sharing mine.

Next week's prompt is 'Ugly'. Can't wait to see what you cook up!

Beginnings

It was hearing from so many bloggers last week that made me look back at some of my earliest blogger experiences. I started A Playful Day as a prompt for my own daily life, to encourage me to find a playful moment in every day. As a result blog posts would often be funny little stories about things like the neighbours having an exciting looking barbecue, cookie recipes, jumping in puddles and plenty of chatter about what I was knitting

black and white breadmaking photos from 2010! 

black and white breadmaking photos from 2010! 

It's been a funny journey going back into myself. The same people appear again and again like Lisa from Northbound Knitting who has sponsored me from very early on and supported my growth as a blogger, podcaster and knitter. There's something so reassuring to see my community has stayed pretty authentic feeling even with the way this blog and podcast have grown. There's much less knitting these days thanks to a sheer lack of time and poorly wrists so I tend to channel any knitting content into the podcast and use the blog to keep that broader, more playful feel. 

Food featured much more heavily on A Playful Day- I need to return to this goodness!

Food featured much more heavily on A Playful Day- I need to return to this goodness!

I guess I'm still finding playful moments and documenting them but it's more about what's feeding my brain these days from new designs, conversations with smart creative business women and a constant search for further inspiration after setting myself a creativity challenge with 'An Inspired 2015'. 

An inspired 2015 is a big part of A Playful Day's blog direction

An inspired 2015 is a big part of A Playful Day's blog direction

If you've been blogging for a long time, have you looked back on that first year at all? I'd love to know what you found!