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!

Blog Week: Thea Colman of BabyCocktails

Tomorrow I will be publishing my answer to the 'beginnings' theme for the Love Your Blog challenge so hopefully see you there for the link drop and new creativity prompt?

Before then, you can enjoy some wonderful blogging inspiration to round off blog week thanks to Thea Colman. Thea is another of those knitting bloggers I discovered pretty early on in my voyage into knitting and the fact she combines her knitting with cocktails? SOLD!

Thea Colman the blogger & designer at BabyCocktails

Thea Colman the blogger & designer at BabyCocktails

"My name is Thea Colman and my blog is BabyCocktails, which is about my world of knitting and the  drinks.   And occasionally on the things that happen outside that in my travels.  To be honest, the blog has narrowed down these days to  mostly the knitting, and has less adventures lately,  probably because I adventure less and knit more these days.  But the drinks haven’t stopped…   

cocktails and yarn

cocktails and yarn

I started blogging for a business idea that never came to be, and just kept going with it.  I lived in a neighbourhood with a great bunch of women about 15 years ago and many of us had first babies and husbands who worked fairly late. By 4 or 5pm, there was always someone on the street who was ready to get together and make a drink and play with another grownup for a bit.  We called those drinks “babycocktails". 

I was knitting back then, and my friend Gabriella loved to sew and we had this idea to make baby clothes where we’d get thrift shop items and add edgings and borders and make them adorable and crafty while having our drinks. Our plan was to name that venture BabyCocktails.  So I got the URL and began blogging to test the waters a little, with the thought that eventually this would be our business website.  

I’m still very good friends with Gabriella, but that idea never took flight.  (The drinks may have gotten in the way of any actual planning or productivity.)  In the meantime, I just kept blogging about my knitting and whatever came to mind. By the time I started designing, the blog had enough of a following to keep the name and go with it.   

As I began designing,  the blog introduced me and connected me to the greater online knitting world.  Knitty had just begun, and other designers were coming out of the woodwork and it was great fun to feel like I was part of something besides my house and home.   And it gave me something to come back to and do each day. Reading other blogs and writing my posts were tasks that had nothing to do with childrearing and that was a great bonus in my day.  Plus, it made my fledgling little design business feel a little bit more real, as I saw page views and comments and felt  in touch with other knitters through the writing. 

The reason for the blog now is more about having a home for my business online.  I have so many Other Things to do, and the writing itself isn’t the a priority it once was, but it’s still fun and I do try to keep at it as best I can. I always use my blog when launching a pattern – it’s the between-pattern times that I need to get back to. 

Bailey's Irish Cream  by Thea Colman

Bailey's Irish Cream by Thea Colman

I focus mostly on my knitting, but I’m a bit chatty in real life – and on paper - so bits about my world always seem to seep in to the posts.  I don’t  walk around now thinking about what I’ll blog about, but usually I get the urge to share when I’ve just begun/finished a project – or when something great arrives in the mail, or I find a great drink.   

The non-knitting things I find bloggable are usually amusing moments  in my day that were vaguely knitting related - like the time  I found out there was a porn star with my name because another mother googled one of my hat patterns and informed me she’d  “found out” .  (The porn star is lovely but she spells Colman with an E, and I don’t think she knits, and she’s NOT me.)  Or the time I burnt an iron mark into the dining room table while blocking a sweater.  This week, I’ve been thinking about it as I’ve added something new to the bad art collection on my office wall. 

cocktail

The cocktails were not as important in the beginning, but once I started publishing patterns and naming them, I began to include lots of drinks.  So any time I have a new or unusual drink it makes me want to blog – especially if I can get a photo. My family and friends are conditioned not to take a sip of anything until I’ve had the chance to snap a pic. They roll their eyes and sigh sometimes, but they place the glass just so on the table for me and sometimes offer snippets for the post. 

Dark and Stormy  by Thea Colman

Dark and Stormy by Thea Colman

I think blogging showed me that I could put things out there. I’m not exactly shy in person, but I’m not overly confident.  Online, people can be much more black and white about what they want to hear or not, and comments and page views make you face the hard facts that show if people do or don’t care about what you’ve got to say.  It was intimidating.  

The fact that people actually came to my blog and that they were interested in what I was saying and what I was putting out there in terms of design was very empowering and I do think it gave me confidence to put more things out there.  It showed me that I could create something and that people would come for it.  Which was amazing – especially when you spend your days home with a toddler, saying inane things for hours, right?  So for years, I could write stories about my kids and my life and the drinks and the knitting and it made a thing that I was into and people liked.  I found I liked having that little stage, so to speak. 

I find inspiration all over the place – I think that once you get deep into any craft, you see it everywhere.  From sidewalk bricks to tree branches to museum exhibits to shop windows.  Sometimes I take sneaky photos of people on the street because I love That Cable or Her Neckline.   I just deleted 1,200 photos off my phone because I’d used up 8 GB of my storage taking photos of things I was absolutely, positively sure would lead me straight to my next design.   (About 1,100 of them were never glanced at again) but in the moment, I see something and that detail is IT, absolutely IT.   

Mostly, I’m constantly inspired by the industry I’m in – a beautiful yarn can take me down a rabbit hole, or a sweater collection that Brooklyn Tweed puts out can get me thinking about tweedy cables. Every time that Gudrun Johnston publishes a design, I am inspired to do something steeped in history, and every time Joji Locatelli publishes a flowy cardigan, I want to make something drapey with lots of stockinette.  

But I think that answer kind of gets into  my design inspiration – for blogging, my world is focused on the knitting,  and I so wish I could take those perfect photos of folded knits on weathered chairs, and steaming teacups next to skeins of cashmere on a marble countertops.  I’m inspired to work my craft more beautifully when I see those blogs, but I know that in real life, I’m sitting on an exercise ball in my living room or working with a thousand papers piled near the burn mark on my wooden table, and the light is never perfect and that ends up being so much more ME that I guess it’s what I end up talking about instead.  Because, let’s be honest – that’s my actual world, inspiring or not and it’s what I know best."

Blog Week: Carrie Bostick Hoge of Madder

Today's featured blogger for blog week is a blog that I often go to and just cruise around regardless of new material or not. I love Carrie's aesthetic and find her whole style very inspirational so I hope you do too!

Carrie is the blogger and designer at maddermade.com

Carrie is the blogger and designer at maddermade.com

"My name is Carrie Bostick Hoge and my blog is Madder. (maddermade.com) I first started blogging sometime in 2006 under the name Fort Nest. It was a way to document my home and work life. Then, in 2008, I started Swatch Diaries blog so that my knitwear would have a home of its own. There I enjoyed swatching with new yarns, exploring stitches, finding inspiration, and presenting my knitwear designs. Madder blog is a continuation of Swatch Diaires, a place where I focus on my knitting. 

Carrie's blog is a progression from her original blog, the Swatch Diaries

Carrie's blog is a progression from her original blog, the Swatch Diaries

The content on my blog is usually very focused on my knitting design process (images of yarn, swatches, fabrics) and then the finished results. I also love fabric and sewing, so I enjoy posting about garments I’ve sewn or fabric I’ve printed or purchased. I like to keep the content work related, but occasionally I share about inspiring places I have visited. And even more occasionally, I include photos of my children and blog about something personal. 

inspirational details from Maddermade

inspirational details from Maddermade

Blogging has taught me that there are amazing knitters/crafters out there who share my passion for yarn and textiley goodness. The blog also continually helps to keep me on track and focused. 

piles of knits at maddermade

piles of knits at maddermade

I find inspiration in nature, travel (hopefully I’ll get to do this again someday!), other artists and designers, and my children."