Slow Blogging

It's Sunday and once again I'm sat, music on (today Nina is telling me birds are flying high for those interested) and I'm gathering my thoughts. I've realised I always want to blog on Sundays lately. It's possibly because I take most of my photos at the weekend and have time to think outside of the frantic busy pace of the working week. I can't help but feel there's something else at play here though. There's something to be said about giving yourself time to think about what you want to share with the world. 

Slow Blogging via A Playful Day

That's what got me thinking about Slow Blogging. Slow Blogging is a movement to reclaim these online spaces and share thoughtful posts that we feel more invested in. When you blog or work in an industry that exists predominantly online, it can feel like you must keep up with the fast pace with which your creations are consumed. Bigger follower numbers, regular blog posts, new images and quick fire Twitter chats seem vital to your continued success. The level of burn out I see from people who lose themselves to beating the stats is so heartbreaking. 

Slow Blogging

Yet, I've noticed something lately that gives me cheer. The content getting the deepest interaction and engagement, is the content telling the most heartfelt stories. I'm not necessarily talking about huge emotional moments, more a sense of investment from the person publishing the blog post or image. I sense that the online world has started to hit 'Peak Click' and now we are looking to root our experiences in real life too. Events and gatherings springing up from online hangouts are happening with more frequency. Also I'm fairly sure that the posts that go viral lately are those which speak to us as people not consumers. 

Is it just me?

Slow Blogging

It's meant that I'm really looking forward to the next workshop I'm teaching in a week at A Yarn Story in Bath.  We'll be exploring how to tell your story online if you're a creative business owner or blogger. There's a few spaces left and I would love to sit and hear what makes you tick as a creative person and then help you to get that story online.

It's not about stats and it's time we stopped being consumed by them. I understand it's frustrating to feel there's a vast echo of nothing when you post and believe me, I've caught myself feeling like I need to churn out content for the sake of keeping my voice heard. What I'm advocating is a gentle storytelling combined with some serious reflection about what you truly want to achieve. The two do not need to be mutually exclusive. My own experience has been that Slow Blogging builds an audience much more effectively. I love to see regular commenters and chat on Twitter with people reacting to what I've chosen to share. It feels more like a flow of conversation between long distance friends. 

If you would like to join us to think about how you're presenting your story online, you can join us at 10 am on Saturday 6th February 2016. All details can be found on A Yarn Story's website here, including tickets. 

If you want to read more about what others have to say about the Slow Blogging movement, you can find some thought provoking posts pinned on my Pinterest board, Love your Blog. If it has struck a chord, I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

 

~ xx

Telling Your Story Workshop

Last month I found myself in a yarn store in Bath, surrounded by women looking for insight into how to best tell their story online. They were a mix of creative business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs. Somewhere in the discussion, Jen, a highly successful blogger asked:

"At what point does it all become fake though? My life doesn't look very aspirational. It's actually a bit messy but I don't really feel like I should show that."

Without hesitation I replied, "It's your story to tell and only you have the right to edit that. If you don't want the mess there, it doesn't have to be in order to make you any more authentic." In a room surrounded by women I couldn't help but point out that this was our opportunity to be in complete control of our story. Social media and blogging give us a direct way of communicating with the world on a scale that previous generations simply wouldn't have been able to. We all have a right to present our story in the best way we can. It doesn't need to be all painstakingly styled mantelpieces and perfectly clean children, however. For me as a professional and as a person, it's about balance. 

Inspiration from my visit to A Yarn Story last month 

Inspiration from my visit to A Yarn Story last month 

Mess under scrutiny is something I have battled with a lot these past few years. Knowing I was looking at a future of solo parenting, I began to make changes as far back as 2 years ago that would pave the way to making today a far easier journey. Mentions of family were carefully erased. I didn't focus on our location, house or home. I simply let corners of my life grow dim. I thought that by not drawing attention to a lack of collective nouns I could present a better version of me. 

The backlash was an assumption that my life was perfect somehow: working in the creative industries, blogging and podcasting, with a healthy family and happy home. I hadn't offered a different narrative because I wouldn't have stood on the high street blasting that out to anyone who wanted to hear on a megaphone. Instead I chose to wait until I felt that my life was back in my control again. 

I'm incredibly lucky to work in the industry I do and with some of the most brilliant people that this industry has to offer. I love my little girl and I am constantly grateful for the deal life has given me. It's not always easy but I am finally comfortable about how I tell that story most days. I choose the way I present myself so there's never a nag in my tummy before I hit publish that I've overshared, been negative or worse, made someone else feel negative.

All too often the word 'curated' is used negatively. I only choose to share the positive because that's my mission- a playful moment in every day. If I need it, I'm sure others must too so I work hard to bring inspiring images and stories together in every corner of the internet that I find myself. 

'Telling Your Story Online' Workshop- pin for later. 

'Telling Your Story Online' Workshop- pin for later. 

So it makes me incredibly happy to be returning to A Yarn Story again for another workshop, Telling Your Story Online.  I want to share all I've learned from 5 years of business support and telling my own story to help others find their way to shine online. The workshop will run from 10-12pm on 6th February 2016 with time set aside for a Q&A on specific social media. 

During the workshop we will cover:
·         Finding your voice online
·         Branding vs. story telling
·         How to create an engaged community
·         Fine tuning what makes your story unique
·         Reaching *your* audience
·         Planning out content and sharing it on different social media
·         Measuring the impact of your efforts
·         Maintaining balance and focus

You can purchase tickets via A Yarn Story here.  Hope to see you there!

 

Let's Get Together This October?

Announcing a Special Workshop for Bloggers and Creative Business Owners! 

Creative Blogging Workshop

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of chatting to Carmen from local yarn store, A Yarn Story. We were pondering the dilemma of work life balance when you're self employed and how to put your best foot forward online. Whether it's keeping up (or not) with a blog, doing your accounts or growing a real life local community, it can all feel a bit frantic. 

We hatched a plan

On Tuesday 13th October you can join Carmen and I at her store in bath for a 2 hour workshop aimed at Bloggers and Creative Business owners. The focus will be positive and creative (as always), but also provide lots of practical tips and tricks to try afterwards. During the workshop we will cover:

- Finding your voice online

- Branding vs story telling

- How to create an engaged community

- A look at social media platforms: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter (and others if people wish)

- Newsletters for business

- Blogging and working with bloggers

- Collaborating and developing a support network

- Measuring impact 

- Maintaining balance and focus 

Creative Blogging Workshop

The session runs from 5.30- 7.30pm with half an hour Q&A afterwards. The session will be a mix of hands on or worked examples with some information sharing by myself. We've also allowed for a little down time after for some further questions should anyone need. 

This is a ticketed event to help you carve out time to pause and reflect about some of your goals this year.  Tickets cost £25 and can be purchased here. We recommend booking in advance as spaces will be limited for this session. 

If you're wondering about some of my experience as a professional supporting small business owners and creating online, you can find out more on my About page.

 

We hope to see you there!