- Doing work without payment is something I’ve been asked to do a lot this past year as my blog grows. At first I seriously considered it, but then I realized that unless the post was in collaboration with the company- I was doing all the work and they were getting all the profit. Payment can be a loose term, it can simply mean they’re giving you exposure too, but as a rule, if something is a one way street… just don’t walk down it.
- Publishing other peoples work without credit is the worst. First of all it’s copyrighted and they could press charges if they wanted too, but even if they don’t it’s still not cool! That’s someone’s sweat and blood. Plus It’s really easy to put a source, and a real source at that- give a link to something other than pinterest!
- Worrying too much about aesthetic can be tiring. Do I completely fit into the group I want to be writing for? You a human being, it’s okay to be true to you more than your audience. Chances are they’ll appreciative you for being true and real. Running a blog that only has one viewpoint on everything can be tiring, because people aren’t like that.
- Advertising your blog when commenting on other peoples blog can be done tastefully, like leaving a link at the end of your comment. Hey- I’m not offended by that at all! But writing out “check out my post!” or whatnot shows that you only came to their blog to get their view in exchange for yours. That’s not what blogging should be about! I’ve gotten to the point were I will no longer approve those comments on Anna Down South.
- Taking what not to do posts too seriously. Yeah, this is one, but sometimes you read through things and think- but that’s what I like about my blog- and in that case ignore the rules. If you cover more than five topics and someone says it’s bad but you really don’t want to get rid of any, then don’t! This is your place and you can do with it what you want. Take everything with a grain of salt.
About Blogging: All of It
So over the past few weeks I’ve been trying really hard.
Trying at what you ask? This. Blogging. Networking. Branding. Really, the whole picture when it comes to a wordpress site and what you can link to it. And it’s good, it’s fun, it’s given me a nice little pass time.
But it’s been consuming. I’ve been worried about page views, staying up late thinking about post possibilities, and having a million and ten tabs open – all about the same subject. And to be honest, it’s not the most rewarding thing in the entire world. It’s great skill, and I want to keep working on it, but there is a balance somewhere in there that I’m not meeting right now. I’m going to announce something big online in the next few weeks. Something that I’m really proud of- and that’s that. But this, Anna Down South, is something I did for me, not page views, not career building… just Anna.
I’ve been reading blogs about what successful blogs look like, and I’ve been holding mine up in comparison. And if I want Anna Down South to be what I want it to be, I can’t be doing that. I need to make it what I meant it to be. I remember when I first started noticing that my beauty posts were more well viewed than my deep emotional posts. I thought that I needed to post more of that. Well.. I’m not a fashion blogger. I just want to share a cute outfit every now and then.
I’m sharing this for a reason, I’m sharing this because I think way to many people are trying to turn their blogs into something else because they feel like they are supposed to, because they feel like it will make them more successful, maybe bring them more money.
I think a lot of us fail to realize that the most successful blogs are built on passion, and if you’re not passionate about what you are posting about… you need to stop.
Is My Style Right for… Blogging?
I tweeted earlier today “Can I be a fun blogger without a white desk and an apple computer??” I meant it in a joking way, but let’s be honest, isn’t that all you see? So… should you be concerned about being successful when you don’t have the exact same aesthetic? No. Not all. And I’ll tell you why, it’s good to be different! It’s good to have a little sway in your style, because you want something to set you apart.
This picture for example was taken with my mom’s ipad, because, you guessed it, I don’t have one! As you can see, my handwriting isn’t flawless. If you look through my social media it’s not the same tactic as most bloggers. And I know I’m just starting out, I haven’t built up the followers that everyone else has, but I have done something that I feel like is important, and that’s going with the flow while still standing out.
- Copy Quality, not Style. Quality is important no matter what style you produce, if you’ve got good quality photos and posts on your hand, your style is not something you should be too overly concerned about when comparing it to others.
- Keep Your Personality in Every Post. You don’t have to tell a personal story with everything you post, but you need to have your own voice. People relate to people, and you’ll find people who relate to you. You don’t have to appeal to everyone as long as you appeal to the right people… your people.
- Collect Ideas and Mix Them. Everyone finds inspiration in others, that’s nothing to be ashamed of! But don’t look through one blog at a time, or even one type of blog, go through a mixture of them at a time and then merge ideas into new fresh ones of your own. You know that saying “there is no new ideas”. It’s mostly true when it comes to blogging, but there is always new ways to present them.
- Get Options. If your hiring someone, get more than two options, more than three. If your doing it yourself, don’t just stop with your first design. We all know when we like something, but when given a handful of things that we like, we tend to pick things that are more “us”.
Success, Entrepreneurship, & Branding
I’ve been reading everything that I can get my hands on about success, branding, and entrepreneurship lately. Which in the blogging world isn’t too far reached. However, I’m not planning to turn this blog into a business. I would love at some point to be able to make a little money off of it, but it’s not what I have in mind for my career. My focus over the last few years have been in graphic design, or more so layout. After working for my school’s newspaper and the literary magazine I found my fit. I have an eye for design and a heart for creativity. I’m a design minor with a concentration in photography and an English major. I love practical creativity and luckily I’ve felt our world shift towards it in the past few years.
So even though I’m not planning to start my own business, entrepreneurship is great to read up on. It gives you so many levels of inspiration and wisdom. It also teaches a lot of about work ethic and personal scheduling. Here are the main lessons I’ve gathered:
- Success comes from the mouths of those who dare to push the limits.
- Loving your work isn’t enough, you have to live it as well.
- Balancing everything rest and go time is important to keep sane.
- Make time to build relationships in your industry and out.
- Inspiration has to be refreshed daily.
- You can’t make everything you love into successful work, but you can love your work.
- Adapt to everything. Be flexible in the details not the big picture.
- Till you try you’ll never know.
Maybe the drive behind the branding side of it comes from finally knowing myself front and back. I know that the degree of self-awareness will shift as I change, but now that I’ve got the basics down I can handle a change in details. Maybe now that I’ve figured myself out I’m free to share who I am with the world.
Five Reasons to Journal:
- Sleep Management: Believe it or not, journaling before bed is great for putting you to sleep. It takes a load off your shoulder and it’s not a brain stimulus. You know the scrolling you do on your phone? It’s a huge stimulus- anything with a screen is! White paper on the other hand, is not.
- Scheduling: When you start recording what you’re doing everyday along side your hopes and your dreams you’ll find that you realize, not only what you’re wasting time on, but where you can fit in other things. You’ll see more and more relation to the dreams and the things you do everyday!
- Creativity: Writing is a form of art if wielded that way! While most people start out with standard journaling, a lot of people find themselves moving into prose and poetry. Still writing about their emotions and days. Not to mention many people put in actual doodling and go into typical art
- Memory: It’s always nice to be able to go back to a certain moment of time and day. And even though our brains are beautifully strong and able to remember things we don’t understand, there’s simply to much to remember. The small details are normally the best, and those are often forgot.
- Stress Management: This one’s pretty clear, ranting is good for you, ranting into a journal isn’t much different, but it doesn’t leave a bitter aftertaste in the person your talking to’s mouth.
Finished Read: Blog Inc
I’m not sure where this blog is going, let me be 100% honest about that. I am not blogging to create a business. But I’m intrigued with blogging as an art form, as a way to communicate with the world your own direction. I’ve followed a lot of blogs that were undeniably marketing their lifestyle, though I don’t think that’s what they attended. I think by reading a lot of blogs we can help find what might be missing in ours. Reading about someone else’s soul makes you assess your own. That’s not a lie.
So, I bought a book on blogging. A lot of the last half of it was about blogging for profit, which seems like such a foreign concept to me. But the part about blogging for community and passion really stuck with me. Hearing other people’s success stories made me feel empowered, not because I want to create an empire of this blog, but because it the blogging community is such a beautiful place where readers care the lives and successes of other men and women. It’s really eye opening to read a book on how that is so – then also learn about empire making because even if we don’t reach it, it’s nice to dream.
Trigger Warnings: Hurtful or Helpful?
We recently ran a sexual assault article in my campus news paper, with big bold red letters at the top offering a trigger warning. We talked about it a lot in our meeting the following week, because there was information at the bottom of the article about events going on on campus for sexual assault survivors. Did we just turn away the people who could have benefited from the article?
When you go online you see a lot of trigger warnings on blog posts, all over tumblr, and on every other platform. Our society has gotten a lot more aware of the fact that people are sensitive to certain topics. The question isn’t whether or not things can be triggering, especially when it comes to topics like sexual assault, the question is more about how our society has come to handle trigger warnings.
When I first saw this topic approached it was online. Someone had told someone that they should put trigger warnings on their tumblr blog posts about weight, because the blogger talked about how unhappy she was with her body and what all she thought was wrong with it, and the person asking the “question” said that she was bigger then her and it triggered self hatred in herself. I thought that the anon was being a little intense, because after all, did this girl not have the right to talk about why she decided to change her diet and start running?
I thought, wow, we’ve become a culture that is over sensitive to everything, and in a lot of ways I still stand by that statement. But at the same time, it’s all over our TV shows and movies, we clearly are expected to deal with it in some areas. Why is it okay in some and wrong in another?
I’ve thought long and hard about this topic and have decided on this: We shouldn’t have to filter our statements and personal stories. Our experiences can help others, our articles might have important information at the bottom. Our world, our victims can really use others stories to relate to and help them grow. Does that mean that we don’t go through a period of time where we really don’t want to read those things? Of course not. Should we have to put a trigger warning on all of them?
I don’t think so. I think that instead of putting “Trigger Warning” in bold at the top of every real down to earth post we should maybe in the first few sentences of our article or post say up front: This is a story of sexual assault -or- when I was suicidal I felt -or- when I hated my body and weight I felt.
If we put red letters on top of everything we say that tell people to turn away, we won’t really be doing anyone any good by sharing. In the same way we won’t do anyone any good by posting too graphic scenes up without any opening statement. Our culture hasn’t yet figured out how to balance, and I think it’s about time we learned.
How to Blog in College:
Can we agree that most of our favorite bloggers blog from studios or gorgeously lit houses that always seem to be cleaned and decorated professionally? It leaves us beginners, a little out of luck when it comes to settings am I right? Even more so for us… college students in student housing. You know, with cinder block walls that are more yellow than white. Ugly fake wood furniture. It’s an unfortunate setting to say the least. Then it comes to money. We’re college kids. We don’t have any! What about how often we post? Do we do it around class schedules?
It’s hard to begin in a setting like this. So how do you deal?
- Learn how to color adjust in a photo editing program. If you end up taking photos in a dorm room you’ll need to get rid of that yellow shade from the bad walls and horrible lighting.
- Get something with a good background for product shooting. Sometimes it can be as easy as a white piece of poster board. If you want to get fancy, buy a piece of plywood and stain it, or chalkboard paint something!
- Get outside, not just for your photos sake, but also because in college money is tight and we need to have those adventures without that kind of money. Nature is free. Go explore. Capture good pictures. Create a adventure worth talking about.
- Buy a good tripod. Yeah, I know I just said we don’t have money. But if you’re taking your own pictures and want to be in them, this will make all the difference.
- Post at least twice a week. Write it down in your planner. Treat the posting time like a due date, but be sure to have fun with it while doing it. It’s discipline not homework.
- Talk about it! Hey there are a lot of people reading blogs in college. Everyone wants to hear about people who are in the same place in life they are.