Beginner Blogging - What I Use // Lifestyle


Hey cats!

I feel there's a little bit of morbid curiosity in how people go about certain things, so I wanted to talk about where I am with my blogging currently & the basics on my process behind it, what I use and why I do. I'm hoping that this is going to be a great way of tracking any progress I might make; I can check back here and see if the way I operate is any different or improved in the future. 

Overall what's most important personally is that I want to make my blog beautiful for me, however it can be easy to lose sight and waver; after all there's a lot of pressure out there in the blogging universe as you're putting something out there for anyone to read and potentially be critical of. When I first started dabbling in blogging just over a year ago, things were starkly different. Twitter wasn't as big a tool for blogging as it is now, content of posts was valued more than blog appearance, marble backgrounds and blog trends weren't something I was aware of! After taking a long break due to ill health (albeit ongoing) you can imagine I had the shock of my life coming back to blogging in a completely different world within such a short space of time. Don't get me wrong I know people still want good content, but if people hit up your blog and don't particularly like the way it looks, they're less inclined to read. Hence why my blog is my project and creative outlet, I don't wish to conform or achieve perfection, I merely want to create my own little space on the internet that I can be proud of. So, getting to the point here's how I've been doing that!

(Many of you are probably aware of all these things but I always find it interesting to know the behind-the-scenes)

Why I Use Blogger

For me there wasn't even consideration for another platform. I've always used Blogger so it was my first choice, yes you can't do as much on here as Wordpress but I like that. I'm not brilliant with technology and I get confused very easily so the fact that Blogger is far simpler to use is a winner for me, despite how buggy and frustrating things can get. I still like the editing style & how easy it is to change blog layout; most importantly I'm used to using Blogger and have done for years.

Taking Photos & Editing!

As you may have seen in my Blogging Improvements post I'm on the hunt for better photography equipment, like a good quality camera and tripod. I'm in the process of saving up so at current I just use my iPhone 6 to take my photos; I do have a 'proper' camera but the camera on my phone is actually better and with it being so quick & easy to sync up to my Macbook it all makes for quicker turnaround time! As for blog props my supply is limited for now but I'm hoping to build a solid collection to match my theme and then I might even post about all the props I use. In the meantime I have a couple of fake flowers, some wallpaper samples, a few scatter crystals and a few of my own watercolours, that's about it! I don't have a specific place to take pictures I just usually go wherever the natural light is best in my house. I always feel that you don't necessarily need the best camera to take great pictures, after all a good camera doesn't automatically make you a fantastic blogger, though I'm sure it's helpful.

Onto editing, I'm sure a lot of people already use this I'm not going to go crazy on it, I use picmonkey to edit my pictures, I don't tend to do anything fancy and I don't have any intention of spending money on editing software. Plus the fact I like when things aren't complicated and picmonkey is so easy to use.

Here's a typical example of what I do to my pictures:

It's not a massive difference, I purely like to make my photos a bit brighter & crisper. This probably isn't the best example, the lighting to start out with was atrocious but I wanted a picture & quickly! Below are the typical edits I use on photos, the values are usually fairly similar but of course it depends on the picture I start with. If it's a busy picture with nothing in particular I want to stand out I won't use Focal Soften & most likely would skip on Frost. I want to keep it simple and fairly real, making it look like I actually took the picture in good lighting with a good quality camera.

I'm sure many of you have heard of it but the final thing I find most useful (although a bit buggy) is Canva. It's quick, simple to use and presents endless opportunities for you to play with. You can use their selection of free images & text or of course your own; there's filters & other options for most things you add to your image so you can customise pretty much whatever you want. I've used Canva for lots of things but I mainly use it for blog headers, either for on here or to pop with my new post link on Twitter. 

Here's an example I whipped up, it's my own watercoloured background with the Cali filter on, some text & two free images out of many available:

Writing Content!

Honestly I find this the easiest part personally, although I have to be in the right mood to write otherwise nothing happens and I'll sit around procrastinating by making coffee and watching stupid videos on Youtube. I think the reason I don't find writing a daunting task is because from a young age I've always loved to write and excelled at this in high school, going on to study it and achieve an A at A-Level. Now of course I am older and a little rusty so my past does not mean in any way that I am perfect at writing; everyone makes mistakes and can slip into colloquialisms, letting their accent shine through. For me I've always got that teacher voice in the back of my mind telling me to write in 'proper English' and as judgemental as this may seem I do have a tendency to cringe when I see others write with incorrect terms, spelling, grammar or tense (for example 'I like them ones' instead of 'I like those ones'). But as I said this is conditioning from my education; if your post is good and hits home with me then I'm not fussed about errors, I'm sure I've made plenty myself.

In order to avoid mistakes as much as I can I proofread until the cows come home! Both in edit and in preview as Blogger has a tendency to show different formats on both of these. I'll read and re-read at different times in the day and I'm a huge fan of reading my posts aloud as I find that mistakes are far easier to notice that way. I write because it's cathartic, and I feel the writing aspect of blogging is sometimes much more creative than anything else (biased much?). Please don't get me wrong, I appreciate a good, bright, crisp image but writing will always be my number one and the ultimate show of talent, after all what would blogging be without words?

Post Promotion

This is something I toy with but as I blog for a hobby I don't tend to push my posts down people's throats, in fact it's quite rare that I'll even remember to promote my posts on Twitter. I usually pop it up in the #teacupclub Monday meeting and then pop a link up the day after, that's usually it unless I actively choose share it again. I don't schedule tweets or any post promotion on Twitter but every so often I'll share a blog picture & link on my Instagram. I solely enjoy blogging as it is and not all the extraneous tasks that can accompany it, I find them too stressful and if I'm proud of what I've produced then I don't need to go out of my way to gain affirmation from others. However, what I do appreciate is comments that give me feedback on how my post was received, thoughts on my photos and on my writing as these are all great in helping me to improve and learn new things.

What are your blogging failsafes? Let's get nattering!

Stay curious

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