As a reader in general, I’ve always been curious about the creative process and how people actually accomplish putting everything together. How do they do it all? What I have found as a common aspect in creating was goal setting. Goals keep you motivated and give you direction throughout a process. Once I understood that I wanted to create, I read tons on goal setting. One of the main points many authors mention is the importance of evaluating what you are doing and where you have been. I do this by scheduling check-in points so I can see my progress. These points help determine what I have accomplished, if I am following my vision (or if that vision may need adjustments), and where I am headed in the future.
Both at the three month mark of blogging here and the sixth month blogging mark here, I did personal evaluations on my blogging experience. I initially scheduled the three month mark because creating a blog seemed completely out of my comfort zone. I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick with it. So, I wanted a date that was close in case I wasn’t a fan of the blogging world (turns out I am a HUGE fan). Now that I feel comfortable with this process, my evaluation dates are scheduled every six months to keep me on track. Keep in mind, it is important to find a process and schedule that work for you. This is all geared towards keeping you successful, and that is different for each and every person.
Just in case you are anything like me, I wanted to share a glimpse of my process with you. One of the areas that I found helpful when I was considering creating a blog was seeing what other bloggers thought about the process as well. What did they find difficult? What worked? What have they learned? Because I found those posts helpful, I am sharing with you my perspective on blogging. As a reader it gives you insight into the detailed thinking behind blogging, and as a fellow blogger it may help you out. Alright, let’s see how everything is doing!
What has been working?
Defining my purpose. Growing in photography will always be at the top of my list of why I did this, and creating a blog has made me become more accountable for improving my hobby. Being inspirational to others is the second main reason why I keep going. I believe you should always have dreams you are pursuing and goals you want to accomplish, and I believe the way you live your life matters. That is why I share what I share.
Finding time to brainstorm. It is helpful to spend a few days each month thinking ahead. How many posts do I want to write? What do I want to write about? What photographs do I need to take and how many photographs do I want to include? It is less overwhelming if I have an idea of what I expect of myself.
Exploring new topics to publish. I had a blast putting together my post on cooking paleo here. And that was something I wasn’t sure would be interesting. Many people can google recipes and try them, but what I found is people enjoy seeing what works. I’m glad I took the time to try that topic out.
Growing to other areas of social media. Instagram was my initial social media outlet for posting about my blog. I’ve now grown to include Pinterest, which is a place that I have several boards that inspire my creative side as well as share my blogs posts.
Finding new bloggers. Taking time out of my month to find bloggers who are just starting and leave a comment or two around their space. I do not do this often enough, but when I do I feel as though I did a good deed. I know how it feels to just begin, and it helps to share a little love.
What hasn’t been working?
Overthinking. Overthinking when it comes to post ideas or how I should implement updates to my site or what information I should provide in my writing.
Running into time constraints. A couple of times I have had the attitude that “I can finish this post tomorrow”. Tomorrow comes and no time available. And that happens the next day and the next day after that. By the end of the week, I’m bummed because I didn’t plan my time accordingly. I know some weeks are going to be unpredictable, but planning ahead helps.
Comparing my photography skills. Deciding to shoot photographs for a blog can be intimidating. There are tons of photographers out there who have been shooting for years, and tons of places that give you tips that just don’t work for you. It is important to keep a positive mindset about where I am at with my skills and to keep the concept of learning on my mind. Try something. See if works. And learn from it. That’s the idea I want to keep in mind.
What have you learned?
Have fun with both photography and writing. That is what will keep you happy and motivated throughout this process. And when you need a break, step away and rest. It will leave you refreshed and ready to tackle that next big task. Be creative. Don’t be afraid to throw things together. You never know what has a way of generating beauty until you give it a chance. Keep clicking. Even if you don’t post the photographs. Even if you are afraid of how bad they will look. Even if you can’t figure out the indoor lighting or how to set your camera settings (thank goodness for YouTube and Google). Keep clicking. One day it will all just “click” for you. Organizational skills can be your best friend or they will drive you crazy. Either way…. you need to find a happy medium between over planning and being unprepared. A happy medium exist. I promise.
In January, I put together a few goals I wanted to improve on within the year. I published my blogging goals (1) to give myself accountability because I knew if I listed them on my blog I would follow through with them and (2) to give direction to this space. Here are my thoughts on accomplishing those goals.
Goal: To be proud of this little creative space and pass it on. To be honest, I’m not sure how I want to approach this one. I think my perspective on why I created this goal has changed. The reason I created this goal was because I wanted to be confident in what I was doing. In the initial phases of blogging, I wasn’t. It is the truth. I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. Now, with a year of experience, my confidence level has increased. Do I know everything – absolutely not. I know there will always be something to learn. What I have gained is a feeling of satisfaction with what I have created. Because of that I feel more comfortable sharing this part of my life.
Goal: To continually define my mission and purpose. My main objective: to make sure the time others spend here is beneficial, and I want readers to leave with a sense of inspiration. I wrote that a few months ago, and I still stand by that today. It has less to do with what I want this space to be, and more of how I want my readers to feel when they spend time here. It is an ongoing process that becomes clearer each month.
Goal: To be organized. Create and organize categories. Check (And I’ve only changed their titles two or three times throughout the year – not too bad). Prep posts. Check – for most posts this occurs. Staying organized is a balancing act. I’m not sure if I have found a great system yet, but I do know I’m getting better at realizing what needs to be done each month to be successful.
Goal: To step outside of my photography bubble. Carry my camera with me more. Check. Photograph more people, Check. Be less afraid of the buttons on my camera. Check. I am happy to report I am a manual shooter majority of the time – Yay! I’m still learning indoor lighting, but I am getting better at it. Practice. Practice. Practice. After purchasing two Kelly Moore Bags, I carry my camera with me almost every day – Yay! Those bags were exactly what I was missing. They provide protection to your gear, add a little style to your outfit, and give you comfort to carry everything around. Exactly what I was looking for. I’ve done a few photoshoots on the side for those who have inquired about it, and I would love to continue to photograph for others. There something to capturing moments and being able to document a story.
Up next on tomorrow’s post… I’m discussing a few highlights from the past year along with unveiling my blogging goals for the next six months. If you missed any part of this series, check out the Blogging Series – Part I: How I Became a Blogger.