Post It Notes – 16th December 2011: Staying Inspired, Coming Up with New Ideas & Blogging Regularly

Photography Credit: Laura Ferreira

One of the questions I’m most often asked when I meet people is how on earth I’m able to blog so often.

Well firstly and most obviously, I’m in a very lucky position that the majoroty of my content (i.e. the weddings I feature) is submitted to me. Every morning my inbox greets me with a plethora of potential blog content. Brilliant!

However, as much as I adore featuring these weddings, if the only content I wrote was other people’s work, I think I’d quickly get a bit bored. After all I’m not really stretching myself as a writer with the real wedding features. Anyway, my point being that I love looking at the glorious wedding photos and sharing them with you, but writing the blog posts around them doesn’t massively challenge me as a professional writer.

I currently publish approximately 16 blog posts a week, 11 of those being real weddings or photo shoots. However I’m fanatical about challenging myself to come up with new new ideas for the other 5 posts. So, today I thought I’d share some of the techniques I use for saying motivated & inspired, for coming up with new content ideas and for making sure I blog regularly.

Keep a Notebook

This is something I’ve mentioned on the blog before, but I always carry a notebook and pen around in my handbag, and when I’m at my desk it sits in front of me just in case a flash of inspiration strikes. You can’t dictate when a genius idea may hit you (for example it’s currently 12.37am on Sunday night as I write this, go figure!) so having a place to jot down ideas and musings is invaluable.

I write down anything and everything that comes to my mind that could potentially be used in a future article, no matter how random or stupid. In fact sometimes the stupid ideas turn out to be the best ones. Remember this blog post? Well the idea for it came to me as I was sat in the hairdressers flipping through magazines and looking at the poses of the models in the fashion section. If I hadn’t had my notebook to quickly jot down ‘how do models come up with their poses?’ I might have forgotten about it by the time I got back to my desk.

Building up and flipping through a collection of these little brain farts is also a fantastic way for getting those creative juices flowing if you’re in an uninspired mood.

Photography Credit: Laura Ferreira

‘Easy’ Posts are Sometimes OK

I once read that you should never publish anything that you aren’t desperate to share as soon as you’ve completed writing it, meaning all your content should be worthwhile and incredible. While I do believe this to be true (if you’re lackluster about your content how do you expect your readers to get excited over it?) I’m also a regular worshiper at the church of ‘giving yourself a break’.

I like to update Rock n Roll Bride at least once a day, even on the weekends and yes, even when I’m on ‘holiday’. However on some days my traffic is lower than usual (at weekends, on national holidays etc) so I kinda don’t want to ‘waste’ a post I spent hours working on when not as many people will see it.

On a Sunday for example, less people pop by than the rest of the week (most of you log on to Rock n Roll Bride during office hours Monday-Friday – yeah you better get back to work after reading this post mkay?) So, I came up with the ‘A Sunday Kind of Love‘ feature. Having a regularly weekly feature not only forces me to make sure I blog something every Sunday, but the idea behind the post is a relatively simple one – I list the little things that have made me happy that week and then share one bigger thing that I’ve enjoyed or I think you might enjoy. I can generally put this post together in under an hour too. Result.

As long as you don’t end up making the majority of your blog content ‘easy’, the odd quickie blog post is a-OK in my book.

Outsource

This is something I’ve started to do on a weekly basis with my DIY tutorials. I’m not good at everything (DIY/crafts being one of them) but I know my readers love DIY weddings and that a lot of you are having DIY weddings yourselves so you’ll be looking for ideas. So I’ve started accepting guest writer submissions in order to have these on the blog.*

Similarly I’m not getting married myself but I know reading other people’s wedding journeys can be inspiring for brides-to-be which is why I have Roo, my real bride intern, who writes two posts a month for the blog.

Not only does using guest writers mean I have a few less blog posts to write myself, but it’s a great way of giving other people the chance to be published as well as sharing content I would never be able to put together on my own. Again, as long as the majority of your blog content is written by yourself (it’s your blog and your voice after all) outsourcing the odd post is fine.

*If you’d like to submit a DIY tutorial idea, just drop me an email and we can chit chat.

Goals & Rewards

I am a big believer in setting yourself goals – big ones (I set myself 3 big goals every year) as well as mini ones (i.e. “If I get this blog post written by 3pm I can watch an episode of Sex and the City”). Sounds silly, and one of the attendees at the School of Rock did laugh at me when I said my rewards was often just a nice cup of tea, but seriously, it’s a great motivator…and sometimes there’s nothing in the world that can beat a good cup of PG Tips.

Photography Credit: Laura Ferreira

Ask Your Readers

Your readers are full of ideas, they just need someone (you!) to bring them out. Keeping your readers happy should be your number one priory as a blogger so why not ask them what they’d like to read about? Maybe one of them is having a problem you could help out with or someone needs some advice on a certain topic that your’re a bit of an expert on?

I often do this at the end of a blog post which not only helps to get those comments a-flowing, but taking the time to respond to, and using their ideas will make your readers feel like their opinions are valued.

Read & Write Something Everyday

Practice makes perfect. No one is born a brilliant writer or genius idea-thinker-up-er, I’m afraid (as a sidenote I once heard that someone had said about me “Oh well it’s alright for Kat, she’s the Rock n Roll Bride! She doesn’t even have to try and amazing opportunities come to her…”

Ha ha, err did they think I was born with a wedding blog with lots of readers or something?!) Sorry I digress, that just tickled me is all.

Practicing the skill of writing is imperative. Even if you’re just churning out rubbish (you don’t have to publish everything you write after all) the act of thinking about phrases and forming sentences is in itself invaluable.

Similarly reading other blogs, magazines and books is really important to a writer. I always feel really inspired when I read something that’s beautifully written. Not only may something you see spark an idea, but surrounding yourself wtih other people’s use of language and turn of phrase will improve your own writing.

Turn Off That Computer

Get away from your computer, the internet, twitter…Get out of the house and be inspired by the real world…just don’t forget to bring your notebook with you.

Stop reading blogs that are too close in niche to your own. I try not to get my ideas from other wedding blogs or come up with things that people would expect a wedding blog to write about. Rock n Roll Bride was born out of a love of wedding blogs yes, but was turned into a business because I felt there were a lack of wedding blogs that shared the kind of weddings that I, and girls like me, really liked.

I’m certainly not saying that I’ve never been inspired by other wedding blogs, hell, the whole reason I started Rock n Roll Bride was because I loved wedding blogs and wanted to join their gang. However these days, and with rather a lot more blogging experience under my sparkly pink belt, I’m confident to say that I don’t use my blog to simply rehash the ideas of people that are ‘too close’.

Take inspiration from as many different and diverse places as possible. Be inspired by the real life things that you love. Then, and only then, will you have created a blog that is totally you.

Sorry, I rambled somewhat there (as you can probably tell inspiration is a big thing for me!) Anyway, what I’m basically trying to say is go outside and find out what inspires you. ‘You’ being the real life person, not just the wedding/fashion/lifestyle/gadget/beauty* (etc etc) blogger.

*delete as appropriate

Be Obsessive

In order to be a really great blogger you have to love your subject…and I mean L.O.V.E love.

If you do then the rest is easy. People say I work a lot, and yes I do, but you know what? Not one second of it feels like hard work (OK I lie, maybe getting through my inbox can sometimes be hard work!) Because I’m infatuated with the topic of my blog, coming up with new ideas doesn’t feel that difficult to me. My mind is constantly filled with all things Rock n Roll Bride.

If my blog was my teenage crush I’d be sat by my phone willing it to call. If my blog was my lover, I’d be buying it a cocktail and trying to get it into bed. If my blog was my child I’d be changing my facebook profile picture to a photo of it’s chubby cheeks…

So yeah, obsession is a good thing. In fact obsession is the only thing you need in order to follow the ideas I’ve just laid out.

Via Audrey Kitching (please let me know if you know the original source of these amazing images)

PS…

This is the last Post It Note of 2011, so in the spirit of following my own advice, be sure to let me know (in the comments or via email) if you need help with anything wedding or business related which I can tackle in a future edition of the series.

22 comments

  1. Kat, as ever, this is amazing! Perhaps I should attend one of your workshops, though I’m still dubious if you could make a living writing a camera/ analogue photography blog lol, it is an obsession though it has to be said.

    p.s. A cup of tea is the best reward, I have one everyday when I get home! a
    Also, I’m getting back to work now, haha

  2. Alison

    I’ve always wanted to blog, but never had the impetus of a subject I’m passionate about to drive me forward (obviously I AM passionate about lots of things, just not one overarching thing that I would feel inclined to blog about).

    However, sometimes getting a push from someone else can really help – I was invited to do a blog for the charity shop where I work and now am loving the process of planning out what I’m going to write about, and thinking ahead to future weeks.

    Sadly as I just write the blog, and don’t run the site myself, I don’t get much control over where it is linked to and who promotes/tweets it, so I don’t think anyone bar my friends and a few others are reading it, but I still enjoy the process.

  3. “the act of thinking about phrases and forming sentences is in itself invaluable”

    Beautifully put. It’s an art that, sadly, so many people practise so little. Tragically, that includes me to an extent. Reading your post has made me realise I don’t want to lose this and inspired me to inspire myself more. Thanks! x

  4. Great post Kat – I really like the business posts you put out there, they’re always thought provoking, useful and full of practical advice.

    This one comes at a particularly pertinent time for me, as I’ve spent the last couple of weeks working on my own blog, planning and writing posts, and looking forward to 2012 and how I can keep the momentum going. Obviously, my own blog is slightly different as it’s to support my photography business and as such its primary function, as well as to drive traffic, is to showcase the business rather than be a general weddingy information source. However, whilst I need to keep that function in mind, a blog is still a blog and needs to be full of valuable content and worthwhile visiting!

    Getting the process in place is key for me – creating the conditions to sit down and actually do the writing. This isn’t too hard for me, as I used to work in PR, which required the production of plenty of highly targeted, easily digestible copy to really strict deadlines – I’d have been out of a job pretty quickly if I couldn’t bang together a good press release in half an hour flat!

    The ideas area is harder, and that’s where I’m putting all my energies now. It’s a matter of getting together a plan of useful and interesting content for my potential and current clients, without getting too technical, repeating myself or boring the pants off them!

  5. Great post Kat, I have to agree since leaving college I have always carried a notebook with me. I find the best ideas always come at the strangest times and never when you’re sitting at your desk waiting for them to magically appear!

  6. I think this is one of your best posts, Kat, and its full of great advice, and lots of things to think about… thank you.

    Future posts? You said you have guest writers and Roo!, but how do you choose them (how do you know you can trust them to not make you look bad)… and Id love to know how you tell people no gracefully – without hurting their feelings (maybe their wedding doesnt really fit the blog?)

    Thanks!

  7. Really great post, I am going to take some of these ideas and put into practice in 2012. I already do the notebook thing although I use my smartphone!

  8. Great post Kat. I love writing my blog but lucky if I get two posts out a week! Don’t know how you do it. This post is great for a little motivation. Happy Christmas x

  9. Kat this post getting bookmarked…a fabulous basis for all those blogging new years resolutions some of us will be making ;) and BRAIN FARTS…there was no hiding the fact I was reading your blog during work as I was in stitches at reading that one! Happy weekend lovely & thank you, as always, for the inspiration xx

  10. Such a great post, and I am officially adding a notebook and pen to my ever-expanding purse contents! Thanks, Kat!
    xx Lexi

  11. Kat – you’ve only gone & done it again! Another truly inspirational blog post. I’m with you on the cup of tea as a reward thang. If I’ve been really good I up it to a hot chocolate with a marshmallow. Seriously, it’s the small things in life which make it soooo darn good. Keep being brilliant! xx

  12. I’m more of a Tetley tea girl than PG Tips myself, but I too reward myself little and often…

    I agree with all of the points here but, if I may be so bold, would add that it’s ok to find the process of writing hard. Inspiration is sort of the magic ingredient and if you’re having a day when your muse has gone out to play and left you alone at your computer, trying to write any words at all can feel like pulling out each of your individual arm hairs with a pair of tweezers. That’s ok. Unless you have a REALLY strict, tight deadline, it’s alright to walk away for a bit and come back later and perhaps going out as you suggested will reap the inspiration you require.

    Anyway, great post Kat, thanks!

  13. A BIG thank you for this Post!!

    Always love reading your post-its and this one has invaluable advice and will def be bookmark to keep peeking back at.
    Gotta agree with the brain farts – i do this all the time except mine end up on little bits of different paper everywhere – must remember to buy a notepad :)
    Look forward to reading more of them in 2012!
    xxx

  14. chesney

    thankyou for this, i’m a new blogger and these tips are pretty useful. there’s some good stuff here. thankyou again :)

  15. This was a lovely post! Thank you for sharing these amazing and inspiring ideas for blog authors. I will definitely bookmark this post and revisit it when I need help finding inspiration.

  16. Only just read this post! Really useful, I’m a counsellor and set up a Blog in October, as well as using it to advertise my private work I also Blog about my own experiences and the tools I have learnt to get happy. I really want it to become a real community with people sharing their stuff as well. At the moment I average about one post a week, reading this has giving me a kick up the bum to put more stuff out! Cheers Kat, you’re my Blogger inspiration! x

  17. Really great post. I’m just finding my feet in my first professional blog and I’m really enjoying trying out different ideas and styles to find the one that feels right for me and my business. I get inspiration from all sorts of blogs, most of them not related to management or business – and it keeps things interesting (at least I hope it does).

    Completely agree with you on the notebook front. Most of the time I use Evernote (http://www.evernote.com/) which probably suggests I spend far too much time on my iphone/ipad/macbook!!! At least when I have a moment of inspiration at 1am at least I don’t have to turn the light on and wake up my other half!

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