Tag Archives: the green room

How to be an Artist

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When people asked you what you wanted to do when you grew up, I’d imagine that not a lot of you said “work in an office”, or “stack shelves in retail…” If you were anything like me, you didn’t quite know where you would end up, but you knew it was going to be anything but a boring career. Ballerina, artist, journalist and film critic were all on my list at one point or another… What about you?

Those of us that want to make a living from something creative often come up against opposition. From the guidance counsellor who says “well, that’s all very nice, but no-one actually makes any money doing that… ” to the concerned parents and friends who worry you’ll live your life constantly hungry or working at a dead-end minimum wage job while ‘following your dreams’.

This can all be intensely demotivating, but more than that, it can push us away from our passions. It can thrust us into doing a degree we don’t care about because it leads to a well paid job, or applying for any old thing listed in the back of a newspaper because we need to pay the bills. If this is how you want to live your life, than great, don’t let anyone tell you you’re less of a worthwhile person because of that. But for the rest of us, well, that just isn’t an option.

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When people warn you away from your dreams, although they are most probably doing so because they love you and are concerned for your welfare, it is their own fear that motivates them. They believe that a stable income, the guarantee of a P45 and an attractive pension scheme is the way to be successful. But we know that this isn’t the only choice. We know that living our lives based on our own belief system is the only true way to be successful, fulfilled and happy!

Sure, making a living from something creative is a million times harder than living a 9-5 existence. As an artist you are in charge of your own destiny. You need to have self-discipline, passion for what you do and the drive to make it happen for yourself. You need to put yourself and your work out there. You have to march to the beat of your own drum, and allow your work  to be up for public criticism or ridicule. It’s hard, really hard.

You’ll get paid in drips and drabs… and sometimes not at all. You’ll have months when you eat nothing but beans on toast or can’t pay your rent. You’ll have to work unusual and antisocial hours. You’ll have to be constantly coming up with new and innovative ways to earn a crust from what you do. Nothing about this path is easy.

Going to work in an office is much less difficult. You put on a suit, hop on the train and as long as you don’t do anything too terrible you’ll get paid regularly. But what would you rather do? Is living a commuter life really worth it? Wouldn’t you rather wear flower crowns on the train instead of pinstripes?

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Don’t Be Afraid of Being Afraid

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We all have fears. It’s human nature to want to protect yourself from something you perceive to be a threat. Which is why putting yourself out there as a creative is so scary. No matter what we might say, no matter how much bravado we might have, deep down we all want to be accepted and appreciated for what we do.

But being afraid is not something to worry about. It’s how you react to your fears that is the most important thing.

Most entrepreneurs are truly afraid of one thing – failure. But I want to let you in on a little secret: failure is an important part of success.

If you never make any mistakes, you’ll never learn anything. Looking back at your mistakes, or failings, is like looking back at that old boyfriend and wondering what the hell you were thinking. Sure, you might internally cringe at your terrible judgement, but I bet you learnt something valuable when they broke your heart. Although it might be painful, remembering what happened will also remind you just how far you’ve come.

The misconception many entrepreneurs have around failure, is that they think it will forever define them. I promise it won’t. I have made terrible errors in judgement and some incredible (and very public) faux pas in my time. Do I regret them? Sure. Do I wish they’d never happened? For the most part, actually no. Each misstep has taught me a very important lesson.

Most of the time our fears come down to being scared of what other people will think. But don’t let other people’s judgements stop you from doing what you really want to do. You can’t control what people think of you, you can only control your own actions.

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(I couldn’t resist…)

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How Do I Monetise My Non-Consumer Driven Blog?

Photographed by www.laurapower.co.uk

Hi Kat, I’m a blogger and I have a conundrum. I hope you can help. Lately I’ve been finding that when I write about anything life-advice related I get a huge response, and people really enjoy the discussion topics. In comparison if I post about something more trivial, like interiors, fashion or beauty it seems a bit like filler content to me. They get a bit of a response, but nothing compared to the meatier stuff.

What I really want to do is just remove all my categories and keep going with my blog as a place for life advice, women chat, a little light feminism and a place to be inspired.

The big problem is (and this is why I didn’t do it in the first place) is that I’m really struggling to know how to monetise that kind of blog. When you’re writing about STUFF it’s easy, people pay you to promote their STUFF (geddit?) but what if it’s just me writing things I think will help people? How do I then turn a profit? Who are my advertisers? How do I reach them?

These are all things stopping me from following my heart when it comes to my blog but there must be a way around it, I just haven’t thought of it yet.

Is there a way to make money from your passion if it isn’t immediately and obviously a commercial venture? Or should I just accept that writing about make up, clothes and interiors is the way to get people to sponsor?

Photographed by www.laurapower.co.uk

When it comes to blogging, the number one rule is that you really need to write about the things you are truly passionate about. If you don’t it will be completely obvious to your readers, but more importantly, it will be no fun for you! Who wants to spend their days writing reviews of products they don’t really rate or sharing fashion trends they don’t really care about?! 

Following the masses is not what will make your blog successful. There are a million other bloggers doing beauty product reviews, Pinterest round-ups and sharing their outfits. In order to stand out, you need to make yourself memorable – and different – by being yourself!

I’m so happy for you that you’ve found the path you want your writing to take, that’s more than half the battle. There are too many bloggers out there doing the same old thing and they’re all fighting tooth and nail for the same advertisers.

However, in saying that, I don’t think every single article you publish needs to be the equivalent of the next War and Peace. It’s actually quite nice to mix things up with a few lighter, or as you say filler, posts. Otherwise your blog might end up being all very heavy and intense! Everyone enjoys a little escapism now and again, even if they don’t bother to comment on it telling you so.

After all, if you’re covering a sensitive topic, everyone will have an opinion. There’s also always something someone else can add to the discussion in the comments. Yet when it comes to posts about more trivial matters such as interior design, fashion or beauty reviews, there’s really not much you can say in response, other than something like “This is cool, I want to try it too”. Most people just won’t bother. I’ve written about why I think blog comments are down before, and if you haven’t, I’d encourage you to have a read.

To have the most success with these ‘filler’ articles you always need to keep who your readers are in mind. Why do they love your blog? What are their interests? What do they like to read other than your website? What do they do in their spare time? Maybe instead of being high street darlings they’re the kind of people who’d prefer eco home ideas, or charity shop shopping. Remember, they all still live in houses and wear clothes, they just might not care about expensive kitchen gadgets or the latest trends.

Photographed by www.laurapower.co.uk

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Do it for the Love

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Have you noticed that when some people get really popular/ famous online, or just super busy with clients, that the work you initially fell in love with seems to suffer? The really groundbreaking updates appear less and less often, and the watered down ‘client pleasing’ stuff takes the forefront?

Maybe they were a blogger who always pushed the envelope and shared personal insights into their life. But as soon as they started to make a living from their site some of the sparkle dwindled away. The sponsored content became more and more frequent and their site ended up looking like nothing more than a billboard for the latest product or service that their advertisers were trying to flog.

Maybe you loved a photographer because their work was different, raw and real. It stood out from the photographers shooting traditional weddings week in week out. Then other people started to see what you saw, they got thousands of followers on their social media, praising everything that they did even for the most mundane of updates. Suddenly their work starting looking like everyone else’s… they now use the same actions and filters or the same tried and tested poses over and over again. That initial excitement you used to feel about their work has completely evaporated.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand why this happens. When your hobby or passion becomes your livelihood it can be very difficult, in fact almost impossible, to maintain the same level of excitement over everything that you put out there. You have clients needs to fulfil and a mammoth workload to keep on top of. You might need to cut corners more often, go through the motions more frequently or just keep putting stuff – any stuff – out there to stay on top. After all you need to get more bookings, more paying clients, in order to make enough money to keep your business above water.

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This makes me really sad though. I see it happening so often, and because of that it’s something I’ve always tried to avoid.

I still want to write and share the things that I believe in. I still want to feel like I’m able to speak my mind, even if it’s not the popular option. I don’t want to be worried about what people will think, or say, or if it will ‘upset the industry’.

Fuck that.

That’s not why I started Rock n Roll Bride AT ALL.

Despite now earning a comfortable living from my site, I’d give it all up tomorrow if I no longer enjoyed it, or if I felt like I had to conceal my true feelings on something because of what some people might think. To me, life’s too short to tow the line and to try to be all things to all people. If I wanted to do that I would have stayed flogging towels on the shopping channel I used to work for.

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The Three Mistakes You’re Making with your Website

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Galymzhan Abdugalimov via Unsplash

Design and usability trends for websites move on so quickly these days that it can be difficult to keep up. You might spent thousands on a new custom designed and coded beauty, only for it to be out of date in a few months time! Which is why you need to make sure you understand the fundamentals of a well functioning website before you do anything else.

These are the three biggest mistakes I see people making with their websites over and over again:

1. The next step isn’t obvious

By tracking eye movements over a screen, Jakob Nielsen, the leading web expert behind the Nielsen Norman Group, discovered that the majority of people read web pages in an F-shape (two horizontal stripes followed by a vertical stripe). A similar study found that websites have as little as 2.5 seconds to grab a visitors attention before they’ll look for what they need elsewhere. You can read more about both these findings here.

http://www.useit.com/alertbox/reading_pattern.html

This is important to note because if your homepage layout is confusing, or too far removed from the usual format, new visitors may be disorientated. Instead of trying to figure it out they will most likely click away instead. There’s a reason why most blogs have a big header at the top, the main navigation under that and a sidebar with the most important links – because it works and people understand it.

It is vital that a new visitor knows what the next step is in order to get to where they want to be. Do they have to scroll to get to the content? Do they need to click ‘BLOG’ to get to the blog? Are the contact info, portfolio or FAQ’s easy to find? Never make your navigation links cryptic. If people don’t know what things mean, they will not click them!

Keep your overall design simple. You can add those personal flourishes with some well designed branding once you have your basic layout in place. In a nutshell, if it isn’t clear what people need to do next, they’ll just give up.

It was popular a while back for websites to get very clever, to challenge the visitor and really get them to engage with it. While this worked for some (my friend Lisa Devlin is a great example. Her site has no clear navigation at all because she wants to put some people off – she gets more enquiries than she can handle as it is!) over recent months I’ve been noticing that the trend is swinging back around to classic minimalism – white backgrounds, just a few core colours and fonts, and really obvious navigation.

2. You’re giving people too many choices

If you offer your visitors too much choice, they’ll be less likely to do what you want them to do. Imagine walking into the toothpaste aisle at your local supermarket. There are so many options that it can a) be very overwhelming and b) be tricky to remember which one you usually buy. If you’re anything like me you just end up picking the one that’s on special offer or that you recognise first. I know we end up with a different brand nearly every time!

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Unbelievably this is a real website – the horror!!

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Getting Through a Slump: How to Blog When You Just Don’t Feel Like it

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Even the most blog-obsessed among us go through periods of “just not feeling like it”. Maybe you’re going through a particularly difficult time in your personal life, or you’re just not being inspired by anything. It happens and it’s perfectly normal so don’t beat yourself up about it! We’re all only human after all, and no-one is at their fighting weight the whole time.

Here are six simple tips to help you negotiate those bumps in the road:

Take a break

Sometimes the pressure of having to post something amazing every day can get too much so give yourself the permission to take some time off. I promise no-one will be banging down your door because you haven’t updated in a few days. Remember, you are in charge and you’re allowed to take a break once in a while. In fact, it’s healthy!

To make sure that a short hiatus doesn’t turn into giving up completely, keep a notebook on you at all times. I guarantee you’ll get some new ideas about things you’d like to write about when you’re least expecting it because you’re not over-thinking it.

I often get flashes of inspiration for topics I want to cover when I’m either lying in the bath or off having fun with my friends!

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Think about what you can manage

Maybe you don’t want to sit down and write a whole blog post right now, but think about what you could manage to do. Could you post a tweet? Reply to some emails? Start a conversation with your readers on your facebook page? Sometimes you just have to do something – anything – in order to get back into the swing of things.

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