Thursday, 12 March 2015

The creative process: getting it down, getting it done

The blog has, of late, been mainly a lot of posts about what I've been up to in my day-to-day life. Nothing wrong with that; I always intended this to be a journal of sorts (along with photographs) and it's great to look back and remember where we've been and what we've done.

I also like to have a bit of structure to things. You know, monthly series like Food Memories, Elegant Economy and so on. And I like the odd link-up and collaboration. Structure works for me. I'm a natural worrier and start to get a bit panicky if I feel things starting to slide a little. This probably explains the notebooks and lists. They help me keep track.

So. I've decided to add another regular post to the blog. One that covers the creative process: of writing, photography, inspiration. Of staying (relatively) disciplined. You see, blogging can often be dismissed as a bit of a hobby. It doesn't pay (unless you're extremely lucky). It requires a lot of time and thought but ultimately isn't really a career option for most of us. Oh, that it were. But the fact is, we do it because we enjoy it. These friendships we make, the creative expression, the recording of life's little ups and downs.

I've been thinking about my blogging essentials. You know, like those articles you see where someone empties out their handbag and describes what they need to carry around with them. So as an opener to this series I'm sharing what I, as a seasoned blogger of two-and-a-bit years, see as my must-haves.

Firstly: my camera. It's seen a lot of action and taken a few knocks. It's travelled pretty much everywhere I have. It's quite clunky, being a DSLR, but I'm used to it being part of my person and to be honest I struggle taking photos with my phone - it just doesn't feel right, somehow. So yes. My Nikon D3000. Love it.

Second: the Great Outdoors. If inspiration strikes, it's usually when I'm out and roaming. Although it's pretty normal for me to wake ridiculously early with all kinds of ideas fluttering around in my head too.

Next: notebooks. For post ideas, all those passwords you need online, notes on photo formatting and so on. It's important to get things down on paper before they disappear for ever.

Also: actual tools. Sharp pencils. A very specific type of pen. And my blog schedules, found online and printed out. They're invaluable: they help me remember things and get them in the right order. Oh, and cups of tea are important too.

In terms of staying organised and focused I try not to do too much. You don't have to engage in every social media platform going. I pretty much ignore Twitter these days. Facebook occasionally gets a photo album stuck on my 'professional' page. Instagram: well, I'm getting there. Slowly. I do upload photos onto Tumblr and Pinterest and that's because photography is such an important part of my blog. I also love that aspect of it.

It can be easy for this blogging lark to become a bit of a chore. Sometimes you just don't feel like it, and that's OK. It's not journalism. Nobody's paying you by the word or expecting you to meet a tight deadline. But I find that a bit of organisation helps. Flicking back through my Mitenska notebook often works - I'll find the seed of a post idea and feel inspired to develop that. Other times, I just want to share what's happened during our week. And that's OK too.


  1. It's always interesting to learn about other bloggers' approach. I have a notebook for ideas and keeping track of dates and topics, but I haven't yet tried to make a posting schedule, aside from "assigned" posts like The Color Collaborative requires. I would actually like to try blogging more often than I do now (approx. 3-4 times a week), but I struggle with the idea because I don't want to "saturate" the audience, so to speak. I think that's the main obstacle for me, the fear of driving away readers and connections because I've become a nuisance. I try to write as and when I feel like it, and that works pretty well, so I really can't complain. I have so much fun with it and I'm so glad I decided to start.

  2. I'm bookmarking this post. With my retirement in just a few months, I'm thinking of ways I way to deepen and broaden my own blogging practice (I've been blogging for almost 8 years), and you've got me thinking about ways to freshen it up without necessarily having to change it up completely. And I love these photos -- your handwriting is art!

  3. Excellent post m'dear which has certainly given myself food for thought. I always mean to get a notebook but as of yet this simple task has eluded me. I know exactly what you mean about taking photos via the phone, just doesn't feel right. Oh and cups of tea? blogging would be impossible without a deluge of the stuff here in sunny Wales.

    Your post has definitely inspired myself to look again at the way at which I blog, so a hearty thankyou m'dear.

  4. An interesting insight into your blogging routine! I have a notebook for ideas but no schedule yet, I do want to create one though.
    Zoe | floral and feather

  5. A lovely post, it's always nice to know how other people approach blogging and what they think about it. I love the idea of being organised and having a notebook filled with useful notes. I really must try this approach, I'd like to feel more in control and do things better. I shall very much look forward to reading your posts in this series. CJ xx

  6. Oh to be organised like you! I have such a scattergun approach. I am sure that yours is better and makes you a far better blogger. I do love your posts! xx

  7. interesting to hear your approach, quite organized I think! I agree we can't be fully on every platform really. I enjoy flickr also for photography and inspiration. I think your writing a great blog here, so it's definitely working! X

  8. It's very interesting to hear about your approach to blogging. You are much more organised than me, but I like your idea of keeping a notebook of ideas. I love blogging but sometimes can can feel under ( self-imposed ) pressure to come up with a post and have to remind myself that it's just for fun. I always love reading your posts Sarah and especially love your beautiful photos.

  9. I am terribly un-organised and prone to spells of procrastination and then spells of being overly productive. I've never managed to write things down and be organised but more and more I have a feeling that by not doing that I'm actually frittering away a lot of time!

  10. So interesting! I have to say you seem very organised. After three years I've finally given myself permission to miss a few days, take a break when life gets hectic - like you say, it's not a job. And I don't think I'd want it to be really, it would change the dynamic of it all for me. My essentials are very similar to yours - a camera, my eyes, a notebook, maybe a crochet hook or needle and thread too, and a wooden spoon. x

  11. I could do with some planning and structure, even after 7 years I feel I don't know what is the style of my blog............

  12. Dear Sarah,

    Aside from the fact I have truly been impressed by this post - your handwriting is amazing - I also feel compelled to write my deepfelt thanks for taking the time to share your advice on my latest blog post. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Warmest wishes,


  13. I agree, your handwriting is a work of art. I like a balance between structure and spontaneity where posting is concerned and I do think a notebook is great for getting ideas down quickly before they're gone. I think weekly update posts are often the most personal and enjoyable - not every post has to resonate at the same level xo

  14. Oh your handwriting Sarah. So beautiful! My essentials are similar to yours although I fear I am not nearly so organised. I'm a little 'fly by the seat if my pants'. I've gotten a little infrequent in my posting but life is busy at the moment. I suppose my rhythm will return soon. And I love your day-to-day life posts. Lovely snippets of your world. Wishing you a lovely weekend! Bee xx


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