Thursday, 21 March 2013

Push-Up Bra blogging [1]: the McFly Approach [Part 1]

Hi hi, and welcome to the first instalment of Push-Up Bra Blogging or...  how to make the most of what you've already got.

If you missed the introduction to the series you can hop back and catch it here but basically the series will be a series of articles aimed at anyone wanting to give a quick, easier-than-you-might-think boost to what they put on show to the online world!

Warning: if you want to change how you feel about blogging, and finally incorporate it into your everyday life, then this series will keep you busy for the next couple of weeks:
  • There are [up to now at least] 6 individual approaches to try on for size ...
  • Plus several special guest posts [so it's not just me helping you find a perfect fit... there's a team of us assisting with the hooks and straps!]  
  • Each 'approach' is completely packed with tips, thought-provoking questions, ideas, real-life examples, explanations and inspiration all to show that this blogging lark really can become part of your regular routine ... as well as being beneficial to you!
  • I will be storing them all in a list here on the blog and on the Push-Up Bra Blogging Pinterest board for ease of access. [You DO NOT need a Pinterest account to view them there. You just need to click on and/or save this link].
  • If you really want to make the most of the vast amount of content ... you may need to buy a new notebook and pen and take copious notes. [I know, it's going to be hard. You're going to have to force yourself into selecting which fabulously-covered book to buy now that you have a really good excuse, but I'm sure you'll manage ... somehow.]
  • You may also need to set time aside to read and digest the articles in complete solitude, with your feet up, with a drink of choice to hand. But again ... I'm sure you'll muddle through. 
OK then, if you're ready to move on, then I'm ready to introduce you to the one person who will have the biggest impact on the style, feel, and frequency of your blogging...

...because today ... it's all about you!

[Before we begin ... I know very little about McFly beyond that song ... but if you don't even know that then here it is. It's very sweet and may burrow its way into your ears for the day, but I can't be held responsible for that!]

It's unavoidable for me, writing a series about how to boost your blogging performance, without first addressing the person behind the performance: Hello you.

Like it or not, your blog starts and ends with you. Personally I think it's lucky to have you, but ...

I'm going to guess that, if you're not blogging as often as you would like, then it's partly because you're stuck thinking about it as 'blogging for the sake of the blog' ... and that you haven't [yet] felt the benefits that blogging can bring to you, the blogger.

So what exactly can blogging do for you?

Well ...

Blogging, like journal writing or meditation can help you get to know yourself better.

Sounds weird. I know. Especially when so many people talk about blogging as a means to get to know others.

But it really can be a useful tool to help you discover what's important to you, in your life, here and now.

Because you are what you blog.

And if you're not ... if you're blog doesn't really represent you ... then maybe that's why you're just not feeling the whole blogging thing in the first place!

Ideally, from all the endless possibilities out there, nothing makes it on to your blog without your say so.

It's you who's selected the content.  You who's presented it in those specific words or photographs and so ...after a while ... your blog will begin to reflect back to you just where your priorities are at the moment. 

This can be useful [and even surprising] to look back on and to even help you address any issues you might have with what you see in that reflection.
  • Maybe you'll notice how you keep saying the same things over and over in your posts - be they positive ... or not so ...
  • Maybe you've unexpectedly blogged three posts in a row on a similar topic ... without fully realising beforehand it was becoming an important subject to you.
  • Maybe you find yourself sharing something about yourself that you didn't think you'd want to talk about .... whatever it is ...
Each individual blog post may not make any great statement about who you are today ... but over time ... by increments ...
  • the more you blog ...
  • the more decisions you make about what to share [your art, your life, your opinions, hobbies, experiences etc]
  • or how to share it [photos, finished projects, lists, music, poetry etc etc]
it will add up to a fairly accurate picture of who you are right now! [And, personally, I find that fascinating!]

I know we can all put on a front / a show / a pretence to a certain extent ... but in the long run ... the real person generally bubbles to the surface. And, if you're a blogger ... that surface is your blog posts.

I'll write more on this in the next section but, over the 4 years I've been blogging I've certainly learned that using humour and encouraging other people has increasingly become a central part of why I blog what I blog.

Yes, there's plenty of creative eye-candy on display here too ... but it's not all there is. And I love how that reflects my offline life and also dovetails with my life philosophies too ... and all without initially being part of my blogging agenda.

Now, whether this is all about sharing your art, recipes or photos of your dog [it doesn't have to be overly profound ... just what reflects a genuine interest or focus] it really shouldn't come as a surprise that your blog can reveal your inner self and your inner priorities because that's the very reason people have been writing in personal diaries since paper was invented.

Just because this is online it doesn't really mean it's any less personal in origins.

Any time we choose to speak something out loud, write something down [blog], express ourselves in some public or shared way:
  •  we can't help but reveal something that began silently, in our heads, just between us and our brains!
  • And what we decide to allow out ... reveals something about us.
  • And sometimes it's ourselves we surprise most!
Now then ... now that we've begun to acknowledge that in blogging fairly frequently we can begin to learn more about who we we are and what we want to share we're well on our way to pinning down what's meant by one of those flighty phrases you see in so many blogging tutorials: the 'blogging voice'.

Finding your own unique blogging ‘voice’:

It turns out that 'the voice' isn't just a TV talent show featuring Tom Jones and big swivelly chairs ... it's actually the reason you will gain and, more importantly, retain blog readers.
The numbers of blog readers you have shouldn't matter as much as the engagement you have with them. [Which doesn't mean I'm above feeling the odd pang of jealousy when I've seen someone with more followers than me! But it's definitely becoming far, far less of a concern for me today.]
And, the engagement you have with those readers is partly based on:
  • whether or not they feel they know you 
  • whether or not you're consistently you
  • whether or not you feel genuine or maybe a little like you're blogging by numbers
But don't confuse your readers getting to know you with 'having to reveal all about your private life' - it's NOT the same thing. At all.
They don't need to know your bank details or the subject of the last fight you had with your partner [OK, it was that pile of model aeroplane parts on the dining table if you must know!].
They just need to feel that when they've enjoyed a post you've blogged ... there's a good chance there'll be something vaguely similar there, presented by someone recognisably a real, interesting person, the next time they swing by.
**Edited [several times!] to add**
Your 'voice' is just another way of saying your 'recognisable style' your 'you-ness'.
It's how your signature style / your character / individuality / originality come across the more times you hit 'publish'.
[I'm really not saying your blog space needs to be about you spilling all about your personal life].
  • It may come across in the images you choose or the type of creative project you share, rather than your words ... it's just the same thing.
  • Personality and style come across in your choice of content too ... and it all helps to tell whatever it is you're wanting to tell to your audience.  [This may be as simple as displaying to them that you make beautiful paintings, or knit fabulous hats ... whatever ...]
  • Seriously, you need not be revealing much about yourself -  it can be as simple as wanting to share how you really, really like the colour yellow right now [yes, I did have an entire series about just that last year!]
Anyway ...

As I set out above - blogging more frequently [how ever often that feels right for you] can help YOU identify YOUR blogging priorites.
  • Now ... be warned ... this can take time ...
  • but it definitely speeds up if you blog more often ...
  • it's like a trial and error process ... you work through all the ideas and keep going until something falls into place! 
And it's then that you start getting happy in your own blog space. On your own terms!
  • once you've hit your stride ...
  • once you've found what you truly enjoy blogging about ...
  • once you drop all the things you think you should blog about ...
  • once you start pleasing yourself and uncovering where the fun in sharing what makes you happy with others ... then ... guess what ... that's your blogging voice!
That's the person who  other readers will identify with ... that's the blog they'll know what to expect from ... the blog they'll subscribe to and follow ... because it feels comfortable. Reliable. Good company for their next tea break.
Once you find what makes your unique blogging voice ... you can start doing it on purpose!... a line I think I've borrowed from Dolly Parton  And this makes future blogging SO MUCH EASIER!!!!
In the last 4 years I've read a lot of tutorials, articles and stories on how to achieve blogging success.
A lot.
And I can honestly say that not one of them, in all that time, not a single one mentioned that blogging about the conversations you overhear is the way to blogging satisfaction. Not one. Fancy that.
And yet ...

... blogging snippets from the conversations I overhear is one of my all time favourite things to do here ... and, I'm willing to bet it's also one of the things that regular/long time readers here would mention if they had to describe my blog to a friend.

Do you see how by simply following what made me happy ... I landed on a blogging topic which others seem to like too? My blogging 'voice' .... gets heard.

There's no reason this can't work for you too.

Here's a confession:
  • I initially thought about starting a blog purely so Design Teams would look more favourably on my applications. So I'd have somewhere to promote their products.
  • Yet ... I've also read enough Karl Marx to feel uncomfortable simply doing something for 'the man' ... ;-) so I started thinking that if I was going to do it for them ... I was sooooooooo going to find a way of making it work for me at the same time! 
  • I decided from the start I would make a blog that was about more than paper crafting.
  • Not that there's anything wrong with following a single topic that if that's where your heart and 'voice' wants to go. Some of my favourite blogs do just that!!
  • But personally I wanted a more 'magazine' style blog. With bits of all sorts. Combining the things I love. In my own 'voice'.
Now, this was, and remains, a trial and error process. I've tried many different styles of post and worked hard to keep a recognisable 'Julie-ness' across the various disparate things I blog ... but once I landed on some things that seemed to work ... I began to do them on purpose.

Once something works / feels right / feels fun to do / gets a good response from readers / makes you proud / makes you smile ...

... start factoring them into your regular blogging repertoire!

I'll be writing much more about this area in an upcoming post but for now here's a few examples  ...
  • Overheards - which began as snippets scrawled down in my notebooks at work - became part of my blogging voice and remain a useful, short, feature I fall back on when I can't be bothered to blog something longer!
  • My Month in Numbers - which began as a one-off post about some noteworthy events in January 2010 - became part of my blogging voice once a month ever since.
Do you see where I'm going with this? That the motivation to blog more frequently comes easier when you're creating posts that you really like!!

 ... but I think perhaps we've both had enough for one day and so ...

That's 'The McFly Approach: Pt 1' and now ...
  • I'm going to leave you to digest the various ways in which blogging is indeed all about YOU ...
  • but that that shouldn't scare you off ... because in fact ...
  • in being yourself and blogging your own passions and preferences you will be making things easier for yourself in the long run! And your blog will develop as a result.
But, if today's talk of 'voice' and self-knowledge was all a bit too psychological for you ... then do not despair!!
Drop back here next time for 'The McFly Approach: Pt2' where I'll cover some slightly more practical aspects but which still remain ... all about you!

You're singing that now aren't you? ... 'it's all abooooouuuuuuut yooooooou'

See you tomorrow.



You can now keep in touch with me through your inbox by subscribing to updates and additional notes + chatter here.


  1. Well.firstly gee ta! Im not even out.of bed yet and Im humming along to MCFly *deep Sigh*

    A lot of good for thought there. My favourite blogs are the.ones like yours where its not just all about what you made and those overheads are an inspired idea. A lovely red notebook has been selected, the pencil sharpened and the brain is gearing up ready.

  2. Really looking forward to your posts, maybe it really is all about me - so in my head for today!! I enjoy your blog for it's variety - so maybe I should enjoy my blog for it's variety. Food for thought, indeed.

  3. had almost banished the song after seeing it on Comic RElief on Friday - now back - but it is a lovely song

    soem interesting points to ponder - thanks

  4. Knew this would be a good series and it is already giving me food for thought!

  5. OMG......I'm so shallow!...for me it's all about the images.
    I shall follow this with interest.

  6. @Effie - I don't know if you mean it's about the images on your blog - or on the blogs you like? But if it's the latter then I would guess that the blogger behind them has a consistent style that keeps attracting you back. I probably should have said that 'voice' can be things other than words! Good point!

  7. Yes I am still hearing the earworm :)
    I seem to be inadvertently becoming a Julie clone... The job, the man who plays with aeroplane models, the silver mac and my hair dyed dark red. So, in order to complete my transformation, how do I get a size 10 bottom? ;)

  8. My voice is breaking cos you made me sing McFly, ooooh I just can't bear it ;). Anyway I loved part 1 and look forward to part 2. My voice is actually off at the moment as it is a couple o times a year while I wait for myself to come back from it's Bipolar sabbatical
    Jo xxx

  9. It's got me thinking well I would think if I could just get that darn song out of my head arrrgh. All together now... its all about you....

  10. I'm a closet McFly fan too..but that's beside the point :) because what I really want to say is - great stuff!

  11. Yep, I definitely recognised myself in a lot of what you said and it makes a lot of sense. I'm looking forward to finding my blogging voice at last.x

  12. What a different approach, it's made me think about the purpose of blogging a lot more !!

  13. Well, I haven't stopped smiling and going 'ah!' and 'oh' since I started reading. I should also let you know that Himself has been chuckling here on the sofa beside me and enjoying your writing style very much :). We have heavy snow arriving tomorrow so I have earmarked a notebook and pen and will be settling down with a pot of tea. Brilliant series already!

  14. Hello, as I said in my last comment, this has come at the perfect time as my blogging voice has gone walkabout and I think about it a lot and I was quite happy last spring/summer time with my blog but it has fallen short from what I imagine over the last few months.
    The last few weeks I have found that when I look at my blog it has something from last week on it and I have composed a few posts that I prefer but haven't published. How wierd is that? Am I saving them for some kind of bloggy nirvana? Please help ;)
    I love your ideas and I wholeheartedly agree and I have established what I am doing that isn't working and I am going to sort that first off. Thanks Julieness. xx

  15. I love it Julie and you are totally right. I've read all those books/ blog posts/ articles too and they all talk about finding your voice but in the years I've been blogging I still can't find mine beyond the throwing pictures up of makes, and these days 99% are for The Man! *sigh*
    I feel pretty stalled about it, so can't imagine wot my readers feel! I've had many ideas rattle around in my head but they tend to stay in the box. Time to open the box I reckon and try to make them happen! Thanks for the push! It is needed :) Kx

  16. Oh yes please - I have "lost my way" this last few months with my "writing place" (I have decided that as I don't like the word "blog" - to me it's soooo ugly!! that I prefer to think of it as my writing place!!)Life threw me some very large curve balls that I am still trying to learn to live with - and the writing place was neglected somewhat. I am getting back ito the swing of slowly - with Alexa and Sian's meme's - so I am definitely in need of a push! Hope you do realy well with your fundraising - and that it might exceed your target. J x

  17. I just discovered your blog today and I am really impressed by it. Your blog is going on my list!
    I have just started a blog, shared with a friend as it seems too big on my own and I must admit we are both struggling a bit. Too many commitments and not enough time. The advices you give are fantastic and definitely food for thoughts. Thank you!

  18. I agree with so much of what you said today. This year I'm doing a lot more photography and writing (paired) on my blog because it is what makes me happy. I'm not sure it's what people want at my blog, but it's what I need to do.

  19. Oh, I just typed a long comment about how I thought 'McFly' meant Marty McFly from Back to the Future, and how I do need to fit more 'me' into my blog. Then I tried to comment using my new wordpress blog account and it didn't work and deleted the comment. Still so much to learn! x

  20. It is interesting reading the comments now after having time to digest the lesson. I've looked at several lessons/posts now and tried to sum up in a sentence or two what I have got from them and the big thing I wrote for this was one to blog what I enjoy and to let the enjoyment show.

  21. Oh am liking this catch up after the fact. Snuggled up in bed, hot water bottle (seriously? It's nearly frigging May!) And bag of mints. Lesson two, am ready for you.


Thanks for leaving me a comment, asking me a question, sharing your own story or just randomly saying hello.