Friday, 22 March 2013

Push-Up Bra blogging [2]: the McFly Approach [Part 2]


If you read yesterday's post - 'The McFly Approach Pt 1' [the first blogging approach we're looking into for the Push-Up Bra Blogging series] - then you'll remember that:
  •  I began to set out a few ways in which blogging more consistently [which really doesn't have to be the same thing as 'more frequently'can actually have a positive effect on your sense of self and on your sense of community amongst your blog readership.
Now today I'll be putting an even more practical spin on the idea that blogging really is 'all about you' ... but that it can give to you as well as take precious time and energy!

A few concrete, ways in which you can benefit from taking care of your blog ...

Once again - as I set out in my Introduction - if none of this appeals to you, if it's not up your blogging-alley at all ... then it's not for you. And it doesn't have to be. Just catch up with me in another post in a few days.

But if it is for you ... then let's leap straight in to:

Blogging can help you form good habits.

I've always written for pleasure. Always.

From being tiny I would dabble in poetry and story-writing after school. When I didn't need to. I'd even spend my pocket money on text books to help me pick up additional tips and skills then later I got a degree in English. And yet ...

 ... it wasn't until I started to blog that I developed a true, consistent, full-on, regular, almost weekly, writing habit.

A way of life.
the cover of a notebook a friend gave to me
And if I dared to add up the word count of 4 years of posts here ... I've no doubt it would be the equivalent of a Phd or two, or ten ... or maybe a slightly shorter sequel to War & Peace. And I know that:
  • not only has the frequency and amount of blogging I've done helped me get better acquainted, more mindful, of priorities in my hobbies, my work and even my day-to-day life [as discussed in Part 1] ...
  • it has, without question, also improved my writing abilities and allowed me to identify my writing style which was always there ... but now it's evident. Finding my 'blogging voice' led to me recognising my 'writing voice' too. 
Acquiring a habit through blogging:

Now then ... you may not want to use your blog as a way to develop your writing skills but the same principle - of regular practise and then regular sharing via a blog can be a great way for you to:
  • work on your own ambitons;
  • finally seek out those skills you'd like to develop;
  • work on that grand plan;
  • develop any new [hopefully 'good' but who am I to judge] habits;
  • finally turn an occasional pastime into a practice which becomes a regular part of your week ... and so much more. 
Once you know what it is you want to do
  • eg. learn photography skills; lose weight; do more scrapbooking; decorate cakes; learn a language; do one good deed a week etc etc  ...
  • ... you can use your blog as a platform to present your work, your stories, your progress ...
But, why should this work? What gives blogging the edge over good old-fashioned will-power and determination?

Well, the answer's simple. So simple in fact it could be answered by a giddy two-year-old bursting to demonstrate how they've just learned a new swear word!

We're all doing it for one key reason ...... the attention!

Gasp! I know! It's almost as daring a thing to say as whatever it was that cursing-toddler just yelled on a crowded bus isn't it? But ...

I don't care how modest you are - or claim to be - if you are sharing things on a blog you're doing it for attention.

And so am I!

And so what?

Now, don't get me wrong, that's not the only reason I write, or why I scrapbook, or make cards, or art journal etc.

But - logically - it must be one of the main reasons I then go on to blog it all afterwards!

Otherwise I'd just keep it all in my work room where it would have an audience of one.
  • We are absolutely kidding ourselves if we think we're blogging for pure, noble, reasons. Unsullied by anything as seemingly distasteful as 'attention-seeking'.
  • The idea that we use our blogs to generate positive feedback and friendly comments truly isn't anything to be embarrassed about!  
  • We're social animals - even the introverts amongst us! 
  • There's nothing wrong with us wanting to feel seen / heard / appreciated / supported / encouraged / liked / admired etc.
In fact ... I'd be more concerned about you if you wanted to hide all the time or if you felt you didn't deserve to be appreciated. Again, even us introverts!

I admit that ... occasionally ... when I think 'Oh, I should go there/ do that/ make one of those because that would make a good blog post' ... I'm reminded of the old philosophical question:

"If a tree falls in the woods and there's no one there to hear it ... does it still make a sound?"

... only its more like:

"If something happens / if I make something ... and I don't blog it ... did it really happen?'

I know this can get out of hand ... with some people feeling overly pressured to keep making things, so they can blog things, to get feedback ... but extremes can happen in any hobby, especially with certain personality types. But if you keep a check on your own responses and motivations, I don't think you'll go too far wrong.

And, you know what? Sometimes the ends do justify the means ...

Blogging can help keep you accountable in whatever area you choose. Ask me how I know ...

OK, so you [and by 'you' I mean 'I'] might occasionally make a visit to a particular place spurred on by the idea that it will make fun blog-fodder afterwards ... but who cares? You got off the sofa. You had a nice day out. You then shared it with people who enjoy a nosey-about into other people's lives. Win, win, win!

Or you finally got that mini-book finished because you think it'll make a good blog post. Cool. You've finished a project! Go you!

Or you've announced to the blog world that you're going to:
... whatever it is ... having the blog there as an occasional accountability partner to:
  • motivate you;
  • keep you going;
  • boost your will-power,;
  • generally help prod you into getting 'stuff' done 
... can be a perfectly fun and harmless way to achieve successes, small and large, and to feel the satisfaction of crossing some tasks of your To Do list ... or even your Bucket List!

Just because this is online doesn't automatically make it wrong or part of some sinister decline into virtual living! It can be as simple as pinning your colours to the mast, declaring what you're aiming for and creating a network around you who [and we can only hope for the best here] really do want you to succeed.

Isn't that why people have been joining 'real-world' support groups - to lose weight for example - for years?

If - like me - you're someone who responds best when given a deadline to work to ... blogging the spoils of your hard work can be a highly useful motivating factor that you can exploit to your own ends!

So .. now you're nicely warmed up ... let's wrench that blogging-self-esteem up yet another notch shall we?

Why not use your blog as self-promotion?:

If you'll forgive this brief appeal to a select group of readers ...

... I don't think that self-promotion is something that British people are particularly comfortable with are they? 

Or, perhaps this isn't just a British thing - maybe it's a female thing ...

... and if it's a British-female thing then ... wowsers ... no wonder we're struggling here! 

click to visit my shop which is currently stocked with lots of pretty paper packs, plus embellishment and fabric kits
But really, you can't ignore the fact that blogs are a great platform for promotion and for sharing with your readers your latest products and offers.

I made a deliberate decision to try do this more often here with my own Etsy shop ...but even then I don't think I'm great at it yet!

I think part of me pauses ... not wanting to seem too pushy or 'sales'y. But, I am trying not to be too coy as I think I share enough free, informative, fun content 90% of the time ... that I hope I'm forgiven for sharing new ranges which [a] I'm happy with and [b] I think someone reading might like too!

I think it's about balance, [maybe you've got tips for me on this one] but if you're a small/micro-business owner ... you've got to reach your customers somehow ... and you can connect with a 'customer' in much the same way as you already do a 'reader'.

But you don't  just have to have a shop to promote yourself:
  • you may want to mention some charity work you're involved in;
  • you might have an issue you want to draw attention to;
  • you might want to use it as a place to display your work / photos etc and send links to any prospective employers / clients you're seeking. [I have a page up ^^^ there called  'Creative Profile' which is like my online CV/resume and I send the link when I'm pitching myself to editors etc]
Or you may simply want to use it as a space to:
  • present your work;
  • show off your skills as a rubber-stamper, doodler, Photoshop master, quilter etc etc;
  • proudly display your eye for detail; your ability to spot trends; your hints and tips acquired over the years ... whatever it is ... to a wider audience
For no other reason than a sense of achievement, to be your own curator, to see just how much you do do, to to be able to tell a 'real-world' friend or colleague 'Oh yes, I do XYZ ... and I have photos of it on my blog if you'd like to see'!

I don't think a little drop of pleasure and satisfaction at your own fabulousness is such a bad thing from time to time ...

Which leads me to my final point today ...

Have you thought about what blogging has already done for you?

Do you have a blog?

Have you ever stopped to think about the skills you've picked up in order to publish a post on even the most basic blog page?

Not to mention the little tweaks you might have given it ... and that's all before you've even added any content ... which, in itself, requires a particular skill set.

See how many of these you've heard of, developed skills in, improved upon etc since you started a blog:
  • adding a header or background image
  • making your own header or background image 
  • creating categories or pages
  • playing with new fonts, designs, colour combinations
  • dabbling in Photoshop or similar packages
  • learning to draft, schedule and publish a post
  • flirting with Twitter and Facebook so you can share your posts
  • adding blog buttons in your sidebar
  • making your own blog buttons
  • adding links to photos and text
  • recognising 'HTML' - even if you don't know what to do with it
  • learning a few easy ways to use HTML
  • knowing what 'code' is
  • using 'linky' type boxes
  • conquering the digital camera + downloading images from the camera on to a computer
  • re-sizing images + uploading them
  • learning to make photo-collages
  • learning about mobile blogging
  • improving your photography skills to improve the look of your blog ...
I could go on, but I think you get the point.

Admit it ... you take some or all of that for granted now don't you?

In fact ...  I'm willing to bet you're already scrutinising that list for the things you don't do or can't do [yet] aren't you?

Well, stop it. At once!

*Sweeping generalisation alert* Forgive me ... I don't usually go in for making generalisations based on age and gender ... but on this occasion I feel it's useful to point out that ...
  • many of us here are women
  • the majority of the blogs I follow - especially in the craft realm - belong to women
  • and - if I have the right impression of my readers - plenty of us are over 30
Now then ... I think that if you stopped a stranger in the street and asked them to describe the kind of person who would:
  • publish online content
  • develop coding skills
  • work with digital photography  
  • get tech-savvy and so on  .....
... I don't think their first thought would be well, frankly ... us!

As women - and I know this is a stereotype, and a ridiculous one at that - but as women we're not automatically expected to be even interested in technologies like this ... let alone read up on them, teach ourselves them, excel with them ... have fun with them!

And if you think of the people you know at work, amongst your peer-group, in church, in the supermarket ... do you think the majority of them would even know what a blog actually is ... nevermind being able to maintain one?

Blogging may well be what a lot of people in my hobby [crafting] have turned to in recent years ... but it's not what everybody in the world does! And, because there are so many of us doing it in our crafty community I think we've lost sight of its uniqueness ... and we're underestimating our own abilities, and so ...

Just take a moment to think about all the steps you've taken to launch a blog, no matter how 'ordinary' you think it is ... and for goodness sake begin to recognise your achievment! Stop thinking about all the things you haven't done with it ... and enjoy a moment of well-deserved self-congratulation!!

Or let me thrust this one upon you: bravo you! Bravo you brave, daring, muddling-through-'til-you-get-there, living-and-learning blogger you!

You're awesome. Admit it.

If you'd like to chat more about today's topic, or anything else the series has stirred in you please do leave a comment below or use my Facebook page. And if you're motivated to blog this weekend let me know!

Or if  you use Twitter how about sharing your favourite tips from #PushUpBraBlogging over there?

Push-Up Bra Blogging continues next Wednesday [March 27th] with the first of my special guest posts.

The full 6 week course schedule is now available ... and I'll leave you now to get comfortable with your Awesome Blogger status.

**IF YOU'VE FOUND ANYTHING IN THIS POST USEFUL [including that last speech which really ought to have been accompanied by a rousing soundtrack] OR IF YOU SCRIBBLED DOWN SOMETHING TO REFER TO LATER, THEN PLEASE CONSIDER SHOWING YOUR APPRECIATION BY MAKING A SMALL DONATION TO THE 'SAVE THE CHILDREN' CHARITY. You can do this here via my Just Giving page where I'm hoping to turn this blog series into £500 worth of aid for children worldwide.


  1. Awesome post! Love you! Sharing you! lol Have a wonderful day!!!

  2. Inspiring stuff! Loving this so far xxx

  3. Excellent Julie, thank you. Can't wait for more!

    Liz x

  4. interesting series Julie, very inspiring. You have got me thinking!

  5. Just found five minutes with a brew to read your first two McFly posts. Love the content. I really identify with using my blog to make me scrap more. And yes, I'm not ashamed to say, I want the feedback too!!

  6. Again, this is so me! I love having my blog hold me accountable to complete things and to record my artistic progress. And the use of my blog to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society have been shockingly successful.

  7. Have love d the first two posts, Julie...and you are right about how amazed come people are to discover I have a blog!
    Alison xx

  8. I've certainly leant a lot through blogging, but still have more to learn! It does surprise me that I do more coding and techy stuff than my husband these days though, he was a proper computer nerd when we met and I think our situations may have reversed! x

  9. That was a real confidence boost, Julie, to think of all the things I have learnt to do in the last year or so! You ar e right that we should be proud of ourselves :). Thank- you for the inspiration so far ...

  10. Thanks. There was a real confidence boost for in this - not only thinking about what I have learned, but also in reading your postive comments about it being about our need for attention - I know I have been uplifted and encouraged by some lovely comments left for me and it is easy to then feel guilty about posting something you think people might say nice things about, in case you might be posting it for that reason and then the whole thing becomes silly as you don't really want to be blogging things that people don't your simple acknowledgement of that attention is very helpful

    Hope that ramble makes sense!

  11. It's like you are talking straight to me Julie. All of this, makes me not feel so daft. I thought I was the only one sometimes who thought some of this stuff.

    Oh, learning tiny bits of HTML makes me feel the same as having learnt to drive! Superwoman! :D Especially as I'm rubbish at maths-y type things :)


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