Thursday 11 April 2013

Push-Up Bra Blogging [8] : the Austin Kleon Approach

Hello. Hi. How's it all going?

I learned last week that some of you are printing off Push-Up Bra Blogging chapters to read in bed ... and that's left me wondering ...
  1. if it's helping you get off to sleep ... and ...
  2. if I should have made it available as a download or an e-book [and then I wonder how many hours I think there are in the day to do things like that ... and I put that one on the back burner. For now!]
But now let's set printers to 'On' and make a start on an another info-laden approach to blogging [which you may or may not wish to take to bed with you!].

[**Don't miss the great blog-traffic opportunity related to nestling inside this chapter too!!**]
  • Like last week's chapters, and yesterday's guest post, today is another of the 'what' approaches -  offering ideas for the kinds of content you could consider for your own blog. 
  • It offers some quick solutions to anyone who's completely blog-blocked at the moment, or who's stuck-in-a-rut creatively, or who's pinning-up 'missing' posters for their long lost mojo.
  • And unlike last week's Groundhog Day Approach - where we talked about the merits of you creating some recurring themes and categories for your posts - today's approach involves a little less work on your behalf ... so please welcome:
If you don't know Austin Kleon's work then ... go visit him  where he can explain himself better than I can. But, as for the 'Steal Like An Artist' bit ... this should help explain that:

You can find out more about the 'steal like an artist' idea without you having to have the book handy: you can also scroll through this page featuring various videos of Austin Kleon giving talks on the subject of how all creativity borrows from something or someone which has gone before. [I know you can't print off those videos to read later, but you could still take them to bed to watch in comfort!].

Anyway ...
  • the idea that creativity doesn't have to be painful or that we can take inspiration from an existing source and then run with it and make it our own has interested me for quite a while now.
  • So much so that Kirsty Neale and I built a challenge blog around precisely that idea when we hosted The Copy & Paste Project a few years back where our motto was: "Being creative and original doesn't always have to begin with re-invented wheels, clean slates and blank pages ...'
  • so I'm pretty open to the notion that there's inspiration out there, waiting for us ... and our blogs.

Whether you're re-assessing your old blogging patterns or you're a shiny new blogger looking for a starting point ...

... it's worth taking a look at the recurring, play-along, type posts already happening out there in Blog World ... and then join in!

If you've been working through this series listing your ideas for new kinds of posts you could rely on to give your blogging more structure then:
  • joining in with other people's regular themed posts could either be an extension to your list ...
  • or just a brilliant, reliable, 'no-brainer' alternative!
We're not talking about plagiarism or scary copyright infringements here .. no ... if you're choosing the right things to join in with ...

... there's no need to feel nervous about 'copying' these features as they're hosted by bloggers who positively encourage you to pick up their idea and run with it all the way back to your blog!

I know this won't be news to many of you ... lots of you already join in with regular features on other blogs ... you've told me so in the comments here recently. But I still thought it was worth touching on this subject, if only so this page can stand as a useful reference point for lots of fun, regular,
communal memes that we can all turn to from time to time when we're looking for inspiration.

*Just to quickly reiterate something I mentioned in my Introduction: the suggestions I make throughout the entire series are all meant to be on a 'pick n mix' basis: take what you need. Spit out the rest. [Like when you find the coffee-flavoured one in a pack of Revels. Or the liquorice Jelly Bean].

Some current play-along blogging memes:
I've created a Push-Up Bra Blogging - Extra Resources Pinterest board on to which I've begun saving all kinds of external links, places and additional tutorials related or relevant to this series. Over the coming days I'll start adding the blog features I'm about to mention below ... and, when time allows, I'll add in some of the others that you suggest to me too. So get ready to share those links I miss out ...

I'm not really suggesting here you start regularly blogging all of what I'm about to list ... but hey .. if you wanted to .... you could just about blog a different one every day for the rest of the year ... maybe your life! Starting any day now in fact ...
Blog features attached to days of the week:

  • What’s on your Work Desk Wednesday / WOYWW hosted by Julia Dunnit. Here you share a photo of what's on your workdesk, warts and all, and link it up to Julia's blog:
  • Work in Progress Wednesday -this one was suggested to me via Facebook and, on Googling for an original host, I've found various different blogs within quilting, knitting and sewing ... so I'm not sure who or if there's an original single host for this. Anyone with any more info is free to get in touch!
  • Rockin’ My World Friday hosted by Virginia. Here you list things which have had a positive impact / that you've been grateful for in the previous week and then link up your post, eg: 
  • Finished Object Friday - again, like Work in Progress Wednesday this was suggested to me, but I can't find anyone claiming to be an original host. Maybe it's just a general topic lots of people take part in?

Blog features attached to parts of the month / year:
The first Sunday of each month:

The 10th of each month:
  • 10 Things hosted by ... well now, here's the thing ... Shimelle Laine began this meme - where you list 10 Things, any 'things' of your own choosing and theme [here's a post from last year to give you an idea]. However ... Shimelle's not planning to host this meme this year and is open to handing it over to someone else.
  • Is that you?
  • Could you see yourself listing your own 10 Things on your blog each month and then hosting a link feature for others to join in with too?
  • If you think you've got the time and dedication to take over this established feature, then get in touch with Shimelle: either via email: shimelle @ gmail . com [delete the spaces] or via her @glittershim Twitter account.
  • Never let it be said that I don't look out for you and your blog! [Surely that opportunity alone is worth a £1 donation to my Save the Children fundraising. Surely??]
Half-way through the month:
The end of the month:
Once a year ... or more:
  • One Little Word hosted by Ali Edwards. This is a longstanding feature on Ali's blog, you choose a word you feel will guide / inspire / help you focus in the new year ... and you blog it, share it, and discuss your progress etc through the year however you wish to do it:
  • Summertime Scavenger Hunt  hosted annually by Rinda Ontiveros Keep an eye out for the start of summer 2013 when Rinda will issue a new list of photos you should try to capture between June and September. [For her previous posts see here]. Then blog them and let Rinda know. 
'Other' recurring blog features to join in with:
There are losts of 'list' type features out there. Lots. So it's easier if you Google those or browse Pinterest for them. They're great forgiving you clear direct inspiration. An interesting one I did come across was:
  •  52 Lists hosted by Moorea Seal where you can download a prompt each Tuesday during 2013, blog your responses and link back. And while we're on the subject of 52 things ...
  •  52 Cards hosted by Nat who posts a cardmaking prompt each week  to keep you creating throughout the year. You can also join in with 52 Christmas Cards to help you get ahead with your festive cardmaking!
And while we're talking creative prompts:
There are also hundreds of photo-features you could join in with. Again .... too many to mention here but here's a few examples:
And finally ... there were a few similar kinds of memes which emerged last year aimed at offering the flip-side of what blogging sometimes offers. When we read so many posts from people presenting beautiful projects, amazing recipes, super-sweet children, fabulous interiors and fashions, shiny hair and even shinier teeth ... we - sat there in our pyjama bottoms with 3d foam pads stuck to them - sometimes get the [wrong] idea that those other bloggers have perfect lives. Untouched by sadness, anxieties ... and spray-ink stains.

But, of course they don't . They're just sharing their best selves with us, but some blogggers wanted to rectify this and share a few of the things you don't usually see. Of the ones I saw my favourite was ...
  • Giving-up on Good hosted Hayley of The Tiny Twig and Jessi Connolly of Naptime Diaries where they'd share a story, a moment etc to redress the idea that we can do everything and be perfect! It was about letting go and embracing life's imperfections and struggles.
  • Now then ... they're actually no longer hosting this and, when I asked, it was suggested that I take it up. While I won't be ... I thought I'd mention it in case you might want to ... or create something similar based on your own experiences?
** I've tried to ensure I've got the correct links and up-to-date details here - but please get in touch if you think I've miscredited or misinterpreted your blog meme.

OK ... this list has taken way too much time ... and I've not even touched on the world of blog challenges you could take part in ... but they'll have to wait for another lifetime!

I'm handing it over to you now.

 If you there's a recurring play-along feature that you think we all should know about link us up in the comments below and - if you can - give a brief description of what it is too.

And if you're not leaving a link ... make sure to scroll through the comments for links that might interest you.

An honest appeal to anyone thinking of joining in an existing blog-along meme.

I'll make it very clear that, yes, I AM speaking here as someone who hosts a regular feature [My Month in Numbers]
  • do your best to read and follow the instructions, the 'rules', the etiquette or whatever is set out by the host;
  • when you take inspiration from their prompt and blog your own version - write an introductory sentence saying who and where you got the idea from with a link back to the original blogger;
  • this way you make it clear to your readers that it's something everyone can join in with.
  • leave a comment on the hosts post ... they're a blogger too. Their post is not just a place for you to drop your link with nothing else to say.
  • if you think all this is too much to ask or that you don't have time to do it justice ... that's OK, just leave it, or leave it until you do have time.
  • remember that [most] hosts are not faceless corporations only in it for the page views - they're a real person who's taken time to write a post which hopefully will inspire you to do the same.
  • they've then offered you the chance to build a little community and share your post with like minded people. They probably also try to leave a comment  on each person's post too.
  • these things take time - which is given freely [no one holds a gun to my head every month] - but if you hold up your end of the bargain [linking, commenting] it makes it so much nicer for everyone!
And finally ...

A word to the wise to anyone starting their own meme.

And once again ... I'm speaking from experience here...

Starting your own feature is a fabulous, creative, communal endeavour ... so DON'T YOU DARE let what I'm about to say put you off!!Just take it as 'forewarned is forearmed' and build it into your armour!

Choose a feature you're going to enjoy!
  • sounds sensible enough doesn't it?
  • pick something you will be happy making a regular part of your life
  • and ... this is VITAL ... pick something you would blog anyway ... with or without the communal element -
Because you can't always assume that 'if you build it they will come'
  • have a thick skin ... or work on getting one
  • it took about a year or so for enough people to really, regularly, join in with My Month in Numbers before I could really think of it as a 'communal' type feature
  • this is why you must enjoy what you're doing!
  • I didn't start M in N as a communal thing ... it turned into one over time. I began ... and continue it ... because I love it.
  • If people stopped joining in ... it wouldn't stop me.
It's like I keep keep keep repeating to you ... things tend to work better on your blog when you start by pleasing yourself first!!


So - are you ready to 'steal like an artist' now? Are you all set to start looking for the features and inspiration which already exist out there?

Any thoughts, ideas, questions, links .. leave them in the comments for me.

I'll make a start pinning some of today's links to the Push-Up Bra Blogging - Extra Resources board before getting to work on Chapter 9 .. which picks up where today's 'words to the wise' left off ... but that's for next week ...


If so please swing  my Just Giving page  and make a £1* donation to the 'SAVE THE CHILDREN' charity to help me reach my fundraising target. I'm hoping to transform my hours of work on this series into at least £500 worth of aid for children worldwide.

**Please don't feel uncertain about adding just £1 to the pot. If fewer than half of those who read a page of my blog today leave just £1 ... I'd hit my target and then some by bed time tonight. 

£1 is plenty. You're splendid for even thinking about it. Thank you. x


  1. Really enjoyed this post Julie, there must be a play-along listed to suit everyone. Especially if like me you would rather join in than have the worry about hosting.

    I prefer the monthly ones rather than weekly and have just joined in with another hosted by Margie at
    this will encourage me to take a family photo each month.

    great series and a great cause to raise money for x

  2. lovely to have all the memes together in a lovely neat list. I love taking part in some of these, it's gr8 fun to write and then read other posts. I am a gr8 believer in stealing like an artist and am off to have a read of Austin's stuff,
    Jo xxxx

  3. I'm more of a joiner-iner than a hoster - I really don't think enough people follow my blog to have my own meme. Then I'd just feel sad that I was doing something and no one else thought it was worth joining in. Not to mention that everyone else has already thought of the good things! There were a couple here I haven't heard of before so excuse me please but I need to go and click on a few links!

  4. Thanks for the list of blog things - I usually take part in Blogtoberfest hosted by and I was struggling last time to make a post every day with just my crafty stuff - it will be useful to have some other things to blog about. And it will be great if someone takes over doing 10 on the 10th - I actually remembered to post mine the other month and then found that Shimelle wasn't doing it this year :(

  5. wow. I've just read this whole series and feeling inspired! Thank you for this! I really love the idea of Shimelle's 10 things meme ... I hope someone takes this one on! I'd volunteer to do it myself but knowing my history with starting projects and never finishing them I'm not sure I'd be the best person! (my neglected blog is testament to this!)

  6. Just started making notes ready to join in Month in numbers as I think this is one I could easily manage.
    Lots to think about.

  7. for a moment there I was thinking 'I'd take her coffee revels and liquorice jelly bean' and then I thought 'no, she just said she spits them out' !!!! and that was even before I saw that you had included my look up look down - thank you. A meme that I 'started' totally be accident because I mentioned I was intending to do it and several friends joined in.

    Really enjoying your writing style

  8. Haven't read many of your posts so far as saving them for when life is a little less manic.

    Like the list of regular posts. I really enjoyed Shimelle's 10 things, so hope someone does pick that up.

    Good luck with your fundraising, a great idea.

  9. Haha! Another good post for me to print and read in bed and to keep filed so I can flick back for some of these great links!
    I have Austin's book 'Steal Like an Artist' and was grateful for your link as I also love his Logbook and wanted to check this idea out again. I've been meaning to start one of my own so high five, Julie!
    Some great memes there, some for me to go visit. Thank you :)

  10. Some great ideas here....a few I already join in with....and some more to take a look at.
    Not sure that I'd want to host one though!

  11. Thank you for your tips and the series so far. I am loving what you have to say especially about starting your own meme. Thank you for linking me in! xxx

  12. Such a fun list - so many of my friends! And I am so honored to be included - thanks!!!

  13. Ok ... commenting on the RIGHT blog post this time!
    Ok guys, I have taken the bull by the horns and emailed Shimelle ... if no-one else has offered to take it on and if Shimelle is ok with it, I will host the 10 things thingy ... Julie, I'm holding you entirely responsible for this moment of insanity!!! :)

  14. Hugely enjoyable stuff Julie! It's an absolute pleasure to be included in your list: thank you :) I'm cheering at the last part too - I agree wholeheartedly with all of it and absolutely couldn't have put it any way no near so perfectly myself.

  15. Lovely post - I haven'y yet had time to read your push-up bra series, but I will. In the meantime here's £1 for today's post!

  16. A late comer to this as I'm one of those people catching up (after the series has finished!)

    Could I add another meme to the pot? This is a photographic one that I join in with when I can and its called simply 'The Photo Gallery' and is hosted by Tara of 'Sticky Fingers' blog. On Friday on her blog we are given a theme for a photo and we all present our offering on our blogs on the following Wednesday. We can use existing photos or take a new one for the event. It's usual to tell a bit of a story behind the photo too.

    The link to tell you all about it is here:

    Thanks for a great series Julie, it has helped me with ideas on how to get back into blogging again.

  17. Storytelling Sunday was exactly what I needed to read. I've been afraid of telling my story, of revealing too much, of saying anything. But I would love to share why some of my "things" are precious to me. What a wonderful idea! I've already donated before reading this post. Blessings to you for sharing such wonderful ideas.


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