Last week, I shared a few thoughts on blogging and writing, and I’m hoping to turn it into a series as I ponder different blogging ideas. I finally went through my fall magazine collection and pulled out a few images to inspire me. It’s a fun, if tedious, process and I love having things to look at while I’m writing posts and searching for words. This season, I’m really drawn to dark florals, as well as simple silhouettes. I have no idea if those details will start to appear in my wardrobe, but I enjoy looking at the pictures while I’m working at my desk.
You might have seen this recent New York Times article on blogging, as it’s currently making its way around the blogging world. I have definitely noticed a few blogs closing their doors (or laptops) recently, and with all good things, the end is inevitable. I mentioned this in my Alt for Everyone recap, but Kelly Beall of Design Crush talked about blogs evolving, rather than dying, so bloggers have to adapt, too. There definitely seems to be a shift in blogging these days, and bloggers are posting less frequently, just as readers are commenting less, too. It’s an interesting change to watch.
And I was inspired by my Alt classes, so I made a few small changes over the weekend. I thought a lot about how I use Pinterest, which is only to share images I love and images from my blog. I switched to a business account, so easy for bloggers to do, and I also applied to use rich pins that provide more information than just the image and title. This will allow me to easily share my wordier blog posts and provide a bit of information below each image, too. The process was really simple and I followed this tutorial.
I also read this post over the weekend and was struck by Natalie’s thoughts on writers being better at noticing beautiful things, rather than creating beautiful things themselves. This is something I’ve always struggled with, and it was wonderful to find it so well-written and explained.
I finished my classes with Alt for Everyone on Saturday, and came away with some inspiration and a lot to think about, too. For the admission price, I signed up for five classes, one keynote address, and a meet-up, all held over the course of three days. It was a really great value, and since I found my first Alt Summit completely overwhelming, I thought I would enjoy this virtual conference much more. Plus, the classes were spread throughout the weekend, so I was still able to hang out with Ryan and the boys. I opted to skip the morning meet-up Saturday, choosing brunch with my guys instead, but I attended all of my other classes and took a ton of notes.
Thursday afternoon, my first class was “Working with Brands,” sponsored by Bing, and taught by a Bing employee. That should have been a huge red flag, but for some reason, I didn’t think about it until I was already in the class. I don’t use Bing as a search engine, so I don’t really know much about it, and my blog is way too small for a sponsor that large to even look at me. Those were my two takeaways from the class, and I left feeling a little annoyed and deflated. But there will always be hits and misses at a large conference, so it’s no big deal.
Thursday evening, I took “Setting Up Shop” with Melanie Burk of Caravan Shoppe and that class was interesting and enjoyable. I don’t have plans to open a shop online, but since I do offer editing and writing services, I thought I might benefit from her talk. Her thoughts on perfection (or lack of it) and charging the right price were very helpful.
Friday morning, Laurie Smithwick of Leap Design gave the keynote address and she was really amazing and inspiring. Laurie is a successful graphic designer, wife, and mom to twins, and she had a lot of great advice for balancing family and life while trying to find personal fulfillment, too. Her passion these days is a project called “Step Away from the Screen,” and she believes that boredom contributes to our best ideas. I felt a real kinship with Laurie and signed up to learn more about her new project, which encourages creativity in real life, away from your computer and phone.
Next, I listened to “Pinterest Strategies,” presented by Rachel Faucett of Handmade Charlotte. She is serious about her business and uses Pinterest to enhance her interactions with her readers and customers. I realized that I don’t use Pinterest the way a lot of other bloggers do, and while some things rubbed me the wrong way (the idea of following people with a certain amount of pins and following everyone who follows you), I did come away with a few new ideas to try. Laurie encourages all bloggers to switch to a Pinterest business account to see your analytics, and to use rich pins, which I need to investigate more. I found the class insightful and I might just implement a few of Laurie’s suggestions.
Friday afternoon, Amy Christie of This Heart of Mine spoke about “Being a Contributor.” Her talk was incredibly relevant to me and I took a ton of notes that I need to review soon. Amy works as a freelancer and contributor and shared her experiences and some practical tips, too.
Saturday afternoon, Kelly Beall of Design Crush shared her thoughts on “Growing Your Blog,” and I really appreciated her honesty. She presented her own blogging experience as a case study and highlighted the things she has learned throughout the process. When asked if she thought blogs are dying, she said she thinks they are evolving, so bloggers have to be ready to roll with the punches. too. When Pinterest launched in 2012, her blog took a major hit, and she adapted to gain back her readership. I came away from Kelly’s talk with a lot of things to think about.
And finally, Susan Brinson of House of Brinson taught “Photo Styling 101″ for my last class of the weekend. She and her husband run a very successful photography and styling blog and business, and I admire their work very much. She gave a lot of great tips and showed concrete examples of her work. She encourages bloggers to study stylists like artists we admire, and to create a style statement and guide to define a blog’s overall aesthetics. I really enjoyed her talk and it was a great way to end the conference.
I was really pleased with my Alt for Everyone experience and I feel excited to try the things I learned. It’s such a great value for the price, and I can definitely recommend it!
This week felt really busy and fast-paced. I started my Alt for Everyone sessions last night and am enjoying them so much. I’ve also been trying to do more writing during the day when the boys are at school, but it doesn’t always work out. Still, it’s progress. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week.
An excerpt from Lena Dunham’s new book, which is out next week!
Just in case you missed it, here’s the text of Emma Watson’s recent speech at the United Nations.
And a tongue-in-cheek book that parents will understand.
Have a wonderful weekend!