Elegant Lunch for Two

It was my sister Martha's birthday a few days ago and to celebrate I threw a special lunch for just us two. On the menu... Halloumi & Avocado Salad + Blue Cheese, Walnut & Pear Salad + Toasted Bread Salad Halloumi & Read more

The Fall (A Poem)

The air changed first, then came the feeling known to every living thing, the change in season. And from that moment, no matter how the garden grew or hot the sun shone it was autumn. Summer gone and with it Read more

How to Write a Book - The Advice I Needed Starting My Book - Creativity Bootcamp #1

Good morning dear friends. Today I'm sharing the wisdom I needed before and on starting my book. If I'd had this in writing back then I'd have clung to it, read it to shreds, used it to reassure and Read more

To Live In A Wild Place - New Flash Fiction Story

She’d had this dream to live in a wild place. When had it started she wondered? It hadn’t always been like this. When she was young she had wanted different things, money, career, to be anywhere but here. To Read more

Creativity Bootcamp - Content & FAQ - Is It For You?

Dear friends, as posted on Friday I will be running a month long creativity bootcamp this October... I have decided to do this because... I want to take part in an intensive creativity bootcamp! I want to be inspired, learn, create till Read more

Like a Phoenix

Like a Phoenix In false arenas I was dreaming, past, present and strategic, while my spirit yearned for healing, fire cleaning. Like a phoenix I set fire to myself. Comfort, safety, held no meaning, in my soul already leaving, knowing worse than Read more

13 Tips for Blogging Success

With a background in pr, three years of blogging, a novel written, and almost 10,000 followers, I thought it was time I shared my tips for blogging success. So make the tea and here we go now…

1. The Perfect Blog would…(fill in the blank) What interests you? What inspires you? What is your vision of a perfect blog that would keep you coming back? Build your blog around your answer and keep asking yourself on a regular basis, think of it as a check-up, a guide, something always to aim for.

2. What’s your motivation? Mine was/is to improve my writing, to create, vignettes, photographs, stories, ideas, a beautiful space. To explore, develop, grow, learn, inspire me, to push the boundaries of my creativity, connect with like minded people, have great conversations, celebrate life, have fun, new adventures…

I started blogging to design the life I wanted, the blog holds me to that desire, I drive it, it drives me.

In recent times my motivation has expanded to include the wish to reach a wider audience for my book, naturally. These days it’s all writing, writing, writing around here…

writing by gari melchers

Writing by ‘Gari Melchers’ I share a lot of art, usually with quotes, on the blog fb page.

3. Who is your audience? I write for myself and am always surprised and of course happy when people like it. So I started blogging with an audience in mind of one. This non-tactic has worked well. I am mostly ‘advising’ a younger version of myself. If I am born again and find this blog I’m sorted :)

But seriously I believe people are so over advertising whatever form it comes in. That was an industry for the 1950’s. My view is it never feels credible, because that’s the nature of it. And people want real now.

4. How much of you? So people want real BUT  having said that a blog is not a diary, some things belong in a journal or at home not online. There’s a difference between being open, genuine, authentic and just sharing too much.

For me it’s like good company. If someone is constantly talking about their insecurities, comparing themselves and measuring their success against others and/or always talking about their children, especially personal details of their children’s lives and bodies, sob :( Abuse in my view, well I’d be hiding behind the couch if they knocked on my door so I’m certainly not going there voluntarily.

Of course it’s not cut and dried, some of my favourite bloggers write about specialist issues not on my radar, or write about their children (not intimately) These bloggers just have a way with them that works. A great voice, a great perspective, balance, fairness, common sense, other ideas, other things going on in their lives, magic…

Note: I always like to know more about the blogger, not just their work or their family but ‘their’ thoughts and ideas, hopes, dreams and plans. So a question: Are you in your blog?

Keep it real + Cut the moaning + Who are you? + Don’t compare + Remember the Vision, & the Visuals + Write for you + Will someone please think of the children? = Half Way to Good Blogging

5. A busy life is an advantage but a busy mind is essential. People have said to me they don’t have enough going on in their lives to write a blog but all you need is enough going on in your head. And if you go into blogging with open arms more interesting things will follow, people, activities, opportunities.

6. Photographs. Of all crimes against blogging poor photographs has to be number one and in my view you can’t have a good blog without them. My top tips (I always use my phone) are use natural light always, no flash, and don’t use small photographs.

Your blog should have a re-sizing function so go large and keep them all the same size if possible for a more streamlined finished.

Beware of food photographs, I recoil at least once a day at ugly food photography. If in doubt leave them out. As a test ask yourself or someone else if this photo of your fry up is in fact beautiful? Does it enhance your blog? Would you hang it on your wall? And no close up’s for the love of God!!! Remember no one else can actually taste it, of all places in life here is where looks are what count!

marc

7. You! – Make sure you have photo’s of you on your blog. You don’t have to have loads, or even lots, but a profile picture at least. That’s non-negotiable by the way. Hiding and blogging? I don’t think so.

8. ‘About’ – So someone has read a blog post you wrote, a friend shared it on fb or something. They read it, they liked it, they’re curious so what do they do? They look for your ‘About Me’ section. Make certain you have one, that it’s as good and clear as possible and update it regularly.

What people want when they read the ‘About’ is to see if your blog is a click for them. You can’t possibly pre-empt or control that so the best option for holding onto people who come to your blog, and crucially for bringing them back, is to appeal to people like you. And the only way to do that is to be you. Having said all this it is the hardest thing to write, eek! It is tough!

9. Text – Very simple, break it up, people are more likely to read smaller blocks of text.

10. Content – You’ve heard the line ‘content is king.’ It’s a line for a reason so…

Always write in your own voice as if talking to a friend. Sometimes when I’m stuck I begin my posts with ‘Dear Martha’ and go from there. That’s a great tip btw, it really works try it. Martha is my sister. She blogs at Martha’s Looking Glass

11, Passion and Hard Work, you have to love it, to have passion for it, so that the work doesn’t feel like work though it takes so much time.

12. Insecurity – Naturally, well you’re human aren’t you? Learn to live with it, that’s all.

13. Facebook – I recommend having a dedicated fb page for your blog and to sharing not just your posts but other things that interest you. I started mine as a quick fire way to share smaller posts that in themselves wouldn’t make up a blog post or else would keep me blogging ALL the time, and to reach a wider audience for the blog.

Great idea. The blog fb page is the largest driver of new people to the blog and fast approaching 6,000 likes, but you can apply this to any platform, instagram, whatever one appeals to you. Share what you like, what inspires you.

I’m lucky to have been shared by some really big sites but the thing is while people may check out your page they still won’t like or follow unless what you share overall speaks to them on some level so again it goes back to being true to yourself.  I also have a high level of engagement with followers on the page and have made good friends all over the world. To follow this blog on FB click HERE

janes art green trees

As posted on FB yesterday – I’m so foolish, I love to paint but hardly ever do it, it’s been months now but we have a shock hot day that stirred me, so I took myself out to the bottom of the garden with some paints etc and a long box, set up took determined AGES!!! Well you have to factor in not just what you need but for procrastination and who’s calling me? You’re hungry! What again??? I decided not to draw, no time, just begin, dropped paint on my skirt and held the box against the wind and thought…what am I doing? Dip, dab, well this is terrible. I like the paint on my hands more than on the painting, ah well never mind, never mind, just keep going, keep……………………………………and pause for bliss…

So there you have it, My 13 Tips for Blogging Success. Only applicable if you’re idea of success is the same or similar to mine I suppose! Mine was to have a more creative life, a writing life, and to write a book. Also to find my tribe, have new adventures, to heal from past traumas and grow as a person. I have achieved that and more beyond my wildest dreams, and they’re pretty wild as a rule.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in comments. Would you add anything to this list? Agree or disagree with my points? Do you blog or would you like to start a blog? What’s stopping you? What kind of blogs do you like to read? If it doesn’t exist maybe you should write it? If you’re a regular here what do you like about this blog? And, isn’t it a shame blogs are called ‘blogs’? 

Have a great day out there xo Jane

Posted on by Jane in Creative Living 6 Comments

The ‘Good Conversation’ Recipe

Afternoon all, Monday again in the fastest year of my life. That’s how it feels. Is it because I’m the oldest I’ve ever been? I don’t know!!!

So anyway I’m here, thinking away, and I know I haven’t told you I’m in love with this guy Jason Silva, do you know him?

From his website…’Jason Silva is a media artist, futurist, philosopher, keynote speaker and TV personality. He is the creator of ‘Shots of Awe’, a short film series of ‘trailers for the mind’ that serve as philosophical espresso shots exploring innovation, technology, creativity, futurism and the metaphysics of the imagination.

Shots of Awe has received more than 13 million views. He is also Emmy nominated host of National Geographic Channel’s hit TV series Brain Games, airing in over 100 countries.’

I watch these shots of awe and my brain starts rapid firing. I come away a little more enriched than I was 3 minutes before. These are the kinds of conversations I want to have, always.

I regularly share his work on facebook and a few weeks back Jason himself ‘liked’ one of his posts I’d shared. I was so excited I rang Adrian at work straight away;

Me: Guess who just liked his post on my page???

Adrian: Who?

Me: Jason Silva!!!

Adrian: No!!!

Me: Yes!!!

Adrian: Awesome :)

Because who could appreciate my excitement more than the one I insist on showing shots of awe to, usually when he’s trying to sleep.

All I could think then was, wow, I would love to have a conversation with this guy…well that and how it was a shame he hadn’t liked one of my posts instead of his own!

But seriously!!! GOOD conversation can be sooo hard to find and it shouldn’t be should it? Is this a bad sign of our world? Of where we’re at? A sympton of slavish mentality?

And what makes a good conversation? What are the barriers? The spoilers? What is the recipe for good, NO for great conversation?

Lets focus on that…

5.15A

Painting by Edouard Vuillard

My Good Conversation Recipe

To me conversation is great when it is ideas, solutions and imagination oriented, focused on what could be done instead of on what can’t. Add a free mind, creative, open, honest, interested in the world, compassionate, divergent, free, irreverent,  quirky. A mind that is not defensive, self-serving or competitive, that is without negativity, aggression, jealousy or cynicism, and that’s what I’d call a recipe.

“Cynicism is intellectual dandyism. ” – George Meredit, ‘The Egoist.’

vu

Painting by Edouard Vuillard

Again it goes back, and ever back to evolution, to how we change and make the world, to how we contribute on an individual and then on a group level. When we’re over cynical or negative we are not thinking, we are sheep right?

The power of thoughts, of ideas and words is a power we didn’t know we had but are daily learning, that of the individual.

Whether you have a blog or other platform or not, you still talk to family, to friends, and that matters, it counts, it affects the world.

Not convinced? In simplest terms think of how you feel when someone is kind or cruel, when you’re down perhaps, how that affects you, and for how long. Think of the energy you get from people at Christmas time, or when the weather is good. It’s contagious, palpable…

“If you want to find the secrets of the universe, think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”― Nikola Tesla

We need to mind our thoughts, to mind our words, for we are powerful. The only question now is…

glinda

And remember…’only bad witches are ugly’…:) Thoughts? I would truly love to hear them. In the meantime I wish you good conversation xo Jane 

I’ll leave you with few links…

Most Popular Shot of Awe‘The Existential Bummer’ HERE

Jason Silva on Facebook HERE

And my favourite Shot of Awe ‘Captains of Spaceship Earth’ HERE

Not forgetting my own Facebook HERE

matsumoto

Movie I love, The Last Samurai, peaceful, mindful, wise and beautiful <3

Posted on by Jane in Creative Living, I WAS JUST THINKING 7 Comments
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