23 Jan 2016

Blogposts with Attitude #BWA - January 2016

January, the bleakest month of the year? Oh my, gimme some flowers! A bittersweet after-party tinge in its early moments might behold - as 'the year after the year before' - it quickly turns into a time to take stock and mull over the year past, draw conclusions and move on, empowered. In other words, a time for introspection, reflection and decision that morphs into a time to set the tone for the year ahead and wear it proudly on our sleeve like our Sunday best in order to face the brand New Year in a more resolute - and upbeat - fashion.

Café au Lait Dahlia Love by Erin Benzakein @ Floret

January is not over that it has already yielded some productive results out there in blogland. It has certainly been a month where hearts have been poured, eyebrows raised, and voices heard. Introspective, reflective, or in a more direct address, the issues raised I have enjoyed reading every word of it! Probably because they put a fresh and honest perspective, stated their values loud and proud, and brought not only an emotional connection but also a rational one.

For these reasons, the posts I have listed here struck more than a chord with me. They have lifted me, inspired me, fuelled me with renewed energy and kickstarted me more firmly into my year ahead, in terms of personal and professional achievements and aspirations. I am positive that you too will draw some benefits out of them.

So, here we go, in chronological order, my five favourite posts this month. Enjoy the read and feel free to add on to the list: -

No.1: A Manifesto by Kathryn Sharman @ Kat Got the Cream
As your lifestyle blog is growing and evolving, you will need to set out or rewrite clear rules as to what your blog is about - and your approach to your craft. Monetisation/ brokering will invariably crop up, sometimes perceived as a bone of contention. Some readers will enjoy the rstyle ride with you and others won't. I have no problem with blog monetisation as long as it is cleverly incorporated within the fabric and the essence of the blog without overpowering it with affiliated shopping lists post after post. Kat struck that fine balancing act with flying colours, and hats off to her! Yet undoubtedly you will still get some readers who begrudge the union of blog and cashflow, so Kat laid out the terms as her Manifesto. A great idea for us bloggers to consider seriously and incorporate into our blogs, just to be sure author and readers are on that same page!

No.2: Will Blog Survive 2016? by Holly Becker @ Decor8
A question asked by a blog that is an authority on blogging and has already witnessed the rise and demise of many blogs in its one decade of existence, going from strength to strength to inspire our homes with consistent high-quality content. Here Holly gives us her views on the state of blogging vs. monetisation (flavour of the month?). She comments on those blogs out there who churn out sponsored post after the next, slapdash a little line of text and an endless content of affiliated links, making those blogs little more than shopwindows linked up to the cashpoint registers of the big brands. Individuality and integrity of voice and character and personality are killed off in the process. This puts the future of impartial informative blogging 'from the heart' at stake, a little like that good old chestnut, freedom of the press. And the quest for quick buck might end up a piped dream for that new generation of fame-hungry bloggers on the scene...
Erin Benzekein and her husband, Chris @ Floret

No.3: The Life & Business 3-part series on Design*Sponge dedicated to Erin Benzekein and her award-winning flower farm, Floret
I had heard of Erin previously and come across her beautiful arrangements of organic, unusual and old-fashioned flowers on her Instagram account, that got me sold! Then treble whammy in one swoop with the Design*Sponge coverage! I came face to face with a business off the beaten track, that is a success story and a winner on many levels: all about emotional intelligence and a floral immersion, our relationship to flowers that goes beyond the bouquet and delves deep into childhood memories and nostalgia, and 'just about tamed' natural beauty captured off the cuff and ingratiated in high-quality visuals. A family-centred, nature-friendly concern that is a social media eye-pleaser, and most of all a lifestyle aspiration to those in search of accomplishing something of worth in their lives, off the rat race tracks, out in the country, where they can satisfy both their intellectual and physical strengths. This is the sort of business that gets me enthused beyond enthused! Erin shares hints and tips on how she is growing her company. Take a leaf out of how Floret is flourishing and be guided by your passions! Do check Floret's About section for more inspiration.

No.4: The Secret We All Want to Know by Tara Austen Weaver @ Tea and Cookies
The creative process fascinates. To the extent that some of us want to unfold it and undress it down to its bare bones, peel off the layers and dissect it, find out the magic formula, turn on that switch by the cortex that will turn us into a writer. Good news is we all are creators - often unaware of it - whether it is fixing that bit of kit or cooking up a meal or salvaging a patch of land or doing a collage for the kids or styling hair. The bad news is there is no magic formula on how to become a writer. Tara - a published author - explains this compellingly and sympathetically, and links in a few resources from her blog, all must-read items. Mostly though, she can't emphasize enough that the creative process is an individual, personal one. It is about being one's own voice. And there is no magic formula or Idiot's Guide, rather than the fact that you should just write and keep on writing, because practice will help perfect your craft.

No.5: Here's a Space for You by Danielle Hampton @ Sometimes Sweet
Writing is about being one's own voice and being in one's own space. As an established lifestyle blogger and former English teacher, Danielle understood the importance of writing early on in life, encouraging her pupils to journal. And this is one of the best ways to get creativity going, to stimulate those creative juices. And encouraged and fostered early on in life, this can only feed into one's personal journey down the creative process. A fun and mind-expanding exercise!

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