Learning from mistakes

In the moment missing a day of daily blogging feels like failure but in the grand scheme of things I know it’s not that bad.

If you look at it one way missing 8/365 days isn’t much at all.

But on the other hand can you really call yourself a daily blogger if you don’t post every single day.

When I first started daily blogging it really bothered me when I missed a day, mainly because it was never intentional. It frustrated me that I could forgot to post and not realise until the next day and by then it was too late.

Luckily, I’ve now realised that when you make a mistake if you focus on learning from it instead of getting mad at yourself it’s much less likely to happen again.

And of course this applies to so much more than just blogging

How the pandemic has influenced what I write about?

Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on how what I write about has changed.

Firstly, I’ve found that a lot of my posts have been about the pandemic whether it is about working from home or the way our day to day lives have changed. Secondly, there is much less playfulness in the way I write because everything going on in the world is quite serious.

Overall I’ve been quite current, writing about things happening now. But at the same time I also want my posts to be evergreen so that they’ll still be useful to the person reading them 6 months from now.

However, the posts I’ve written about this pandemic are something I’ll probably be glad to look back on as a reflection on this current time. To know not necessarily how I was feeling but instead what I thought mattered at the time. That’s what I’ve been writing about.

How lockdown changed my writing routine?

Prior to mid-march 2020 my writing time consisted of my journey to and from work, my lunch break and in the evenings after dinner. I’d do my best to plan ahead and have my posts scheduled for 7.30am each morning.

But once lockdown started my day to day life changed significantly. I was no longer travelling to and from work each day, my work and home life were blended.

Over the past couple of months I’ve stopped planning ahead, almost never schedule posts in advance and I’m no longer posting in the morning. Instead I write and post on my blog in the evenings as my day is winding down. I’m still posting the same amount but I actually find that it’s a lot easier.

It’s much simpler and less time consuming which means I have more time for everything else that i enjoy.

Putting more thought into branding

As much as you might want to focus on other stuff, it will always be worth putting some time into branding. It’s important to think about how things look to an outside eye and understand if you’re able to deliver your intended message.

I’ve always wanted The Daily Gemm (TDG) to be a space with writing and simplicity at the forefront and that’s what I focused on when I started posting to the Instagram account a few months ago.  However, I’ve realised that although the simplicity element works well on the blog, it doesn’t translate the same way on Instagram. I realised that I might need to do start doing things differently.

After giving it things more thought and thinking about the grand scheme and my future plans and aspirations, I came to the conclusion that I wanted the TDG Instagram account to represent my long-term plans as a brand, rather than just to represent this blog.

And so over the past week or so I’ve been coming up with ideas for how I could do things differently in a way that works for me.

One the first things that came to mind was more visual content and more colour. Currently the TDG feed is full of quotes from my blog posts in black and white. But it turns out the ‘just words, no pictures’ philosophy that I have for this site doesn’t fit for Instagram.

On one hand my grand plans for Instagram have come crashing down but on the other hand it taught me a lot. I’ve now gone back to the drawing board and spent time planning and creating things that I’m looking forward to sharing.

Blogging bit by bit

There are 2 ways of working.

The first is in batches, a couple of hours one or 2 times a week.

The second is bit by bit, day by day.

Many people find themselves picking one of the two ways thinking that it’s the best way of working.

But it turns out it depends on the work you’re doing and also the way you feel like working.

Last year I was focused on scheduling posts and there were times when I’d be scheduling a week of blog posts in one go.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been writing and publishing a blog post at the end of my day. At first it felt strange and I was frustrated that my batch blogging habit had fallen away.

However, from taking the bit by bit approach I’m enjoying blogging more. I spend moments of my day thinking about what I want to say and then I type it up at night. It feels like I’m creating a better writing practice because I’m clicking publish each day.

It’s not to say that the bit by bit approach is the best way of working. But what I can say is that it’s going pretty well for me right now.

 

Vulnerable creativity

A big part of creativity is being vulnerable.

When the work you’re producing is not at the level you’re content with it may be because of one of 2 reasons.

The first is that you’re working in a medium that you’re so used to that you need to dig deeper in order to produce something with an element of vulnerability.

The second is that you’re working in a new, less familiar medium and you haven’t reached that level of comfort where you’re able to be vulnerable with what you create.

As someone who writes a daily blog, has journalled for over a decade, has had various lifestyle blogs over the past 8 years and also writes poetry, I’m quite familiar with expressing vulnerability through my words.

However, I’ve recently been working on taking and styling photos which is something new for me.

I’m still finding my way with taking photots which is why it often feels difficult. But instead of pushing myself to create something interesting, I find myself holding back.

It’s easier just to do something simple instead of putting myself into my work. That takes vulnerability.

 

 

 

There are levels to creativity.

I beleive that I’m able to convey vulnerability through my writing. But as I work with other mediums I find that I’m much less free-flowing. My work is rigid and sometimes uninteresting.

It’s not neccisarily bad but in the creative process I don’t feel like I’m experimenting or pushing the boundary

Finding joy in the things we love

I’ve been writing a little different lately and trying to figure out the best kind of things to share during this time.

My aim is to be relevant but whilst still maintaining my usual style and core themes.

I’ve been thinking a lot about science, history, people and fear. From that I’ve had so many ideas for things to write about and once piece in particular (that is currently just a few words and phrases) has brought me joy.

There’s a thing I do when I write where I put little thoughts and ideas together then try and make some sense out of them. It’s so fun, it’s almost like a game, trying to see how I can fit things together.

Right now I’m having a lot of new thoughts and thinking about things in ways I never have before.

And so even though things are very unexpected and a little challenging, I guess right now I’m just enjoying my writing process.

Now, is the perfect time to find joy in doing the things you love.

 

Poetry in progress

The sound of the music,
The touch of your skin,
Yet I still feel hesitant,
To just let you in.

I originally planned to share a full poem today. The above is part of a poem I started just under a week ago. I have 3 other verses but none of them feel quite done yet.

I need to remove words, change words and say it out loud to ensure it flows in the way that I like.

I love writing poetry. It might be simple and incredibly amateur but it’s also a true labour of love.

Like a lot of the writing I do, my poems capture moments, experiences and thoughts. I look back on old poems like photographs.

I don’t write poems very often but it’s refreshing to sometimes do something a little different.

3 simple tips for successful daily blogging

Shortcuts might be enticing but you can’t escape doing the work.

Write more than a post a day
You’ll have days when its easier to write so take advantage. I’ve had days where I’ve written a weeks worth of posts which is a stark contrast to the days where writing a single post feels as difficult as nailing jelly to a tree.

Dedicate a set time in your day to write
If you make it part of your routine it’ll find it’s way into your subconscious and then you’re set. My writing time is the journey to and from work. It’s around 90 minutes daily and I find it easier to use that time than make time before or after work to write. Granted I can and often do write at other times in the day but never as consistent as I do on my journey to and from work.

Don’t aim for perfection
You have to put more importance on having something to publish instead of it being perfect. I often refer to this blog as a writing practice because that’s what it is a place for me to practice writing. It isn’t a place for me to be perfect. I understand that perfection is a falsehood. Focusing on trying to make every piece perfect is a waste of time when you can just write something better tomorrow.

That’s all you need to successfully daily blog. There’s no trick to it. Sure, it might he hard to come up with ideas sometimes but the more you do it the easier it gets.

On being content with not becoming a writer

Or at least trying to be.

I remember being around 16 or 17 telling a classmate about my writing hobby and that I had thought of doing it as a career. At the time I was pretty lost with regard to career plans and my civil engineering dream was becoming less and less likely.

My classmate on the other hand was an excellent academic – who went on to study medicine.

He told me (in a roundabout way) that sometimes when you try to turn your hobby into your career it ruins it.

At the time I think I said something like yeah you’re right. But in my head I thought but I wanna be a writer and over half a decade later I still think that.

However, despite wanting to be a writer, I’m now 2 years into a career in transport. For the most part, I’m pretty happy with where I’m at and that has made me realise that more than wanting to be a writer what I really want is to write.

And I do write.

Every.

Single.

Day.