Things To Do When You Hit A Block

I know I cannot be alone in suffering from regular bouts of the dreaded ‘block’. Whether it be writer’s, artist’s or just a general creative block, its the worst feeling when there’s just nothing going on in your head, or at least nothing that will translate into anything you’re happy with.

Know the feeling? Next time, why not try a few of these..

Take a step back and clear your head

A watched pot never boils and a blank page doesn’t fill itself.

Don’t force anything

There’s nothing worse than trying to force results. I look back at blog posts and I can spot the ones that I bashed out just because I felt I had to write something, and I’m not entirely proud of them.

Do something silly

Just for a moment, stop taking it all so seriously. Write a funny limerick or doodle something stupid, create something crazy just for the sake of it (but like I said, don’t force it) – just doing something can start getting those cogs turning again.

Take a proper break

If you can, totally walk away from what you’re supposed to be doing; take an hour, a day, a week even. You won’t find the cure instantly, but not being so in the zone for even a little bit of time can do wonders.

Remind yourself why you love what you do

Just take a few moments to list some of the things that make you love doing whatever it is that you do, look back at some of your favourite pieces of work or read nice feedback you’ve been given by others – take a minute to actually feel proud of yourself!

Know that this will pass

At the end of the day, remember that this is just a block. Whether any of these steps help you or not, they eventually go away anyway and you’ll come back fighting, so don’t fret!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Things That Are Worth Paying For as a Blogger

While we may make a little bit of money from sponsored posts, advert space and affiliate links, for the majority of bloggers, a blog is a labour of love, and I know that I for one definitely don’t make as much money out of blogging as I put into it.

As a result of this, over the years I’ve learnt all the classic money-saving tips for blogging: hitting up Primark and Asda for blog props rather than Zara Home, robbing B&Q for wallpaper samples to use as backdrops for photos and finding as many high street dupes for our favourite beauty products as possible. The list goes on.

I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to pour money into your blog to make it successful, but with that said, there are a few things that I am more than happy to pay out for in order to keep my blog running as smoothly as possible.

A domain

Whether you’re self-hosted or not, buying your own domain as opposed to being a .blogspot or .wordpress address is 100% worth it. I pay about £18 a year for mine, and not only does it help my blog look more professional, it all counts towards that all important (though also thoroughly pointless in my eyes) DA score.

Buffer Awesome Plan

I’ve been with Buffer since I started scheduling tweets, but there are a whole bunch of other sites available. When I first started out I stuck to the free plan, meaning I could schedule 10 tweets in advance at a time. Now I schedule 5 tweets a day, so it doesn’t take a genius to work out that I could only ever schedule two days at a time, which was a nightmare when half the time I would forget, or if I was away I’d face days of no tweets at all, so before my trip to Florida back in February I decided to upgrade so that I could schedule the whole two weeks I was going to be away, and since then I’d never go back. Its $10 a month, which depending on exchange rate is £7-8, but it makes me so much happier knowing at the start of each week that I’m all set until Sunday night, when I’ll top them up again.

ASOS Premier

I’ve been paying for Asos Premier for 3 years now, and trust me its worth it. £9.95 for the year to get free next day delivery on all orders, meaning I never have to worry about knowing if my items are gonna show up on time. Its kinda like Amazon Prime for my wardrobe, and yes I did once just order a pair of gloves for £5 two days before going to France because I knew they’d get to me on time and I couldn’t be bothered to schlep into town to dig through Primark for a pair.. PS. If you ever return and item for an exchange, the replacement item is also sent next day.

Upgrading your iCloud storage

If you’re forever snapping away for those all too Instagram-worthy shots, paying to upgrade your iCloud storage so you never run out of space on your phone is a lifesaver! I think I pay 99p a month and not once I have I had the dreaded ‘your storage is almost full’ pop up. In fact, I have photos back to December 2015 on my phone and I’m at no risk of running out of room any time soon.

Do you have any services that you swear by?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Would anyone miss me?

I’ve always been a firm believer that numbers aren’t everything when it comes to blogging. I write because I want to write, and only write about what I want to write about, and that’s how it always has been and always will be.

The last year has been incredible for my blog. I’ve seen such massive growth since I started almost 4 years ago, and the start of this year brought even more; more content, more quality, more readers. I was riding high and smashing record after record, growing not just in terms of my blog stats but also in my confidence. Then June happened.

As my life outside of blogging changed, I was struggling to keep up. I felt under pressure to produce new posts, and I felt myself slipping into a less prepared and more haphazard version of myself. I was banging out posts the night before, or even on the day, and reusing photos because I hadn’t had the time to take new ones. If I’m honest, I wasn’t proud. I decided to step away from my blog and take a break, but with that came the inevitable guilt; the feeling of failure.

I pushed myself back into blogging after just a week away from the keyboard. In all fairness, I felt at the time that I’d given myself enough of a break, and threw myself back into 5-6 posts a week, but while I went back in on a high, this last week has seen another low.

Despite feeling more on top of my life and having fresh new content that I was proud of, and was working ahead on my schedule, the numbers just weren’t racking up like they used to. I feel crushed. While I write because it’s what I love to do, I feel like a chef who’s cooked a beautiful meal but everyone’s already full. It feels wasted. It’s not that I don’t feel appreciated, it’s just that I feel that I’m not entertaining anyone anymore, and ultimately that’s what I want my blog to be doing; making people happy, inspiring people, or just giving them something to read on the train home from work.

I don’t know if I could ever bring myself to give up this blog – I’ve worked long and hard to make it what it is, and I am still seeing some small progression, but I can’t help but think: would anyone notice if I wasn’t here?

I hate being a negative ninny, especially on here, but I just needed to vent. If you have any thoughts or have ever felt similar, I’d love to hear from you.

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

Dear New Bloggers

It’s pretty strange to think I’ve been at the blogging game for almost 4 years now, and that’s not including a few blogs I’ve had prior to this one!Very often I do still feel like a new-ish blogger, primarily because I was blogging for a good year or two before I joined Twitter and discovered the rest of the blogging community, but the fact is I have been at this for a little while, and so today I thought I’d share some advice for those who are just starting out.
You should not be analysing your stats straight away

I don’t actually remember ever looking at my blog views when I just started out – I’m not even sure I knew how. You have to remember that it is gonna take a little while before you see a real growth.

Be in it because you love it

The reason I never looked at my stats when I first started this blog is because it wasn’t the reason I was writing. If you don’t love writing, or whatever you write about, then blogging is never gonna make you truly happy.

Don’t expect brand work straight away

I see a lot of new bloggers complaining that they haven’t been approached my brands yet, or posting a million #prrequest tweets with no response, and even when you’re an established blogger, these opportunities may not always come up. I personally don’t work with many brands and I’m perfectly happy with that because I like writing about my own stuff, and when I am approached, I appreciate it so much more!

Set your standards

Don’t think that just because you’re new to the scene that you should sell yourself short. When I first started out I did so much work for free because I didn’t think I could ask for a budget, and I also accepted any opportunity without thinking about how well it actually suited my blog, which I would never do now.

Know the game

Do a bit of research about what you should and and shouldn’t be doing. I’m not saying you need to learn how to code or anything complicated, but find out about SEO, follow vs no-follow links and the general rules around sponsored content and disclaimers.

Get involved in the community

The blogging community is so lovely and so welcoming and supportive. Sure, the occasional drama happens, but for the most part you’ll meet the sweetest people, and I guarantee a good portion of your blog readers will be fellow bloggers.

Photography is important

They say a picture’s worth 1000 words, and there’s definitely an element of truth in that when it comes to blogging. Find your style, learn what works for you and have fun with your blog photography. Remember, a marble background doesn’t have to be your thing.

Bloglovin and Instagram can be nightmares

I would say these two platforms are by far the hardest to grow, and here are my top tips for each:

Your Bloglovin won’t grow unless you actually use Bloglovin yourself. Make the effort to follow others, read and like posts and frequently share your link, and you should see some movement.

Post on Instagram because you like it. I hardly ever use my Instagram to bring traffic to my blog, I just genuinely enjoy posting to Instagram, and I like it that way.

Appreciate your niche

Not every blog has to be a beauty blog or a fashion blog; your blog doesn’t even have to have one topic. I describe this blog as a lifestyle and travel blog, with a helping of fitness, fashion and Disney magic, and that doesn’t even cover everything that I write about. You do you.

If you’re ever in need for any more tips or advice for blogging, I would recommend you take some time to read through the blogs of Maria and Corinne, who have tonnes of great posts, but cheesy as it sounds, just have fun!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

My Mid-Year Review

Can someone tell me where the first half of this year has gone?! ITS JULY.

The last few months have been pretty mad for me for a number of reasons, but also incredible for a whole load more, and I’m pretty excited about more things that are happening in the coming months, so watch this space! Today, however, I thought I’d have a little look back over my blogging year so far..

Blog Highlights

  • Smashing my Bloglovin target for the year at the beginning of March
  • Starting a new fitness series which was so much fun to create and has had a great response
  • Working on the collaboration of DREAMS with the Disney Store
  • Hitting 50,000 page views
  • My DA finally went up in the last update!!

While I don’t know if I consider it to be a highlight, I also took my first break from blogging for over 18 months at the end of June. Despite seeing it as a bit of a bump in the road, I do think that it was good for me, and I feel refreshed and ready to take on the rest of the year and keep adding to this list of highlights!

2017 Target Update

I last reviewed my targets back in March, but how am I doing now? (All figures as of last night!)

  • Bloglovin followers
    • 2017 goal: 500
    • Current: 680 – I’m so happy with how much I’ve been able to grow my Bloglovin this year, and I’m secretly wishing that I might hit 1000 before the year is out, so watch this space!
  • Twitter followers
    • 2017 goal: 2500
    • Current: 2183 – I’ve gained just over 200 since March, so there’s a chance that if I keep that steady over the coming months that this might be possible, but who knows?
  • Instagram followers
    • 2017 goal: 2000
    • Current: 1624 – I think everyone’s feeling the same about Instagram followers, but its just so difficult to gain numbers quickly! Back in March I was at 1445, so I’m about 200 up from then, so again its not totally impossible but I’m also not putting too much hope on it with Instagram being so silly..
  • Page views
    • 2017 goal: 65,000
    • Current: 51,338 – I surpassed the 50,000 mark a little while back, and I’m pretty confident that I’ll hit this in the next few months!

What’s coming up?

There’s going to be a fair bit of change in my life over the next few months. I’m starting a different work pattern, where I’ll be working 12 hour days but as a result will have more days off in the week so I’ll have a whole load more time to dedicate to my blog and my small businesses, and I can’t wait for that. I’ll also be posting a lot more real-life stuff as I’m expecting some big changes in the next few months!

I’ve also got more trips coming up, so you can bet I’ll be blogging those, including my first ever Disney Cruise (eek!), RunDisney in Paris and Matthew and my first Disney trip together, so stay tuned!

How was 2017 been treating you?

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

My Blogging Break

This has probably on the whole gone unnoticed, but there has been a lack of any new posts for the last week due to my decision to take a little blogging break. Well, I’m back!

A week may not seem like much of a break for some, but the fact is since October 2015 up until last week, I published at least 5 new blog posts a week. In fact, since October 2015, I have posted 525 blog posts, which averages out to 25 posts a month. Posts have been written come rain or shine, hell I even tend to post daily when I’m on holiday! And while I’m super proud of this achievement, the fact is I’ve never taken a break in all that time.

You may have remembered back at the end of April I ummed and ahhed about taking a break – hell, I even shared my pro/con list! – but even then I couldn’t bring myself to do it. The decision was finally made, however, following a week of pretty poor blog stats, and while I try not to take a bad week to heart too much, it was my worst week for blog views for quite some time, and this time I did take it personally. That, combined with being so busy doing overtime at work to save money, and feeling a little bit down about life in general, I figured now more than ever was the right time to do it.

I’m not gonna lie, I did not find it easy.

To me, it felt like failure. I tried to focus on the benefits of the break, but after two days when I didn’t find things getting any easier, or any more creative juices flowing, I started to worry that it would be more than a week of this torture.

I tried to sit down and write, but I couldn’t find words. I had a few ideas, but while normally I spill the contents of my brain without much thought to the matter, my fingers just weren’t moving over the keys, and I was just staring at a blank screen. Writing and blogging has been such a big part of my life, I was now starting to feel like something was missing. Being a blogger is part of my identity and I was feeling lost without it. I tried to think of ‘easy’ posts; lists, product reviews, the stuff that I can normally bash out fairly quickly, but even then I couldn’t do it. It all felt forced.

Some things, however, did me some good. I spent a day scrolling through my blog to add to my document of scheduled tweets, re-discovering some old favourites in the process. I stopped obsessively checking my blog stats, and that probably did me a world of good. I went to the gym, I ate healthy, and I binge-watched TV.

On Saturday afternoon, I finally managed to put fingers to keys and managed to write two posts. It was time to be back, and if I’m a honest I’m actually a little nervous, but I’m hoping getting back into things will be smooth sailing! There are going to be quite a few changes in my life over the coming weeks and months, but this little corner of the internet of mine will always bring me so much happiness, and I hope you’ll continue to share it with me!

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram

My Blogging Time Saving Hacks

I take a lot of pride in maintaining my blogging routine of at least 5 new blog posts a week, alongside working full-time and running a few small businesses.

Time is always of the essence for me, and over 6 months I’ve discovered a whole bunch of ways to ensure that I’m not wasting those precious minutes, and here are a few of my favourites:

Pre-writing scheduled tweets

Scheduling tweets is blog promo 101, but I used to find it such a chore sitting and choosing which posts to schedule, then writing them out and auto-pilot-typing those same set of hashtags and RT accounts over and over. No more! Every time I publish a new post, I write a promo tweet for it, and then I copy and paste this into one huge document of all of my posts, complete with tags and all. I have these categorised into different topics, so I just have to rotate between lifestyle, beauty, food, travel, Disney etc, and copy and paste a post from each category for each day.

The Buffer extension on iOS

I also used to think I could only schedule tweets from my laptop so that I could link posts, but I’ve since discovered that if you add the Buffer extension to Safari, I can schedule post tweets straight from my phone!

Instagram drafts

Although I’m finding them super glitchy at the moment, the drafts feature on Instagram is my favourite update since stories. I spend my work breaks editing all my photos and writing captions, then whenever I need to post I just have to pull it back up and hit publish!

Bulk writing series posts

When I have a new series planned, like my Glass Slipper Camp workout posts or pre-Disney trip outfit posts, I’ll try and sit and write them all in one go and get them scheduled and out of the way. I can only really do this when I know exactly what I’ll be writing/posting, but it works for some series!

Giving yourself a break

Ultimately, the best time saving hack is remembering that if life gets in the way and I don’t have enough time to get a couple of posts out, its okay. Rather than stressing out about stats or a dip in views, you just have to let it go and accept that life comes first, and that its alright to miss a day or even a week if you need to. Letting go is a blessing.

Twitter / Bloglovin / Instagram