Posts tagged Inspiration
A Summer List
  1. Reconnect with nature on a micro-adventure in the wild.
  2. Go and see a play or adaptation outdoors.
  3. Make mornings easier: simplify your wardrobe.
  4. Explore and find your new favourite walk.
  5. Make jams and jellies and preserve the summer surplus.
  6. Develop a relaxation routine you love.
  7. Leave a part of your garden to grow wild to encourage wildlife.
  8. Make your own ice lollies with fresh juice to cool you down on hot days.
  9. If you don’t grow-your-own, visit a PYO farm for fresh berries or vegetables.
  10. Celebrate Midsummer with a bonfire and family.
Why Blogging with the Seasons is the Key to Success

I’ll let you into a secret: every month, you could increase your blog readership, guarantee inspiration and enhance your creativity through just one simple change. It’s not difficult to implement, and I’ll make it even easier for you with a helpful reference guide. Sound good?

All you have to do is post relevant, seasonal content.

That’s it!

So why should I be doing this again?

If you’ve ever looked at trending Twitter hashtags, you’ll know that people mostly communicate about up-to-date issues and events, and on social media sites your content is much more likely to be noticed if you follow suit. Let’s use my eat seasonably post series as an example: this set of posts go out monthly and run through everything that is good to eat during those 4 (or so) weeks, and they frequently outperform other content. The best thing about it is that I never intentionally set out to run this as an ongoing series, and the main reason I initially started writing was to remind myself what I should be shopping for. As the posts evolved and improved in terms of content, readers began to let me know how useful they found them, advising that they also use the posts inspiration for their monthly meal plans.

Readership aside, choosing to blog with the seasons is also a way to guarantee a source of inspiration. Let’s imagine you’re reaching the end of May and are running out of ideas on what to post about. You might have an inkling of an idea or a theme in mind but nothing seems to be formulating. The solution? Make it relevant and seasonal.

How does this all link to my blog?

May is the time for tall spindly stems of cow parsley, for fields that glow yellow, for maypoles and floral garlands and for a gradual warming of the earth. So if you’re a lifestyle blogger get out and enjoy the best that the British countryside has to offer at this time of year; take photographs of morning walks, capture outfits in a yellow field rather than in front of a brick wall and take part in seasonal events. If you’re a creative blogger then make something with a seasonal slant (you’ll find more ideas over here) or simply use colours and shapes from nature to guide your design process. If you’re a food blogger then you’ve got it easy! Simply choose recipes with seasonal ingredients, or visit restaurants that serve seasonal and local food.

It can be so easy to forget what’s on our doorsteps once we get embroiled into creating blogging content that must be like this, or should really contain that, but if you alter your focus and instead shift to what you see, smell or hear from the natural word, there will always be something new to discover.

Won’t everyone be posting the same things then?

In short – no! What’s inspiring for one will do nothing for another. What sparks an interest in using colour creatively in one will inspire another to pick out structural features to design something new. You are unique, and therefore your outlook and approach to nature and the world around us will also be. Just don’t be afraid to create something a bit different; those posts you’ve written but squirreled away because you’re afraid to share something that no one else really is, are often the best and most inspiring to your readers.

What other benefits are there to blogging with the seasons?

It’s not only your blog that will profit from your new-found focus; creative acts and your personal life will also flourish. At the beginning of each month I post about how to live seasonally, and throughout the month I will use that post as a guide for what I could (and would love) to be doing. So in May so far I’ve created and delivered a May Day posy, I’ve orchestrated a huge spring clean and I’ve written about seasonal wildflowers and asparagus (as well as eating quite a few stalks too). It’s not about forcing yourself to write or create something you wouldn’t normally; it’s simply a way of guiding your lifestyle and blog to follow a more natural route aligned with seasonal change.

How do I know what to look out for?

If you’ve been reading and have decided that while this all sounds lovely and interesting, you’ve got no idea how to shift your focus and start to blog with the seasons, then panic not, for I’ve created a handy reference guide for you. It covers what to look out for in each season and details any celebrations / events that may also be of interest.

BONUS: Not sure what happens when in the seasonal calendar? You need my month-by-month guide.

If you’re a creative as well as a blogger (and let’s face it, most of us are both!) then you might also like my seasonal creativity eBook – get it over here if you’re looking for even more inspiration.

How to Design Your Daily Creative Ritual

Creatives thrive on routine.

Sounds a bit strange, doesn’t it? Planning something in advance seems to almost negate everything we know about creative surges of inspiration and how they arrive: usually, we perceive, they come from some external stimulus that engages us at random intervals throughout the month, week or day if we’re lucky. While all that might be true, relying on these inspirational surges means you aren’t proactively taking steps to ensure you are finding the time to be creative every day, and as a result time spent on creative acts usually diminishes as you automatically (and understandably) prioritise other areas of your life. But what if you could do both? What if you could find a way to focus on all the must-do tasks and still have time for creativity? That’s where a daily creative ritual comes in.

"To get the creative habit, you need a working environment that's habit-forming. All preferred working states, no matter how eccentric, have one thing in common: when you enter into them, they compel you to get started."

(Twyla Tharp)

What is a ritual?

In the traditional sense, a ritual involves words, signs and actions characteristic of a specific ceremony. It is, then, a celebratory act, and it is this notion of honouring something of importance that you should bring to whatever creative ritual you observe.

Why should it be daily?

Ritual also implies regularity; something that you choose to carry out at set intervals. If contemplating the idea of fitting a daily creative ritual into your life seems overwhelming, then start with only certain days, or maybe even just once a week. There are no hard and fast rules here, though I have found that if you develop a daily ritual it will evolve into a habit much quicker than something more sporadic. Today’s post suggests ideas for what to include in your ritual, when to schedule it into your day and how to turn it into a habit.

What should be included?

This is where the fun begins, because creative rituals are all about you. There isn’t just one ritual that everyone should follow; creativity is, in its essence, a personal act in which character, values, your environment and those residing in it all combine to produce something unique. If you’re anything like me, though, something like the following could work for you.

My Daily Creative Ritual

  • 6am. I like to start early.
  • A cup of rosehip tea sipped slowly outside.
  • Deep breaths to take in the morning air and scents of the seasons. I listen carefully for the sounds all around me and really try to place myself in that moment.
  • Read something inspirational. This could be a blog post, a quotation or an extract from a favourite book. Sometimes I might even listen to something instead, like a podcast for example. It just needs to be something to get my brain in gear.
  • Write something. This could be as simple as a thought in my journal, or a response to a writing prompt. It could be a list of spiralled thoughts, ideas and inspiration for the day ahead. Often it isn’t particularly long, or noteworthy, but it’s a chance for me to get everything down on paper that I can come back to later if necessary.

For some of you, this might seem achievable, and I’m looking at those of you that don’t dread or snooze your morning alarms. Your creative ritual doesn’t have to be this early though. You might find that just before bed works better for you so that you can clear your thoughts to ensure a restful night’s sleep. Or you might feel at your most productive just after lunch and find that this is the easiest time to steal a few minutes for yourself from your day. What I’m trying to say is that it doesn’t matter when your creative ritual occurs, it just matters that it exists.

In terms of specifics to include, I would recommend starting your ritual with a few moments of reflection. This could be a meditation exercise or you could choose to simply focus on your breathing (there are a few tips for this in the bonus resource at the end of the post). If you’re going to get creative then you need to switch off all the external distractions that can normally prevent you from focusing, and for me mindful breathing is the easiest way to achieve this.

Follow this with something inspirational. It’s no coincidence that creatives usually love to read, listen, and take in as much knowledge as they possibly can: it is provocation for our own creative acts. Again, this will work differently for everyone, but finding a blog that always leaves you wanting more, or a book that you keep returning to, is often a good indication of where you’ll find your muse.

It’s at this point (quite far down in our creative ritual!) that you’ll actually get to creating something. You could choose to use this time for bouncing ideas around for new projects, or writing those words you’ve been struggling with. Alternatively, it could provide you with an introduce to a whole chunk of creative time that you’ve set aside but that you know can be difficult to actually get going with. If you’re a crafter or illustrator you could work on a new design, if you’re a writer plan out a new post or chapter of your book, or if you’re a photographer you could edit some images: I find that by following the initial steps of the creative ritual I can achieve pretty much anything I set my mind to, so make sure you use this time wisely.

How long should my ritual be?

It’s also important to remember that your ritual can be as long or as short as you like. I don't have a great deal of time in the mornings, so from start to finish my ritual can be completed in as little as half an hour. Of course, if I find myself with more time I try to elongate the final section of the ritual so that I can create for longer, but I find that if I skip any of the preceding steps then creativity is not forthcoming.

The Lovely List
The Lovely List

Good morning! I hope you've all survived the thunderstorms and are enjoying your weekends. We were hit by a deluge of water last night, so my plans for a bit of photography and some work in the garden have been thwarted by the gloomy drizzle that's currently splashing at my windows. Such is life! I have some time off scheduled soon so I'm focusing on that instead, and getting excited about plans for the rest of the summer; are you doing anything much?

Reading up for this week's lovely list I discovered something else that I really need to add to my big summer list. What's on yours?

Want a healthy breakfast that delivers big on taste too? This is for you.

There has been a whole load of loveliness over at Daydreams of Summertime this week; this post makes me want to visit Croatia again. Right now.

The Lovely List

Last time I went was in 2010 with my sister on our inter-railing trip around Europe. We stopped off in Split for a couple of nights and it was exactly what we needed after having traipsed around northern European cities in the rain (summer came late that year!). The sun was hot, the sea was clearer and brighter than I had ever seen, and we were - for that short time - very happy travellers.

Rhubarb upside down yoghurt cake? Yes please!

If you missed it, this week's most popular post included 5 simple tips to improve your blog writing. Looking for even more advice? Check out 20 more tips here.

Finally, have you ever considered blogger business cards? Frankie shows her new cards to the world here.

What's been gracing your screens this week?

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P.S. Check out last week's lovely list here.