Back in June this year, I went to the amazing blogging conference that is 'Blogtacular' and am still processing everything that I learnt there. I feel a bit guilty I haven't posted a single blog since then but I have my reasons. Which I will explain another time.
Going to Blogtacular was so affirming for me in more ways than one. Not only that I felt so at home with fellow creatives and makers that just 'got' me. But also what I'd been seeing and feeling in terms of where the world is heading.
I've always been quite an intuitive person, able to sense atmospheres/vibes, read body language etc. But I am also a deep thinker, reflective and tend to analyse a lot. With my faith in God, through the power of Holy Spirit, I believe He gives me visions and revelations during my deep thinking/analysing.
Some of my reflections are based on technology, our fast moving world, the distractions we face and so on. I get a sense of how the world we live in will become so fast paced, we will have to have multi chanelled attention. That there will constantly be more than one thing going on at once and it will be a case of tuning in to what's important and tune out the rest. Not to mention finding peace amongst the chaos!
In at least two of the workshops I attended, the question was asked: 'where do you see this going in the next 5 years?' And a key theme of this was the reference that us bloggers work in the world of technology and for that we need to be prepared for change.
Enid Hwang, community manager at Pinterest was another to state that, in our industry, we need a strategy for dealing with change. I was so inspired by her closing speech. Even though it was the end of the day and my brain was pretty frazzled by this point!
She took a look back at how the future of technology was viewed in the 90's. As you can see from photo with the quote from 1995. Her perspective of looking back in order to look forward really got my brain ticking. And I so love a bit of nostalgia! Especially as I pretty much grew up in this decade! So could relate to it all. I remember being scared when ipads first came out. It was a bit too much science fiction becoming fact. Who remembers the 'comm pads' in Star Trek? That was the connection I made and it felt weird!
Enid went on to say that there will always be haters. That people didn't understand Pinterest at first or get what it was for. I remember I'd just started a wedding planning business around 2012/2013 and Pinterest was amazing for this. There wasn't any other platform at the time you could create an online mood board. Now things have changed again and I need to re-learn Pinterest!
On the photo walk I attended I was talking to Natasha, blogger at Graphique Fantastique and she is of the generation that I would call 'millennial'. We had such a lovely convo about how I really struggle to relate to how fast her generation can process things. I remember saying 'the world is just going to get faster'. 'It is!' She replied. 'So how do I keep up?' And I was told to just go at my own pace. Because, that's all we can do.
We were aware of being photographed by the professional photographer from Mollie Makes, Will Ireland, in this photo. (Mine above and Will's below). So we were desperately trying not to grin too hard and look cool! Hence why we're looking a bit cheesy as we were quietly giggling behind our smiles! Natasha is on the right and Adele of Nest and Dressed is in the middle next to me. Links to their pages will be at the end of this blog.
It always comes back to balance. Which Lisa Congdon covered in spades in her opening keynote. There was such a heart of God on her words. This stuff is a bit easier for me as my faith in God gives me wisdom and gives me that security to be open, honest and vulnerable with people. I loved Lisa's life story and her views on what makes a good life. They were very true to my Christian values such as honouring relationships and I think it's safe to say that everyone got such a boost from her words of encouragement.
Although the internet and living our lives attached to our smart phones can be detrimental. Such as constant distraction, keeping us wired, living in a world of instant gratification, we are time poor. The stress that can put on us when everyone wants it yesterday. This is the part we need to work on in terms of down time, relationships, switching off, prioritising, choosing our battles and so on.
Above: One of the slides from Lisa Congdon's speech.
But all this technology is also pretty exciting too! As already mentioned, I grew up in the 90s when the internet was just starting. I joined Facebook in 2007 when it was pretty new. Back then it was quite different to what it is now. Growing up without the internet meant that if you weren't naturally creative then you never could be. It was a mis conception and something I still hear to this day that to be creative, you have to be artistic! And if you didn't have a vivid imagination then creativity just wasn't for you.
I had another heart felt conversation with Jennifer of Jennifer Grace Creates, Emma of Make and Fable and Adele of Nest and Dressed.
bHere we are playing around with the photo booth backdrop and props!
We were talking about creativity vs artistry and the frustration in people not understanding the difference. I'd said I hated art at school, couldn't draw, didn't understand toning, perspective etc. And Jennifer said how she was told at school she couldn't draw. But this was because her style is more illustration/cartoon like. These days, fine art is out and illustration is in. Lisa Congdon being a fine example. Below is a photo of one of the slides from her speech, showing her illustrations.
Jennifer said she'd had to live with battling against this seed of a lie all her life. And only now having found the confidence in her style. Instead of a business card, she made a very professional looking booklet that included a little comic strip. If you are a craft blogger, you'll be able to identify with the scenario! See the photo below.
In my opinion, I've always maintained that not everyone can do fine art but everyone can doodle. And the more you do something, the more you refine it. Again, it's about finding and being comfortable with your style.
So, now, with all the visual inspiration that is out there, how can you not give creativity a go?! We are all bouncing off each other and one spark creates another, to another and so on.
And this thing of being constantly connected, busy, distractions, demands on our time. It's no wonder there's been a huge trend in adult colouring. And that craft has also made a resurgence. We are craving therapy with the arts. Whether that is colouring, baking, drawing, writing, painting or even a bit of gardening.
As a Christian it is nothing new to me that everyone can be creative. That there are different ways other than traditional arts to be creative. As mentioned already, doodling is one, writing is another. Problem solving even! The amount of people that must do this in their jobs every day without even thinking about it! With Instagram, Pinterest, the rise of the bloggers and all the other social media out there, it is now becoming more common to explore our creativity. And that really excites me too! I believe that God is the ultimate Creator. He made us all in His image, so He created us to be creative! And I just cannot contain my excitement over, how, now, this is really coming to pass!
We are exploring our creativity in all sorts of ways, whether that is rainbow hair, (see below an example of my own blue and pink hair!) polish mountains (100 coats of nail varnish!), selling our hand made wares, art journalling, bible journalling, doodling/illustrating, blogging, writing or simply doing some adult colouring. There is no weird anymore as we all explore our individuality and uniqueness. And that is something to celebrate!
The Future of Creativity - Top Tips
1. Always write down your ideas and have fun developing them. If the world is going to get faster and we will have more and more distractions/demands on our time then this one is so important. As Kirsty said during her developing content workshop 'have an ideas meeting with yourself' and look bonkers! Develop until the full draft is bursting out of your head. Go for a run with your ideas, ponder while you're washing up, having a shower etc. Use your time to drift off when you can. But also, schedule in that meeting to write it all down. Make a conscious effort to work on each idea and move it forward.
2. As Enid said, have a strategy for change. Working in the world of the internet means it is constantly evolving so think about how you will adapt to that.
3. Another from Enid, 'our time and energy are our most precious resources'. If something works but it's really draining you, re-think it! Another key theme that echoed throughout the day was do/write what you are passionate about. So if anything is stealing your passion, have a think about whether you really need it to succeed. Choose your battles. As bloggers and makers we can't get away from the business side. So that's something that needs working on if it doesn't come naturally. You just need to weigh it all up and find the balance that works for you.
4. A piece of advice from Lisa Congdon that has definitely been repeated already by my fellow bloggers. Because it is so helpful. If your heart does not give a resounding 'yes!', when weighing up taking on something new, then it's a no! Unless you are truly excited about it, don't do it! This ties in nicely with Enid's advice above about your time and energy.
5. Another good gem from Lisa, keep some things for you! Create and explore something that you know you won't be sharing on social media. Sometimes, as bloggers, we can get so caught up in 'ooh, that'll be good for Instagram' or you come up with a craft idea that you spend more time staging and photographing than actually just enjoying the process of making it! It is so important to have that downtime just for us. The chance to explore and play with no expectation of where it'll end up. No pressure of making it just perfect. Below is a photo of a some doodling/drawing I did during a Church meeting. We were listening to worship music and I chose to engage in my faith by drawing what was on my heart. It was never meant for showing as was something for me in the moment.
6. If the future of blogging will be a lot more sponsored content then if you go down this road you need to think about this in terms of value. Think about what you are about, what your ethos is, what is it about you that adds value to your readers or customers? For example, if you run a Mummy blog and do a sponsored post about a pram/travel system then that will be something in line with your readership. And the key here is also, always be open and honest about what are or aren't sponsored posts. And be honest in your reviews too. As Ella Williamson said in the content is king workshop, go back to the company and say if you didn't like their product. If they won't allow you to write your review unless you're 100% biased towards them then walk away. It's a question of trust. If you've built up your community, they will trust your view. So make sure if you're giving a sparkling review as a sponsored post that you truly feel that happy with the product. It all comes down to integrity.
7. As Laura Jane Williams said in her writing workshop 'write as if nobody cares'. I think I was doing this anyway but have found a little writer's block with being part of the Blogtacular Facebook group. Before the conference I was pretty sure that not many people actually read my blog (I don't yet have that elusive tribe that seems to be such a buzz word these days) so it made it easier to write for me. I started my blog as a creative outlet when my son was born. And although I've wanted it to be more, it's since stayed as a hobby blog. So being part of the Facebook group, we can share our blogs there so the Blogtacular team can gather them up for a Pinterest board. I've had to get over my panic that actually people will be reading it now! And not just any old average Joe, respected fellow bloggers of my community! Expectation! So I've found myself having to re-learn this! Just as you should create just for you, in terms of making, the writing should be no different. Again, do what you are passionate about. Passion is enticing, inspiring and motivating. Find that fire in your belly and write/make the crap out of it!
So there you have it, took a good few months to get that out and rather an epic but I hope you found it helpful. Please do leave a comment on your thoughts, it's great to hear from you.
Links and credits
Photos from Mollie Makes, Will Ireland include: Enid Hwang; Lisa Congdon; Ella Williamson and Andrew Trotman; Laura Jane Williams; The Blogtacular logo on my header photo; The second photo of Natasha, Adele and myself on the photo walk (holding yellow gerberas).
All other photos are my own but of course the comic strip was drawn by Jennifer Grace Creates. And the slides from Lisa Congdon's speech are of course her work.
Bloggers to check out:
Adele from www.nestanddressed.co.uk
Jennifer from jennifergracecreates.com
Natasha from graphiquefantastique.com
Emma from makeandfable.com
And lastly, for a bit of fun, in reference to 100 coats of nail varnish, check out this hilarious vlog where Jenna Marbles has a go at doing all 100 coats at the same time! And I'm talking 50 pairs of false eyelashes, 100 coats of fake tan, foundation, lip gloss, nail varnish and hair spray. I've been showing this to everyone, I love it!
I'm Julia, Just Creative Julia, jolly pleased to meet you!
Welcome to my creative lifestyle blog, established 2014. My main sections are: creativity including crafting, poetry and interior design; well being including mental health, recipes and my faith in God; personal including parenting and my general introvert deep thoughts. You can also have a browse in my mug shop and Etsy shop.