nordstrom cece mixed media embroidered detail blouse
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I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! The weather here in SWVA was very “meh” so Justin and I did what we do best, and hung around the house. We did venture out to the gym but that was about it! At home, I cleaned out and up, filmed several try-on session for Instagram, and sorted through my schedule for the weeks to come. Things are calm for now, but come March, it’s going to be busy busy, and then, before you know it, Summer will be here. I cannot wait for warmer weather. 

For today’s post, I wanted to share another installment of Blogging 101.

nordstrom cece mixed media embroidered detail blouse
nordstrom cece mixed media embroidered detail blouse
nordstrom cece mixed media embroidered detail blouse

nordstrom cece mixed media embroidered detail blouse

marc fisher daire heeled western boot
nordstrom cece mixed media embroidered detail blouse
nordstrom cece mixed media embroidered detail blouse

nordstrom cece mixed media embroidered detail blouse

marc fisher daire heeled western boot
WOOL HAT: Brixton (small) | WHITE TOP: Cece c/o (xxs) BLACK SKINNY JEANS: Shopbop (tts – 24) GREY BOOTS: Marc Fisher c/o ON SALE 30% OFF! (tts) | CLUTCH: Gigi New York c/o (sold out, found the solid version ON SALE!) | LIPSTICK & LINER: MAC Saint Germain + Good Timing | JEWELRY: All linked under SHOP THE POST

PHOTOGRAPHY: Cricket Maiden

HOW DO YOU STAY CONSISTENTLY INSPIRED TO CREATE CONTENT ASIDE FROM BUYING MORE STUFF TO SHARE? I would say that it’s rare for purchasing items to be the inspiration behind blog posts and social content, although it does happen. Usually, you have an idea of what you want to talk about with your audience ahead of time. For example, in the winter, “warm coats under $100″… or in the summer, “affordable bikinis”. Those ideas or reader requests will shape the direction you take your content. Which is not to say I don’t find tops and shoes I love and then create blog posts or IG photos around them. But that’s not where the “meat” or the “heart” of your endeavors will come from. 

I would say confidently that inspiration is not constant, at least for me.

To me, blogging is a roller coaster of ups and downs. High highs and low lows for your motivation, inspiration, and sometimes even your self-confidence (which I will talk about below). When those days come it’s really important to give yourself time and grace. A lot of times it’s in the moments of confusion or un-inspiration that we find new ideas. One of my favorite place for inspiration is Pinterest. It’s fun to look at and usually a mood booster, if anything else. It’s a great place to find new ideas for outfits, or recipes, or home decor. I love taking time at least once a day to browse pins.

I also find that creating a plan or a content schedule helps. Staying organized and thought out is a useful way to keep your mind from becoming cluttered. When you think of ideas or have a follower request via dm, write it down or screenshot it in a safe place you’ll remember. Staying on track and creating monthly content calendars does a world of difference, so I recommend starting that right away.
HOW DO YOU GROW ASIDE FROM “POSTING WHAT YOU LOVE”? I have a pretty good feeling this question came from a follower who has been told or heard many times from bloggers that the best way to up your engagement and grow on IG is to “post what you love.” And really, they aren’t wrong… but I understand the frustration behind that answer. Because “duh” aren’t you already doing that? So let me delve a little bit deeper.

Posting what you love isn’t just posting your favorite tee. It’s about staying uninhibited, free from the constraint of what everyone else is doing, being truly creative. And for most of us, that is very hard! It’s pretty easy to spot who is “posting what they love” and those who are trying to “fit in” to the crowd. Being YOU is something to celebrate on social media and it will quickly set you apart. 

I wrote a post last year about how I grew my audience on social media that you can read HERE.

At the end of the day, I don’t think finding inspiration through other bloggers or influencers is the answer and I think that’s where so many of us go wrong. And that’s how we all start to talk the same, and look the same and be the same. I actually try my hardest to stay away from IG browsing when I’m feeling uninspired or “low.” I usually turn to television, magazines, Pinterest (again, my fav), or another helpful outlet, readers and followers. If you’re not sure what to post, ask your audience!

HOW DO YOU KEEP FROM RUNNING OUT OF IDEAS FOR OUTFITS AND POSTS? There are plenty of days I don’t know what to post. And usually when that happens I seek inspiration from the outlets I mentioned above or I simply stop and take the time to mull it over. I think one of the worst things you can do is “just post to post.” Meaning you threw something together and put it up on your blog or your Instagram feed. In the end, if you don’t post QUALITY content you’ll end up being unhappy with it. Take the time to think things through because quantity isn’t the answer.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT FILTERS? TIPS FOR NEWBIES? True talk. I don’t really love when people direct message me and ask what filters I’m using. It’s by no means a secret, but I think it’s something very personalized to your own feed and brand.

Blogging and “influencing” are all about being creative and being unique. Yes, I do use filters and I’ve tried quite a few to find ones I like and that work for me. BUT I’ve navigated for the most part solo perusing IG for preset handles or for bloggers who develop their own. There are HUNDREDS of presets out there to choose from and very few are going to be a good fit. And even then, no preset is perfect. Even after I download a preset I go into Lightroom and VSCO, and Facetune2 to edit down the saturation, and add in shadows, etc. etc. etc.

My biggest recommendation is to figure out what aesthetic you’re going for and go from there. Is it light and airy, moody and dark, bright and colorful, predominantly pink? And that comes with time, maybe years of posting pictures and figuring out what you like and what you hate. It’s an expression of your own personality vibe. Which is why I think it’s crucial to navigate filtering on your own. 
DO YOU EVER FEEL INSECURE? Of course! Last year I wrote a post all about insecurity and blogging and how I keep myself from comparing (read it HERE). Obviously, it’s natural that we do it, and in the blogging industry, it’s even more prevalent. We are always watching each other… proposals, weddings, new cars, new houses, babies, designer handbags, fun opportunities… and the list goes on. I’ve found though, that I’m happiest staying in my own little world in my own lane!
HOW DO YOU PLAN CONTENT? DO YOU GET READY EVERY DAY? So, I’ll answer the second half first, no haha. I truly wish I got ready every day because I think I would be more motivated, but I don’t. There are many days I stay in my pajamas from morning to night or have the same sweatshirt on for three days because I’m planning content, or working on accounting for my business (i.e. the blog), or writing copy for posts, or trying to answer emails. 

Planning ahead will actually enable you to have days where you don’t have to get ready. Which can actually be nice when you’re doing full hair and makeup for photo shoots, try-ons, talking on stories, etc. Because you may not be getting ready every day, but you’ll have to get MORE ready when you do, if that makes sense.

I have to tell on myself here. For someone who considers themselves a planner and a perfectionist, I’ve never been amazing at planning content. I usually try and think things out at the beginning of the month but, as you will find if you start blogging, things change, and they change often. Everything I do is deadline-based and those constantly change, move, and get longer as the month goes on. Certain times of the year are definitely much more crucial, like the Nordstrom Sale and Christmas time. 

Planning content can be done in many different ways and you have to find what works for you. Excel sheets, traditional paper & pen, using only your planner, putting it into your phone, in a Google doc, etc. I’m a very traditional paper and pen person so I usually have a running list of ideas, deadlines, and content plans in my notebook at my desk. In addition to a daily to-do list.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU HAVE A CREATIVE BLOCK? I know this sounds repetitive, but I turn to Pinterest. There are loads of inspiration to be found… color schemes, photoshoot decor, outfit ideas, new styles to try, what’s trending, etc. Also, this sounds simple, but sometimes if I’m feeling uninspired or just “over it,” I take a break. Sometimes you need a day or maybe just an hour to recharge. Since blogging and social media never stop, you can find yourself tired and run down if you don’t plan accordingly and give yourself permission to take a break once in a while. 

Other posts I’ve written on blogging:
Have a fabulous Monday!

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XO Amanda