Wednesday, October 24, 2012

on writing a blog

In those first few months of motherhood, as I navigated my way through the newborn haze, I discovered a community of women who were writing about their parenting experiences online. Five years ago I fumbled around with some rather foreign-to-me blog settings, uploaded a photo and wrote a little bit about Che. My intention was simple - document and celebrate my family life.

Che & Fidel is now a significant part of my writing portfolio, a small publication where I'm at the creative helm. I like to think that it is a place of calm in a rather chaotic online world; somewhere to come while you drink tea. A breather, perhaps.

I've been humbled by emails and comments requesting advice on blog writing. Some of you have asked about writing to engage your audience, others have asked about writing professionally and some of you want to know more about taking photos

To be honest I feel a little inadequate giving advice. Why? Well, I've spent the past five years writing because I love it; honest snippets of my life that serve as a reminder of the good. A gratitude journal, of sorts. I've written about my personal life but I constantly remind myself that some things needn't be shared. Thumper said it best: "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all." It's a personal decision I've made and it's one that I stand by.

Aesthetics are important to me and it was my aim years ago to learn to shoot on manual and create images that complimented my words. Perhaps it's all that time I've spent working in the magazine industry; a photograph often attracts the reader's attention and encourages them to read on, the allure of a beautiful capture. I've spent hours upon hours reading tutorials about html and learning how to customise my blog settings. I'm happy with what I've created - a simple format that is easy to navigate. In a lurid, flashing www world I seek white, quiet space.

Five months ago, after much procrastination, I decided to accept sponsors on my sidebar. It's been a pleasure to work with creatives who share my values. The fact that they recognise and respect my words and photos, my labour of love...well, it's the greatest professional compliment I've ever received.

I do invest time and energy into Che & Fidel and I firmly believe in quality over quantity. If I don't have anything to write about I don't write anything at all. Sometimes I step away for a few days and at other times I have a long list of story ideas that equal a month worth of posts - rarely do I write them all. 

I am more than happy to answer your specific questions in the comments section so please, go ahead and ask. And thank you....for reading and commenting and seeking my opinion. 

on working from home - part one
one working from home - part two

top photo by tim - taken in winter when the water was cold but refreshing


46 COMMENTS

  1. I love your blog...and I love the way you seems to seemly integrate sponsors.
    May I ask if you approached them or if they approached you?
    If you approached them, do you have a media kit?
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom!

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    1. Most of my sponsors approach me...and yes, I do have a media kit and I do share it with those who express interest in my blog. When I first accepted sponsors I contacted all the business I had already connected with through giveaways etc. I cringed upon sending the emails though. Marketing isn't my forte. x

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    2. Thank you!
      I too hate sending emails or promoting myself in any way...it always feels so forced...I keep hoping that someone will contact me and spare me feeling awkward!
      And sorry that first sentence was so bungled...it was of course supposed to say "seamlessly"

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  2. it is mothers and bloggers like you that encourage me to be the mother and blogger i am. thank you.

    i was so honored (and a bit imtimidated -- though that's certainly not your doing!) to have done the sling diaries alongside you and other excellent bloggers. cheers.

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  3. Hi Jodi! I just love reading your blog. You've inspired me to slow way down and really appreciate simpler moments with my two little ones. I work from home too and sometimes I find myself desperate for just a few moments to get something done but my 2.5 year old daughter is always right under my feet. Do you have any simple tasks/ projects I can give her to do instead of turning on the television? Thank you in advance. I'm so glad I stumbled upon your blog earlier this year =)
    Sarah

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    1. oh thank you. I find that the best time to get work done is when Poet is sleeping! If I do work when she is awake I do so first thing in the morning (she's usually happy to play for a good thirty minutes when she's just woken up) and then I take her out for a walk so that when we come home she's content with blocks/books/dolls/pots and pans while I sent emails etc. Bear in mind that Daniel is often here while I work...I rarely 'work' while I'm parenting. x

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  4. You know, I wrote something similar today. Sometimes I sit and remind myself why I'm writing, why I started this blog to begin with. It was a big step for me to decide to accept sponsors and even make a Facebook page, but now I'm happy I did it. It's always a big leap of faith to stay true to yourself and write from the heart, putting personal snippets of yourself out in the internet for the world to see. I want to remind you how constantly inspired I am by your writings, teachings and words of wisdom. I feel so happy to have crossed paths with you -- even oceans apart! Much love.

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  5. You have indeed created a calm and beautiful space Jodi. And I too like to keep it 'nice' (just a personal preference for my own space and not a judgement of others)...I am wondering if you watched Media Watch the other night about mummy bloggers and advertising? I have to admit that I trust and respect your opinion with regards to products you write about here. I have always felt that you are genuine about your sponsors/recommendations - and in a world where we are bombarded with choice, it is a relief to have a little help and advice!...x

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    1. I didn't watch it but I did read the transcript. It was refreshing to see a bit of support for the blogging medium, especially on such a high-profile news forum. And thank you for your kind words, it means the world that you respect my opinion x

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    2. I second this! I trust your advice/judgement recommending a product or allowing a sponsor on the sidebar - in a world of increasing online mayhem, it's nice to have a trusted, beautiful and ethical/moral space to visit :)

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    3. Gosh Becs, what a lovely thing to say. Thank you x

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  6. Hi Jodi,

    I also have a blog where I use photos to illustrate the story.

    I've always had a struggle with sharing pictures
    of my children though and I wish I didn't have to use their photos but they are a main part of my life plus they are so cute! Do you ever feel like that, how do you overcome it?

    Also I think people that don't have blogs have a tendency not to understand this aspect either, do you share your blog with people in your 'everyday life'?

    Thx.

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    1. Oh yes I have my concerns. If you are struggling with posting photos of your children why don't you photograph their hands as they play with toys, their back as they walk down the street, their feet as they crawl on the beach. It's a beautiful illustration; a subtle/private one.

      Yes, I do share my blog with my family/friends. I think they get it because I am a writer. But perhaps some of them don't get it - I'll have to ask! x

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    2. thanks I might try that on days when Im feeling conflicted. I also wanted to ask do you take guest posts on your blog?

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    3. I'm not taking on guest posts at the moment but I will definitely consider it for the future x

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  7. Like you I too started my blog as a way of documenting my new life as a mummy and my personal interests. Slowly over time i have revealed it to family and friends, and since then the post have changed- they are now more focused on my children, and our day to day lives, rather than my own interests. I think I got nervous expressing myself so openly to people I actually knew.
    But I still love my space, I love to be able to share the special little things in my day with others, both those I know in person and the friends I have made online.
    I do get excited when I see you have a new post up, and I don't read it until the kids are both sleeping, just so I can give it my full attention! So thank you Jodi x

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  8. I can't remember when exactly I found your blog, I think it was in 2010. Shortly after I moved out of the city and spent a good amount of time silently searching myself for what I wanted in life. Your blog and dear Aura's were two things that I tuned in to that helped reaffirm my decisions. I left many things behind at that point... a loft, a partner, an interest in a life that moved much too fast. The most rewarding thing I've done is set out on a new path with sight of who I once was driving me forward. Your blog and Aura's both had the words of women with like-minded interests and beliefs, the same ones that had been booming so loudly in my head that I couldn't ignore them. For that, though we don't know one another, I'll always think of you so fondly and as a woman who was constantly ushering me forward and reassuring me that I was making the right choices for myself.

    My best,
    Jo Farmer

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  9. I'm so happy I found your blog through the sling diaries :)

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  10. Thanks, it is lovely to read and your aesthetics are what drew me to your blog! xx

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  11. Jodi, what is your all time favorite blog to read? Just one.

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    1. Over there on the right are the blogs I frequently visit. But just one? It's probably the most obvious answer - soulemama. It was one of the first blogs I discovered and the one I read most regularly. x

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  12. I'd love to do some sort of private online blogging. Creating a space just for me to document our lives and some hand picked guests to read. I am a bit scared of the openness especially with documenting kids lives, the story about "kate did" stopped me from starting something. I know I'd be so upset with negative comments or just nasty people. Being a "positive" blog, do you get much of this?

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    1. just wanted to say, most blogging platforms allow for you to make 'private blogs' which are either password protected; or you allow a set group of readers to read your blog based on their email address (this does mean they have to make accounts on blogger and sign in to read your blog). I do this for a blog about my scientific research which I would not make public for copyright reasons. x

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  13. Okay, I'm popping in again as I've come up with a question that is relevant to me at the moment:

    I've just recently promoting on my blog that I would be accepting sponsors. I too am a big fan of uncluttered, un-flashy, and simple. I eventually want to be able to blog and photograph for a living, and will never be able to do so without generating some form of an income.. Though, undoubtedly it will be quite small! My question is, how lengthy of a process is it to not only find sponsors, but those that coincide with your own personal aesthetic? I feel I'll have trouble finding them at all, let alone ones I would feel comfortable promoting. I'm sure it doesn't happen overnight, but are there any helpful tips/tricks your learned over the years? Thanks again for doing this!

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    1. I've only been accepting sponsors for a few months - so I'm definitely not a seasoned professional. However, my advice would be to simply make note of what products you use in your day to day....if you love those products chances are that others will too. x

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  14. Hi Jodi,

    I love reading your blog - please keep doing what you're doing! Random question...can I ask where you buy the oils you refer to in your Spring cleaning post? I want to start using natural cleaners etc.

    Thanks,

    Katherine

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  15. Hello Jodi,

    I just discovered your blog today and I think I've read nearly every post (which is dreadful because it means that I haven't spent nearly enough time playing with my children!) The way you write and the topics you discuss really resonated within me as I am embarking on a journey of trying to lead a simpler life, clearing out the clutter and getting right back to basics - plus I just adored your beautiful photos.

    I attended your prenatal yoga classes around 4 years ago, and had we not moved to New Zealand, I would have attended with my second son. Throughout the delivery of both my sons I drew upon your teachings (thank you!), and managed to scare the bejeebers out of my husband as I roared like a lion and hummed like a bee!

    Thanks for being such an inspiration,
    Yasmine

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    1. Hi Yasmine,

      Lovely to hear from you! And delighted that you proudly roared in your births ;) x

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  16. What an utterly lovely blog you have, I'm truly delighted to have stumbled across such a place- today's miserable weather is suddenly not all that bad! Chloe x

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  17. love the dress on the photo,and the photos are lovely:)

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  18. Great post, the best blogs are those who write from the heart. that's why I love your blog.

    xx

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  19. I love your blog, your life style inspires me. and here it's really calm!

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  20. I just wanted to take a moment and thank you for answering some of my questions I had emailed you. These days I don't have much time for reading other blogs, but I somehow manage to find time to read yours. It's always nice to meet other moms, especially when you share so many interests.

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  21. Jodi, I'm a recent reader of your blog, and in the past couple of months or so since I discovered you, I've been quite drawn to your photos and the peaceful and calm way you choose your words. Just wanted you to know that I so enjoy your site.

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  22. I'm just so glad you blog! It's been an absolute blessing reading your journey through motherhood : )

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  23. I just love it here - it is my lunchtime breath with a cup of tea and some raisin toast. Your pictures and your words are my daily meditation - so, thank you ... xx

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  24. Your words bring warmth to my heart, Jodi.
    And your photos too...
    Ronnie xo

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  25. Your space is the one I come too when the bubbies are in bed, a fresh cup of tea and the chance for a "breather" as you say. I always feel like I'm having a chat with a friend and fellow Mumma and have taken on board lots of your recommendations from beeswax candles to the juicespresso (absolutely THE best thing we've ever bought!!) and even a divine scout and catalogue scarf (ouch...the budget didn't like that one!). It's so wonderful to hear your blog journey has not only created such a gorgeous space for us but has helped you to grow as well. Thanks always for sharing.
    Steph :) x
    P.S. How is the whole foods course going? I had to print it all out (terrible waste of paper I know) so I could find some time to read through it all. Fascinating stuff...and most certainly life (and kitchen) altering. x

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  26. I love this post. I think you are a wonderful blogger without trying - truthfully because you don't try. You write honestly and you only write when you have something to share, you don't just write for the sake of a post or overshare.
    You got a good thing goin on lady!
    X

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  27. I just wanted to pop in and say a heartfelt thank you on two counts. .

    Firstly, thank you for your practical advice re. blog formats. As a result I didn't get put off by the scary warning and delved into all that code. Some of it's a bit of instinct, a bit of trial and error (for me anyway) but your words helped direct me - so thank you.

    and secondly, thank you for your words on writing and expressing your passion - you have slowly and gently inspired me to take my own dreams seriously and start a blog of my own; centered around the great love of my life at the moment - good food! I cannot find the words to express how grateful I am to you for that.

    xx

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  28. You've created a beautiful space here, Jodi. I often think that it's like swimming in the sea. x

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  29. You do have a lovely, inspired and restful blog Jodi and your experience in writing and still shots is a testament to your ability and creativity. I love your blog as it is soulful and sharing but still maintains boundaries and privacy. I love that despite sponsors your blogs are always heartfelt and not contrived and lack that whole 'sponsored' feel. I would love to see a collaboration of a blog, writing and photography workshop for amateurs like me with the amazing Tim Coulson. Now there's an idea!

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  30. you know I'm a huge fan of your blog. I've put 'learning to shoot manual' on my to do list and think it will make a huge change in the way i view my photos. Yours are stunning. I can't wait.

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