Category Archives: blogging

On Blogging: A Decade Later!

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This December will mark ten years of galadarling.com. A decade! In the blogging world, this is almost unheard of. Most people throw in the towel after a year and a half. And I’ve been blogging for a lot longer than that!

I learned how to code websites in Notepad when I was 13, and ever since, I had been spilling my guts online. Sometimes it was bad poetry, sometimes it took the form of a super-overshare. Designing and coding websites was one of my favourite things to do, and I didn’t realise it at the time, but it was essentially a decade-long apprenticeship in the work I do now. Over that span of time I discovered what would captivate an audience, how to take a selfie (before they were called selfies — we called them self-portraits, y’know!), and where the line was (I crossed it repeatedly).

When I started galadarling.com in 2006, I wanted it to be useful. So my blog was all about the how to: how to throw a picnic, how to dress like Marie Antoinette, how to move to New York City on a wing and a prayer. But as the years tick by, my desire to share this kind of information has fizzled. I look around at other blogs and want to take a big nap. It’s either a sponsored post or something with a click-baitty title that never lives up to its promise.

In fact, I barely read blogs anymore. I am much more interested in Instagram as a way of sharing a snapshot of someone’s life. And that all goes back to the online journalling world — the place where my love affair with the internet began. The blogs I enjoy are personal in nature. Danielle LaPorte writes short and sweet sermons, Alexandra Franzen is the queen of conveying a heartfelt message in a concise manner, Love Taza operates like a digital photo album of Naomi’s family, and Nubby Twiglet is my favourite way to get a peek into Shauna’s life. Those are basically the only blogs I read. Sure, I follow other people in Bloglovin, but I mostly just scroll past. I’m so out of the fashion blogging loop that I didn’t even know that Emily Schuman of Cupcakes & Cashmere had a baby. Her daughter just turned 1!

Shauna and I are in the middle of redesigning my site, and as we brainstormed, I stepped back to look at the bigger picture. The blogging landscape looks totally different than it did a few years ago, and that’s great, but it’s also tricky. This is the crux of the online word: you gotta adapt, you have to keep evolving. For me, that constant sensation of transformation is what keeps things interesting. It’s unbelievably thrilling for me to have made the transition from blogger to author, to be travelling the world and speaking to audiences. And while this blog will always exist, I’m hankering for more changes…

The way that I create has evolved too. I share a lot of what I’m working on or thinking about through Instagram these days, and I love creating videos to share my thoughts. And as I dig deeper into the process of writing my second book (!!!), there are only so many places I can put my creative energy, only so much scattering of thought I can do before I become unfocussed.

It all brings me around to the question: what do I want to write about? How do I want to use this space?

I want to share my personal experiences. I don’t want to reduce my stories and my life to listicles and bulletpoints. I want to write about falling in love, taking chances, dancing along the knife’s edge of taking a risk and the joy of the other side. I want to write about what it means to love yourself in a practical, everyday way, and what challenges I bump up against. I want to share my favourite spells and empower you to bring magic into your own life. I want to show you photos of my neighbourhood, of the cities I travel to. I want to share my life with you. I want you to see things through my eyes.

For years, I was obsessed with being “helpful” — I wanted to take everyone by the hand and show them exactly how to do things. But now I have the confidence to realise that I can be helpful by simply showing up as my whole self.

Writing blog posts and working on your writing craft are not the same thing. After almost 20 years, I believe I’ve got “how to write a blog post” on lock. Now I want to work on my writing. I want to share with you in a deeper, more meaningful manner. I want to be challenged in new ways. And I hope you’ll join me on the journey.

Love always,

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Attend Our Last Class And Get Blogcademy Online For Free!

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This September marks the end of our live Blogcademy classes. Kat, Shauna and I are stuck into producing brand new projects — books, magazines and courses (among others!) — and we want to give them our full attention. Three years, over 1000 students, and a dozen cities later, it’s time to move onto other things. The Blogcademy has been an incredible ride, but you’ve gotta know when to shift your focus. For us, that time has come!

In September, we’re teaching our two final classes: San Francisco on September 12th and 13th, and New York City on September 19th and 20th. If you want to learn how to grow your blog, this is the place to be!

Of course, we’re going out with a bang… Which means we have a very special offer for you. This week, anyone who books into our SF or NY classes will also receive access to The Blogcademy Online, the digital version of our courses, worth $497, for FREE!

Blogcademy Online was filmed last year in London, and it’s the perfect way to refresh your memory of what you learned in class! With access forever, you can watch and re-watch the lessons as much as you like. You’ll also receive a bundle of extra homework, prompts and worksheets to keep you on track!

To qualify for the deal you need to book into either the San Francisco or New York workshop this week, before midnight on Sunday 2nd August. That’s it! We’ll send you access to the course after the live workshop.

You can find out all about the class and what we teach over on our dedicated website, and as always, if you have any questions before you book, just drop us a message and Kat will get right back to you.

Love forever,

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Three Question Thursday: Self-Promotion, How To Be A Better Writer, And Toxic Friends

A while back, I asked you all on Facebook and Instagram whether you had any questions for me to answer in a Q&A. Nothing was off limits: was there anything you wanted to know? Well, of course you did! Scores of questions came through!

In the video below, I tackle three of ’em. Firstly, how can you promote your tarot card business — or any small business — without feeling sleazy? Secondly, what can you do to become a better writer? Thirdly, what can you do about toxic friends — especially once you’ve cut them out of your life?

 

(If you’re viewing this in your email, click here for the video.)

I’ll be answering more of your questions soon!

Love always,

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20 Things To Write About When You’re Totally Stuck

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As much as I believe that creating useful, helpful content is important to keep a blog ticking over — see this post, for example! — I have to agree when people say blogging has become a little, well, dull.

Let me tell you something, young whippersnapper. I’ve been doing this — in some form or another — since 1997. Back in the early days of blogging, we called it online journalling… And it was sweet. It was wild and unrestrained. People told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and it was glorious. It was ill-advised, a bit dangerous, and oh so much fun.

I understand that it’s important to position yourself as an authority online, but let’s be honest: it’s not that enjoyable to be constantly circled by so-called experts on this and that. When it comes to blogging, I want to know you as a person. Let me see your guts! So even if you’re still hung up on wanting to be useful, I encourage you to inject something a little more personal into your content. It will make everything much more rich, dynamic and thrilling, and I promise your readers will appreciate the change of pace.

Here are some prompts, and a few little anecdotes from my own life.

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Shauna and I on the rooftop of my first NY apartment, July 9 2008. This moment was when I knew Shauna and I would know each other for a very long time.

Write about what it was like when you first met your best friend.
What were you each wearing? What city were you in? Was it a chance encounter? What did you talk about? When did you know that this person was going to be very special to you?

Write about the best day of your life.
Did you know it was going to be the best day of your life ahead of time? What happened? Why was it so amazing? What effect did that day have on the rest of your life?

Write about something you regret.
What mistakes have you made that you wish you could take back? Did you get hurt? Did you hurt someone else? How would you do it differently now? What’s the silver lining?

Write a letter to yourself 10 years ago.
Where were you at in life? How did you feel? Were you about to be blindsided by something? Would you warn, encourage, or tell yourself off?

Write about what you loved to wear when you were 15.
What did you wear? Where did it come from? What did it signify to you? Did it help you fit in with a certain group — and distance you from another?

 Write about what comes to mind when you smell a certain fragrance.
How do you feel when you smell the perfume you wore when you were 20, your mother’s hairspray, or your childhood home?

Santorini. It’s jaw-droppingly gorgeous. I had never seen so many shades of blue.

Write about the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen.
Where were you? What did it look like? What colours did you see? Who else was there? What made it so beautiful?

Write about the most difficult choice you made.
Was it a split-second decision or was it premeditated? What made it so difficult? What were the repercussions? How did it all turn out?

Write about the highlights of your adolescence.
Who were your friends? What constituted your idea of fun? What bands did you listen to? What adventures did you go on?

Write about your favourite musician.
Who is it? When did you start listening to them? Why does their music resonate more than anyone else’s? Have you ever met them in person? What was that like?

Write about how you’d like your life to look when you’re 93.
What are your hopes and dreams for the (very distant) future? How would you like to dress? What will your house look like? What will you do with your time?

Write down all the interesting things you see on a walk around your neighbourhood.
Jot down everything: bright pink cherry blossoms, weird dogs in sweaters, weird people in sweaters, abandoned furniture, decaying signs…

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I love The Magician: it is all about fresh beginnings, new hope, renewed purpose. It’s one of my favourite cards to see.

 Write about your favourite tarot card.
Which is your favourite tarot card to pull out of a deck? Why? What does its symbolism mean to you?

 Write about a simple decision that changed the course of your life forever.
What small choices have you made that dramatically altered your existence? Did you know how much of an impact it would have at the time?

 Write totally new lyrics to one of your favourite songs.
Make it silly, make it personal… Just have fun with it!

 Write whatever you would write if you knew no one would ever read it.
If you were the last person left on earth, what would you finally put down in writing?

 Write about something you never expected to see.
What has surprised, delighted or shocked you? What did it look like? How did it change your perspective?

 Write about the sense (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste) you treasure most.
Which sense are you most thankful to have, and why? Why do you favour it over the others? Has your opinion changed over time?

 Write about something you no longer believe.
What’s something you used to fervently believe, but don’t anymore? When did you change your mind?

 Write about something you love.
What do you totally adore? What makes it so special? How does it light you up and how does it make you feel?

I hope this gives you a few ideas to get a little more personal on your blog! Don’t be afraid to share: we want to know the true you!

Kisses,

P.S.

 

 

P.P.S. Want to learn to elevate your blog to the next level? Check out The Blogcademy. We bring the FUN!

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Plug Into Your Weirdness!

Plug Into Your Weirdness!

Stop trying so hard to impress others. Stop looking to everyone else for inspiration. The most fulfilling art you’ll ever create comes from your essential core, and isn’t just a regurgitation of what everyone else is doing.

The only way to do that is step away from all your influences and spend some time alone, focussing on your obsessions. Forget about what gets shared on Facebook and how many likes you get on Instagram. Honestly, who cares about that shit?

The pressure to conform now is greater than ever. Everywhere you look, you see people being “rewarded” (liked, followed, validated) for embracing the conventional, the expected, the predictable cliches. This provides us with overwhelming temptation to fall in line, mimic, imitate. It takes a very special kind of person to do something different, to loudly declare their own individual preferences, to take a left when everyone else is going right. And those are the kinds of people I want to be friends with: people who do it their own way, and damn what conventional wisdom might dictate.

Plug Into Your Weirdness!

In a lot of ways, creating art is more “safe” these days. You can test out a little piece of something — writing, art, a project, an idea — on social media and see what the response is before you commit to it fully. I’ve been thinking lately about my favourite authors of the past — Charles Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson, Roald Dahl — and how different their work might have been if they were alive today. With constant feedback and critique, it’s difficult to keep producing something that doesn’t get dozens of likes, and the flip-side is just as destructive. When you see that something is “working”, the desire to continue churning out the same old dross is irresistible. I can’t help but think that thanks to the internet, a lot of artists who receive a negative — or even lukewarm — response will simply stop creating, or slice the edges off their work until it becomes palatable for mass consumption. When that happens, we all lose.

Plugging into your weirdness in a real way will help you to create a life that feels truly fulfilling for you. Embrace your quirks and follow your impulses. Pour your energy into that thing that the people around you don’t “get”. Do it for YOURSELF. Turn up the volume on what you love and what feels unique to you.

Popularity comes and goes. Having a million Instagram followers and a bereft soul feels like shit.

Strive to make your real life so much more beautiful than your Instagram feed. The most divine experiences don’t make the best Kodak moments. Real vulnerability, artistry, spontaneity and adventure don’t always fit into a perfectly square image. Stop obsessing over how to make everything in your house Instagrammable, and instead devote energy and attention to your real life: the people in it, the projects that excite you, and those blissful moments that feel wonderful for no reason at all.

Love ever,

Images of David Bowie and Jean Shrimpton by Brian Duffy and David Bailey.

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