The voice of you
I deeply hope, that through these exercises and writings, you've found or discovered the voice that's been inside waiting waiting waiting. I know she's there deep inside each of us, and society & everyday life has a way of telling us to be quiet.
Well - please be quiet no longer!
I want you to remember, again, what would be the worst thing if you put yourself out there in a creative way. If you lost social media followers, newsletter subscribers, perhaps even real life friends..... what would that be telling you? It tells me that these people were not your people; perhaps for some time you walked side by side and thought they were the right people. But I have found that the more we bravely tell our stories, the more we speak our voice clearly - some people aren't ready to hear it.
And I don't want to be shouting my voice to everyone, and to be ignored by many. I'm happier to speak quietly and have just the right people listening, hearing, understanding, & connecting. The right people are waiting for you to share your voice.
Now I am asking you to reach out. To find the platforms that feel best personally for you, to share your work. To test and play and explore. To see what works or doesn't work. To see what makes sense and what feels like too much energy outpouring.
To share your work with the world mean finding a space to share. Start a blog, and share something every week. Think of it as a journal, or a simple portfolio - don't worry too much about it being a professional website. Share your work and the words that feel connected. Share your process if you want. Just share. Share these also to Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. These are great platforms for sharing aspects of your work and finding a community, but your aim is to guide people back to your website / blog.
I know that life can be "full" and regular blogging often falls off the tail end of the list of endless creative outlets. I too have this endless list of things I want to blog about, but never seem to have the right photo or words at the moments when I am sitting at my computer with no child sitting on me.
I am challenging you - and me too - for the next month to share two blog posts each week. Some of you may already be doing this. But for those of us who need a push this is it. Simply share one or two photos and a few words. Start slowly - share what you have, rather than waiting for the perfect photos / words. Build your online world slowly, but put yourself out there. Make a mistake, share something that happened, share what you loved. Make it about your creative work, your creative voice, your arts practice.
When you've written your blog post, share it with your social media audience. Remember to post about it - encourage people to click across and read it. And pin it to the relevant Pinterest board as well.
The other thing I'd like you to do is start a newsletter list. It doesn't matter if you have nothing to sell, and never want to sell anything. Newsletters are a beautiful way to connect with people, and many of my audience love to receive my words and photos in their inbox. You can send something each month and it needed take too long or be too stressful. Share your favourite cake recipe, your most recent blog posts, a reminder to visit Instagram, your creative ponderings and of course your work - share pictures and insights into what you're working on. We're all humans living this life together, and we love to read thoughtful notes about other people's experiences. Many friends and family members may also appreciate having this lovely little look into your life that they don't usually get to see / experience.
Sharing a newsletter is an excellent way to process your creative work, and pressing 'send' takes bravery (in a bigger way than an Insta post or a blog post), because you can't get it back. Once you've sent your words to those people, they're there... spelling mistakes, thought-process, not-perfect photos, wonky words, and heartful moments.
*If any of you need assistance with setting up or indeed writing a newsletter, please let me know. I'm more than happy to put some info together to help you along the way. I use MailChimp - it's free for up to 2000 email addresses, and very very easy to use.
*If you don't yet have a blog, I suggest Blogger to begin with. It's free, and while the templates can be limiting it's a great way to start something and find your feet. I know many people who have used it for years and years, and never worried too much. I still have my old blogger blog available, but currently I'm using Squarespace (which costs a monthly or yearly option). Wordpress.org is another option for free, or Wordpress.com is a paid option where you need your own domain name. I personally found Wordpress a little tedious to work with, but I'm pretty sure half of the internet uses it with no issues.
Your project this week:
- Post to your blog 2 times each week for the next month... and then keep going. Here's my blog, so you can keep me accountable as well!
- Send one newsletter to your mailing list monthly, or fortnightly if you start to enjoy the process
- Add a newsletter signup pop-up to your website / blog (you can find details of how to do that depending on your mailing list provider and your blog page, just do a search).
- Share your blog posts on social media - such as Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest.
- If you currently already sell your artwork, or items made from your artwork tell your audience about it. Remember they are following you on Instagram or Facebook because they love what you create, but if you don't remind them that you actually also sell these creations, most people are too 'busy' or don't think about it... and they never click across to your website to buy unless you specifically tell them to.
- Make sure you message me, or @ tag me in your comments after you've shared to Instagram. So I can also go and read your blog post. @petalplum
If you're currently a little discouraged by Instagram or Facebook, and the lack of engagement due to the algorithm here's a few thoughts.
Instead of looking at the numbers, take notice of the connections, the communications, the community. If your audience isn't 'talking' with you, have a think about why. Are you giving them the most inspiring picture you can? Are you actively asking them to engage / comment? Are you commenting / engaging within your community (outside of your own pictures)? And by that I mean, real conversations... not just "love this" type comments. If you want people to engage with you, you must begin by engaging with them and inspiring them.
But most importantly get off the computer, the device, social media etc and immerse yourself in the depths of living, of conversing with your soul & your creative essence. Because the more you converse with her, I have found, the more she wants to speak out. And then you can't help but let her words talk out in the world.