I know many of my readers are fellow bloggers so I thought it would be fun to do a different kind of post today and share with you a bit more about my blogging process and answer some of the questions you have been asking. I started INTO MIND in December 2011 as a wordpress.com blog and since then, things have changed quite a bit, from my theme to the way I write.
I would love to know about your own blogging process as well. How do you develop post ideas, which tools do you use, etc. Tell me in the comments!
Camera: When I first started blogging I used a Sony Nex-3 with a 18-55mm lens but recently I have upgraded to a Canon 600d for a better overall image quality and more options to play around with. I use it either with the 18-55mm kit lens or with a 50mm f/1.8 lens for portraits and close-ups. I am basically a self-taught and learned about photography through trial and error. At the beginning, I didn’t really know anything about cameras, I would just point and shoot with the standard settings. Gradually, I started to experiment with lighting, settings and composition and whenever something didn’t look right, I tweaked the set-up until I was satisfied. Nowadays, I try to get my images as close to what I had in mind through composition alone, and then I do some final touch-ups with photoshop.
Image style: I recently started to add a specific style to most of my images using a fixed set of editing steps: I usually desaturate yellow tones, increase definition, selectively saturate red and green tones and then decrease the contrast. This gives all of my pics a certain, uniform ‘feel’. Quite a few bloggers style their photos in a consistent way, for example the pictures by A Beautiful Mess are always very saturated and rich in contrast, and Love Aesthetics‘ images are generally filled with light, very clear and desaturated. If you are interested in creating a consistent for your blog images, check out The Color Shop and Totally Rad! for their range of ready-made photoshop actions.
Editing: Although I definitely use photoshop the most, there is another photo-editing app that I love and want to mention: Sketch, a design app with a beautiful interface that is especially great for creating collages or custom graphics. I find it much quicker and easier to use than photoshop. Once my images are done, I store them all on iPhoto, but as my collection is growing I will definitely need a better filing system and will probably upgrade to Aperture.
Finding inspiration: I use Evernote to collect spontaneous post ideas and every two weeks or so I pick the best from that list to plan my post schedule. Only about 20% of the ideas get implemented and sometimes I will start writing with a specific structure in mind and then the post develops into something completely different. I used to just write about any topic I liked but in December of last year I decided to ‘tighten’ my concept and focus on personal style and wardrobe building, with the odd random post about other things.
Staying inspired: I find the best technique to stay inspired and come up with enough ideas is to not restrict myself during the creative part, i.e. don’t think about whether I have time to do this post, or the tools, equipment, etc. When I need new ideas I ask myself “What posts would you ideally be writing in the next month?”, and then only later I decide whether I will actually do them.
Staying organised: I prefer to plan things way ahead of time and schedule posts if I can. To keep track of everything I use Things, a GTD-based task management system that I have on my macbook and iPhone. Things is by far the best organization system I have ever used, I just dump my entire brain in there and it will make sure I get every little thing done in time.
Writing process: For longer text-based posts I like to allow my mind some incubation time to refine my thoughts, which means that I almost never write a post all in one go. My writing happens in three stages: First, I create a general bullet-point structure. Then, I freewrite: I write as fast as I can and get all of my thoughts on paper without worrying about sentence structure or punctuation. In a third stage, I do all of the editing and make sure my text is coherent. For smaller texts accompanying photo-based posts I usually skip the freewriting stage, but for longer, thought-heavy posts this technique is the best for preventing writer’s block.
After changing my theme several times during the last year, I eventually settled on ‘Gridspace’ by Graph Paper Press, which comes pretty close to my ideal blog theme. I edited my theme using CSS, which allows you to adjust the way all of the elements are displayed on your website, i.e. the fonts, colours, shapes, etc. Editing a theme using CSS requires you to learn a bit of coding which seemed a bit scary at first. The way I started getting into it was to just type whatever I wanted to do (‘Add border around widget’) into google and see what came up. Nowadays, when I want to quickly adjust something like a margin on my blog, I use the Developer’s tool on Safari or Chrome to inspect the element I want to change, which shows me the current CSS for the element that I can then alter. My goal for the summer is to get really good at CSS and HTML, or at least so good that I can tweak my theme enough to match my ideal layout dreams. I am currently devouring Pugly Pixel‘s resources and I also like the W3Schools website and the 1stWebDesigner blog.
Do you know any good websites with tutorials for beginner’s – intermediate CSS/HTML?