To be honest, life hasn’t been very exciting these past few weeks. Hence the lack of inspiration (and time, currently working on a side project for a friend) leading me to leave this space a bit ‘unloved’. Which is really strange as I was so happy with my content last month. Or was it the month before? I don’t know, time flies, I can’t believe we’ve already started August. Anyway… it happens. So, in order to cure writer’s block, I thought, what better way than telling you all about my process and how I create my content? Fingers crossed I’m back next week!
It’s quite funny to be starting with this topic as I’ve just said that I’m running out of inspiration lately, but yeah, inspiration is the first step to writing a blog post.
And I get it mostly from everyday life, really. That’s why when nothing much happens, it can be tough to find something to share. The best thing that can happen is when all the ideas come naturally to you. At the end of the day you recall the things that you’re glad happened earlier, or before going to bed you think about the things you have to do for a certain occasion and boom! your idea is coming to you and you rush to scribble it down on a notebook or to open the Notes app on your phone.
But I can also sit down and try to think about topics I’d like to raise, recipes I’d like to try out and photograph, allowing me generally to brainstorm a few ideas.
More rarely, inspiration can come from reading other blogs and finding that I want to voice my opinion on a certain subject. But when I find myself looking for inspiration, I generally try to avoid Bloglovin and Instagram as that can have the opposite effect of dragging me into a spiral of comparison and thoughts about not being good enough and not legitimate in this blogging world.
I find that not having an editorial calendar removes a lot of the pressure that can come with the need to get inspiration to write so I just post at my own pace while trying to be a little consistent at posting every Sunday. Of course, if blogging was my career I believe the deal would be much different and the pressure would be necessary.
Photography is undoubtedly where I get the most fun out of all the things to do before hitting publish. I just love taking my camera out or setting up a little area in my flat to feature a product I’ve just bought or a dish I’ve just cooked. I feel like I can be the most creative with food photography whereas I can struggle a bit to photograph books for my ‘recently read’ series. It’s even harder if I’ve read the books on my Kindle as it is just a tech item and there is nothing very fun about photographing it.
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been using a tripod (from Amazon Basics, it’s very light and sturdy at the same time!) when shooting indoors and it’s been life-changing. My camera is getting old and doesn’t do well when raising the ISOs so it’s become a staple.
My camera is a Canon 600D and it’s been by my side for 5 years. I have a few lenses and the first to join my collection was the 18-135 from Canon, a kit lens that comes very handy when shooting landscapes or buildings, thanks to its wide angle. It’s a really good kit lens, I still use it when I’m traveling or shooting in Paris. I also have a 30mm f/1.4 from Sigma that’s incredible in low light and perfect for a strong depth of field. It’s the lens that stays on my camera the most, probably my favorite one. Another lens I use, although less often, is the Canon 50mm f/2.5 macro, that I love to use when I need to get close to my subject, like I do for pastries, flowers, or makeup products.
As I’m looking into going full-frame sooner or later (meaning when I have the money), I took advantage of a good deal at the beginning of July and jumped on the occasion to buy the Canon 24-70 f/4 L, which obviously isn’t the 24-70 f/2.8 LII, but it’s enough for my needs and already very good. I can’t wait to try it out on a full-frame body to get the most out of its capabilities.
I hope I haven’t lost you with all the tech ramble so thanks for sticking with me if you’re still reading!
When it comes to editing, I prefer to use Lightroom as I find it much more convenient than Photoshop to adjust the exposure, contrast etc. There’s also the lens correction feature that is very handy as it detects the lens used when taking the photo and corrects the distortion. I also have all my presets in Lightroom and it’s easier to manage everything thanks to the « collections » so it just makes more sense. I only use Photoshop for design elements and for adding text to a photo. I’m a fan of the VSCO Film presets and try to stay consistent with my editing as much as possible, but I like trying new things from time to time!
The photographs I share on my blog are the center of my work, if I’m not happy with my photos, I just won’t be happy with the post entirely, no matter how good my writing is.
Writing hasn’t been the easiest part for me since starting the blog as A) I’ve never excelled in dissertations and B) English isn’t my mother tongue. But I’m surprising myself more and more and have been finding that my words came out with more fluidity and I’m so happy with that.
To gather my ideas, I rely on Trello a lot. I’ve talked about how it helps me with web development and it’s kind of the same thing with writing. Each card stands for each post, and I’ve got several columns: ideas, drafts, scheduled, published, and move my cards around as needed. I can sort them with a label for each category and add attachments and notes to each card. I mainly jot down some bullet points within Trello and then transfer to a real text editor.
I’ve learned the hard way not to write directly in the WordPress editor as it can be dangerous. So with that in mind, I’ve been using Evernote for the longest time to write my posts.
Over the years, the app changed and some of its useful features became part of the premium advantages and while I have nothing against paying for good service, my blog is still a hobby, I don’t make any money from it and so this isn’t something I envisage for now.
In my quest for another alternative, I’ve come across Bear, a lovely note taking app I’m currently writing these words in. I love its simplicity of use, the minimalist interface, and how easy it is to organize the notes. I can upload how many pictures I want to one note without limitation which was my main concern with Evernote. I haven’t been using it for long, but it’s right up my street.
As you’re never completely done with your article once you’ve reached the end of it, here are the last steps to my process.
Once I copy/paste my words into the WordPress editor, I can make use of the Grammarly add-on in Chrome and start correcting any typo.
I also add my photos, style the headings and add links (the most boring thing in the world) when needed.
Finally, it’s necessary to proofread the whole thing once or twice before going live. I’m used to writing both my content in English and French so I proofread the first time while translating and the second time when I preview the final result.
If I’m feeling very motivated (I can’t be bothered most of the time), I plan my social media messages right away. I use Buffer to schedule them on Twitter over the week but really, I’m so lazy with it most of the time. Thankfully IFTTT does all the work for me by posting to Pinterest and Bloglovin posts to Twitter when the article goes live. And I think that’s it!
Well if it wasn't obvious before, blogging takes a hell lot of time. But seriously, it can be quite cathartic and I'm feeling great after taking care of this post.
On the same topic, if you’re curious about what a day in the life of a lifestyle blogger looks like, I encourage you to read this post Behind The Scenes: A Day In The Life Of A Lifestyle Blogger by Joana from the blog Notes From Joana that she shared this month.