Category: Life online
2011 has been a year of two obsessions: my nephew, Noah, and my book. Not a single day went by when I wasn’t thinking about one, if not both, of them. My relationship with both grew throughout the year, and both are now bigger, braver and bolder than they were just 12 months ago. There are a lot of similarities between being an auntie and an author — both roles stretch your heart wide open and help you see you are capable of so much more than you ever realised. Both require you to be skilled in nurturing and patience. Both ask you to play your best game, even when you’re tired or hormonal (or both).
I’m sitting here trying to remember what else went on in 2011…
… I started the year in full-on book writing mode, so shared some guest posts here from friends, including Fabeku, Jo and Megg
… there were lots of firsts for Noah: his first shoes :: his first birthday :: first time on a swing! :: first steps :: first time painting together :: first words :: first cuddle
… Marisa and I launched our Aquarian twins podcast
… Jen, Amanda and I completed our Polaroid book and our Pretty Polaroid Notecards arrived
… I wrote a whole honest-to-goodness book all on my own :) I wrote it, edited it, edited it some more, proof read it, prepared the Polaroids for it, consulted in the design of it, shared the cover of it, felt really effing nervous about it.
… I saw my name on Amazon for the first time!
… in January I’ll be celebrating three years of the Unravelling e-course, something I never thought could be possible
… I attended the Wedding of the Year
… we all took a second August Break and it was awesome
… I wrote about wisdom for Amy, intuition for Louise, recorded an a-ha moment for Jenn and talked transcendent sales with Fabeku, Chris and Alexandra
… I didn’t make it San Francisco :(
… so instead I launched a brand new course!
… this month I celebrate THREE years as an ex-smoker
… and I shared my Photography Manifesto
Favourite moment of the year: it’s a tie, between Noah giving me a cuddle and the magical spontaneous disco on Christmas Eve, when Noah got his mummy, daddy, auntie, nana and granddad all dancing around him — he’d pulled each of us by hand to the living room then stood in the middle and shook his tiny toddler booty to the music. The laughter and elation swirling around that room was the happiest I have ever seen my family.
Favourite sound: hands down, it’s the way Noah says my name: “Shoo-she”
Favourite taste sensation: all meals shared with family and friends at Jamie’s this year
Favourite email: the one my mum sent me telling me she’d just pre-ordered my book on Amazon and was so proud of me. I kept that one :)
Favourite phone call: it’s a tie between calling Jo in tears of laughter and calling Sas in tears of empathy
Favourite TV show: True Blood
Favourite tipple: champagne quoffed at Sas’s wedding
Proudest moment: helping my sister at her very first craft fair — and watching her sell loads!
Favourite blog readers: all of YOU! Thank you so much for visiting me here this year, and for all your love and support. It means so much to me — thank you xxxx
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Other years in review: 2010 :: 2009
I blame it on the time of year. The horse chestnut tree outside my window, the one that accompanies me throughout the year like a calender, is practically bare, the russet leaves mulched down on the pavement. I’ve been hoovering and dusting and taking books and clothes to the local charity shops, making space in my home for… I don’t know what yet. I think I just need the space. More room to breathe.
And I’ve been doing the same in my Google Reader — clearing out a few blogs to make space for new discoveries. Finding new inspirations on Flickr. Paring back my Twitter lists to open the way for new words.
And this autumnal cleaning has got me thinking about this blog. I don’t have the time to make any big changes in the design, but that’s not what’s needed. This morning I realised I simply wanted to check in with you guys and make sure you still enjoying coming here :) Because I’m in that in-between space of half writing for you and half writing for me. Private thoughts are kept in my journals, but my blog is where I get to share the stuff that’s in my head with readers — and in my five + years of blogging, this really has been the greatest gift of all. To be able to get a witness. To be able to share thoughts and theories. To be able to feel part of a tribe. Never for a moment do I take this (or you!) for granted — blogging is my happy place, even when I get the occasional rude comment.
I’m not big with the blog content planning — it never works when I do that. My blogging style is more talk-about-what’s-on-my-mind-today. So I wanted to ask you:
1. Why do you come here?
2. Are there any topics you’d like me to muse more on? More about blogging, perhaps. Or writing. Or healing. Or photography?
3. Are you digging my one-and-only blog feature, the Friday link posts? And the occasional interviews?
Looking forward to reading your feedback — thank you, loves! xo
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In other news, Photo Meditations sold out on Saturday (in four hours!) and because I was getting so many emails i have opened a waiting list — so email me if you’d like to join it x
On Monday I changed my Twitter name to @SusannahConway. This might not sound like a big deal but, strangely, it felt like one. But it’s less about this happening on Twitter and more about me stepping into my name. I’ve been easing into this since I started blogging under my own domain last year. That felt huge. When I first started blogging in 2006 I only ever used my first name and was always worried that “someone” would find my blog. I couldn’t tell you who that someone actually was — it certainly wasn’t a real person — but for some reason i wanted to retain a smidge of anonymity in my online dealings.
Obviously that didn’t last long :)
I bought my own domain name back in 2005 — a friend had suggested I make a website to showcase my journalism and it’s thanks to her foresight that I snapped up susannahconway.com when I did. I was still swimming in grief back then, but putting together that site was my first step on the internet highway and gave me something to focus on when my days were aimless, tearstained and, more worryingly, unemployed. A few months later I stumbled upon my first blog and the rest, as they say, is history.
So now here I am, more visible on the internets than i ever thought possible.
When I first joined Twitter it was just for fun– i had no idea that i would ever actually a) understand why anyone would bother with the site and b) come to enjoy it myself. @photobird was my user name and an alter ego of sorts. I tweeted as myself, of course, but i quite liked having a nickname i could use in different ways.
When I’d finished writing the book I figured it was time to tweet under my own name, being an author and all… but the name was taken. The account wasn’t being used, and I could tell the ‘other’ Susannah had it — the one who lives elsewhere in the UK and is also a photographer (what are the odds?). It took me a while to build up the ovaries to contact her. But I am so glad I did because she was LOVELY and was happy to let me take over our name (thank you, hon!)
So now I’m out on Twitter. And it feels good.
Do you guys feel comfortable using your name on the internet?
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Tomorrow I’m going to show you something else that bears my name… the cover of my book!
When I first offered Unravelling online in January 2009 I had no idea that I was also creating a creative business that would still be supporting me to this day. I’d only been in Bath a few months, and even though the move had been the right thing to do, I had no proper income, a stalled photography business that I’d just set free (read: closed the doors when I realised I wasn’t cut out for it, personality-wise) and a growing panic that I wouldn’t be able to support myself.
After my love died in 2005 I’d been unable to work and had had to live off credit cards; by the time I felt ready to write again, most of my journalism contacts were out of date. Those years were fraught, as I searched for ways to support myself with the skills I had; there were many job interviews that I was either over- or under-qualified for. I didn’t blog about most of this at the time because, frankly, i was embarrassed. I was (and still am) a single woman in my thirties, and to be in such a mess felt shameful; writing about grief and my emotions was so much easier than sharing about how I couldn’t pay my electricity bill.
I’ve no doubt mentioned how blogging saved me many times here over the years, but it’s so true; I found community, i found my voice again and i refound my camera. My years as a journalist were good to me, but there was always something missing; blogging not only gave me a way to combine my words and images together, but i found a reason to dig deeper with my words; I didn’t want to write about fashion and “lifestyle” anymore — I wanted to write about what really mattered to me, and as it turned out, my life was about to unravel and help me find out what that was.
Bereavement brought many gifts into my life; that that would even be possible still blows my mind. There was a lot of healing that needed to be done, and by leaving first my love gifted me with the chance to heal and remake my world — and to truly find my place in it (even writing that still makes me teary). I often have moments when i sit on my sofa wondering how it managed to come together so marvellously, because none of this was planned — far from it, in fact. What would have happened if i hadn’t found that first blog and fallen down the rabbit hole? Or I hadn’t taught that first evening class in Bristol? Or Jo hadn’t suggested I share the course online because she couldn’t make it to class on Tuesday nights? (thank you, Jo x)
E-courses and online biz is all the rage these days, but when I started I didn’t know what i was doing and had to figure it out as i went along. Over time I discovered more and more biz and marketing blogs, online gurus and mavens who sold their wisdom in courses and books. Some of the information was useful and seemed quite intuitive…
But not all of it felt right to me.
The reason I’m sharing all this today is to tell you about a live call* I’m taking part in on Monday June 6th with some really excellent people — Fabeku Fatunmise, Alexandra Franzen, Chris Zydel, and Lisa Baldwin. It’s called Transcendent Sales and we’ll be chewing the fat about how to promote your stuff online without the ick. (and we’re not selling anything — it’s just a conversation we wanted to have and put out there. You can join us on the call or download the recording if it’s of interest to you :)
Because my biggest learning curve has been figuring out how to let people know what i’m doing in a way that feels right to me. When I wised up to the fact that YES I have a business and it’s okay to help it grow, I started paying attention to what the “experts” were suggesting I do (cue lots of panic and comparing myself and feeling inadequate). Anything to do with marketing and promotion always looked so sleazy and yuck to me, so I’ve learned to just take the bits that make sense to me, discard the rest and trust that by sharing my knickers online, aka being honest and authentic and as real as i can be, the people that I can most help, and who’ll truly dig what I’m doing, will find me.
So that’s what I’ll be chatting about in Monday’s call — i hope you can join us!
* I’ve never done a live call before, so it should be interesting ;)