Blogging from the heart

Yesterday was my five-year blogiversary — five years of writing about my stuff and communing with an amazing community of people from around the world. I didn’t know what I was entering into when i wrote that first post on my fledgling Blogger blog. It was Denise who convinced me to start — our friendship had blossomed after I’d left a comment on her blog and she wrote me back, international penpals who became real friends in the truest sense. I still have the email she sent me on March 23rd 2006 that opened with the fateful line: “Oh Susannah… I really think you should start a blog!”

After a couple of weeks of umming and ahhing, i finally decided on a name — Ink on my fingers — and wrote my first post on April 12th 2006; when i switched from Blogger to Typepad a year later, I lost all the comments from those first months, which is such a shame as I’d love to read them again. This blog gave me space to remember. It gave me a reason to pick up my camera again. It rekindled my love of poetry. It brought me friendships and support. And now here I am, blogging under my own name, running a creative biz online and penning books — and all of this came from being brave and posting some words on the internet for all to see. CRAZY!

Thank you for being here and reading my witterings — thank you for the comments you leave and the good vibes you send me, i really do feel them, sitting here in in my attic flat in Bath. When I was still deep in my bereavement, this was the place where I knew I could find some sanctuary. Whether you’ve been with me since the beginning, or have only recently found me (hello!) you guys helped me change my life, from grief and loss to light and hope. From the bottom of my stitched-back-together heart — thank you.

I’m still as passionate about blogging, and online community, as I was when I started, which is why my next project is Blogging from the Heart. I’ve been itching to get started on this but was stuck in the writing cave, so now i have a brief reprieve (until the book edits come back, that is) I’m jumping in feet first. Blogging from the Heart will be a guidebook to blogging sharing everything I know about writing with honesty and heart, how to create images that share your world and inspire, and bringing it all together on a blog. There’ll also be videos, writing prompts for blog posts and interviews with creatives who’ve inspire me along the way. I want this guidebook to be really fantastically useful and also really beautiful to look at too, something you can dip into to get inspired, ready to blaze your own blogging path.

There are already a ton of blogging books, blogs and courses out there, but I’ve yet to see anything on creative personal blogging – how to share your life and heart online as a way to express yourself creatively, dive deep and meet like-minded friends along the way. I won’t be looking at how to make money from blogging, but if you have a biz and want to share more of yourself online with your customers, then this guidebook will definitely help with that. It’s about being honest and open, enjoying the writing process, recording your world with your camera and getting your creative juices flowing!

I have notes and plans coming out of my ears, so as I ease myself into another writing stint (I’m a glutton for punishment :) I wanted to ask you…

What would you like to know about personal blogging? What elements of your blog writing or photography do you struggle with? If you’re thinking about starting a blog, what would you like to know? If you could ask me one question about writing, photography or blogging, what would it be?

Leave a comment or drop me a line – thank you for your help! x

The year in review

I’m trying to remember what happened this year, but all i see is one thing: Wobble. My nephew arrived (two weeks late) on April 1st and since then the only thing that’s mattered is what his royal cuteness is doing. Obviously the biggest change has been for his parents, but watching (and experiencing) my family be remade with our love for this little boy has been down-on-my-knees humbling. This week I’m writing the chapter in my book that focusses on family and relationships, and how interconnected we all really are; I could happily write the whole thing about Noah. Happily, giddily, merrily. He is my heart*.

* I may have alluded to this a few times in the last 9 months, huh?

So, what else has happened this year? <scratches head>

Well, I said farewell to my Ink on my fingers blog and launched this site…

… I fell hopelessly in love with New York City

… I taught my first ever photography class at Squam Art Workshops in New Hampshire

… I signed not one but TWO book deals! I know, right? Ridiculous! I’m penning a book about my healing and creative journey as we speak… and collaborating with Jen and Amanda on a book about Polaroid photography. Both will be out in 2012

… I instigated the infamous Naughty Words Wednesday ;-)

… I spent a super-girlie weekend in Marrakesh and a soulful weekend in a cottage

… I decided not to move to London… yet

… I embraced my glorious imperfection

… I received the most amazing gift from some former Unravellers on my birthday

… I enjoyed an August Break

… as improbable as it sounds, I learned to appreciate yoga

… and I was healed by a tiny guru.

All in all, a pretty good year!

[photos by his mummy]

The first rule of Fight Club

You know, when I wrote yesterday’s blog post I wasn’t sure if anyone would want to join me, which is why i didn’t put a Mister Linky gadget on the blog to automate the blogroll sign ups – I thought it would look sad if it was sat there empty. How wrong was I?! I am SO happy so many of you want to try the experiment – I think it’s going to be fun!

For me this won’t be a month of making “amazing photos” – it’ll simply be a way to record an intensely creative month in a mindful way; there’s a very good chance I’ll end up posting 31 snaps of my laptop as that’s where I’ll be all day, but i hope to mix it up and get out the house once in a while!

Some more thoughts:

1. The first rule of Fight Club the August break is that there are NO RULES. In other words, if you want to post a few photos rather than just one, or you wish to share a few words, or write a regular post, or leave a week out altogether – great! I know I’ll be freestyling too.

2. Use whatever camera you like. I’ll probably use my iPhone most days – as all my Polaroids are being squirreled away for the book(s), I’m really enjoying the zen of using my phone. And as I want August to be all about the words, it makes sense to use the simplest camera I own.

3. On that note, if you’ll be using your iPhone too, check out these apps – Hipstamatic, PS Mobile, Best Camera, Camera +, Perfect Photo, Monochromia

4. I’m sensing our month of few words needs wordless comments too, just like we did on this post. Maybe not every day – this is a great opportunity to get to know other bloggers so comments are encouraged! – but just so you know: smiley faces as comments are very welcome here in August :D

5. I’ve started a Flickr group for our experiment, so if you’d like to add your daily photos, and chat to other participants, you can. It’s a public group so anyone can join – all you need is a Flickr account (instructions on how to set one up (it’s free) are in my FAQ)

[I slipped on my Unraveller-in-chief hat then – ha!]

6. Other mindful things to try in August: Marianne’s fabulous 30 days of yoga; Unclutterer’s Thing-A-Day challenge – deeply digging both of these.

7. And lastly, there’s no requirement to ‘join’ this bit of fun, but obviously if you’d like to be on the blogroll please do leave a comment at any time and I will add you. And don’t feel obliged to add the badge to your blog, but blog bling is fun, so it’s there if you want it.

Here’s a new version of the code, as I know some were having problems with the code I shared yesterday:

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<img src=”” width=”150″ height=”150″ border=”0″ /></a>

(Samantha shared another way to get the badge on your blog in this post – thanks, love!)

Okay! We have T-minus 9 days to get all our words blogged out before we slide into a mindfully recorded August… I can’t bloody wait!

Would you like to join me?

I need to take a break. August is pencilled in for book-writing madness, and I know i won’t have many words left over for this space, so I’m thinking of trying an experiment. I’ve always been inspired by Darlene’s December Views project, where blogging participants let their photos do the talking for the whole of the month, so I’ve decided I need some of that for August.

Would you like to join me?

The (loose & very adaptable) plan would be to simply share one photo per day on your blog – Monday to Friday, or every day. Or whenever you want. Using any camera – DSLR, compact, Polaroid, Holga, iPhone (my choice), Instax, 35mm, video – with or without words – anything goes – for the whole of August. No pressure –  just looking at August through your camera lens as a way to be more present this summer. And to have a little break from the pressures and expectations of regular blogging.

What do you think?

The August Break |

I’ve been racking my brain this morning trying to think of a suitably jazzy name for the experiment but all I can come up with is ‘the August break’ so that’s what i’m going with :)

So if you’d like to play along leave a comment with your name and blog address and I’ll add your link to a blogroll of participants so we can all visit each other throughout the month.

You wanna play? Spread the word – it’ll be like a blogging summer camp!