How to start a blog

I’ve blogged from a number of platforms. Blogger, Tumblr, WordPress and a few other CMS platforms. For me WordPress has been the best platform. It’s also one of the biggest, and it’s open source which means it’s created by the community, for the community. I was recently asked for advice on how to start a blog, and whilst there is lots I could say here. I thought I’d share with you my response with you.

1. Think of an idea or topic you’d to write about? What’s the one thing you’re most passionate about? It could be travel, beauty, food, healthy living, being a new mum?

2. When you log onto WordPress you can sign up, and create a blog for free, or upgrade to the pro account (I think it’s called) so you have a (nameofyourblog.com) it will cost about £60 for the year, but I recommend it. There are some really good free templates that you can use too.

3. What do you want to call your blog? Do you want it to be your name or something different? Check and see if your URL is available, and if you can I recommend purchasing it. There are usually not that expensive. Try 123 reg, or something like Namecheap. I’ve never had a bad experience with these ones, and you do have to choose wisely. There are a lot of cowboys in this industry. Don’t be fooled into paying more than £10 for your URL that’s my recommendation. If you are ever asked by a company to pay and then they will transfer the URL to your name… stay clear! This is actually happened to a girl I recently met.

Recap:

  • Be organised and be consistent
  • The trick is to find a niche to write about
  • Write content that is helpful, entertaining, or engaging that people will want to share

I hope you find this helpful. Let me know if you want me to talk about anything in more specific detail.

 

Happy Friday!

 

How many does it take to change a light bulb?

In the light of a new season, where one leader leaves us, and many more are faced with the challenge to rise up; I write to share the thought that it is possible for anyone to be a world changer.

No matter your race, colour, or creed. Wherever life may find you today, at whatever station you may find yourself; and even if you feel like the world is crumbling under your feet and that you don’t feel adequate enough. Yes… even then. It is possible.

As the world comes together in memory of this great leader, notice how Richard Branson, Oprah and many other history makers are found in one place, in one picture, at the same time; and yet each individual has brought something unique, special and of their own mark to the place we like to call, Earth. As important as it is for us to stand up in a room and shine bright the light that each of us has within, it is equally important that we can stand together united as one that we may see and BE the change in this world for this generation, and the generations to come.

To live only for ourself, our company, or money and self gain is, in my opinion, to live shortsighted in life; but to use the gifts, talents, and diverse skills that each of us have is to accomplish the dream in our hearts – is to do something great. I pray that our dreams don’t just fulfil something for our sake. Instead, I pray that they are attached to something bigger than ourselves, and full of purpose. If we only help one life in some small way, then let it be with the best of our efforts.

I believe we are all born with lights on the inside of us that are bursting to light up the world. When we feel happy and fulfilled we are a beacon to those around us. Some have lost their light along the seemingly tough journey of life. Many feel broken, hurt, and without strength to get back up. We can be that strength for someone today. No matter how insignificant it may seem to you, a warm smile can go a long way. It may take more than a smile to change someones life. It may take many smiles, and time spent chatting, or practically meeting a need somehow…but It only takes one person to change a light bulb, and it only takes one light bulb to light a room.

What London and life is teaching me

It’s official I’ve finally made the leap out of the country and into the city; from Glasgow to London to be precise. I’ve been horrendously bad at blogging over the past… cough… Two months; but with good reason. All that shuffling and waffling aside, it’s safe to say I have now arrived in London and as a new member of this big, bold and beautiful city I would like to document some of the harsh but priceless life lessons this new chapter has already served up.

1. Life is precious and must be treasured

In the three short weeks that I’ve been here I’ve witnessed a man being knocked down by a bus, (literally two feet from my side) and as my feet were forced to jump and skip over the debris, my heart raced with fear and distress of what I had just witnessed. Today, it happened again as I witnessed a man collapse at a bus stop in Shepherds Bush. When you’re forced to face moments like these you get a wake up like no alarm or sugarcoated motivational speech can provide. Life is precious and instead of beating around the bush, playing at relationships, living in a place of unhappiness, or working a job that you don’t enjoy we must learn to value and appreciate the time we have and the people in our world that really matter.

2. Time is the currency of life

Through personal experience I have come to the conclusion that if someone doesn’t value my time, then they don’t really value me: irrespective of how much I may like or appreciate them. Who we spend our time with, and what we spend our time doing is either adding or subtracting from our life. There’s a song in Avenue Q, which I saw last week at the Edinburgh Fringe festival that says, ‘there’s a fine line between love and a waste of time.’ To put this in context this was about relationships, but I believe that it can also apply to other areas of life.

3. History repeats itself unless we change the record

To write for me is to breathe, and often I spend the majority of my time writing about my own observations in the hope that someone else may benefit. In doing so I often find that there are threads of familiarity that run through each post I write, which bugs me ever so slightly – It’s also part of the reason I haven’t written a post in while, out of a desire to bring something fresh. If we never step out and try something new, or face up to the opportunity failure has to offer, then how can we expect our lives to be anything more than what it is right now. Even if everything is great right now, life is full of peaks and troughs and it would be foolish to ignore the reality that surrounds us.

 

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A Toast To Raising Our Standard

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We all have a set standard in life – a blueprint, if you will – for how we think life should look and what is an acceptable terms of agreement between us, and the wider space we live in.

When we set a standard we make a decision that no matter how rocky, or rough a road becomes (figuratively speaking) that we will not steer away from that road. They are the foundation from which our choices are made from. A standard can be anything from what kind of food we will fill your bodies with, to what kind of attitude we will take on each day, to the kind of lifestyle we should be living (e.g. healthy, or unhealthy).

You may have heard the saying, “you are what you eat.”  Well what if we are what we believe, then choices we make each day are feeding into the rest of our lives, and as I explained in my previous post “The Importance Of Personal Development” – Growth in life is inevitable. We are either increasing through growth, or dying. It’s that simple. A skilled man only becomes skilled through diligence and practice. That is why our perceptions of life, will have direct influence on the standard from which we live. Are we happy to continue living with the current standards that we have, or do we have the gumption to believe for more:  To raise our standard, and set the tone for the life we imagined.

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The importance of personal development

Personal development is one of my favourite things to study in the whole world. If you’re not growing ask yourself this; ‘Are you still alive?’ Living life ‘safe’ does nothing, but prevent us from experiencing the best life has to offer. So many choose to live from a place of fear, to protect the little that they have; but it’s only when we venture out into the deep unknown that we’ll find the EXTRA on the ordinary forms of life – The secret to living a BIG life is to go on the adventure.

Holding life lightly

In the absence of blogging life has been teaching me a fair few tricks, hints, and lessons. I’ve been relentlessly applying to jobs, setting objectives, goals and doing everything I can to move towards them, whilst being party planner and bridesmaid to a lifelong friend.

I find every day is different in someway, with one challenge, or another; but above the confusion, toil and turmoil I have come to understand that to achieve success in any area of life it is good to hold life lightly.

If you hold on to a career, a relationship, or even something as materialistic as a car, then you run the risk of loosening the very thing you desire. Most of the motivational and leadership chat that I’ve heard seems to be focused on pushing people up a hill, but I want to suggest that there is not one reason for failure, but many. Most of the motivational and leadership chat that I’ve heard seems to be focused on pushing people up a hill,You can do nothing, and get nothing, or you can do everything and still get nothing. How is this possible? Well, obsession to always achieve, or win is equally bad as doing nothing to obtain the dream in your heart. Many hands make light work, but much work make light hands. In other words, the more you fill your time with stuff the weaker you become. People mistake busyness as a sign of strength, or achievement; but it’s not. It is only when we strike balance between hard work, and margin do we find ourselves in the slip stream of life.

Whatever you do today, make sure you take a moment to stop and enjoy what you have in your hand. It’s good to take stock, and don’t lose sight of what you do have on the way to where you’re going.

Colouring within the lines

As a kid, I loved to colour. Art was my game, and colouring was my name. I still remember my big cousin teaching me how to colour within the lines, and that was a real gulp shock horror moment, for me. ‘You want me to stay within the lines?’ How boring!

In retrospect, I guess it paid off a few years later when I was one of the few who scraped through Advanced Higher Art back in 2002 – much to EVERYONE’s surprise (including my own). There were some real talented artists in the room too. As it turns out that that was the first year of our new curriculum, and we later discovered that every teacher in the area had misinterpreted the course wrong! If the teacher doesn’t understand it, how on earth will the student? Okay I digress. The point that I am trying to make is that sometimes it’s good to experiment outside the ridged lines of other people’s perceptions and ideas, and express ourselves by painting something new. Something original.

What if the idea you have works? What if moving location turns out to be the best move for you and the company you go on to work for? Can you imagine being Walt Disney and told that you were a rubbish illustrator, and then years later laughed out of the bank for his proposal to build Disney World.

I have never been much of a colour within the lines kind of gal, creatively speaking of course, and to be truthful, I’m glad. Going against the grain is never easy, when you are a creative in an industrial society. However, as Henry Ford one said, ‘if you always do, what you’ve always done, you’ll always get, what you’ve always got.’

Someone, somewhere has to be willing to step out and take a calculated risk.

I have always felt that more companies should appreciate, and treasure the entrepreneurial spirit within their team, rather than squash it. Thankfully this is beginning to change. I believe that instead of being threatened by people who are better than we are in a particular area, we must learn to collaborate and make way so that collectively we can achieve success. However, if you find yourself torn between the voices that tell us to stay sit down, stay in line, then I challenge you to be true to your art and have ago.

Happy bank holiday weekend folks! Thank you to all who subscribe to this blog. I consider it an honour.

This was my final piece for advanced higher art. I’ve framed this and placed it on my desk to remind myself that sometimes we just have to take a risk, and paint.

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