Blogging has had a rep for being lonely place - on a platform where you are so intertwined with everyone yet ultimately working alone to stand out more, it sometimes felt hard to 'compete' (I really hate that word) with those established, those growing fast, and the smaller niche yet very cool creators who everybody loved.
I've felt it, and I've tried to stop feeling it. My brain is very split in two which I'm thankful for, as it will allow my ego to whine about 'so and so had more jobs in January than me it's not fair' whilst the reasoning side states 'well they do a completely different style of work to you so you can't compare that.' Yes a lot of my days are spent with internal back and forths like this, but in a way it keeps me sane and helps me push forward with what I think is going to happen in 2017: creative collaboration.
I wrote previously about how I feel bloggers/youtubers/influencers etc. will work together more this year, whether it's hiring team members or connecting with a group of local bloggers to meet up and take photos for one another or help one another out with analytics, working on social, and in short, pushing each other up because you want each other to succeed, not because of agenda or personal gain.
I've personally tried to arrange days with friends or people I admire creatively to connect and share inspiration with (also to hunt down a GBK to eat vegan burgers and down elderflower refills with whilst chatting, obvs.) but taking that all one step further was Kristabel's #YouCanSitWithUsLDN - an IRL get together of bloggers from all levels and genres to discuss a variety of blogging struggles under the title of many classic Mean Girls quotes. Perfection.
The whole get-together itself was blogging heaven - brightly coloured tables perfect for flatlays, the ever classic succulents and plates upon plates of cute and delicious treats (I'm patting myself on the back that my cookies were all gone by the end), yet the variery of discussion between women on topics of algorithm, USP, creating content and struggles in various departments. We all had a chance to say our piece, to hear about views on representation, and to give people reassurance in what they were doing - for example, I talked a lot about meeting up with people and having sessions to discuss growth and how posts were performing, and even days just to grab a coffee with others, and how overwhelming it all feels sometimes, and everyone (everyone) could identify and help boost confidence in making things happen. I felt I could talk openly and candidly about my thoughts with people understanding and reasoning ways to improve, which was something I'd been searching for.
It felt for the first time IRL that things were moving towards an 'US' community rather than 'THEM' or 'ME', and I think it symbolises a full-circle movement that's been in motion for a while now - posts can still look luxurious but have univeral relevance, topics discuss previously taboo or under-represented issues that are now creating better awareness, creators themselves are changing the way advertising and business works to become more ethical, true and connected. When I think of an 'US' community, I think of the mix of fun/cheeky list posts with 'boos and huns' tied in with 'how to look slick whilst wearing 20 layers' and also a bit of 'here's my creative strength, I'm going to really go to town on it with this post because sometimes you just need to be wordy or visual to get an idea or thought across.'
I came out of the event making new connections, getting over my introverted tendancies (and embracing them when needed) to talk about what I believed in and talk to others, offers to hang out and talk more analytical stuff, and possibly an even more renewed sense that the blogging world is much bigger out there than I thought, but not as overwhelming.
There's something I like to practise when I go into "ME' and ego mode - when I sulk that no-one is shouting out about my work, or that I'm not doing XYZ, I stop and get my reasoning side out to talk the Real Advice; 'if you can't support your own work, and admire it for what it means to you, then how can you expect others?' - if you can't stop thinking about you singular and them collective in an egotistical way, then how can you expect to integrate into a wider community that helps everyone? Cheer and champion your own work, absolutely, but remember there's a seat at the table for everyone to work together.
Things to do to promote creative collaboration:
• Meet up with a friend/group once a week to take photos
• Have a monthly meeting to discuss content, growth, what is and isn't working and share ideas.
• If you have an idea that needs help, don't be afraid to ask, and don't forget to give back in return.
• Embrace the fact that sometimes to grow, you need assistance - whether it's paying a photographer/videographer/animator/illustrator to help with a concept, you're supporting your creativity and someone's talent.
• CREDIT CREDIT CREDIT EVERYTHING. Everything. Tag the person who helped or you love on social platforms. Keep the wheel turning.
• Reach out. No one will bite you and at worst, they'll ignore you (or block you, depends how persistent you are) but if you feel in your heart that the other person may be a creative fit in mind, skill or just to talk to, make it happen. We're all a bit worried, even if we have 100K or 10.
• Sign up to Kristabel's newsletter for details on the next meetup!
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