Advice #54: How Can I Share More Of Myself On My Blog?



Never Be Afraid to Share Who You Are

“I’m wondering if you could share some tangible action steps on how to start incorporating and sharing more of your personal self in a blog. I don’t promote myself or share much about myself. I could share much more. But I’m pondering on where to start — how do I take the first step towards putting myself out there on my own blog? I’ve realized that I can improve my blog by sharing more of myself to make it more personal and engaging. However, I’m really struggling with where to begin.”

Growing up in a world of celebrity culture where television and movie stars are everywhere, coming across as ridiculously confident can leave the rest of us feeling lesser than. (Or maybe that’s just me). The truth is, a lot of us have to fake it until we make it. One of my most popular advice columns last year was Does Blogging & Self-Promotion Make Me Vain? I ended it with this statement:

“Think of your brand this way: if you don’t believe in it, nobody else will. People are always going to judge you no matter what, whether you choose to put yourself out there or not. It’s human nature. Remember that truly successful people are fearless and promote what they value and believe in, even if that’s their own brand.”

I meant it, too. Trust me, there are plenty of days that I really don’t want to talk about myself, the project I just completed or an interview that I just did. But, I do it anyway because it’s my responsibility to build my brand, not anyone else’s. And nobody is going to toot my own horn for me!

Here are some applicable tips to jump-start sharing more of yourself:

Face Your Fears.

Before you can put yourself out there, you need to determine what is holding you back. Is it a fear that you’re not unique enough? That someone will leave nasty comments? That you’re not smart enough? That you’re not an “expert”? That you’re not attractive enough? That you don’t measure up to so-and-so?

Once you decide why you haven’t already made the move to share more of yourself, you can begin working on fixing that aspect.

When I started my blog, it was way before the big “blogging for business” craze and full-time bloggers were few and far between. Most of us twenty-somethings had personality-based blogs from the beginning, especially those of us who’d gotten started on Live Journal. I never gave it much thought — I posted about myself, my art, design and surroundings and figured that if people didn’t like it, they didn’t have to read. It really was simple as that. Five years later, I still feel the same way!

Facing your fears is easier than you think: once you accept that not everyone is going to like you, there are mean people in the world and that you should always stay true to yourself, it doesn’t seem so daunting.

Set Some achievable goals.

This is going to sound silly but the more often you blog and share who you are, the easier it becomes. For instance, you may set some achievable goals such as, “No matter what, I will share at least one current photo of myself in a post each week.” Or, “Each week, I will post a gratitude list of things in my life I’m grateful for.” Or, “If something bad happens to me, how can I turn it around into an experience I can help others learn from?” Or, “Once a month I’ll share a personal story and ask readers if they’ve been through something similar and how they dealt with it.”

Realize that you are unique.

We’ve all been consumed with thoughts about how we could possibly be unique. With the sheer quantity of blogs out there, how is ours really any different? The sole answer is YOU. I talk about this in more detail during my branding segment at The Blogcademy but it basically boils down to realizing that we each have unique experiences and skills that we can share with the world. By opening up and not only sharing who you are but also TEACHING, HELPING and INFORMING your readers, you’re not only empowering yourself but putting good out into the world.

Do it now.

What I’ve realized in life is that there are folks who soak up boundless information and say they’re going to make changes and then there’s those who actually follow through and make changes. Don’t be a sayer, be a doer. Ultimately, once you realize that most bloggers are the same as you, most face the same worries and fears and that nobody is actually untouchable, it’s easier to get started.

Start small. Start today. Hopefully these tips will take down the curtain you’ve been putting in front of yourself and allow you to be more comfortable with sharing who you are.

Style Direction 2013: Just My Type

Nubby Twiglet Just My Type Style Direction

About twice a year, I come up with a new style direction to get myself excited and to encourage myself to expand beyond the all too easy default of black skinny jeans, a black leather jacket and black boots (great as a uniform but very boring). In the past year, I’ve embraced the future in Ladylike Urban Warrior and then gone mad for plaid in School’s Out Forever.

This time around, I’m embracing my obsessive love for typography in Just My Type. Luckily, I’ve been noticing designers offering up a bountiful number of type-covered sartorial choices.

Nubby Twiglet Just My Type Style Direction

This set of photos was shot in my back yard in Portland before I left for London and though you can’t tell, it was about 31 degrees out there! In between chattering teeth, it was worth it in the spirit of showing off my newest wardrobe addition, this amazing newsprint skirt by Carrie Hammer.

I Wore:

Sweater, H&M
Skirt, ℅ Carrie Hammer
Heels, Kate Spade (sold out)
Tights, H&M

Nubby Twiglet Just My Type Style Direction

I fell in love with these Kate Spade heels awhile back after seeing Bri rock them in another color. I love that they’re way more ladylike than anything else I own and that they don’t have a platform. There are those times when you need a classic shaped heel and these are low enough to be super comfy.

Nubby Twiglet Just My Type Style Direction

If you’re looking for some type-covered goodness of your own, here are a few items on my wish list that you may enjoy:

Nubby Twiglet Just My Type Style Direction

1. Sonia Rykiel Graphic Print Dress, 2. Topshop Love Tube Skirt, 3. Alphabet Bags A Wash Bag and 4. Topshop Burnout Letter Tee.

Nubby Twiglet Just My Type Style Direction

Rocky looks like such a grumpy little gremlin here! Any time we try to take a photo of him, he won’t sit still but the second the camera is aimed at me, he pops up in every shot. Someone likes to be the center of attention at all times. ;)

What about you? Do you ever come up with a mood or a theme to pull yourself out of a style rut?

The Week In Pictures: 1.18.13

Nubby Twiglet Week In Pictures London 2013

Greetings from London! I can’t believe I’m finally here. I’m looking out my bedroom window and the city is dusted in snow. Kat and Gala are sound asleep in the next room over but I skipped over so many time zones to get here that I’m having a hard time adjusting to this new schedule.

Nubby Twiglet Week In Pictures London 2013

Traveling is a funny beast — I love it and it’s a passion of mine but I feel the same over and over again. Planning a trip is fun. The anticipation is even better. Then, the week before I leave, I go into total freak-out mode, checking my suitcase repeatedly, racking my brain and hoping I remembered everything. Like my passport and various chargers. And that I called my bank to let them know that if they see charges pop up on another continent, it’s not fraud. And that I booked my ticket for the right day. All that stuff. Then, once I’m on my way to the airport, the nerves kick in. Will my flight leave on time so I can make my tight connection? But by the time I’ve landed, the fear is gone and I’m ready for the adventures to unfold.

I arrived in London Thursday morning and though it’s my first time, I feel like I’ve been here before. There’s so many small things that remind me of New York. And so many familiar comforts including chain restaurants and stores from home (for better or worse!) But then I notice all the charming, quirky details. And the beautiful sense of history. And the hustle & bustle that makes Portland feel like it’s moving in slow motion. I’ve only been here a day but I’m already falling in love with this city. It’s even better when you’re exploring it with two of your closest friends.

Nubby Twiglet Week In Pictures London 2013

Back to Portland for a second — a few days before I left for London, we dogsat this little gremlin, Raleigh. He’s a sweetie but also very different from Rocky. While Rocky is a picky eater, Raleigh licks every plate clean at least 3 times and I hear him clanking dishes together at 3 in the morning, snorting and licking them clean again! Haha.

Nubby Twiglet Week In Pictures London 2013

We spent yesterday buying Oyster cards, riding the tube and getting acquainted with London. Of course, no maiden voyage is complete without a stop at Topshop in Oxford Circus which has the coolest dressing rooms I’ve ever seen.

Nubby Twiglet Week In Pictures London 2013

Oh, and a stop at Selfridge’s too which has the most amazing shoe section. Just check out that silver jumbo-sized stiletto!

We’re off for the day to prep for The Blogcademy tomorrow — our excitement is in overdrive. Have a great weekend, everyone! I’ll be snapping photos in London all week and can’t wait to share more soon. xo

Link Love: 1.17.13

link love

link love

Photo: Elizabeth Taylor by Mark Shaw, 1956

• How can you find inspiration?

• If you want to relaunch your blog with a new name and focus, consider these things first before taking the leap.

• Danielle LaPorte has some great advice on how to give a great interview.

• A real list of the hoaxes on Wikipedia, hosted on Wikipedia. For real!

• 7 practices that make you look like a rookie blogger.

• Done | Not Done is a website for the things you want to do, not the things you have to do.

• Advice for the person who asks, “Will I be alone forever?”

• If typography were a religion, Font Book would be the bible. I need this!

• Kelli Murray has one of the best platinum hairdos around and is sharing all her tips on how she keeps it that way.

• Amanda Genther has an easy exercise to create your brand words.

• If you have a sweater you accidentally shrunk, why not make it into an iPad case?

• A sobering reminder of how our childhood experiences shape our adulthoods: I need to do everything in my power not to be poor.

• Having trouble with your elevator pitch? Here’s how to fix it.

Off To London!

Nubby Twiglet London 2013

The time has come for me to make my maiden voyage to London and join Kat & Gala to host The Blogcademy! Instead of waking up to a pile of emails from them every morning, we’ll be face-to-face in a London flat for close to two weeks, quite possibly having the most epic sleepover ever. London will be all new to me and I can’t wait to see what it has in store.

Our big plans mostly revolve around the two workshops and we will also be giving a special condensed chat about all things social media at photographer Lisa Devlin’s retreat, The Photography Farm (tickets are still available if you’d like to join us!)

After all that fun in London, we’re off to Paris for 4 glorious days. I’ve been looking forward to this trip across the pond for MONTHS and can’t believe it’s finally time. While I’m on vacation, I’ll still be popping in occasionally. And for even more holiday hijinks, please feel free to follow along on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Bon Voyage!

Advice #53: Do I Need To Move To Jump-Start My Career?



“I am a 26 year old single mother from Alabama and I have a degree in Graphic Design. I am considering starting a freelance business but things just aren’t working out the way that I want them to. I am currently working full-time in a field that has nothing to do with what I ultimately want to do and I am so ready to step out there on faith and move to a larger city. I must however take into account that I have a growing 5 year old and not very much money. I want to move somewhere that is rich in culture. Do you have any suggestions on cities that would be affordable, and that I wouldn’t have to drive hours to gain some inspiration? I am pretty much open to any state in the U.S.”

To start with, my advice is as simply this:

Location isn’t everything.
Affirmations and a plan are.

But let’s dig deeper. First of all, it’s great that you’re passionate about design but also realistic when taking into account the needs of your child. Working hard to make ends meet, even if it’s in a different field than you’d like to be is admirable and I promise you, we’ve all been there! But before you make any moves, it’s important to take stock of where you are with finances and goals and then make a plan.

A big move coupled with starting a new business can feel daunting so start small. Thankfully, you already have a job. Realistically, if you give up this job and move to another city, it may take months to find another. How much can you save every month on your current income? What does a solid six months of expenses look like? Try to build as much of a cushion as possible before you make a move in your location and career, for both you and your child’s sake.

From there, think about the present — it isn’t so bad. With the buffer of a full-time job, you can start freelancing on the side with very little risk. Without your entire income dependent on an upstart business, you’ll be able to create more freely and also put any earnings towards your fund.

Start Online & Local First

One thing you didn’t mention in your letter: do you have a website? Let’s be honest here — people care more about you, your online presence and your portfolio than where you live. I met a number of designers at the Design Life retreat last summer that don’t live in big, bustling cities yet they have hugely successful freelance businesses. It’s all about talent, personality and work ethic. You can be anywhere and make that connection.

To jump-start your freelance career, build a support network online right now. How? Join sites like Dribbble and Behance and share snippets of your work. Start a blog. Reach out to creatives you admire. We all like to have a list of offline connections as well and you can make some great friends by joining the local AIGA chapter in your city.

Then, Move

As for where to move: big cities like New York and LA have always had bustling design scenes but also have a higher cost of living and more competition. But for smaller, niche studios, you might find a great fit in Portland, Minneapolis or Austin. I live in Portland so I’m slightly biased because we have TONS of tiny studios all the way up to companies the size of Nike that are constantly looking for new talent. My advice before making any big move would be to visit a city first and line up plenty of informational interviews. Get a feel for what you’re up against so it’s not a surprise.

If you do decide to make the big move and don’t have a full-time gig lined up, I strongly suggest meeting with placement agencies including Aquent and 24 Seven (I’ve worked for both in the past and they’ve been excellent). They can place you at a variety of design studios and ad agencies and this is a great way to earn some money quickly and make a lot of contacts in the industry, not to mention elevate your resumé while getting your footing in a new city.

In Closing

This may not be what you were expecting to hear but with an internet connection, it matters much less where you live today than it ever has before. Don’t ever let your physical location hold you back from starting a freelance business and living out your dreams. Once you have some momentum and a safety net of living expenses built up, your next move is completely up to you. Good luck!

The Typofiles #123: Rika Magazine No. 7

Typofiles Rika Magazine

I first shared Rika Magazine on here a few months back after I fell in love with its use of unique innovative fonts, pages full of handwriting and features of people you don’t see flashed all over the front pages of every other magazine. Based out of the Netherlands, it feels like the ultimate bible of cool, done in an accessible, inviting way.

Typofiles Rika Magazine

In this issue, Rika has splashed a new mix of vibrant colors throughout, most notably this Springy, minty green. Oh, and the always lovely Solange makes an appearance in a beautifully shot editorial.

Typofiles Rika Magazine

Rika Magazine always manages to create a balance between the pretty and gritty. With that big splash of mint green comes a heavy dose of the black and white and the handwriting that gives it a total private journal feel. If you’re on the hunt for your own copy of Rika, I found mine at Barnes and Noble.

Typofiles Rika Magazine

You can view all of The Typofiles right here.