Today’s post begins a new feature on Penelope Loves Lists called “Interview with a Blogger”. I’m absolutely fascinated by the ways other bloggers work, especially how they organize their time, their physical workspace space and their blog. I decided to start asking some questions of bloggers I admire.
My first interviewee is one my favorite bloggers, Jessica from Lavender & Lilies. She’s super smart and creative and I love her blog. Here’s what Jessica says:
When did you start your blog? I started a sort of test blog in March of 2009 and then started my blog with Blogger in April of 2009.
What physical items keep your work organized? (Notebooks, binders, etc.) My iphone and my laptop. I tend to get inspired in random places so I use my iphone to make notes of ideas for posts or interior design ideas. I get a lot of ideas from magazines and I rip the pages out and scan them onto my computer. I pretty much hate loose paper so I scan everything into my computer.
What software or online tools to you use to keep yourself organized? I am a huge user of the Picasa Photo Albums on Google. I upload all of my decorating, crafting, entertaining or gardening ideas. I also use the Notes function on my iPhone for quick note taking when I am out and about. I also use iPhoto to store and organize photos I personally take.
Are you a “list” person? If so, what kinds of lists do you find yourself making most? I am a huge list person. I make lists for everything: to do lists, grocery lists, weekly menus, packing lists and most recently I have been putting together lists of trips I want to take in the next few years.
Where/how do you store ideas you get for content? I am inspired by nearly everything: magazines, traveling, television, the internet… If I am out somewhere I will make a note of it on my iPhone or snap a picture of something that I think is a good idea. If I am online, I save photos to my desktop so I can upload the photo with my post. If I am inspired, I always try to write the post as soon as I can. If I wait, I tend to lose interest. I am very ADD that way.
Mac or PC? I am a Mac girl through and through. I hate PCs.
How many hours a week do you spend on your blog? I typically spend several hours on the weekend writing and scheduling my posts for the week. I also check my blog periodically throughout the day. I love comments so I am always checking for those.
There are a lot of tasks involved with successful blogging: writing content, guest blogging, commenting on other blogs. How do you organize your time? I always try to have my week’s posts scheduled for the week by Sunday night. My work schedule and commute give me very little time during the week so I don’t write my posts during the week generally. I do guest blog occasionally but I do have to say I don’t do as much of that as I should. I usually check other blogs and comment at random times during the day. If I stay in my office through lunch I will take 15 minutes or so to check and comment on my favorite blogs. I also spend at least a half hour or so commenting on blogs in the evenings.
Describe your current work space. I have to say my workspace is very portable. I use my laptop to store images that inspire me for content and I have a notebook I jot down ideas so I can blog while in the bed or watching a movie with my husband. I use our desktop computer sometimes for blogging but typically that only serves as a hub for our movies and photos.
As for my office at work, I am insanely organized. We are a paperless office so all of my files are stored on a server, which I access from my computer. I keep very little paper at my desk and any documents I have to keep I store in polka-dotted Kate Spade folders in a folder stand on my filing cabinet, which is empty because I hate paper. Did I mention that I hate loose paper? I am a trial lawyer so I have to keep resources for trials, case law, etc. I store all of those in organized binders that I keep in a bookcase. For me, a sign of a successful workday is a clean desk.
Describe your dream work space. Oh my goodness I could keep you here all day! I want my own office space that I don’t have to share with lots of storage for office supplies, stationery, gift wrap, crafting supplies, etc. I would love a big desk with shelves mounted above and a dock for my laptop so I can use a large monitor and keyboard when I am at my desk. A great scanner/printer combo and a high end photo printer are musts also.
I also would want well-organized drawers and cabinets for all my office supplies and a fabulous framed bulletin board lined with gorgeous fabric. Bookshelves for my books and accessories would line a wall. In the same room I would like a work table and stool for gift wrapping and crafting. I would also like a large comfy chair and ottoman for reading or list making. The room would, of course, have to be painted a fabulous color with amazing drapes and a rug with all of my favorite prints on the wall. It would be sanctuary of creativity.
What about your blog work makes you most anxious and how do you deal with it? I think I get most anxious about making time to visit and comment on other blogs. I think it’s so important that we support one another and visit each others blogs. When I get really busy I always worry that I am not being faithful to my fellow bloggers. I have been blessed by so many amazing blogging friends that have supported me and my blog and mentioned my blog on their sites, which has in turn brought me so many new readers. I always want to return that favor and show that appreciation. To deal with this, I try to make sure I visit those bloggers that are faithful to my blog at least every 3-4 days. I don’t put the pressure on myself to comment every day but I do make it priority to let them know that I do appreciate the inspiration they give me.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to a new blogger? Let your personality shine through your blog. This took me a while to learn how to do. When I first started blogging, I obsessed over posting on things I thought people would like or using content I thought would bring me the most readers. It’s hard to write good content if you really are not interested in what you are writing about. Once I let that go and started posting on what inspired me personally, the traffic on my blog spiked and I started really having a lot more fun with my content.
Blogging is a huge creative outlet for me. I have a very stressful job and blogging has given me such a great way to express myself and my creativity. Now that I really have learned to blog about where I am at in my life right now, I find that I truly enjoy blogging and that more and more people seem to be drawn to my blog as well.
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