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The Future Of Blogging – What Do You Think?

As my blogging e-course wraps up, I left our students with a pretty heavy duty podcast called, “The Future of Blogging + The Internet” where I made some big predictions on where I see blogs in the days ahead. Yeah, I’m not exactly the kind of person that quietly exits a room. Go big or go home.

FUTUREOFBLOGGING

Thing is, I wanted those 350 students to walk away from class really thinking about the future and what they can do to create something interesting, not just go with the flow and passively let blogging morph into whatever. I don’t want them to think that it’s okay to just sail away into the sunset and do what’s already working. Think of the WHAT IF.

If we get honest for a moment, blogs have become too same-y. If we are lifestyle bloggers, we think taking it “up a notch” is to work with sponsors, hire contributors, and have columns that feature recipes, home tours and DIY stories. Thing is, what was fresh once isn’t fresh today. Add stuff to your blog that you are good at, and have passion for. Not just because you think that is what you have to do. Taking it up a notch isn’t about adding something to our blog that is already happening everywhere else, it’s about adding something valuable to set us apart. Funny thing is, this also takes the pressure off because some of us don’t want to do what everyone else is doing but think we should to be hip and cool. Blogging is about being unique. Be innovative. There are so many new things we can introduce if we just sit down for a moment and brainstorm.

I’ve been thinking about all of this SO MUCH in the past year. In fact, right before I got pregnant I sat down with my career coach and told her how I felt about blogging and the many ways that I want to evolve decor8. Then I got pregnant and my focus became my baby. He’s three months old now, we’re over that newborn “hump”, so I’m back to thinking about my company again and where I want all of this to go.

We as bloggers each have a huge responsibility to ourselves and to this community to get smart and creative again. This is the internet, anything is possible. How can we reach our audience, what are we really good at, what is missing? Blogging needs to evolve beyond just template changes and new logos to feel relevant. I told my students today that we are only as strong as our weakest post. Let’s use a photography portfolio as an example. Pretend you have 10 amazing photos to show perspective clients but you think you really should have 25 (quantity is important, you think) so you pad your portfolio with work that isn’t your “best” just to look more professional by having a lot of photos. Thing is, 10 of your strongest photos would’ve been better. Those clients will only see the weakest work and judge you by that. Same with our blogs. Sometimes we have to admit what we suck at and get rid of it. What isn’t working? We always try so hard to improve what we’re bad at, well why not improve what we already are good at so we can became damn good – great even?

I’ve taught blogging e-courses and in-person workshops for five years now to over 7,000 students worldwide. I’m only throwing numbers out there so you know that I’m not just making this stuff up — I know what bloggers and readers want to learn, what they like currently, what they don’t, and what they want to see in the future because they candidly say so in our private forums. In my current class, I asked my students to list 3 blogs they love and why and also to list what things about those same blogs that could be improved. To be fair, they each had to critique MY BLOG TOO. Dear God. To say it was humbling is an understatement. I’m glad I have a thick skin and a big piece of chocolate nearby as I read through them. But don’t we need that now and then? To be shown the truth? What I learned from my students is that most of them know what works (and what doesn’t) on their favorite blogs. And most of them are right! We need to ask these questions more, even to our own readers. What can we improve? A good business must ask the hard questions now and then. We can’t be satisfied with where we are no matter how hard we want things to stay the same, they just won’t. Especially online.

A final bit I’d like to add is that we have to remember our humble beginnings, especially those of us who started blogging before Facebook went public, before Twitter, Pinterest, Etsy, Instagram, etc. were even on the map. We are the pioneers, the renegades, the risk takers. We started blogging without a clue about what was about to happen – then fame and money entered the room and the dynamics of it all changed. A question I ask myself and my students often is how are we going to change the game? How can we as a community drive blogging into the future as a relevant way to still reach others? This rests in our hands. This is our movement, we started it, we have some control over where blogging is heading because most of us who have blogs also read them. Maybe I’m just being naive but I want to believe we still have the power to evolve blogging in exciting new ways. Isn’t the future of blogging up to each one of us?

So what do you think when you consider your future as a blogger? How do you see blogging a year from now? What do you think needs to change? What is missing? What works?

 

(photos: madewell)

Posted by decor8 in blogs, real talk on May 17, 2014

Your comments...

  1. Heather commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 8:56pm

    I so agree Holly! I like the mantra of ‘Do your own thing and be the best version of yourself that you can be,’ and try to apply that to my own blog. Thanks for the inspiration today, lots of food for thought.
    Heather´s last blog post ..Weekend Links for 5/16/14

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  2. Kathy @ The Salvaged Boutique commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 9:03pm

    I sincerely appreciate every word of this post. I am a new blogger. Just 6 months. I have been working hard at branding my business and blogging is one part of it. I see so many blogs that are somewhat similar to ours. It seems like the industry is oversaturated. So the question is, how do you get yourself to stand out or what is the next phase of blogging? This has been on my mind for months so I’m really curious what you will have to say about this topic in the future. If I experience a big lightbulb moment, I will be sure to share. I hope you share how your students have enlightened you. I would love to read about it!

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  3. {leah} commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 9:22pm

    I used to be an avid blog reader. But in the last few years, it’s felt like it has become SO commercialized. I understand the need for bloggers to make a living, and have no problem with that – but I’d like to see a bit more subtle methods employed. More of using your blog to drive your real life, in person success – like yourself, or joy cho. Not relying solely on the blog as a source of income and success. That’s where I’d like to see the industry head. I guess pretty much like you repeated in class – use your blog to create your life, NOT the other way around. I’m planning to shift my blog in the coming year in that direction. Deciding on personal and career goals, and using the blog as a subtle means to drive that success for me. Cleaning things up, narrowing focus. Thanks for sharing! And I’ve really enjoyed the last two classes I’ve taken with you and Thorsten! Very thought provoking and beneficial.
    {leah}´s last blog post ..benefits and tips for setting a schedule for your small business

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  4. Becky Harris commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 9:29pm

    Holly, you bring up a really interesting topic. There is a flood of blogs and they are stagnating doing the same old, same old in a lot of instances. I feel like attention spans are getting smaller and smaller and pretty soon everything will be distilled to some acronym or # and no one will actually use or read full sentences anymore! This point of view is from me as a blog reader; as a blog writer, I let it all fall to caca years ago. Maybe I need to take your course again for some fresh juju.

    Anyway, I used to have time to catch up on all of my favorite blogs, and now there is such a sea of design blogs and repetitiveness that your words make me think about what draws me to the ones I lend my precious free moments to. The answer for me is it’s a unique voice, an attitude, something not everyone else is doing. it’s fun to step away for a few weeks and then just binge on a favorite blog and catch up (that’s what I do w/ decor8).

    Someone who is honest and truly lets us see their personality. Someone who makes interesting connections, or ties two seemingly disparate topics together in a clever way. Humor is a big one for me, which is why I get such a kick out of anything Brian Patrick Flynn takes time to write (today he connected former quirky patrons at Olive Garden he waited on to who he is as a designer.) Or someone with a keen and unique eye, like the way sfgirlbybay or The Sartorialist takes a photo – what they see that they think is worth shooting and how they shoot it is a voice right there in the photo.

    Otherwise, I just gotta play a drinking game with the bulk of the design blogs out there and drink every time some blogger says “I’m smitten,” “I’m swooning over…” or “I’m obsessed with …” Bonus points for “bespoke” (raising hand as guilty of ALL of this too, but lets give the smitten kittens a rest people – I’d rather make “fetch” happen. Let’s make “fetch” happen). -BH

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  5. Kate @ Songs Kate Sang commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 9:39pm

    Such a GREAT post!

    When I consider my future as a blogger, I try to really think about my past – why did I start blogging? Why did I enjoy it so much?

    This absolutely helps keep me on track with each and every post.

    I think what is missing is the blogger support of one another. I think, sometimes, bloggers get so caught up in getting the next post out that the joy of blogging disappears a little.
    Kate @ Songs Kate Sang´s last blog post ..Riley’s Adoption Fundraiser Update

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  6. Ula commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 9:47pm

    Holly, it’s so so true. I was thinking exactly the same way for few months now! I love blogging, but last months I see that not only my favourites blogs, but also mine, changed and we are all so “too same-y”. Even blogs which I considered as completely different from the others became very “commercial”. I don”t know if you understand me (me English is very poor ;) ). So last weeks I try to find what to do with my blog, how to come back to my thoughts and ideas from the beginning of my blog adventure.
    Lots of hugs from France
    Ula
    Ula´s last blog post ..Kulinarnie: Szybka zapiekanka ziemniaczana

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  7. kinga commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 9:49pm

    Having been a student of yours a few times now, the last time being November right before the birth of my daughter, you have inspired me think about this often. Well really since that last e-course I have done very little blogging and have been thinking so much about this very thing. What is the future? I feel like what I have to contribute right now, has been getting lost in the sea of millions and that’s fair…I also haven’t been trying so it’s on me. But, there is so much content on line now and the amount grows exponentially every day…I don’t want to be just another ho-hum voice which is what I feel I have been lately (there are other issues I have too aside from that lol…). What I mean to say is that I need a complete overhaul but I really need to think hard and brainstorm if I’m going to give it another try and really do something MORE. Whatever that is…Thanks for the inspiration…as always.
    kinga´s last blog post ..Baby has arrived…

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  8. Gertrud commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 9:50pm

    “are your best version when you blog” – that’s what I feel when blogging, and that allows to get better each time I take pictures or do a post…hope everyone expects that from herself/himself and does not only blog do get famous or rich…do it because you love it and do it well…the future is definitely in our hands Holly;)

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  9. the SAGA by Steinsdotter commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 9:51pm

    I’m still asking myself these questions a lot.
    As pretty new to the whole blogworld, I’m slowly finding my way.

    As I share a lot of personal photos, I spend a lot of time getting better that way. Also I’m rethinking a niche. We’ll see.

    And btw, I have several times gone back and deleted old post, which I really wasn’t happy with. Post I put out there just to post something. That’s something I’ve stopped doing! I rather put out something good a couple of times a week, than shit everyday!

    Good post you came up with here :)
    the SAGA by Steinsdotter´s last blog post ..A princess in white

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  10. Patricia Shea commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 9:56pm

    This is a good wake-up call all around for me! I feel I got too caught in the get-it-out-there and more-is -better mentality that has evolved along with the speed of the internet. I am in recalibrating and re-evaluating mode and am trying to give myself space to – as you say – improve what I am already good at, re brand myself in a calm considered way and have the courage to say goodbye to some of the creations I have made that just aren’t making the cut. Thanks so much for this, for me, very timely post!!
    Patricia Shea´s last blog post ..Iris Nouveau – a new design in my online shops and new items at Society6

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  11. Marina Giller commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 10:04pm

    Thank you so much Holly for bringing this one up! You surely have a great influence in blogging community, and you are a huge inspiration fot thousands of us!

    Yet, as I’m constantly thinking about what’s missing regarding blogs, my thoughts keep turning to one thing – being real. With all the mistakes and imperfections.

    We all agreed long time ago, that we need to give a personal touch to what we are doing, to be us, to real people behind letters and pictures. But most of the established bloggers seem perfect, too perfect even! They moderate their personalities shown up in their blogs so much… And then they have their perfect homes, perfect outfits and perfect successful businesses, that look effortless via some of the blogs. That’s fine to try your best and be the best version of yourself. But all the time? Every minute? No relax? Really? That’s sort of scary.

    I see now and then how relieved readers feel when they find out, that their hero is not some magical creature at all, they enjoy her (or his) bad hair days and downs alongside with ups. Not it a bad way! They just feel more comfortable with a real person, just like them, going so great in her (or his) life!

    And in the end, isn’t that what blogging was essentially about? And now we are all so much into perfect photography, perfect moments and perfectly done things. Many will relate to that, but a few will actually do this – post a selfie with no makeup or admit that something didn’t go as planed. Maybe we should start doing more of this instead of trying to be even better? I’m sort of confused here, it’s just a thought.

    My readers enjoy me being messy and size M rather than S, taking imperfect photos, taking connection flights and living in hostels, because that is what I only can afford, being exhausted once in a while…. but keeping smiling and trying to live today, while I’m still not perfect and no matter what the circumstances are. And always to share what I have, what I think, what I’ve learned about this world and this life.

    Well, I feel like this, and they tell me such things in comments and emails. And maybe I’m not going global with such an attitude :)) But I like what we have with my people, they feel like we have some real connection, like I’m one of them, like they can be what I am. And I guess they feel I’m sort of special in the end :) So for me blogging is being with people rather then ahead of them.

    I would love to know how you feel about this!

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  12. Daniel Nelson commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 10:33pm

    I do agree with this and love that it is still a new medium that can change and be explored.

    Although I then think about the millions of people just getting in to reading blogs and think that I need to slow down and let people catch up. I had to explain what a blog was the other day so perhaps we are too cutting edge for the masses still.

    Even so, let’s keep moving and making things more interesting because that’s more fun anyway. :)
    Daniel Nelson´s last blog post ..Lina Bo Bardi’s Bowl Chair by Arper

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  13. Joy Hall commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 10:39pm

    Bravo! This is just what I needed to hear as I evaluate what I want my blog to offer my readers! And isn’t taking blogging to new levels an exciting challenge!
    Joy Hall´s last blog post ..Abundant Joy – New Etsy Store

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  14. Patricia Shea commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 10:49pm

    Marina Giller,

    I agree with you – I sometimes put up baking fails on my blog and FB and they get the most responses – what the blog reading people may not realize is that behind the perfect blogpost/baked cake/brilliant craft project there can be a trail of fails beforehand and that’s it’s OK to have to try something a few times, or more, before you get the hang of it, and that if you fail you are not a failure. I think sometimes I should show the mayhem in which I work both on my paintings and in the kitchen but honestly I’m too embarrassed.
    Patricia Shea´s last blog post ..Iris Nouveau – a new design in my online shops and new items at Society6

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  15. Claudia commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 11:37pm

    I’ve been blogging for six years now. I have added advertising in order to earn a little income and cover the cost of my host, etc. I sometimes fall into the trap of comparing myself to others. But my blog is a journal of sorts where I share my life and loves and adventures with my readers and the writing and the words I use are very important to me. Unfortunately, that isn’t the kind of niche blog that makes a lot of money.

    I can’t change that, though, and won’t, because my voice is clear and resonant in the blog and I’m not about to try and be something I’m not. I have to stay true to the original vision I had when I started blogging in 2008.

    I do have a concern for what I see in the blogging world now. A lot of competition – and not the healthy kind – and, unfortunately, a lot of the same content with minor variations. I think that many bloggers have lost their individual voices in the quest to get readers and advertising dollars and sponsorships. One blog morphs into another which morphs into another. They could be interchangeable.

    There are so many blogs out there now compared to six years ago. It’s almost overwhelming. And it must be hard for a newer blogger to find an audience.

    When it comes down to it, though I love design and decorating and gardening and a host of other things, the kind of blog I want to read and will continue to read is one where the author’s voice shines through, where the blogger is not afraid to talk, to write, to use words and not just pictures, to share both the happy and sad. Real is what I want and what I hope is the future of blogging.

    Thanks so much for this challenging question, Holly.

    Claudia

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  16. diana commented
    May 17th, 2014 at 11:44pm

    Very interesting post. Loved reading all the comments as well. I left my teeny tiny unspectacular blog two years ago, letting it drift into blog oblivion, as I felt pretty sure I could not give it a new, inspirational twist.
    I feel that an interesting blog always is part of a bigger picture: A communication channel with personality, not something that stands on itself, mimicks a life style or DIY magazine, or something that is purely used as a marketing tool. Blogs have become very inflationary in that respect.

    I feel that blogging cannot be a career in itself, but is more an additional way to share and express the things you experience, learn in the career/life you have in the non blogging world. That is probably what people mean with authentic.. Being “commercial or not has really nothing to do with it.

    You as a blogger, have always managed to do just that, that’s why I keep dropping by to read your stories, even if I don’t always share the same taste or opinion. Just as I like many other, very different bloggers from Elsa Mora to Deborah Beau, from Irene Hoofs to Nic Hildebrandt, and from Pia Jane Bijkerk to Geninne. I feel blogging is a tool for them, a window into what they love and think important, not a goal in itself.
    diana´s last blog post ..Fin

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  17. Andrea commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 12:14am

    I think it depends on what your motivation for the blog is in the first place. Are you are blogging as a means to communicate about your business, or is the blog itself the business…. Is the blog for you or for others?
    I think there is something about blogging which can help you refine your interest and focus, and in itself becomes a mechanism to get from A to B.
    i.e. you start a blog to explore interior design while you are studying interior design, and it catapults into being a medium for an interior design and styling business. Starts as a blog for its own sake and becomes a means to communicate about the business.

    Elevating it to the next level is really about zeroing in on that thing that you are good at/interested in then….all of which you have talked about in BYW.

    Hmm, must run. toddler in the fridge. sorry i have nothing more poignant to add
    Andrea´s last blog post ..Bentley: and a tale of landmark protests

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  18. Jenni K commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 4:19am

    The sheer amount of blogs and content that is out there is totally overwhelming when I think about re-launching a blog. I suppose the trick is to offer something very specific, and do it better than the rest! Those are the blogs I keep visiting, the ones that offer me something that is simple and amazing without confusion or clutter.

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  19. Kreetta commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 9:57am

    I think there is a big trend of getting small, cosy and intimate with more thoughtful atmosphere. I believe in quality and uniqueness….or maybe I just hope that these ones I mentioned should be the values of blogging, haha. I think creating atmosphere is very important. We make decisions with heart mostly.

    But I’m sorry to say I think there are too many same-y and so many blogs nowadays. People start a blog because one should have one…and that’s not the right reason I think. We need to work more and try to find our own angle to blog about the world around us. To me Holly, your workshops has been a great tool to bringing up a blogger in me. Thank you for that.

    Maybe we should take bigger steps and think out of the box what we can do with our blogs. It’s a great subject of a workshop I think.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Holly and great Sunday to you all!

    xo
    Kreetta
    Kreetta´s last blog post ..The First Summer Day

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  20. Maja commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 12:22pm

    Hi! Sorry for this off topic comment – but I wonder about a wallpaper on an image I found on pinterest. The image was linked to your blog (which by the way is fabulous! I´m happy I found it!) but unfortunately not directly to a blog post. I´ve searched trough your blog but without luck. So I now wonder if you could help me, or maybe someone of your blog readers? This is the image on pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/374713631468557697/ I wish to read the blog posts for any possible clues where to find the wallpaper. Many many thanks in advance! //Maja

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  21. decor8 commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 12:30pm

    @Maja – That’s a pattern by Orla Keily London

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  22. Maja commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 12:35pm

    decor8,

    Thanks!

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  23. Elizabeth commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 12:52pm

    Becky Harris,

    I completely agree with you Becky!
    I find myself reading less and less blogs these days because they all look the same. I read the ones I completely connect with or the ones that are unique and provide me with a completely/new different view of the world.

    You’ve also made me remember about using MY voice when I write for my blog, no one else can sound like me! I’ll keep doing what I do for as long as I am happy with it, my blog has to be something I would want to read too!

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  24. stepanini commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 1:17pm

    thanks. As a blog reader and a blog writer. For finding words for the feeling i have and had. I love and loved blogs because they were not the magazine mainstream reading, but unique, distinct and with much more variety in it. Language, pictures, topics. I guess because the author always shined through.

    With all the blogging courses and what some people call “blogs becoming more professional” they have lost this. Not that i dislike good-looking pictures and a nice and clean layout. Not at all. And earning money with your blog is fine.

    But the difference between blogs and magazines was always that it was not about target groups, somehow more free, more courageous. The person behind it shone through. Sometimes this gets lost and that is what i would describe as this “same-yness”.

    But maybe in this, something new can evoke again. Because those will stand out, who are doing there one thing, beeing unique, finding their own way, aesthetics what so ever.

    Blogs enriched the media landscape, because everyone can publish and there came a diversity into it, which is incredible.

    Losing this would be a sad thing. So thanks for questioning and in this striking out again.

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  25. Robin LaMonte commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 2:26pm

    Holly,

    Blogging is the ” Field of Dreams” on the Internet.
    “Build it and they will come.”

    I started blogging a year ago and knew nothing about blogging. (Still don’t)
    I was late to the party but I was also amazed at how large blogging has become.

    Now everyone is telling us (professional interior designers) to blog to gain clients, but bloggers have already done this for us.

    They post our photos and rave about our rooms so they have done our marketing for us.

    So what does a professional interior designer write about without becoming a blur in the corn field?

    Write stories about what I see in daily life and how it interacts with design, but always try to find humor to tell a story when I can.

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  26. Jillian commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 2:41pm

    Holly, this post really resonated with me. I have taken your class a few times now but never fully committed to having a blog. I felt so much resistance to it because I thought I couldn’t be perfect enough to make it worth doing. But, lately, I’ve realized that the blogs I keep coming to aren’t the perfect, highly produced ones. I stick with the blogs where the author has a strong voice and shares herself freely with her readers. As others have mentioned, I think the posts where authors are willing admit their struggles are the most compelling because they become relatable. So, in that sense, we can all bring something to blogging because we are all unique and have different view points and different personalities. I think blogging is failing when bloggers sanitize their content for mass appeal. The beauty is in the individual.
    Jillian´s last blog post ..Guest Bathroom Mini-Makeover Part 1: Deciding to Do It

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  27. decor8 commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 3:22pm

    @Jillian – YES so true! Perfect is boring.

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  28. Jennifer rizzo commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 3:48pm

    You know Holly, I’ve been saying the same thing. In the 7 years I’ve been blogging,I’ve seen a huge change and I think it’s ready to shift again.we have to be constantly reevaluating what is happening and what we want to bring to the party and not worry about what everyone else is doing. I think you’ve really hit the nail on the head about being true to who we are.
    Jennifer rizzo´s last blog post ..National Tourette’s Syndrome awareness month….

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  29. Jen Snyder commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 4:58pm

    I really like the idea of reconnecting with your own passion and keeping it simple. I blogged for a few years but got so busy at home, I let it slide into a year long recession! The truth is I felt pressured to produce posts that were perfect and because it was so much work…it wasn’t fun and I lost my joy. I do however miss how connected I felt to my “self ” when I was blogging. I was participating in things that I have a passion for and it really kept my creativity flowing forward. This post inspired me to start nourishing that part of me again. However I don’t want to morph into the waxy cover version, but the simple “lover of beautiful things” self that seeks beauty, participates in creative projects, shares with others and is increasingly inspired along the way. I think the future lesson is…simplify.

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  30. Luisa Pascalis commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 6:15pm

    Robin LaMonte,

    Great question! That is the reason why I started blogging then it all got a bit mixed up in my head.. Would love to read the answer..

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  31. Luisa Pascalis commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 7:05pm

    Marina Giller,

    Yes. Totally agree. I have a love – hate relationship with all the social media. I love many bloggers and I find them truly inspirational in many ways.
    But many yes, are probably too clean. Myself have been trying that for a while (but I persist on making mistakes and being disorganized).
    But the thing about blogging, (in my opinion) is about everything I can discover or learn from other people’s perspective and for that to happen the blogger needs to be in touch with reality; both the goods and the bads. Maybe not with negativity but our vulnerability as bloggers.

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  32. Becky Harris commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 8:16pm

    Claudia, I could not agree with you more. I think people have become afraid to use their own voices sometimes, or shy away from any controversy. Strong individual voices are what make blogs interesting to me.

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  33. Lisa commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 8:55pm

    Great post!!
    L x

    Lisa´s last blog post ..Holly’s Routine Part 2

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  34. Martine | Mom. Wife. Blogging Belle. commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 10:14pm

    Ever since I attended BYW last 2013 (both classes), I’ve always “checked” myself against your teachings. You know what you’re talking about, Holly, because you were at the forefront of blogging. You’re still in the forefront, so I appreciate your “forecasts”, like today.

    It was really only this year, in Jan. 2014, that I acted on my learnings in BYW to “be different”. Instead of being like the 4++million “mommy blogs” out there, I went along a different path and rebranded, reached out to more women (moms & singles, too). I still wrote about being a mom, but put a different spin and began to blog about finding your BLISS.

    It was just the “boost” the blog needed. Before, I was just working with diaper brands and nursingwear companies — you know, cute stuff that all mom bloggers work with. But now, I’m collaborating with life coaches, travel websites, entrepreneur coaches — it’s INSANE and AMAZING! I’m giving retreats on Life Clarity, all because I started writing from my heart, not just my brain.

    You’ve really been a touchstone for this change, so thank you, Holly.

    In fact, I’ll be meeting one of my BYW teachers in a couple of weeks: I am visiting BLOESEM Lab in Singapore and interviewing Irene for a magazine, plus attending Erin Loechner’s workshop there, Thanks for introducing me to mentors who were trailblazers for authentics blogging. Keep on doing BYW the honest, raw, and real way you’ve been doing it. It’s not just changing blogs, it’s changing lives.
    Martine | Mom. Wife. Blogging Belle.´s last blog post ..Can you create your “freedom lifestyle”?

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  35. Juliette commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 11:27pm

    Ditto on the ‘perfect is boring’ thing. I find my blogging has stayed (as anticipated) a pure hobby, so I feel freedom in that. I also feel incredibly grateful that my hobby has opened doors to people and opportunities that I never would’ve otherwise happened -yes, even at the hobby level. I think it will continue to stay a hobby, and maybe my readership won’t grow exponentially, but I feel secure in that. I have a little tribe, and it’s enough for me. =)

    Blogging a year from now? No clue. This place changes f.a.s.t..! I’m curious to see how it goes. I think people like me will be safe in terms of readership (my tribe is tiny, but dedicated!), but I do think people like me are in the minority.

    What I think need to change -and probably will- is the rampant sell-out posting going on by bloggers trying to make a buck. I know people need to earn a living, and I have no problem w/bloggers doing partnerships w/companies, but MAN am I tired of the posts some bloggers churn out b/c they don’t know how to partner well!

    It’s sad, really. The blogger got big b/c they could do their thing well, but because they couldn’t bridge the gap between their thing and marketing, they can’t earn money and maintain the same readership for the long run. A lot of people seem to be doing local workshops, etc. as a way to diversify income, so I’m curious to see what other new ideas will pop up. Advertising is clearly not the best model for a lot of people (or at least it’s too unwieldly for most to handle well).
    Juliette´s last blog post ..Book Club: The Luminaries

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  36. Mitzi Curi commented
    May 18th, 2014 at 11:56pm

    When I began blogging six years ago, I had dreams of eventually selling ad space and making money with my blog. As time went by and a few offers came my way, I decided not to monetize my blog. I didn’t like the way the ads looked, and don’t like the way advertising ruins the aesthetic of many other blogs. Ads can be so obtrusive and obnoxious, especially pop-ups. I’m still motivated to write and enjoy the process. My blog has led to interesting opportunities and connected me with some great people. I’m truly blogging just because I love doing it.
    Mitzi Curi´s last blog post ..My Favorite Fabric Flowers: A Tutorial

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  37. Margaret | Destination Here&Now commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 2:02am

    If you don’t want to be the same as everyone else, the answer is simple.

    Be original.

    x
    Margaret | Destination Here&Now´s last blog post ..Of snow angels and the best personal trainer a girl could wish for…

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  38. lavannya commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 4:26am

    Its so amazing that you post this because I just began blogging from my phone since just yesterday! Its so liberating. I feel so excited! Have so much to share now.

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  39. Fenny Setiawan commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 6:13am

    Thank you for sharing this post, Holly. A reminder for my self, a little bit painful reminder in some ways, but still thank you :).

    I wish to see less commercial blogs, I wish to read more real life story, the bad and the good story all gels together and the blogger also able to speaks into our heart through their writing story, someone like you for sure :). And I feel the future of blogging, they will slowly take them offline, such as; workshop, books, brand collaboration meet and great. I guess in some point, online/virtual overwhelmed will makes us, human want to take a break from it and back to basis, a real social interaction :).

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  40. Lizzet commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 11:26am

    Well what a post! And thank you for sharing your thoughts. I read the post all way through, all the comments and even checked some of their own websites. I have had two blogs, I sold one with the business linked with it and started a new personal blog that I haven’t kept very well, but that I recently started again and I am in the process of updating it, all the pages and I hope to find my way, if not myself!
    I think blogging started as a creative outlet for many for its lows staring cost, on the way many have managed to make money from it and that is great. But like in many cases in life and through history, blogging was/is such a great thing to be let alone and some have really commercialised it to its limits and beyond.
    So here are my answers to your five difficult questions
    -my future as a blogger? I think of it as my way to express my true self, where I hope to engage with people and share some parts of my life, whether is messy and chaotic or the picture perfect moments
    -blogging a year from now? I don’t have a crystal ball nor Am I an expert, but since blogging for many is part of their creative life, it will be changes, it has to be! I hope they cater for all tastes, yes even for the ones that like commercial stuff and are not my taste, because, well that is what blogging is all about. I hope there is a place for all.
    -what needs change? What is missing? We can link these two together. We need honesty, we need courage people that are brave to say “A/W2014/15 was good but it is mot my taste”, “i prefer a full fat dairy flat white coffee”. We need more brave people
    -what works? Well, same than above, maybe not to the masses, but clever intelligent people will appreciate it, even if, well, is not their taste. We need to follow that little voice inside us, our gut feeling. And like Garcia Marquez said
    in his last letter, we don’t need to say everything we think, but we need to think everything we say.
    Hope these makes sense. Sorry for such a long a boring answer. Good luck with the baby, your mum, your work. I hope to see you soon in one of your e-courses. Got to go! There is a blog that needs work and i just thought of a great post :)

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  41. decor8 commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 12:30pm

    @Lizzet – Wow, great answers. Thank you for taking the time to leave such great comments!

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  42. ARRA commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 1:29pm

    Hii decor8

    I feel that blogging can’t be a vocation in itself, yet is more an extra approach to impart and express the things you encounter, learn in the profession/life you have in the non blogging world. That is likely what individuals mean with legitimate.. Being “business or not has truly nothing to do with it…….

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  43. Jenny commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 2:02pm

    I cannot agree with you more! Thank you so much for shedding light on this topic. I am a newbie blogger – a mere one month.

    In the past few months I have seen blogs become all so similar – similar web design, similar copy – just all the SAME. People are forgetting about their unique voice and their value that they as an individual can add into society. I hope that in the future, this can be recognised for what it is and that people can step out of what perhaps is the “blogging comfort zone”.

    I’m new to your site and off to check out your course! Thanks so much!
    Jenny´s last blog post ..What is it that you truly value?

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  44. Rascher Alcasid commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 2:37pm

    I started blogging two years ago as a way to talk about the evolving philosophy behind the small business I started (organizing spaces).
    What I mean by “evolving philosophy” is that I wanted my words to portray who I was, why I do the work I do and what I see in our art, design and culture and history that is relevant to the inherent wisdom of simplified living.
    Also, the industry that my small business belongs to suffers from an image problem and rather than criticize it, I choose to allow the blog to exist as a refreshing counterpoint.
    If I spent time trying to monetize the site and make it appealing for advertisers, I think I’d have to wander far off from the path I wanted the blog to take.
    When I look at blogs I used to love and don’t read anymore, it’s because they seem to have wandered off a bit, the person behind the writing disappeared while the site became… spiritless, for the lack of a better word.
    The future of blogging seems to be what I see Holly doing now with Decor8 – a revisiting of the essential reasons for blogging at all: to share what we love and hope it helps inspire people to live a more beautiful, authentic and creative life.
    The future of blogs? I see it in the partnering of West Elm and Etsy shops. West Elm, tired of lagging sales and a sometimes murky product line , has invited makers from Etsy to sell in pop up stores in a West Elm in London.
    Corporations small and large are creating their own blogs now and hiring writers (and their blog brands) to populate their site with perspectives. That’s ok – maybe if we work on developing strong voices and site aesthetics the money can come from being hired as guest writers for the big brand companies and we can go back to just being ourselves on our blogs instead of hoping to sell ad space.
    Rascher

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  45. Marylia commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 4:29pm

    A tiny heads up :) “The thing is “…”Funny thing is” The funny thing is”…a bit repetitive :)
    For a minute thought I was reading the same paragraph, over and over again. But absolutely agree with your statement and general idea, innovation is required everywhere and all times.

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  46. decor8 commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 4:58pm

    @Marylia – ha ha Well that’s a blog for ya- I have no editor to read before I post – would love that though (and need it sometimes!).

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  47. aisling commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 5:47pm

    This is a really great post, incredibly thought-provoking. Thanks for putting it out there Holly, and for ushing us to think about what we’re doing and not just continuing blindly.

    I find more and more that when I flick through my reader I ignore the blogs I used to love, just because there are so many the same now, and I don’t feel like I’m reading anything I haven’t read a hundred times before. And I also don’t want to feel bad about my less-than-perfect life by comparing it to the perfect ones we’re presented with on lifestyle blogs. Enough of the “happy, happy, happy” already. I think readers are moving past a period of looking for inspirational posts and images, are now flooded with such content, and are looking for the “real” behind the lifestyle posts. That’s certainly what I’m looking for and from the comments I’ve received on my own blog recently, it seems that’s what others are also searching.

    Thanks again, this has been a great read, and some great comments to boot! Have a good week!

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  48. Laura Gaskill commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 5:55pm

    Wow, this has also been on my mind a lot for the past year or so as I let my blog take a backseat to my paid writing work — but the entire time I have been mulling over this issue. What I’m coming to realize (in a nutshell) is that what we bring to our blogs MUST come from within. I am so tired of feeling like I “should” post a certain kind of post, or avoid certain topics — blogging truly from the heart is difficult because it is ORIGINAL. And the flip side is, I am honestly tired of seeing the same regurgitated content on many design/lifestyle blogs. The ones that have remained on my must-read list refresh something in my spirit. They are true to themselves, and it shows.

    This has basically become my goal in blogging — to only blog original stories and photos that come from my heart … but it is *so much* easier said than done!!
    hugs, Laura
    Laura Gaskill´s last blog post ..Slow Decorating: Living Room Update

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  49. lucia commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 7:01pm

    I read blogs, I look at the pictures of some blogs and I read only a few (this for example) and I love to do it. I only hope they won’t disappear!!! I just read real blogs, blogs from the heart with authenticity, with real opinions. I don’t like comercial blogs, company blogs, fake blogs. I do appreciate the efford of people working hard to keep their blog alive, fresh and real. Thanks Holly for that!!
    lucia´s last blog post ..Slideshow

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  50. Heidi @ Fabric Mutt commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 7:23pm

    I write a modern sewing blog and am in the process of having a book published on the same topic. The experience has led me to spend more time evaluating words and ideas. I was looking around the book store last week at all the sewing books and magazines, and it was overwhelming — especially when I know that you can easily find twenty times that amount of material online. There was a time when books and magazines were hard to come by, and everything was new. Now information has been repackaged so many times that we don’t seem to have anything original left to say.

    In my field – as in so many others — this is tough because there’s a constant pressure to come up with new patterns, designs, and project ideas. People are trying desperately to be creative and make what they love, but they’re also terrified of being accused of copying someone else. There is, after all, nothing new under the sun. I hear chatter on the blogs about copycats and design thieves, some of which is sadly true, and it makes me depressed. Is this why we started sharing and creating in the first place?

    I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this subject. Where do you think blogging is going? We all want to be original and brave, but what does that look like?
    Heidi @ Fabric Mutt´s last blog post ..Tutorial Update & a Winner

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  51. Lynda | Homelea Lass commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 10:26pm

    I believe that following your passion and blogging from the heart are the future. By doing this your content will be creative and fresh, and your authentic voice will resonate with those that read it.

    It also helps to examine your true purpose for blogging – is it to genuinely help others or is it to sell or something else? Authenticity is also the key.

    Cheers,
    Lynda.
    Lynda | Homelea Lass´s last blog post ..{crochet pattern review} Outing Scarf

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  52. Roseanna commented
    May 19th, 2014 at 10:57pm

    I used to read many blogs faithfully and commented often. Now, Pinterest is my first choice “go to” fun, I hate to admit it. However, I will click on the the photo and visit the blog if my it grabs me. I am not very prolific on my blog either. There is just so little time, the visual fix is so easy….
    Roseanna´s last blog post ..On my Work table…

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  53. Lala commented
    May 20th, 2014 at 1:00am

    as a blog reader – what i miss is how the blogosphere used to feel really fun. there was a sense of playfulness and anticipation and excitement. now everyone is so serious about creating the “best” content and there doesn’t seem to be as much networking amongst bloggers and indie designers. it used to feel like a neighborhood, and it felt special. now – it seems like monetization is the most important thing, and like bloggers don’t trust each other as much. from the outside it’s not nearly as exciting as it was, and i imagine the blogosphere is not nearly as powerful in the way as it once was.

    it doesn’t feel like bloggers are as excited to help each other out or to bring forth new ideas / new sites for everyone to enjoy.

    it’s a shame as that’s what made this sphere exciting and inviting.

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  54. Sarah commented
    May 20th, 2014 at 6:24pm

    I was so sad not to have the time to take your last class Holly. So, when I saw this blog post on the future of blogging I got really excited. I tiny lesson! I finally had some time to sit down with a cup of tea this morning and read what you wrote on a topic, I love to here you talk about. I feel there is always the underline themes of quality over quantity, along with be true to ones self. And it always amazes me how easy in this busy world we live in, it to forget those two things we really should apply to all aspects of life.

    I have to add. Lately, my favorite blogs which I have always considered to have both themes quality and quantity and stay true to themselves. I haven’t been enjoying reading, because there are to many blog post to keep up. So maybe in this social media, busy, busy world, bloggers need to take a look at balancing quantity for readers? How much is to much?

    Thanks for always inspiring me to follow My True North!
    Sarah´s last blog post ..Red And White Carnations

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  55. Shelly@ConfettiStyle commented
    May 20th, 2014 at 10:45pm

    What a wonderful blog post! Everything you said hits the nail on the head and really spoke to me. I’ve been blogging for a few years and know that I have some unique gifts to share on my blog. I’ve been struggling with how to create my own voice and my own unique blog personality and the information you shared has helped me begin to outline my path in blogging.
    I’ve admire you blog greatly and the business and brand you have built for yourself and you the words in this post will help me do that same for my blog. Thank for inspiring in more ways than you know.
    Shelly

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  56. shelly leer commented
    May 21st, 2014 at 3:27pm

    Hi Becky! I’m cracking up with your comment about ‘swoon’, ‘smitten’, etc. I’ve wanted to post a list of words that should be blog banished.
    I do DIY’s for Houzz.com.

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  57. shelly leer commented
    May 21st, 2014 at 3:31pm

    aisling,

    I couldn’t have said it better!
    shelly leer´s last blog post ..Before and After: Vinyl Chair Gets a Sharpie Makeover

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  58. Kristina commented
    May 23rd, 2014 at 6:20am

    That’s so true, in the past few years blogging has become so professionalized. I started blogging in 2009 and it was a different landscape back then. In blogging as well as photography it can be daunting to have so many perfect examples in front of us. At the same time my favorite blogs are the one-person, non-commercialzed, blogging-once-a-week diaries who just share their lives.
    I have been thinking hard about where to take both my blog and my business this year and have made a conscious decision not to feel daunted by what everyone else is doing. I want my blog and my work to come from my heart and that means jumbling different topics and just sharing what touches me regardless if it is what people expect.
    My goal right now is to become better at expressing myself and improving my writing but I will try not to follow trends.
    Kristina´s last blog post ..3 great ways to relax at home

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  59. Lucy Chen commented
    May 23rd, 2014 at 9:46am

    The flokati rug is absolutely adorable!! Oh my! and they come in so many different colors and designs!
    Lucy Chen´s last blog post ..What I Learned From My First Plein Air Painting

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  60. anastasia commented
    May 23rd, 2014 at 1:11pm

    Things naturally change and evolve and I noticed a huge shift in blogs about 2-3 years ago…when everyone wanted to make money from blogging and sort of selling themselves out in a way – it changed, it lacked something for me…Im sure things will change again especially with the popularity of Instagram and Pinterset – who knows whats next around the corner?
    I personally don’t look or read as many blogs as I used to…there are just too many out there right now and I agree – many have that same same feel….so I’m getting a little picky with what I do tune into…time is limited for all of us. I am however getting back to the very first blog I discovered many moons ago – http://rosylittlethings.typepad.com/ and I realised how much I missed reading Alicia’s blog – a lot has changed in her life but the story telling, beautiful words and pictures are still there – I’m hooked all over again…
    anastasia´s last blog post ..Vintage style – Milton H Greene

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  61. Jill commented
    May 23rd, 2014 at 4:13pm

    Very interesting to think about. If I see any more diptyque candles, white rooms with gold accents, macaroons, etc… I may die.

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  62. Maryn commented
    May 24th, 2014 at 1:23am

    I think blogging has largely become a self-conscious experience where people are going into it thinking of it as a business or a brand, instead of just an outlet for self-expression. Because of that, many blogs are becoming more and more one dimensional to cater to a specific audience or marketable image. The whole appeal of blogs was that they were intimate, uncensored, personal. If we wanted a glossy magazine, we could pick up an issue of Vogue. Blogs were something different, free of commercial interests and out of reach aspirations. The key for me has been trying to get back to that teenage girl with a xanga account, pouring out her feelings to only a couple of readers.
    Maryn´s last blog post ..Floor Living

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  63. Gabriela commented
    May 24th, 2014 at 2:32am

    Hello Holly and everyone,

    I started blogging {on my first blog not the one I blog today} seriously back in 2008 way before socialmedia. Socialmedia changed the whole game…unfortunately. The pressure of being everywhere began. You have to have a presence here, have a presence there… but what about blogging the way we were before?

    People do not really have time to check all these places. Do you?

    Blogging brought fabulous things into my life, amazing friends and opportunities. I learned a lot…
    Personally I believe that socialmedia is totally out of control. I choose blogging and blogging will be…in my own little space.

    Gabriela
    Gabriela´s last blog post ..Making new Geranium plants from my old ones.

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  64. Meg@ Beard and Bonnet commented
    May 24th, 2014 at 6:42am

    This article was something that I really needed to read today. Thank you so much!
    Meg@ Beard and Bonnet´s last blog post ..Comment on Berry & Avocado Salad With Cilantro Dressing (Gluten Free & Vegan) by Meg

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  65. Kelly commented
    May 27th, 2014 at 12:48am

    Hello Holly,

    I did an earlier BYW course in 2011 This is such a good question and one I have been thinking about quite a lot this year. I agree very much, there are too many re-blogging the same images and same products so often loosing the charm of one’s own story or vision.

    There are blogs on every topic we can imagine and often we are only following design blogs. It is a remarkable tool that has allowed many, many people to explore, express and share a passion, an idea, a craft, an art, food, music or business, politics and look how it changed the fashion industry. I’ve learned much through blogging, met many people, made friends and learned many skills.
    I find I use it more like a sketchbook and journal to keep ideas and record progress on projects.
    But I agree some change will come, I don’t know where. Some blogs I follow have lost some sincerity, others have kept their charm, and others seem to have sold their soul.

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  66. Wrenaissance Art commented
    May 27th, 2014 at 1:28am

    After reading your thoughtful post last week, I spent a lot of time thinking of my response before returning to write a comment. It turned into a bit of a screed that I may post at my own blog, if discretion doesn’t overcome valor and I delete the draft! lol
    In the ten years since I started blogging, first at Blogger, then self-hosting once Google took over the Blogspot service, I’ve seen a lot of negative and positive changes in blogs and blogging.
    One big negative is the narrowing demographic and topical segregation as bloggers strive to attract the most readers in a niche. The result is an echo chamber where fads and bubbles sweep the niche like a virus (spray-painting thrift-store finds with a glossy bright color ring a bell?)
    A big positive has been the increasing visual sophistication and quality of the images created by lifestyle bloggers.
    What direction do I think that blogging is headed? I think the split between blogs run as personal expression or hobby and those that are built as personal businesses is going to grow ever wider.

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  67. dawn commented
    May 27th, 2014 at 6:44am

    anastasia,

    posy gets cozy is one of my very favorite blogs … and i think it embodies what most of the commenters long for in a blog … genuine, humorous, day to day beauty, humility
    dawn´s last blog post ..inspiration rx …

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  68. mireya commented
    May 30th, 2014 at 9:54pm

    I love love this post and well I have been working on my art about postive quotes and poems with a sweet twist and have been having to go back to the drawing board and realize that changes need to be made and I like my blog but really it is a boring template and a free wordpress one at that. I think maybe it is time to draw out some plans and think about what I like to write about. I love art, crafts and yes sweets. I want my blog to be a behinds the scenes of me. I often write about topics that I think about and can’t really express while talking to others. I mean I can but sometimes they are a bit to personal and it just feels like I am jotting down in a journal. I love this and perphas I need to explore this. I think poeple have this notion that you can make so much money and when you focus on this it takes away from the true uniqueness and fun of having a blog. I think I should take the leap and pay the money to have a blog and forget about the free one. I know this e-couse would be a great one but the cost seems rather high for my budget but will have to consider it. Does anyone know of any other books or sources to help.
    mireya´s last blog post ..An update on this old post

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  69. Elisa commented
    June 9th, 2014 at 9:20pm

    Great post! Very thought provoking.

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  70. Hana commented
    June 14th, 2014 at 9:53pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I’ve only been blogging a month. A lot of thinking went into choosing to blog about art AND science but in the end I decided I couldn’t leave either behind without losing part of me.

    Since I started I’ve had a few moments of wondering if that’s a bit too weird/unique but your post has made me realise there’s no such thing!

    The blog may evolve to become more focussed in the future but for now I’m enjoying the journey.

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  71. Deb commented
    June 20th, 2014 at 4:22am

    Robin LaMonte, as an avid reader of design and decor blogs, I think the unique thing interior designers can bring is a behind-scenes peek of your process and experience with pulling a design together. Of course we don’t expect interior designers to publish what you need to keep private for business purposes, your “secret sauces.” :) But sharing professional level behind-the-scenes stories is something no one else can do.
    Deb´s last blog post ..DIY Tassel Bundle in Two Easy Steps

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  72. Deb commented
    June 20th, 2014 at 4:41am

    Aw shoot, someone wrote in a comment above about writing from her heart and not from her head, and I wish I could find it again to credit that and call it out! That phrase hit the nail for me. It really summarizes what a lot of us are saying here. Writing from your head is business. Writing from your heart is YOU. Is it possible to write from your heart, be YOU, truly YOU with all your uniqueness and quirks, and have that lead to successful business if that is what you seek? I would hope so.

    I’m going to make an effort to share more “heart” – in whatever form that is, doesn’t necessarily have to be emotion – and a little less from my “head.”
    Deb´s last blog post ..DIY Tassel Bundle in Two Easy Steps

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  73. Kelsey commented
    June 20th, 2014 at 5:08pm

    Love this perspective! There definitely needs to be more of a shift in thinking on how a blog can make you money, to how a blog can help you experiment in your life to make you money/live a happier life. When I started my blog, it was always the later, and then somewhere in the middle when sponsorships and products got in the mix, I started to have a lot less fun with it all. Now, it’s back to process and design, and I couldn’t be happier not having to manage all that. It’s helped me focus on what matters to me — life reflection and design — which is what matters to my clients and my readers. Exciting stuff happening!
    {leah},
    Kelsey´s last blog post ..father’s day obaby illustrations

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  74. Kristie Hill commented
    June 22nd, 2014 at 5:31am

    I love this quote from the blog: “We are only as strong as our weakest post.” It is a good reminder.
    Kristie Hill´s last blog post ..3 simple ways to customize your WordPress theme

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  75. Rajesh Datt Bhatt commented
    December 5th, 2014 at 6:13am

    I love whatever you have said. This post motivates me a lot for genuine blogging. Thanks a lot!

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Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

eCourses:

Next dates

Blogging Your Way: Blog Boss
e-course, October 10 - November 10, 2014
Find out more about this exciting class by bloggers, for bloggers, teaching you how to blog like a boss!