1 year of blogging, 100 posts.

Good morning. Drumroll please…… this is my 100th blog post, and my first blogiversary today. Wow!

Cake for everyone (which fits in nicely with #sundaybakingsunday)!

One year ago today I Give You The Verbs was born. I haven’t given birth to a child, but boy there were a lot of tears and feelings of helplessness, with a good measure of  ‘I can’t do this!’ thrown in as IGYTV came into the world. But I did do it, and now we’re here.

I am really chuffed with this little space I’ve created. It isn’t the biggest or best blog out there, to which I say phew and not my goal! Let someone else fret over stats and content and usefulness and niches and targeted social media campaigns and all that jazz. I’m a happy hobbyist. I write this blog because I want to. It’s a creative endeavour, not a commercial one (but if you’re a publisher or agent reading this, let’s talk!)

I Give You The Verbs
I Give You The Verbs

This space is a non-competitive zone. I do not and will not buy into the idea that my blog is in competition with anyone else’s. I know others disagree, particularly if blogging is tied to creating an income stream, it’s a different beast, but I just do not give this notion of thousands of people bent over their laptops, elbows up, hoping to knock others out, any credence.

This is actually a topic that keeps coming up and it really makes me cranky, especially when I see it crippling new bloggers before they’ve even hit publish for the first time. Ugh!

Do you think those creative heroes of yours, who toil away diligently at their craft, are thinking about the other guy when they’re writing a novel, or creating a painting, or crafting a song? Their manager might be, their agent might be, but if you tried to write a great novel or song or anything of beauty while thinking about your ‘competition’ I reckon those projects would never see the light of day. Guess what? There’s room for everyone. Look at your bookcase or CD collection – there’s the proof, right there.

The plaint fact is, I get cranky at quite a lot of things… that’s how I’m wired, especially when I see people limiting or doubting themselves. I even got cranky in the middle of a video I made last night about my gorgeous blog’s birthday. I’m not going to bother with a #sorrynotsorry tag, I’m not into that silly I have to add a hashtag to my opinions (just in case I offend) stuff. I have opinions, and I own them. I’ve even completely changed my mind on some things over the years.

Sometimes I even ramble about these things on YouTube. Yep, I’m one of those bloggers.

See what happens! I get fired up and end up on Tangent Highway.

So let’s take the next exit off Tangent Hwy, and get back to my birthday/blogiversary.

What a fantastic thing it is to reach a little milestone and scramble up on a rock and look back at the year that’s just flown by. Yes there are stats I could recite, but I’m not going to do that. It’s not what this is about. It will never be what this is about.

As anyone who reads this blog knows, it has been a year with a few challenges for me, but more than that it has been a year where I’ve been able to unfurl my wings into new creative territory. How awesome is that?

A year ago I did not blog, or write regularly, I didn’t paint, I didn’t own oil pastels, I didn’t think I could paint or be creative in that way. Guess what? I was mistaken. I had boxed myself in to a certain type of creativity – my love for words. Now I know that most creative endeavours are just an effort away.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to try? Is it crochet or triathlon or learning Japanese? Here’s how to do it. Ready… HAVE A CRACK. Just try it.

Try it without expecting to be the best, fastest or most fluent. Try it without any of your ‘measuring’ sensors engaged. Just try it. Does it feel weird and hard? That’s okay. If you’re a bit like me it may feel like you want to throw something through a window as you bump into inevitable hurdles… take a deep breath, say a kind word to yourself, and just try again.

That’s basically what this blogging caper has been for me. So. Many. Hurdles. I can recall more than one occasion when l  I was sitting in front my laptop and wanted to scream (and sometimes did) and throw that box of technological mumbo jumbo into the wall (glad I didn’t do that). So I had to give myself a talking to: Hey, Annette, have you done this before? No. So why don’t you put down your enormously unhelpful load of expectations and just TRY. I’m glad I listened to myself – and the many, many other encouraging voices I was surrounded by during the Blog With Pip course I did last February. Those ladies are the reason we’re here. Pipsters forever!

If you can embrace trying, teamed with a lot of encouraging self-talk, you’ll be astounded at what happens. Seriously.

And here we are, 100 posts later.

No walls with laptop shaped holes in them.

I’m still learning, still trying things, and when I need to, I remind myself I’m not in competition – not even with myself.

I want to give a special shout out to just two people today, which is a really difficult thing for me to put a limit on, but if I tried to name everyone who has encouraged me this post would go on for days and days. Just know this, YOU, the person reading right now, your time and attention to this blog means so much to me. When you hit the like button, or leave a comment, or join my #InstaTribe or follow IGYTV on Facebook…. every time, it means something special. It registers. You matter to me.

The two women I want to thank are women of integrity and passion. They are Australian bloggers and they are both decidedly lovely.

The first is Pip Lincolnea do-er, blogger, author, creator, encourager, crafter, teacher, and a deadset inspiration. Pip is one of those people who is on the go a lot. She pours her heart into every endeavour she’s involved with. She’s sensitive, she’s strong, and smart and generous. Pip teaches the Blog With Pip course (alongside a lot of other cool courses), and it was under her tutelage that I learned how to get this blog from an idea to a reality. Pip answered my desperate emails in those early weeks (along with loads of other students’ cries for help), she helped me narrow down the best choice for my blog name and she even came up with my tagline. She’s my blog guru, and a woman I have enormous respect for.

The second is Nikki Parkinson: a champion supporter of women, style maven, author, blogger, a really hard working and generous lady, community fosterer and also a deadset inspiration. I have been following Nikki’s blog Styling You for quite a few years, and she’s always been so generous with her style advice and encouragement to me, as well as to thousands of other women. Do you know the #everydaystyle thing on social media? That’s Nikki’s! As for the power of Nikki’s encouragement of this endeavour, I can’t even tell you what it means to me. Nikki really sees people.

So to Pip and Nikki, I offer my sincere thanks. You both truly inspire me.

There are others my fingers are itching to add to the list… like Beth from BabyMac and Kayte from Woogsworld… ladies who write blogs that I love, ladies who have both taken time to encourage me online and reply to comments and messages, and who didn’t roll their eyes at me when I cried on them at ProBlogger. (I wasn’t fangirl crying on them, I was new blogger overwhelm crying, but it’s a known fact that I am not a smooth networker.)

Damnit! I added more than two. But that’s it. There’s no way I going to add the lovely Sonia from Sonia Styling or my New Zealand BWP buddy Rachel from The Chronic Ills of Rach to the list. No way. I said two, I slipped to four, but see, I didn’t even link to these last two…. oh wait, I did. #sorrynotsorry ha!

See what I mean, so many people to thank, and it’s NOT about “names” in the blogging world, it is about women who have encouraged me that I Give You The Verbs isn’t a completely pointless vanity project.

I’m going to leave you with this awesome piece of advice from Nikki of Styling You.

Styling You's Best Advice
Styling You’s Best Advice

Nikki gave us this piece of advice in her session at ProBlogger last year, and I think it is absolutely foundational, not just for blogging, but for life. There’s such a temptation to be busybodying into what others are doing, how they’re doing it, why their party/business/marriage/blog seems more successful/fabulous/popular/cool than yours. Nikki told us to stop giving so much attention to what others are doing. Feed your own guests. Look after them, give your energy and attention to the people who are at your table.

Great advice, don’t you think?

So that’s my 100th post for I Give You The Verbs. Sheesh, I’m so proud of this space, of persevering, of taking chances in posting on days when I’ve been feeling really vulnerable. I’m humbled and amazed by the response my writing receives. Truly gobsmacked. I feel like I have spent a lot of time in the past twelve months saying thank you. I’ve needed people’s help and encouragement, and people have been so generous with both. So, I’m happy to say it again, thank you.

Here’s to my ‘baby’ I Give You The Verbs (aka IGYTV), and mostly here’s to you, the people who make this space what it is!
Here’s to trying, and playing and creativity.

Sincerely, gratefully, with thanks,

Annette x




Reflections from ProBlogger 2014 – Part 1, The Tears

Last week I attended my first blogging conference.


Wait, I did what?

My blog is only six months old, I don’t write ‘consistently’, and I do not have any kind of editorial calendar or strategy. I’ve only looked at my stats two or three times (stats leave me feeling queasy) – and yet off I trotted to the Gold Coast last week, to attend the ProBlogger Training Event 2014.

It was a fantastic event, and yet on some level, I found it quite an overwhelming event to attend. Not that people weren’t lovely, they all were. Queensland put on gorgeous weather, the QT Hotel was lovely, the food was AMAZING, it looked set to be a great weekend.


But before I went to bed on Thursday night, having spent a few hours with some RAD ladies from my Blog With Pip course, I recognised that I felt, well, a bit jangly. Unnerved. Anxious. Like tears were in my immediate future. I was so right!

Darren Rowse’s Friday morning keynote was sensational – he reminded me that bloggers are just ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Phew, I fit in the ordinary part of that equation, maybe extraordinary is in my future. And I definitely need to see the LEGO movie, stat!

Pat Flynn, a blogging guru I freely admit I’d never heard of before his name got attached to #pbevent, was also a great speaker to listen to – entertaining, informative, enthusiastic. I’ve had Backstreet Boys tunes running through my mind all week thanks to his illustrations about his wife’s obsession with those dance steppin’, love croonin’ lads. Pat told us that just like the Backstreet Boys have raving fans, bloggers can have raving fans too. I know this is true, because I am a raving fan of Styling You, Woogsworld, Meet Me At Mikes, BabyMac and quite a few more… so the morning’s teaching was excellent. Top notch.

Strange then, that not 10 minutes later I was crying into my fruit salad during the morning tea break. It could have been the sheer number of humans crammed around those tables trying to get themselves some juicy slices of watermelon, but I think it was more of an overwhelming moment of  ‘what the hell am I doing here?!’.

Luckily, I had just introduced myself to Kylie from Life, Love & Lattes, and she coped admirably with my little meltdown. Thank you so much Kylie. Seriously, #pbevent MVP right there!

I managed to pull myself together enough to attend the next session, which was again, fantastic. But at the end of that session, the tears returned, and I retreated upstairs to the bloggers’ lounge (thank you SO MUCH for providing that space for we intoverts, and for the correct apostrophe placement #pbevent team) where I sat crying for quite some time. I was feeling ALL OF THE THINGS and couldn’t quite work out which one was the eye of the storm. So, I did what any writer does, I put pen to paper to try and make some sense of my feelings.

I felt overwhelmed. I felt really confronted by having a few, JUST A FEW – maybe four, people recognise me and say they liked my blog or loved my Instagram feed… I don’t know if I can describe how surreal the feeling of being recognised live in person, in the real world, not from behind a computer screen, is. I felt vulnerable and like I didn’t know what to say to them, I felt unimpressive and awkward. I was so taken aback by that feeling, as I had expected to totally enjoy the face to face meet-ups and find them super uplifting and easy. (Let’s clarify that I DID enjoy meeting people, I had some fab conversations, I just had some issues acclimatising to face to face contact!)

That morning, I felt unsure of myself and out of my depth. I felt like a total wanker for having business cards in my bag. I won’t say I felt like a fraud, because I love blogging and want to get better and better at it, but I felt almost all the other things, and it was a really exhausting morning.

Later in the day, with my composure tenuously in place, I sidled over to Beth from BabyMac before a session, and we had a wee chat, where I CRIED AGAIN. Oh my gawd. Beth has been someone who probably without even realising it, has been a massive encouragement to me as I’ve started out on the blogging journey. So I was crying, again, and Beth was so kind to me (winning at being the same IRL/URL) and she assured me that it is indeed weird to be recognised for something we do in isolation, but that people are generally lovely. The fab Mrs Woog (why does it feel really overly intimate to call her Kayte??) also came and joined in our convo, and offered me a squirt of Rescue Remedy. Bless! I love those ladies. Seriously, you two, you’re AWESOME.

Thankfully, that was the end of the tears at ProBlogger, but it is only one aspect of the amazing weekend that we had together.

I want to really ponder the things I heard and reflect on the awesome people I got to meet, but if I try to do that all in one post, it will be too much.

Now that the tears have been mopped up, and I’m back at home, I’m going to read through my notes, ponder the beautiful people I got to meet and share stories and laughs with, and I’ll fill you in with Part 2, The People, really soon.

One thing before I sign off for today – I want you to know that I appreciate every single one of you that reads my blog – I truly do. I appreciate your comments (blogger oxygen), your encouragement, your ‘likes’ on my Instagram feed and Facebook page, your favourite & retweet button pressing on Twitter, your laughter, and your baking prowess. Without you, this is pointless.

And as fabulous as that QT Hotel bed was, there really is no place like home. Just me and my laptop, and all of you.


Annette xxx