Yesterday I got to spend the day with some of my favourite folks. Most of them are, technically-speaking, strangers to me, yet we are a tribe, a gang, a diverse, talented, amazing bunch of people who have one super cool thing in common.
We are bloggers.
Each year Kidspot runs a great blogging competition, which brings creative people from all around Australia together.
I’m still feeling a bit punch-drunk from all the energy of the day, and I know I can’t remember all the amazing people I got the chance to chat with, but to all of them (to you!) I have a common message – thank you. Thank you for being who you are, for your words, your images, your positivity, your passions. Some of the ladies I chatted to yesterday even knew this blog, and told me they liked what I do… that makes me a #Voices2015 winner!
I had a GREAT day. The best thing wasn’t the range of speakers, or the goodie bags or even the gorgeous venue and food, it was the people I got to laugh and talk with. I came away from the day feeling so FULL and so encouraged.
Blogging is beautful, because bloggers are beautiful.
We do what we do for you, the people who take the time to read our words and join our conversations. You’re the only prize I need.
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!)
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 Lincolne; a 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.
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.
I’m confident my American friends won’t mind if I share a little of what’s making me smile and feel happy on this Thanksgiving Thursday, while they’re busily passing the steamed, candied, or roasted yams around.
It is a beautiful spring day here in Melbourne, so there’s that to be thankful for.
Here, in no particular order are 27 other things I’m thankful for, giddy over, tickled pink by or chuffed about:
1. Sunshine. Something about a sunny (but not hot) day, makes me so happy.
2. Blue skies with fluffy clouds. So uplifting and beautiful, don’t you think? Blue skies equal possibility and positivity.
3. Chocolate. I just scoffed a few squares and they’re working their magic on my tastebuds and mood!
4. Slow roasted roma tomatoes. The oven is doing a job on a tray of them right now. I bought a 1.7 kilogram bag of juicy tomatoes for $1.99 today. Come on, that’s something to be thankful for. Which leads me to…
5. Access to very affordable, super fresh fruit and vegetables. That made me so happy I nearly danced back to the car with my box of bargains this morning.
6. My job. I’m enjoying having something to do, and even the tiredness that comes after a day of trying to fill my brain with new facts, processes, procedures and names.
7. Paying my rent today, with money I earned. First time I’ve been able to do that in nine months. Felt so good. Thank you!
9. Let me explain that one for you, I say Bono, not because he’s a rock-god, which he is, but because when I see him now, as I just did on a documentary about a photographer named Anton Corbijn, he reminds me of someone else I’m thankful to know.
10. That person is Eden Riley. Eden is a blogger, a poet, a mother, a wife, a legend and a barnacle. Eden’s blog is called Edenland and you can find it at www.edenriley.com. You should most definitely be following her if you aren’t already. Eden is in Uganda at the moment, for World Vision Australia, and her photos and posts about what she’s seeing and the people she’s meeting are something quite magical. That she’s there doing that makes me all kinds of thankful and happy. Go Eden!
11. My messy bedroom. A strange thing to be thankful for? Perhaps. But I know how good I’ll feel once I get in there and sort it out later, so it’s on the list.
12. This year of struggle and challenge. I wrote about a particular low point here yet I’m so damn thankful that this year panned out the way it did. All of it, the ups and the downs. I’m grateful.
13. This year of joy, reflection, quiet time and goodness. I have experienced so much kindness and goodness from people. I’ll always be thankful for that. You guys rock! Yes you, especially you, the ones I’ve never laid eyes on, who have been such vessels of kindness and encouragement to me. I’m not going to stop saying thank you.
14. Ms Pip Lincolne, bloggy cheery lass from Meet Me At Mike’s makes the list, because this year I’ve been her willing student, in Blog With Pip, Inspiration Information and Inspiration Information For Bloggers. Each course has taught me more than I anticipated and her tutelage has made this very blogging caper happen. Thanks Pip! Aside from being a great teacher, and a super talented lady, Pip is just happy being herself. Authentic, nothing more, nothing less. I like that about her.
15. My home. It’s my sanctuary, refuge and refueling station and I love it. I love it’s creaky floorboards and the way the breeze picks up the lace curtains in my hallway. I love having a place that is all mine, even if I don’t own it.
16. That I’m free to vote on Saturday in our state election. Even if I think there are only turds to choose between, the freedom and responsibility of making my voice heard is a privilege I am grateful for.
17. Painting. I am loving exploring the worlds of colour and effect that you can achieve with a brush, a palette, a sheet of paper and a cup of water.
18. Coffee. I love coffee. I’m thankful that in the not-too-distant future I should have enough money to get my beloved Nespresso machine fixed. Huzzah!
19. Gosh, this is getting a bit harder now – I’m thankful that I have so many things to be thankful for, and this list is making me ponder lots of them. Ha!
20. This quote. I totally agree. Do you? How’s your quest going?
21. My friends, those who had the patience to let me be evasive, insular, mistrustful and plain weird, as I worked my way to being loving and open with them. Thank you for biding your time and putting so much into wanting to be my friend. I love you for it.
22. The internet – specifically a few social media sites where I’ve found really great and inspiring people and perspectives. Thank you Instagram. Thank you Twitter, thank you often maligned Facebook. I still love you, whatever your wacky algorithms are doing to us and our demand to reach thousands of people for FREE.
23. My brain. It’s a crowded place, but I’m so thankful for the way I think, the ways I’ve come to think the way I do, for the mysteries and marvellous things it does for me everyday. Walking, seeing, my sense of smell, all that under the hood stuff. For instance – touch typing, I mean, wow, I can type so fast and don’t have to think about it at all now. Well done brain!
24. I love you Number 24. You’re my favourite one. I like your numberliness, your lines and curves, your evenness, your sequentiality. Mwah. I love it when I see you around the place. Street numbers, signs, menu items.
25. Music. I love, love, LOVE music. I love pop music, I love The Love Boat theme, I even love lipsyncing to Whitney Houston (watch it, you’ll LOVE it!). I adore Our Kylie, early Madonna, U2, The Doobie Brothers, Sting, The Beatles, I love so many different singers. Thank you musicians of the world for providing the soundtrack to my life.
26. Oh, I’m sad that I’m running out of numbers. I am thankful that I know how to be exceedingly SILLY. It is so good to just be a FOOL sometimes. See above lipsync for an example. Don’t take yourself so seriously okay? Pull a face, dance at the supermarket, nobody cares, and if anyone really gets upset by a bit of tomfoolery, you’re better off without them.
I’m really super grateful that I can think of way more than 27 things to be thankful for. How good is that?
27. Lastly, for today, I am thankful to you for reading my blog. It means so much to me. I am so happy to be a blogger. Truly. It’s so ace here. I don’t care about the talk about competitiveness and nastiness and the ‘popular’ kids – I just don’t buy into it. I don’t need to. I love my blog, I love the blogs I follow. Live and let blog, I say!
So, there are 27 things that make me say THANKS. I hope that you can think of 27 things that make you happy and grateful.
Feel free to share a few in the comments. I’d love to know what is making you joyful.
Tonight I am blogging from the Gold Coast, where I’m attending the ProBlogger Training Event, which is being hosted at the very swanky QT Hotel.
I’ve met, hugged and shared chats and champagne with a group of awesome girls that I know through Blog With Pip, fabulous bloggers from Queensland, from Western Australia, from the middle of Straya, from further afield than that… it’s been a huge day.
I came face to face with Eden of Edenland in the airport toilets and my bloggy pals and I jumped Mrs Woog at the QT Hotel lifts this afternoon. How I did not get in that group selfie I still don’t know. I got a hug though!
And as I retired for the evening, having enjoyed margaritas and catching up with blogging friends, I met this lovely lady in the lift.
It’s going to be a HUGE weekend, I hope my brain is ready for all the awesome information that’s on offer. I know my heart’s ready for all the cool bloggers I’m going to meet and be inspired by.
Look out for lots of photos and snippets on social media, and I may use the #pipsterbomb hashtag for a bit of fun, photo bombs, hug bombs, the good stuff.