Yesterday I went on a little adventure and so, good blogger that I am. I shall now regale you with the tale.
It was a freezing cold morning in Melbourne town, the temperature had dipped below zero, and yet, when my alarm went off, I gladly threw back the covers and readied myself for an outing.
What force could draw me from my cosy, cosy bed, out into the frosty morning light?
A meet-up! I was off to meet some of the people I’d done an online course with precisely one year ago.
You won’t be shocked to hear that the course was facilitated by author, blogger, maker, doer and be-er (may not be an actual word) of all things crafty and ace, Pip Lincolne. This course was called Inspiration Information and it was a month long adventure into unlocking your creativity.
We created collages, we painted, we used pastels and pencils, we read books and watched documentaries and discovered old crochet projects. We created little studios on our dining room tables or in the living room. We talked about loads of creative people, from Patti Smith to Sister Mary Corita.
It really was inspiring and informative, every single time I logged in to the course, I was encouraged to try something new, and to disregard my inner critic’s sly words about things being childlike or wrong or not very good. Creativity is good, in and of itself. That’s what sticks with me.
We chose the NGV for our meeting place, which turned out to be absolutely perfect. Where better for a group of people who met exploring creativity, than the National Gallery of Victoria?
Tables were snagged, hugs were exchanged and we spent a couple of hours getting to know each other, face to face. Deanna organised the day, and she, Carolyn, Emily, Karen and I had a ball.
We talked about creativity, about books, about Pip (the general consensus being, we are PRO-PIP!), we talked about our families, kids, parents and parenting.
We talked about literary speed dating (who knew that was a thing?) and making space for creative pursuits.
We talked about drawing and dealing with cranky people, the tyranny of housework and being consumed by the mundane. I believe I uttered this decree: “Fuck skirting boards!”.
We talked about how creativity is part of our everyday lives.
The BEST part of the morning was how easy it was. We already knew each other from the online classroom and our Facebook group, but it was wonderful to translate that to chatting over coffees and chai teas.
As we sat chatting, I looked around at the interesting, diversely experienced women I was with, and thought about how enriched I am by the time I spend tap-tap-tapping on Facebook or here on the blog. To sign up to an online course about creativity may seem strange, but I think the old adage is true – you get out what you put in.
I am certain that each of us would say that Inspiration Information gave us amazing gifts. I wish I’d asked everyone that question now. Oh, why don’t I? Hey, if you read this girls, tell us what II meant to you in the comments please.
As we hugged and planned our next catch up, I decided to explore the gallery, as I hadn’t visited for a few years.
It was WONDERFUL.
If you’re in Victoria, or visiting, you must come. There’s so much inspiration and beauty, and diversity in the NGV collection.
Here are some of the works that caught my eye.
I lingered for a while in this space, it really is something to sit in front of a wall if works painted hundreds of years ago.
Oh, these ladies are exquisite.
This Turner stopped me in my tracks, I actually turned around and came back to it… so, so beautiful. The photo does it very little justice. So much happening in the colours and brush strokes.
This was painted in 1845. Yesterday, 170 years later, it caught my eye as I passed it and drew me in.
That’s nothing sort of incredible.
The moral of the story here… create, you never know where it might lead you, or who will be drawn in by it 170 years from now.
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.
My first ProBlogger conference is now officially over, but I know I’m going to be spending many days sorting through all the FEELINGS and information that was #pbevent.
I met some great people, including a few ace bloggers I’ve connected with online over the past few years. I got hugs from #Pipsters I’ve known since this whole blogging adventure began. I enjoyed myself, I felt challenged, I cried – which is hardly surprising to most of you who’ve been here before I’m sure, I laughed, I felt at home and all at sea…
I know this for sure. I am 100% glad that I took such a big risk, with a four week old blog, and bought my ticket.
This advice sums up the conference for me:
So I plan to keep trying, to keep blogging, to be authentic in whatever I post here….. and that’s about all I can tell you for now.
Thanks for liking my many Instagram posts and tweets this weekend.
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.
Isn’t it funny how on a bad day, seemingly small things can send you into a tailspin?
When I used my last egg and scraped the last mayo out of the jar this week, the abyss opened up, and I was a mess.
Is my cupboard bare? No, it isn’t. There’s good stuff in there. Stuff I can easily turn into simple, tasty meals. But on Thursday, there were no more eggs, there was no more mayo – and I knew I did not have enough money to buy both, and wouldn’t have, for at least two weeks. I’m unemployed at the moment, so money is tight.
It is a confronting thing to realise you can’t afford basic things, items which Toby from The West Wing (god I love that show) calls ‘the everyday things, the 99 cent things’. The things we take for granted, like eggs, and mayonnaise.
As the last shell went in the bin, I cracked too.
People sometimes say that there’s no kindness left in the world, or that it is hard to come by. Some days that seems true, some of us just don’t have our eyes open to see it, but I can tell you, Thursday was not a kindness-free-day for me.
In my increasing agitation, I took to the keyboard, to vent about feeling sad, stuck and vulnerable. Not a public broadcast, a conversation in a group of people I felt pretty sure I could trust. The group I chose was the one I’ve been spending the most time in lately, my Pipsters. From here in Melbourne, and in far-flung places from Spain to England to America, these awesome ladies, my homies, my Pipsters PICKED ME UP with the tap, tap, tapping on their keyboards, and created a safe space where I could talk about feeling humiliated by my lack, and frightened of not getting through the next fortnight.
They encouraged me, empathised with me and didn’t gloss over what I was saying, which is so important when someone is having a shit day. Let the person in Shitsville say it is shitful. It is. Don’t rush to “the sun’ll come out tomorrow”. We all know it will.
What the temporary residents of Shitsville need, what I needed, was listening ears and compassionate hearts.
Boy was I in the right place. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.
There were so many tears, and as I sat at my desk, talking in real time with people, feeling the support and solidarity, reading about how other people have been in my shoes, I was being broken open, my emotional pressure valve hissing and spluttering out the worries of the week.
It may sound utterly bizarre to you (it does to me) but blogging is bringing battered old passions to the surface, it is causing me to be more open, authentic and vulnerable, with the people I am creating an online community with, and with myself…. it is strange, and sometimes painful, but it feels exhilarating too. Being fully alive isn’t about feeling only good things. Neither is blogging!
After I’d been chatting with the Pipsters for a while, I felt a bit better, then a lot better, and so, so tired. All that crying takes it out of you. I woke up the next day feeling completely different. Nothing had changed, but I was no longer weighed down with worry. I was buoyed by people sharing ads for jobs they’d seen and thought I’d rock at, there were links to sites that might help, people shared mayo recipes requiring only two ingredients, people encouraged me, people SAW ME, unvarnished and broken, and not one person turned away, or blithely told me to ‘get a job’ or that what I was feeling was invalid. That’s priceless stuff. Human stuff. That’s community.
Today I can write this from a totally different mindset than the one I was stuck in two days ago. Today’s tears are of gratitude. I am not ashamed of my tears. They are softening me, inside and out.
This week I learned a new lesson about what I’d term humiliation – a feeling I despise with all my being. Maybe what I know as humiliation – a deeply painful, confronting and devastating state of mind and soul, holds within it a chance to be more authentic with people, more vulnerable and ready to say, I need help. Try saying that, even in your mind, I need help. It’s not easy is it?
And yet, we all need it. I need help. You need it. Your sister, your dad, the guy on the bus, the shiny people on magazine covers, who we’re supposed to worship and believe ‘have it all’, the crafters, the ‘successful’ folks we admire and maybe envy a touch, even them – we all need help every now and then. Maybe not every day, maybe not to buy eggs or mayonnaise, but sooner or later, Mayonnaise-Gate happens to all of us.
How GRATEFUL I am that when I was ready to say, even just from the ‘safety’ of my computer, that I needed help, that people were there to listen and to encourage me. That was the help I needed most on Thursday afternoon. Help to be honest, help to be vulnerable and let my emotions out.
Can I exist only in the virtual world? No I can’t. I need my flesh and blood friends too, I need to trust them when the chips are down (or gone!), as I do in the good times. I am undone by friends who demonstrate their love in ways that resonate.
Some cheer my efforts at blogging on, or remind me that Don’t Stop Believin‘ is my ultimate theme song.
Some friends do this with their words, their care, their support and encouragement, their precious time.
Some do it with groceries, or a supermarket voucher.
Some give me money that I know they could have used to buy their own eggs and mayonnaise.
I have friends that take the time to read and comment on my fledgling blog, or come over with pizza.
The yet-unmet-friends who spoke life into my situation this week, wow, thank you.
The pal who asked me how I was on Instagram, and I decided to tell her the truth, which resulted in us having a great chat, she’s sending help. I’ve never met her.
One yet-unmet-friend from Blog With Pip, who sent me a message on Friday asking me where I live, is dropping off help this afternoon.
A lovely friend took me to dinner, paid for my meal, and a second glass of wine, and helped me out, again.
The friend I met in a West Elm store, who I’m enjoying getting to know, said she’ll buy me a coffee next week.
There’s no hierarchy involved. The friends who offer practical support aren’t ‘better’ than the friends who offer a listening ear and words of encouragement. They know that, I certainly know it. We all play our part.
Sometimes we buy the eggs, sometimes we listen and send virtual hugs.
What I’ve learned this week is that kindness isn’t at all like mayonnaise – it doesn’t run out when the jar is empty.
In fact, sometimes that empty jar is a portal to an outpouring of kindness that lays you flat with gratitude.
That’s why I’m not about to stop believin’. Even when mayonnaise makes me cry.
What can I get you? Coffee, tea, perhaps a vodka, lime & soda? Whether you’re one of my six awesome Bloglovin’ followers, a Facebook or real life pal, or have ended up here via Meet Me At Mike’s – you’re more than welcome.
Having just graduated from the amazing Blog With Pip course, the lovely Ms Lincolne has invited her students to this linky ‘A Cup of Tea With Me’ party at her place. While I’m strictly a coffee loving girl, if you need a milky chai to get you by, go for your life. Pull up a chair, I’d love it if you wanted to stay a while and chat.
For those who haven’t been here before, my name is Annette and I’m the girl madly pulling the levers, great and powerful Oz style, at I Give You The Verbs. She’s the new kid in blog town, so she’s often hanging out by the front gate, waving at the neighbours and seeing if anyone wants to play.
Here are five fascinating factoids about me:
I live in the best city of them all, Melbourne town. I remember the 1980s with immense fondness – the music, the fashion, and the awesome John Hughes films.
IKEA is my happy place. When I was in Grade 2 (I think it was 2) we had a school excursion to my backyard, because my dad was, and is, an avid bird lover and we had really big aviaries full of tweeting, flapping, colourful birds for my classmates to admire. Oh, the sweet smell of street cred….. what a moment! I have tied-for-first-place girl crushes on CJ and Donna from The West Wing.
Blogging is pretty new to me, and I am really enjoying working out what I want my little patch of the interweb to be, from how it looks (I’m not a swirly pastels girly girl) to what kinds of things I’ll share. It’s got a bric-a-brac market stall vibe at the moment – things I like, things I’ve baked, and posts on some of the stuff that tumbles around my noggin. These things include Instagram fun, GTKY posts like this one, and other musings, like this one about LoveChild. My blog’s tagline – Wanderings, Wonderings and Words, sums it up pretty well.
I’ve wanted to have a blog for quite a long time – I dipped my toe in a while ago, but it didn’t stick. What I didn’t know then, but am convinced of now, is that I needed a fairy-blogmother aka Pip Lincolne to teach me, encourage me, show me the ropes, encourage me some more, answer my eleventy billion questions and remind me to Just Start! I also needed the awesome group of Pipsters I have met via the course to be my travellin’ pals and sisters in blogging. We’re rocking the #Pipsters hashtag like a virtual Pink Ladies gang, and I love it.
By the way, my blog’s catchy tagline – Wanderings, Wonderings and Words – wasn’t my work, it’s one of many gifts I received from my fairy-blogmother Pip – credit where credit is due, it’s easy and nice to do.
And that’s the story of how I Give You The Verbs went from a jumbled dream in my head to a real live blog, bobbing around in cyberspace.
Thanks for taking the time to have a cuppa with me. You’re welcome back anytime, feel free to bring a friend and stay for lunch.