We are super excited to be launching a new series all about the people who make Blogtacular awesome…the ticket holders! We’ve lined up a great series of posts profiling these incredibly creative bloggers and what makes their blogs tick. First up in our series is the fantastically crafty Claire Wilson from Claireabellemakes
Thanks so much, Claire, for agreeing to be interviewed! First up, tell our readers a bit about yourself and your blog:
I’m Claire and I live and work in Cambridge. I work 9-5
as a PA and 5-midnight as a blogger and creator. I run my blog alongside an Etsy store
and craft events company. I ride my bike everywhere (because I can’t drive and it’s ace), obsess over my persian cat, and have an unhealthy collection of stationery. I like to write about crafts, handmade goodies and my life in Cambridge.
What made you decide to start blogging in the first place?
I had been reading blogs for a while and wanted a taste of what it was like to be the author. I have always taken an interest in writing (I once aspired to be a journalist) and blogging was a way to share my interests with like minded individuals. When I started I had no idea where it would take me and I liked the sense of the unknown, a journey as such. I was at a moment of change in my life and I wanted it to lead me to new adventures and connections.
What has been your biggest blogging challenge?
One the biggest challenges for me is writing more personal posts. I almost always feel nervous when I write a more vulnerable post, or if I share a personal story. Just after Christmas I wrote about blogger/business burnout and although cathartic, it was a post I read so many times before I hit publish! Saying that, those posts are the ones that receive the most comments and that people tend to connect with more. I guess as I also blog for my business, I am reluctant to show a weaker side of myself.
Over your time blogging, what has been your biggest blogging success? It could be an award, a post that you think really struck a chord or just a “YES!” moment from your blogging experience?
It’s hard to find one thing as blogging can be such a rollercoaster and sometimes it is the little things that mean the most. I guess the biggest success for me is working with other bloggers and brands I admire, and receiving emails from readers. Just knowing there are people out there that appreciate what you are doing is a reward in itself. Saying that, one of my handmade products recently appeared on the TV and sharing that with my blog readers felt like a celebration.
Tell us about your blogging routine. Do you use an editorial calendar? Do you plan in advance or blog it as it happens?
My current posting schedule is Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I plan one month in advance on an editorial calendar and write my posts 1-2 weeks ahead of schedule. I am a huge filofax/organisation geek, so I use blogging as an excuse to buy pretty planners and stationery. Obviously my schedule is sometimes fluid as different opportunities arise, but I like to have a plan for the weeks ahead. That way I can entice my followers with teasers and sneak peeks. As I also run a store alongside my blog, the marketing strategy for that has to fit into my blog schedule so I can announce new products and events to my readers in time for holidays.
We’d love to see and hear about where you blog…
A couple of years ago, we converted our spare room into a studio for my business. I have a large desk which is where I blog from and usually the cat sits behind me snoring on the arm chair. There’s always a pot of posh tea. Having a space that is just mine is great for motivation and inspiration. It is where I take most of my blog post images too as there is plenty of natural light. However, if I’m working on a DIY post, you may also find me shooting a spray painting project in the garden in my PJs or standing on a garden chair to get a shot – my neighbours probably think I’m crazy.
What are your blogging goals for 2015?
I’ll be entering my 3rd year of blogging and I have 3 goals for the year. The first is to connect more with bloggers I admire. Already started this with some fab guest bloggers sharing content for me in the next month or so. I want to cultivate more relationships and build a supportive community amongst my readership. The second is to attend more events (EEEE BLOGTACULAR IN JUNE!) and the third is to start video content. That one scares me most as I can imagine it will be shoddy when I start. Plus it will take me forever to learn and although I’m productive, I don’t have a lot of free time.
If you could give new bloggers one top tip, what would it be?
Work really bloody hard. Don’t half ass it. Be consistent and you’ll see results. Start a conversation with other bloggers. Be the go to person for something in your niche.
What made you push the “Buy Now” button on your ticket for Blogtacular 2015?
Last year I missed out as it clashed with the boyfriend’s 30th birthday, so this time I got an early bird ticket yay! I grabbed a virtual conference ticket after the 2014 conference and was so inspired by all the talks and write ups of the weekend. I knew the only thing that could make it better was getting to meet my favourite online pals IRL. I may have a few fangirl moments. Now I just need to plan my outfit and notebook/pen purchases for the day #geek. I watched the virtual conference
and it motivated me so much. Inspired me to push even further towards my goals. Made me jealous I wasn’t there in person. The balloon photo walk images made me want to tie balloons to everything.
How has blogging changed your life?
Cheesy moment alert, it helped me find my dreams and passions and I discovered who I am. I began when I was approaching 30, had no idea what I wanted to do and felt a bit lost after completing a Masters. Creating and writing has given me a purpose and drive I didn’t have before. I’ve found people who love the same things as me. I have made amazing friends who email every day and discovered Google Hangout pyjama parties with my bestie blogger pals. Blogging has made life more inspiring and has pushed me out of my comfort zone. I probably couldn’t function as a suitable member of society without it now.
Which 3 blogs do you read every week without fail?