Name: Lucy Nicholls
Blog URL: www.shinythoughts.net
What is your blog about? Fun stuff! The places I visit, the interesting things I get up to with friends and what I wear, all loosely based around my personal sporty and colourful style and illustrated with lots of pretty photos! The aim is to make every reader feel positive and ideally leave with a smile!
Is this your first blog? It’s my first and probably only personal blog – I can barely keep up with one!
When did you start your current blog? May 2009 in the summer holiday just before Uni.
What made you do it? When applying for Fashion Promotion courses I heard that most of them ran a ‘set up your own blog’ project. Being the sort of competitive person I am, I decided I’d get in there early and start mine right away in the hope I’d have a bit of a following come September! Turns out we never had to start one but it paid off none the less.
What was your first blog post about? Oh Jesus I dread to think! * checks blog * I’m not sure that my first posts still exist but I can see that I posted about one of my Art Foundation course projects as, back then, I used to focus a lot more on exhibitions and my own work. I hate the fact that my photos were so small and that I centred my text but it’s not as cringe-worthy as I thought it might be! ;)
What do you think is the most useful tool to you as a blogger? Ooh tricky, maybe passion? Coupled with a voice? What I mean is that if you don’t really really want and love to express yourself, then you won’t have anything to stand on. You won’t have content, which is the most important thing to concentrate on. In terms of physical tools, it has to be my Canon 550d and Adobe Bridge and Photoshop all combined. They’re not useful, they’re a necessity, I wouldn’t blog without them!
Do people in your “real life” know about your blog? Yep! My parents jolly well know about it as they don’t see me most of the time – I’m always sat at my laptop or off out somewhere taking photos! Friends know about it, some read it and keep track of my life that way, others don’t get it at all but it doesn’t really make any difference to any relationship. I try not to constantly share or shout about it to friends and family, I don’t want to annoy anyone. If they chance up on it and like it, that’s what will hopefully make them come back!
If yes, has your blog helped you career wise? Undoubtedly yes! I started monetising my blog fairly quickly and naturally created relationships to an extent that when I left uni and didn’t know what the devil to do with myself (real life? What?) I was able to live off freelance projects generated entirely from contacts and other people finding my blog and seeing my various skills. I have a portfolio section on the site and the content speaks for itself so I got offers of visual merchandising jobs, styling, prop making and photography.
Then, once I got my act together and finally applied for a full time job at ASOS Fashion Finder, I got it and later got confirmation that seeing my transferable skills of entrepreneurship as well as design and visual abilities on my blog, was what helped secure my position.
What has been the one thing (blog post, project, etc) you’ve been really proud of? Ooh well I was just so delighted to have been taken on a Press Trip to Morocco a few months ago. It just blew me away, I just could not believe that I was eligible for such treatment and I don’t think I’ll have any perk as good as that again! I was very proud to be recognised as a quality blogger, not a blogger who has millions of hits for posing in itsy bitsy clothes but for shooting beautiful photos and writing with integrity I suppose!
Where do you see your blog in a year? Yikes! Well, I hope to see it being recognised more widely and be named as an influential blog, known for its photography, colourful style niche and lifestyle aspect. I hope to have even more interesting opportunities such as travelling or other outside projects. I see a redesign! Hopefully it will be responsive on devices and have some cool techy updates. You never know, I might be part of a collective of Bloggers between friends, there might be Youtube, you just don’t know what direction the forefront of style blogging will take!
What do you wish you knew when starting your blog? I wish I knew about SEO optimisation, how to make your blog look good, how to take photos, all the major tips that now saturate the internet but were rare 4 years ago. That way, I could have really upped my game early and gained those key followers and recognition. It was all about getting in there early!
What do you wish you know about now? I’d like to know even more about SEO optimisation and how to make your blog look good! Haha I’d love a guru to sit me down and tell me everything I should do to make my blog better in every way from which widget is best for this and who I should get to design that. Ideally swallowing a pill that makes me html fluent would be great too. I can of course do that ‘research’ thing but ain’t got time for that!
How do you keep motivated to post? Who knows! I’m a motivated person anyway, once I get a hobby, I stick to it! I think day to day it’s all about wanting to take nice photos, coupled with a fear of missing a moment. Then once I’ve got the photos, of course I want to see them edited and then I want to share them. It’s completely personal, I never really think of anyone else and it’s a bit of a passionate circle of keeping on top of publishing my life in that sense.
In terms of motivated in the long term, it’s harder, but when you hear about a fellow blogger who’s achieved something incredible or your peer gets a new feature on their blog I think ‘hmm! Shit, I had better up my game!’ That’s when I think of myself from other peoples points of view and remember that I would love to be one of the best! A bit of fear, a kick up the bum and lots of organisation never hurts!