Millennipost

1000th post fingers side

I was about to start this post – my 1,000th! – with something trite like, “Hard to believe, eh?” but I’m retracting that, because I can totally believe it!  I was here for all 1,000 posts, and they didn’t just magically compose themselves out of thin air.  This blog is the product of a lot of hard – but so fun – daily work and I’m tremendously proud of all that I’ve built up over the past two and a half years.

I recently read that the failure rate for blogs is on par with that of opening a restaurant. That means roughly 90 percent of bloggers tap out within the first three months to a year of start-up.  It’s an approximate number born out by my own experience – with the exception of a handful of lovely followers (oh, how I loathe that term; no cult leader am I) that have, to my great delight and wonderment, made this blog one of their second virtual homes, most readers come and go within six months.

So how have I persisted while others have already closed up (or abandoned) shop?

1. It sounds like a real no-brainer, but centre your blog around something you feel passionately about. It doesn’t particularly matter if what you feel passionately about is animal welfare or world politics or poetry or nail art or constructing elaborate miniature dioramas of the Globe Theatre populated entirely by hamsters in velveteen period costumes – if it holds your interest and you’re having fun sharing that interest with others, you’ll blog to do precisely that.

2. Don’t take shit from others.  I’ve learned that the act of blogging – particularly silly old beauty blogging – is a lightning rod for some people to tell you how and why you’re wasting your life and bandwidth.  The me of years’ back probably would have folded pretty quickly under the critical gaze of others, but the me of today refuses to be chased away from something she loves because it doesn’t look like someone else’s definition of a “proper” undertaking.  Don’t allow your blogging efforts to be derailed by a judgmental few.

3. Never stop learning.  Whether it’s keeping abreast of the latest updates to your blogging platform, learning new techniques, teaching yourself relevant computer programs, trying out new products and vendors or whatever the heck aligns with your blog, never stop trying to understand the (virtual) world around you.  Keep things fresh and interesting and it’s something you’ll want to return to every day.

4. Get involved in the community.  Blogging does not occur in a vacuum.  Cultivate online (and maybe even real life) friendships with like-minded bloggers and you’ll come to think of your online space as more than just a place for you to dump your random thoughts.

And to that end,

5. Have something to say.  Or do or display or demonstrate or show off or any one of the other thousands of action-oriented verbs in the English language.  Using your blog as a public diary can be cathartic, sure, and I’m not trying to diminish the importance of getting your thoughts out in the world and off your mind, but in terms of blog sustainability, we all eventually run out of things to say (just not apparently me.)  Tying your blog and your writing to some other product you’ve created gives you a built-in subject, and a jumping off point for other tangential discussions (it’s how I get away with talking about The Lost Boys every 27th post.)

So there, some hopefully wise words of blogging advice from an old timer who’s been there, done that, forgotten how the stupid saying actually goes.  As always, thank you to the enthusiastic supporters (that’s so much better than “follower,” right?) who always have a kind and friendly word, and who make this space such a fun and enjoyable place to call MY second home.  Here’s to the next 1,000!

1000th post fingers front

 

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500th Post!

500 Finger CandyMy little blog is celebrating a big milestone today in the form of its 500th post, and I’m marking the occasion with these nails that draw inspiration from both its candy-coated background image and header. Five hundred posts is nothing to thumb your nose at, especially when you consider that those 500 posts span just 15 months and encompass over 600 unique manicures. That works out to just a year and a smidge of near-daily blogging and nail art-related activities, and that, my friends, is bananas.

Ask just about any blogger, and no matter the subject of their blog or their area of interest, they’ll invariably tell you that the hardest part of blogging is sticking to a routine schedule of frequent posts. Daily blogging seems like the unicorn of the blog scene, a glittery, mythical animal often invoked, but rarely seen. It’s also a roadblock to creativity in which bloggers stagger to play catch-up on what they feel they should be doing as opposed to what they could be doing.

But I apparently do not suffer from that problem! And so for those of you wondering how I can keep at it nearly every day (after day), these tips are for you:

1. It helps tremendously if you already have an affinity for writing. If you enjoy writing, you’ll enjoy blogging – it’s that aggravatingly simple. I’m lucky in that it comes to me quite naturally, both by training (university degree in journalism) and habit (lifelong journaller and storyteller/writer), but it really needn’t be anything so formal. E-mails to friends, grocery lists, scribbles in greeting cards and notes to a colleague are examples of the writing you already do every day. Expand that into a bit of frequent stress-relieving journalling and you’re halfway there. Find the simple joy in writing, and you’ll want to share the blog love daily.

2. To that end, keep it casual. A lot of bloggers seem to get tremendously tripped up on the mechanics of writing itself, editing and formalizing their posts to the nth degree until they seem like something mashed together and spit up by a Speak & Spell on downers. Correct spelling and proper grammar are absolutely paramount, but if you’re lacking the human touch, people won’t want to read and you won’t want to write. Blogging shouldn’t be a burden of rules and “you should”s. Relax a bit and let some of your personality shine through. If you’re having fun blogging, you’ll want to do it every day.

3. Have something to say for yourself. And by that I mean have a purpose to your blog. My blog is (ostensibly) about nail art, nail polish and the many, many manis I have created over the past year and a half, although I frequently (some may say too frequently) use those manicures as a jumping off point to gab about my cats, my family, things in the news, nostalgic old lady stuff – you know, life. The manicures might seem like they’re incidental to the storytelling, but they actually play a pretty vital role in maintaining this wee little blogging enterprise – I write about the manicures I create, both from a technical standpoint and a more rambling, “Where the hell is she going with this?” storytelling standpoint, and in return I’m often inspired by something in my writing to create a new manicure. It’s all very “I blog, therefore I am.” But it’s just one of those truths that if you have an activity, a purpose, tied to your blog that your creativity can feed and feed from, as opposed to some nebulous “I’m just going to talk about whatever strikes my fancy,” it’ll make showing up every day to talk about it that much easier and desirable.

4. Much like going to the gym, if you can just drag your ass over to the computer, you’ve won half the battle. Sometimes all it takes is to simply sit there and see what shakes down. It’s not very glamorous, but then again, neither is blogging (although I dunno, the jammies I sit around in all day are pretty fly…)!

5. Break your posts up into bite-sized bits of goodness. In the interest of not spamming their readers, a lot of bloggers overload their posts, leading to epic poem-length missives on every single thing that has happened in their corner of the blogging sky for the past two weeks. That’s a lot of information for readers to take in and too much information for bloggers to be putting out. It’s the blogging equivalent of a 2,000-word story with no paragraph breaks. But if you parse out some of those thoughts, condense others and split things up into a few different posts, it’ll be easier and more enjoyable for both you and your audience. Better still, if you mete those newly separated posts out a bit over the week, you’ll be developing a nice little daily blogging habit, which is the whole point of this post!

Bottom line? In the immortal words of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, RELAX. Writing, blogging, taking pictures of our activities and adventures? None of these things are so serious that we can’t have a bit of fun with them. Try to find the fun, joy and purpose in your blog – little things that don’t cost a cent – and you’ll want to show up every day to share them with your readers. Happy blogging!

400th Post Retrospective

400th PostIn about a month this blog will be celebrating its first year of existence. At the same time I’ll be marking a personal milestone, pouring one out for myself in celebration of one year of close-to-daily writing, blogging and nail art pursuits. I danced recreationally for close to 20 years, half of that time with the same company, so I understand what it means to stick with something for the long haul. But I’m still sort of amazed and, quite frankly, impressed when I contemplate the 400 some-odd manis I’ve done over the past 365 days, to say nothing of the written words that have flowed there from. Where did I find the inspiration to do that many manicures? Or more accurately, where did I find the time to paint my nails that many times? And how could I possibly have had that much to say about nail art?

While providing no real answers to those questions, this post, my 400th, bears out my obsessive/casual approach to writing, blogging and nail art and how the three have come together to form a most enjoyable pursuit that’s just structured enough to keep me engaged and on task, while still allowing me the freedom to float around in more creative spheres. I’m lucky enough to have found that perfect mix of “I should do this” and “I want to do this” that has brought me to this 400th post, so maybe I shouldn’t question it so much and just go with the (nail polish) flow? Sounds like a non-plan. Here’s to the next 400!

For these festive nails celebrating my blog’s quadricentennial post, I topped two coats of Cirque’s marigold-hued Chyrsopoeia with one coat of Nails Inc.’s Graffiti in Old Street.

Challenge Yourself

OMD2

It occurred to me today that in the nearly 12 months I’ve been doing this nail art thang, I haven’t taken part in a single 30-day challenge. For any of you nail art noobs out there, a 30-day challenge is about as self-explanatory as it gets – another blogger or group of bloggers or even yourself if you’re feeling kind of masochistic lay out a collection of themes over the month, one a day, and you paint your nails accordingly.  And then share them, of course, so others can bask in your creativity and you can bask in theirs.  I’m in the habit of painting my nails and blogging just about every day, so daily acetone-inhalation is not quite as big a deal for me as it might be for others who only post every now and then, but I love it when someone else does the thinking for me, so I’ll join up and follow the leader! Or leaders, plural, in this case, as this particular challenge, Oh Mon Dieu (Part 2), was conceived of and is being hosted by the fine ladies of Craftynail, Brijits Digits, Eeeek! Nail Polish! and Nail That Accent.

I was busy being Canadian yesterday (if you don’t have a cottage, that means you sit in the sweltering heat in front of a fan with a Caesar in one hand and a Molson in the other, watching The Trailer Park Boys on endless, drunken repeat) so I’m already a day off the pace, but looking to catch up quickly. Should you wish to join in on all the lacquered fun (there’s prizes!), it’s as simple as following the themes (every day or just those of your choosing) and remembering to share and share alike. For a more comprehensive list of the “rules and regulations” of Oh Mon Dieu (Version 2.0), please click here. Best of luck and happy nail art-ing, polished peeps!

300th Post Celebration Nails

300th Post Celebration Nails

In a few minutes, after I’ve run one final spellcheck and hit the publish button (whoops, my pinkie finger slipped and I almost typed that as “publixxx” – looks like that check may have been necessary after all!) I will have wrapped production on my 300th blog post. I haven’t been blogging for very long (eight months), and I’ve been working on my nail art skills for only a couple of months longer than that, but for some reason, when the two areas come together, I become quite prolific. Like, 300 posts in eight months prolific. And with the exception of two or three throwback galleries, every post has represented its own manicure; no do-overs, no duplications.

But apart from the pride that comes with knowing that I have produced 300 posts’ worth of not altogether unfortunate nail art is the simple joy I take from daily writing. I’ve been a writer my entire life, starting with my childhood Bill the Turtle short story series, then moving into a university degree in journalism, and finally winding up here with this blog. In between all that, I’ve been a near-lifelong, avid journaller (there is one entire Rubbermaid container in storage at my parents’ that contains nothing but the journals I kept through elementary school, high school and university.)

So it doesn’t exactly surprise me that I’ve been able to produce so many posts on the subject of nail art. Although, having said that, as I was discussing with my husband the other evening, my little nail blog is not exactly like all the other little nail blogs in that the nail art is actually sort of tangential to whatever discussion I’m having with myself about some event that inspired the nail art. It’s all very meta. Long story short, I am not the blog you seek out if you’re looking for swatches or gorgeous, macro shots of holographic glitter or thoughtful reviews. I mean, I dabble in all that stuff, and I always strive to make sure my content is indeed thoughtful, but I’m more about recalling how my new polish loaded with music note glitter reminds me of the time I fell off the top riser in band practice in grade 9 (true story.) Or Disney nails.

In the end, though, I suppose all that matters as a blogger is that you’re happy with your output and pleased to share your content, and 300 posts’ worth of that? Is certainly nothing to sneeze at. So I’m going to take a moment to cel-e-brate good times (come on!) with these fun, confetti cannon-type nails. Which hey, reminds me of a story…just kidding. 😉