Over my three years of blogging, I have discovered several blogging “must-haves.” For lifestyle bloggers in particular, blogging requires being open to our surroundings, capturing different moments and learning about different topics to communicate to our audiences. In between posts on food, travels, DIYs or career advice, we also share personal stories. We share our hearts and emotions, huge parts of ourselves to people we’ve never met online. This can be particularly stressful during the creative process, as we learn to gain confidence in our work and excitement to share it with others. But how do we reach a creative, insightful end product? A beautiful blog full of heart and soul and ideas to wow audiences?
It’s all about using your resources and creating the right environment for your blog to succeed. We all know that it takes more than writing to have a blog–it takes design, photography, marketing and much more behind-the-scenes work. It means living a creative life and gaining inspiration to make our blogs shine. Are you ready to do that? I hope these creative resources can help you in your blog journey, as they have done wonders for my own creativity!
1. A Camera and/or Camera Apps
Having high-quality photos can turn a good blog into a great blog. Having my trusty DSLR camera by my side has been so helpful for blog photos. I have the Canon T3i, which is a great DSLR to start off with. One of my good blogging friends, Annaliese, recently got a Canon 70D, which I tried out a couple weeks ago. It is another great option in the DSLR realm! But don’t think you need to have a DSLR to have great photos for your blog. Using a smartphone and apps like VSCOcam can produce amazing photography as well! I usually use a combination of iPhone photos and DSLR photos when shooting images for my blog. You get different effects, which are good to compare afterwards when editing photos.
2. A Quality Notebook & Pen
It took me awhile to realize that I needed a notebook specifically for blogging. My favorite notebooks right now are Moleskines, with blank pages inside. But I kind of have a notebook obsession, so I am always looking at new ones. If you are looking to find a good notebook for blogging ideas, check out one of my recent posts on how to find the perfect notebook for writers and designers. In the end, keeping all of my blog thoughts together in one place is so helpful to me. And keeping them in a notebook really helps the creative process since sometimes writing on paper is more refreshing than typing on my laptop.
3. The Adobe Creative Cloud
I am so glad that I signed up for the student edition of the Adobe Creative Cloud a couple years ago. Having access to Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign gives me so much flexibility over my blog photos and my blog design. While this is a considerable investment of $20/month (for students for the first year, and $30/month afterward), the convenience of having the software on my laptop is so worthwhile. The Creative Cloud also has access to many fonts (through Typekit) and different resources that makes learning new skills in the programs a lot of fun!
4. Blog Planners
I have been obsessed with Heart & Arrow’s blog planner that I bought myself as a Christmas present last year. Keeping organized with my posts, social media shares and blog inspiration gives me a plan for the week. A to-do list never fails to inspire me to get things done for my blog and also excites me to think of new ideas. It also forces me to think of my post variety and how often I am posting every week. I love the setup of the Heart & Arrow planner and the overall way it looks. Whitney has a funny way of making anything look amazing!
5. My JoTotes Camera Bag
This may not be a typical “blogging” tool, but my JoTotes Camera Bag is my sidekick in many blogging adventures–from going on a photo shoot to traveling with friends or going to blog meetups. I use this bag as a camera bag, but also a purse and travel bag. It has become the perfect bag for the creative traveler in me. Since blogging is not just about sitting in front of a computer screen, but rather living life out loud, this bag is a great item to have to stay cute, professional and practical when carrying around cameras, laptops, pens, notebooks and all our creative accessories!
6. Craft Supplies
After I realized the beautiful things you can create with scissors, paper, and glue, I knew crafting and scrapbooking would be one of my favorite hobbies. Then I realized, craft supplies make great blogging supplies. Whether that means doing a quick DIY post or using craft supplies for design inspiration, craft supplies make blog or Instagram photos more interesting and visually appealing. Getting out your box full of paper, glitter, washi tape, paint, pens, and tiny knicknacks can be the inspiration you need for something new and different with your blog.
7. A Favorite Creative Spot
Whether it’s sitting at a bench in a park, curled up on your couch or soaking in the sunshine through your kitchen window, having a designated place for blogging and creative work can help get new ideas flowing. It’s always nice to have an inspiring place that makes us feel like home. For me, I love decorating the walls in my room to inspire me, and I love working on the futon in our living room with the sun shining through the windows. Your place could be a coffee shop downtown or in a library. But it’s good to know what environments fuel us creatively and push us outside our comfort zones to create meaningful work for this world.
8. A Blogging Community
One of the most important things we must realize is that lifestyle blogging takes a community. It took me awhile to truly experience what getting involved in the blogging community looks like. But I could go on and on for days about how I love connecting to bloggers and getting to know them on a deeper level. Plus, being involved in communities gives us the support when we have blogging questions or technology problems or want to share some good news! Some of the communities I love are #fireworkpeople and The Peony Project. Also, the Her Campus Blogger Network is a great community for college students or recent grads, too.
What creative tools do you use on a regular basis? Do you have any must-haves for blogging?