Highlights & Milestones

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{Screenshot from my phone of when I hit my Twitter milestone.}


I started blogging August 1st, 2012 and it’s been quite a journey. I won’t go into much detail today about what I’ve learned thus far, that’s a post for another day, but I do want to talk about milestones. Suffice to say that for reasons mentioned here, I spent the bulk of my start doubting myself – a really nasty side effect when you’re a total perfectionist like I am. I wanted things to be perfect before I started promoting my site, particularly when you see the competition out there. I mean, there are some really great blogs in the world.

I’ve always been a writer in one form or another since I was really young. I had a passion for words and stories. I fondly recall making outlines for murder mysteries when I was a kid. I even remember sitting at our family computer (on Windows 95!) for hours writing chapters for a fictional novel. I kept journals on-and-off for years, and wrote another private blog just a few years before All That Glitters that I never told anyone about (though I guess I just did now).

When I was younger, I wanted to be a journalist and study journalism in college. I actually ended up in film school, but I that’s a long story. What’s pretty funny thinking back as I write this, is that out of all the cinematography, editing, and technical classes I took in film school, the classes that I loved most where either in screenwriting or film theory (which required a lot of interpretive writing about film – combining my love of writing with my love of cinema).

I had always been consistently told time and time again by my teachers and professors that I was a great writer. (This is not to brag, just to emphasize a point to come.)

So, writing wasn’t what held me back in the beginning, it was more or less learning about the “business” of blogging: how to make yourself stand out in a crowd of millions, how to promote yourself, how to develop an aesthetic and tone, how to shoot and edit more visually appealing photographs, how to create a blogging schedule, and most importantly, how develop engaging content (which takes more than being a good writer). Ultimately, it was these aspects that I was looking to perfect first and then put myself out there – what in the world was I thinking? Learning is all apart of the process when cultivating a hobby. Realistically, I know that there can’t be perfection, but you can learn to fine tune this train of thought into becoming more experienced, rather than perfect.

The point is that it’s an on-going learning process and one, that if you’re doing it right, will always be. If you’re perfect at something, then there’s no where for you to grow and wouldn’t that be kind of boring after a while?

What still surprises me out of the nearly 300 posts that I’ve written, is that the post where I took the plunge, bought a domain name, and shared a bit of my blogging journey at 10 months, is still my most commented post to-date. I got comments from many bloggers saying that they were going through the exact same thing. There’s that gentle reminder again that we’re all more alike than we think.

Yet, I have a confession to make. Yes, I did become more active in networking with other bloggers and building a community after that post – but no I can’t say that I was giving 110%. I started blogging as a hobby and initially, promoting my site after that post felt like work.

(I already have a full-time job, thank you!)

So while I kept blogging and sharing content, loosely networking with other bloggers, a more solid effort could have been made on my part. Some of that was due to my perfectionism trying to make my site more “perfect,” some just due to sheer laziness (it’s A LOT of work to promote anything – I don’t care what it is), some due to time constraints, but mostly because I wasn’t truly using the resources available to me.

I knew I wasn’t where I should be having been blogging for nearly 2 years! Let me preface that this was okay with me because it was (and is) just a hobby for the time being, but for some reason as of late, I wanted to take things to the next level.

So the biggest highlight of my week is blogging-related, when I made the conscious decision to really start networking more strongly and consistently with up-and-coming bloggers. I wanted to educate myself through other bloggers and blogging websites as well. I also set two milestones: 1.) more followers on Twitter, and 2.) more page views on any given day.

I met both milestones.

I doubled my Twitter following in a week and a half! The page views on my site have seen an improvement, and I was a Blogionaire on March 14th making it a great day on All That Glitters.

I hit my goal of 100 Twitter followers (and am now even over that!). To some this may seem pretty laughable, because if I really want to promote my site I need to be in the thousands, but the reason that I’m sharing this milestone is because it’s a testament to what you can do when you set your goal and go for it. No, my Google Analytics aren’t stellar by any means, but baby steps are okay. Blogging is supposed to be fun and it wouldn’t be for me if I got too wrapped up in those types of numbers.

I do often wonder how much further along I would be had I done what my original plan was. That plan was to blog for a month (to test commitment and build content first) and then start actively promoting it. This never happened. It took a year before I REALLY put All That Glitters out there and since I’m still writing about it – it’s taken even longer than that.

What I can tell you as I’m learning how to navigate the world of promotion more seriously on social media specifically, is that Twitter has been the biggest and best resource to meet others and build a following. Facebook is A way, but not THE way. In fact, I only keep a Facebook page for those who prefer to use this medium to follow me, otherwise, I’d likely cancel it. Twitter is much more open and active when it comes to networking – hearing from a complete stranger is common and welcomed, jumping into the middle of  a Twitter chat or Twitter party does wonders, and those annoying hash-tags (#) and retweets actually do something!

Though I consciously realize that there is no such thing as “perfect,” I suppose I have to accept that this is just part of who I am. I’ve been this way my whole life and it won’t likely change overnight. Admittedly, I like this about myself. It pushes me to always want to do and be better. However, I’m aiming to remind myself to seek experience over perfection, while still doing what works for me.

Given where I am in life right now, what works is publishing 3 times a week (as opposed to everyday as I did when I first started…and burned out quickly trying to keep up with others); spending time connecting with other bloggers (more so in consistency than in quantity to really get to know them); using the resources available to me; continuing to learn tips and tricks (because believe it or not, marketing is a game, and you have to learn how to play); and finally, writing about the things that I love.

The best advice I read recently was from another very successful blogger on emerging industries and her advice was to “write the blog you want to read.” I can’t think of a more simple way to alleviate perfectionism in any creative endeavor. If you would read it, then that’s good enough. If you would eat it, then that’s good enough. If you would wear it, then that’s good enough. It’s really all you can do.

I don’t know where the site will take me. Perhaps blogging will always remain just a hobby – though it’s truly growing into an industry onto itself with lots of career opportunities if you can seize them.

No matter what happens, these 2 years so far have taught me skills that will carry me down any path I choose and I think setting milestones is the best way to keep moving forward.

Thanks for indulging a rather lengthy post today and please share a comment on how you deal with the 3 P’s: perfecting, promoting, and publishing in this crazy world we call blogging.

Have a magical weekend!

I’m off to hit my next milestone…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Highlights

Blend

I started All That Glitters 10 months ago this week, as a way to express myself creatively, to share what I love, to find the beauty in everything, to simply celebrate life.

It has been such a great learning experience and totally fulfilling. At the same time it’s been equally time-consuming and challenging. Since I love a challenge, I suppose I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For the first 6 months of All That Glitters, I wrote it in secret; focusing purely on building content, finding my voice, ensuring that I had the drive to be consistent with my readers, experimenting with the aesthetics of the site, and seeing if I had what it takes among the millions of blogs out there. It wasn’t until February of this year that I officially introduced my blog to everyone I knew, the day I started my What I’m Lovin’ Right Now series.

I’m sure many bloggers can identify that the hardest part of blogging is not in the development, the writing (though writer’s block is a bitch, excuse my French), and while finding the time can be tricky; it’s the promotion that can be the most challenging – getting your blog out there and making it stand out.

Looking back, there were many reasons that I chose to take on this passion project of mine, but keep it to myself. It was something to pour all this built up creative energy into. While I was at least lucky enough to have viewers and followers since its inception, I essentially lost out on 6 months of building a solid blogging community because of the approach I took by sharing it publicly, but not actively putting it out there. Somehow, I kept telling myself that I wanted it to be perfect before I took the plunge and then my perfectionist disposition realized that there would always be room for improvement, SO JUST GO FOR IT.

And thus begins the promotion aspect of my site and connecting with other blogger nerds like myself. I promise not to be too obnoxious. 🙂

This week I spent countless hours playing catch-up by networking with other bloggers, setting up my social media sites, and finally registering a domain name.

All That Glitters can now officially be found on:

Website: allthatglittersla.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LAGlitterGirl

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AllThatGlittersLA

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/candiantoinette/

If you’re a blogger, please connect with me on any of these networks and share your site’s links. Next week, I’d like to dedicate a post to pure link love where I’ll post as many sites to other blogs as I can to spread the good cheer! (Because promotion is a bitch – please excuse my French, again).

Thank you so much for your likes, comments, follows, and support. Keep in touch!

love & light,

Candice

The Christmas Project

Welcome to December! And if we’re lucky, we’ll make it through the end of the world into an uncharted 2013 calendar year. Gotta love those Mayans! They certainly know how to stir up some drama. Couldn’t they have at least waited until AFTER Christmas to dub civilization over? That way, we at least get to die near our Christmas trees with a full stomach and new toys surrounding us? I suspect it will be pretty anti-climactic in the end, kind of like how Y2K came and went. This doesn’t mean that we won’t hear about it for the entire Holiday filled weeks ahead. So prepare mentally now for your Facebook feed to change tone; or not much at all if you have sarcastic, someecards.com loving friends like I do.

I’ve decided to challenge myself this month to not only survive the end of the world, but to grab 2012 by the balls and go out with a bang (probably not the best word choice in light of the end of time coming soon?). I really liked doing this for Halloween. I guess in theory it won’t be much different, you’re just swapping out pumpkins and horror for gingerbread and cheer! Being the slightly (okay, more than slightly) O.C.D. lover of setting goals and crossing things off lists that I am, I’ve decided to make festivity priority number one this Christmas. Here are my month long to-dos, a.k.a. – The Christmas Project:

1. Decorate my apartment.

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This year I want my very own Christmas tree! I made my first decorative purchase last week while at Trader Joe’s. This real mini poinsettia plant. It even had glitter on it! I couldn’t resist.

2. Watch at least 2 Christmas themed movies a week.

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This one will be completely do-able for me. Aside from being a total movie whore naturally, I already kicked this task off with my first festive flick, Love Actually (I never get sick of this one). Also on my list to bring in the cheer: Home Alone, It’s A Wonderful Life, The Family Stone, Trapped In Paradise (suggested by the BF), and a slew of others I’ll be watching thanks to Moviefone’s blog entry.

3. Get Christmas shopping done well before Christmas.

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I have a bit of a problem with waiting until the last minute to start Christmas shopping and then I’m in the throes of total chaos kicking myself. Not because I’m in the chaos (I kinda like being with other “last-minuters”) but because it takes circling 30 minutes just to find a parking space to even get in the door! Then again, I do tend to get the most creative and inspired when under pressure. Here’s an actual picture I took of the Westfield Culver City mall 2 Christmas’ ago on December 23rd (on my like 1 megapixel Blackberry I had at the time). What the heck was I doing in a mall 2 days before Christmas? This year, thanks to Pinterest’s awesome new secret boards; I’ll be visually prepared, organized, and done in a more timely manner…December 22nd, the latest. 🙂

4. Bake something festive.

1-Blog Pics{Photos courtesy of Pinterest and someone who stole them from someone else, who stole from someone else, etc..}.

I can’t decide if it will be cupcakes, brownies, or cookies – but they better look like snowmen, Christmas trees, a star, or something. These Pinterest photos I’ve been collecting (since like July) give you an idea of what I’m talking about!

5. Lots of Hot Cocoa.

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Again, I started this to-do already. My first official hot chocolate of the season, complete with whipped cream, captured above.

6. Be present.

Literally, be present. Not in a gift giving sense, but to really slow down and enjoy this time of year: the weather, the decorations while walking the street, my closet full of scarves, holding warm beverages, smiling at strangers, running up my credit card, parties, movies, shopping, wrapping presents, listening to Christmas music, and spending time with people I love to be around.

These are my Christmas to-do’s. I’ll report back after the holidays.

HAPPY DECEMBER TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD MONTH!

🙂

The Aftermath

{Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images}

There was definitely something in the air all day yesterday. An excitement, an anticipation, and even some anxiousness as the sun set here in Los Angeles. Co-workers and I chatted about the expectation. Facebook was abuzz with “I Voted” pictures showing support for the fate of our nation. Election night 2012 had arrived and I was on the edge of my seat in a way that was better than any Hollywood movie. This was life.

What I’ve come to love about this election experience in particular, was how social media tied in so closely with it. Watching as the action unfolded with Brian Williams on MSNBC, while keeping an eye on my Facebook feed laughing along with friend’s commentary made the night an interactive and connecting experience.

It was just me and my boyfriend last night – hanging out, eating baked potatoes for dinner, and cheering as results came in state by state. I don’t know what it is about this last election, but something shifted in me that made me want to really take the time to be more politically aware of what’s going on in this country. Sure, I’ll pay attention when election season comes around, then I become rather uninterested because I have a strong dislike of how politics become more about “red” vs. “blue” and not what’s best for the American people. It becomes a fight for power disguised as a fight for citizens.

I didn’t come from a politically engaged family and for reasons I could understand when I asked my mom years ago. Perhaps it’s because I am older now, and coming into my own, with a more firm concept that what happens in Washington and with California state measures has more of an impact on me that it ever has because I am an educated, professional, working adult.

With that, I will say that I was very pleased with Barack Obama’s re-election. He’s the candidate that is much more in touch with my personal values and is more grounded in the understanding of what day-to-day life is like for the common American citizen. Most people cannot just ask their parents for money when needing to deal with college expenses. I couldn’t believe that came out of a presidential candidate’s mouth.

I look forward to following our government with a renewed enthusiasm for holding our leadership accountable and myself accountable by being a bit more personally informed and engaged politically…not just every 4 years.

Congratulations, Mr. President!

{Photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images}