We’ll make new traditions in place of the old
‘Cause life without revision will silence our souls.
-”Snow” by Sleeping at Last
Tomorrow marks the start of a new year. A fresh start. An uncharted path in the woods. My lantern is at the ready.
After reflecting on my blogging highlights from these first four months, it’s time to look forward. I have so many dreams and goals for The Thinking Closet – - in fact, some might argue too many. But I’ve never been a gal for short lists…especially where dreams are concerned.
Here’s what I hope for:
- To be self-hosted! I’d like for this blog to be a self-hosted WordPress blog with my own url (fare thee well, wordpress.com). Why? There’s so much more I want to do with this blog (involving java script and plug-ins…jargon that I don’t quite fully understand myself) that I cannot do simply by having a free wordpress.com blog. It will be an investment of time and some money to make the switch. And in truth, this is my most intimidating goal because I have fears of making some huge blunder in the switchover and losing my content or my followers. However, I know that if I want to take things to the next level, I must take the plunge! (If anyone has experience in going from wordpress.com to self-hosted wordpress, please email me. I’d love to pick your brain over virtual coffee.)
- Revised blog design. This blog is patchworked together using things I found for free on the web and things I’ve created from scratch, and I’ve been pretty pleased with what I was able to muster. However, I’d love for more of a clean, cohesive look to my blog design…from the background to my font to a logo. Whether I bring in a professional or figure out how to do it myself, it’s a step I hope to take in 2013. I want The Thinking Closet to be as welcoming and homey as possible, and layout and design have a lot to do with that. For my blogger friends, have you worked with any designers that you recommend?
- Invest in photo editing software. Between iPhoto and the free online site, pixlr, I’ve been able to do a fair bit in the photo editing department, but I still feel limited, especially in terms of adding graphics and text to my images. So, I think it’s time to upgrade. My sense is that Photoshop would be more power than I need, so I’m leaning toward Adobe Photoshop Elements or Illustrator. I also want to purchase some plan white foam core in order to use as a simple backdrop when I’m taking photos for a cleaner and less cluttered look. Rachel from Lines Across is the queen of clean and uncluttered images!
- Attend my first blogger conference! As I said in my highlights post, a part of what I love so much about blogging is the community I have found. I would absolutely love to build that community even more through attending a blogger conference; I also think it’d be a great way to grow and improve as a blogger. (As a teacher, I was one of those dorks who always loved professional development days. I guess I’m a perpetual student!) Katie from Sew Woodsy and my college friend, Stephanie, from 321 Delish recommended Florida Blog Con, which is a conference for bloggers of all niches from Florida. The nice thing is that it takes place in Orlando where we live. How convenient is that?
- Plan out more posts. I started to map out my posts several weeks out in December, and it made a world of difference in my brain. So, I’d like to plan ahead more, and even “schedule” more of my posts. (I was two months into blogging before I realized that I can write a post on Friday and click a button that schedules it to post at 7 a.m. on Monday…while I’m still sleeping! Sooooo nice.) I’d even like to create my own calendar format that works for me. Right now, I use a combination of a printout I found, post-it notes, and scrap paper. It’s not quite as organized as I’d like…but it’s a start.
- Revamp my “About Me” page. Right now, I have a measly paragraph written in the third person on my About Me page. For a while now, I’ve wanted to sit down to revise that page with more photos, more of my own voice (in first person), and more creativity…so that folk get a stronger sense of who I am. It’s high time.
- Start a Facebook page for The Thinking Closet. It feels a little bit like my worlds are colliding when I share blog posts on my personal Facebook page. I also know a lot of people check Facebook more than they do their email! So, one of my goals is to create a Facebook page for The Thinking Closet where I not only share posts from my blog, but posts from my bloggy buddies and great pins that I find. Coming soon to a Facebook near you….
- Add new social media buttons. I’m dissatisfied with the way my subscription options are currently displayed on my sidebar. They’re all over the place. So, I’d love to add buttons at the top of my sidebar with everything all together. My bloggy buddy Aubrey from Project Lovegood recently published a really inspiring post on Tips on Decluttering Your Blog that has me even more motivated to make design choices that simplify things for my readers. And Carrie from Carrie Loves offers up 19 different social media icons for free in a variety of 30 colors. Check ‘em out.
- Create a Project Gallery. I want to create a project gallery that features a collection of my posts in hyperlinked pictures. It’ll be a great way to catalog my projects by category. I plan to use this nifty tutorial by Taryn from Design, Dining, & Diapers when I do it.
- More collaborating! I’m eager to collaborate with other bloggers more, whether it be through guest posting, participating in projects together, or simply bouncing ideas off of each other. In that vein, I also have an exciting opportunity to serve as a monthly craft contributor on the blog, Or So She Says, in the new year. More to come on that!
- More honesty. More mess. Some of my posts that were the most well received by readers (in that I received an outpouring of support through comments) were posts where I expressed my honest feelings, raw though they may be. Remember when craftgawker rejected me time and time again? Yeah, well I found so many kindred spirits through that post. While I don’t think this blog is my diary (nor do I want it to be), I know I have been most drawn to blogs where the writers revealed a piece of themselves in their posts, sharing about their struggles and frustrations in addition to their victories. Life is messy. Houses are messy. So are crafts (especially when glitter is involved). So, I want to take more risks in sharing more mess in 2013. And by the by, if you want to see one-of-my-favorite-blog-posts-ever that is chock full of honesty and mess, check out House of Hepworths’ Confessions of Christmas 2012. It’s AWESOME.
- Learn more about sponsorship. You may have noticed that a lot of d.i.y. blogs have sponsors (paid advertising on their sidebar or in posts). When considering opening up The Thinking Closet to sponsors, I have mixed feelings, especially because I’m blogging for pleasure and want to be able to stand behind every single piece of content on this blog. However, I also have this idea that I’d like for the blog to pay for itself. For instance, if I hired someone to redesign my blog, it’d be great to pay for that service with income made from sponsorship or a service I offer. Ya know? I’m really torn on this topic and almost didn’t even share it for that reason, but more honesty, more mess, right?
- Our D.I.Y. Wedding Series. I had the idea that it would be fun to do a set of posts sharing photos and tutorials on our d.i.y. wedding. It would be reflective as Mark and I got married back in July 2009, well before I had a blog or the time for one. However, I think it’s still fresh enough in my memory that I could share several how-tos from my bridesmaid newsletters to the stamp flags on our cupcakes. I’d even share about the d.i.y. invitation disaster (and what a disaster it was). I’m thinking I’ll do that series in the summer, right around the time of our 4th wedding anniversary. Yay!
- Overall blogging goal: create quality content. My number one priority is to share content with my readers this quality: well-written with eye-catching images, educational, helpful, entertaining, and most of all, inspiring. My hope is that readers come away from one of my tutorials with an impish grin on their face, thinking, “I could do that.”
So, as we bid 2012 farewell and welcome in 2013, let’s raise a glass to life with revision. Cheers. *Clink.*
Dear reader, what are your dreams and goals for year 2013? Blogging or otherwise?
P.S. Shout out to my dear friend Rebecca Bea who first introduced me to the concept of “dreams and goals.”
P.P.S. I like to link up at these partays.