when creative feels wrong

( what to do ) when being creative feels wrong
The last time we discussed something like this it was on blogging, and it seemed to be a big hit. That’s because we all feel that way at some point, right? Well, what about being creative? I know I have those days when I’m just not feeling it. I’ve had those days where I just can not make a moodboard for a client – the photos won’t come together and feel like a whole or maybe I just can’t find what I’m looking for to include. That can always be the same way for anything I do. The thing is, as a creative business owner those days can be the toughest. You’re just not into your work, but most of the time you try to force it because you know you have to get it done. But here’s a comforting feeling: we all feel that way at some point.

As I said in the blogging post, it’s okay to feel this way. You’re not losing all of your creative juices, you’re not about to watch your business go under, and yes, even if you put it off until the next day, the client isn’t going to hate you. While it’s not so much like blogging, you can’t do the work weeks in advance for clients or ask other people to sit in and do the work for you. However, there are still things you can do:

Take a break and look for inspiration elsewhere When I’m working on moodboards and I just get stuck, it can be the most frustrating feeling, especially if I just can’t find what I’m really looking for. If you’re feeling this way with your work, take a break. Most of the time, if you’re really searching and you can’t find what you’re looking for, it’s probably not going to just come to you. So, take a break. Go for a walk, grab a coffee, or watch your favorite tv show. Let the inspiration come to you from somewhere else. If you put yourself in a different environment, you never know what will come to you!

How has the problem been solved before? Look back at your own previous work or even that of those who inspire you the most. Don’t copy it ( duh ), but do look to see how a similar problem has been solved before. Maybe you’re looking for a certain type of font, or you can’t figure out how something should go on some sort of design. Chances are very high that what you’re working on has been done before, and looking at your own or someone else’s work on it may inspire you to try something you hadn’t thought of before. However, let me say it again: don’t just copy the work you’re looking at. That’s bad joojoo!

Consider what’s causing the feeling What exactly is making you feel not creative in the first place? Did you wait until the last minute to work on something? Did you take on too much work, and you can’t focus because you’re worried about all that’s on your plate? Or maybe you haven’t taken on enough work to really create a work routine for yourself. If you find yourself feeling so not into it often, thinking about what’s causing it will help alleviate this feeling when it comes. A cool app that can help with this is Unstuck. It’ll help you discover exactly how you’re feeling and find ways to get.. well, unstuck!

Don’t force it! If you need time away, take it! Last but not least, the same tip that was in the blogging post. This is the number one reason I give myself plenty of time to do client work and start working on it early. If you wait until the last minute to get something done, then when you start feeling like this you have to force it. However, if you start early and have plenty of time, you can work on something for a little bit, and then take a day or two to refuel on the project. Forcing creativity is not the answer, so create the room in your project calendar so you don’t have to.

Feeling not creative is one of the toughest feelings we can get when our businesses ( and / or blogs ) are just that : creative. However, create plans to help you get out of a funk if you’re in one, and you’ll feel much less frustrated when these types of feelings come to you.

How do you cope when being creative feels wrong?

moodboard | redefining mommyhood

moodboard : redefining mommyhood | by kory woodard
Good morning, friends! I’m back from my vacation and getting to see D, and I have to say it was absolutely amazing. I’m sure I’ll share more around these parts as times goes on, but for now I’ll leave it at that!

Today I wanted to share a moodboard for a project that’s just getting underway! This project is for a new mommy blog that’s goals are to redefine mommyhood. She wants to redefine the perceptions of young motherhood and break the stereotypes that go along with it.  The words we’re working toward with this project are confident, friendly, encouraging, uplifting, and slightly playful.

I’m really excited for this project because we’re going to be working with serif fonts. Serifs don’t usually make an appearance in my work, but I’m excited to change things up a bit!

P.s. If you’re interested in working with me to create a new blog design, I’m currently booking for August! Spots are going pretty quickly, so shoot me an email and let’s chat about what you need!

weekend reading | 07.18.14

weekend reading | fun links for you to catch up on

Happy Friday, friends! I was so excited when you guys said that you supported the idea of this series becoming weekly! It’s so fun for me to share these with you guys, and it was an awesome feeling knowing that you guys are enjoying reading them!

Anyway! Here are some posts that I just know you guys are going to love:

Love these pattern desktop wallpapers by Jessica Stevens for DesignLoveFest!

Elisabeth of Ex Vitae has some really great tips on saving money in your twenties. I know I can definitely use these!

As a designer, I totally know this feeling, so of course I loved this post by Lisa on launching your website before you’re ready!

Chelsea gives you a great look into her process of writing a post. While our blogs are quite different, my process is pretty much the same!

Another blogging post – this one from Ann Marie on having a makeshift photo studio. I firmly believe in this! I use a white illustration board, natural light, and my iPhone for most photos.

This is a great freelancing post from Melissa on why she loves being her own boss. I can definitely relate. I love the fact that I didn’t have to worry about taking time off this weekend to come up to Chicago!

That’s it! If you’ve read any great posts this week, definitely share them in the comments!

Maintaining a Sense of Self as a Blogger

Hey friends! I’m off with D’s family to Illinois today, and the wonderful Amber of Ember & March offered to write this post for y’all. I’ve been a reader of hers for a while now and once y’all read this post, I think you will become one as well! So without further ado, here’s Amber!

maintaining sense of self as a blogger by Amber of Ember & March for korywoodard.com

As a blogger, there are tons of posts you can read, podcasts you can listen to and newsletters that you can have have delivered to your inbox to teach you how to blog better. You’ll learn the importance of branding, staying consistent, and how to grow your audience. The more you incorporate the things you learn, the more views you’ll start to receive. And as your readership grows, if you’re enjoying the blogging journey, you become even more intentional and diligent about growing and developing your online space.

Maybe you hire a designer to clean up your blog and define your brand, or order some nifty business cards to hand out at the next big blog conference. All of that is great. Growing your blog is an amazing feeling and something all bloggers should take pride in.

But losing yourself in the process, that isn’t great. But luckily, it’s completely avoidable!

I’ve gone through the struggle of maintaining myself and my voice while growing my brand many times before. It’s so easy to get caught up in growing as a blogger, that we often forget about the person behind the screen. Today, I’d like to share a few ways to avoid that loss of self, while continuing to grow and love your online space.

Learn to say ‘no’. This is so incredibly important, especially as your blog and brand proceeds to grow and receive notice. There will be lot’s of bloggers who want to collaborate on projects, and new ideas that you will want to make come to life. Everything that feels right doesn’t have to happen at that moment. Say no on occasion and give yourself downtime to focus on life offline. Removing yourself from the mix will help you love and appreciate the time that you do spend growing your blog.

Create a mission statement. And read it, often. When you really begin to get serious about growing your blog or brand, it’s easy to become obsessed with the numbers. Page views, bounce rates, and for some, even dollar signs become part of your every day. Remembering why you created your space to begin with helps to put all of this into perspective. The goal of growing your blog should not be seeing an increase in the numbers, but rather increasing the chances of fulfilling your mission.

Always bring yourself. I am so inspired by all of the creatives I follow through blogs and social media, and love getting peaks into how others live and create. However, there is a difference between being inspired and trying to impersonate. If a certain trend doesn’t mesh well with you, don’t feel the need to bring it into your space. The value of authenticity online is indescribable. Stay true you your likes and interests; use your voice with pride. Blogging is not a race nor a game of comparisons. Your personal contributions are incredibly valid. They’re what set you and your blog apart, and what your readers come to see!

Find your golden blog hour. Most bloggers wear many hats, both on and offline. When I’m not wearing my blogger hat, I’m also a full-time college student, freelancer, student leader, sorority sister, employee and a few other things. Balance is extremely important for maintaining my sanity. To help, I practice working on posts during my golden blogging hour. I’ve found that if I dedicate one or two days to writing out my content for the week, I can spend more time returning comments, being active on social media and giving the other areas of my life due attention. If you’re constantly trying to ‘keep up’ with your blog, you’ll find yourself getting lost in the process. Create an editorial calendar, do a little planning ahead, and save yourself some grief and guilt.

Have you ever felt like you were losing yourself in the process of growing or maintaining your blog? How do you remain true to yourself? I’d love to hear all of your experiences!

newsletter tip: add quality to your emails

newsletters 101 | add quality to your emails

So! You’ve been blogging ( or in business ) for a little while. You’re comfortable pushing out content and doing work regularly. You’ve read everywhere ( literally ) that you need a newsletter an email list. You finally created one ( maybe using these steps ). You sent out a few emails, but maybe it just doesn’t feel right. You don’t like just copying and pasting your blog posts into your newsletters. You don’t really feel like you’re adding anything worthwhile to your subscribers’ inboxes. You’re thisclose to giving up altogether.

Well, before you do, don’t. Keep reading.

Email lists are tough. They obviously require extra time ( even if you are just copying and pasting your way into your readers’ inboxes ). What makes it harder though, is when you’re just not as into it, and especially when you combine that with an unsubscriber here and there. I get it.

The thing is, you’ve read everywhere that you need an email list, well, because you sort of do. It’s the first stop in a well planned out sales funnel, and even if you’re not selling anything, it’s the best way to learn what your blog readers are wanting to learn from you. Before you throw in the towel and give up altogether on it, though, I’ve got a tip that will change your emails for the best:

add real quality to your emails.

No brainer, right? Well if so, then tell me why I’m still getting C- rated emails. Long emails, and I mean loooong emails that require half an hour to read and digest the main point, or even worse the “Hey Kory, I’ve got a new post on my blog! Blah, blah blah. Click here to read it!” emails that immediately get trashed.

Here’s the thing: adding quality to your emails, while requiring a little extra time, will help you reach more people and sell more ( if that’s you’re thing ). I touched a little on this idea here, where I talked about how important it is to consider your content when starting a newsletter. It can be as simple as sharing a peek into your personal life with your subscribers or something a bit more time consuming like writing exclusive content for them. No matter which way you go, adding quality to your emails will keep people wanting to stick around, share about how awesome your emails are, and maybe even buy from you.

So, my challenge for you this week ( or this month ) is to add some sort of quality to your emails if you have an email list. Summer is a perfect time to experiment as Angel said last week, so give it a go. And then come back here and report on how it went! I think you may be surprised!