As usual, I’m crazy excited about the blogger featured in today’s behind the blog post: Kelsey of Pinegate Road! This is super exciting for me because I recently got to meet Kelsey in person when she came to Jacksonville on a little Christmas break vacay. Let me tell you – she is just as precious and wonderful as you’d think from her blog!
Thanks for sharing your tips with us today, Kels!
So what’s your blog all about?
Short version: My daily musings in creative curiosities.
Long version: Pinegate Road is really a place for me to place all of my creative ventures, my inspirations, and my likings and lovings. It’s named after the road I lived on growing up as a metaphor for my personal creative journey. It doesn’t specifically cover any one topic, and it has a tendency to meander into different subject matter beyond just art and design—like health and exercise or recipes I’ve been experimenting with. Nothing has really been defined, but I hope that through my own journey it can inspire others to look further into their own creative processes and inspirations from daily life.
When did you start blogging + what made you decide to go for it?
I started journaling online about twelve years ago. Back then I was scouring the internet through websites like diaryland and live journal sharing intimate stories of my teenagerdom for all to see—weirdo alert! While I took a break from that when college hit, I believe this background was why I reached out to blogging as an output for my creative process when I started grad school. After a year of intense study and being completely over-saturated with design theory, I needed a creative outlet that was for me and my process alone. Then, a little over a year ago Pinegate Road was born. I didn’t have much of a premise for the start of Pinegate Road other than to keep it focused around things that inspire me and to have an outlet for creative ventures. It’s treated me well.
Walk us through your typical day. How much time per day/week do you devote to your blog?
Oh wow, well my typical day has been anything but typical lately after being on break from the holidays! I start school again this week, and now my typical day starts around 6:30AM or 8AM—depending on that morning class I’m taking. I always start the day with a cup of coffee and a green smoothie. I’m the designer for my school’s athletics program, so on any given day I’m probably off to the office for a couple hours, heading back home to work on the blog or some homework, or off to another class. I try to fit in a long walk around Forsyth park every day, but that doesn’t always happen. Walking seriously helps keep me sane, and it helps to give me some time to reflect on blog posts or a project that I’m working on. I’d say I try and devote about 10-15 hours a week to blogging when I’m on my game. It doesn’t always happen, and sometimes I work a lot more on it—it all depends on how my work flow is going.
How do you manage your time + stay organized?
I have been using the Day Designer by Whitney English for a couple months now, and it has seriously been saving my butt. Here’s a review that I wrote about it and all the reasons why it has helped me so much as a creative. My new years resolution is to start saying no—or really reviewing my boundaries when it comes to saying yes to new things. As a semi-noobie designer I want to try and take on everything so that I can have as many experiences as possible before I head out into the ‘real world.’ I’m finally realizing at what cost taking on too much has done to living my life the way I’d like to, and saying no is really helping with staying organized in all facets of my life. My best advice for this is to take on too much, go crazy, and then reevaluate. Life’s a journey, and we’re all going to find our own paths and ways to our particular balance.
How do you keep your imagination flowing + get past creative funks when they do sneak in?
Walking. There is just something about repetitive, almost mediative behaviors and the creative flow. I’m realizing as I write all this I sound a lot more zen than I am or feel in real life. Please don’t let all this jabber fool you, I’m generally running in about twenty different directions all at the same time. I’ve come to the conclusion with my blog that when a creative funk hits, I just don’t blog. It hasn’t been worth it to me to post when I’m feeling uninspired. I’m sure as the blog grows this mind-set might have to change, but while I’m still in school and working, I’m thinking this is ok for now. When I’m working for clients or on a project at school, creating word association maps and mood boarding usually always help to get me out of a creative funk and help me see something in a new light. Oh, and research. Intensive research is always helpful, even if it’s obscure and about world war two razzle dazzle ships—you never know how that might change your perception on a pattern you’re trying to create. True story.
Do you have any quick + easy post ideas for those days when you’re short on time or inspiration?
The color studies column I have always comes together quickly, so it’s nice to have when I do lack that inspiration. Sometimes I’ll find an inspiring photo on pinterest that corresponds with my current frame of reference, and I’ll just write about what’s going on in my life. I try not to get too personal, but I think a little behind-the-blog action is necessary once in a while.
What are a few business/blogging resources ( online or offline ) that have been beneficial for you?
I read everything that Jessica Hische writes. I think she has been through exactly where I hope to head one day, and it’s been great to read about those experiences and her advice for art students. I love reading columns of the business of design by other bloggers like Breanna Rose and Design Love Fest. I’m also in the middle of reading Blog inc., and I’ve been recommending this to friends who are looking to start blogs. I also love attending Blog Brunch when I’m free on those Saturdays.
Beyond having a space to share my inspirations and creations on a regular basis blogging has helped me connect with other creatives in ways I never thought imaginable.
How has blogging influenced your life + relationships?
Beyond having a space to share my inspirations and creations on a regular basis blogging has helped me connect with other creatives in ways I never thought imaginable. I’ve made so many new connections that I can now call friends through blogging. Ms. sappy-pants over here—you guys are great :) I’ve even been able to kindle some real-life friendships through blogging—like last month when I went to Jacksonville and met Jordan in person! How cool is that? Blog world is out of control awesome. It’s also helped me connect with a lot of friends from the past. I’ll hear from people on Facebook that I haven’t talked to in a while, and they’ll tell me they made one of my recipes, or really like a certain column I do—I’m constantly amazed at how blogging has helped me make deeper connections with people and my surroundings.
How has your blog impacted your business?
In every way possible. While I was doing a little freelance before blogging, it’s now become a steady source of income that I can contribute entirely to my blog. While I’m taking a little break to write my thesis this quarter, blogging has given me the confidence to follow my dreams in design. I have a lot of plans for the future, and I know that starting Pinegate Road set the stage for what I have in store.
How much of your life offline do you share on your blog? How does this effect your readers’ ability to connect with you?
I’ve been struggling with this since I’ve started blogging. Right now I try to keep my readers in the loop about the general happenings in my life but I stray away from daily details. I share more about my personal life on twitter, instagram, and facebook so if readers want to learn more about me beyond the blog they have the opportunity to follow along there. In a recent post I made nods to my love life, and that was something I’ve never done before. I think this is something that I definitely have to play around with to test my own limits. I hope that by opening up more my readers will be able to see me beyond my design and the blog.
What has been the key to success for you as a blogger? Especially when you were new to the blog world.
Reaching out. After having a few months of posts under my belt, and a design I was proud of, I started reaching out to bloggers to see if I could guest post / be featured / or help out in any way possible. While I can be shy at times, I’m a firm believer in the fact that you can’t get what you don’t ask for. I reached out to Erin Leochner at Design for Mankind when she announced that she was pregnant and needing some help on the blog, and then next thing I knew I was contributing a bi-weekly column on typography. It’s all about putting yourself out there and being confident in what you have to offer. Even if you’re turned down—and I have been plenty—you’re one step closer to building the blog you want to build and getting experience under your belt.
Any further advice for fellow bloggers?
Experiment. Blogging is a personal—or communal in some cases—journey, and experimenting with different content, columns, etc. will push you further in your abilities.