Disagree: blogging isn't writing

I saw Contagion the movie on Saturday night and had to share a funny but semi-offensive quote from it:

Blogging isn't writing. It's just graffiti with punctuation.

Graffiti is a way of expressing oneself to the public. It allows the masses to see your work and react to it. You may even get fellow graffiti-ers to "comment" on your graffiti by making their mark under or on top of your graffiti. Blogging is a lot like graffiti: anyone can do it, and you don't have to be good. Blogging is a way to get your opinion and your experiences semi-published.

Just like graffiti, there are some people who are so good at blogging that they actually get commissioned to do it in high traffic areas, and the people see it. Think muralist = professional blogger. On the other hand, there are amateur graffiti artists who just spray paint a few random bubble letters on the concrete wall in a dark bridge underpass, just to make their mark in the world out of boredom.

In all honesty, blogging isn't really writing when compared to published works: it allows for poor grammar, misspelled words, and the lack of references to back up a claim. (Note that these mistakes will diminish the credibility of a blogger, but these blunders can still occur.) Opinion meshes with the truth and can be misunderstood as hard and fast facts.

Overall, blogging may not compare to real journalism or other types of published works as the movie insinuated, but it's still an art form that may or may not be appreciated by consumers. Bloggers just want to touch the lives of others.

What do you think?

What they wish they knew before posting their first Skillshare class

I'm so excited to present this roundup of information to you. I've made a few friends I've made through Skillshare and I'd love to know what advice they can give to newbies.

If you aren't sure you want to post a Skillshare class yet, take a tip from these 5 ladies, and know that success can come to you via Skillshare.

In no particular order, here are responses from some of the most talented Skillshare teachers.

What they wish they knew before posting their first skillshare class

Jamie Bartlett

Jamie Bartlett

1. I wish I would have know that you don't have to be on camera to teach. 

I'm pretty camera shy. If I really had to, I could do it with some coaching and a little creative editing, but the introvert in me is way more comfortable hiding behind my computer screen. Luckily, screen capturing exists. Pretty much 98% of my classes are me showing you how to do what I'm teaching while watching me work in photoshop or illustrator. No talking heads required!

2. I wish I would have known that a quick, straight forward class can be successful. 

For some reason I had it in my head that a class needed to be long, in depth, and cover a ton of techniques. When in reality students appreciate it when you jump right in and get to the point. They don't need a entire semester's worth of information. Picking one technique and explaining it along with any other useful tips and tricks to accomplish that technique is really the best route to take.

Website | Skillshare | Instagram | Dribbble | Facebook

Christine Fleming

Christine Fleming

One thing I wish I knew before I uploaded my first class to Skillshare is that it doesn't have to teach EVERYTHING! I wanted to teach a class on scientific illustration, and ended up teaching a class about almost all of digital illustration. In hindsight, I could have broken that class up into multiple classes, or broken the chunks down to be more simple. I've learned now that students appreciate simplicity and brevity rather than blabbering on and trying to fit everything into one long class. The video and audio quality of that first class also isn't as high quality as my newer classes, but these are all things you learn along the way, and improve with each class! 

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Skillshare | Patreon

Elizabeth Olwen

Elizabeth Olwen

The one thing I wish I’d considered before posting classes to Skillshare is that the content of the class remains static, but sometimes outside factors can change that are beyond your control. For instance, I recommend a drawing app in my Pattern Design class, and about a year after the class launched, the app became unavailable for purchase for a little while, and it was also unavailable in certain parts of the world. Obviously this was beyond my control but if I could re-shoot those parts of my class I would suggest that the app was just one option of many — I’d encourage students to be resourceful and know there are many ways to do any given task and not get caught up on the specific app or tools. 

Another piece of advice is to be very clear and accurate about what the class is about in the class description and what students can expect to learn, and any prerequisites that are essential to taking the class. For instance, make sure you state that students must know how to use certain software, or they may feel discouraged by your class if they can’t keep up. It’s best to be clear up front, so students aren’t disappointed by the experience or the class not meeting their personal expectations. 

On a really positive note, one thing that I was pleasantly surprised by is that you can really grow such a positive community online — I had no idea it would be such a positive experience teaching people what I know. It was and continues to be a really positive experience interacting with people from all over the world who share the same passions for pattern. 

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Instagram


Teela Cunningham

To be honest, before I uploaded my first class, I wish I hadn’t stressed about it as much as did. It was Skillshare! A place I had admired and followed and watched courses on for awhile before I decided to teach. I was kind of nervous because I held Skillshare in such high regard. I wanted everything to be as perfect as possible and I definitely nit picked everything way more than I should have. I’ve learned the students on Skillshare are *amazing*. They care about the message, the content and the learning more than super stellar video quality or the ‘um’s’ you’d prefer didn’t slip by. I wish I had known not to stress because what I was offering was valuable and people would see + remember that far more than my um’s, or uh’s.

Blog | Skillshare Profile | Instagram | YouTube Channel

Bonnie Christine


Teaching on Skillshare has been by far one of the greatest experiences of my creative career. The students are amazing and the atmosphere is so energizing. Everyone is learning and creating, and it's magical! There are two things I wish I had known before teaching on Skillshare. From an emotional side of things, I wish I had known just how rewarding it would be. Everyone from the Skillshare employees, to the students to even fellow teachers are incredibly kind and fun to work with. If I had known, I probably would've started teaching much earlier! From a technical stand point, I wish I had known how to best save videos for uploading them to the web. Let's just say there was a wee learning curve. Ha! I have since taught the Roost Tribe my best practices for saving videos, and Skillshare has also since provided excellent info for teachers. Now it's easy - I'm even working on developing a few more classes that will release soon!

Blog | Courses | Instagram | Facebook

intro to surface pattern design

Ana Victoria Calderon

Before teaching on Skillshare I had a lot of concerns, I really did wish I would have read a blog entry of stuff I wish I knew before teaching on Skillshare, so thank you for putting this together! I was very curious if there was a real chance to get some extra income teaching online, how I would be able to protect my content, how much video quality really mattered... just to name a few. 

So to prevent any big surprises, what I did was reach out to a couple of super talented artists who I had met online or at trade shows, and sent them emails with my questions about teaching on Skillshare. They had (still have) amazing classes and if anyone could enlighten me it was them! I had lovely, kind, and informative responses from these ladies. This really encouraged me to go ahead and invest in teaching my first class

I would also say teaching a few in person classes before teaching online helps. I have been teaching watercolor groups since 2011 and by this point I know where students have more concerns, Where they make mistakes, what aspects are confusing for them, all these things help a lot when you are teaching online! It's sort of like answering student questions along the way without them having to ask.

In conclusion, rather than wishing I knew something before I got started, I really did my research. I knew if I was going to teach online I would dive into it completely! 

Teaching on Skillshare has been great! I uploaded my third class last month and would love to teach even more classes. My students and the people over at Skillshare have been amazing. Online learning is just so magical, you can be teaching someone on the other side of the planet and you create a beautiful community together, all united for the love of this one specific craft. 

Website | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube | Twitter | Etsy

How to maximize your blogging workflow

In a soundbite and popcorn-brain technology-driven world, it can be difficult to be able to focus and to generate high quality content for your blog, especially when writing or mapping out a project plan or outline for something. While it's taken me quite a long time to be able to perfect my own blogging workflow, the process I've developed has been incredibly helpful for productivity. (Note: I know my process is far from perfect, but it's miles from where I started.)

Bullet journal supplies you may need to get started

I admittedly jumped onto the bullet journaling bandwagon a little later than I care to admit, but it's something that's really changed my life and how I work on my blog and business.

I've talked a little bit about various things on bullet journaling, namely what it is, how I use it for my biz, how I use it for meal planning, and the accessories I have for it. Bullet journaling is still relatively new for me, but now that I'm about 4 months into using one, I frequently get asked how to start bullet journaling by folks who are looking for good ways to spend time, who are working on something that will help get their life together in an analog way, and who want help planning their lives.

This post will be all about materials you may need to get started. Obviously this list will accordion based on what you already have, but I wanted this post to be a one-stop-shop for materials you may absolutely pick up in order to get started on the right foot.

Getting started with bullet journaling - supplies you may need - perfect for beginners

Read through the suggestions and at the bottom of the post there will be a link roundup so you can grab all the materials you may think you want.

The Journal

When you get started bullet journaling, you can literally use any notebook you have in your possession. Small, large, lined, blank, gridded, soft cover, hard cover, something you picked up at a conference, etc.

However, I always recommend the Leuchtturm1917 medium size hardcover notebook for several reasons:

  • The pages are all already numbered for you
  • There's already an index in place
  • You can choose between dotted, gridded, lined, or blank
  • The quality is high: these notebooks can go through hell and still look great
  • There's a pocket in the back for extra goodies like stickers or loose notes

The Pen

Everyone has their favorite pen. My personal favorite for a very long time is the Pilot G2 pen in size 05, or extra fine point. These pens work very well with the Leuchtturm notebooks; the ink doesn't bleed through and there isn't a whole lot of ghosting.

I've also seen that people love black felt tip markers like my new favorites for doodling in my Moleskine notebook, the Faber Castell PITT artist pens

Colored Pens - Le Pen

Colored pens help your bullet journal with organization and can make it more fun to journal. My journal tends to be more minimalistic with just my Pilot G2 simply because I don't have the time or resources right now to make my journal look super pretty.

I love Marvy Le Pen pens—they're very smooth and don't bleed through. Plus the colors are more interesting to me than traditional primary and secondary colors.

Correction Tape

Although I don't like to have my journal looking super pretty, I can't stand it when I mess up and have to scribble something out. Thus, I used Kara Benz's recommendation and got myself some Bic Wite-Out correction tape. I can't find a good link on amazon so I'm going to recommend the Tombow mini correction tape.

Roller Adhesive

Having some roller adhesive on hand is a great idea in order to quickly paste in clippings you get from magazines, mail, etc. Sometimes I will clip a project idea out of a magazine and slip it into my bullet journal (because let's face it, where else would I put it and not have it get lost for good?).

I love the Tombow adhesive dispensers. They come in dot and regular tape. I personally bought the regular tape at a Michael's craft store but the link for dotted tape on Amazon is there if you prefer that.

Washi Tape

Now we're into the really fun and colorful stuff. Washi tape is adhesive tape that will stick to surfaces but can be peeled up again without leaving residue or tearing your paper. I love washi tape for all sorts of projects, snail mail, and especially for my bullet journal.

In my bullet journal, I use washi tape as a way to mark important pages and decorate more permanent spreads that I'll refer to over and over again, such as a meals page for meal planning or a dashboard of sorts for various projects.

You can see washi tape wrapped up on an old gift card from my pal Jessica at Pretty Prints and Paper. It's such a good idea and I always love to share that idea.

Masking Stickers

Along with washi tape, I use masking stickers. I included these in my minimalist accessories post, too. I love these so much because they're pre-cut, so you have thicker stripes, thinner stripes, and four dots per page. You can write on top of these too (better than some washi tapes).

As I shared on my Instagram, I love to use these masking stickers as tabs and ways to mark important pages by folding the tape over itself.

Post-It Notes

If you like to be able to write things down quickly and messily without making it permanent right away, I recommend keeping some post it notes in the back of your journal. I flip to the back whenever I'm doing something fast, like making a phone call or taking quick notes. Then I'll decide if I want to just stick it in my journal, or re-write my notes so it's a lot easier.

The Supplies

Bullet journal supplies for beginners on hellobrio.com

As promised, here's the full list of supplies in one shot. You can also shop my Amazon aStore which is even easier.

I hope you enjoyed reading this post! I plan on writing more about bullet journaling so don't ever hesitate to send me a question by leaving comments or getting in touch with me.

You can find me talking about bullet journaling on Instagram and on my YouTube channel.

9 Blog SEO best practices: Tips to increase your traffic

A lot matters with your blog's SEO. Knowing how to implement SEO best practices can help your blog rank higher in search results. You put in a ton of work to write awesome posts, so it's best to go the extra mile and make sure your post is well-suited to get discovered by search engines! In this post, I talk about the importance of content, regularity, keywords, titles, headings, length, links, images, and networking in terms of good SEO for your blog.

Easy baby DIY project for a changing table pad for the IKEA SNIGLAR

We purchased an IKEA SNIGLAR changing table for our newborn son. Turns out the the changing table pad was too big. I found a DIY and am now sharing that with you! With some scissors, sewing clips and thread, I made the changing pad so it would fit in our furniture. Follow along with this step-by-step DIY and budget-friendly project.

Home office and desk tour for an illustrator, writer, work-from-home mompreneur

Here's a small tour showing you what my desk looks like now. Later in the post I share my past workspaces, too. They all vary on art and technology, but the goal is always the same: have a minimal and clean desk that is functional to whatever I may be working on at the time (whether it's 100% computer work or 50% computer and 50% art supplies!).

The $367 Minimalist Nursery Room Tour: Decor and Setup

Our painted nursery sat empty or in various states of disorganization for longer than I care to admit, but now it's a beautiful and simple solution for our newborn son and us as new parents.

Being IKEA fans, we decorated and furnished the nursery with everything-IKEA, and we did it all for a total out-of-pocket of $367. If you were to re-create this nursery from scratch, you'd end up paying about $1,000 more. We had a few items gifted to us, and the sofa and ottoman are from my old studio apartment.

Manage your inbox efficiently so you have more time to be creative

I'm obsessed with email management and time management. And I want to help you do it efficiently. I don't want to spend all day with my inbox open, responding to every little ding and buzz from my phone, or every new (1) notification in my gmail window. I'll show you how to manage your email so it doesn't rule your life or your time, and therefore it will cause you the least amount of stress!

My bullet journal setup: blog & business planning

I am keeping all of my life in one bullet journal, including personal, blog, and business stuff. If I had multiple bullet journals I feel like I would be overwhelmed! I'm glad to have everything in one place, so I hope it works out in the end. While I'm using my bujo for everything in my life, this post will be focused on how I'm using my bujo for my blog and business.

How I grew my email list 6x by using content upgrades (plus a free downloadable list of 15 content upgrade ideas)

I've watched my email newsletter list grow by 10-20 subscribers daily since the beginning of 2015. In this post, I investigate how this is possible despite my erratic posting schedule. In the end—it all comes down to content upgrades! Read the post and download the free list of 15 content upgrade ideas.

My miracle morning

Do you press snooze on your alarm clock hoping to get an extra 10 minutes of sleep? Are you unenthusiastic to get up? Can you not imagine exposing your skin to the cold air when you’re cozily wrapped in blankets? Then as a result, do you rush around in the morning?

I've settled on a reasonable, attainable Miracle Morning plan (via Hal Elrod), and I wanted to share that with you.