Alana Parsons authors the Ninjamatics' 2011 Canadian Weblog Awards winner Dream, Create, which placed 1st in Art & Photography and 1st in Fashion, Style & Design.
Why blogging? Why did you start blogging, and what drives you now?
As a graphic designer I had a million non-work related projects that I did on the side, which had no place in my portfolio, but I wanted to share with people. I had a previous blog called "the Functional Geek", but I soon realized that, while I like technology and sci-fi, I wasn't passionate about what I was writing. When I started "Dream, Create", I made it my creative outlet focusing on art, photography, style, random acts of creation, and I've been obsessed with it ever since! I'm driven by sharing creative, beautiful ideas, and by growing everyday in my knowledge, skill, and purpose. I want to make the world a more beautiful place!
Being that you are a primarily a professional digital creative, how has blogging impacted your creativity and professional choices?
Blogging has really made my life and career more inspiring than ever. My profession is relatively new to me, as I graduated from university a year and a half ago. In job interviews employers liked my passion and portfolio, but told me that I was lacking in experience. It's a real catch-22 when you need experience on the job, but do not have the opportunity to gain it. My blog has really drawn attention to my skills, and I currently have more projects than I can manage! Even when a project is sucking the life out of me, my blog revitalizes and inspires me to keep going. Now I have a million ideas at a time and an actual platform to showcase them!
As someone whose work ends up tying them closely to social media, how do you manage your online life to keep it balanced and constructive?
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. On one hand, it is the strongest traffic driver, specifically for my own site. It allows people to follow me through different platforms, and it can really connect and create a dialogue between people. On the other hand, it can devour time and allow people to know too much about you, which makes me a little uncomfortable. I think the balance comes from monitoring what you share with people. I like to share funny stories, pictures, sweet life moments, and updates on my work/blog, but I keep my personal life off the table. I can share enough to let my personality shine through, but to keep it balanced and constructive I don't put anything out there that would embarrass me, complicate my life, or compromise my work.
If you are feeling less than inspired, where do you look for inspiration?
I feel like inspiration comes and goes like the tide. When I really need a boost I usually get dressed up, go out with my camera, and start taking photos. A regular occurrence for me is thinking "I will never be able to top that last post, it's all downhill for me now," and then I will take a few photos that will change my whole perspective! I find inspiration from colours, people, photographs, light reflected in beautiful ways, the flow of fabric, really anything that evokes a sense of beauty. I'm also inspired by looking at old posts from my own blog, it inspires me to grow, push myself, and always be better than I was last week!
Are you open about being a blogger? How do people offline react to your online writing?
For the first month or so, the only person I told about my blog was my sister, simply because I was posting photos of her and needed her consent! I'm always very shy about my work, because I truly want people to love it and connect to it, so I usually wait until I feel 100% proud of something before showing it off. I let my friends find it naturally, through facebook or my website, and was overwhelmed with the positive feedback to my blog, which was a real confidence booster! Now, when I introduce myself to people I say I'm a graphic designer and I have a blog. I think that stating my profession before blogger gives me a little more credibility with those who don't know the true potential of bloggers! I still get excellent feedback from unlikely people (friends of my parents, team mates, co-workers), and the support really makes me feel like I'm doing something worthwhile.
Which weblogs are your current favourites? Which weblogs have been most influential in the shaping of your own blogging?
Favorites: 5 Inch and Up, The Glamourai, Cheyenne Meets Chanel, Fashiontoast, and Cupcakes and Cashmere.
All of my top blogs are fashion related, but they are helmed by these creative, beautiful, intelligent women who are out there making a name for themselves, traveling, and working on creative projects with amazing people. As for my own blog, I really tried to create a unique space, not based or influenced by anyone else. I do look to these women in terms of career aspirations, though, and blogging is their main avenue for opportunities. I hope I can be an inspiration to people, and I feel like a blog can be a pathway to success if executed well.
What advice do you have for new bloggers?
Create compelling and original content. Be genuine, don't try to be someone else. People will respond to your individuality! Post as often as possible, without sacrificing quality. And lastly, remember that success and readership doesn't happen overnight, and don't get discouraged. It takes hard work and time, but people will notice!