700 blog posts later!

2019, creativity, writing

Hello!

When looking for inspiration for my blog this month, I noticed that I’m really close to having published 700 blog posts – this one makes 699 and Saturday’s post will be my 700th blog post! Isn’t that mental?

Especially when I think that in 2015 I published 365 blog posts, so almost half of my blog posts were published in 2015 and let’s just say my style has changed a lot since then!

If you’re feeling nosy – here’s a link to my first post! It’s not formatted very well because I started my blog on blogger and moved to WordPress about 3 years ago. It’s so formal and pretentious and I thought I was being really unique by having a tagline at the end instead of saying goodbye like a normal person.

It’s so strange to look back on that post and know that it was almost 5 years ago – in 5 years I’ve finished sixth form, got a degree, done a whole host of things and still love blogging. Being able to sit down and watch a blinking cursor is somehow liberating, I can just write whatever I’m thinking about and having this platform to share my thoughts, feelings and advice on has been such an incredible creative outlet for me.

I would genuinely recommend for everyone to start blogging – if you want to refine your writing and really figure out your style, if you have a message you want to put out in the world if you want to blog just for yourself and the memories like an online diary I genuinely think it’s a great skill and a wonderful outlet.

And to be able to look back on five years of my life is so special – I’ve documented the day I got my first tattoo, my variety of hair colours, advice on starting university, fashion, beauty, bullet journalling, post-grad life, a bit of travel, my relationship – so much to look back on and I love it so much.

Writing isn’t for everyone – I know that it’s a skill that a lot of people just don’t want to invest their time in. It’s easier to scroll through Instagram or watch videos on YouTube but I really don’t think there’s anything more therapeutic than getting everything out in words, whether it’s in a journal or a blog post there’s such a relief in writing something out. It’s the longest version of writing out a text and not sending it!

I mean, granted there’s a difference between sending an emotion filled text and writing a blog post on the internet for anyone to read.

Nearly 700 blog posts and nearly 5 years really have flown by – I can’t wait to see what happens in the next 5 years and 700 blog posts bring! I wonder what style I’ll be writing in then?

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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should I stop counting clouds?

2019, career

Hello!

Today, I wanted to write about something I’ve been thinking about for a while, basically since I named my blog and YouTube channel – is it time to move on from Sophie Counts Clouds?

When I started YouTube and engaging with content online, people didn’t use their names in the same way they do now because the internet was new and a bit scary and you didn’t want to put your surname out there. Louise Pentland was Sprinkle of Glitter, Carrie Hope Fletcher was ItsWayPastMyBedtime, Dan Howell was danisnotonfire – so many creators have moved on to using their names instead of these pen names they started with.

On the blogosphere, it’s not quite the same – one of my favourite bloggers is Jemma at dorkface, I know Victoria at inthefrow is a hugely successful blogger (even if it’s not my kind of content!) and when I googled ‘biggest UK bloggers’ the top name on the first link was The Londoner by Rosie Thomas. So maybe bloggers aren’t following the same trend as YouTubers and it’s more about how you build a brand?

Either way, I feel like ‘Sophie Counts Clouds’ might be coming to its end – to me it feels super childish, but I have centred a lot of my branding around it? It’s something I’ve thought about a lot so I thought I’d make a little pros and cons list to see if it helps!

  1. It would feel a bit more grown up – to be, Counts Clouds has always felt more childish than cute indie airy-fairy hipster (which is clearly what I’m going for)
  2. I’d be more comfortable promoting my blog and channel on CVs and job applications if it didn’t sound like a children’s TV channel (can someone confirm whether it sounds childish or not because I don’t know if I’m losing it a little bit)
  3. Maybe I’ll stop wondering if my name is what’s holding me back…

  1. Every single social media post I’ve ever made in over four years would have a broken link as it would still have the ‘sophiecountsclouds’ url
  2. It would cost money I don’t have to buy a new URL and transfer it all over – I am wanting at some point this year to work with a designer on pipdig to properly upgrade my blog because I know that website design is something I don’t know a lot about yet (going to make time to learn and make the most of Skillshare on this one!) but all of those social media links would be broken and I think I’d really see it take an effect on my stats
  3. Finding a URL which has an available URL and is available on both twitter and Instagram to have matching handles everywhere is so hard – with a name like ‘Sophie’, even if I thought of something that didn’t use my surname (like The Anna Edit or Lucy Moon), the fact that I have such a common name really doesn’t work in my favour. A year or so ago I considered changing my platforms to ‘sophieannwrites’ and ‘sophieannvlogs’ and ‘sophieannonthegram’ (which I’m still obsessed with) but I don’t think all of the handles were available and I don’t know if them all being different would make it more difficult and blah blah, there’s a lot of factors.

It’s so much easier to think of the cons because change is scary and but I think I’d feel so much more comfortable and at home on my blog if it was something a bit less up in the air (ironic, clouds, geddit?).

So my conclusion is that I don’t know – what I do know is that I don’t feel ‘Sophie Counts Clouds’ truly represents me right now. If anyone has ever done anything like this or considered this kind of change before, any advice is welcome!

There’s lots of things to consider, maybe I start a whole new blog from scratch, who knows? I’m sure I’ll figure it out at some point!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

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thinking of ideas when you’re uninspired

2018

Hello!

I think we can all agree, that one of the most difficult things about making content consistently online is having enough ideas of things to talk, write and post about. Everyone goes through periods of feeling incredibly inspired and having loads of posts you want to write but similarly, I’m pretty sure everyone goes through periods of having no idea what to make!

I’ve been making YouTube videos for nearly 5 years and writing blog posts for over 4 and whilst I’ve had different consistencies of how frequently I’ve posted, I’ve made 300 videos and 600 blog posts and I think I’m doing alright! I’ve been consistently publishing two blog posts and two videos a week for a fair few months now so I thought I’d share my three top tips for finding ideas when nothing is springing to mind!

1. What do you enjoy making the most? 
Sometimes if you’re feeling uninspired, the best thing is to go back to content that you enjoy making the most because that always comes through. Making what you love often makes it easier to motivate yourself to actually make it and can reignite the spark for why you love making content at all, thus getting those creative juices flowing and maybe sparking some more ideas.

2. Looking back at what you’ve already made
Scrolling back through my blog posts and YouTube videos, looking back at what I’ve published, what worked, what people engaged with and reacted well to often makes me think of something  new I want to make or something I’d like to try again. Also works if you scroll through your favourite blogs or YouTube channels!

3. Using social media
Something as simple as searching ‘blog’ or ‘video’ on twitter or instagram (or your YouTube sub feed and recommend pages!), scrolling through what other people are making, even having a read or watch and engaging with others content, you’ll be inspired by something or like an idea or think of something for sure. Even if you end up using someone’s idea (as long as you credit them obviously!) it might get you back on the creative track and inspire you back to your usual, idea brewing self! Also a bonus that it’ll keep you up to date on trends and what’s popular and what is working for other people, which is always useful!

I mean, it’s easy enough to google ‘blog ideas’, I think we’ve all done it, but I’ve never found an idea or written a post from a random list of ideas that I’ve been passionate about and lists of ideas will never beat your idea or your research and it won’t really fit what you want.

It can be tough, but if you’re prepared to put the work in and make content that you’re really passionate about and love, then your content will be fantastic.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

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Is blogging ‘dying’?

2018

Hello!

As someone who is looking for a career in social media, I’m quite analytical of how I and others use social media and what different platforms are offering.

I read a really interesting article (or it might have been Hannah Gale’s insta stories?) about how ‘microblogging’ on instagram is becoming more popular, both with creators and getting more response from an audience, in terms of writing longer captions that have a theme and may or may not be in any way related to the picture it’s captioning.

The primary difference I find between my blog and my instagram is how much more immediate Instagram can be – stories are instant and in a way people have started using it to daily vlog, Instagram TV looks like it’s trying to rival YouTube (though I’m not sure how well that’s going…) and making posts and writing out long captions is a way of short form blogging.

A lot of people use Instagram in different ways – some people post fun pictures of good times and don’t think too much about what they post, it’s like a scrapbook or a memory. As opposed to the more ‘blogger’ or influencer approach, where photos fit with a theme and whilst making creative content is important, it’s also about reaching as many people as possible by making the photos fit well together (like having a theme), engaging with the human experience in the caption and making the most of hashtags and reaching people that don’t follow you yet as much as captivating their followers too.

That’s not to say that there will be a day where we can say ‘ah yes, blogging is officially dead, RIP blogging’ – there will always be a community of people who like to blog, in the same way that people still read newspapers and listen to the radio. New media and old media are often in competition and trends come and go, but so far it’s all somewhat balanced in their audience size.

I don’t think blogging will ‘die’ so to speak, not in the way snapchat did anyway, but it’s interesting to see how the medium develops and where the majority of an audience is. Instagram is a huge marketing tool for brands, businesses and even content creators that are just starting out. The rise of the influencer started on YouTube and Instagram (to my knowledge, anyway!) and lots of companies and ‘#ad’s are on Instagram as much if not more than they are on YouTube, because audiences are potentially more likely to engage.

Obviously I’m not a marketing expert (yet, I’m looking for courses), this is just coming from my own observations and interest in social media, but I’m really intrigued – what do you think? Are you still a big fan of blogging or would you rather scroll through Instagram’s multitude of content? I’d love to know!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

blogging for myself

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

I follow a lot of bloggers on social media – I’ve watched so many Insta stories about people’s social media plans and how they schedule tweets and post regularly to make sure that as many people as possible see a new post or a new video or follow their Instagram or whatever.

I’ve tried this – I’ve tried scheduling tweets and promoting my content more and you know what? It was exhausting, it never did anything to help more people see my posts and I can’t be bothered anymore.

After I took a break from the internet when I was working on my last university assignments (I say ‘I took a break’ like it was a choice, I didn’t have time to make anything) I decided I couldn’t be bothered to spend ages promoting my posts and videos in scheduled tweets and posts or making Insta stories that no one is going to actually engage with.

I’ve never had that many readers or viewers so why am I stressing myself out over this?

So this isn’t me giving up on blogging or making videos, I’m just going to make content for myself – I don’t need lots of readers to be happy with my blog. I’m not going to mass promote blog posts or YouTube videos anymore.

That’s not to say I’m going to change what I’m writing about or how I’m writing – I still like writing as if I have an audience but I don’t have the time or the motivation to put in the relevant social media (nor do I really have the followers for it to matter!).

It’s not about the numbers! Yes, it’s disheartening when I have a look and they’re the same but at the end of the day, do I care? Not really! I like making things and I can do that regardless of who watches or reads! If my blog or YouTube channel were to become something I could do for a living, I’d rather it would be because people really liked my content and not because I tweeted seven times about a post.

I’d rather save the repeat promo for content I’m really, really proud of like the vlog I uploaded last week which is a bit sad but very raw and I’m very proud of it and it’s linked below.

It’s a tricky balance because I care a lot about my blog and YouTube channel and I really love the content I’m making and I want to share it with people, I think I just need to shake the mindset that I’m doing it for ‘views’ or to ‘grow online’ or for other people and I need to just make things for me.

Thank you for reading (like a lot, I really appreciate it),

Sophie xx

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my latest vlog:

is blogging about social media? | creative crisis #1

2017, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello!

I’ve decided to start a new series called ‘creativity crisis’ because I’m a very insecure person and I have a lot of thoughts about ‘success’ and things that that I notice – I don’t want to say they ‘bother’ me but it’s just observations I’ve made and I want to ramble and talk about it, get some feedback, see what other people think.

So today’s topic – is blogging more about being a good writer or being good at social media promotion and networking?

I follow a lot of people from the blogging community on social media – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook pages, even some bloggers on Snapchat but sometimes, to me, it feels like people put more thought into scheduling and promoting content on Twitter than writing blog posts.

I feel like I should disclaim at this point that obviously this isn’t directed at anyone in particular – anyone who goes to the effort of setting up and promoting their blog to that extreme is not to be criticised, I’m just questioning the importance of the content of the blog when social media seems to be the only way to make content successful.

But with that in mind, there are some events that I’ve been to and written posts about and I’ve read blog posts from other people who attended the same event and it’s a carbon copy of the press release – I spend so much time making sure my blog posts are nothing like the press release, making them more blog-chatty and more engaging for anyone who reads but these people have tens of thousands of followers and I’ve read the exact same post on three different blogs… but they have a social media following.

The blogging community is one that I’m not sure I understand anymore – blogging used to be considered a very ‘mumsy’ thing to do, mums exchanging baby tips on forums and writing diary like entries, hence the original of the word ‘web log’; blogging used to be a diary but to me it seems most successful bloggers are now doing brand deals for tweets and instagram pictures.

I don’t want to seem like I’m saying ‘all bloggers are bad’ or ‘the blogging world is corrupt’ – I’m just someone who’s very passionate about writing and I don’t know if it’s the writers that are getting attention in what is almost a ‘new old-fashioned’ platform, because god knows that everyone would rather look at pictures or a video than actually read.

But I am very grateful that you are reading – I don’t often delve into second person or address your directly but I really do love blogging, being able to just write and ramble then sculpt my ideas into these little time capsules to read back when I’m old makes me happy. And maybe I don’t have the social media following to make my blog ‘blow up’, and maybe I ‘don’t use social media properly’ to ‘properly promote myself’ but I post what I want and I’m happy with. I’ll save the social media campaigns for another day.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Uni blog | The Student Seat
Snapchat: SophieALuckett

creativity?

2017, lifestyle, student

Hello!

I was going to write a post about whether I wanted to have children because quite a few people have been asking me about it recently and I thought it would be an interesting discussion and it just wasn’t. I wrote out about three hundred words and I spent the whole time looking at the word count to see if it was long enough and I just don’t think that’s what anyone wants from a blog post.

I’m having a sort of creative crisis at the moment – I always think of myself as a really creative person who does everything a little bit differently and takes a different approach to things but looking at my blog and my YouTube channel, I show literally none of the creativity I like to pride myself in being. I push myself too much to make content on a very regular basis and that makes it harder to show creativity and flare.

Then I’m faced with the decision of do I upload less frequently and spend more time on posts or upload more regularly and potentially grow an audience (as everyone I’ve seen talking about getting readership on a blog or subscribers on a YouTube channel says you need to upload frequently and regularly) and I can’t figure out what to do.

I’m much happier with where my content is now compared to where it was before Christmas and I feel like I do have more of a focus but I don’t know how to bring creativity into what I do. I’ve got lots of new things I want to try over this summer but with how work is panning out it’s looking like I won’t have time to give them the focus and time they deserve.

I’m at a block where I’d love to make Internet content full time but I don’t have any sort of income and I need a job and I’m just not sure where to take it.

So I’d love some help, some feedback, a contribution event – what do you think shows creativity in blogging? Is it photography, or blog design, or writing about things in a way no one else is writing about them? I think I need to explore new things on my blog, but I don’t know if I’m going to be able to carry on uploading three times a week. For now I’m just going to play it by ear, but I would really appreciate if you could leave some ideas in the comments!

Thank you for reading (and putting up with my crisis),

Sophie xx

 

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Uni blog | The Student Seat
Snapchat: SophieALuckett

500 Blog Posts!

2016, lifestyle

Hello!

How did we get here? How have I written five hundred posts? Well, I haven’t yet, this is the 500th but still?? I’m so blown away.

I started blogging on September 8th 2014, according to the first post I wrote anyway – it was a review of Fall Out Boy’s ‘new’ song ‘Centuries’ in a very matter of fact, journalistic style that my lecturers would probably like. Well, probably not but that’s why I’m doing a music journalism unit after Christmas.

Blogging has become my favourite thing, I’m totally obsessed – it’s something I do five out of seven days a week over three different blogs and on those other two days I’m thinking about blogging! I follow so many bloggers and blogging communities on Twitter and Facebook and I love going to blogging events and doing everything I can to improve my writing and expand my blog. If I could blog for the rest of my life I would, hands down (though I do love vlogging a lot as well and I just hit my three year anniversary on YouTube!).

Writing has always been something I love a lot – when I was a child I wanted to be an author and after flitting around between unrealistic dreams of being a gymnast, a dancer, an actress and a singer (how stereotypical) I came back to writing. One day, I will organise my life enough to be able to finish my book properly but I feel like blogging as much as I do has helped improve my writing so much and makes me much more conscious of what I write and the tone I write with. Having this platform to write on makes me so happy.

My blog isn’t ‘successful’ in commercial tones – I don’t have a massive audience and I’ve never worked with any brands and the thought of having an ‘agent’ or ‘management’ just feels ridiculous because I’m just me but blogging has helped me so much – I feel so much more confident in both writing and myself, I have dedicated myself to writing regularly on this blog for two years and it’s helped me with boring stuff like emails and letters (but, I’ll be honest, I quite like writing emails and letters).

This blog has given me something to write on a work experience application, it helped me get a job and it’s given me a bunch of really cool opportunities. I’m so grateful so thank you for reading.

Genuinely, thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-3CmMYbZuSV5eSvGgkW5Cg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiealuckett
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sophiealuckett
Snapchat: @SophieALuckett
Uni blog: http://sophieannblogs.blogspot.co.uk/
The Student Seat: https://thestudentseat.wordpress.com/

how to find your niche

2016, lifestyle

Hello!

I’ve been really thinking about blogging recently and what I want to do, hence why I took a week off last week, so I’m going to make more of an effort to make more lifestyle themed posts, not just a rubbish online diary.

I’m now classifying myself as a lifestyle, music and travel blogger and that’s where I’m sticking! The lifestyle is going to be more prominent than music or travel because those are more reliant on gigs or releases or actually going travelling and lifestyle is a bit more accessible for me.

But I’ve only recently made this decision of where I want my blog to be, so here are some ways I found to change up my style a little bit!

  • Read a lot of blogs!

It’s hard to know what kind of blog you want to be without knowing what’s already in that genre and what the genre (or niche) is! It’ll give you ideas and make you feel super inspired.

  • Google ‘how to be an X blogger’

It may feel a bit ‘granddad on the internet’, I know, but if you’re feeling a bit lost or overwhelmed, as I definitely was, it can be a really good place to start to get a feel for the genre, to get post ideas and to find new bloggers, which helps with the first point!

  • Try and brainstorm a bunch of ideas

You’ll realise you have more to talk about than you think and hopefully it’ll certify that this is the niche you want your blog to be in. Or, on the other side, it can tell you that it’s not the kind of blog you want to be writing before you start.

A blogging crisis was a bit distressing to me – I’ve written nearly 500 posts now and to realise I didn’t really know what I was doing shocked me a bit but having that week off to do a little bit of research and make some post ideas and figure everything out a little bit was really good for me – I’m in the process of trying to adapt the design of my blog too so if you’ve got any tips or can redesign websites, please let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-3CmMYbZuSV5eSvGgkW5Cg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiealuckett
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sophiealuckett
Snapchat: @SophieALuckett
Uni blog: http://sophieannblogs.blogspot.co.uk/
The Student Seat: https://thestudentseat.wordpress.com/

24 Hours In… Nottingham

2016, travel

Hello!

When I lived in Lincolnshire, Nottingham was somewhere I used to go fairly regularly for concerts, shows and shopping trips.

AccorHotels are running a competition called ‘24 Hours In…‘ where you make a blog post or vlog about what you would do with 24 hours in your favourite city with a chance to win a 9 night stay for two in Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin and a GoPro to vlog the whole trip! You can read more about the competition here but I thought I’d talk about what I’d do with 24 hours in Nottingham.

I’ve been to Nottingham on a variety of occasions – shopping trips and theatre visits with my mum, concert nights and Primark trips with my friends and even a dance competition at the same arena I’ve been to so many concerts earlier this year! I feel like I know the city fairly well (as someone who doesn’t live there, that is!) and I could easily spend 24 hours there.

Assuming my trip starts at about 12pm, the first stop would have to be lunch – there are so many good places to eat around Nottingham but I love Frankie and Bennies. It’s always been a family favourite of mine, especially when ‘Tell Laura I love Her’ comes on the soundtrack and my mum and I serenade my sister.

Her name’s Laura, there’s a reason for singing to her!

After that it would have to be a trip to Long Tall Sally – a shop full of gorgeous clothes that are all well fitting on me! Really reasonably sized (as in, I wear a small in most clothes!) and all of the clothes are long enough for my 5’10” frame! I could spend hours in there but with only 24 hours, time is of the essence! The rest of the afternoon would almost certainly be devoted to shopping, maybe not in shops quite as expensive as Long Tall Sally but a trip to Primark and New Look never comes amiss! A bit of retail therapy is the best part of a little getaway.

Once we’ve spent all the money in our purses, it would probably be time to check into the hotel and go for dinner before a trip to the theatre! I love going to see shows – musical theatre, classic plays and especially when bands are on tour. Whatever was on at the time, I’d definitely try to get some tickets and spent the night out that way, with a drink or two afterwards to discuss whatever it is I’d seen with whoever it was I went with.

From there I think it would be back to the hotel to get some sleep before hotel breakfast the following morning – making the most of croissants and buffet breakfast galore!

And what to do with the little time before my 24 hours is up?

Kitty Cafe.

I’ve never been to a cat cafe but it just sounds like a perfect morning to me – cake, a hot chocolate in a room surrounded by kitties? I think this would be the perfect way to spend the last of my time in Nottingham before my 24 hours is up and heading back to the train station.

Assuming I got the train there on my hypothetically trip to Nottingham.

Writing this post has just made me want to go back to Nottingham! I’ve been there to see Fidler on the Roof (one of my favourite stage viewings ever, the cast played the musical instruments it was so cool!), Cats, The Overtones and McBusted there, I think I saw Michael Buble there too but that might have been Sheffield. Nottingham is definitely one of my favourites, Mum we need another trip there soon!

Go check out the AccorHotels competition if you haven’t already and good luck to anyone else who enters!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sophiecountsclouds/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-3CmMYbZuSV5eSvGgkW5Cg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sophiealuckett
Instagram: http://instagram.com/sophiealuckett
Snapchat: @SophieALuckett
Uni blog: http://sophieannblogs.blogspot.co.uk/
The Student Seat: https://thestudentseat.wordpress.com/