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5 more authentic Instagram accounts

A few weeks back, I shared 5 creatives who use Instagram in authentic, inspiring, and original ways. This week, I’m back with 5 more content creators whose examples we can certainly follow as digital creatives.

Again, these accounts are consistently sharing unique content in a way that allows you to get to know them and what they offer on a deeper level through a relatively simple format. They frequently and freely share helpful information and advice; allowing them to build trust with their community. This way, when the time comes to make an ask or sell, you’re more willing to take that step.

I hope this inspires you to switch things up a bit with your online content. Let me know in the comments what you’re thinking about trying yourself!

Shona Vertue, Creator of the Vertue Method and Yoga Teacher (@shona_vertue)

I came across Shona via the BBC’s Fit and Fearless podcast and the lovely “Girl Gains” ladies. Shona was so honest and ‘tell it like it is’ with her wisdom during their episode about weightlifting as a female, that I was an instant fan.

But, what really amazes me is how well Shona is on top of her online content. If you follow her regularly, you’ll see that she is constantly putting out blogs and yoga tutorial videos on YouTube, but also shorter form videos for her Instagram posts and Stories. She puts quite some effort into items that will simply ‘disappear’ in 24 hours. She knows, like few others, that it’s all for good reason! If you focus on bringing out quality stories throughout the week and have a solid schedule in place to make this happen, viewers will keep coming back to see what you get up to next.

Andy J. Miller, Illustrator and creator of the Creative Pep Talk podcast (@andyjpizza)

Andy is another podcast find of mine, but this time with his own show: Creative Pep Talk. Andy’s goal is to help all artists make a living while creating their art (a mission I stand behind, too!). His podcast is brilliant for creators who want to get better at the business side of things, but his Instagram is also a beautiful example of an artist taking their work and turning it into beautiful, daily content.

7% JAZZED 7/100 Days of Creative Motivation . You hear me talk about creative career strategy all the time, right? Have you ever noticed your strategy getting in the way of your creativity? . Here’s my solution: separate them out into a process: . Step 1 – STRATEGIZE- What does this art need to do? What are your goals? . Step 2 – PARAMETERS – Use your strategy from step 1 and create constraints to create within. . Step 3 – PLAY – When it comes time to actually make something, keep it loose, play, get lost in the process. . Step 4 – EDIT – Refine the work with a critical eye that reflects your strategy. . I’m pretty sure this is just good brain science. They say creativity happens in our brain’s “open mode” AKA when we’re playing, and if we take care of the business in steps 1, 2 and 4 we can leave step 3 for our play. . Think of it like a sport. The team’s plan and rules of the game are decided beforehand, and the players play best when they lose themselves in the zone, ultimately leaving the “edits” to the ref! This process enables the strategy to be closed mode and the creativity to be open mode. . Sometimes I find myself white knuckling my way through personal work trying to get to the place where I’m paid to do that work, but don’t I want to be paid to do this work because I enjoy doing it? What’s stopping me from enjoying it now? . . NOTHING! . Don’t forget to loosen up and enjoy your creativity, EVEN when you’re trying to advance your career… no ESPECIALLY when! . This is part 7 of my 100 Day Project. Follow along #cpt100percentjazzed . #100dayproject #cpt100day #motivation #creativecareer

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Andy is such a lovable, quirky, nice guy and you get the feeling that he would be just the same in real life as he is in his posts. He isn’t afraid to geek out over what he loves and takes the time to microblog on most of his captions about his experiences as a creative business owner.

And we wonder why we have such a hard time thriving 🤦‍♂️

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Glossier, Skincare and makeup brand (@glossier)

I know, right? You were not expecting to see a company in this list. Glossier is definitely one of the exceptions when it comes to the thousands of other companies that share and promote boring, marketing fluff on Instagram (you know who you are, *maniacal laugh*). Granted, a lot of what Glossier shares is gorgeous eye candy. However, another huge part of it is promoting natural, born-with-it beauty through practical tips and inclusive products.

It probably has quite a bit to do with their philosophy of ‘beauty products inspired by real life’. At the end of the day, yes, they are selling a product. Yet, they are choosing to do it by being helpful and showing real, diverse women.

Boy Brow in action 🎬

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Alex Maclin, Nutrition coach & weightlifter (@alexqmaclin)

Alex is a friend of my family from our hometown of Memphis, TN. He offers nutrition coaching to athletes and anyone who wants to ‘create a lifestyle of habits that supports how they want to live’. He’s been weightlifting and coaching for years as well as dropping knowledge bombs on the Barbell Shrugged podcast. He only recently launched his website and revved up his personal, online content, but he is doing an amazing job and I think that deserves to be said!

Like Shona, Alex gives tough love and true wisdom in his blogs and Instagram posts. He’s always sharing quick and genuinely useful tips or answering particular questions someone might have about nutrition. As you can tell from this list, I love anyone who takes the time to fill their captions with straight-up wisdom that I can put into play right away.

@_hunterelam with a slick 94kg snatch at a in-house comp. I’ve been helping Hunter with her nutrition since early March to get her ready for Nationals in May. So far she’s dropped several kilos while still hitting PRs and recovering strongly despite being in an energy/calorie deficit. Here’s some insight into her nutrition plan: – 1. First item of business was to help her be more consistent with her food intake and food quality. She was already logging and building a habit of pre-programming her food into my fitness pal quickly improved her ability to hit her macros more consistently. We also focused on improving her food quality by adding more nutrient dense foods. #greenshit – 2. Hunter’s technically in season and ideally would not be cutting weight and instead eating for performance at maintenance. But, we needed to hammer down and be in a deficit because the competition is soon. – 3. Although she’s in a deficit, we’re still using nutritional protocols geared towards recovery and performance. She’s doing a high carb (cyclic dextrin) + protein shake. She was doing a refeed 1x a week and now she’s doing 2 refeeds a week to help her get through her hardest days of training. She’s crushing carbs. – 4. We’re also placing heavy focus on sleep and relaxation. She’s getting typically 8.5+ hours a night while also working on lowering stress. – 5. Our goal is to get her close to weigh in weight in the next few weeks. We’ll then add calories back so she has plenty of food to finish the hardest part of her training cycle and not step on the platform immediately after wrapping up a cut. – Especially when working with athletes, you have to consider the long term goals before preparing a nutritional plan of action. Nutrition should to be periodized according to where the athlete is in relation to major competitions or the playing season. Most importantly, you must emphasize properly fueling the athlete. Constantly being in a deficit, not getting a proper balance of macronutrients, and not emphasizing food quality is not conducive to achieving great athletic performance. #feedyourathletes #nutritioncoach #athleticperformance #olympicweightlifting

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Anna Whitehouse aka Mother Pukka, Author, writer, & activist (@mother_pukka/)

Anna is the hilarious and refreshing voice behind Mother Pukka. Together with her partner, Papa Pukka, they wrote “Parenting The Sh*t Out Of Life” for “people who happen to be parents (or might be soon)”. Anna is brutally honest about what it takes to be a parent and what that looks like for hard-working, passionate people of the current age.

Being Sellotaped to another human being 👶🏻 through sheer love and leaky mammaries is a wonderful thing indeed. But a few things that helped me navigate the peaks (manic warthog-like snuffles by her left ear lobe) and troughs (whimpering alone in the bathroom at 4am riddled with anxiety and mastitis, fearing getting on public transport with her for the first time) are here if you swipe left. As many of you know, I’ve lived in @monki because you can whap a bap out swiftly in their jumpsuits and they offer up the comfort of an outdoor pyjama suit. (It’s the only style I’ve found to truly take you from day to night like the magazines promise). On the knackering night feeds, I found Adam Buxton’s podcast a saviour – his dulcet tones calmed my soul and his turn of phrase had me stifling laughter as I rocked Evie to sleep sounding like a wheezing Mutley off Whacky Races. I tried a few Netflix series to kill the early hours but got a little wired and frazzled so ended up with Blue Planet on repeat. David Attenborough has helped me in the darkest of maternal depths. For the 🍈🍈 a bargain £9.99 (for two) @hm nursing bra was a personal winner because it felt like wearing a supportive bandage with no pesky underwiring. Not sexy but so practical, which is basically the same thing now. To keep my milk up I’ve been ordering @motherslovecookies lactation cookies – Matt ate many, too and his moobs have never looked more pert. Then there’s the magical balm from @kitandkinuk which I slapped all over my face and neck (and Evie’s bits) to feel a little less like a worn leather glove, along with @elizabethardenuk Eight Hour Cream for nips (and other bits 👀). Other than that, it was getting outside a bit that helped. A little bit, every day, into the light – even if it’s a slightly grey-ish, foggy light, it staves off a little of the sometimes unavoidable darkness. If you have anything you want to add to the mix, please pop ideas below for those entering into the newborn trenches #postpartum #motherpukka 📷 @emilygrayphoto

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I’m not yet at the point of trying out parenthood myself; but, after watching Anna, I seriously look forward to the hilarity it will bring. Anna has also brilliantly found a way to use her comedic prowess in her activism work to promote flexible working through the Flex Appeal campaign. She’s proof that you should embrace whatever your talent is (a talent for words, performance, artistry, brutal honesty, etc.) and use it as a way to spread your message.

 -A

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Getting started with video – Part 3: Video editing

You planned it out, selected the right equipment, and shot your first video. Congratulations! You should be really proud of yourself for getting to this point. Let’s move on to video editing!

So, what do you do with all the footage you’ve created? As a video newbie, editing software can feel scary when you first start using it. Don’t let this stop you. In the final installment of this series, I’m going to share some programs which are great for beginners, tips on learning as you go, and resources I found really handy when I started editing my own videos.

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Programs and software

There are plenty of powerful options when it comes to editing software, but they can cost a pretty penny (around €100 depending on what you choose) and new versions are released each year. If you’re interested in comparing the big boys of video editing, check out this comparison list from PC Mag. Most desktop programs follow a similar logic; if you learn with one and change your mind later, the skills you’ve learned will transfer. You’ll just have to get used to new keyboard shortcuts and advanced options.

My recommendation for you, as someone starting with video, is to consider an option which is both lower cost and offers good tutorials. My personal preference is Adobe Premiere Pro with a Creative Cloud membership (this is what I use to edit videos on my YouTube channel). You pay a reasonable fee each month to use Premiere Pro (pricing depends on whether you want Premiere only or additional software) and you have access to many easy-to-follow tutorials from Adobe.

Apple users might also consider iMovie; which comes free with iOS. It’s offers enough basic editing tools to put together pretty stellar videos. Windows stopped offering Movie Maker in 2017 on their systems, but their are some decent alternatives. I don’t have experience with it myself, but have seen Filmora coming by quite often.

Also consider using a smartphone app to make your edits (particulary efficient if you already filmed your video on your smartphone!). For smartphones and tablets, there are plenty of options for quick and painless editors. The iMovie app is free on the Apple Store. You can also get a free app called Adobe Premiere Clip which offers basic video editing features; you simply have to sign up for a free Adobe account. Those of you with Android devices can look into FilmoraGo and WeVideo.

One thing to watch out for is whether the app will stick their logo on the finished product; so, run a quick test with your choice before wasting time editing your entire video.

Learning as you go

The best way forward is to (pardon the cliché) ‘just do it’. Don’t waste too much time watching YouTube videos on how to use software or reading articles comparing the different options. Pick something within your budget and start playing around with it.

Be sure to check in with yourself about your expectations. You should not expect to have title overlays, captions, animations, extensive background music, etc. mastered on your first go. For your first video, focus on simple goals: clean transitions between clips, a link at the end of the video, and maybe some background music to play under your clips or at the end. These can already be powerful enough!

Then, with each video you make after, challenge yourself to try one new technique in your edits. Slowly, but surely your videos will improve. And, you won’t get stuck trying to make the perfect video on your first try. You will learn so much more by finishing this first video and moving on to improve in the next one and the next one and so on.

Learning from online resources

To learn more about editing, start with the tutorials provided with the software you picked. If you do have some extra time to hone your skills, feel free to look into courses on certain techniques.

Basically, anything you want to learn about video editing can be found on YouTube. From basic introductions to your editing software to very specific tutorials on creating a certain effect. Throw it in the search and you’ll be shocked how much free, high-quality information comes back.

I also have had a lot of luck with Skillshare courses in general, but also specifically when it comes to learning about video and editing. Two notable courses are the ‘Video Essentials’ course from the Vimeo team and ‘How to Vlog! Film, Edit, and Upload’ from Sara Dietschy. There’s seriously so much information on Skillshare ranging from working with effects, voiceovers, green screens, color correction, etc. You can also learn how to create a specific type of video; e.g. wedding, sports, documentaries, etc. If you want to give it a try you can click the links above or use my personal link to get 2 free months (I don’t make any money; I’ll just get free months, too. Double win!)

That’s a wrap!

I hope that this series has given you the confidence and information to try out video creation on your own. For me, creating videos and vlogs is one of the most creatively fulfilling hobbies I have. Taking the clips I’ve made and turning them into finished pieces is really fun and a great way to share who I am and what I do.

As always, if you have any questions, just shoot them my way. If you create your own videos, please share them with me! I would love to see them. Best of luck to you in all of your creative endeavors!


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Getting started with video – Part 2: Video equipment

Let’s talk video equipment! In the first edition of this series, I walked you through how to plan a successful video shoot. Now, I’ll share tips for new video creators when it comes to selecting cameras, stands, lighting, and microphones.

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Equipment for your video

Anyone who has typed something like ‘best camera for vlogging‘ or ‘simple video set-up‘ into Google will know how many amazing, affordable equipment options there are available to budding content creators. Most of the larger online retailers offer great recommendations and there are hundreds of blogs & videos comparing different options depending on your budget and desired effect.

So, I’m not going to give you a comparison list ranking the different cameras and microphones out there. I will, however, give you a list of the types of equipment worth considering when you’re getting started.

Cameras and camera types

As someone starting out with video, your smartphone is one of the best resources likely already at your disposal. Almost all smartphones from the last few years have excellent, hi-resolution cameras and decent built-in audio. If you’re creating an on-the-go video, your phone is a great option. For straight-to-camera interviews, just be conscious of your surroundings since smartphones tend to pick up a lot of background noise. I’ve made plenty of vlogs where I was already out and about and my camera battery died out on me. No fuss; I simply pulled out my iPhone and continued the vlog from there.

In my own kit, I have a Canon EOS 650D DSLR and a Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 hs point & shoot (in bright pink!). A DSLR camera makes beautiful images and provides more options, but you honestly don’t need all of this if you’re just starting out. Pick up a compact camera and the automatic settings will generally be enough to get you by while you still familiarize yourself with the settings. Some aspects worth considering in a camera: silent shutter and focusing in playback, a viewfinder you can flip towards yourself for vlogging, good image stabilization, decent built-in audio, and maybe wifi for easy transfer to your smartphone. Some other brands and models to consider are Canon PowerShot (G7 X), Panasonic Lumix, Canon Powershot S120, or even a GoPro (especially for rugged, outdoor shoots).

Tripods and grips

If you’re shooting indoors or in a smaller space, you’ll probably be fine with a simple set-up. A stack of sturdy books could save you from investing in a tripod. One handy trick is to utilize a camera neck strap to stabilize your video; just loop it over your head or shoulder and pull the camera tight away from you to stabilize while shooting.

Another nice item is a handheld tripod grip or GorillaPod. They are pretty sturdy, handheld tripods which you can set-up on a surface somewhere and then pick-up, straighten the legs, and hold out in front of you for a more stable and easy to hold shot. And, they fit easily in your bag or pocket. I use a light GorillaPod for my compact camera and the sturdier iGadgitz PT310 grip for my DSLR.

A traditional tripod has come in handy for me when I need to find good natural light and I’m at the mercy of my space. I don’t have to move furniture or build precarious stacks of furniture with my beautiful camera perched on top. I use the Hama Tripod Star 61.


I have yet to have had to invest in lighting. Almost always, I’ve planned or tinkered with my cameras settings to find the best natural lighting. Shooting at night can be tougher, but it really depends on what you need to record and the effect you want. A strategically placed desk lamp can often be enough to brighten up your scene. And, depending on your editing software you can work some magic in post.

When you’re just getting started, simply be prepared to think on your feet and move around to get the best light in that particular setting.


As I mentioned earlier, most cameras and even smartphones offer decent built-in audio for you to work with. If you plan ahead, you’ll be able to test out the audio in your setting and work around this. However, if it looks like you’re going to need a little support with audio, there are almost as many microphone options as there are cameras.

For a starter, I’d recommend looking into the RODE line of microphones. The RODE Videomic Go is a super-light, affordable option you can plug directly into your smartphone, point and shoot, or DSLR for an already crisper and more direct sound. Any microphone like this will give you that bit of extra control

Another option many people like is recording sound with your original device and using a portable audio recorder at the same time. You will need to learn a bit more about mixing and working with two audio tracks in your editing software, but having the extra security and options might be worth it for you.

I recommend watching this video from Sara Dietschy (she puts out tons of informative videos on vlogging and video creation) if you’re looking for even more options:

Up next – Part 3: Editing

So, by now you’ve got your plan in place and you’re making decisions about what video equipment you’re going to need to make that a reality. Again, if you have any questions, feel free to shoot them my way. In the third and final part of this series, I share tips on learning to edit and work with your footage.


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Getting started with video – Part 1: Video planning and set-up

Creating your own video content can feel like an extremely daunting task when you’re first starting out. The production quality of the average online video has certainly increased in the last few years. When it comes to creating your own projects and video planning, you might be feeling some performance anxiety; worrying that you won’t be able to measure up.

Well, cut that shizz out and create your video anyway! ;P

In all seriousness, though, there’s no need to let the technical aspects of video-making keep you from sharing your story. Focus instead on telling a great story in a clear and concise video. If you manage to post any video at any level, you’re already leaps and bounds ahead of the rest who are too afraid to even hit record. So, my first piece of advice is to just start.

That said, there are some handy tips, tricks, and info that I think any starting video creator could use. I don’t consider myself an expert, but after having made a decent amount of digital video content I have learnt a thing or two which I’m happy to share with you here.

Originally, I wrote this as one post including planning, equipment, and editing, but it became extremely looooooong. So, I’m breaking it up into 3 parts.

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Planning and set-up

Before you ever click that little red button, you need to establish what kind of story it is that you want to tell. What do you want to achieve with this video? What should the viewer know/feel/do after watching your video?

This might be a step you’d rather avoid, but having a clear goal will allow all the other technical pieces of video creation to fall into place.

One thing I like to do is create a private playlist for myself on YouTube with videos that have the style I would like to replicate with my own video. You can list out what you like and dislike in each one concerning style, type of shots, length, etc. Look at the common denominators and you’ll have a clearer picture for what you want to achieve.

What’s your elevator pitch?

Once you’ve decided on your goal, use the ‘elevator pitch’ theory on your video idea: what are the essentials the viewer needs to know and how I can I tell them in the shortest time possible?

You might also find it handy to script out or storyboard your video in advance. Something as simple as a shot list of what you want to show and in what order can make shooting more efficient and stress-free.

When it comes time to record, you’ll know what shots you want to be sure to get. Of course, on the fly you’ll want to get some unexpected clips, but if you have a shot list prepared then you won’t come home with too little to work with.

Video length

Once you know your goal and how to tell your story most efficiently, you can decide on your video length. Consider your viewer’s attention span. Or, rather, consider your own attention span! How long would you keep watching? You might have a long event or trip that will end up being a lot of footage; consider breaking it up into multiple videos. Hooray! More content to share and in more easily digestable bits.

Some standard guidelines for online video: 60 seconds is ideal for promotional videos (i.e. “short form”) while 5-10 minutes is more suitable for a vlog or short-story style video.

You’ll often end up with a lot more footage than you need for a single video; which is typically better than not having enough. I’ll talk about editing in the last part of this series, but be prepared to ‘kill your darlings’ in the edit. But, also try to think about this in advance during preparation. You’ll save yourself and your subject(s) from wasted time when you know what you’re trying to achieve.

Setting the scene

Consider your scenes and the space where you’ll be recording. Is it outdoors, indoors, or a combination? What’s the lighting situation? What time of day will it be? Will there be a lot of external noise? Do you need access to a space to change clothes or use the bathroom?

Don’t get overwhelmed; I tend to use what I have and work on the spot. But, if you’re looking for a particular result you may find you need to alter your plans or buy/borrow additional equipment depending on the circumstances you’ll be shooting in.

Running through similar questions can help you feel more prepared when it comes to your shooting day(s).

Up next – Part 2: Equipment

So, I hope you’re going to start planning that video you’ve been waiting to make for a while. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot them my way. In the next part of this series, I share what camera, gear, lighting, etc. you need to make your video.


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Twice a month on the blog, I share fresh tips and techniques on how to keep your marketing authentic, fun, and focused. Subscribe below if you want to be one of the first to know when I post!


5 authentic Instagram accounts

After my last article on microblogging and on request from a few lovely boss friends, I realized it would be helpful to share a list of a few of my favorite Instagram accounts who share their work and life in an authentic and exciting way.

Instagram is usually not the place we think of when it comes to being real and authentic. In fact, it’s more often than not quite the opposite. With the typical Insta-famous accounts, we get a highlight reel of perfectly filtered, edited, and posed snapshots of what we’re supposed to think is real life.

But, why can’t it be both? Beautiful and real.

Why can’t we be inspired by images and timelines of content creators who are their true selves and reveal the beauty in that? I’m happy to report that there are plenty of fine examples of this already on the platform.

The first thing I do when I wake up and last thing I do before getting ready for bed is get on Instagram. You might be thinking I have a serious problem. Writing it here even makes me take pause. In actuality, though, it’s one of the most inspiring parts of my entire day!

That’s because I have curated a mental list of inspiring creators on Instagram who are constantly sharing the most interesting, original, and genuine content.

Many of these creators are also taking full advantage of the Instagram Stories and Live options, too; making the experience all the more personal (more or less) in real-time.

I find that, thanks to Instagram’s algorithm (see there is an upside to it!) and a dash of my daily story-watching habits, the first things Instagram is showing me are the accounts that inspire me to create, be real, and be vulnerable.

I even find myself checking in with these accounts in particular instead of just letting the main feed wash over me. There’s so much to consume on social; so, why not be deliberate with your time and who receives your attention?

Check out these fantastic accounts and what they’re doing that works, according to my humble opinion. I hope this list will inspire you to keep being vulnerable and authentically you in your content; no matter where you’re sharing it.

And, let me know who you’re following that inspires you. Sharing is caring!

Fran Menenses, Illustrator and Etsy shop owner (@frannerd)

Fran’s art is fun, relatable, and a feast for your eyeballs. Her illustrations are full of color and whimsy, but also tap into the feelings and emotions we’ve all been through. Thoughts on aging, dealing with negative feedback, finding (and losing and finding again) your muse, and binge-watching too much Netflix.

Fran is refreshingly open about her career and life as an illustrator; offering insight into her materials, process, and what it’s like to make art your career. For any of you creatives wondering how you can share your creative journey, take notes from Fran.

Melissa Hartwig, Creator of Whole30 (@melissahartwig)

I included Melissa in my last article on microblogging, but she’s worth repeating here. Melissa is one of the most inspiring business leaders I’ve encountered on Instagram. She created the undeniably successful Whole30 program and is a NYT best-selling author. You’d think someone this successful wouldn’t need or want to share their life and work, but she’s making sharing part of her success story.

I saw this quote on @marybethlarue’s feed, and it stopped me in my tracks. This TOTALLY explained my 2017; full of questions framed as challenges, growth, and opportunities. How much was I willing to share, how far back was I willing to look, how brave was I going to be? I met last year's questions with a variety of answers, most often along the lines of "Why now?" and "Um, a little help?" and my personal favorite, "WTF, God." It was confusing. It was uncomfortable. It was relentless. And more often than not, I floated around feeling lost, wondering, "Who the eff am I to be out here claiming I can help other people?" • And then, like the plot of a well-written mystery… everything began to make sense. Answers, framed as new connections, fresh starts, solid grounding, and satisfying achievements. This is why I had to dig that up. Here is where I was being led. This is what I am meant to do now. Answers which I met with responses like, "FINE I GET IT," and "Yes, okay, thanks," and my personal favorite, "Oh." • I certainly don't think I have it all figured out now, or that these answers are the FINAL answers, tied up neatly and wrapped with a bow. They're just little rewards from the universe, helping me stay connected, motivated, and on the path I'm meant to follow. Signs that sitting in the discomfort, doing the work, and keeping my heart open through process was exactly what I was meant to do. But damn if the last 30 days doesn't reaffirm my faith in, well, just about everything. Maybe that was the point. • #yearofquestionsyearofanswers #justmelissa #helpthankswow PC: @southernlivingmag

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Melissa is refreshingly candid and open; sharing her experiences running a business, health and fitness journey, balancing life and work, and recovering from drug addiction. She’s honest about how hard it can all be, but inspires you to go for it anyway. A great account I check every single day without fail.

Caroline Kelso, Made Vibrant – (@ckelso)

Not only is Caroline’s Instagram beautiful to look at, thanks to her amazing artwork and illustrations; it’s also a place to become inspired to do more in your work and life.

I love this quote from @elizabeth_gilbert_writer in #BigMagic about commitment to our creativity. ⠀ . ⠀ Today I shared with my email list my own familiar pattern I fall into when I enter into uncharted territory with my art — first the curiosity and the excitement and the discovery of a new tool or medium or process, then the fear and doubt and self-criticism when I'm not immediately comfortable with it. When my work doesn't live up to my own taste standards. ⠀ . ⠀ But the truth is… pushing past that discomfort and committing to PRACTICE is, as Liz says, when "interesting begins." That's when creativity becomes not just an act of expression, but an act of self-evolution. ⠀ . ⠀ If you're ready to push the boundaries of your own creativity, learn a new skill, and commit to practice this summer, I definitely recommend trying out #iPadLetteringforBeginners. The course closes in just a few hours! (link in profile)⠀ .⠀ Either way though, I'm trying to remember this advice as I use the iPad to continue to map uncharted territory within my own creative skillset. I hope you'll do the same!⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #ipadlettering #ipadpro #ipadart #applepencil #procreateart #abstractaffirmationsdaily #handlettering #lettering #digitalart #handletteredart #digitalart #choosemust #liveyourtruth #risingtidesociety #dreamersanddoers #peoplescreative #makersmovement #liveauthentic #bloomyellow #makersgonnamake #madetomatter #creativelife #bigmagic #creativepreneur #communityovercompetition #theimperfectboss #soulfulcreative

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Caroline is extremely open with her advice on a multitude of subjects. She’s constantly sharing tips, tools, and ideas for those interested in hand-lettering, illustration, and branding; much more often for free than as part of her paid suite. She’s so passionate and excited about what she does that when she actually is selling, it doesn’t feel like it.

Bethany aka Lil’ Sipper, Food Blogger – (@lilsipper)

Lil’ Sipper is not your typical health and food blogger on Instagram. Yes, she shares delicious, healthy recipes with stunning photography that makes your mouth water. But, there’s something special about the way Bethany interacts with her audience. Every single day, from dawn to dusk (literally; this woman is usually up around 5am!), she is on Instagram Stories sharing what she’s eating, recipes she’s working on, shopping trips, advice, honest product reviews, and funny moments in her day.

Most will scroll pass this pic and/or even comment without even thinking twice "Eating Disorder." Sad really. But this is the result of when you have a list of severe IBS symptoms and not being able to digest food properly (among other internal issues stated on my blog) Food was not absorbing into my body, hence nutrients was basically being stripped away…even though I was eating. That's the result on the ⬅️LEFT. But the result on the RIGHT➡️ shows that Y O U C A N O V E R C O M E these problems. I did – without any meds, surgeries, feeding tubes, and with the guidance of my holistic dr ate my way back to health. 🍽 Literally. . I thought I was the only person on the planet🌎 dealing with this, come to find out there are countless others that can relate…sadly suffering. 🙏🏼 I now know why God allowed me to nearly die and experience this, to help those dealing with the same or similar issues. I don't have all the answers, but I do have some helpful tips and guidelines if you want to heal your gut and start living! On my blog💻 I have a page called "10 Steps To Heal You Gut" which I personally took my own time to create. It's 100% FREE. I don't make a cent from it. It's just something I am passionate about and want to share how I got my health back and how you can too.❤️ . And if you don't know my story, click the "About Me" section on my blog. www.lilsipper.com (link in bio) . LASTLY:👇🏼 If you know someone who needs to read this, tag them! #lilsipper #TransformationTueday . . . #FoodIsMedicine #Hope

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She is so open about her ongoing battle with life-threatening IBS and devotes hours to responding to comments and questions from followers who look to her for solutions. 322k people tune into Bethany’s posts because of her integrity about the products she shares and her commitment to helping others. It’s really a beautiful thing to see and experience.

P.S. She even still takes the time to respond to every single person who tags or DM’s here. That is some dedication to her followers and shows how grounded she remains. And, probably a big part of why her following has consistently grown.

Adriene Louise from YogaWithAdriene (@adrienelouise)

Adriene is all about remaining authentic and ‘finding what feels good’ for you. You see this in everything she puts out into the world. In her yoga videos on YouTube, she’ll crack jokes, laugh about her creaky floor, let her sweet dog Benji wander into the shot, and just plain old ‘be herself’. The quality, beauty, and aesthetic of what she makes is top-notch, yet the feeling is so warm and casual.

The yoga routines are low-barrier so anyone can join in and she’s not showing off with crazy moves that look good on camera but aren’t achievable for a novice like me in my living room. She puts an emphasis on enjoying the movement rather than trying to achieve a certain pose or an idealized body shape. In fact, she outspokenly discourages trying to be or do something other than what’s inside you. Yet, she still manages to inspire you to reach new goals. Pretty bad-ass, if you ask me.

 -A

Photo by Kaylah Otto on Unsplash

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An introduction to Microblogging

I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of times that starting and consistently maintaining a blog can do wonders for your business. I’m not here to convince you of that. Anyone like Marie Forleo, Lisa Congdon, Jason Zook, Danielle LaPorte, and countless other creative entrepreneurs in the digital space are proof of this. Even as I was writing this, I’m taking my own medicine and creating the first posts for my own blog.

Still, that’s not to say that blogging is easy and comes naturally for everyone. I would even say, for most people, writing content is one of the most confronting parts of your business.

This whole marketing puzzle can feel very formulaic and, sure, you might even know all the steps you need to put in place to build a funnel, but when it comes down to really writing the damn thing, often you’re blocked. You’re stuck. The words. just. won’t. come. out. And, that’s a really stinky feeling, especially when you know all that blogging can bring you.

So, here’s where I share a little nuggo’ of wisdom.  There are some very fun and low barrier ways to dip your toe into the world of blogging before taking the full leap. One of the best ways is microblogging.

microblogging definition

Microblogging is a fairly new phenomenon taking place on social media.

Essentially, it takes out all the bigger questions that come with ‘traditional’ blogging and leaves you with the freedom to share short-form ideas and thoughts where people will see them more easily and immediately.

So, where can you microblog? Mainly, I see the best cases on Instagram, but there are a lot of other gorgeous examples of this on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Almost two years ago, I saw this quote from @randizuckerberg in @incmagazine, describing the life of an entrepreneur. Paraphrased, it went like this: "Work. Family. Friends. Sleep. Exercise. Pick three." This world prove one of the most important pieces of advice I’ve ever heard, and it’s saving my sanity (and my health) again as I recover from book tour. • It's a huge relief to accept that in any given day, NO I CAN’T do it all—and it’s an enormous joy to give up trying. As I try to settle back into a routine at home, under-slept, buried in the work I missed while I was out on tour, missing family and friends, I've gratefully embraced that I can only do three out of five really well at any one time. I've also become highly skilled at keeping them fluid from day to day. • Mostly, right now, it’s family, sleep, and exercise. Work is getting handled as I have capacity, but I have zero problem saying, “I’m underwater. I have no margin. This will have to wait.” And while friends are extending invitations, one-on-one time with my son is my priority. But if one of my three has to go; if works presses or an important person comes to town, bye-bye exercise. Never sleep. NEVER, EVER SLEEP, because if I’m chronically under-slept, it ALL goes to hell in a handbasket. • I do try to buck the system, though, by combining factors; friends + exercise (including church), family + friends, friends + work. It's not about picking three forever and ever; it's about realizing I have to choose EVERY SINGLE DAY what to be good at, because "all" is not an option. • This framework has completely changed how I think about managing my time, my priorities, and my energy. What I've learned in the process: Stop trying to do/be/have it all. Aggressively protect your own health. Do whatever you need to do to rebuild those buffers. And don't apologize for it. • #melissarants #youhavefivepickthree (Message board: @letterfolkco)

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The beauty of microblogging is that the format is pretty standard. You need an eyecatching photo or video (sometimes these images actually have nothing to do with the content of the post, but I would recommend that yours do when possible). You are limited, in the best way possible, to the bounds of a simple text box and of course you can use hashtags and emojis. If you’re like me, emojis will be abundant.

Limited doesn’t feel like the right word here; to be honest, it feels more like being freed. There’s no email marketing, newsletter writing, blog formatting, or SEO optimization to think about. I will be one of the first to sing the praises of all of those things and they definitely have their place. But, when you are trying to grow your writing and idea/opinion sharing practice and make it more routine, microblogging can be an incredibly freeing and helpful practice.

And, like I mentioned before, people are already following you in those spaces. You don’t need to chase anyone down, convince them to click through, open an email, or get them to take any action. They simply need to have chosen to follow you on social media.

If you do a good job of writing a strong pair of first few lines, then you’ve got their interest. Even better, if they love or resonate with those words in any way, there’s a high possiblity that they will leave a comment and share your words with someone they know. Often, followers will save them for a tough day when they need to hear those words again. This is how you build your authentic voice.

So many new followers in the past week that I thought I’d say hello 👋🏼 I’m a self taught illustrator & fine artist and I didn’t start my career till I was 40 (I just turned 50 last week!). Before I was a professional artist I worked in education, first as a 1st grade teacher & then as a project manager at a non profit organization working in public schools. I started painting and drawing for fun when I was 32 years old. I fell in love with the magic of the creative process and that love has helped me get through the tough parts of building a career as an artist (of which there are many). Eventually I left my job to make art for a living in 2007. I live and work in Portland, Oregon with my wife Clay and my dog Wilfredo & cat Margaret. We moved here three years ago from San Francisco. I am passionate about social justice, equity & inclusion and I founded & help run a group of creatives in Portland who are LGBTQ & People of Color with my friends Eugenie and Victor. In my art practice, I work in both traditional media (ink, gouache and acrylic) and digital media (I also draw on my iPad with Procreate, which I taught myself how to do last year). I illustrate for clients all over the world, I am the author of seven books & I teach many online art & business classes. I am a Capricorn and an optimist (my mom says I can find the treasure in the pile of shit every time). I love Scandinavian design, traveling, reading books of all genres, going to spin class, swimming (I used to swim competitively) & watching crime dramas. I have lots of weird collections. I also have a thing for tigers, rabbits & dogs and have all three tattooed on my body. Instagram is my happy place. Glad you’re here too. Photo by my dear friend & incredible talent @dibblephoto ❤️❤️❤️

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Microblogging allows you to get a taste for blogging, experimenting with different themes, and create a writing practice for yourself. All the while, you’re building your voice and sharing your vision with your followers. These are all things you’ll need when you commit fully to blogging. Depending on yourself and your business, it might even happen that you get enough fulfillment from microblogging that you just keep doing that. Plenty of great thought leaders are doing the same.

Before I sign off here, I want to share a disclaimer. Please do not fall into the trap of trying to share only inspiring messages or turn yourself into a social media life-coach. There are plenty of amazing people on social media that do a fantastic job of this. But, there are also people (probably someone is coming to your mind right now) who have suddenly turned into a coach before your eyes on Instagram or Facebook one day.

You don’t need to do this and please dont let it stop you from microblogging! Just be you. Just share your reality. The authentic experience you are having as a creator, a business owner, a human being. You will probably end up inspiring others anyway because you are putting yourself out there and being the true, beautiful you.

 -A

P.S. In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing my pick of the top authentic Instagrammers who microblog. Be sure to subscribe to The Bi-Weekly Creative below so you don’t miss when I post this!

Photo by ANGELA FRANKLIN on Unsplash

Subscribe to The Bi-Weekly Creative

Twice a month on the blog, I share fresh tips and techniques on how to keep your marketing authentic, fun, and focused. Subscribe below if you want to be one of the first to know when I post!