Today in Simplify Blogging, we’re joined by the beautiful Carly Jennings from Living Brightly!
A wellbeing blogger + soul writer, Carly inspires her readers to heal, nourish, and create. Just as I’ve connected with many of the bloggers in this series through the Bright-Eyed and Blog-hearted community, I also became friends with Carly in the Facebook group and have found her such an inspiration!
1.) Tell us about your biz + blog!
My Blog is called Living Brightly
. To be honest I started very much before I was ready. I didn’t know what I was going to write about exactly, what it would look like and what to even call it?
I knew that there would never be a perfect time and that I just had to take the plunge regardless. I chose the name really quickly (and I hope I don’t regret it) but to me Living Brightly is more a reminder to myself – a mantra to aspire to. A chance to remember that Life is always Bright even in darker times. I wanted the name to be quite positive because I knew the content could become a little heavier – and I needed that balance.
I am a wellbeing and Lifestyle Blogger and Writer (although I find it hard to define myself sometimes) and although my style and content (after 18 months) is still evolving I primarily write about all things wellness and Healing. I document my own long term health journey on a quest to recover from CFS/Autoimmune Thyroid / Adrenal Fatigue / POTS ? Parvo Virus + Lyme Disease. To be honest the diagnosis’ are getting longer 😉 but really the point is that my system crashed 20 years ago and I am determined to unravel the mystery, dig deep into research, honour the mind. body + SOul connection, and simply find a well to feel better 🙂
I am a bit of a soul writer if I am honest. I aim to inspire and encourage along their own journeys to take baby steps and make a start right now if they can. I write about healing, nourishment, food, self love, purpose and creativity. I also love to chat about blogging and writing itself, and you’ll also find many tasty (free from) easy recipes for those with little energy and time. …. Its a little eclectic but then its an online piece of me – of my hope, dreams and fears – so it will always be diverse.
I hope it works.
Ive found (with time) that my niche is getting tighter but at the start I think it was important to allow myself to play… and to just write. To see how it evolved naturally because Ive learnt that blogging is totally organic and it grows and adapts at its own pace. It almost guides you if you let it.
I have so many plans to make LB more than just a blog. My dream is to pen a real life memoir style recovery book. And I have tons of service and workshop and event ideas swirling in my head. But for the time being my health dictates all, and in all honesty the blog is all I can manage and focus on right now. One step at a time.
2.) What challenges have you faced as a blogger? How did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge was simple getting started. I deliberated and agonised over whether it was right to start a wellbeing blog when in reality I was (and am) still very unwell myself. I wondered if I could give myself permission and questioned whether anyone would want to read my words until I was infact recovered?
In truth, I secretly wanted to follow all those other bloggers who discover radiant health in a brand new food philosophy or lifestyle, and then share it all in its glossy and appealing form. Everyone loves a good story with results after all…… But life isn’t always like that is it? I decided to just be transparent and authentic and write from where I was at. Raw and honest – whilst keeping a positive vibe. It was quite difficult to achieve initially and I spent a lot of time making sure I was happy with my ‘about me’ page.
It took a while to feel comfortable with being so intimate but with time my portfolio of posts has grown and now collective I am happy with how they represent me and my situation and personality as a whole.
Pressing publish on my first post was very nerve racking but the response was amazing.
I use this example to continually remind myself that we must always start before we are ready.
3.) I know many bloggers aspire to creating an ebook. Yours is beautiful! Any suggestions for those looking to follow in your footsteps and create one?
My free Ebook is a Gluten/Dairy/Sugar free Desert and Snack Recipe Book
for those short on time and low on energy. Everything takes less than a few minutes to make and tastes delicious. I couldn’t eat the way I do without these types of treat which mean I never feel like I am missing out.
To be totally honest the book needs re-designing. It was great for my first attempt but 18 months into blogging I feel the need to create a whole new ebook opt in. Something different and far prettier design wise. I have an idea in the making to do with sharing our stories….. Its a work in progress and will probably be a free opt in if people sign up to my newsletter. I will also probably produce a much larger version with varying content as a paid product later on.
So my advice one again would be to just do it before you are ready. Don’t worry if it is not perfect at the start. Its isn’t meant to be. Let your perfectionist go here and just create.
4.) What is the number 1 thing that has helped you grow your newsletter list?
Without doubt joining an online blogging group has helped me grow my list. The connections are invaluable and we all try to help one another. By immersing myself in the ‘blogging world’ my content is seen far more readily. The support and friendship is also invaluable.
5.) What are your blogging goals for 2015?
My goals ongoing are just to be at total peace with my writing and my words. To make sure they come from the heart and to allow them to evolve as they wish. To be open to the direction the blog wants to go and the shape it wants to take. I often find myself being faced with a content idea which I never would have dreamt of writing about a year ago. I find myself in a place which needs to listen to my intuition and often that calls to write about something difficult or unexpected. I see that as my calling if you like and I try my best to honour it.
For instance, recently I wrote a post about Crowd funding for my own healthcare costs. I NEVER thought I would consider that – let alone write about it. But the suggestion was given to me. It was placed firmly within my hands and I had to therefore explore it fully. The blog post was a detailed account of that exploration and the final conclusion I reached as to whether to let my sister (who suggested the idea) go ahead and set me up a fundraising page. I warn you it is deep and challenging and to be honest I would love your opinion on it. If you are interested in my decision click here
I have lots of physical goals too like writing the new ebook and other projects, but I’ve stopped placing commitments upon myself – mainly because it is disappointing when I cannot achieve them due to health limitations. For now I am trying to be patient and go with the flow. To just keep writing to keep the spark alight so that when I am ready I can fly.
Read more about Carly at Living Brightly and connect with her on Facebook + Twitter