February

So my dog likes my desk set up. She’s not that helpful at productivity boosting mind.

Man time flies when you work from home. A few updates and thoughts.

First of all, the silence on this blog has been deafening right? Sableyes.co.uk has had under relentless attacks on XMLRPC.php and WP-login. It has been chipping away at my bandwidth, but across January and February its become to expensive. I ended up renaming both to something entirely different, and now I have to change them back to normal to just log into the site to post and reply to comments. Sigh right? So for the time being this blog will be stay quiet, with odd hellos and updates but posting frequently will be a pain in the bottom.

Next up, my friend Phil (of Not Very Deep Thoughts) and I seemed to have a running joke for a while, that if you put a million typewriters with a million monkeys in a room, eventually they will write an erotic novel and spam you on Twitter about it.

Well the same is true for marketers. Eventually they will crap out posts about how to get ahead on social media. I did another video for Skillshare, but this one is free permanently. It’s possibly helpful to some of you, but was for me intended as further video making practice. There are some things in life you should charge for, and there are other things Google can tell you.

I am still getting to grips with video creation and slideshows in my free time. Video is a medium that has always escaped me. I can talk to a live audience, give me a room full of people and I will command the room. But talk to a camera where you get no physical response? I still find that odd.

The Little Fears are going better than ever hoped for. I became a featured illustrator on Ello.co, a top writer in Art on Medium.com and am currently 5th featured Tumblr blog under Fiction.

I mean that is pretty good for a blog that is less than 2 months old right? It has picked me up some work too, from doing the illustrations for someone elses book to designing a poster.

Speaking of books, this week I have been working on my first Little Fears book. I have always been told I should put my doodles and stories into a book, but until the Little Fears it never felt right or focused enough. Now I can combine it all properly.

As another friend, Linda Higgins recently said referring back to when I stopped using newsprint for my doodles.

What could have been a problem for you has been IMHO a great success!

Yeah I would say it has alright. I found my feet doodles and fiction through here on Sableyes.co.uk, but I found my stride with them both on the Little Fears.

The freelance life is not all roses though. I keep developing a habit of working from 8am to 9pm. Don’t laugh, hour for hour, that is still a shorter day than when I was actually at my old job, and less stressful. But it is a life I want to peel back on. I have some passive incomes going now which eases the financial pressure somewhat. I want to spend more time away from the laptop screen and more time with the missus and dogs. I am also going to ruin my eyes sitting a laptop all day. Hey we only get one pair, gotta look after them as best we can aye?

I also want to re adjust the time and social side of my online and real life. The old job destroyed my social life for years to the point where I cannot recover my old social life. Online, I barely speak to anyone at the moment unless its work, and that is quite frankly crap. I used to sit for a whole evening talking on blogs on social media. I stopped doing that. I hope to get back to that in March.

On the upside, I did not have to ride my motorbike to work in the snow or through Storm Doris. That was a plus!

That’s about it for now, so I say thank you for reading, and I leave you with a Little Fears YouTube video.

 

Creating a Media Kit for your blog

The product announcement will appear properly on the Little Fears tomorrow. For those interested in a video course on creating a media kit for you blog, the course will be free for the first 25 sign ups before going premium, so get in there early!

Click here for the Skillshare course

Now the advert is out of the way, a blog post about synergy.

I am bonkers about keeping some sort of visual synergy. I do a wide variety of posts and pictures on Sableyes.co.uk, but I have always felt the visual style of every post be it a picture, photo, doodle or text has always felt right leading into the next post.

The Little Fears side project has allowed my visual synergy to sync to an incredible level.

The website itself is as stripped down and clean as possible, allowing the focus to be entirely on the little fears images and the accompanying flash fictions. It works. Perfectly.

In 3-4 weeks the blogs already hit 2,500ish subscribers. I am not a stats fan, but thats a heck of a boost. It currently also has a combined following on social media platforms of over 12,000.

I convinced myself the focused visual style helped. So when I set about creating banners for Etsy and Threadless I kept that in mind.

Etsy example in a post.

Threadless example in a post.

They sit nicely nestled into the bottom of the post, discreetly fitting well into the blog. There is a slight problem with discreet. Although they look nice and correct down the bottom of the post, they do not jump out at people. That said, I am fine with that. I would prefer a discreet aesthetically pleasing image at the bottom of the post over a gaudy flashing advert screaming “buy my shit!”

That makes a big difference to the CDO* among us.

One of the things I had wanted to do for a while is go back and try creating another Skillshare class. It’s something I should be good at. I can talk live to audiences no problem. But when I sit in front of a camera and read a script. Eh.

So then it dawns on me, maybe keep that visual style I have been using all month. The Little Fears. I employed my doodles on simple cards, dictated my script into a microphone, and put them all together. It works.

The preview video is free to watch (linky), it has some happy dappy music, my little characters on cards, and it just kinda worked. Its not the best online course in the world. Despite being crap infront of the camera, I like seeing the teacher of classes when taking online courses. But the tiles, characters and fonts worked well to put my point across, which ultimately I guess is the most important thing about teaching online.

By the time I was done, I found the class reinforced what I had said here so many times before.

The Little Fears now have a Etsy and Threadless store along with a Skillshare course along with the doodles and flash fiction on the website. No matter if its a T Shirt, poster, lesson card or scruffy paper doodle, it all works and gels together.

Think about that next time you want to add something to your own blog, or take it in another direction. If a scribbled bird and her companions can make all fiction, doodles, t shirts and classes work together, I am sure you can add a travel post to your beauty blog. Just keep your visual and writing style the same and you can fit almost** anything anywhere.

*CDO Bit like OCD but the letters are in the correct order. As they should be.

**Almost anything. Some square pegs wont fit a round hole no matter how hard you whack it.

New Year, New Life

Brace yourselves, long read coming. Please consume this post with left over New Years alcohol.

My new year starts with a pile of promotional goods, potential customers, check lists, big diaries, year planners and an unexpected boom from a side project.

I spent most of December telling myself I needed a break, and not really taking one. Instead I paced floorboards, browsed the net, emailed people, started side projects and not actually relaxing at all. What a waste of an intended break.

I did make a few blogging observations over December though. The first was I had expanded on my posts last year when I got quite a bit of feedback that people enjoyed my posts but a lot of folk would enjoy them if they were a bit longer. I expanded the posts I was making throughout December to a few paragraphs per post. The problem with that is, as discussed here a number of times last year, I am a flash blogger. Fast paced, quick and snappy, get in there, say what I need or want to say, and get back out again. Although nobody has actually complained about my writing in December, I am not happy with it. It reads like the random thoughts of a teenager who has just found Tumblr.

OK, maybe its not Tumblr bad… But all the same, flash blogging is where I excel.

The secound observation was of a side project. I started a fresh blog of doodles and flash fiction, trimmed right down, no waffle. It has a shop, a services list, and about page, then its all flash fiction and doodles. 1 post per day tops.

Three reasons for the new site.

First, the Tales of the Blue Moon involve actual people and their characters online. I have no rights over them. When I started the Tales of the Blue Moon they were intended as a bit of fun between friends telling silly stories about our online avatars. That grew and grew and now I want to put all this fiction into a book. Not a bad idea, but the characters are not mine. I have appropriated these personalities and I fell kinda awkward about it. I am positive none of them mind the tales being put into a book but I would feel better making a commercially written entity about my own characters. Not somebody else’s.

Secound was hark back to the beginning of December when I mentioned I was doodling on newspapers and had a concern they may get tugged at some point and I might get a slap on the wrist or taken to court. Yay copyright. Like Phil mentioned, you can use a newspaper as toilet paper, but you cannot make art out of it. So a new project using only copyright free or my own images. I found if I printed them off on standard photocopy paper, doodled on them and scanned them in, the paper still had a good texture and worked for my scruffy scribbles.

Works well with my style doesn’t it? So I can be as commercial or non commercial as I want with them, stick the characters and doodles in a book, online or use them as toilet paper.

Third reason was I often tell people I am quite good at building a following online. I began the blog on the 27th of December, spent an hour talking about it online each day to New Years. New years day the website had a combined following of about 1,700 people across various medias. I believe today, 3rd of January it stands closer to 5,000 or more. It is getting a thousand hits a day and as a side project, just annihilated Sableyes.co.uk in so many ways. Thats a smidge encouraging and depressing. Say it only picks up only 1,000 followers a day in January. It will be at 30,000 – 40,000 followers by February. I am not one for looking at stats or followers, but Sableyes.co.uk took a year to get to 10,000 WordPress and 11,000 Twitter subscribers.

That said, building a following was never a goal for Sableyes, although goal has changed several times, it has always meant to be an online representation of me. The numbers were just a nice bonus.

On top of that I have had 3 magazines ask to do features on the new project. I have had odd approaches from people about features on Sableyes, but its been here a year. New project is barely 7 days flipping old!

So when the side project takes off and smashes my old blog into the ground that hard? I am not sure how to put it into words… A mixed feeling between ‘Why did I not do that sooner’ and ‘have I been doing it wrong here all this time’ has come across me. Does that make sense?

The positives however.

Sableyes has taught me a crap feck tonnery about blogging. I do not believe had I started the side project a year ago I would have had the same success without the experience Sableyes gave me.

Sableyes has also introduced me to some some truly fantastic people online. It has given me some great friends, and all the numbers and attention in the world the side project gets cannot detract from meeting some of you lot in the blogosphere. You are all utterly fantastic.

Sableyes has also enabled to experiment a lot with my writing. I know I can write reviews, be humorous and I excel at flash fiction and doodles.

This year I need to hang on in there and climb on up. I need to write articles for magazines and websites, sell my products and services, I need to earn a wage from home and make a mark on the world. I reckon that might be a better thing to talk about on Sableyes.co.uk. The side project is an ultra focused ‘me’. I cannot ramble there. I cannot post the off topic doodles or the Tales of the Blue Moon. All of which I still hope to do in my spare time.

This place can live on as the combined machinations of an idiot with 2 dogs and a motorcycle on the Internet. But it will get a lot quieter as my priorities and finances will require me elsewhere.

I shall be busying myself over morning tea and porridge with the side project, so if you get a nudge and hello on WordPress from someone with an awfully familiar doodle style, that is probably me.

The side projects address is http://littlefears.co.uk/

It is entirely scribbles and flash fiction. Very me.

Bubble

Last doodle of the year. Asked the missus for a theme and she suggested Bubble. I returned to the Heads doodles.  I reckon I will continue the odd lil gits into the new year some. Not sure why but I enjoy doodling them. Maybe these guys and the spooky clouds and specters could join up? Or maybe I need to get out more and doodle other things with something other than Posca Pens?

New year, new doodles, we shall see.

Doodled with Posca Pens.

Drink

“It’s not fair” sighed Cordie.

“What isn’t fair?” asked Reala.

“Well” grumbled Cordie, “if I drink lots of alcohol, everybody calls me alcoholic.”

“Right” replied Reala.

“So if I drink lots of Fanta” exclaimed Cordie, “why does nobody calls me fantastic.”

Tales of the Blue Moon