Blogside Chats presents: Shaina from Shadylane Blog

I’d like to introduce a new feature where I flex some journalism muscles a bit, and post some interviews! I come across so many creative, inspiring people; I am excited to get a chance to assuage my never-ending curiosity and share the results here.
To kick it off, I talked to Shaina from Shadylane Blog. She has an awesome blog about “celebrating the everyday.” I love her really positive message and great design. Best of all, she’s also from Eastern Washington. Hooray for the 509!

What inspired you to start blogging? Did your blogging life turn out the way you expected it to?
Back in 2005 I was working at a scrapbooking store and was deep into the industry. My favorite “famous scrapbooker” was Elsie of A Beautiful Mess. I read her blog all the time. And I wanted to start commenting and be a part of the community. She was on blogger back then and to comment you needed a blogger log-in. So I created an account and figured: “why don’t I start a blog too?”  That was honestly how it started. I didn’t really have any expectations for my blog and just loved the journal part of it and sharing my life and adventures. It really has grown into so much more than that now, even though that’s still my favorite part. Now I use my approach to living a life of gratitude to inspire and encourage others. I think blogging has made my life better. I look at the world differently and I try to maintain the same positivity I share on my blog in my personal everyday life.

What have you learned in the years since you started blogging? Is there anything you would go back and change if you could?
I think a big thing I’ve learned is to let your blog grow and evolve organically. I had no idea that my blog would be about celebrating the everyday when I started, but now I see how my whole blogging story has been leading to that. I didn’t always blog with positivity and used to whine and complain about my problems and stuff, but I had to learn how to celebrate the everyday personally first and see the value in living life that way before I could have an influence on others. I don’t believe in going back to change things because then now wouldn’t be exactly how it is. I cherish the words I’ve written and the journey I’ve taken. I’ve kept all my handwritten journals, and wouldn’t consider deleting my online journals either. Anyone can go back and read those first few posts I ever wrote. I’m proud of where I am now in my life and in my blogging because it’s a result of all that happened before. Right now is pretty great, and I’m grateful.

In addition to maintaining Shadylane Blog, you also have another blog devoted to poetry and photography. When did you start writing poetry? Can you describe your writing process?
I vividly remember the very first poem I ever wrote when I was about 9…my mom started it for me and gave the first line and I never looked back. Since that moment poetry has become how I look at the world. It’s how I analyze life and make decisions and express my fears and joys and triumphs.  I have notebook after notebook filled with my poetry. The other blog that you’re speaking of was created for my 52weeks project in 2010. I did a whole year of self-portraiture and poetry. The book that I made from my completed project is one of my precious treasures. It’s pretty awesome to see something you imagined and wrote and created in print. I’ve recently started sharing those pictures and poems on Shadylane with a “2 years later” paragraph after each sharing my new perspective. Its been an interesting way to keep the project alive and to keep learning and growing. I love poetry… It is one of my favorite things to be known for.

The Shadylane Blog Design is beautiful! What methods did you use to learn to do that design work? Do you have any tips for other DIY designers?
Thank you so much! I took a break from blogging early in 2012 to really step back, analyze my goals and intentions with regard to my blog and felt I needed a rebrand. The design itself started with my love of grey, purple and yellow colors together and the chevron pattern. I did a ton of googling and asking for help to figure out how to create what I had imagined. I always begin my designs with a hand drawn sketch. That helps me make sure things will fit and that I like how its all going together. I did a {things I love} Thursday post with links to a few resources that I used in my DIY approach to my blog design. That post is here: http://www.shadylaneblog.com/2012/05/blog-party-things-i-love-thursday.html

Perhaps a self-interested question here: what advice would you give to new bloggers?
When I work with my design clients I always have them start with a mission statement. I think it helps so much to have a clear vision for your online space. Many times you’ll wonder “should I post this” and if you have a guidepost to be able to refer back to you know for sure if it will work. Its good to get specific, but don’t confine yourself either. I mentioned before about how blogging is an organic journey…but each journey starts with the first step.

How do you stay inspired and creative? Do you have any tips you would like to share?
I find inspiration in many places, but when I feel drained and in desperate need of a creative boost I spend time with my camera, in front of it or behind it…sometimes both. 😉 Creating something that is just mine always helps me.  There is so much “inspiration” available online, but I find its so easy to get bogged down by other people’s ideas that yours get lost in the onslaught.  I really love this quote in this regard: “The sooner we stop being victims of information overload, the sooner we can create digital lives that empower our real-world ones.” Sarah j Bray
That’s my biggest tip I guess..let your life be your inspiration.

What are your goals for the future? Are there any new places you would like to explore in the blog world?
Right now my goal is to keep creating encouraging and positive content for my blog. I want people who read my words to move from my space with a smile on their face and perhaps a refreshed view of their own life.  I also really love the world of e-courses and would love to develop a concept for a course I could write and teach and share. Just an idea I’ve been mulling over lately. This is the first time I’ve even really told anyone about it. We’ll see what shape it takes in my mind and heart and if/how it will translate to something tangible.

Thank you so much for your time!
Thank you!! 😀

You can check out Shaina’s blog here.

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