I eagerly welcome you back to Creative Corner, so glad you’ve come to join us. I hope you’ve had a good week.
Today’s blogger guest is also a talented Indie Writer.
Meet Hannah, mother of 3 who resides in East Riding of Yorkshire, UK.
Her self-titled blog, Hannah Blackman, which launched in July, is where she shares stories, advice as well as “general ramblings”.
Hannah Blackman is the author of “What’s My Motivation?: Advice for the Serially Unmotivated”.
Let’s dive in and see what Hannah is all about…
When and why did you start blogging?
I started writing my blog only last year, while I was writing my book.
There were so many ideas racing around my head at the time; it seemed a shame to waste them. So, I started writing articles around my other interests and passions as a way of clearing the ‘cache’ out of my messy brain.
It was only recently, when I finally plucked up the courage to publish my book that I decided to blow the cobwebs from my C-drive, and share my articles through a shiny new blog all of my own.
I felt it was the right time in my life to give myself a voice and share my stories.
I want to help people to help themselves and provide guidance for those seeking personal growth – all while doing what I love, which is writing.
What inspires you to write/where do your blog post ideas come from?
Usually, it’s a personal experience, things I have lived through, ideas I’m currently exploring and reading. But if I’m truthful, the credit probably has to go to my brother.
We didn’t get on too well when we were younger. But as we’ve gotten older, we’ve developed a close relationship – and I treasure it.
We’ve helped each other through some rough times, shared advice and talked into the wee hours of the morning. We’re both healthy-living personal-growth enthusiasts, and often swap book and video recommendations.
We’ve been sound-boarding various ideas on the subject of personal growth for years.
So as much as I hate to admit it, it’s my big brother who I owe most of my inspiration.
How did you feel after publishing your very first post, and what was it about?
Funnily enough, I was only discussing this the other day with a friend.
Now, I’m quite used to digital marketing and content creation (I’m in Sales by day), but with my job, I’ve always been able to hide behind a product or a brand. I’ve never put ‘myself’ out there.
I write non-fiction about personal growth and self-help, so I can’t hide behind a fictitious story either.
What I write is ‘me’. They’re my words, my thoughts and feelings laid out in a digital format for all the world to see. I remarked to my friend that I felt ‘naked’, I felt exposed. Like I had given the world access to go poking around my brain. It was very alien to me, although not a wholly unpleasant feeling I must admit.
My first post, “Connecting with your Therapist” talks about the importance of having three fundamental things in place, to get the most out of counselling or therapy. Those things are honesty, vulnerability and trust. It explores the importance of being able to click with your practitioner and open up.
I wrote it as an advocate of talking therapies and their benefits – as well as someone who has a difficult time developing trust for others and opening myself up to being vulnerable.
How has the Coronavirus pandemic affected you personally?
Well, I’m thankful to say that myself, family and friends have remained healthy and safe throughout the pandemic. But wow. Isn’t that a big question when you think about it?
It’s been a double-edged sword for me, as I suspect it has for most people.
At the same time, it has had its adverse effects on me, with school closures, furlough, changes in the kid’s rota with their Dad, not being able to ‘pop-out on a whim anymore – and not being able to spend time on dates with my boyfriend.
The Coronavirus pandemic has been a time of much-needed, positive reflection for me.
It’s given me some breathing room away from the world, allowed me to spend more time with my kids and evaluate my personal development over the last couple of years. The pandemic created an opportunity for me to achieve personal goals and set myself new goals for the future.
However, all this positivity and possibility seems somewhat bittersweet when I turn on the radio and hear the news.
Speaking for myself, I can honestly say that I will come out of this a very different Hannah, to the Hannah I was back in March this year.
Which tools are you using for your blog and which ones would you highly recommend?
I’m using WordPress and IONOS for my website. I’m familiar with both, and it allows me to concentrate my efforts on the writing without having to worry about my platform.
WordPress offers me lots of options with beautifully designed themes and useful plugins; this will help me to add new features to my blog as it develops. I chose IONOS for my domain and hosting, primarily for their customer service. I’ve used a couple of different companies in the past but found these guys far surpassed the rest.
As for writing my blog, I use Word because I’m old fashioned, and I know what I like – I also use the paid version of Grammarly.
I suffer from slight dyslexia, so this application is my lifesaver. I often find that all the words for the sentence are there, but I tend to put them in the wrong order.
Luckily for me, Grammarly always knows what I mean to say!
Which skills does a blogger need to succeed?
I think a blogger needs to be able to communicate. Communication skills are vital for any writer, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, bloggers, authors or journalists, if words are your work, you need those crucial communication skills in place.
Success for me is more about the tools, that’s, A Voice, A Platform and An Idea. Put it all together, and use your voice to communicate your ideas and share your story.
Personally, it’s all about helping others to help themselves, if I can successfully demonstrate that with my voice, my platform and my ideas – then, there is my success.
How do you feel about racism, and what have you done in support of the Black Lives Matter movement?
As an observer, I’ve seen social opinion and culture change on a regional level very slowly over the last 25 years, even though there has been a positive change – the progress remains painfully slow.
The Black Lives Matter movement has proved crucial in recent years in highlighting and actively fighting racism. I give to good causes regularly, the Black Lives Matter movement included, and I’ll continue to do so.
I’m only frustrated at the moment as I haven’t been able to show my support in a more tangible and meaningful way. But hopefully, that will change soon.
I believe if movements like this can continue with their message and growing support, the sickening-hateful views and actions of the ignorant – will become history rather than news.
I hope that I am not naive in my belief.
Which social media platform has contributed the most to your blog’s success and what advice would you give someone using this platform?
I’d say Facebook and Twitter have had the most significant impact so far. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve never been truly comfortable with social media, so I’ve chosen to stay within my comfort zones and focus my efforts on Facebook and Twitter for now.
However, I’m not foolish to the fact I need to get my research head-on and do my social media homework.
What I’ve learned so far about Indie Writing is that not only do you need to be an excellent communicator through your writing. You also need to become, an editor, a publisher, a web designer, a promoter, a social media marketer – as well as having to manage a day job and three teenagers! My advice to anyone would be to do your homework.
There are so many books on the subject of social media marketing, some even available for free on Kindle – I’m planning to learn as I go along. In my usual ad-hoc fashion.
Are you an avid reader and if so, what kind of books do you enjoy reading and what are you currently reading?
Yes, I am an avid reader; in my youth, I was a big science-fiction, thriller and fantasy fan. However, it has probably been about four years since I last read a novel, that would have been ‘Filth – by Irvine Welsh’ – it’s a shame, I really should make more time for fiction.
These days I mainly read non-fiction, I like a good biography, but I predominantly read self-help, how-to and personal growth titles.
I’m currently reading ‘Breakdown or Breakthrough – By Dave Crompton’ which is a book about the negative perceptions and stigmas attached to mental health. And I’ve just started ‘The Time Chunking Method: A 10-Step Action Plan for Increasing Your Productivity – By Damon Zahariades’. I’m also working on a recommended reading section for my website, where I’ll be sharing lots of juicy titles with my readers, including reviews and latest offers.
What advice would you like to give to new bloggers that you wish you’d been given?
‘Please do it! You can!’ For close to seventeen years, I put off my writing. I was suffering from a lack of confidence and lack of belief in myself that I could succeed.
I kept my dreams to myself, convincing myself that I wasn’t good enough, that I would fail and others would mock what I wanted to do. I needed an inner voice to tell me to ‘Do it’ and ‘You can do it!’. I didn’t develop that voice until very recently.
It’s a shame I didn’t have the confidence to start sooner – to take the plunge, hold my breath and dive right in.
Writing my book and starting my blog has been one of the most rewarding things in my life so far. I get to do what I love, I’m not afraid to fail anymore, and I have a new sense of self and self-worth.
If writing is your passion, be confident in yourself, believe in yourself, go ahead and – Do It!
You can do it!
Huge thank you to today’s lovely guest, Hannah, for speaking with us today. I have enjoyed getting to know this sweet lady.
What are you waiting for? Go and check this creative out!
Love it or hate it? Let me know what you thought of today’s interview in the comments. Any blogger interview you’ve enjoyed in particular? Let me know.
Thanks so much for popping in and getting to know this wonderful woman. I hope we’ve left you feeling inspired.
Lastly, you can drop me an email at email@example.com if you’d like to get in touch.