Gala Darling is one of my favourite bloggers and I had the pleasure to attend her Radical Self Love Ritual event in Melbourne last night. It sounds esoteric and frou-frou, but Gala is just a person that knows that happiness is a process, not a destination, and getting what you want out of life requires dedication and strategy. She is a practical businesswoman who turned her passion into a wildly successful blog in which she writes about personal style, joy, radical self love, blogging, and writing.
A native of New Zealand, former resident of Melbourne, and current New Yorker, Gala is in Australia to help her devotees say goodbye to 2014 and set the stage for 2015 with a series of events in Sydney and Melbourne.
Brought by Eventhead and The Elemental Agency, the Radical Self Love Ritual was held at the artsy hotel The Cullen in Prahran. With just 50 women, it was a lovely and intimate event hosted by Julie Parker. Gala took the stage and led a couple of visualisations for getting rid of things that no longer serve us and a goal-setting exercise. That was followed by a Q&A session in which she talked about how she got started, blogging, critics, and her upcoming book. Here are my key takeaways from the event.
1. Think of yourself as the person you want to be. It’s who you really are.
Gala doesn’t think of herself as a blogger; she is a businesswoman. I struggle with calling myself a blogger and it’s excruciating to think of myself as a writer. The idea of calling myself a businesswoman is laughable. I’m also aware that women often wait for permission and external validation. We’re not comfortable claiming things for ourselves and we wait for some public recognition. Gala advises her fans to stop waiting for permission and claim what you want and who you want to be.
2. Schedule self-care.
Gala meditates every day, she schedules her gym time, her massages, her manicures and so forth. She also says no. I’m guilty of filling up my free time with tasks and favours for others. It leaves little time for my own hobbies and self-care. The idea of scheduling a massage or manicure seems ludicrous to me because that’s time I could be working. I need to work on that.
3. Carry your camera everywhere.
Gala takes her camera everywhere she goes and snaps photos of whatever strikes her fancy. I love taking photos, but I’m actually quite shy about pulling it out sometimes and also about asking people if I could snap their photo. I need to get over that too because, really, what’s the worse that could happen? They say no, I move on.
4. Aim to do something creative every single day.
I think this is really important. I’ve talked to some friends at length about how I’ve thought, for most of my life, that I wasn’t creative because there are certain characteristics that are associated with creativity that I don’t possess. Qualities such as being messy, unstable, and unsociable. I know better these days, but I still don’t spend enough time cultivating my creativity. I think this goes back to self-care.
5. Don’t use a publishing calendar.
This flies in the face of the general expert blogging opinion. Gala said she tried creating and adhering to a publishing schedule, but felt it stifled her creatively. She is organised for launches and events, of course, but the blogging schedule is out the window. I have found publishing calendars to be use useful for clients, but I tend to slack with my own. Maybe it’s time to throw it out. I think the bigger takeaway here is to use what works for you.
6. Create a product.
This is a pretty standard piece of blogging advice. If you want your blog to be your primary form of income, you need to have a product. You need to sell something. Gala sells books and workshops around blogging and radical self love. At first, she was doubtful it would work, but she learned that people will pay to get more from you if they like and trust you and you offer something they value.
7. Self-publishing is a valid and accessible form of publishing.
After successfully selling digital products for some time, Gala wanted to write and publish a paperback book. She wanted something her fans could hold in their hands, write in the margins of, and throw in their handbags. She was rejected, at least twice, and she was devastated, but she didn’t give up. In the end, she decided to self-publish the book. She knows that her fans will buy it and she’s right. Julie Parker, who facilitated the Q&A session, added that she has published a book and it was a nightmare. She lost creative control over it and the return is very small. She is now an advocate of self-publishing.
Here is Gala’s TEDx talk from 2012 on Radical Self Love.