Guest Post: Natasha Nuttall | Graphique Fantastique | Can Awards Change Your Life?

UK Blog Awards 2015 – submission from Natasha Nuttall,  (nominated for Best Individual/Freelance Arts & Culture Blog ).
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'To many this might sound silly, but can winning a blog award change your life? Definitely. Since winning 'Best Young Persons Blog' in April 2014 I have had a lot of exciting opportunities and experiences; I've attended events and worked with brands all thanks to the exposure gained from the UKBAs. I've been able to reach new readers, begin a new advice series and have enjoyed a lot more engagement with my blog posts. I feel great about my blog - confident and proud of my achievements.

Graphique Fantastique is SO important to me. Blogging has been a part of my daily life for over 5 years now and has helped me document some of the most exciting and memorable times in my life - College, University and Graduate experiences. It is my creative outlet, a place for my thoughts and a window into the world. By day I am a junior Graphic Designer but at night I write and edit photos for blog posts - I love it. Blogging is seriously under estimated as 'just a hobby' by most people, but without my blog I would probably be a jobless graduate right now. I wrote a blog post about my struggles after graduation and I was offered 2 interviews. I started as an intern and 8 months on I'm a junior designer, living the dream in London. Blogging helped me to reach the right people and kick start my career!

Considering starting a blog? Don't hesitate, just write. The best posts are from the heart, so share your thoughts and your passion will shine through. It's become cliche now, but just be yourself. I write about design because I love it and I hope/think that shows in my posts. My blog is 100% honest and you won't catch me posting about something I don't want to - you'll never see me doing outfit posts because it's just not me. I think a lot of people get caught up in the numbers and post about things because everyone else is. Be different. Be original. Be 's great to have a connection and relate to someone. I like to read blogs that have personality and feel like a conversation with a friend.

Why should you blog? Blogging began as a challenge to become more analytical and critical of my creative work, but has turned into so much more. It has kept me writing, reading and learning. I have met so many interesting and inspirational people with my new found confidence as well as connecting with people on the other side of the world. I have pushed myself to go out, adventure, explore and do. Blogging has kept my eyes open, always on the look out for inspiration and post ideas. It's kept me motivated, dedicated and happy - I owe a lot to blogging!

I was encouraged to start a blog by my tutor as a college student back in 2009. My tutor had just began blogging himself and said that I should give it a go, so I did. Recording my thoughts, inspirations and creative process as a student really helped me to become more critical and aware of the world around me. It gave me a challenge and I enjoyed pushing myself to create content. The process of building my blog has been quite long and definitely not easy - a lot of people are shocked when I tell them that I've been blogging for over 5 years now. Blogging requires a lot of hard work and I don't think people realise how much time it takes. Some bloggers are over-night successes but I feel like my blog has only really started to blossom in the past year. There is still so much I want to do with my blog - ideas and collaborations. I hope that I can continue to grow Graphique Fantastique as my life and career progress.

Blogging isn't all glitz and glamour, but it does come with some amazing moments: Not that long ago I was checking my statistics when I noticed that I had 10,000 followers on Wordpress. That was crazy. I just sat quietly trying to take it in and I still don't really believe it. I never thought that my blog would have influence on other people, but apparently it does. In my 3rd year at University I was in a critique when one of my tutors came over and interrupted. He had been interviewing prospective students and asked the usual question 'So, why do you want to come here?'. The girl's response? 'Because of Natasha Nuttall's blog.' Somebody had chosen to attend University because of my blog. That was a really lovely moment.

Looking back, I have enjoyed so many great blogging milestones. From reaching 100,000 views, being Freshly Pressed twice and being featured in Wordpress' recommended Art & Design bloggers. Blogging has enabled me to work on fun collaborations with big brands including The O2, Ryman stationery and Fanta. I was also shortlisted in the Cosmo Blog Awards 2014 for 'Best Careers Blog' and had a great time meeting new bloggers and attending the awards.

Now I am nominated in the Arts & Culture category of the UK Blog Awards 2015 and my fingers are tightly crossed - who knows where this adventure could take me!?'