I first came across the blog, Winter Moon, via Facebook. Winter Moon captures life in Providence, RI through interviews with local business owners and creatives, not to mention stunningly timeless photography and images. Fashion, travel and music are all topics you can find on WM, but its focus on capturing the beauty in everyday moments is what really inspires me.
You can imagine why I was so excited when WM's Kelly and Olivia agreed to answer a few questions for the Curious Cat Project-- turns out they're not only creative and talented, but wicked nice to boot!
The Curious Cat Project is all about connecting and inspiring writers in the online space. What are your personal backgrounds and stories & how do those backgrounds really influence and frame you as writers?
Olivia: I immigrated to the United States from Venezuela at a young age and I’m beginning to understand what that means for me and how that shapes who I am as an individual and a writer. I grew up speaking and writing in Spanish, and English came later. When I first began to write in English, poetry became my first love because I could express myself and break rules.
I don’t speak about my past of where I came from very often but diving into the world of documentary and interview style writing has really been fascinating for me. I’ve realized that people don’t share their story not because they don’t care but because no one asks. There is so much we don’t know about the people that surround us every day. I truly feel honored to be able to share and write about people’s journeys. Everyone’s personal story is a fragile thing and I value it very much.
Kelly: I grew up in the definition of suburbia with the constant desire to pack my bags and travel the world. I knew I wanted to help other people and live a life of creativity. I've struggled a lot with some mental health issues and working through those challenges I am learning to become an honest writer which I find the most powerful.
You include a lot of beautiful imagery throughout your blog. What kind of "feel" do you hope to give readers?
Olivia: Thank you! From day one, imagery and writing has been the biggest focal points of Winter Moon. My goal is take our readers through an inspiring journey with our writing and photography. I am super passionate about photography and want readers to feel like they are transported into a different place.
Kelly: Thanks! I agree with Liv that imagery was a huge point we wanted to focus on with Winter Moon. I want people to read what we have and think about it. We both wanted a space where we could share our true thoughts on topics and our audience has responded so well to what we put out there. I want people to feel something when they read the content, not just read it and let that be it. Challenge what image you create and make it apply to you.
What are you hoping to accomplish long-term through your blog? Have your goals shifted over time?
Olivia + Kelly: We have stayed true to our vision of what we want for Winter Moon. We want it to be a place of inspiration and a combination of our different experiences living in the same city. We want to showcase the inspiring people around us that work insanely hard to make what it is that we love so much about Providence. Our purpose is to share ours and other people’s stories in order to inspire others to pursue what they love. And if they don’t know what they want to pursue, we encourage people to seek for what that is. We believe that when you do what you love, amazing things happen.
Our vision for Winter Moon has been solid. We really talk through all of the details as small as they seem; everything we do has a purpose. And even when we’ve made changes visually, we try to calculate and think about what kind of effect it will have.
How do you define "success" for your blog?
Olivia: I’ve written a lot about the concept of success and I feel that it really varies from person to person. I feel that success is relative to your experience, age, and perspective. For me, inspiration keeps me motivated. I find inspiration from the smallest things to the greatest things. I find inspiration and feature it in a way that makes people think and challenge themselves to stay present and driven. Success for me is being able to continue to do what we love on a global scale and when readers tell us how an interview inspired them to make or do something.
Kelly: Success is such a strange concept to me. I feel small bursts of success here and there but I am constantly pushing myself to get to a higher creative level. I will say though my best sense of success from Winter Moon so far is the individual emails we receive saying how much they love reading WM and how much they can relate to our content. That is so rewarding to me.
You have tons of great interviews with local designers, business owners, etc., in your blog. How do you go about finding "fresh" content for your blog? What's your writing process like? Have you increased your posting frequency since you first started?
Olivia + Kelly: We’ve always asked our readers to join us in our journey and this has totally been the case in how our content comes about. The longer you live in Rhode Island the more you realize that everyone is connected somehow. The search of finding content for our blog happens organically for us!
We’ve found that Kelly really is amazing at collaborating in projects with artists, photographers, musicians, etc! & Olivia has really gravitated and focused on the interview process. We have a writing schedule and we stay pretty consistent in writing and do not limit our creativity or the structure of the posts. It’s important for us to have fresh content for our readers.
What inspired you to find a physical space for Winter Moon?
Olivia + Kelly: Winter Moon is not only our blog but it’s our business. It was important for us to have a physical space where we could meet, brainstorm, have photo shoots, and write. We have a really amazing view of downtown Providence which inspires us so much. We really see Winter Moon as its own entity and felt that it deserved a place of its own.
Will you always be based out of little Rhody?
Olivia + Kelly: We have a huge sense of adventure and are always down to travel! Although we love little Rhody, we are not limited to staying here forever. More than anything, we want to travel and share our life, experiences, and the world with others.
There are so many blogs out there, and so many writers. Although success via readership isn't the only reason writers write, what keeps you motivated?
Olivia: It’s easy to get discouraged in blogging feeling like a small fish in a really really large pond. There are many writers out there, but that doesn’t stop us! I feel that we have found a niche topic of interviewing and collaborations with locals and we love that our readers are some really inspiring people doing awesome things.
I am motivated by those that surround me, our readers, and the idea that we have this freedom to create which should not be taken for granted. For many in the world, what we do in Winter Moon is a luxury!
Kelly: Being in the blogging community is definitely a challenging thing. We are not just dilly dallying on our laptops all day! I love what I am doing and I constantly want to see the best so staying motivated is easy.
If there was one piece of advice you could give to aspiring bloggers, what would it be and why?
Olivia: For someone aspiring to be a blogger we would say 4 things:
- Write about what you love. Find out what that is and stay true to yourself. Your passion will come through your writing.
- Think about who your reader is and be honest with them.
- Blogging is not an easy thing. It’s extremely time consuming and can sometimes be a very solitary process. If you decide to commit to blogging, readers will commit to you too. If you give up on writing, your readers will give up on reading you.
- Blog for the love of writing and your content. If you love what you write about, you will love blogging! Don’t blog for the sake of it or for fame. Many of the big bloggers out there have been blogging for 5 to 10 years. Ask yourself if you are committed to doing it for that amount of time, if not you’ll get sick of it in a few months.
Kelly: Blogging professionally is probably not what you think it is. It takes hours on hours a day to work on posts, photography, editing, working with clients, social media managing etc... We run Winter Moon as a business and career and take it very seriously. Write for YOURSELF and be honest. Don't write things you think will just appeal to other people, while thats great and such its not real and raw. We didn't start this for fame and fortune but for the genuine desire to share our experiences and we got lucky that people responded so greatly. Don't blog to say you are a "blogger," blog because its a passion and lifestyle.
What's your favorite word and why?
Olivia: Inspiration. Inspired. Inspirational. Any form of the word inspire. I am a firm believer that inspiration can stay with you for a long time. I love that inspiration is not a tangible thing but it manifests itself in so many ways.
Kelly: Hmm that's tough. I will go with contribute. I say that because my life mission is to contribute as much positivity to as many people as possible. Enriching other peoples lives is the most rewarding thing that happens to me.
What aspects of writing still make you curious? This is the Curious Cat Project, after all.
Olivia: There are several aspects of writing that make me curious! I would say that the interview and documentary style writing is absolutely fascinating to me. You have to thread someone’s story with your point of view and that is just something I am loving so much. Everyone has a story and everyone wants to be heard. The hard part is writing it in a way that the message comes across.
I would also say that the process of writing lyrics fascinates me completely. Combining words and music in your head is a beautiful process!
Kelly: Recently I have added a very interesting aspect to my life and I am curious if and how it will change how I look at life and in return change how I write and relate to readers.
Many thanks to Kelly and Olivia for sharing their stories and giving insight into the inspiration behind Winter Moon!
I know I'm looking forward to keeping up with Kelly & Olivia and all the amazing things happening on Winter Moon.