I’m continuing the 1st Year Blogger Series indefinitely because so many of you new (and fabulous) bloggers have offered to share your thoughts. Today I’m honored to have Dana from Kiss my List. I hope after reading here, you’ll take a moment to go over and say hello!
If having a blog were like having a child, I would be in my second trimester, just beginning to show. Apart from some nausea and a craving for chocolate covered pickles, so far it’s been a fabulous journey.
I had been thinking about starting a blog for about a year; I was feeling like I needed something in my life beyond being a wife and a stay at home mom. My youngest child is 11 years old, and while I want to be home when school is out, they don’t need me every second of every day. I love to write, I love to plan, I love a project – why not put all those things together and create a blog?
I googled ”how to start a blog,” and found the website BloggingwithAmy.com. I spent over a month reading Amy’s tutorials and laying the groundwork for my blog. I obsessed over a name and a tag line, fiddled with possible designs, and then closed my eyes and hit “publish.”
My original concept involved posting about all the projects and plans that are part of my life as a suburban mom. I do lots of research before I start anything, and I thought I could share that with my readers. So I began, and my friends and family were encouraging.
I had absolutely NO IDEA when I started blogging, however, that to be successful you have to network. And I wasn’t sure where to start. So I searched around the internet, found a few link ups, and got involved.
Engaging with others has been the easiest part of starting my blog. I’ve met people willing to share advice and give support. I’ve enjoyed visiting and commenting on so many different blogs. And by interacting with other bloggers, I have been able to start building my readership, and meet some fantastic people in the process.
I also had NO IDEA that finding a balance would be such a challenge. This blog thing is much more work than I imagined. Writing posts, visiting other blogs, and being a presence on social media is time consuming, and could easily take over my life. I write about my life and my experiences, but what kind of life will I have to write about if I’m blogging all time? It’s a catch 22, and I’m still struggling to find a balance.
Before I shared my plans to start a blog, I emailed about 30 friends and family and asked them to describe me in three words. I thought that their answers might help me see myself as others do. What do others see as my strengths – strengths I use to narrow the focus on my blog?
The answers didn’t help – or so I thought at the time. A few described me as organized, practical, determined – and those were the traits I was planning to market on Kiss my List. But to my surprise, other descriptions – clever, witty, bright, fun, caring – dominated the list. Besides being a huge ego boost, I didn’t know what to do with that. So I just started my blog as planned.
But lo and behold, I learned that those lovely adjectives were the traits that made people connect with me and my blog. I found that I needed to write not just from my head but from my heart as well – because that’s when the connections are made. I still plan to write about my projects, but I have the most fun when I just let my sarcastic, dorky personality come through in my writing.
I don’t know exactly where this blog is going to take me. It is already different than I thought it would be, and that’s ok. A friend told me the other day that she waits until her kids leave for school, sits down with a cup of coffee, and reads my newest post. She looks forward to reading what I have to say. How amazing is that?
I began my blog to share my tips and experiences as a list-loving mom who always has a project. But I’ve found that this blog is my favorite project, and I enjoy just writing for writing’s sake. Who knows where I’ll be at the end of my first year, or the year after that. But the beauty of a blog is that it is a reflection of its writer, and both will change over time.
If you are thinking about starting a blog, go for it. If having a blog were like having a child, you’re never going to feel totally ready. You just have to say a prayer, take a deep breath, and jump in.