I can remember the moment I decided to be a blogger so very clearly, even if it was already 7 years ago. I was lying in my hotel room in a small town in Québec, travelling around with a group of high schoolers, showing them all the beauty the province has to offer (okay and all the shopping potential). Not the ideal trip to take out east, sans la famille, but when given the opportunity to share something I love, I hop on it.
Which makes me equally grateful when Lisa asked if I wanted to share in the blog loop series she was creating with some fantastic bloggers- I love sharing and I love collaborating, so thank you Lisa for giving me this opportunity. I hope I can share something with you over the next 6 weeks that you can take away and apply to maybe starting a blog or a new venture in life. Our first question, which will be answered by 6 bloggers in a loop is What to Know Before Starting a Blog. Tough one for me to answer because I knew nothing prior to starting, aside from the fact that I wanted to blog. So I am going to share with you 3 of the biggest things I have taken from the process of becoming a blogger, that I wish I would have wrapped my brain around prior to starting a blog.
Identify your goals: What are you going to blog about? This may change along the way and that's okay- it's your blog and you need to enjoy what you're doing.
That decision to become a blogger in Québec was terrifying but also exhilarating for me. The thought of creating something that would be mine and having a spot to tell my stories overruled the fears I had of the unknown. At that point the enormity of the blogosphere was not on my radar, in fact, I was completely unaware. I had three close friends who blogged (Christy, Jyl and Carmen) and I wanted to do what they were doing; sharing their stories and making me feel apart of their lives. And I did just that. For 3 years I played with words, I told my story, I shared the going-ons of my world with my close family, I created fun series for my friends to participate in. Then two big events happened in the lives of my friends that made me change the way I looked at my blog as a medium of communication. In January of 2010 there was an earthquake in Haiti right when one of my teaching friends was in the process of adopting. It was a scary time for them because they just wanted their babies and the fact that I could use my blog as a way to share their story and get people writing letters to politicians made me feel useful. Another pivotal moment for me was in February of 2011, when I learned that I could use my blog as a form of group support, or of prayer. One of my BFFs, Jordan, who was now blogging at this point, lost her baby, Tripp and my blog became a spot where I put my grief for my friend into words and offer her the thoughts and prayers of the group surrounding her.
Build your content: write, write, write. Read other blogs that speak to you and that inspire you or that bring you joy.
My eyes started opening to the blogging world at that point and I started building content and identifying myself as a writer. During this period I would lose my first Grandparent, my Grandma Diehl and I was able to freeze those moments and thoughts in time on my blog. That is something for which I will be forever grateful. I created series like the Mommy Diaries and I started reading other blogs, aside from my growing group of blogging friends. Enjoying the Small Things was one of the first blogs I connected with, I love Kelle's voice and the wisdom in her words and another one that I absolutely love is the Bloggess. I slowly started taking steps out into blogosphere for 3 years, still without changing my goals of telling my story and sharing it with my friends. But the difference now was that I was reading more and being influenced on how I craft my writing and my style by other bloggers. I began to see my blog as a time capsule that would keep my story alive long past me, a place where my children could read my words and walk beside me when they are going through their adventures in life.
Create community, hang on to other bloggers for support and sharing.
In the spring of 2014 I randomly decided to participate in a style challenge and that is probably one of the biggest turning points in blogging for me because it was then that my blog became a part of a community. Shaunacey suggested we do linkups and well, the rest is history. In fact, it is still fresh in my brain history, as I had a chance to meet those ladies last weekend. Now I have a blog support group but also women in my niche that I can work with and learn beside.
I didn't start blogging to go viral, to sell my blog, to write a book or even to make friends. I started because I wanted to write and I think if you're going to start a blog, the most important thing is that you have to do it for you first. Because blogging, like any other hobby, should bring you joy and leave you feeling alive and inspired.
Hop on over to Jill's blog to see what she has to say about starting a blog!