Share Your Blogging Story

My blogging buddy, Chilihead, over at Don’t Try This At Home is hosting a carnival where we share our blogging stories. She asks the following questions.

How did you start blogging?

My friend Joyce sucked me in!  We agreed to read The Purpose Driven Life together and share our thoughts.  Then she started a blog to record her observations and response to the book.  Well, not to be outdone, I quickly started my own blog.

I can hear the yawns already.  I know, I’ve told this story about a gazillion times in the past year.  But for anyone who might have just tuned in recently, I’ll go on.

At first, it was just about the book.  Then I discovered the fun of writing posts about things the kids were saying and doing.  Soon I found myself writing little blurbs about the goings-on in my life.  I started my “real” blog with Blogger in May of 2006, with the purpose of keeping a family journal and updating my family and friends abroad of the happenings on our lives.  (I moved over here to Typepad in March of this year.)

The best part was when I started getting comments from other bloggers, not just people who know and love me in real life and were getting paid off to read my blog.  Everything just spiraled out of control from there!  The comments are still my favorite part of blogging.  So, keep ’em coming, okay!??  No lurkers allowed.  (Just kidding with ya!  But really, if you’re ever thinking of commenting, please jump right on in!!)

Did you intend to be a blog with a following?  If so, how did you go about it?

When you use the word “following”, it sounds sort of cult-like, doesn’t it?  Wait.  Don’t answer that.

I actually didn’t even know blogs HAD followings when I started blogging.  But while I never intended to acquire a following, I quickly discovered that having readers (particularly commenters) made blogging a lot more fun.

So I guess the short answer would be no.  But alas, short answers have never been my strong suit, now, have they?  (“Alas” — I can’t type that without giggling just a little.)

What do you hope to achieve or accomplish with your blog?  Have you been successful?  If not, do you have a plan to achieve those goals?

My goals have evolved somewhat over the past year.  On my profile page, I say that I don’t consider myself a writer.  And while this is true, I’m realizing that, the more I blog, the more I want it to have good writing.  I enjoy the challenge of putting my thoughts into words and trying to do so in a way that is both entertaining and sometimes maybe even thought-provoking.

On the other hand, I try not to lose sight of why I started blogging in the first place.  So on the days when I’m not feeling inspired with a particular topic, I usually just write a journal entry.  In some of those instances, I find my writer’s voice, and it turns out to be somewhat entertaining.  And other times, it’s just that, a journal entry for posterity.  Either way, I try to post something every day.

Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging?  How?

As I said above, my goals have changed somewhat. But I would say my focus is the same. My focus is on my kids and my personal thoughts and observations about our lives.  Basically anything that crosses my mind is fair game for blogging.  And also, I have come to enjoy the community of bloggers that I have met.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started?

I wish I’d known that “less is more”.  I’m still learning this one.  Instead of throwing everything that happens to cross my mind the minute it crosses my mind out there in cyberspace, I’m learning to pace myself, to plan my posts a bit, and to have some discernment about what I decide to share.  I still talk about a whole lot of nothing most of the time, I realize.  But then, that’s part of the glory of blogging, isn’t it?!

Do you make money with your blog?

Nope, although Husband sure wishes I would.  Either that or switch to a more lucrative hobby.  I wouldn’€™t mind making
money with my blog, but at this point, I don’€™t think I have the readership to
support ads, and I really like my sidebars the way they are, you know, all about ME.

Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog?  If so, do they read it?  If not, why?

Everyone knows about it, although most of them think I’m certifiable.  My husband reads occasionally, but not every day.  My mom reads, and she is very supportive.  My aunt reads, and even got inspired her to start her own blog!  This has been a great way for us to get to know one another better.  Other than that, I don’t know who reads and who doesn’t.  My inlaws all know about it, and so does my dad and brother.  If they read, they never mention it or comment.

What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?

1) Get an original design, and try to keep it clean and simple.  By that, I mean, don’t go overboard with cutesy graphics and colorful fonts and too much
jazz.  I know this seems superficial, but it makes SUCH a difference to me when I go check out a new blog.  Let’s face it.  The design the first thing you see.  Kind of like the clothes you wear, the face of your blog gives the reader a sense of who the blogger is.

Obviously, content is key.  After all, a blog is only as good as its content.  But if I click over to a new blog, and it’s busy and cluttered, or on the other hand, if it’s just a bland template, then I sometimes don’t even read past the first couple of lines.  Of course, this is me.  Others may feel differently.  But this is my 2 cents, for what it’s worth!

2) If you want readers, be a good commenter.  Leave a lot of comments, be friendly, BE YOURSELF, and be generous with linking to other blogs on your blog.


Join the Conversation

24 thoughts on “Share Your Blogging Story

  1. This is some great advice. Stuff that matters to me, but I didn’t think to say–like Less is More and the blogskin. It really does make a difference and helps me identify the blog more easily.

    I agree with you about the “following.” I don’t need one of those, but I do love hearing from regular readers with comments.

  2. Great advice. I really appreciate your “realness.” It’s why I read you regularly.

  3. You sound like someone fun to have coffee with! I loved reading your post…I think I’ll bookmark you (don’t worry…it won’t hurt a bit!)

  4. Great advice!! And I comment, sometimes you don’t get them (stupid typepad), but I do! LOL

    And as far as the design, Suzie @ BlueBird Blogs is suppose to have my first preview done this week! I’m so excited!!

  5. Great information here! It’s interesting that most of the best bloggers I’ve come across just “stumbled” into it. I love your writing!

  6. Yea, good info.
    I am not an html person at ALL. Any clues as to where I can go about a new layout? I am so tired of blogger and have been trying to get a new look for my own site. If only I knew more about computers!

    I love yours, btw. where your title is I esp. like. 🙂

  7. I related to a lot of things you wrote here! For one, excellent advice! Blog design often makes or breaks how much time I’m going to devote to a blog. For designs I like, I often don’t want to leave! 😉 Oh and being a good commenter is so important too. It’s like the golden rule – “Do unto others…” 🙂

    I remember when I first started getting regular readers from people I didn’t know in real life. It was so weird! But made me happy. 🙂 And I’ve gotten to meet a few people that I met online, which has been fun.

  8. The book idea is great. Maybe I’m just so out of the loop, but I haven’t run across other mom blogs that do that. And I echo all the other comments – your advice is really helpful for someone new like me as I’m thinking about customizing my blog to fit my personality. Thanks!

  9. One of the things I enjoy about visiting your blog is the muted colors and the simplicity. That and your big grin! I’m glad you played along on this one.

  10. All hubbys of bloggers wish we got paid by the hour 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your blog story.

  11. I find it funny how many are commenting about commenting. I used to assume that if someone had 20 comments on a post that they weren’t going to care if I added my 2 cents or not. I quickly learned that if I had 20 or more comments I not only would read every single one of them but would jump around at my desk screaming, “they dig me…they really dig me!” Ok maybe not to that extreme, but I think we all feel that way. Ok, so maybe to a degree we all feel that way.

  12. You are spot on with the commenting. It really does make my day when someone takes the time to write a meaningful comment to a post (other than “nice post”). And I love that you started to blog because you didn’t want to be outdone by your friend! That’s classic…

  13. The advice is my favorite part of this whole interview! Everybody has something different to say and it’s spot on.

    It’s true, too, that the writing is just as important as the design or topic.

  14. I enjoyed reading your blog story! I also started out with the intention to keep a family journal. Recently, I’ve contemplated starting a separate blog with my notes/thoughts from my devotions. (I’m still on ch.2 of Purpose Driven Life…)

    You have an enjoyable ‘blog voice’ btw 🙂

  15. I have really enjoyed reading your blog. You are such a good writer. 🙂 I just started “The Purpose Driven Life”, and it never even occured to me to blog about it. 🙂

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