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.