Tag:

blogging

rise of the real, how to blog, blogger, blogging, daddy bloggers, women's rights

Rise of the real blogger are the five sweetest words that I’ve ever heard. The most important thing I took away about social media and blogging from Disney Social Media Mom’s Celebration was to just be myself online and trust in who I am as a blogger. The universe not so subtly reminded me to get back to what I’ve always done and trust my gut. Recently, I was told that I was being “too real” when I blog. I’m not even sure how that’s possible but from my understanding, authenticity cannot be manufactured. Real life is seldom perfect and when you present it in a way that is… you’re lying, either to yourself or your audience.

“Rise of the Real, be yourself, Be Authentic, connect with your audience, emotional connections,” these were just a few of the ways I heard the universe telling me to be myself. It is the very premise on which my website was built.

I kept hearing it over again at the Disney Social Media Mom celebration like a whisper following me around. It felt like the universe telling me to stop worrying about what other people were doing. You’ve heard the truth will set you free? Well, I believe it. The moment I started second guessing myself, doubt crept in and it manifested itself in a crippling fear of failure.

READ ALSO: How Mom 2.0 Renewed my Faith in Blogging and in Myself

I saw other people doing it better and getting bigger and I thought, hey, maybe they know better than I do. But doing what they do didn’t feel right for me because writing for me is more than a means to an end, a creative outlet or a career choice. Writing is a big part of who I am as a person and how I move through the world. I tell my stories because it’s how I process and make sense of life.

Rise of the real is confirmation of what I’ve always believed; honesty is the only way to blog and live.

I share with others because I think we are all connected by our experiences and while they don’t all play out the same way, we all experience them. Life is universal, some of us just do it differently than others. We all do what works for our family, for our lives but we all have those moments of failure and success and even though they may be different, the gut-wrenching pulls of failure and the elation of success (whatever the scale may be) is the same.

I’ve always shared my stories because I knew that people could relate on a human level. But then someone told me to think before I “speak” (write) because being too real can be a turn-off. I almost believed it. To be honest, it sent me into shut down mode. I got a terrible case of writer’s block. Turns out that I can’t overthink every single word I write because if I question every single thing I say or do, I’ll never do anything. I’m a leap first, ask for forgiveness person. It’s who I am and I don’t want to change that.

READ ALSO: What Every Blogger should know about Blogging

My stories connect me to you and your comments and responses connect you back to me. So often the online world feels like throwing something out into the abyss and leaving it there but that is not how blogging and social media have worked for me, not at all.

Blogging started for me when I was a new mom, completely disconnected from the outside world. Drowning in motherhood, my blog was me reaching out for someone to throw me a buoy and my readers, those connections/ their stories and ability to relate to what I was going through, they were what kept me afloat. If the stories I share can do that for someone else, it’s all worth it. I know they can because I’ve read the comments and I’ve made the connections with people all over the world through our stories.

A million page views a month may not be in my near future but I have posts that people all over the world have connected with and commented on over and over again. Some of my most personal stories that, if I had used common sense, I would have never hit publish on are some of my most popular because everyone is not perfect. Most of us have a hard time of it. We struggle, we fail and our success, our stories, are in the fact that we keep getting back up. Not that we never fall and never fail but that we keep trying and we overcome.

Someone once told me that people don’t want to read reality because they live it. They said reality is not “positive” enough. I say seeing someone I can relate to triumph through their hard times and succeed in their good times empowers me to do better. It makes me feel like I can do anything and it makes me happy for them. When they are in pain, I cheer for them. I don’t block them from my feed because they are bringing me down. I check in to make sure they are doing okay. My readers and followers are not just names of people I don’t know. We’ve connected. They know my family and in many cases, I know their stories too because they’ve shared in response to my stories. It’s a very organic and symbiotic relationship and I love it.

I get it. Too much negativity is a bummer but life isn’t always unicorns and rainbows and beaches. Sometimes it is. But sometimes it’s ugly cry, raw and hard. But mostly, it’s minutia and daily moments peppered with a good mix of profound bliss and misery. All of those unexpected, uncontrolled moments are what make up a life; beautiful in its glory and agony.

So, I ask you, do you prefer to read about how great someone else’s life is all the time? Or do you prefer the truth? The sometimes amazing beyond anything you could imagine, sometimes horrible and sometimes humorous day-to-day of life. Some days, it’s even downright boring but even in the minutia, it is relatable because who hasn’t been bored in their life? The thing I’ve realized it that it’s not about changing the truth, it’s about the way you tell your stories. It’s all in the narrative.

How do you prefer your blogging, transparency in the blogs you read or a blogger who edits reality to make it prettier?

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shark week, PMS, living authentically online, Domain .ME, blogging, digital influencer, writer, blogger

Disclosure: This post about living authentically online was inspired and sponsored by Domain.ME, the provider of the personal domains that end in .ME. As a company, they aim to promote thought leadership to the tech world. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Whenever I am asked by digital influencers new to the space or get emails from people contemplating starting a blog or becoming a digital influencer, my first word of advice is to be true to yourself; be authentic in the version of you that you present to the world. The bottom line is that there is only one you and that is what makes each person’s voice online special. Why even try to be someone else? Imitation is not flattering and you are almost always guaranteed to fail at trying to be someone else.

Of course, it is hard to be yourself in life and even harder in the digital space these days. I speak from experience. In fact, just this week, two separate posts landed me in hot water. I spoke my truth, my opinion on what turned out to be a very controversial subject and then, I had to put on my big girl panties and live with the consequences. After all, if you chose to live your life openly and authentically online there will be repercussions, at some point.

Still, I choose to be who I am, flaws and all. Sometimes I rush to snappy judgements or let my emotions guide my writing. This is not always a good thing. There is authentic, then there is too much information and that’s what happens a lot of the time with me and the fact that I lack a filter. People who know me can be forgiving of a rash jump to a conclusion or one time lapse in judgement, the general public who don’t know by by anything other than one singular loud, opinionated post are not usually so forgiving.

In one way, it’s awesome because if you follow me on social media and my blog you know the “real” me but at other times, when I make snap judgements or speak out before I know all the facts, it’s bad because I’ve already put that bad first impression out into the world. I think, it’s only one bad choice but to someone who doesn’t know me, I am just that one bad choice. I think it’s best to find middle ground.

Here are my tips to living authentically online:

Be yourself.

Don’t over edit yourself and write in the way that you speak. No one’s life is sunshine and rainbows all the tie and no one speaks like Shakespeare in real life.

Be honest but hold the nasty.

Put your real thoughts out there. You are allowed to have an opinion. My only word of advice is if it is a heated topic, go ahead and write it out. Mull it over. Come back to it in a few hours and then hit publish if that’s still what you want to say. Believe me, this is the thing I still struggle with.

Develop a thick skin.

If you decide that you want your brand to be all in your face, all the time, then be prepared for backlash. Someday, some time on some topic, someone will disagree with you. In fact, you may just have the most unpopular opinion out there and when you do, the public will let you know. They can be cutting with their words and sometimes they even go for the jugular by attacking not only you personally but your family, thoughts and beliefs. My advice, if you choose to be 100% authentic all the time be prepared for this and either let it roll off your back (easier said than done) or don’t read the comments.

Be a Big Girl.

If you still decide to put your views online to be scrutinized (and they will be) be a grown up. If someone calls you ugly and stupid (and at times much worse) for having a contrary opinion, the best response is not to hurl insults back at them. Be a professional. If you can’t respond civilly, then walk away from the conversation. I don’t like to delete comments because I feel like if I put a topic up for debate, it is my reader’s rights to be heard too. However, sometimes reading the comments can become so consuming and overwhelming that I just have to not read them anymore. I am a professional, this is my job but I’m also a human and, not going to lie, sometimes my feelings suffer collateral damage as a result of my opinions and choice to live authentically online.

Last but not least, don’t take it personally.

I know this bit sounds crazy because, after all, if you are living online authentically, it is all very personal for you. When people attack your opinions, your choices, your beliefs it definitely feels personal but remember this, they’ve never actually met you. They don’t know you. They are disagreeing with your stance on a topic, not you the person even though it usually feels like they are. This is a very important thing to remember always.

These are my tips for staying authentic online. There is an understanding of culpability when you live your life online. You have a venue to broadcast your words and thoughts to people all over the world, so even when you are being authentic you should still consider the effect your words can have on those around you. There are ripples to every action we do in the world and online is no exception. Be yourself, but be responsible. Obviously, this too is something I still struggle with but I’ve come to a point where when I make mistakes, I am adult enough to admit it and say sorry if need be.

Living authentically online doesn’t mean you have a license to be mean, judgmental or bully others. It means you have a responsibility to be true to yourself while being watched by the world. So be yourself but remember you are a part of something much larger than just your thoughts from behind a computer screen.

A fun way to let people know who you are and what you’re about from the very beginning is to obtain a .ME domain name as the perfect way to stay authentic online. For example, if you are a homeschooling mama from the south how about SouthernHomeschoolingMama.Me. See it’s fun and it lets the world know what you’re about before they even click into your site.

If you are living authentically online what would your perfect .ME domain name be?

living authentically online, Domain .ME, blogging, digital influencer, writer, blogger

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blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

Blogging changed my life. They say the truth will set you free and, boy, is that ever true in my case. I’ve spent most of my life feeling like a fraud; a child living in an adult’s body or vice versa. Even when I appeared to be in the know or popular, I felt like I wasn’t and at any minute I would be found out and revealed for the dork I truly was. I’m very social and I appear to be confident but really, I spent most of my life feeling like I never truly fit in because very few people ever really knew the real me. I had secrets, like we all do, but by not sharing them they were weighting me down, choking me out. This left me feeling like I was living a lie. I needed to be me, in all of my glorious imperfection.

Then I started blogging (like no one was reading because back then no one was) and I decided that I was going to go big or go home and I wrote my truth with no filter and it felt amazing. It only got scary when I realized that people were reading. The first time I went to BlogHer people, strangers by all rights, came up to me and hugged me with knowing looks in their faces. They had read my stories. They knew “Truthful Mommy” more so than some of the people who had known “Deborah” my entire life. That was a humbling and overwhelming feeling for me. I realized that my words were powerful and meant something to somebody because someone else understood and had felt what I felt. We were linked forever by our words.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

I used to be afraid to dream too big. I was afraid that letting myself wish too hard would only end in failing catastrophically. This was my life. Sounds sad, right? But after a lot of letting down and disappointment, I learned not to want for more. In all honesty, I was terrified of trying and even more so of failing.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a small child. It was a grandiose, unattainable goal in my mind. It certainly wasn’t practical. I couldn’t allow my heart to want it, though it longed for it with every fiber. I wrote words like I breathed air. I had to, it was compulsory. Words are how I process emotion, without them, it would all be too much.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

I take the world and all that’s happened to me in it, I take it inside to my quiet still place and I sort it, making sense of life by spitting it back out onto paper. When I think of the moments of my life that I’ve shared with the universe simply because it was the only way to survive it, I lose my breath. I am exposed and vulnerable. But isn’t that what it’s supposed to feel like when you make the decision to take the blind leap in pursuit of happiness?

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

A couple weeks ago, I went to a the BlogHer conference in New York City. You know those moments when the stars align and you find yourself in this surreal, magical place in the world where fantasy meets reality and you can feel the momentum pushing you forward to chase those dreams? That is what BlogHer is for me.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

For some, a blog conference is a place to learn to blog or a place to network with companies, in the hopes of making a hobby a career or for some, a dream a reality. Some people come for the swag and others for the parties. I come for the people.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

For me, it’s more than just a place to learn about SEO, social media and translating your metrics. It can be about finding your voice and honing your craft and for some, it’s all about business connections. But for me, it’s a place to be amongst my people, my friends; a place to feel I belong completely.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

The people who held my fragile heart while I tried my hardest to survive my miscarriage, these are the same women who helped me navigate the toddler years and now the tweens. Women who held me in their virtual and real arms as I wearily bared my soul and shared the story of my diagnosis.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

Women who look to my stories of surviving eating disorders and embracing forgiveness after years of being abused as a child for their own inspiration. These are people who have read my inner most thoughts and most personal stories and not judged me. My fellow bloggers, my readers, they know me on a level that most people in real life don’t. This is why I go.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

It’s not like going to a conference with a bunch of strangers; it’s like going home. It took me a long time to find my people, years. I didn’t go to my first blog conference until 2013 and when I did, I knew, this was where I belonged. These are my people and even though it might be expensive and inconvenient to travel in the middle of the summer, away from my family, I need those connections with my blogging world. I need to go to this place where people really get me and what I do; a place where I can say I am a blogger and not get dismissive or bewildered looks. Go to a place where other people write their vulnerable truths and understand the power of honesty; the weight of words. It is everything.

blogging, how to change your life, do what you love, make money, stay-at-home, finding your people, loving the life you live, how to become a writer

Because of blogging, I can answer anyone who asks the question, “What do you do?’ Proudly and with confidence, “I am a writer.” I used to be embarrassed to say it because it was like saying, ” I am an artist or I’m an alien.” People just look at you like you’re touched in the head and not based in reality but because of blogging, I have a resume, I have bylines all over the Internet and I actually get paid to do what I love from the comfort of my own home office. I travel and I work with amazing companies to change the world, in some cases, all because I dared to dream. Blogging gave me the courage to follow my dreams because it allowed me to share my stories and find my people. Blogging changed my life.

Where do you belong? If you’re a blogger, how has blogging changed your life?

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blogger, blogging, midlife crisis

I’m Debi and I’m an old school blogger. I started blogging 6 years ago ( well, it will be on May 7th). I’ve seen blogging change a lot.

I’ve noticed a definite trend in blogging lately.I’m seeing blogger “midlife” (of the blog) crisis happening almost daily. Everything that is old is new again. Or at least this is what I’ve seen happening; quit blogging, start a new blog and then make a come back….when you never really left. I’m kind of missing the days of self contrived press releases about being lost in the dessert and rescued by your childhood boy scout leader.

I guess “quitting blogging” is a euphemism for “2 week hiatus” and “new blog” is what’s “on trend” these days. I’m not making light of the desire to quit blogging or feeling like you have stayed past your expiration date, the struggle is real, y’all. And of course it’s easier to start a shiny new blog than to try to restore the old one. That’s expensive and a lot of work.

Hell, I understand wanting a do over. Man, I started my blog way back before I knew bupkis about SEO. When I started blogging, I had one objective and that was to write. I wanted to share my stories with other moms so they knew they weren’t alone in this craziness that is motherhood (because, it is CRAZYTown all the way.)

blogger, blogging, midlife crisis

Then I made friends and built a community because I loved what I was doing. I was making connections by being me. Sure my photos were not professional caliber and I didn’t know shit about what sizes to use and this was way before Instagram, Vine or Pinterest existed.

It was me blogging alone at night after the babies went to sleep and in between constant wakings. Co-sleeping was simultaneously awesome and killing me( especially the random head-butts it the middle of the night). I didn’t sleep a lot in those days but I craved the human interaction that blogging brought into my solitude life of new motherhood. You guys kept me company for two entire years while my husband lived out of state for work. You ladies (and gentlemen) saved my sanity and probably my life. YOU made it all tolerable and I survived.

Back then, I used Twitter like a phone and those 140 characters were my battle cry to whoever would listen. It was my mom 911. I made so many amazing connections; personal and business. There were no concerns of tweeting out links. Hell, I never even considered it. That was absolutely shitting where you ate. I would never text my IRL friends my links 3x plus a day and I would certainly never talk over their tweets or hijack their hashtags for my own benefit. In my defense, I’m not an asshole nor did I know what the heck a hashtag was.

Facebook was for sharing my posts, if I remembered but mostly it was for connecting to my readers. It wasn’t me virtually shouting ,”Look at me! Read what I wrote! Validate me!” It was, “Hey, so-and-so did the baby sleep through the night? How is the potty training going? Hey, you, if you need me, I’m here!” It was fun. It meant something. It was something I looked forward to. It was definitely not bugging strangers to play Farm games, JAMBERRY and poking people. HOW RUDE! I took social media and applied all the rules of real life to it and it was a beautiful thing. It worked.

People commented. We had conversations. I commented. I cared. You cared. We were invested.I craved to know their stories; their real stories. They felt safe enough to say something more than, “True.” I devoured the struggles and the triumphs. When I commented, I felt that it meant something to the person on the receiving end other than just traffic. It felt like community and friendship.

Then money came into it. Money is good and getting paid to do what you love is probably the best job that you can get. For a long time, I was naïve. I still didn’t notice traffic like I should. Hell, I didn’t even know how to check my traffic until Jessica told me to put Statcounter on my site. I had Google Analytics but I had no idea how to use it.

Then more money came and more jobs! Oh the writing jobs. I couldn’t turn any down. I just couldn’t believe someone would pay me to do this. I got to stay home with my girls, write about it and get paid. What??????

More jobs came. Then traffic goals became a thing. My free time was no longer free and soon, I felt like in order to be a good blogger I was becoming a shitty mom and that brought guilt. I decided I couldn’t live with myself in that state. My priority is to be the best mom I can be to my girls and wife to my husband but I want to be fulfilled personally too and it shouldn’t all have to be exclusive. I want to be happy.

By this point, I depend on my money. More money, more problems and all that shite. I found myself having less and less time for conversations and engagement. I started scheduling social and realizing that all of those amazing women that had gotten me through the lean years began to fall through the cracks. I still craved the conversations, the connections; the friendship. I missed every single one of you.

Then I became one of those assholes who checked her numbers constantly. I tweeted links a lot. I shared links on Facebook, Instagram and Google+. I pinned my posts and shared to Tumbler and even Linkedin on occasion. To be fair, I’ve always shared other people’s stuff too but I just didn’t get to read and comment like I wanted to. I shared it so that I could come back to it. My intentions were good.

I was writing everywhere and I began to feel like the Truthful Mommy train was over saturating the market. I’m sure you all got sick of me and I know that you knew that you could find me anywhere so why bother coming to read me on my actual website. It was too much.

I lost touch with many of you because I had so many deadlines and not enough hours in the day. It wasn’t fun anymore, it was a job. I was working really hard to build something but I’m not quite sure what it was that I was trying to build. I lost myself in the middle of my journey.

I’m not quitting my blog to reinvent myself. I’m addicted. I’ve been doing some face-lifting. Last fall, I changed the website. It’s not The TRUTH about Motherhood anymore…it is now simply just The TRUTH (because it’s not been just about motherhood for a very long time) I’ve learned that I need to organize so that I can actually spend quality time really engaging again. I’ve realized there is no shame in admitting that my blog needs some work done under the hood. I also know that some things are worth the price, this is one of them.

I’m going to pass on the Blogger Midlife crisis. I like my husband a lot, I need to give my girls more of my time this summer and I want to keep focusing on my health journey. I want to get back to writing because I love it. I want to have conversations with you. I want to surround myself with my tribe and I want us to grow together. I want my posts to be to the point where sometimes you’ll read 1355 word post and not mind because it meant something. I want us all to get lost in our stories. Who’s with me?

Disclosure: SEO was not considered once while writing this post. This post will never go viral because people don’t share like they used to. I don’t care because I enjoyed “talking” to you this morning. Let’s do it again soon.

 

 

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type-A conference,blogging, bloggers, We still blog awards

I am in the airport in Atlanta, coming off the high that is Type-A Conference. This was my first time attending the event and I loved the community. I’ve never felt so among “my people” as I did this weekend.

type-A conference,blogging, bloggers, We still blog awards, Atlanta Grand Hyatt Buckhead

The feel was casual and easy going and the people were fun, open and laid back. It just felt like we were all there to grow, not just a brand or as a writer but as people. I have never had so many ‘real’ hugs, real conversations and felt so at ease at a conference for that I thank you Kelby and I thank each and every one of you who I met, shook hands with, shared a meal with, a laugh or just a friendly, sincere hello.  You made this trip. I felt safe.  And I’m glad that I did because it came in handy on Sunday afternoon.

A few months ago, on a whim, I submitted a post to the We Still Blog Awards. I wasn’t going to win because, let’s face it. I drop a few too many f-bombs and sometimes can be a little too controversial for some people’s palate. I get that. I’m a bit of an acquired taste but I had to try because, well, if you don’t try, you fail. Imagine my shock and awe when I found out that I was to be a finalist. I mean, this was a big freaking deal to me to be one of 10 people chosen.for.my.writing. This was an honor and to be chosen by my peers, to have the honor of reading to my peers was indescribable. It was incredible.

type-A conference,blogging, bloggers, We still blog awards, Atlanta Grand Hyatt Buckhead

Just so you all know, I am an extrovert in every sense of the word BUT I get a little nervous when I have to speak in front of large groups, especially when the group is a bunch of talented writers/bloggers and even more so when the piece is something deeply personal.

One by one, phenomenal blogger after another approached the podium to read their post. They made me cry, then they made me laugh, then I cried and laughed again. Then Amanda Henson read and we all cried. All I kept thinking in my head was, “PLEASE GOD don’t let me go next. NO ONE can follow that!” Plus, I was sobbing and snotting all over the place. Every writer that took the stage, moved me. Words are powerful. They called the next name. It wasn’t me. WHEW!

That reader wasn’t there. Then, they called the next reader. IT.WAS.ME. I wiped my snot nose, tried to tidy up my mascara and made my way to the podium. I began to read, slowly because everything was feeling a but heavy and fuzzy and my voice started cracking and the eyes started leaking.

type-A conference,blogging, bloggers, We still blog awards, Atlanta Grand Hyatt Buckhead

I made it about two paragraphs in and then I just sobbed. I couldn’t speak. ME. I .WAS.SPEECHLESS.If you know me. have ever met me or been in my general vicinity, you KNOW that never happens. Cecily came to my rescue and I will always hold her in special place in my heart for doing that.

My heart broke, right there on stage. Right in front of everyone. I was surrounded by the only people in the world who could understand what that moment was like for me; the people who process life’s moments with words, by writing it out.

To all the attendees of Type-A, it was an honor to share my piece with you. To my table, my tribe, my cheering squad, tissue handing, nose wiping, hugging me as hard as I needed to be held and Cecily, helping read when I could not regain my voice….YOU ladies are more special than I can ever tell you. We came as friends, but we left as family.

type-A conference,blogging, bloggers, We still blog awards, Atlanta Grand Hyatt Buckhead

To the people who I was allowed the privilege of sharing the stage with that Sunday afternoon in September, your words touched my heart. You are what blogging is about for me; people connecting through words and shared experiences. Last but not least, Kelby, thank you for hosting such an amazing conference and the We Still Blog awards the honor of being a finalist is something that I will always hold dear.

Here are all the We Still Blog Nominees:

I urge you to take the time and read everyone of the written pieces above. Each one of those writers are a rock star.

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Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview

This week’s guest on This Blogger’s Life is Tracy Morrison @SellabitMum is the founder of the always entertaining website Sellabitmum.

Tracy is one of my favorite bloggers to read because she is always open and frequently hilarious. She has a way with words that can touch your heart and pee your pants with laughter, sometimes in the same post. We finally met in person last summer and if you want to know the truth, she is exactly who you’d expect her to be from reading her blog and that is very refreshing.

I am honored to know Tracy Morrison and proud to have her as my guest on This Blogger’s Life today. So, without further ado…

This Blogger’s Life, Tracy Morrison

Tracy Morrison, Sellabitmum, @Sellabitmum, This Blogger's Life, blogging,bloggers

Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging after my last(fourth) miscarriage over 6 years ago. I was reading many blogs and decided to journal my own experiences. However – I ended up not even talking about my losses, but instead telling funny stories about my family.
What’s one piece of advice for new bloggers?
Your story is important. Don’t think that everything has already been written. It hasn’t. Your story is yours and thus unique. Be authentic.
 
What are the three words that describe you best? 
True. Quiet. Kind.
 
What is your favorite website? 
Um, anywhere I can shop. Does that count? I mean I love blogs, but if I’m online I’m typically shopping….
 
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?
Running, shopping, or hanging out with my family. I run a lot as I’m typically training for a marathon or two.
 
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself  from blogging? 
That it’s okay to be me and opportunities come before you work hard and you are true to yourself.
 
How do you balance life and blogging? Ha! Is this a trick question?
I never want blogging to overshadow my life, but I want my life to be documented by my blogging. I want to live to the fullest – and write that down when I have time. If I find I’m telling my kids “Just give me a minute” – than my priorities are wrong.
 
How has blogging changed you or your life?
It’s opened a huge pot of love and friendship. The connections I’ve made through blogging with amazing women cannot be measured. It’s true love. And it’s made me a better writer.
 
What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same? 
I think each blogger needs to decide what success means for them – or even if they want success. Do they want to make money? Do they want to turn their blogging into a job? Do they just want a journal? Do they want to improve their writing? I think your blog is a success if it’s what you want it to be.
 
If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life?
I think all bloggers think about this. I think I would train(run) more and maybe take some classes – do something for myself – as writing is a huge outlet for me – so I would need something positive to replace that.
 
How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life? 
I think that’s the beautiful part of writing and blogging – as it is memoir – and memoir is what you remember – and may not match up with what someone else did who had that same experience with you. I can tell my side of my story. It’s still my story.
 
Blogging has changed a lot, just since I started 5 years ago, what do you miss about blogging in the early days? What do you love that has changed? 
It’s so big now – and that can be overwhelming. It’s easy to feel smaller as a piece of this huge pie. But I love the opportunities and connections that have come from this space.
 
How do you consistently come up with relevant and shareable content? 
Life. Live life and observe and remember the details. There’s a good story in just buying a pair of socks. True story!
 
If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite?
Oh wow – Jimmy Fallon, Ellen, President Obama, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, The Pope, And Boy George
 
What’s the one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you? 
I majored in engineering in college. I’m a nerd.
 
What’s the one post that you are most proud of?
Probably my post about my marriage and being vulnerable, as it was a hard one – admitting faults on both sides. I don’t often share about my husband and our relationship – but it was raw and personal and felt good to just get out there. 
Tracy Morrison, Sellabitmum, @Sellabitmum, This Blogger's Life, blogging,bloggers
Tracy, thank you for being my guest today on This Blogger’s Life. You make me smile daily and I can’t wait to hug your neck today at the fashion show! XOXO

If you want to read more of Tracy Morrison, check her out on Facebook and Google+.

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Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview
This week’s guest on This Blogger’s Life is Kelby Carr the founder of the website Type-A Parent and the organizer of the Type-A conference. I think just about everyone in the parent blogging world knows Kelby by her reputation as a business powerhouse. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know her over the years through her online magazine Type-A Parent and finally got to meet her in March at Type-A Disney World. I’ll be honest, I was a little intimidated, and I am not intimidated by many people but she really has her shit together. But, when I met her, if you look at the photo below, this is who I met. A kind, quiet, strong minded, business savvy woman who upon recognizing me gave me a huge smile and heartfelt welcome that put all my nerves at ease. The thing that I love most about Kelby is that she genuinely wants to help other bloggers succeed, which is evident by her conferences. I’ve only been to a handful of conferences but I felt like I got more out of her 1 day conference than any other one I’ve attended, I can’t wait to go to Type-A Atlanta in September.
I am honored to know Kelby and proud to have her as my guest on This Blogger’s Life today. So, without further ado…

This Blogger’s Life, Kelby Carr.

Kelby Carr, Type-A, Type-A Parent, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging while still working as a newspaper reporter. It was a way to write about a topic I was passionate about, but didn’t cover regularly at my paper (travel).
What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a new blogger?

Run your own race (blogging isn’t a zero sum game).
What are the three words that describe you best?

Assertive, Type-A and social.
What is your favorite website?

Inc.com

What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?

Watch movies and read (everything from comic books to horror/fantasy and business books).
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself from blogging?

After years of writing and working for others, I realized I could (and prefer to) be my own boss.

How do you balance life and blogging?

That is one of the biggest challenges. The smartest thing I did after years of being an uptight control freak (and too tightwad) was to hire an executive assistant last year. It has made a huge difference. It has allowed me to work more on my business, and less in my business. If I could go back five years, I would smack my old self and say to do this earlier.
How has blogging changed you or your life? 

I can now work for myself. While I do have some travel, I can attend almost every school function. We can decide at the last minute to do a short getaway. I get to decide my own fate.

What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same?

I don’t care what your business model or topic is, fantastic content is always the core to a successful and great blog. There are a lot of other factors that also can enhance that, but you can’t have great and successful without the quality content.
If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life?

Travel, start another business or open a restaurant.
How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life? 

I actually don’t share anything personal about my children or husband. I did buy my kids’ domains with their names years ago, so web their lives get blogged it will be by them.
Blogging has changed a lot, just since I started 5 years ago, what do you miss about blogging in the early days? What do you love that has changed?

The focus on great writing, conversation and community. I am over the moon thrilled bloggers are making money and supporting their families now from this industry, but it is important that bloggers balance revenue goals with maintaining quality content. I see sponsored post to non-sponsored post ratios that are really alarming. If we don’t maintain the quality content, we will kill the golden goose anyway. We won’t have readers, and brands won’t see the value in investing in our industry.

How do you consistently come up with relevant and shareable content?
Type-A Parent has always been an online magazine/social blog, so that means I mix up my own posts with paid posts by bloggers. Each month, we do a call for paid blog post ideas and any blogger can apply. What’s great about that is it helps us remain community-focused, and we get lots of variety of topics and expertise areas. As an online magazine, we also cover a wide variety of topics (anything of interest to parents who blog, so that ranges from business and blogging advice to recipes and crafts).

If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite?

Hunter S. Thompson, Audrey Hepburn, Seth Rogan, George Takei, Lynda Carter and Stan Lee. 

What’s the one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you?

I witnessed an execution.

What’s the one post that you are most proud of?

My favorite posts tend to be when I mix commentary about our industry with advice, like this recent one on sponsored post ratios: https://typeaparent.com/sponsored-post-ratios.html

Kelby, Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. I KNOW how crazy everything is right now with you being in full-swing preparation for Type-A Disneyland in a couple weeks. You always make time for your fellow bloggers and  I hope you know that it doesn’t go unnoticed. You’ve earned my respect on so many levels for what you do and how you conduct yourself in this arena. Can’t wait to see you in September and hug your neck. XOXO

 

If you want to know more about Kelby Carr, check her out at Type-A Parent on FB, Twitter and Google+.

 

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why I write, blog, blogger, the TRUTH about Motherhood

This is not the post that I meant to write today. I meant to write about my family road trip to Boston. And I want to be that person who just let’s things roll of her back. I really do but it’s Monday and I’m not accustomed to being called out and belittled for having an opinion. I’m all about respectful, intelligent debate but name calling is for children not intelligent adults.

See, way back in 2009, I started my blog. I called it The TRUTH about Motherhood because I was right in the thick of Motherhood and it seemed to fit my voice and where I was in life. I just wanted to write.

A friend of mine who worked in traditional media said that the wave of writing was moving to online and to get work, I needed an “online presence”. Hell, I had been neck deep in babies for the past four years, I had no idea what that even was and God knows I didn’t have the time to write about being a mom because I was too damn busy actually being a mom.

The first year was a joke. Seriously, I had no idea what I was doing. I had a few goals 1) develop my “online presence” whatever that was 2) when the kids napped or slept, write, write and write some more because I love to do it. It is how I process. I basically just copied essays that I had jotted down in a notebook for the girls about their childhood 3) to capture all the cute, funny, quirky moments of motherhood and document even the not so pleasant ones so I could appreciate the good ones and if I could help just one mom feel like she wasn’t alone, I’d be happy.

What happened that year was relocation across country that I never documented other than the original drive to Richmond to check out the city. I was too busy living to write about it. Then, things went to shit and my husband was downsized and we had to move home (blessing in disguise our home still hadn’t sold) in a blizzard.

We were quickly running through our money and afraid of what our future would hold with a toddler and a preschooler. The Big Guy (because my husband is 6’5” in case you didn’t know where the reference came from) took a job in another state because it was the only one he could find doing what he does and he made the sacrifice to work to support us and we all made the sacrifice to be apart 5 days a week. It was the worst 2 years of our lives. In those 2 years is when I really started to write.

You remember when you were in your teens and you were “in love” and there were so many ups and downs and drama and all you wanted to do was write poetry? Yeah, that’s called being inspired by your misery. I was going through a hard time and I had lots to write about. That’s where I found my people, moms who blog. I never understood what a “tribe” was until I found one as an adult. It’s more than a clique, it’s a group of people who support one another through good and bad.

I know bloggers are just regular people. I’m not delusional and don’t think they are actual celebrities but they care enough to get up and interact with the world by sharing their experiences. This meant a lot to me because at the time, I was hours away from any family and alone with kids. I needed someone to talk to, especially since my husband wasn’t there.

When you interact with people on such a personal level, I’m not talking just sharing recipes and diaper war stories, I mean the real stuff like marital issues, fertility issues, raising your child and feeling like a failure issues, feeling ugly and vulnerable and raw, the bonds are real and you see what’s on the inside (well, at least what they allow you to see). I have a tendency to have no filter so what you see is pretty much what you get.

I know that sometimes I am dorky, funny, boring, annoying and sometimes my stories are deep or interesting or shocking, sometimes they are well written and sometimes I am half-asleep or writing through the hardest moments of my life and it’s hard to type through tear filled eyes and ugly cries. Sometimes they are completely irrelevant to you and that’s okay because they are written for my children and me. You see it’s been a long time since I started blogging to become a writer. That has come to fruition. People actually pay me to write. I love my job. I am happy.

My blog is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and neither am I. My hair is never perfectly coifed and my clothes are occasionally stylish but I am a tired mom who spends the bulk of my time trying to raise happy, interesting children, while maintaining an open and honest relationship with my husband and sometimes, I write on the Internet.

My blog is real and it is flawed, like me. I cuss on my site and sometimes I add too many commas. I am educated and not a hot “mommy mess” who loses her “mommy cool” at the drop of a hat. I do however have my issues, so I can see where the jump to full on emotional train wreck could be an easy one.

I don’t blow smoke up people’s asses nor do I befriend people solely for their social media stats because none of that matters to me. What matters to me is what kind of people they are on the inside and how they treat me. It’s not about who is the coolest or hottest blogger, not for me anyways. I’m not trying to sleep with them. I want someone who can relate to me.

As bloggers, we have a little bit of real estate in the world to ignite change. Change can come in all shapes and sizes, a charity campaign to raise funds for clean water, to bring awareness to pediatric cancer, to help someone through a shared difficult situation like a miscarriage or a medical diagnosis that might be hard to face alone. Online communities hold our virtual hands through all of life’s events, if we reach out and want it.

My friends that I have met online are not virtual. They are real people. They have lives, families, jobs, interests and situations outside of the Internet but the Internet is our meeting place.

I wrote this in case you are new here or you forgot who I was. Make no mistake, I tell my truth on my blog and I welcome friendly, intelligent debate. I have a lot of opinions, I know they are not the only ones but I won’t debate you with name-calling and tantrum throwing. I just want to write my blog, share my story and tell my truth.

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Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview
Today, I am honored to welcome my dear friend, Lori Garcia aka MommyFriend to This Blogger’s Life. Lori is a very talented writer with an always half-full personality and an infectious smile that shines through in her pieces. She is the woman who walks into a room and instantly brightens it up and her writing makes the Internet a better place.
When I first “met” Lori, we were both newbie bloggers who were just trying to figure all of this out. We knew we loved to write and blogging allowed us connections and community at a time in motherhood when we were craving friendships and connections like the air we breathed. Lori is and has always been the kind of person who every woman needs as a friend; she is kind, genuine and sincerely a good person who loves her family and looks for the good in life. We need more people, more writers, more friends like Lori.
Lori is also known as MommyFriend and it suits her perfectly because she is truly a mommy friend that every single one of us needs in life. Her passion for the stories that she tells coupled with her optimistic perspective, always leaves me wanting more. The one thing that always radiates from Lori’s articles is humanity. She tells her truth with wild abandon and unrestrained honesty.
Lori can write about anything and make it interesting but my favorite stories that she shares are her love stories for her family; her boys. The pride and love that she has for her family inspires me to be a better wife and mother. She is one of the kindest and most tenacious women I know and it makes me so happy to see her enjoying such amazing success as a writer, all over the internet.
I’m honored to call Lori my friend and it’s my privilege to have her on This Blogger’s Life today.

Lori Garcia, MommyFriend, This Blogger's Life, the people behind the blogs, blogging

This Blogger’s Life…Lori Garcia (MommyFriend)

 

Why did you start blogging? I always loved writing and after working in an uncreative field for a decade, I decided it was time to scratch that creative itch and begin sharing my stories.  



What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a new blogger? Decide what you’re willing to share and not share for the almighty dollar. It’s easier to make these important decisions and stick to them long before a financial carrot is dangled in front of you. If you’re unclear about where to draw the line when it comes to public consumption, spend some time thinking about it. What you don’t want to do is learn the hard way. Ask me how I know.


 
What are the three words that describe you best? Loyal, kind, dependable.


 
What is your favorite website? Ever? www.amazon.com. Come to Mama.


 
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging? Binge watch formerly popular TV shows. I just finished Gossip Girl because I’m 37 years old and that’s totally normal behavior.


 
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself  from blogging? Not only learning, but learning and believing that I’m not alone in motherhood has been huge for me. My stories help mothers and their stories help me. I feel bigger and bolder as a mother for blogging.


 
How do you balance life and blogging? Honestly, not very well. The two are so intertwined, making a distinction is nearly impossible for me.


 
How has blogging changed you or your life? Blogging gave me confidence in the value of my voice, which has translated to so many aspects of my life. From my career to my relationships, blogging has made me the woman, wife, and mother I am today.


 
What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same? I think a successful blog and a great blog eventually become one in the same. Great content almost always rises to the top because we’re all hungry for it. 

 
 
If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life? First, completely remove myself from the grid. Imagine all the time I’d have! Of course, that would probably only last a week or so because I’m a social being and I’d miss everyone too much, but for that week – man, that would be glorious. I don’t know what I;d do. I’m really into home renovation with my husband, so probably more of that.


 
How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life? This is a tough one. My tween son established blogging rules for me to blog by…what does that tell you?


 
Blogging has changed a lot, just since I started 5 years ago, what do you miss about blogging in the early days? What do you love that has changed? I think I miss the excitement I felt before every publish. Will people read this? Will they like it? Will they comment? I love witnessing the climb of so many remarkable blogger friends who have made a respectable career in this industry. I love witnessing success. Love it.


 
How do you consistently come up with relevant and shareable content? The blogger’s mind is a funny thing. In time, it comes a bit of a machine, finding blog fodder in every aspect of life. From what we read to what we experience, what we overhear to what we desire, relevant, shareable is everywhere.


 
If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite? Ooo, Jesus, my Grandpa Charlie (most awesome man ever), Brandon Flowers (because yum), my husband (because double yum), Bob Villa (I have some home improvement questions), and Elton John.


 
What’s the one thing that people would be surprised to learn about you? Gosh, I don’t know. I’m pretty much what you’d expect, there’s not a lot of dark corners or secret passageways with me. Maybe that I’m a yell-y mom? I yell a lot. I do.


 
What’s the one post that you are most proud of? Probably this one. https://www.babble.com/mom/an-open-letter-to-my-gynecologist/

 

Thank you Lori for letting me interview you on This Blogger’s Life and thank you for always being such an amazing friend and inspiring writer.
XOXO

If you can’t get enough of Lori Garcia, check her out on MommyFriend, Babble and Twitter too!

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Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, bloggers, This Blogger's Life, blogging, interview

 

This week’s guest on This Blogger’s Life is my good friend, fellow blogger and mentor, Jessica GottliebI have known Jessica for a few years now. I believe our friendship was sealed over a conversation on Twitter about drinking good wine, in bed, or something like that and we have been friends since. The more I’ve gotten to know her, the more I admire her keen sense of business acumen, her sense of humor and her determination to always put her family first. It’s hard to find a balance doing what we do but she does it and that’s something I’m still working at.
Anyone who knows Jessica knows that she is a straight shooter, loves her family and likes fast cars and pretty things. I love her because she has a giant heart, can use the word f*ck in casual conversation and still sound like a complete lady and always says what’s on her mind, especially if it’s a cause she believes in. I am honored to have her as my friend and here today. So, without further ado…

This Blogger’s Life… Jessica Gottlieb

This Blogger's Life, Jessica Gottlieb, bloggers, blogging,

Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging a number of years ago when my friend was dying of AIDS. I was raising my kids during the day and then spending my nights by his side at the hospital. I found that my friends would ask me how I was doing and then I’d burst into tears and start giving them the details of Steven’s demise. I needed an outlet and blogging became a good one for me. https://angrymom.blogspot.com Without that site I’d have lost many friends.

 
What’s one piece of advice that you would give to a new blogger?

Write honestly. If you don’t have a passion there’s no reason for your readers to care.

 
What are the three words that describe you best?

I’d be scared to think about that.

 
What is your favorite website?

Just one? Everyone loves Suri’s Burn Book right? No one’s supposed to admit to reading GOMI but I have to admit that it tickles me. Also I really enjoy suburbanmatron.blogspot.com

 
What is your favorite thing to do when you’re not blogging?

If you can get my husband my kids and me all in the same room I don’t really care what we’re doing. I am happiest when the four of us are together. As for alone time? I like to be in motion. I love tennis, yoga and hiking.

 
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about yourself  from blogging?

I learned that I can be respectful of people who I disagree with. Blogging reveals a lot about people that you might not otherwise learn and I’ve found that I can enjoy parts of people and they can occupy parts of my life without needing to agree with them.

 
How do you balance life and blogging?

I have a social media schedule. I am willing to spend up to three hours a day working on these things and no more. When the time is done, my work is done. No one wants to read about a blogger who sits in front of the computer all day. You have to get out and live. Most days it’s less than an hour but three is my absolute limit.

 
What do you think makes a successful blog? A great blog? Are they one in the same?

I don’t know what a successful blog is. Is success a large audience? Maybe financial security? Perhaps success means a book deal? Blogs are like the new MLM and the moment someone tells me they have one I sort of cringe because I’m not sure I want to read it. I’m not sure anyone wants to. Hell, most of the time when people ask me what I do for a living I tell them I’m a housewife. There’s something so inherently narcissistic about blogging that I’m both drawn to it and repelled by it. I can’t define success. I can’t define greatness. I’m not sure anyone can.

 
If you were to stop blogging today, what would you do with the rest of your life?

They same thing I do now. I’d just have to budget better.

 
How do you balance telling your story, without telling the story of others in your life? 

This is where the work comes in. It’s difficult (and worth making the effort) to tell only my story. It’s entirely possible to talk about motherhood without talking about your kids. I’ve had a few slips and annoyed some folks along the way but for the most part no one knows much about my kids, my husband or my extended family. When my kids go to get their first jobs you will not be able to google their names. That’s the balancing act.

 
Blogging has changed a lot, just since I started 5 years ago, what do you miss about blogging in the early days? What do you love that has changed?

I don’t know that I feel particularly wistful for anything. Change is good. I love that short content can live on other networks. I just don’t enjoy slideshows, I’d say that’s the only big bummer in blogging right now.

 
How do you consistently come up with relevant and shareable content?

I don’t. An awful lot of my content gets ignored.

 
If you could have a dinner party for 6 people, living or dead, who would you invite?

My family of four and Sasha and Malia Obama. I want the scoop from those two.

Thank you Jess for being my guest today and always being such a huge supporter of other women & bloggers, and on a more personal level, thanks for always being such an awesome friend and mentor to me. Your writing always makes me think and your fierce attitude has taught me that strong women can do what ever they set their minds to. XOXO

If Jessica  rocks your socks as much as she does mine, check her out at JessicaGottlieb.com and at Word of Mouth Women. but if you really want to have someone interesting to follow and engage with, Jessica Gottlieb is that person on Facebook and , of course, Twitter, where it all began.

 

 

 

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