Asking questions and uncovering stories, one blog at a time.
By Elizabeth Cutright
(Part 1 of a Series)
When you don’t know, ask.
When you’re wondering, pose a question.
And when you feel like you’re stumbling around in the dark, then – by all means – ask someone to turn on the light.
A few weeks back, I contacted some of my favorite bloggers to get their take on what blogging. I wanted to know what got them started, what keeps them going, and what new and unexpected perks and challenges they’ve encountered along the way. I’ll be reporting periodically on their responses – they were all so gracious with their time that I’ve got loads of great material – and my hope is that their experiences and wisdom will help you (and me) keep writing, try out new creative endeavors and realize, once and for all, that we are all welcome members of the writer’s tribe.
First up: Why did you start a blog?
Sometimes it’s a home, suddenly empty after years overflowing with childish energy. Sometimes it’s the need to find a community, or reach out to friends and family. Perhaps you’re adrift in a sea of international travel, or just making a sound businesses decision to aid and abet your writing career.
Or maybe you realize, you just have a lot to say.
For prolific blogger Luanne Castle a local writing group was her inspiration, though the connection was necessarily apparent at first.
“In this group I first heard about blogging as a way to develop an audience for a book. I didn’t think I was paying attention,” she admits, “but I must have listened.”
From that first endeavor, several additional blogs took root, including Don’t We Look Alike?, Writer Site and the The Family Kalamazoo. Although Luanne’s daughter was always part of the process, it’s Luanne herself that manages the blogs and provides content.
“Because of our schedules, it turned out that I was the one who learned how to create and edit a blog using WordPress.com,” she explains.
And once she dove in, the process went so smoothly, more blogs followed.
“Because I learned how easy it was to blog with this software and because of the addictive nature of blogging (yikes), this fall I decided to start a second blog focused on writing creative nonfiction and poetry called Writer Site. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but in the interest of full disclosure, I then started a third blog, located at thefamilykalamazoo.wordpress.com, for the benefit of my extended family and denizens of Kalamazoo, Michigan, which shares old photographs and the results of genealogical research.”
I keep hammering this point home – but only because its truth is, to me, so clear and so powerful – all you have to do is start. Once you take that first step, everything else falls into place.
For Luanne, that first blog was just a gateway.
“That’s the way I became hooked on blogging. Now that I’m here, I really enjoy the camaraderie of the blogging community. It’s what truly keeps me here.”
And like our first Luanne, blogger LouAnn Geauvreau-Karry found the solidarity of the blogging community inspiring and supportive.
“I wanted another audience and blogging certainly provides that warm and friendly venue.”
The voice behind On The Homefront and Beyond, was looking for a way to highlight her work.
“Originally, I started my blog to post the essays that I write on a weekly basis for my column “On The Homefront and Beyond” ( hence the name of my blog),” LouAnn confesses.
Like many of us aspiring to write, looking to turn our musings into careers, and hoping to somehow earn that “writer’s badge,” blogging can be an easy beginning.
“I wanted to be discovered,” she admits, “and hoped that the blog world would be like the drug store of the old days—when people were discovered while having a banana split at the soda fountain.”
For M. Q. Allen, blogging made sense from a professional standpoint.
“I wanted to establish a web presence for agents to refer to when I was submitting my novel for consideration,” he writes.
For blogger Sarah Berardi (Empty Nesting, Migraining and Menopausing ), it was the window of time that opened once her children left home that created a space for her blog (blank).
“I was empty nested, and since I was calling the kids so often, the kids suggested I start blogging about the crazy things that I get myself into,” she writes.
“Now I call them and read the blog out loud to them since they haven’t read it.”
International travel got blogger Bahia to the page.
“I originally started my blog when I was living in Japan. I had been sending out email updates about my life there, but I wanted a more efficient way to communicate my adventures so I started the blog.”
Sometimes the expectations of those around you can lead you to a pastime or talent you’d never realized was perfect for you. Over at a novel journal, as blogger Veronique Darwin explains, starting a blog became was an inevitable endeavor.
“People kept telling me they were surprised I didn’t have a blog. I guess I talk a lot, or seem like someone who has idle time,” she explains. “And I’m a writer, I guess they knew that. I started the blog because one day I realized I had something to talk about.”
Do you have something to say? Then don’t let a blank page or an internet-challenged mindset deter you.
If you want to write…If you want feedback and a sense of community…If you want to make sure you expand your creative endeavors and finally fulfill that promise to yourself about that book you’ll one day finish, that screenplay you’ll start, or those poems you’ll finally let other eyes see. If you want all those things and more – or you simply need a place to let the words flow – then start a blog.
There’s no time like the present – and you have a convenient start date just around the corner.
It’s not impossible or unweildly – just look at me. I began this blog on (insert date), and now, as 2012 draws to a close, I have more than 200 entries under my belt. That’s 200 more pieces of writing than I would ever have generated had it not been for this blog. If I can do it, then so can you.
- Recognition With Perfect Timing (thedailycreativewriter.com)
- Blogger of the Year Award 2012 (makesomethingmondays.wordpress.com)
- Very Inspiring Blogger Award (expatsincebirth.com)
- Writing By Candlelight Won The Very Inspiring Blogger Award (dorothystacy.wordpress.com)
- Picture This* (combatbabe.com)
- Love Me Some Blogs (dontwelookalike.com)
- The Amazing Benefits of Blogging (lorensworld.com)
- Blog of the Year 2012 Award (realityenchanted.wordpress.com)
- Incredible People and Their Blogs (searchingforthehappiness.wordpress.com)
- Award Nomination (contemplatinglove.com)