I’m way late to the party on this. Chilihead (oh, how I love her family photo), started this thing, a what-is-your-blogging-story carnival.
I saw the questions, and couldn’t resist. I’m number 175.
How did you start blogging?
I realize now that I started blogging at summer camp when I was 10, before personal computers or especially the Internet existed.
At sleep-away camp, I used to write these multi-page letters to my friends, over the course of several days, reporting in on various activities, people, things I was thinking. I often decorated the margins. My favorite thing to do was draw a chain that wrapped around the long vertical red line on the left side of my notebook paper (no fancy-pants stationery for me), ending in an anchor and then a row of little seaweed plants and fish across the bottom. I guess that was my first banner design.
I kept journals in college, and then after graduation, I started taking improv theater classes. One teacher offered a stand-up comedy workshop. I thought my journal was very funny, so I tried reading it out loud there. Didn’t go over well.
Not long after, a theater friend invited me to visit her performance art class at the local state university. After almost two hours of watching my friend and her classmates each take a turn doing a performance piece that would introduce themselves to the class, I raised my hand and asked if I could take a turn. Pulled those same journal entries out of my bag and read them. Went over much better with this crowd. I ended up taking the class, and the following semester I enrolled in the Master’s program, ultimately getting a degree in memorizing my journal entries, performing them, and calling it art.
Years passed, journal-inspired performances gave way to puppetry, improvisational theater, and real jobs in journalism, public relations, and a few other things.
Blogging revolution took a while to get to my desktop. For whatever reason. Last fall, in the midst of a career crisis, I found myself making one of those lists, of things I wanted to do in my life. Blogging was on the list. By the end of the day, I was posting my list in my first blog entry. It was anonymous. For about 10 minutes. I showed my husband. I showed my career counselor (who was EXTREMELY worried about the damage I might cause myself by being so frank in public, even anonymously). One by one, I shared the link with select close friends.
I installed stat counter and joyously gnawed over the details of my five or six visitors.
A few months later, I was hired to work as an editor for Parenting.com, where I was introduced to their inspiring and talented group of mommy and daddy bloggers. I got hooked on their stories. Started clicking on blogrolls, lurking at various sites.
Eventually, I wanted my blogging to be more public. To write something I could show my family. Plus, I was starting a new activity, learning how to bike ride. Seemed like a good topic.
I started Easy as Falling Off a (Insert Object of Choice Here). I quickly found excuses to write about knitting and food as well as biking.
The only problem was that I got pregnant a few weeks into the new blog. Biking was much less appealing at that point, but I couldn’t talk about the pregnancy yet. So I started keeping a private journal (for the first time in YEARS) and waited.
A few weeks ago, I loaded that journal onto my new pregnancy blog, The Calm Before The Stork, goaded my husband into designing a nifty banner, and now I’m off and running.
Did you intend to be a blog w/a following? If so, how did you go about it?
I’m a slut for attention. As I mentioned, I performed my JOURNAL ENTRIES on a STAGE, in front of STRANGERS, for goodness sakes. So, yes, I wanted a following. But I also don’t entirely know what that means yet. I do understand the phrase “comments crack” however as I get completely giddy when I get them, and crash when I don’t. You can almost guess my mood by checking my stat counter. And I’m not that popular. Best day ever? About 100 visitors.
I know I need to go out in the blogosphere and make some friends. I am in the process of doing that, somewhat. I signed up at blogher.com and got one stranger to stop by. I’m also blogging at Parenting.com, and SFist.com. Those sites help get people curious about me.
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?
Having a place to flex my muscles as a writer. Sharing my pregnancy story with my extended family, and maybe a few strangers. Supporting my newly growing family with the ad revenue (snort).
Has the focus of your blog changed since you started blogging? How?
I’ve already managed to sneak food in with little reference to the pregnancy. Just want to share my recipes. Knitting is next…
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started?
I think I’m still just starting. Maybe I should have thought more about using a pseudonym instead of our real names?
Do you make money with your blog?
A whopping $1.28 so far, thanks to a few folks clicking Google ads, and to my dear sister, who was kind enough to use my Amazon links to order my birthday present. Yay Michelle!
Does your immediate or extended family know about your blog? If so, do they read it? If not, why?
They do read it, which is great for me. A) It gets everyone up to date on the latest without daily phone calls. B) I’ve sometimes struggled with honesty. In person, I can occasionally not say what I’m thinking. So, I think a lot about my posts, how my family will receive them. I want them to know me. I want to be as open as I can. And I want them to still like me. Same goes for strangers. It’s an interesting challenge, to honestly be who I am, and let people have their opinions. Which leads to C) It forces me to grow a thicker skin.
What two pieces of advice would you give to a new blogger?
1) Use a pseudonym.
2) Familiarize yourself with how to get the Googlebots to focus where you want (if you’re going to have Google ads on your site). Insert this code around the RELEVANT text:
<!–google_ad_section_start –> <!– google_ad_section_end –>
Because a series of blog entries can seem disconnected from each other, the bots throw up their hands, and sometimes you get ads for pharmaceutical companies instead (I know of what I speak).