Monday, March 17, 2014
Thoughts on blogging as a job
Being a writer is a dream career for many people. How were you able to take something that is generally tough to get off the ground and make it into a reality?
I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I think part of me gravitated toward it because of my disability. I couldn't walk and necessarily explore my surroundings like my peers could, but with writing, I could be completely free. It was my way of exploring. I stuck with writing -- specifically journalism -- all through high school and college. I wrote for my college's newspaper and served as editor-in-chief. After I graduated, I worked as a newspaper columnist and college newspaper adviser (to the same paper I editor of in college, which was a bit of a time warp!). Five years ago, starting my blog just seemed like the next logical step in my evolution as a writer. Plus, I can't stress enough how important it is for writers to have a solid digital footprint and having a blog is like having a handy portfolio of your writing at hand whenever you need it. One of the biggest misconceptions about writing/blogging is that it just happens over night, like you set up a blog and the next month you have thousands of followers. But like all jobs, it just doesn't work like that. I started my blog in November 2008 and worked tirelessly to get traction. I had a lot of things to tackle in those early days: What was my blog going to be about? What would the layout be? I got into a rhythm of posting consistently and reaching out to other bloggers to get my name out there. It was my full-time job, but one I loved right from the start. It's such a gratifying feeling to be able to look at my blog now, five years later, and see just how far it's come and know all the behind-the-scenes work that went into it.
In the process of moving towards your goals, how do you deal with setbacks and obstacles? How do you cope (practically and/or emotionally) with bumps in the road?
I've had plenty of setbacks. By its very nature, blogging is a very open profession. Your thoughts are on display for the whole world to see, and you're consciously putting yourself out there. But that's a choice I made, and it's one I've never regretted. Now granted, I've had my share of haters and people who didn't think I could do it, but honestly? Those haters just gave me more motivation to keep going and prove them wrong. And naturally, writing has always helped me cope with those bumps in the road.
As a writer, does anyone ever tell you your goals aren't "realistic?" If so, how do you respond and move forward?
Honestly, I think even I've had doubts, especially when I first started. And for me, blogging has always been about evolving, so I'm still not necessarily where I want to be. I have to keep moving forward. But for as many haters as there are, there are twice as many people who have helped me over the years. My readers are seriously the best in the world, and I wouldn't be anywhere close to where I am today if it wasn't for their love and support.
What would you say has been the biggest factor in your success so far?
From a young age, my parents instilled in me the idea that I can do anything and to never -- under any circumstances -- give up. They were probably referring more to my disability at the time, but I apply to everything in my life now. If I had given up after only a couple of months after starting my blog, I'd never be where I am now. And the view is pretty cool from where I stand -- well, sit -- these days.
P.S. More blogging advice.
[Photos via We Heart It]