I started blogging just about 5 years ago. (It will be 5 years at the end of the month. I really should celebrate!) I started because I was married with three young children at home and desperately needed a creative outlet. I'm a passionately creative person, a writer and photographer and I needed to keep up my skills. I also started this blog, originally named Doodlebug Lounge, and for a couple of years I was a "Mommy blogger," a term that still makes me cringe. But as my children started to grow older I realized that they needed some privacy and cute baby pictures work for newborns and toddlers but not for middle-schoolers. So I stopped blogging about them. But a writer needs to write, a creative person needs to be creative. It took a year or two before I fell into a niche that fit me perfectly. We had also just moved from our not-so-small but over-crowded house into a very big one. I needed a new name and took a poll. My friend Lorraine actually chose the name The Entertaining House based on my love for entertaining and because she thought we were, well, so entertaining! The name fit me perfectly!
Writing for an audience is the best thing a writer can do. (The same applies to the photographer, artist, anyone with a creative bent, actually.) When you expose your craft, you expose yourself. When you expose your craft, you most likely will get some feedback, good and bad. I call this constructive criticism. I don't get many comments on here anymore, but people are responding to me via other means. I know when I've published something and really nailed it and I know when I haven't.
When you write a blog (or photograph, paint, etc) you're really exposing yourself and
- You must put only your very best out there.
- You must review and edit.
- You must stand apart from the crowd.
- You must use your own voice.
- You must be unique.
There are too many blogs out there that are copycat blogs... They post pretty pictures but no content, or not content of any substance. It took a while, but I came to find my voice and I came to find a way to best express myself.
I have two blogs, actually, this and Amid Life where I talk about parenting and living life as a newly single parent. It is over there, I feel, I do my best writing. It's personal and at time honest and raw. I can write without limiting my thoughts and words. My Amid Life readers are there to read.
My Entertaining House readers want something different.
- They come here for visual inspiration.
- They want ideas for home and fashion and decor...
- They want ideas for life and living and living well within a certain means.
- I keep my writing here short and concise and
- I illustrate my ideas with lots of inspiring images.
About 3 years ago I entered into the dark journey of divorce. I decided to share my journey with my readers but soon realized that this was not the right vehicle. While I wanted to talk and write and share, I knew I could not do so here. This was my happy place, and I thought that that part of my life needed its own special home, and thus, Amid Life was born.
So I found myself with a happy place - a silly, carefree and magical place, and a serious place - a place where I could go and share my experiences, fears and journey towards freedom and happiness. I never in a million years ever expected the outpouring of emotion, gratitude and support from my Amid Life readers. While some readers overlap, I generally have two sets of readers. It is important to acknowledge them both.
My new blog and new readers fueled my need and desire to keep writing and keep sharing. Many negative comments and naysayers started coming out of the woodwork, but this just propelled me to keep writing and keep sharing... to keep encouraging others who are also traveling the same path that life goes on... not only does it go on, but it gets better... Despite sharing some dark and sad moments, I wanted Amid Life to be positive. I wanted to show people that divorce is not a bad thing... That when one door closes another one opens... That I have a second chance, and really, how amazing is that?!
And the two blogs coexist beautifully side by side. I write here much more frequently. I have to. It is because of this blog, that I have been able to re-launch my career as a writer. The Entertaining House is not simply a blog to me but has become a powerful platform. It is through this blog (and a couple of very influential people in the social media community - especially social media guru, Leslie Carothers, of the Kaleidoscope Partnership) that I have been able to garner a myriad regular writing assignments as well . I hope to keep growing my business and my blog as a business so that I can be able to say I have a successful and lucrative writing career! Without this blog, I wouldn't have had the exposure, connections or opportunities.
What my ex husband claimed to be as a complete waste of time, 5 years ago, has proven to be anything but!
So, to all my fellow dreamers out there, stop dreaming and do it... on a blog!