I published my first blog post in the fall of 2007. I was a sophomore in college at the time and my blog consisted of mostly musings about stress, college life, and relationships gone awry. It’s no surprise that my blog didn’t take off back then. I started again a few years ago, trying to get a sense of who I was as a person and what I could do to better my life and heal from some of the traumas of living. At this point, blogging seemed more like a glorified journal than the adventure in writing I hoped it would be. My blogging journey had a rocky start on more than one occasion.
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I needed focus. I needed something tangible to guide my journey. Everything I had done up to this point was shouting into the void, without actually saying anything. I wrote about petty things I hadn’t let go of, problems I wouldn’t put behind me. My blogging journey quickly turned into a trainwreck.
I needed a change. Reflecting on my past, while informative, wasn’t helping me become a better person. It wasn’t sparking the fire in me I knew existed deep down. I needed to figure out who I was and what inspired me. One day, I sat at my desk, and I made a list.
The List That Changed Everything
I dreamed about being a blogger early on, back when my tech ed teacher first introduced Blogger. I thought it’d be fun, writing for a living. I also thought it would be fun to become the next J.K. Rowling, but I digress…
About two months before I left my job in education, I decided to make a list of everything I loved doing. The results surprised me immensely. Even the sheer number of things I liked doing with my hands–sewing, woodcrafts, and art projects, surprised me. I’d spent the past four years doing tons of intellectual stuff in my teaching career, but neglecting the creative hands-on stuff I LOVED doing. Something had to change.
Again, blogging drew my attention. This time, I had a renewed sense of self. I knew what I wanted to write about and I knew that there were other people out there who love these things as much as I do. I was on a mission.
Getting Serious About Blogging
This time, I wasn’t just going to go by the seat of my pants. I needed to enlist the help of the experts. That first google search “How To Start A Blog” seemed so silly. I’d done this before. I knew the basics, right?
Wrong. I had no idea how much I was missing.
I discovered a lot during that first search. I think I followed more successful bloggers in that one afternoon than I had in my entire blogging experience (D’Oh!). I must say, no blogger has made a bigger impact on me than Abby Lawson from Just a Girl and her Blog. I found myself returning to her website over and over again, and it wasn’t just because of her content, though as long as I have been following her, she has always put out amazing projects and content. I felt drawn to her because of her story. When I read her anecdotes about beginning blogging, she put into words what I felt (and still feel now). More than that, the tone of her blog told readers that her sole purpose was to help make their lives better.
Abby’s story lit a spark in me that was fueled by many other bloggers. I doubted (and still do) I could make even half what Abby and Donnie report in their income reports. Again, I took to Google. This time, I searched for other bloggers that wanted to help people like me start successful blogs. My discovery shocked me. There were hundreds of blogs about everything. The best part? People were making money on them, just like Abby.
The Day I Realized It Was Possible
Before I knew what I was doing, I subscribed to Abby’s 7-day email course on starting a blog. Yes, I had started a blog before. However, history suggested I had no clue what I was doing. I poured over those emails. I rehashed my website and came up with my focus. I told my story and… nothing. The only views came from the relatives I’d sent the link to for feedback and editing advice.
I realized quickly that starting a blog, working full-time, and trying to organize your entire life to be moved 300 miles away was… a bit overzealous. I posted inconsistently and what I did write was often rushed. I needed some more guidance, so I turned to the resource that seemed to have all the answers I needed–Abby. Fortuitously, she was running a special for her recently re-vamped ebook, Building a Framework:The Ultimate Blogging Handbook. It took me about 30 seconds of doubt and 30 seconds of self-pep talk to buy it.
“Megan,” I told myself. “You need some help. This is a book that can help you.” My gut fought with itself, reeling at whether I could just find this information on the internet. The truth is, I probably could. But, I think I’d still be looking.
Instead, I did it. I pressed the checkout button and purchased the book. I figured I had nothing to lose by checking it out.
I flew through the introduction and Part I. That was it. When I read the last few words of Abby’s story, I knew it was possible. I knew that with hard work and inspiration, I could do what she did — in my own way.
Reality vs. The Dream
Overwhelmed and inspired, I did what I hadn’t done in my past attempts at blogging: I planned. I completely started over by building a new website with a clearer focus of what inspired me. I refer to Abby’s book regularly to review some of the nitty gritty details my poor memory just couldn’t hold on to in the two times I read through it. This book has been an invaluable resource in my journey, and I know I will continue to use it as I grow my little blog. If you’re considering starting your own blog, I highly suggest you look into Abby’s website and her book. You can read my full review here.
My dream is that by the end of 2017, I’ll be making enough money to support myself blogging. October makes my 5th month, and I’ve only begun to scratch the surface. But, I made my first $10 last month! Just when I felt like things were starting to seem impossible again, I got a notification from one of my affiliates telling me I’d made my first sale. It’s amazing how things work out, am I right? It’s going to be a long road to a steady stream of income, but I’ve never been so ready for the challenge.
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