My Life As A Blog Guest Post By . . .
Blogger: Emily Winters
My blogging life started innocently enough at age 24. I only just turned 27, so my blogging life has been short so far. Anyways, It was the spring of 2009 and I had just bought my first house. I was a home improvement junkie long before this date, but repressed by un-editable apartments and eager to make a space for myself. In this new-to-me pad, I found myself busily improving the space. Buying tools. Replacing fixtures. Tearing down decks. Buying furniture. Everyday, something new. Homeownership refreshed me, lifting me from my 9-5 rut, giving me a long list of to-do’s to tackle when I returned home every evening. My first blog documented my day-to-day activities, although, more than anything, I assume my family enjoyed seeing that I hadn’t cut through any of my fingers with my new circular saw. It never crossed my mind to monetize it or pursue blogging with more vengeance, and I had no frame of reference in how it could be a sustainable full-time job. I kept my blogging updates light and infrequent, never opening up very much because I was skeptical of those who were reading it, and who actually cared about a girl and her “DIY journal”.
Things changed in the fall of 2010. I can’t pinpoint the exact rationale for wanting to start Merrypad, my current blog that inspires homeowners to embrace a do-it-yourself lifestyle; it was a well-timed combo of 1) major work boredom, 2) seeking a new project, and 3) finally opening my eyes to the potential behind self-employment.
Looking back on that time, I dove in really quickly. Maybe it was because I really hated my advertising career path, or maybe it was because I always go with my gut instinct. Not that blogging was the immediate solution for self-sufficiency (I’m still well-diversified when it comes to my sources of income), but in a sense it gave me the balls to do something new that wasn’t risky and would give me a new outlet to explore. I began networking, planning, and website template customizing (thanks to my web-savvy boyfriend) every evening and every weekend. The more I networked, the more people I met who had similar feelings about the 9-5 workforce, aspirational goals for themselves in this big world of new media, and were willing to work their asses off to march on the self-paved, un-401K’d road to success and happiness. I wanted it too, and set out to make it my way.
Actually writing the posts took getting used to. Knowing that others were reading the posts was hard too. As I mentioned, my first blog wasn’t much more than photos and captions. To have real words forming real sentences forming real paragraphs was daunting. I wasn’t a copywriter in my advertising career, but I keep it easy by writing how I think and how I speak, and I try to adhere to that au-natural tone when I’m writing these days. (True story, I make up words a lot, ramble, and also write very short sentences if I’m in a mood). It actually took me 3 weeks to post anything that I had drafted in the month my site went live; I noodled every word 3 dozen ways and even when it was in A-OK shape, I still nervously hit “publish” like I was detonating a bomb.
It got easier. Most days it’s easier. In those first few months experimenting with my positioning, defining my audience, and fine tuning the site, I was also slowly stockpiling my savings account. This came in handy when in the Spring of 2011 I hit a dead end with my job and decided to leave the company. Blogging as a career was a goal, whether or not it was a legitimate and resume-building job title. I used the summer months to meet new bloggers, start new home projects, write a lot, and plan my next steps. I had covered myself financially for 4-months, which I know isn’t long considering that pros tend to recommend having a 12-month cushion always, but I took it. Breaking free and diving into something that I was passionate about gave me more reason to push forward and try to make something of it. Right now I’m on month 7.
These days, I’m working hard on the blog as my top priority; in November, I was contracted by DIY Network to contribute to its blog, and I continue to entertain other opportunities as they pass by my line of vision. Not being one to keep all of my eggs in one basket, I did pick up freelance work for various clients too, both business blogging and project management (like I said, I’m well-diversified… but that’s what permits me to pursue blogging the way I am). In any case, my blogging life is merry and opened up a world of opportunity.
I hope you enjoyed Emily’s post, which is part of an on-going series on Blogstar. If you would like to contribute your own My Life As A Blog post, please email me at sbrydenbrown[at]gmail[dot]com.