My Life As A Blog — Guest Post By . . .
Blogger: Amber Doty
Blog: The Daily Doty
I wrote my first blog post twelve years ago at the age of fifteen. I didn’t know it was a blog post at the time. In fact, it would be many years before the term “blog” would become a part of my vocabulary. To me it was an exciting new twist on one of my favorite pastimes — journaling — and its discovery brought an end to my love affair with spiral bound notebooks and colored gel pens. Something appealed to me about opening my life up to the world. Actually, the first platform I used was a site aptly named Open Diary.
Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately) the physical act of writing wasn’t the only love affair my new found hobby ended. My very first post was a detailed account of a date with a boyfriend. Since his access to the internet was limited, I printed it out and handed it to him in class the next morning, I beamed as I watched his eyes move across the page, high on the novel idea of allowing others to read the thoughts in my head.
“Wait. You put this on the internet, like, where anyone can read it? Total strangers?”
“Yes. Isn’t that cool?”
“No, Amber. That’s…bizarre.”
Not long after that I found myself blogging our break up.
Like many teenagers, I was fickle and easily bored. I moved from site to site — Diaryland, LiveJournal, Xanga. I was a blogging nomad in those early years, but my love for writing was steadfast. So much so that a few months before graduation I shared with my mother my plan to major in journalism or English in college in the Fall.
Visibly mortified, she took an afternoon to talk me out of it. Writing was a hobby, not a career, she assured me. I could always write in the evenings, but I needed a job that would guarantee I could pay my bills.
Four years later, I graduated with a bachelor of science in chemistry. I landed a job at a major pharmaceutical company and I spent the next few years in like not love. I drafted technical memorandums, detailed experiments, and authored protocols. I had the financial security my mother promised was the stepping stone, if not the key, to happiness, but I felt like an impostor each morning when I pulled on my white lab coat.
In August of 2009, on a particularly sleepless night three years into my career as a scientist, I began what would become my permanent home on the internet, The Daily Doty. At the time, I intended it to be a place where I could flex my atrophied creative muscles by recording stories about my children to share with friends and family. For a year and a half I chronicled our lives and I found this thing I finally knew as “blogging” to be even more fulfilling as an adult than it was as a teenager.
I quickly became consumed not just by the act of writing my own site, but in reading those of others and it was through another blog that I learned about Sarah Bryden-Brown.
Blogstar, then Momoir, was in its infancy. Sarah’s first project would be an e-book anthology of stories by women bloggers and she was looking for submissions. I had never submitted anything to anyone before outside of a book report, but the topic Stories I’ve Only Told My Mom appealed to me and on day of the deadline I gathered my courage and sent in a story attached to a lengthy disclaimer disguised as an email alerting her to my amateur status.
I imagined her laughing as she read my story, red pen in hand, but instead she wrote me back and asked if she could include it in her e-book.
This is going to sound dramatic, but that e-mail changed my life. For the first time in years I began to view writing as a possible path for my life. I decided chemistry was a detour and I spent the next few months as a scientist by day and a freelance writer and blogger by night.
I reached out to other bloggers and asked for advice. I gathered my courage and emailed the editors of websites I longed to contribute to. I wrote a very lot and slept a very little. Persistence paid off and I slowly collected enough writing gigs to go part time at my day job. I am now a regular contributor to Curvy Girl Guide and Babble as well as Kirtsy.
My position as editor and contributor of Curvy Girl Guide has been particularly amazing and has shown me that blogging can create opportunities far beyond the computer screen. I spent the past four days in New York City promoting National Swimsuit Confidence Week in partnership with Lands’ End. It is an initiative close to my heart tasked with boosting the self-esteem of women and reinforcing a positive body image and one that Curvy Girl Guide co-owner Brittany Gibbons and I were willing to stand in our bathing suits in the middle of Times Square and appear on national television in order to support.
Blogging has been a sometimes stressful, mostly amazing journey for me over the years, but it is my most recent endeavor that has empowered me to take the plunge and turn it into my full-time career.
Like Sarah, it’s my “What’s Next.” In my experience, the very best things are created when bloggers join forces and I cannot wait to get started.
I hope you enjoyed Amber’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.