What inspired you to start blogging? What was it? What made you that one day, sit down and set-up your first blog. Can you remember. I sure can!
It was my wife…and maybe I am a little bit biased. But what inspired me about her that made me start a blog. For starters, I had nothing to say. Really, nothing at all. She…on the other hand. It is September 2006 and Sarah had just accepted a new job here in the area. We were living in Charlotte both with good jobs. We were starting to find ourselves professionally when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. So, we felt this pull to get closer to home. She was the first to find a job and was hired as a strategic buyer at a large manufacturing group. Life was getting ready to flip upside down.
We had been living the high life for the first three years of marriage, fresh out of graduate school. We wanted to move back home, closer to family and pay off debt. So we sold our house, sold our expensive cars, moved into a crappy apartment, and used those good jobs to pay off debt. At the same time, Sarah’s mom was fighting breast cancer. That new job she started, well she hated it…but it was a good paying job. So, she started a journal. It was in a Word Document that started as a stream of consciousness. After a while, the document got so long, she moved it to a blog on Blogger.com. In 2006, she started blogging…journaling about life. Life with her mother fighting breast cancer, paying off debt, working a shitty job, living in a town that did not feel like home.
Over the next year, her mother got sicker and she wrote more. In the Fall of 2007, her mother lost her battle to Triple Negative Metastatic Breast Cancer…her blog was her coping mechanism. Her writing was raw and honest. This whole time we had been trying to get pregnant with little success. A year after her mother died, we got pregnant and life was great. Then we had our first miscarriage. After three miscarriages, she wrote plenty. She wrote about research, her experiences, doctors she found, and the list goes on. Sarah’s blog is our families journal.
We have family dinners and someone asks what happened last year and we know we can go to her blog to find the answer. Her focus of her blog has been her life struggles and life’s passions. She writes about her family, her mother, infertility, and cause marketing. She is not a big fan of those who benefit financially by exploiting those fighting breast cancer. She writes with passion.
A year after her mother passed away, she quit her job. She was tired of working for something she did not believe in…now works for a daycare taking care of two year olds. She loves it. The people in the daycare have no idea she has a Masters Degree, graduate top of her class in both undergraduate and graduate school, was homecoming queen in undergrad, and was her high-school’s valedictorian. She is one smart cookie and one hell of a writer.
She has yet to spend any money on her blog using the free platform of WordPress. She does all the design work. She does not use social media and other outlets to promote her blog. She does not have it professionally optimized with targeted SEO. She does not Tweet or Facebook her blog posts. She writes passionately…and people read! She has a few notable children’s book authors reading her blog on a regular basis. How does she know, well she password protects some of her posts. She does this because she knows family members read her blog, and she writes like it is her journal. So she only let’s certain people read password protected blog posts. Those author’s make a request for the password. Trust me, she gets lots of requests for the password.
Her blog is semi-private…meaning she does not use her last name on her blog yet has our picture posted. Some knows that it is her, but some have no idea who “Sarah” is right here in Anderson, SC.
She has a tremendous community. She calls them her “Bloggy Friends” and they all read each others’ blogs like clockwork. Each of them have come together because of a circumstance in their lives. One may write about breast cancer, one may write about her infertility story, or some just find each other because they are just funny. Regardless, they have found each other and they share with each other on their blogs. They write with each other…and they check on each other. If one has not posted in a while, they drop an email to check on each other. Sarah’s blog is her community and she always feels the need to write not only for her creative enterprise but to keep her “Bloggy Friends” in the loop.
Sarah’s blogging is an extension of her life, she is writing her story as she lives it. She writes straight from the heart. She writes with passion. Her blog has caused many family disputes, where she will write about a situation and someone will read her interpretation of the situation. They sometimes are not happy, but what they do not realize…her writing is her coping mechanism. She has thought about taking it down or going totally anonymous, but I have told her I support her writing 100%. The only thing I ask is that she not write about our personal marriage topics and also refrain from discussing the private part of my business.
Sarah is also a reader. She likes to read others’ blogs because she is genuinely interested. She treats this like and in-person conversation. She reads to learn and this reading turns into reciprocation. She is passionate about the blogs she reads and believes in her community.
Sarah is my inspiration. Her writing has inspired others. People read her blog when dealing with breast cancer, infertility, paying off debt, or just to read. She has had more people thank her for her writing…helping them deal/cope with a particular life situation. She is not writing for a mass market…she is writing to write. Her focus is her life and her passion is her family.
There is not perfect formula for blogging. You can read all the “experts” about blogging, SEO, neccessary technology…BLAH, BLAH, BLAH! But I do know this…you do not need a beautiful layout design, you do not need the best SEO expert, you do not need to pay for a blog! What you need is to write passionately. You have something in your heart that you are most passionate about…write about it. Sarah writes on a consistent basis, uses pictures, and puts her whole heart into each and every post.
Each time I start working with a client, I do not even allow them to set-up a blog until a few things have happened. First, they have a focus for their writing. I ask them to write a mission statement for the blog. Second, I ask them to write ten posts on a Word document based on this mission statement. Then I ask them, who do you think will read your blog…who are you writing for in every post. Blogging is not about the platform, the SEO, the distribution…it is about the writing, and the technology is just the platform to present your writing. Write passionately! BTW…I used Sarah as an example with each corporate client I work with. The example I explain…write passionately.
Here are some of the blogs I have helped start:
South Carolina Hospital Association’s President & CEO Thornton Kirby’s Blog: http://scha.org/thornton-blog/
South Carolina Hospital Association’s Advocacy Group Blog: http://www.scha.org/blog/
Greenville Hospital System CEO Mike Riordan: http://totransformhealthcare.com/
Free Real Estate Education Blog by Rising Sun Capital Group CFO Marty Boardman: http://freerealestateeducation.com/
Sarah’s Blog: http://stillthinkingagain.wordpress.com/ (BTW – she is not going to give you the password :D)