I feel like I’m on a roll of sorts lately, friends! Shortly after my cousin Erin interviewed me for a class assignment, my friend Lexi interviewed me for one of her college classes. She wants to be a writer and had to interview someone in the field — though for the record, I maintain that I should be the one picking her brain because she’s an amazing writer!
Anyway, I found myself writing a lot on the topic (go figure!), so I thought it would be fun and semi-educational to share some of the interview. Look for another installment tomorrow! xoxo
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve loved writing since elementary school. It’s always been a great way for me to express myself, and things make more sense to me on paper. I may not always say the right thing or know exactly what to say, but I can definitely say it better if I write it down — or type it out, as the case may be. I worked on my high school and college newspaper and also fell in love with journalism. Writing is a beautiful way to tell a story, whether it be a sad story or a happy one, and I’ve always been intrigued by that aspect of writing. When words fail, writing is there.
Your blog has 3,500+ subscribers. It’s surpassed 1 million page views and has more than 13,000 page views per month. That’s so crazy! Do you remember your reaction when your blog first started getting so big? What were some of the biggest challenges in the beginning?
I honestly never imagined So About What I Said would come to mean as much to me as it does today. It’s taken me on one wild and unforgettable adventure, that’s for sure. I started it because it seemed like the next logical step in my writing career and because I wanted a place that could also serve as a portfolio for my writing. But, over the last 6 years, it’s turned into so much more. The fact that I get to do this as a job every day is amazing. In the beginning, I thought my family would be the only people reading my blog, so when people beyond my bloodline started reading, I was surprised and excited! One of the main challenges I can remember is trying to learn everything. I had zero experience with blogging before this point, so I was essentially learning as I was going along. It was fun, of course, but there was so much to learn — blog layout, basic HTML code, social media, how to put a blog post together, etc. I was learning something new every day, and 6 years later, I’m still learning.
What is some advice you’d give to someone who is just starting up their blog?
I can’t overstate the value of the learning curve in those early months. It may seem tedious at the time, but it’s important to remember that you’re building your foundation as a blogger, and that takes time. I took plenty of time in the early days to plan the foundation on which the rest of my blog was built — things like the blog name, its focus and its design. The more focused, clear and precise you are when planning your blog, the more successful you’ll be in the long run. Think of it this way: You’re basically forming the way you’re going to present yourself to the world, so you want to do it in the best way possible.
You’ve done a lot of freelance work. You’ve written for Redbook, Glamour, The Frisky, The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Parent, Pregnancy and xoJane to name a few. How did you first get involve in freelance writing and blogging? What point did blogging and freelancing turn into a full-time operation?
After I graduated in 2005 with a degree in journalism, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I tried grad school, but quickly learned that the program was more geared toward communications, which wasn’t something I was interested in. So I started freelancing for the local newspaper. I wrote a weekly slice-of-life column for almost 5 years and really enjoyed it. During that time, I also started freelancing and blogging. Although I’m blogging full-time, I’m nowhere near freelancing full-time. I’ve been lucky to write for some amazing places and am hoping to start pitching more regularly again soon. But regarding blogging, a few years into it, I began offering advertising and things began to build from there. It was also at that point when I realized something very important, something, I think, all bloggers need to keep in mind: As much as you’re a writer, you and your blog are also a business. So, it’s important that you think like a business, especially if you’re serious about blogging for the long-term.
[Photos via We Heart It]