(Inside: Should you start a blog? Should you write? Read my journey of starting a blog and get tips that will help you start writing and blogging with confidence.)
“I want to be a writer.”
I gently rocked my nursing son (middle child) in the middle of the night. That’s the exact moment the writer-thought popped into my head.
Which is slightly surprising given that I’m a high school math teacher. Graphing parabolas? Easy-peezy. Word problems? Tell about which direction that train is going and at what speed. But, writing…I mean…being serious about writing? Well, this direction is new.
So here I was – in the narcoleptic-tired mom state, sitting in a rocker crammed in our small townhome’s hallway (the only spot upstairs to nurse with the light on and not disturb my sleeping husband and toddler), with a math degree in my back pocket, making this decision.
Life is weird.
But life is also full of life-enriching surprises. I’ve loved writing for Empowered Moms and Kids. (I also write at Extravagant Hope). I’ve been published on Huffington Post and Today Parents. Writing also ties well with my side-gig of speaking at moms groups and church groups. (Speaking I always knew I wanted to do.)
It’s brought out a creative side I didn’t realize I had, grown my perspective, and stretched me in healthy ways. Writing has helped me connect deeper with people who share openly with me after they’ve read something I’d written. It’s landed me in circles I never thought I’d be in but am a better person because of it. (Like, my writing group!) Writing hasn’t disappointed.
What about you? Do you have an inkling in your heart to put words on paper? Your story. Your perspective. Do you want to get it out there? You’re not alone, there’s a whole tribe of women writers who are thriving and there’s room for you at the table. If you’re thinking, “Should I write?” follow my journey and see if writing is for you.
**This blog post contains both Amazon affiliate links and course affiliate links.**
Take up reading. (If you haven’t already.)
When I rocked my nursing baby at o’dark hundred deciding I wanted to write – I knew it wasn’t going to happen just then. I didn’t have the time (or desire) to maintain a blog, plus I didn’t even know what I wanted to write about. So, I decided my author-starting-place would be with rekindling my love of reading. I figured this was the best way to brush up on grammar, sentence structure, plot, and storyline. (Plus, this would help me stay awake while I nursed in the middle of the night. And in the morning. And in the afternoon. Brain fog..all…the…time…)
So, I went to the library and wiped the recommended book table clean. And every chance I got I read, read, read…
In it, I stumbled across Jen Hatmaker’s Out of the Spin Cycle and howled! Brilliant and hilarious, I felt like I’d just hung out with a friend who was available at 11 pm. 1 am. 3 am. And again at 5 am. That’s the genre I decided I wanted to write: empowering lessons learned from life.
|What I’d recommend:
In the 5 years of reading and deciding my genre (with writing in the back of my mind) and raising 3 small kids, I decided I wanted to start a blog – nothing fancy, just for practice.
So, I started a free blog on Blogger, simply to post pictures and write a few things for my family to see. Nothing else. No stress. My sister and cousin both maintained a family blog, so we’d check out each others’ pages and comment – I loved it. It reinforced that I like to write.
Next, I was involved in MOPS and they had a small magazine called MomSense. (Now, called Hello Darling.) So, I submitted two articles, one about friendships and the other about exercise. MomSense published both of them. Like, IN PRINT. I couldn’t believe it – it felt like more confirmation to move forward.
I also wrote for the small newsletter our MOPS (Mother of Preschoolers) group printed. It was the Leadership team contributing fun articles, recipes, life-hacks, and making copies in the church office, but still, it felt great. I liked coming up with interesting articles that encouraged our group.
If I were to go back to this phase of practice writing, I’d do some things the same and some things differently.
|What I’d recommend:
Join this community of moms raising tweens and teens HERE.
Connect with other writers
In a stroke of luck, I met a mom on my son’s kindergarten field trip who wrote a novel. (Just for fun, it wasn’t published.) She was forming a writing group (read more here) and I was in. We all write completely different genres, but it enriches our group in infinite measure. Once a month, we’d read each other’s work, give honest feedback (even when it was hard!) and cheer each other on.
One of the writers in our group, Dylann Crush, just published her first romance novel. She did it the hard way, submitted her writing to a billion different agents until a New York agent took her (yay!), and then nothing happened. (More sending out transcripts. We’re a couple of years into this process now.) A California agent took her on board and the rest is history. You can buy her book at Walmart and Barnes & Noble people…it’s cray-cray. Dreams do come true.
|What I’d recommend:
Get serious (Should I write? YES!)
Okay, I’d read, started a practice blog, and had my team in a 5-year span. I knew I wanted to write about so it was time to get serious. I started a free blog called Since I Became a Mom and wrote for another 5 years in it. I experienced success but felt I needed to put some money into learning the “business” aspect of blogging. What a game-changer that was for me.
Take some blogging courses. (Totally worth it!)
Kelly Holmes from Sticky Blogging Courses:
I love Kelly’s style of teaching. She does all the research for you and gives you the main points you need to apply to your blog. Her courses you will enjoy, even in your busy-no-real-time-for-it life.
Sticky Blogging – This course teaches you how to create content that will keep people coming back to your page. It’s a game-changer. This is the number one course I’d recommend!
SEO Optimization – Everyone hates SEO. (Please, google, just let me write a blog post and you show it to everyone. Okay? Okay. Bye-bye, now.) But, you gotta learn it. Kelly teaches specifically how to make SEO work with your blog. It’s incredibly helpful. She’s offering this now with big bonuses if you sign up ASAP.
Course by Number – Offer courses from your blog.
Suzi from Start a Mom Blog Courses:
I really like Suzi, she’s so real. She says things like “Get over being perfect and be real. Hit publish, you can make an impact without being 100% polished.” That girl speaks to my heart. If I had to do it again, I would pay the money for Suzi’s VIP bundle with ALL of her courses. But, since I learned as I went, I bought:
- eBook by Number (How to write and market an eBook.)
- Post by Number (How to write a killer blog post, focused on the technical aspect.)
- Income Journey eBook (How Susi grew her blog to $20,000/month.)
Other amazing courses she offers:
- Blog by Number (How to start a blog.)
- Niche by Number (How to choose your niche.)
- List by Number (How to grow your email list.)
- Theme by Number (How to create a beautiful look for your blog.)
- VIP Bundle (All of her courses!)
Start your blog right!
Like I mentioned before, I blogged for free on Blogger as Since I Became a Mom for almost 5 years. (If you’re keeping track – 5 years reading/practicing, 5 years writing Since I Became a Mom on Blogger…I’m a decade in now.) The free blog site had limitations and I didn’t like my blog name anymore. After learning so much from the courses, I knew I needed to transfer my blog to a self-hosted WordPress site. (I did lots of research on this, save yourself time and just go with it.)
Here are the steps:
1. Buy a domain name from GoDaddy.com
2. Set up a hosting site that holds your blog with SiteGround. (They have the BEST free live tech support!) Then SiteGround will help you set up your self-hosted WordPress site.
(Again, I would recommend the Blog By Number course. It will save you so much time…and pain.)
|What I’d recommend:
This is the equally fun and hard part. My heart raced the first time I hit “share” on Facebook. I waited for the laughter. (What is the math teacher doing with words?) But, I received the opposite. People showed encouragement and support. So much support! I even got speaking gigs out of blogging. My adventure has been good. No…it’s been great.
|What I’d recommend:
I’m way past the nursing babies stage, but I’m never past the dreaming stage. I don’t know where my writing will take me, but it’s all okay – because this writing journey…it’s worth it. And if you’re still wondering if you should write, I say, yes! FOR SURE YES! Writing will enrich your life in ways you’d never expect. I challenge you – share your story too and see where it takes you…
[bctt tweet=”Writing will enrich your life in ways you’d never expect. I challenge you – share your story too and see where it takes you… Read on… #writers #bloggers #authors #moms” username=”@cheryldonely”]
Continue to build your confidence to write and share your words through reading the full “Confidence to be You” Series
[bctt tweet=”No one can tell your story, so tell it yourself. No one can write your story, so write it yourself. (Unknown) Read on… #writers #bloggers #moms #authors #dreamers ” username=”@cheryldonely”]
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Cheryl is a mom of 3 boys, wife, speaker, high school teacher, and author of Empowered Moms & Kids. She has a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and is passionate about learning and teaching. On www.empoweredmomsandkids.com you’ll find inspiration and encouragement for moms raising tweens and/or teens. Read more in the “about” section of this page.