Five years ago, I started my own mom blog called Velveteen Mind. Today, I am a magazine editor, national speaker, professional
consultant, tech startup principal and professional writer. I was none of those things before I started blogging. I was a stay-at-home mom with a
background in psychology and nothing more than a deep love for writing in journals.
I discovered talents I never realized directly as a
result of sharing stories online. In fact, it all began with participating in a parenting forum similar to those here
Support from a parenting forum led to starting a mom blog and
then on to a professional career I adore. Thinking about heading down that road yourself? Here are a few things to consider.
1. Record family stories for your children in a
shareable way. Keeping a journal is one of the healthiest emotional
outlets you can pursue, but a private journal often turns out as more of a
dumping ground and less of a well-thought-out record of your life. Because you
have to (or at least should) edit your story before publishing it on your blog
for an audience to read, you create a more balanced and readable record of your
2. Ditch your scrapbooking! A blog is the perfect
bridge between an immensely private journal (that you would probably hide away
so your children never find) and a highly polished scrapbook (that you would
probably spend hundreds of hours obsessing over to convey just the right story
for each layout, only to end up with an ultimately skimpy three photos and two paragraphs per page). The best posts are well-edited, both for story
content and your images, and serve as the most rewarding scrapbook you can
imagine, I promise.
3. Develop your own hidden talents. Speaking of editing
photos, you may just realize that you have a knack for photography. Or a
spectacular talent with words that moves your audience in ways that you never imagined you had in your family
update emails. Taken out of the private space of journaling and
scrapbooking, audience feedback can help move you in directions you never imagined.
4. Contribute to your family's income ... eventually. Blogging is not a direct
path to financial success, but financial success is out there if you look at
your mom blog as a platform for other projects or even a way to pay the water
bill. Consider it a second income for yourself, one that shouldn't replace your
primary income any time soon, but can complement it nicely after you
put concerted work and time into it.
5. Create a platform for future projects. So you've started sharing
your stories outside of your private journal, you've translated your family photo
skills into digital photography and now you realize you have real talent.
And you want more. Want to write a book? Want to pitch a craft column to a
magazine? Thinking of your own gallery art show? A personal blog is the perfect
platform to support future endeavors as part of a larger career.
6. Build a custom support community. We all need friends. Some of us live in rural
areas and don't have much opportunity to meet other women with shared interests.
Others live in sprawling cities but can't shake the feeling of isolation in the
crowd. Your own parenting blog will allow you to meet women far more diverse
than any circle of friends you could build in real life. That particularly
complicated set of circumstances that make your life your own? You'd be
surprised by how closely you can find it duplicated out there if you start
sharing your stories.
7. Develops contacts for ... everything. My online communities
have become my Google. Everything I need to know or find or learn about,
someone out there can help me and do it better than any search engine result.
Need a job? Need to know if anyone else's kid has ever had that weird thing
happen? Need recommendations for, say, anything ever anywhere? Your
custom-built community knows the answer or how to get it.
8. Spread awareness for your cause. After spending five years
online, I occasionally find myself jaded when trying to raising awareness or
funds for a cause within a local parenting group. For instance, an excellent
outcome might be reaching 75 people. 75 people? Hang on, I can reach thousands
with a few keystrokes! Leverage my community, and I can reach tens of
thousands! Suddenly the concept of "reach" changes when you are a
blogger and take it remotely seriously. Use your voice and you can spread
awareness of a childhood illness, charity or family in need—and watch it
spread far beyond your real-life limits.
9. Time to have your own thing and protect it as
"me" time. When I asked my husband for one of the best reasons
for me to keep my blog, he said because I need to have my own thing, a creative
outlet that is nestled in my own rules and expectations. He says he can't
imagine who I would be without my blog and the community I've built around it.
I have to agree. I like this
10. Know you are not alone. Notice that every single
item on this list involves reaching out to others. mom.me is an ideal place to start. Dip
your toe in the community waters and start sharing your stories. The first time
your personal story or opinion resonates with a stranger? Come back and tell me
how it feels! I promise, it's invigorating. It's empowering. The first time your
story helps a stranger? You'll never look back. You don't have to be a good
writer or a polished photographer. Just be you. You'll be amazed at who will
find a piece of themselves in you, and you them.