Praise and Coffee Spring 2013

Page 23

Embrace Your Options-Inspiring Change

Find Your Place -Connecting Women When new bloggers start they sometimes don't know exactly what they want to say. They want to say something, but they aren't sure what it is or who will listen. If I may be so bold, here is Blogging Rule Number One: Don't feel like you have to write about a certain topic just because your friends are writing about it or you've read that the most popular blogs are about [fill in the blank]. Write about what you know. Write about what moves you. The quickest way to bloggy burnout is writing about something that has little meaning to you. I'm a technical writer. I literally went to college to learn how to write instructions for a living. Technical writing isn't for everyone, but it's right up my alley because I'm not great at creating stories around topics. What I can do is write a mean tutorial, so I started Blogging Basics 101 in 2007. I tell you that because I want to illustrate that anyone can find a blogging niche. The Internet is a big space, and there's a place for everyone if they want it.

Be Willing to Evolve -Encouraging Growth As you start your blog, it's important to look ahead. Understand that you may end up changing your niche down the road, and that it's OK to do that. As you blog, you'll grow simply because you are learning something new, meeting new people in the space, and exploring new ideas. To me, learning and experience are the most exceptional growth -- blogging is a way to achieve both. When I started blogging regularly, many of my blogging friends were blogging about their kids. It made for some entertaining reading because we were a very close group and, though we may not have met in person, we came to know each other very well through our blogs. Then something happened: the kids grew up. Many women found they needed to change their topic -- some because their kids were more vocal about not wanting to be on the blog, others because they resumed or found other interests as their children grew and went to school. We're human. Our interests change. We grow. What makes that growth special when you have a blog is that you have an extended community that is rooting for you. They want to grow right along with you and cheer you on.


As a part of the Praise and Coffee community, you know how important it is to cultivate a group of trusted and supportive friends. It's not always easy to do, but it's always worth it to work hard at it. That blogging community I mentioned that will cheer you on in your growth? It's the same community that will inspire your change and you will inspire theirs. Your stories, your thoughts, your considerations are all integral to inspiring that change in yourself and your readers. My friend Jennifer Leutweiler is a terrific example of a blogger who inspires change. She began blogging because she started running and her friends and family wanted to know how she was doing. She hadn't been a runner before, and she didn't consider herself particularly athletic. Her journey wasn't always easy, but she shared the beautiful euphoria and the ugly disappointments. And she shared how the running helped her realize how much she carried on her shoulders that didn't belong to her: the voices in her head that told her she was this or that. She started writing not just about the running, but she started calling out fears and discussing them boldly. Jennifer writes the hard posts. She writes about the subjects we may not want to admit to ourselves and she makes us think. She's always completely open about her journeys of change and growth -- and there are many. She continually challenges herself and her community to examine other points of view, acknowledge uncomfortable emotions so they can be healed, and share their own stories. Jennifer provides a safe community where readers can incorporate selfawareness and what they learn from others into their own journey of change. I introduce you to Jennifer because sometimes it just takes one person to share that raw emotion so the rest of us can be more at ease with our own similar emotions. Don't be afraid to inspire change with your own blog. Blogging can be a powerful tool for self-fulfillment. It allows you to share yourself with others to any extent you're comfortable with. When you do, you have the power to connect, grow, and inspire yourself and others. Melanie Nelson recently authored Facebook All-In-One For Dummies and is the founder of Summit Integrated Media, an online training site for businesses and bloggers. She also founded Blogging Basics 101 which has been featured on Mashable and Hubspot.

Praise and Coffee | Spring 2013

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