My month-long blogging class ends this week, and I am positively amazed at the difference it has made in my life. I know that might sound silly, but please just keep reading. When I first ran across the class on Making It Lovely, one of my favorite blogs, I thought it sounded like a fun and challenging way for me to fill some time this summer. Little did I know that it would change the way I look at myself, my blog, the internet, and life in general.
This spring, I found myself in a bit of a slump, so to speak. For the first time in many years, I'm not looking forward to a major life event like college graduation, getting married, buying a house, or having a baby. I'm at that point in life where things are starting to settle down and stay the same, for years and years, if I let them. I love caring for my husband, my boys, and our home, but I found myself needing something more, something just for me. I dabbled in crafts and I'm constantly reading, but I just needed a little something else, all mine, to look forward to each day. Essentially, I was bored.
And then I read about Blogging Your Way 2.0 by Holly Becker of decor8, thought, "What the heck?" and signed up. Even before the class began, I found myself excited to write again, in a way I haven't felt in a very long time. I have lots of writing training and have written a blog since January of 2008 (can't believe it's been almost five years!), but my blog had become sort of hum-drum and mediocre. Here was a chance to take something I already had, using one of my greatest skills, and elevate it to something new that, hopefully, will entertain and inspire other people, too. I don't have aspirations of greatness (well, not really), and I realize that my blog is one of millions out there, waiting to be read. But now, I understand that I HAVE a voice, you CAN hear it, and what I say really DOES matter.
Two weeks before the class started, I ran across a paid writing opportunity that seemed too good to pass up, so I jumped at the chance and threw myself into preparations to submit my ideas. I'm still waiting to hear if I actually get the job (though I'm not holding my breath), but even if I don't, it was an AMAZING experience and I learned so much as I prepared. Plus, if things don't work out there, I have three really awesome blog posts that I get to share here. The point is, I was excited about something again, and that felt good.
And then BYW 2.0 began, and I was instantly connected with bloggers from all across the world. I made some fast friendships, learned about things I've never been exposed to (photography? me?), found inspiration in faraway lands, and mustered up the courage to contact people I admire (which scored me a place on an actual press list!). All of this happened because I finally decided to take a chance on myself, me, the person I most often forget to remember.
I will always be a wife and a mother, and I am honoured to wear those hats, but now I know that I'm also a writer and a blogger, and it feels really good to say so. I've actually thought about getting business cards, just to make things official, and I'm totally comfortable promoting myself, something I struggled with when I sold Mary Kay that season. I'm doing something I love, just like being a wife and a mother, and in the same way, it just feels right. After Nora Ephron died last week, I heard part of an old interview with her on NPR, and one thing really stayed with me. She said something to the effect of, "Know what it is you love to do, and do it often." I love to write, and now I'm doing it every single day.
So thank you, Holly, Thorsten, Jeanette, Nicole, and Katrina, for your incredible knowledge, inspiration, and support. Thank you, Elly, for becoming such a loyal friend. Thank you, Sarah, for sharing your story with me and letting me share mine, too. Thank you, Tami, for taking a chance on me. And thank you, Sandra, for sharing a love of good television with me.
I'm sad that our class is ending, but I know that this is really the beginning.