I still remember the day someone said five words that changed my life forever:

You should start a blog.

A blog?  I asked them.  What’s that?

They explained it was kind of like a website except with more talking.

And more heart.

And more stories.

What?  Another place for me to talk?  I was in.

When I clicked publish for the first time on December 9, 2011, I had no IDEA of the journey ahead.

That one click literally changed the trajectory of my life.

If you have ever thought about sharing your story.

If you have ever thought about creating something like a website except with more talking.

If you have ever thought about attending a blogging conference or starting a blog….

….this is the post for you.

Let me start by saying that I never met a piece of encouragement I didn’t like.

Especially when it comes to blogging.

Everywhere you look there are posts telling you to do it this way and make sure you write it that way and make sure you have alt tags and SEO and keywords and pictographs and clever titles and rooms that look like they stepped out of a magazine and pictures that will be pinned a zillion times on Pinterest.

And if you don’t?

You’ll never succeed.

Or so “they” say.

That’s why I’m so happy they asked me to be a mentor at Haven.  That’s why I can’t wait until July 12.  That’s why I can’t wait to encourage and uplift and listen and talk and laugh and explain why “they” forgot to mention….

….the rest of the story.

Here we are.

The 2018 Haven Mentors.

That’s me.  Right up there in the bottom left-hand corner.

Number 15.

The one next to Courtney wearing the red lipstick.

I’m packing my bags and heading to Charleston in just a few weeks.

This year is a little special because I’m going to Haven with one of my favorite brands on the planet, Jeffrey Court.

But how did all this start?

How did I go from clicking publish and posting pictures of my toes to working with brands and growing my blog and creating a fabric line and writing books?

Let me start by answering a few questions that I always get asked.

(total aside:  if you have any questions that I haven’t answered—just ask them in the comments and I’ll answer them there).

Question 1. How many years have you been blogging?

I’ve been blogging for over six years.

Can you even believe it?  I started long ago in a blogging land far away without a Christmas tree skirt.  If you are having a bad day and want to smile, you can read all about it here.  At first I didn’t know what I was doing so I just wrote random stories about pancakes and twirly whirly skirts and salamanders with kind of awkward pictures and extra heart.  But the blog grew and I learned and now?  I’m writing about wearing high waters.

Nothing’s really changed.

Question 2. How do you get started blogging?

I’ve written about this before and you can read that post here.

Before you even begin the technical process, you need to start with what you want your blog to be about.

Maybe you like organizing?  Maybe you love crafting for holidays?  Maybe you like recipes or healthy eating?  Maybe you are remodeling a house and you want to chronicle your journey?  Maybe you want to write about all of the above and the kitchen sink?

That’s okay.

Answering these questions may help narrow down your focus:

If my best friend came over to my house for sweet tea….I would talk about _________________.

If Martha Stewart came to my house and I had to teach her one thing….I would teach her how to __________________.

Other people often say to me…..I think you are really good at _________________.

That’s step 1.

It’s the hardest one.

You can read more about steps 2-6 here.

Question 3. How do you make money blogging?  

This probably should have been question 1.

It’s actually my favorite question of all.

Maybe this is one of the reasons why you want to start a blog?  Or maybe you have a hobby you want to turn into a business.  Or maybe you have created something that you want to share with the world…

…and getting paid for that blog or that hobby or that product might be fun.

But you wondered if it was even possible?

You wondered if you could actually make money?

You wondered how and why and when and where and IF.

And the answer?

It’s a wonderful, incredible, amazing, resounding YES.

Why yes….yes, my friend…..YES YOU CAN.

I wrote a two part series on all things money and blogging where I go into detail on my income and how I make it.

You can read the first part of the series here.

And the second part here.

Question 4.  What is your best piece of advice to someone attending a blogging conference for the first time?  Like Haven?

Attending Haven changed my life.

It’s where I met some of my best friends and where I learned the business of blogging.

I’ve been every year since it started except one.

I know it can be a little scary.  I know it can be overwhelming.  I know it’s a little like stepping out on faith.  But truth?  Everyone else is a little scared, too.  Just relax and be yourself and bring tons of business cards and note paper and take every single minute of the conference and be in the moment.

Be present.

There’s so much to learn.

Question 5. What is your best piece of blogging advice?

My best piece of blogging advice?

Okay.  Here goes.  It’s the hardest and the easiest thing to do all at the same time…

…be yourself.

I know that sounds so textbooky.  I know that sounds like the advice you’d read in a Hallmark card.  I know you’ve heard this before and you may be rolling your eyes and saying Really, KariAnne? That’s what I read this entire post for?

But here’s the thing.  It’s so true.  If you try to write a blog and copy someone else or be someone else or adopt someone else’s style that you might admire online, guess what happens?  The reader knows it.  The reader figures it out.  Readers are smart and they can see right through a little nonsense to the person that’s really underneath.  Readers want the real you.  The one who messes up. The one who writes her heart.  The one who isn’t perfect.

So write life from your perspective.

Write projects and pictures and house transformations and DIY’s that you love.

Be all about yourself.

Your blog, your journey, your brand (and your readers) will be so happy….

….if you just write you. 🙂

  1. Charlotte with At Charlotte’s House
  2. Sheila with Maison de Cinq
  3. Liz Marie with Liz Marie Blog
  4. Haneen with Haneen’s Haven
  5. Erin with Erin Spain
  6. Stacey with Not Just a Housewife
  7. Katie & Jeremy with Bower Power
  8. Brooke with All Things Thrifty
  9. Sarah with Thrifty Decor Chick
  10. Brittany with Pretty Handy Girl
  11. Aniko with Place of my Taste
  12. Lauren with Blesser House
  13. Diane with In My Own Style
  14. Ashley & Jamin with The Handmade Home
  15. KariAnne with Thistlewood Farms
  16. Courtney with French Country Cottage
  17. Beth with Home Stories A to Z
  18. Laura with Duke Manor Farm
  19. Debbie with Refresh Restyle

And now?

See that face?

The one with the red lipstick and the blonde curls and those amazing earrings?

She is grinning from ear to ear.  Why?  Why is that red-lipsticked girl smiling?

Because I can’t wait to say hello.

The one person I’m looking forward to meeting at Haven this year is YOU.

I can’t wait to meet you and share our hearts and learn and talk blogging.

If you are going to Haven be sure and let me know in the comments so I can message you to meet you.

And don’t worry about what we’ll talk about.

I’ll bring the stories. 🙂

PS  If you haven’t signed up for Haven yet—there are still a few tickets left.  You can sign up on the website here.

Comments

  1. Image for Erin Erin

    I am so excited to be going to my first Haven Conference this year!!! I have talked myself out of doing it and this year I finally made the decision to go. I'm nervous and excited at the same time. Looking forward to meeting you!

  2. Image for Lisa Lisa

    I can honestly say that anyone who is lucky enough to have you as a mentor will leave feeling like they can scale the highest mountain!!!

  3. Image for Carol@BlueskyatHome Carol@BlueskyatHome

    Can't wait to be back at Haven for my 4th time. Like you, Haven changed my life in 2015 when my blog was still a few months away from launching. You know why I keep coming back? Yes, I learn so much, but it's the people. The wonderful, giving, generous people who share their knowledge, encouragement, their smiles and laughter. If you watched Grey's Anatomy, remember how Meredith and Christina were each other's "person"? I feel like everyone at Haven is my person. I can't with to see my people. Great advice about everything, KariAnne.

  4. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    OK, I have an actual question. As an introverted Christian fiction author, I have a website, which has a blog attached to it. Up to now, I've mostly just written the occasional post about my writing journey, but there's only so much you can say about that when you should really be doing what you are writing about - writing a novel. Here is my question: As an Inpsy author, would be be acceptable to write my blog about the stuff I love to read about? Like, houses, homemaking, etc? Your blog is my favorite. I don't see mine as a mirror of yours (Sorry, I don't rock red lipstick. My color is "twig.), but I would like it to be more of "a day in the life" type of blog. Thoughts? Anyone? Beuller?

    1. Image for Amber Amber

      Of course! So many blogs I read have side bars where they sell their art or hand made crafts or seeds (or whatever it is they do). But the blog is more personal and stories of their every day homes or lives. Write the blog you want to write! You can have a link to fictional books you've written on the sidebar. Of course, it's easy for me to give advice. I'm an 'expert' blog reader. Wink. But, I still haven't figured out if I want to blog. I want to. I don't. I will. I won't. Maybe yes. Definitely no. I think my biggest hangup is that the people and things I love, the photographs I love to make, and the stories on my heart to share feel so personal to me. I go back and forth about whether I want the world to be invited in. Especially when it comes to my dear ones and posting their precious faces. As a true introvert who can play a pretty decent extrovert when needed, I'm on the fence about whether or not to keep my circle close or post for all the world to know.

  5. Image for Gina Gina

    I've been with you the entire time since you started and I am so thankful for your blog!!! I paid for and signed up for Haven year one and two and bowed out last minute because I never launched a blog. Never JUMPED, as you say. Maybe one day. I am a talker and have lots to write about, for sure! Have a great time!!!

  6. Image for Graham Graham

    Apropos of nothing, I just went to Sheila's Maison de Cinq to look around, and saw the best thing for you- she had a large blue and white porcelain vase with blue hydrangeas in her blue and white living room. Do you have any in your yard? I've killed more than I like to admit, but maybe you have a greener thumb than I. Anyhoo, as soon as I saw it I thought of you,. Have a beautiful day!

  7. Image for Kim Kim

    While sitting at my desk this morning brainstorming and wrestling with possibilities, your email popped into my inbox. Would you recommend Haven before launching a blog, or would it be better to have a little experience under your belt? I love reading your blog, and what a wonderful opportunity to sit at your feet and learn!

  8. Image for Laura Harrie Laura Harrie

    Well KariAnne, I want to say I signed up for the Haven conference and will see you next month, but no not this year. I will keep this post as reference for when I do work up the courage to begin a blog life! I love how you write, what you write about and all your design projects and ideas! I know I have a story to tell and will one take that leap of faith. Thanks for all your encouraging words on the subject.

  9. Image for Anita Anita

    KariAnne I have read and do follow many bloggers on a daily basis. I adore you and your blog. You are my favorite person of all that I follow and you are the first one that I have responded to in comment. You encourage me every time I read your blog. You are so positive and up beat and friendly and I always feel like I just had a visit with a close friend. I would have jumped on the blog band wagon (so to speak) a long time ago when I was younger if it had existed! I recently retired and wish that I had the drive to do a blog since I have all the time in the world now. But sadly I don't have the drive I had when I was younger and would try anything. Haven sounds like a lot of fun and fellowship and everyone you mentor will be a lucky, lucky person. Have fun and tell us all about it when you get home!!!

  10. Image for Carrie Carrie

    Oh, how I long to write a blog~ and I need you to be my cheerleader in my life!!! It's too late for me to attend Haven this year, but the conference is one I want to attend some year!!! Do you know of any other Haven type conferences? (and don't happen during like my vacation~ which is why I have to miss meeting you this year???) Looking forward to the stories!

  11. Image for Mary from Life at Bella Terra Mary from Life at Bella Terra

    Karianne, I love this post today because it was YOU who started me on my blogging journey. Though I'm still a novice, I feel that I learn something new each and every day. I am dying to go to Haven but it always falls on the same dates as our family vacation. I've even thought about ducking out for a day or two and flying there, but as my children grow older and start their own lives, our family time becomes more precious. Thank you again for all your support. Blogging for me is keeping a living diary for my children. I hope along the way, my followers come to love what I post at Life at Bella Terra. Congrats on being a Haven mentor!

  12. Image for Michelle Michelle

    I put my blog to the side for far too long now because I had to work on other things, but it calls to me. All the time. I so enjoyed doing the few posts that I did, especially when I figured out why I wasn't able to sign in to WordPress. I'm not '.org,' I'm '.com' (duh!). But, frankly, WordPress still intimidates the heck out of me (I can't even get the addons to add on...yet, anyway). You make Haven sound like so much fun and I really thought about going but I just couldn't work it out this year. You being from Dallas, I'm sure you know about the yearly Mary Kay Conferences. I loved those! That's what I picture it being like. And this post, Karianne. I love your always sharing your great big Texas heart and I know anyone that has you to mentor them will be inspired and uplifted and feel like they can absolutely conquer the world of blogging. Someday I'll be there...hopefully, next year.

  13. Image for Laura Lynn Bauer Laura Lynn Bauer

    I am so excited. I love your blog! It was one of the first and last that I get all the time. I am destined to be a blogger but wondered if the conference is something you can attend BEFORE you start your blog? Would it give super beginners enough info or would you recommend I start it first and then go next year? Please let me know. I have my finger on the button to commit to Haven but know tickets are limited..... always grateful, Lynn

  14. Image for Linda H Linda H

    Oh my . . . when do the announce the dates for the 2019 conference? I have been on the fence, to blog or not to blog . . . then my mind goes to Hamlet and "To be, or not to be, that is the question . . ." and I think can I capture an audience and keep them? I have a name for my blog . . . it is based on our property . . . and my husband would fully support me blogging and writing. But, but but . . . . those dates are so close! As a few others asked, is this something a "I think I might want to blog, maybe one day . . ." kind of person should be attending? Or would we be taking up a space where a more involved, or sure minded, blogger should be.

  15. Image for Eileen Eileen

    KariAnne - we’ll that did it, I too have been on the fence far too long and time to jump! Just discussed all the pros and cons with my husband and he is very encouraging. So I am going! So, so look forward to meeting you

  16. Image for Beth Beth

    Oh my gosh! I hate that I am going to miss what sounds like a wonderful time of learning and making new friends😊 I love Charleston not only because it is a beautiful place but our daughter lives there as well. Unfortunately I will miss it, however, I will be spending 2 glorious weeks with my husband on a dream vacation!! You can’t beat that! I can’t wait to hear all about the conference when I return.

  17. Image for Trine Feuerborn Trine Feuerborn

    Hi Karianne, Loved your post. Somewhere either in this post or maybe in the ones you linked to, you mentioned that you had started with a free blog. I am familiar with both wordpress.com and wordpress.org. Can you start out with a free one on wordpress.com and then transition to wordpress.org? Are they the same or different? Is the transition hard if you decide to do a paid one later. I am just trying to weigh my options and I am trying to see how I do before I really start investing. Thanks again for an amazing blog. I so enjoy reading your posts.

  18. Image for Sonya Sonya

    I am so excited to meet you at my first Haven this year. It is somewhat scary but I know that being a new blogger there is no better place for me to be than Haven. See you next week.

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