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.
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?
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.
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…
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. 🙂
- Charlotte with At Charlotte’s House
- Sheila with Maison de Cinq
- Liz Marie with Liz Marie Blog
- Haneen with Haneen’s Haven
- Erin with Erin Spain
- Stacey with Not Just a Housewife
- Katie & Jeremy with Bower Power
- Brooke with All Things Thrifty
- Sarah with Thrifty Decor Chick
- Brittany with Pretty Handy Girl
- Aniko with Place of my Taste
- Lauren with Blesser House
- Diane with In My Own Style
- Ashley & Jamin with The Handmade Home
- KariAnne with Thistlewood Farms
- Courtney with French Country Cottage
- Beth with Home Stories A to Z
- Laura with Duke Manor Farm
- Debbie with Refresh Restyle
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.