For a long time, writing was only on the periphery of my life.
I started blogging when my oldest son was born. It was 2009, and “mommy blogs” were all the rage. Some blogs ended up taking off, turning their writing into a career (Jenny Lawson, Jen Hatmaker, and Glennon Doyle come to mind). If I’m honest with myself, I wanted that. I wanted one of my posts to go viral, driving traffic to my website and giving me a way to continue writing.
But the truth is, I didn’t know much about writing online. I’d write the occasional post and hope for the best. My posts were self-serving — recapping my day and hoping that my life was interesting enough that people would want to read. That era on the internet was short-lived. All too quickly, everyone was starting a blog. Those that emerged? They did far more than simply write about their lives. And within two years I had two babies and made no attempt to understand what was happening behind the scenes of the success stories.
Then in 2015 my blog took an entirely new form when Nelle died. I kept writing and, if anything, my writing became even more self-serving. I needed to write because it helped me cope with my grief. I even took a grief writing course, posting all of my reflections to my blog. Even though I’ve kept writing, I really gave up on the idea of writing as a blogger.
Finally, about a year ago, I made another shift. I pivoted my career into content marketing and journalism. Finally, I found an audience for my work. I could still write about topics that interested me, but honed my craft around pieces that were helpful in some way. I write about fintech for community bankers, productivity and tools, the creator economy, and remote work. I have found a community of writers, and we encourage each other.
For so long, I’d been writing in a little bubble, and it was wrong. I mean, I derived personal satisfaction from chronicling my life, but as a writer who wanted to reach more people, I really failed.
I told my husband recently that I enjoy so much the writing I do now. Back when I graduated from college, I thought writers were people who holed up in their offices for months, emerging when a book was complete. Or journalists who frantically chased stories to meet deadlines.
Or the rare Mommy Blogger who built a following on sheer wit.
Now I’ve learned that writing online is a process. I can turn a single idea into a 1,500-word article. Readers know that when I publish, it will be high quality, informative, and sometimes a little snarky.
All I’m missing now is time. I still have to “fit” writing into my overall schedule between working full-time, freelance work for clients, and parenting. I wish I could do more, but I also know my limits. I look forward to the future as the kids continue to get older and I can build on the foundation I’ve created.
You can support my work as a writer and fuel my #5amwritersclub habit by buying me a coffee!