Why I blog, part 2: your thoughts + bloggers who inspire me

After I shared some of the reasons why I blog yesterday, many of you chimed in & offered your thoughts.

Here are some snippets from yesterday’s comments.  

 

Why blog?  

“I blog as a form of creative expression, sharing things that I am passionate about with others. There is so much value in that alone!”
♥  Drisana

“I DO blog and sometimes I also question why I am doing it. I have that Ira Glass gap between the vision I have for my blog and the reality of what I am able to execute right now. But then I look back to where I began and where I am now and see what I have learned and the community that I have built.”
♥  Sandra

“I do blog and I am in the same boat now trying to make the move to a self hosted site and really amp things up. I get discouraged all the time when I try to compare myself to other but then I too have to remember that I am me and no one else is.”
♥  Christie

“Yes, it’s a lot of work. But I do feel that the connections one makes via blogging are priceless. I have met so many wonderful people–some in person, most not–and made true, lasting friendships through blogging. It is, indeed, hard work, but something I can’t imagine not doing.”
♥  Ricki

 

On passion & money

“As a professional violinist, I can totally relate to working for pennies to do what you love! Yes, I make a good living at it, but when I add up all the hours I have spent, & continue to spend practicing, prepping, lesson planning, performing etc.., it is evident that much of my labor is not compensated monetarily. I need to continue to make my living at it though, because it’s my passion.”
♥  Tanya

“And as to the things that I do that don’t make sense – but I have to do them. Do you have the time? Film festivals, jazz piano, photography, etc. All sorts of passions and interests that make no sense in a dollars and cents world. But they do feed my soul.”
♥  Sandra

 

On feeling significant 

“I think everyone who blogs comes to a crossroads wondering if their content is worth it and wondering ‘who cares.'”
♥  Rachel

 

A blog is a friendship

“The blogs that resonate the most with me are the ones written by people who speak to their own unique experiences and lives and with their own voices. It begins to feel like a friendship, where we go to hear stories and share viewpoints.”
♥  Cadry

 

On the comparing game

“How ironic that you compared your blog to others and then felt like quitting. Isn’t that always the way? I still find myself doing this, and then realize, that no matter how many other people blog, it doesn’t satisfy MY need to share what I have learned or MY need to share my voice.”
♥  Ashlee 

“And yes, the comparison game. Gah….I have idea “x” and then see a bunch of other bloggers do it much better than I can. But your guy is right – only you can tell your story. Only I can take photos like I do.  When I get frustrated or down or discouraged, I remind myself of why I started this blogging thing – as a commitment to myself to live more creatively and also to make friends/build community around shared interests. Is that happening? Check.”
♥  Sandra 

 

♥♥♥

 

Despite all I said yesterday, I still don’t feel like I completely answered the question on why I blog.

Truth is, I could spend weeks talking about the whys & whats, especially the whats.  There’s so much I’ve learned about blogging, especially in the past year & so much more I’ve yet to learn.

But why, why, why.

I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that someday I hope to publish.  What, I’m not sure.  But I’m a writer.  A good writer?  Maybe.  An excellent, publish-worthy writer?  Not yet.  But someday.  And since I’m in the season of creating & nurturing (although I’m not sure that season ever goes away once you take the step into realm of motherhood), I want my children to take top priority.

I also want to keep one foot in the door of opportunity for my pursuits.  I find blogging a natural fit.  Not an easy fit, but a natural fit.  I keep honing my skills.  I share, I get to know you & in the end, it’s a win-win.  If nothing else, I figure 10 years down the road I won’t regret having a record of my life during this period of my existence.

 

Bloggers who inspire me

Now on to some really great ladies who’ve got the blog thing figured out.

Of course there are others (many, many others), but these are just a few of the ladies that I think are working it just right.  Success didn’t happen overnight.  In fact, for many it happened after sticking with it for years & years.

I don’t read all of these blogs daily, but I do pop in from time to time to see what they are up to.  I admire what they have created & accomplished as bloggers.  I see these ladies as examples & look to them for inspiration.

Here’s why.  

Steamy Kitchen
Jaden is a business whiz.  She’s creating a little empire through her Steamy Kitchen line.  Just a genius.  Best-selling cookbook author.  Funny story about her actually.  At BlogHerFood ’12, I was getting something to drink from the assortment of glass-bottled beverages.  She was there, right next to me as was another lady whom I did not know.  Jaden (I had no idea she was Jaden Hair, Ms. Steamy Kitchen herself)  says: “oh these ___ drinks” (I can’t recall the name of the drinks she was gushing over) “are just amazing!”  I looked at her & tried to start a conversation (again, having no idea who she is.)  I say, “oh really?” And proceed to ask her what the name of her blog is.  The lady next to us gives me a funny look (which I didn’t quite figure out until Jaden left) like, “you have no idea who you’re talking to, this lady is BIG.”  Jaden didn’t continue the small talk with me. (Obviously, ’cause who cares about little ol’ me?)

Joy the Baker 
I’ve talked about her before.  Maybe she keeps coming up because this girl is authen-tic.  If I was an English teacher, I would use her writing if I ever did a lesson on excellent use of voice.  She’s sassy–an angst teenager, grown up Empire-Records/Fiona Apple/ish meets Martha Stewart.  Has a podcast, cookbook author.

The Pioneer Woman
You’ve got to have a heart of stone if you don’t like this woman.  Warm & geniune.  Everyone loves her.  She has an intimate, loyal relationship with her readers.  Folksy, rural, homey, old-fashioned goodness.  I “met” her from a distance at BlogHerFood ’12 in June.  She was the emcee at the closing social.  I can see why people are drawn to her & why she has become a very successful woman.  Her blog as morphed in the pioneerwoman.com, a whole community with other bloggers submitting posts.  Has a gig with the Food Network, several best selling cookbooks. I’m sure more things are in the works.

Chocolate Covered Katie
Has one of the most loyal followings I’ve seen in the vegan food blog world.  I actually started following Katie since her blog began (or thereabouts) & have watched her grow & blossom.  Her blog has morphed into a “healthy dessert” blog.  All vegan stuff, but I think part of the reason she is so successful is because she reaches out to non-vegans.  Her blog isn’t a vegan club.  She just happens to be vegan, her recipes happen to be vegan, but something like 90% of her readers are not.  She has a chatty, co-ed sort of style of writing, which helps her make a strong connection with the younger crowd.

Design Mom
I think ultimately, bloggers who “make it” for themselves, are genuinely great people, work consistently & are smart, deliberate.  Gabriella is the perfect example of this.  She is one of the founders of Alt Summit (a conference for bloggers, particularly of the design/craft mold).  She is open with her life, without being borish.  She makes motherhood glamorous & stylish in a Pottery Barn sort of way.

Oh She Glows
There was a reason I cried when I started comparing my blog to Angela’s–she’s got nearly every vegan recipe ever created or thought of on her site.  And she’s got beautiful photos to boot.  A very large, loyal following.  Doesn’t hurt that she’s also sweet & quirky.  I believe she’s working on her first cookbook.

SF Girl By Bay
Has nearly 1/2 million pinterest followers.  Beautiful design site.  Now has several bloggers working for her site.

Cup of Jo
Joanna Goddard is your girl-friend.  Her blog reads like a chat you might have with a BFF over lunch.  An ex-magazine editor, her style is Vogue-esque.  Nothing is taboo & everyone’s very cozy talking about this, that & the other.  I love how intimate she has kept her blog.  A lot of bloggers, when they get “big,” start hiring out & having other people write for them, which makes the the initial blogger, in my opinion, lose some of their appeal.  She is definitely big enough to start a community or hire out, but she hasn’t.  I respect & like that.

Making it Lovely
Nicole has beautiful taste.  While her style isn’t exactly mine (I prefer more naturals, white, dark wood), she has a distinct eye for putting things together, in well, a lovely way.  She’s authentic & intelligent & real.  Her content is never spammy or in your face.  She exudes confidence in her blogging & it makes her even more appealing to read.

Orangette
I’ve actually never read Molly’s blog.  But I’ve read her book, A Homemade Life, which reads very much like a blog–short chapters (ie. “posts”) with a recipe for each chapter included.  Molly has found great success as a writer & blogger (Orangette was founded in 2004).  Read her writing/blog for a taste of what makes really good writing.

{16 more blogs I like, here.}

 

Coming up:  Part 3.  I want to continue this conversation.  I’d like to discuss some of the stories behind a few of these leading ladies, & share some of their insights (as I’ve read on their blogs) about how they blog, how they’ve found some measure of success within the blogging world.

Why I blog, Part 1

♥♥♥

What are some of your favorite writers &/or bloggers?
If you blog:  what’s your style & to whom do you look to for inspiration?


Comments


  1. Christie Jones
    on September 7, 2012 at 3:14 pm said:

    Awe thanks for including me. 🙂

  2. ashley // chasing heartbeats
    on September 7, 2012 at 7:03 am said:

    what a lovely post! It is refreshing to know that I am not the only one who unfortunately compares themselves to other bloggers and their successes. Regardless of any negatives that come along with blogging, I am continually reminded how blessed I am to be a part of this world and value the great friendships and inspiration I have because of it 🙂

  3. Angela
    on September 6, 2012 at 9:15 pm said:

    Janae & Ricki – My goodness, I’m feeling your love right now! I admire you both so much and am constantly in awe of your work.

    Janae – I’m a fairly new reader to your blog, but when I found you I added you to my google reader stat! Your personality and sense of humour really shines through your writing and I feel like I’m chatting with an old friend. Not to mention your recipes are lovely!

  4. Gena
    on September 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm said:

    You are one of the bloggers who inspires me the most lately. Your photos are exquisite, the design of your blog is enviable, and I wish I could make my food look like yours. That said, the best thing about your blog is the authenticity of your voice, the exuberance you show for life, and the compassion that is so evident in everything you say and do. “Kindness” is a big word in my lexicon–not something I throw around all the time–but the word describes you truly.

    It’s always great to hear about the bloggers who inspire bloggers we love! What a sweet tribute.

  5. Alissa N
    on September 6, 2012 at 12:01 pm said:

    Thank you for these posts, they are beautifully written and really hit home. I began blogging in January. I started it as an outlet for me, I love health and nutrition and food and wanted to share my healthy but super easy recipes and health tips. At the time, I read one food blog: mynewroots. I had no idea that there were so many blogs out there and so many other people doing what I was doing. If I had known, I think it would have completely discouraged me, so I think it is good that I didn’t know. I absolutely love doing it, it feels like I have found what I am meant to do with my life. But I have days that I compare myself to others, or realize that I am just one in a sea of many and I get completely depressed and discouraged. My husband has been really, really supportive and has reminded me that lots of people visit multiple blogs in a day and it has helped me through the tough times. Every time someone clicks “like” on my facebook, or leaves a comment on my site, I am reminded how rewarding blogging is and it re energizes me. I now try to visit as many sites as I can to support my fellow bloggers because I know how much work goes into it and I genuinely enjoy reading what everyone has to say and appreciate all that they give. Thank you again for this series, it is so wonderful!!

  6. Rachel @ My Naturally Frugal Family
    on September 6, 2012 at 7:31 am said:

    When I started reading blogs I was read Peas and Thank You and Daily Garnish. They were both the reason I decided to jump out into the blog world.
    I have since then found NUMEROUS blogs that I enjoy following (yours being one of them).
    I am amazed that each week I can find a new blog that I want to start reading (although keeping up is a task) or a new person I want to keep up with on Twitter.
    I enjoy blogging tremedously. I write for the handful of people I know are reading and enjoy commenting back and forth on each others blogs.
    I would be lying if I didn’t say I wish I was big (like Oh She Glows) or that I could be writing a cookbook, but it might just not be in the hand dealt to me.
    I try not to compare because that doesn’t get me anywhere (other than despondent). Instead I try to focus on being joyful and excited for what is happening to others and the accomplishments they acheive.
    I look forward to part 3 as this is a great conversation 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on September 6, 2012 at 9:02 am said:

      Hi Rachel. First, I’ve noticed how sweet & kind you are to others (via Twitter & on other people’s blogs). Really, you are a sincere & happy for the goodness that happens to others & that speaks a lot to your character.

      I know it’s tempting to covet the success of other bloggers (wouldn’t we all just love to be Angela or CCK), but it’s important to remember that anyone who has found success (ie. large readership, cookbooks, etc.) has worked & worked really hard, long hours for it. There’s no such thing in the blogging world as an “overnight success.” Just doesn’t happen that way.

      I know Angela & Katie have both shared how much of their life they have devoted to their blog (Katie has shared she doesn’t ever take any time off & blogs every day & Angela has shared she can easily spend 8, 10+ hour days working on blog-related things). I don’t think how to find success is too much of a secret, & I also don’t think success is limited to the “lucky” ones. It’s primarily hard work + quality content + goodness + consistency. In the end, a blog has to be a place where people will *want* to come. So many other thoughts on this, perhaps I’ll share for for upcoming post.

      I don’t have the time (or desire) to devote my life blogging & developing recipes. My priorities lie elsewhere. But what I CAN do is be consistent. I CAN blog 4-6 days a week & I CAN do my best to participate in the blogging community & try connecting with others via social media. I know it may feel like progress at a snail’s crawl, but consistency & endurance are really the foundations of creating a meaningful blog.

      “Instead I try to focus on being joyful & excited for what is happening to others & the accomplishments they acheive.” If this is sincere Rachel (as I’m sure it is), you’re genuine kindness will get you farther than just about anything else. Thanks for taking the time to comment & for being honest & open. I really appreciate that.

  7. Ricki
    on September 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm said:

    I love that opening photo! 😀 And wow, when you admire, you admire BIG. 😉 I don’t read design blogs, so many of these are new to me, but of course I know all the food ones. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Angela in person and she is just as sweet and down-to-earth as she presents herself on her blog (and just gorgeous!). I do think that, like any other medium where someone gains fame, being a celebrity blogger brings with it some of the same drawbacks (your story about Jaden has convinced me that I now have absolutely no interest in reading her blog). One thing they all seem to have in common (besides gorgeous blogs) is staying true to themselves and a persona that reflects who they really are. . . which is just what you’re doing here, right? 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on September 5, 2012 at 6:03 pm said:

      Oh no! I hope I didn’t paint Jaden as a snob. She’s not! It’s just, you know, she didn’t stop to chit chat with little old me, & I had no clue who she was, but the gal next to me was super nervous/giddy. I realized later why!

      You’re lucky to have met Angela, she does strike me as just a good person (& I agree, she’s just gorgeous!).

      You know, after awhile of blogging, it’s hard to hide–your true self, for better or worse seems to come through.