18 January 2013

It's Not Too Late to Start A Blog

(Image via)

So, things haven't been just all "love" around here...because behind the scenes I have been planning the class I'll be teaching at Alt Summit, which is next week!  So, my mind has shifted from my list of blog ideas and drafts to how on earth this Blog About Love even happened??  :So nope, no outfit planning.  No shellacs on nails or fake eyelashes.  haha.  It's just been all class prep for me.  But it's actually been a good experience putting this together.


The panel I was asked to speak on is called...


As in, they'd like to know about my experience being a blogger on the scene for two years or less. 

They'd like to know...

  •  How have I found such great success in a seeming short amount of time?

  • Why and where is there more room in the blogging world for new bloggers?

  • If I were launching a blog right this minute, what advice or tips would I give myself?

Interesting topic, right?  I feel both honored + inadequate to teach on this as I'm not exactly blog saavy...I'm just a girl writing her guts out in hopes that it resonates with people, but still feeling very fresh to the world of blogging and tricks of the trade.  BUT, I've come up with a few ideas of what I've done this past year.  And I'm so happy to share any bit of it.

It has also been fun to hear the secrets of success of my awesome fellow panel members (they've also been blogging for two years or less - and I've already learned a ton from them!)
 
Kirsten Krason / 6th Street Design School (from South Jordan, UT.)  She writes about interior design and has her own design practice. (I really think I have to get that Moroccan leather pouf.)


Stephanie Morgan / Modern Parents Messy Kids (from Seattle, WA.)  Stephanie writes about all things useful to parents.  I especially love her "Project Organize Your Entire Life" series. 


Erin Kennedy / My Thirty Spot (from Phoenix, AZ.)  Erin shares advice for any woman in her thirties.  (She has a cool "Love for Thirties" Project where people share what they've learned in their thirties)

 And here we are!


I'm so glad I've gotten to know these awesome women behind these blogs.

And now, I'm dying to hear what you guys would say...(though I admit, I feel strange and vulnerable straight out asking this!)  But....here goes... 

Why would you say think a lovely community of people has been coming to read our blog?  You all probably know better than I do!  I may even quote you in my panel!    

Thanks so much!

Mara

P.S.  Also, if you have thoughts about any of those questions - for my blog or any blogs - I'd love to hear.   I certainly hope to improve this little space this next year...in lots of ways.  I have big plans and I hope I can carry them out!
P.P.S.  These are my favorite kind of moments at Alt Summit...the ones where you get the inside scoop.  I can't wait to have my mind soaked with new ideas and new inspiration...(you can't imagine the wealth of information that Gabby Blair has going through her mind...and she just shares every bit of it that she can.  It's so amazing.  I try so hard to follow in her lead.)
(Photo from Alt)

And, of course...I love seeing all the famous bloggers & creatives.  This year I hope to meet the lovely Emily Henderson.  (She recently just wrote about me, here, which made my day!!)

(photo by Laure Joliet)


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28 comments:

  1. Mara,
    I thought about your question while I made breakfast this morning and here is what I think: I, personally, keep coming back to your blog because I feel that we have some important values in common and therefore I care what you have to say about life in general. I value my marriage and think my husband is a total catch, I like to use natural products, I like to eat well and treat my body well, I want to affirm those around me. Because of these common threads, I feel like I can usually relate to what you are saying and that your thoughts and ideas add value to my day. I think people get connected with your blog because they feel a connection with you and also because a positive outlook is very attractive.
    Hope this helps- I know you'll be great at Alt :)

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  2. I started reading your blog, and check it everyday, because you are honest in the fact that life has it's struggles and heartache while at the same time you show us that it is possible to be happy amid trials and we can embrace all the joy life has to offer. I don't come away from reading your blog thinking -- I wish my house looked like that, or I wish my dinner was photogenic. I come away with a desire to be a better person, to unearth those deep hurts and let them go so I can fully love those who are most important to me. I've also been privileged enough to take a couple of your online classes and you both have helped me immensely! I wish I could go to Alt just to see you.

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  3. Totally agree with Jenny! Coming here and reading is nice, because you're not shoving products in our faces or making me wish my life was better in a material way - I read your blog because I'm young, newly married, love the positive advice you give for when life gets tough and remind me to value all the REAL important things in life. Alos, not gonna lie, I love to read about your journey to having children - I know you'll be an amazing mother and I am rooting & praying for you!!!

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  4. I went to interior design school with Kirsten!! She's so great, you'll love meeting her.
    Will you be planning a meeting in SLC area with your readers? I'd love to grab lunch with you!

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  5. I keep coming back to your blog because even though the ideas you share on happiness, trials, challenges, fears, etc aren't new, they are presented in a way that I very much can relate to and implement. Your life experiences have been similar to my own (divorces from a husband who didn't love us) and as you struggle with infertility, I struggle to be confident enough in knowing another man will find me attractive and love me unconditionally (someday, the hope is there). So I read your blog, recommend it to friends and family, and keep certain bits of advice/inspiration stored in my head to pull out when a rush of anger at the Ex flashes by or a guy didn't ask me out, again. I'm happy in my life just the way it is and just the way it isn't. Your blog helps remind me of that from time to time.

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  6. I have to say, if your blog was just about your wonderful life with Danny now and all the wonderful things you guys do for and with each other, I wouldn't come back and read it so faithfully. A lot of people love blogging about their latest DIY project, their latest cute outfit, the latest cute thing their husband/wife did for them, their latest baking endeavor, etc, etc. Although those things are great, and can be inspiring, sometimes hearing those things again and again on a blog can get pretty discouraging. I'm not gonna lie. While some people are getting together their latest fashion trends and cutest outfits ever, some of us are struggling to get out of our sweatpants some (MOST) days! I know as a blogger it can be cathartic in a lot of ways to recount all the great things that you're thankful for, and what better outlet to express that than on your very own blog. Sometimes I write about what I'm thankful for and highlight that in particular for a sort of "exercise in thankfulness." However, a lot of times I have found that this can be discouraging for a lot of people if there isn't also a good dose of normality and in a lot of ways imperfection/struggle. I kind of feel if one is putting their good days/ amazing moments out there, they should also do the world and themselves a favor and also put their struggles out there too. No one needs more guilt in life feeling like everyone else has a more perfect something than they do. No one needs to feel like they are not living up to so and so's latest re-design of their kitchen or closet or anything! That happens reading A LOT of blogs. While at times that can sometimes be inspiring, it can also be crippling to read these perfect versions of people's lives. I say all that to say that I would venture to believe A LOT of people come back to read your blog because *you are vulnerable* about your struggles, about your fears, about your trials, about your pain, and about a lot of things! Not only do you focus on the good and show us how to do that, you also do talk about the imperfections and struggles you have. You also *do not* do this in a way that drags others down or in complaint, but in a way that is honest but also hopeful. I hope this makes sense. I don't know if I am conveying this well. I really don't think you would have such a following if you didn't talk about your divorce, your financial losses, your journey with infertility, and even the potential struggles in a marriage. Even though you have found your perfect half, you still talk about having to fight for good in your marriage with Danny as well. Life is very much so imperfect. How we deal with that imperfection makes all the difference, and you help us learn how to deal with that better and better. I'm not gonna lie, I have been jealous of your life with Danny at times (and jealousy is no good) and especially all these amazing things you guys do all the time. However, if we really listen to the heart of your posts, you are encouraging us that we can have the same happiness you have with or without a Danny in our life.

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  7. It cut off the rest of my post...
    I would venture to say a lot of people read your blog because we all have pain in our lives,and reading your blog not only helps us to not feel so alone at times but it also helps us to learn what to do with our own struggles and trials. That's worth reading about, let me tell you! Although I may not have time to read about people's latest DIY projects, and their baking macaron endeavors, and their latest outfit ensembles, I most definitely will make time to read about how to grow in God and be my best self through THICK & thin... especially when things are not going my way. This is what life is all about and it's AMAZING to see someone writing about it. Life isn't about our next outfit or lipstick (although those things can be small blessings) but about our relationships with God and others and how we leave a legacy in this life. You teach us how to experience pain and struggles and how to walk through them WELL. Thank you for not only opening up about your good days but also about your bad days. It helps us in ours too. Thank you so much for being vulnerable. Also, thank you for being an example to us all how to fight well through our struggles. We need more blogs like that!

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  8. I think you remind readers to have a good attitude. I found your blog from a PInterest article about marriage tips. Everyone needs those, no matter who happily married you are! I stayed because I felt a kindred spirit knowing what it's like to go through an awful and unexpected divorce, and knowing what it's like to look some awful trials in the face and say "I'm going to chose to be happy! I'm going to realize I control this part of my life, not my circumstances!"
    I too found a great 2nd marriage and lots of happiness, and I still feel like your posts remind me everything I know. The topic of love is so universal, your posts are encouraging, insightful, and inspiring! You're also authentically you, not copying other bloggers or other people. You post about what's in your heart, and that attracts almost anyone!

    - Camille
    fridaywereinlove.blogspot.com

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  9. Nara I've been coming back again and again since unsung your blog through a friends blogger roll. The reason I come back to read more is that your writing is honest, thought provoking, and from the heart. The advice you give is not off the cuff and flippant, but real and genuine. And you are so darn positive!! Honestly your positively sunny outlook on life is a major magnet - if I'm ever having trouble shaking an 'off' day, I hop on over to your blog and my troubles are reframed into something hopeful.

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    Replies
    1. Lovely auto correct haha! *Mara *spotting

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  10. I think the main reason I read your blog just about everyday is because it makes me feel EMPOWERED . . . empowered to choose joy and love, empowered to face challenges with optimism and faith; empowered to make a difference in the lives of others; to try new things; to show myself what I am truly made of, etc.! Your writing is so inspiring, but also so empowering. To me, there is such a difference between the two. Many people are great writers/speakers and inspire many to want to be and do better, but I always leave your blog feeling empowered to actually be and do better. I tell everyone I know about your blog because I want the same for them. You have a gift!

    And come on! You live in NY - that's totally awesome!

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  11. I think I keep reading your blog mainly because it's honest, authentic and personal. A lot of blogs lack that or seem like obvious ploys to make money.

    I stop reading plenty of blogs due to bad, grammatically incorrect writing. Though the writing on this blog is often mediocre and error-prone, I find I'm able to still keep reading because at least it's your authentic voice.

    I think it would make a great blog post to share everything you say on the panel (and perhaps with other panelists say) after the panel is over.

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  12. I love your authenticity and genuineness, whether it be about your coconut oil discoveries or what has made your face look better, going with your thoughts and not being afraid what anyone will think, makes me keep coming back to your blog! These are just the side issues though as the main ideas are about L O V E and these are the best posts. Thanks Mara

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  13. I think you are very kind to share so much experience of yourself. I tend to love life, sometimes I fell life is full of bitter, sometimes, I have to face a lot of challenges and risks. However, I have realized it is important for everyone to enjoy life, even though there are sorrows and sadness in our life, we can feel love, friendship that are all around us, we should write down to record our life experience. When we get older, we can recall our youth and something that deserves treasuring in our mind.

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  14. After meeting you at Alt Summit last year (we sat next each other at lunch) I was very interested in checking out your blog. I met a lot of bloggers there and came home with tons of cards but there are only a handful I follow and yours is one. Your honesty, vulnerability and good writing keep me coming back. Have fun at Alt this year SO excited for you!

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  15. I keep coming back to your blog because it is inspiring, focuses on good marriages, you have an interesting life in NYC that seems pretty exciting and I Love your pictures!! Plus I think we are all routing and praying for you and Danny to have a baby. We see your hardships and how positive you are despite those challenges. I can't help but keep coming back! :-)

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  16. Hi Mara, Great post, I still need to email you for a January date, flu here uggg! I wanted to give you my opinion on the questions and wish you the best at ALT.
    1. You give honest advice from the heart.We can just feel the LOVE coming through the computer!!!
    2. There is always room for more bloggers. Because we are online people surf in seconds from us to you to another and we all benefit from sharing our communities.It just works.
    3. Since I launched 4 months ago this is my life; set goals, create a daily schedule that includes social media marketing time to build your blog, work hard and if you have a day job like most of us don't expect to sleep much :)

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  17. You're so smart to go directly to your readers and gather their wisdom to share at Alt Summit! I think that's one of the things that makes your blog so strong. You really interact with your readers -- answering their questions and sharing their trials and triumphs.

    Thank you for the kind words! I don't think I had seen that photo before. I look so serious! Makes me wonder what the topic of discussion was. : )

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  18. I just started following you, but I think that what makes you so successful is your honesty. I saw in you something that I wanted... something the resonates with me. We all want to be happy and you are helping others to see your path to happiness through trial.

    However i truly believe that you are successful because you are willing to work really hard to share a message that you believe is your "mission." I think alot of people have a message to share, but aren't willing to dedicate the time and energy that it takes to be successful.

    Anyone with a message can be successful, they just have to want it bad enough to go out and get it. Make the sacrifices that it takes... time, energy, being vulnerable enough to let loved ones in on your plans. Being bold enough to hire tutors, or coaches or (lawyers, accountants) whatever professional help you need to take you to the point of achievement.

    Who did you get to help you learn something you needed to know to your blog into high profile?

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  19. thank for share your article... nice post..

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  20. You can tell by the many looong comments you get in the comment section of this post Mara. You pop up a question and everyone would be willing to help you with their time and kindest real words. You deserve this kind of attention and love sharing because that is what you guys have been doing in this blogs, sharing love, positive thoughts, encouraging people to get through difficult phases in their lives and mostly you have maintained the same voice. I'd recognize immediately if one post is written by someone else and not by you, because it would lack warmth, that subtle intimate tone of yours, the small humor doses you use and of course opening up your heart to true things. And to conclude, I really appreciate your effort (or natural gift) of finding absolutely real and fascinating topics every woman cares about in a way or another, be it silly tiny issues, self estimation, growth, love, relationships, children, and even very intimate sexual tip sharing (yes, you know coconut oil will be a hit for long). I went longer than I hoped, but still not enough to frame your positive and inspiring reflection.
    You totally deserve to be speaking about this topic at Alt. Good luck and have fun :)

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  21. I think that what you share just has so much universal resonance with people. There are so many pieces of your stories or what you write about that we understand and have been through. The fact that you can offer ways to help us through those hard and also happy moments is both relieving and inspiring. I think the critical part is the sincerity and openness with which you write. You can feel that it's from the heart, there's dedication and passion in your effort, and its purpose is to help people. (It's better in person :), but great in writing as well!) It is REAL and that's important and you can tell right away!

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  22. Well, since the vast majority of design bloggers aren't tackling real, rough, raw stuff like you are, not everything that makes you resonate will be applicable at Alt - but the things I think would: 1) You treat your readers as friends. You are candid, honest, and looking out for their best interest. 2) You are providing original content that is valuable to your readers. From tips to trend spotting, share your knowledge and the legwork you've done. Readers who value what you offer will come back if you consistently provide what they come for. Personally I love design bloggers that help me interpret, navigate, and implement trends in a way that doesn't waste my resources or overwhelm my personal style. 3) Networking. I first found your blog when Design Mom mentioned you in a tweet. I loved the article I read and I shared it with some friends. When I saw her mention you again a few months later, and again loved what I read, I added you to my reader. Guest posting and getting mentioned by other bloggers is huge, as few people are subscribing to your feed after their first visit to your site. 4) - Be positive and enjoy what you are doing. When it becomes more of a job than a joy it's easy to tell and as a reader I will lose interest over time. I definitely prefer genuine optimism, but I'll take candid over fake optimism any day.

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  23. It's funny because I normally read only design blogs, but after visiting your blog through a link in Emliy Henderson's blog I got hooked. It's so rare to find a positive voice from someone you can totally relate to. Like you, I adore my husband, enjoy great food, travel, design and I love living in the city. And yet, since I had my son last year, I've found that between the sleep deprivation and a brief bout with post-partum depression my happiness equilibrium felt off. Things I would have laughed off suddenly became reasons to argue. Not getting enough sleep would ruin the next day for me. Then I started reading your blog. You were like a good friend reminding me that happiness is a choice. It made a big difference for me. Sometimes we just need a friend in our ear telling us we can be better than we thought we could. Your blog is unique in that respect. So I guess I read because you write not only about the fun stuff like makeup, hair, houses and husbands, but also about the deep stuff, like love and loss, and how to be a better person.

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  24. Oh how I wish I'd gotten to hear your presentation at #altsummit. Goodness, what great content.

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  25. I really wish you would write more about your relationship with God. I feel like you hold back in that area, and that's the area I love that you write about the most. Please share more. Why would you hold back if God has changed your life so much?

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  26. Mara, greetings from Germany! I recently stumbled across your blog and check it almost every day. Your writing is honest and gives me hope about life and that everything will be good in the end. I just recently split up with my boyfriend of 4 years, and although I know it was the right decision for me, I sometimes wonder if there ever will be somebody who will love me just the way I am. Reading your story and all of your advice always makes me smile and gives me hope for everything to come :) Thank you for that!
    And you are right, it's not too late to start a blog, I just started blogging about a week ago :)

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  27. After being in relationship with Benson for five years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the Madurai, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before two days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful Dr Madurai who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the fake ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the Dr Madurai, his email maduraitemple@yahoo.com) you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or anything.

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