Saturday, February 24, 2018

How My Blog Saved My Writing Career Before It Had Begun (aka The Left-Handed Typist turns 2)

At the time you're reading this, I'm kicked back at a mansion on a lake celebrating my blog's 2nd birthday. I kid you not. (Except that being at the lake with my church has nothing to do with my blog but the weekends lined up, okay? :P)

I started this blog over two years ago. o.o Where has the time gone?! You tell me. All I know is I have loved blogging. Not all the time, sure. But it has literally saved my writing career.

To be totally forthright here, I used to laugh at blogs. As much as I liked the idea of journaling, I was never happy with it or consistent, so why bother? To me blogging was journaling online. So why would I care to read blogs (except for an occasional recipe), let alone write one and be all authentic and extroverted (*shudder*)?

Well, the first writing blog I ever found was Katie Grace's and I was blown away. I was enjoying this? More than that, after several months of e-mail communication with her, I'd roped her into helping me start my own blog. Ha! (Poor girl didn't know what she was getting into when I sent her that initial "I love your blog and I never love blogs!!!" e-mail.)

On February 24, 2016, Katie was so so kind and posted this post on her blog sharing her side of our God-orchestrated meeting and my first ever blog post (*hides from the cringe*).

The funny thing about all of this is, it was totally God. As in, I was inexplicably compelled to start a blog and my mom was like "I thought you hated blogs!" (Think of Lizzie when she wants to marry Mr. Darcy. That was me and Leftie here.) Now, two years later, this "fluff writing" that was so dreadfully personal (blech!) has become the very crux of everything I do. And I would even say that this blog saved my writing career before it had even begun.

How? IT GAVE ME ALL OF YOU OF COURSE!!! No blushing, I'm dead serious! Blogging isn't just an outlet I didn't know I needed, and it's not just a platform for numbers needed for traditional publication. Because that outlet is me getting to connect with the real people all over the world that each of those numbers represents. YOU!

Here's the cliff notes version. Without this blog I never would have:

  • flown halfway across the country to OCW with Ivy Rose and Emily McConnell
  • had the first agent experience that I did
  • had people in multiple countries interested in Martin Hospitality
  • had 16 beta readers volunteer to read my messy second draft
  • known there were so many people like me
  • seen internet friends as real friends
  • been blessed with so many smiles and encouragement and yes, teary eyes, in relation to my books and your friendship
The easy way to apply to some of this to your own blog (without guaranteed results) is to:
  • have someone launch your blog
  • guest post
  • be yourself, but professional
  • interact in the comments
  • engage beyond your blog (social media)
  • be willing to seek people out and follow up
  • be prompt and genuine in your replies
  • don't make promises you can't keep
  • post consistently
All of that has had a huge effect on my befriending all of you :) Books are nothing without an audience and writers are nothing without support, so I cannot thank you guys enough for being that to me every day. The real reason I keep blogging? I know I'll get to see all your shining faces in the comments and that brightens up my life. All these words I share both here and in my books amount to me hoping to shine back, even just a little, into yours. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for that opportunity and privilege. :)
Bloggers, what keeps you blogging? Non-bloggers, why do you follow blogs? Have you ever considered starting one? I want to know it all!!!

(And yes. As of now this blog is known as Leftie.)

Also, congratulations to Seneca, Keturah, and Faith Potts! You guys won the giveaways and should each have an email in your inboxes :)