Remember when you first decided you wanted a blog?

Remember:

  1. Picking the name?
  2. Deciding on a blogging platform?
  3. Finding just the right theme?
  4. Deciding what to blog about?
  5. Hitting the “publish” button the first timet?
  6. Seeing the first sign of traffic to your blog?
  7. Receiving your first comment?
  8. Leaving your first comment?
  9. Making your first dollar (or pennies); if you monetize your blog?

Starting a blog incorporates lots of decisions, and often a vision of what we want our blog to become.

Today’s Lesson

I had a vision for my blog.

My dreams were BIG.

I saw thousands of visitors coming to visit me each day.  I also saw myself making enough money with blogging I could quit my job.

I KNEW where I was going.

But,
.
.
.
.
.

It didn’t work out that way.

You see, the vision I had was for my first blog, Observation Mountain.

This blog was just a lil ‘ole online journal where I was sharing what I learned as I blogged. I had no vision for it, whatsoever.

For months I published on both blogs. Traffic slowly grew on each one, but soon this blog was where I was spending most of my time. Readers began commenting, I began reciprocating, and it was then I got my first taste of the “community” we find in blogosphere.

When I found that, financial gains didn’t matter quite so much. Instead, this blog was leading me in the direction of “teaching” blogging in an unconventional way.

Being an analytical person, I question things, and sometimes wrongly, assume others do, too. It was my questioning, and your comments which become the premise for the lessons and assignments.

I know I don’t have all the answers, but between all of us, we can find that which works best for each of us.

Blogs seem to have a mind of their own. As much as we think we know where they should go, if we listen carefully, they may guide us in new directions.

I didn’t know here is where I would land, but you can bet, I’m awfully happy I did, and I thank all of you for coming along for the ride.

Today’s Assignment

Has your blog taken you on an unexpected journey?

Is blogging all you thought it would be? Is it more? Or less?

If you’re new to blogging, what’s your vision?

Raise you hand and share. I’d love to hear your story.

signature for blog post.

P.S. One of the first bloggers I met was Catherine Lawson, writer and entrepreneur. She recently returned to blogging after being on hiatus. I missed her words of wisdom and am thrilled she’s blogging again. Welcome back, Cath.

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  1. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    When I started blogging it was with the goal of becoming a published author within five years. I simply wanted to build an online presence so people could become familiar with my name.

    Of course, my blog has grown to be so much more than that. I have a very successful “Teaching Tip Tuesday” series. I don’t get many comments on it but I have gotten some great emails from teachers thanking me for providing them with that content. Those pages often get the most hits as well. I never thought I’d have a teaching blog.

    I also got pulled back into interviewing musicians by a friend and now have over a dozen interviews on there. I am covering hip-hop is a much broader sense than I thought I would when I started too.

    I’m still writing fiction and I know I need to work on getting it published now. It seems like I needed this time to build up to that.

    I must say that I’m quite happy with the blog I’ve built. I may not get big numbers but I’m having fun and I know people are enjoying it. That’s what counts for me.
    .-= Check out Chase March´s awesome post: Saukrates Interview Part 2 =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Chase,

      I think it’s awesome what your blog has become. I know you want to become a published author and even published samples of your writings. I also remember when you almost quit blogging.

      You and your blog have come a long way. Although your blog doesn’t get the comments you may hope for, as you can see, it’s making a difference in the lives of your readers.

      Keep up the great work.

    • Robby GNo Gravatar says:

      That’s the same reason I got into blogging, but now my blog has developed into something much greater. I get to answer people’s questions that really makes a difference in their lives, and when they submit their warm-hearted thank-you’s, it makes all the difference. I also finished writing my novel recently and that’s on its way too. I think the blog really did help me improve to write in my own sort of style. All the best to ya!
      .-= Check out Robby G´s awesome post: The Suitable Couple? =-.

      • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

        Thank you Robby G,

        I agree. When we blog and can help others, it makes all the difference.

        Yes. Blogs can help us to develop our own unique writing style. We each have a voice and via a blog, (and a novel, in your case), we’re able to project it.

  2. Lori HoeckNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    Blogging opened huge doors for me inside myself and with the blogging community. It altered my concept and skill as a writer. It led me back to the martial arts in a new way. It’s one of those rare journeys with exciting vistas and challenging climbs, as well as transformational exchanges with others along the way.
    .-= Check out Lori Hoeck´s awesome post: Self defense and owning your survival =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Lori,

      Yes, for bloggers who stick with it, blogging does become a “rare journey with exciting vistas”.

      For you to take all that you know about martial arts and turn it into a blog AND a book which helps others, is ingenious. I remember the first time I read your book, “Think Like A Blackbelt” and realized how what you share could save the lives of many.

      And to think, you provide it for free. That’s awesome.

  3. Mike GoadNo Gravatar says:

    Of course my blogs have taken to places I didn’t anticipate and I am blogging differently than I would have ever imagined.

    A couple of my earliest blogs published material from the time of the civil war. Though I moved past that, with the upcoming sesquicentennial (150 years) of the war, I’m going to be moving back to that, telling the stories of the war through posts from journals, diaries and letters by those who lived it.

    With the blogs that I have and the new one, which already has some posts scheduled to the middle of June, 2011, blogging will be quite a journey for the next six years…, unless I think better of the effort or have to give it up due to extenuating circumstances.
    .-= Check out Mike Goad´s awesome post: Posting a year in advance! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Mike,

      Wow. I truly admire you dedication to your blogging projects. I just read on your blog how you already have 127 posts written for your newest project. Reading your work will be like witnessing history in the making, first hand. Truly remarkable.

      I like how you have a plan in mind for the future. Fingers crossed it will all go as planned and we will be reading your work for many years to come.

      I wish you all the best with all of your blogging endeavors.

  4. Chania GirlNo Gravatar says:

    When I started blogging, the only blogs I’d heard about were the ones where people just started writing about themselves and MAGICALLY and MIRACULOUSLY suddenly they’d gone viral and were getting book deals. So, of course, my thought was, “Why yes. I just choose a theme, write my posts, and off we go!” I was sure I’d have a book deal within a year ( … or two) at most. Boy, was I wrong.

    Blogging has been way more than I expected in many ways. Way more in terms of time commitments and attention. But also way more in terms of finding and building a community. It’s this aspect of community (sometimes it’s only this) that keeps me blogging. I simply adore the people I’ve “met” and the wonderful people I share this planet, and this blogosphere, with. They bring joy into my days.

    Now that my blog is one-year-old, I find myself very much wanting to help other young bloggers along. I want to encourage them and promote them and help them do well, to share from the storehouse of love that was given to me when I began.

    I will never forget that you were one of the first to help me get my blogging feet, Barbara: you featured me on your Wednesday post. This was the biggest boost of confidence I could have received. And it’s because of you that I was able to meet some fellow bloggers who have now become dear friends.

    Thank you, Barbara, for that. And for still being a mentor today. I feel blessed to have “met” you.
    .-= Check out Chania Girl´s awesome post: Guess What? I’m Not Perfect =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Chania Girl, and thank you for your kind words.

      What you said is so true. When we start a blog, it’s not at all what we expect. As you mentioned, it can be more work than we anticipated, but it can also me more rewarding than we thought.

      I love how you’re wanting to help new bloggers. As you know, those first few months can be trying, but with the help and support of someone who’s been there, the journey can be a lot less rough.

      I commend you for that. 🙂

  5. Hi Barbara – The journey associated with PassingThru has had some unexpected twists and turns. Like you, I’d imagined making an income from internet-related activities and the blog itself. Fast forward almost two years from inception and I am making my living from internet-related activities. The blog has been a great entrepreneurial springboard as I hoped it would be, but “internet-related activities” are far different than what I envisioned. So, my biggest reaction to your question is the suggestion that we remain open to possibilities and opportunities, even if they don’t manifest exactly the way we’re thinking they will.
    .-= Check out Betsy Wuebker´s awesome post: Hunting and Cooking with Wild Morel Mushrooms =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Betsy,

      That’s true, isn’t it? Our blogs often become the springboard from which we end up making an income. As much as we hear we can make money by blogging, it’s often it’s BECAUSE of our blog(s) we’re making money, not the blog itself.

      I love your advice to others. Remaining open to possibilities and opportunities is a great way to allow those new endeavors into our lives.

      P.S. In the meantime, I’m happy to see you still update “Passing Thru”. As you know I thoroughly enjoy your posts about Michigan and Alaska.

  6. Hey Barbara,

    Great post as always. Makes me think. When I started my blog, I had chosen a mentor to guide me. He was excellent. He told me about wordpress, that I had never even heard of. I was shocked that you could build an online business for free. I thought web sites cost money.

    As you’ve seen, I went on to build many different aspects of my blog, that include my art gallery, my school resources, the ebook, my t~shirts for the kids at school and my online shop. The creative possibilities seem endless.

    What I didn’t know were these three things ~ and I’m still learning. I’ll make it short.

    1) How supportive and helpful the blogging community is. We’re just a bunch of writers trying to make the world a better place.

    2) That I’d get such a positive feedback from family, friends, students and readers.

    3) That blogging would increase my confidence as a writer and I would build and maintain regular blog followers. That still freaks me out that people read and ‘follow’ me. How cool is that?

    Well thanks for the new thoughts. Love them.

    Have a good one.

    Julie
    .-= Check out Julie @ jbulie’s blog´s awesome post: Inspiring Spring ~ Country walks, jogs, and a new bike. =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Julie,

      The points you listed are items most bloggers don’t realize they will experience until they “jump in”.

      I agree, blogosphere is a world of many wonderful people. As much as we might think we’re in competition with others, that’s far from the truth. Bloggers genuinely want to help others.

      That is pretty cool, isn’t it? When others subscribe or follow us because they want to hear more words of wisdom from us. And to think, they’re from all over the world. 🙂

  7. BradNo Gravatar says:

    Ya I guess blogging has been an adventure. I went from blogspot, to WordPress self hosted (Go Daddy), and now wordpress.com.

    To be my blog(s) have been a major let down. I’ve deleted 2-3 of them because of literally no hits a day. I tried a forum but that also didn’t get off the ground running.

    My main blog and really the only one I contribute to anymore gets 70-100 hits a day. It’s almost 7 months old and it seems ignored.

    I am hopefully though that I will have some future :).
    .-= Check out Brad´s awesome post: Get a Mac Ads Are Now Why You’ll Love a Mac =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Brad,

      For someone who has been blogging for seven months, I think your traffic numbers are pretty decent. Although you’ve deleted a few of your others blogs and gave up on forums, I think by concentrating on one major blog it will help to get your name out there, plus possibly increase your readership.

      I know for me, I rarely update my Observation Mountain blog, but it continues to get hits on some of the older posts, but that was something I didn’t see for nearly a year, so I know what you’re saying about getting discouraged when the traffic doesn’t show up.

      Hang in there Brad. If blogging is still giving you joy, I’d say keep on, keeping on.

  8. Sam LiuNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    I definitely did not envision myself being where I am today as far as blogging was concerned. When I first started blogging, I really didn’t know what to expect, I had no idea how to earn a readership, nor did I understand blogging platforms, HTML, SEO etc.

    I have learnt so much in such a short span of time, it really is wonderful. I published my first blog post in January of this year, and in the following months, things changed significantly and very quickly. It was forums and brilliant sites like yours that introduced me to great bloggers and taught me what I needed to know to get going on my blogging journey. I have met so many excellent people, and blogging has really helped to improve and spur my love for writing. I didn’t have a plan, I didn’t think my blog would be at all popular – but blogs really do develop naturally on their own.

    I shall always be eternally grateful to the Blogosphere, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it could so profoundly change my daily life for the better.
    .-= Check out Sam Liu´s awesome post: Eternal Seasons – A Poem =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your kind words Sam,

      You’re doing great for a new blogger, and it also sounds like you willingly put yourself out there. Hanging around forums and other blogs is the perfect way to introduce yourself to others, plus inform those who are interested, of your blog.

      Blogging does that; improve and spur our love of writing. Many bloggers say how they used to love to write but gave it up for whatever reason. As you’re seeing, blogging gives us a chance to give new birth to an old passion and meet many great people along the way.

      And you Sam, get to show us what a great poet you are.

  9. “Has your blog taken you on an unexpected journey?”

    Oh yes. It made me start a new career!

    I do sometimes miss those first days. There was a lot of newness and excitement that isn’t there now.
    .-= Check out vered | professional blogger´s awesome post: Do You Believe That “Retail Is For Suckers?” =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Vered,

      You’re a great example of how a blog becomes a stepping stone to a business. Your clients get to see you work on your personal blog plus witness how you interact with your readers. Blogs are a perfect online resume.

      Like you, I also miss some of the newness and excitement that was there in the beginning. All the more reason for new bloggers to enjoy the complete journey and not rush it.

  10. Greg BlencoeNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Blogging is definitely all I thought it would be and more. I’ve had so many great experiences blogging (being written about in the New York Times was definitely the best one) over the past 2 1/2 years.

    I think blogs basically give everybody an opportunity to share their voice which is a very big deal (e.g. I can’t imagine what you would have to do in 1990 to get your voice heard). All websites are equally as easy to visit. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out. And then the readers can decide where on the Internet that they want to go.

    On the other hand, there is a lot of competition and nothing is guaranteed.
    .-= Check out Greg Blencoe´s awesome post: 30-day money challenge: Day 10 – More evidence of the law of attraction =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Greg,

      That’s something worth celebrating; being written about in the New York Times. Quite an accomplishment, indeed.

      Yes. Blogs do give us an opportunity to have our voices heard. Even if we don’t get a lot of traffic, we’re heard by some, and that can make a big difference and even keep us going.

      You’re right. Nothing is guaranteed, but with determination and perseverance, we can say we gave it our all.

  11. suzenNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara! Gosh I love how you always make me think about my blog. I feel I’m in transition right now. I initially wanted to write encouraging, inspiring and motivational posts with humor too, of course. And it’s been a year and a half already and I’m still going.

    BUT, I’m in school now and at the lake house painting after the renovations and since I’m learning so much now about natural health/nutrition, I’m inclined to re-think my content in the future. I’m blogged way ahead but once it’s time to write again, I’m feeling a change coming. I don’t know if I should start a NEW blog or just slip into more of a health related content?

    hugs
    suZen
    .-= Check out suzen´s awesome post: Michael Pollan on Food =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi SuZen,

      You’re one busy lady.

      If you feel a change coming on, you will be faced with a few choices. Often we can change the niche of our blog with just a few tweaks, but other times the change calls for a completely new blog.

      Although I don’t know what to tell you, I’m betting your blog and your readers will guide you in making the right decision. 🙂

  12. Jaime-AnnNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,

    Well I have been a reader of blogs for many years but just broke out onto the blog scene publishing my own a week ago or so. So, I am still in the beginning stages. While I am not one for setting up huge expectations I can say I am OK with my results thus far. I have created a pretty decent following on twitter, considering I just started that about a month or so ago and I am driving a wee bit o’ traffic that way. Right now I am still relying on my freelance sites for ‘gig’s but I am optimistic that things should happen sooner or later! LOL I should set a reminder to write a follow up blog to this article in 3 months. I wonder what I will be saying then?
    .-= Check out Jaime-Ann´s awesome post: Needed: Someone to Make my Copy-Wrong, Copy-Write! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jaime-Ann.

      It’s great to see you got your blog up and running. I just checked it out and you’ve done a fabulous job.

      Having read blogs for years, I’m sure you’ve seen how the blogs you read regularly changed, too. It’s like us bloggers go through a metamorphosis every so often and with that comes a theme change, name change or something new.

      I like your idea of doing a follow up in three months. I, too, would like to hear how things have changed for you.

  13. Linda ThomasNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara,
    What a thought provoking post. Having a blog is exciting and frustrating, especially if you are like myself, tech challenged. And like Brad (why you love macs) I sometimes get lonely. But I will continue because I have a message that will make our world a whole lot brighter.
    Therefore, I blog!

    And Barbara, you have been my blog angel-you were the first person to reach out to me.

    Cheers to you all.
    Linda
    .-= Check out Linda Thomas´s awesome post: Did You Know…? =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your kind words Linda,

      Your comment is a good reminder of how blogging can draw us in, Like you, you have an important message you want to get out and I’m sure you realize a blog is the perfect platform from which to make announcements.

      Yes. Blogs can be frustrating. Hang in there. Take it from me, it does get easier. 🙂

  14. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Honestly… I may be quitting blogging soon, Barbara. That’s been on my mind for some time. I’m close to my two-year anniversary. After that… I don’t know. Maybe a break. Maybe I’ll continue posting infrequently. Maybe I’ll take some time off to find a new direction. Hard to make THIS decision! I don’t want to let go and right now I can’t imagine not blogging. We’ll see.

    I can echo what Chania Girl said. You were the first person to ever comment on my blog, and through your New Blog of the Week series, you introduced me to your community. I too feel blessed to have “met” you, and so many others. Blogging has become much more personal than I’d imagined.
    .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: A Poem: Mundane Monday Muse =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for your sweet words Davina,

      Your comment reminded me of when I first landed on your blog. The beauty of your writing was beyond words and I realized I was reading more than a “typical” blog.

      Selfishly speaking, I’d be very sad if you were to quit blogging. Yours and the other blogs I follow have become like homes to visit when I’m wondering around the internet. That said, if blogging doesn’t bring you the joy it once did, I understand why you would think of giving it up.

      I think we get to a point in blogging where we say, “now what?”. And sometimes the answer isn’t obvious. It’s at that time when a break away from it all could be just what we need in order to regroup and reassess the possibilities.

      • DavinaNo Gravatar says:

        You’re welcome, Barbara. Thanks for your comment about my blog — I appreciate that 🙂 Exactly — what you said — sometimes a person just reaches a crossroads and like you say, they need a minute to decide which way next. I can’t imagine not blogging, but right now something ‘wants’ to change. Don’t know what, but I don’t anticipate disappearing completely. At least I hope not.
        .-= Check out Davina´s awesome post: A Poem: Mundane Monday Muse =-.

  15. Kelvin KaoNo Gravatar says:

    I was originally writing for college theater. It was always fresh and fun. After college, I still want to do creative stuff. My original goal was to have a puppet podcast with a small audience. But now I am just putting the quirky creative stuff I create on the site. What I realized is that it only takes three or five fans to keep me going, and I know I definitely have that.

    It definitely helped me break into the world of puppetry. It’s basically a way for me to say “Look at me! I care about the topic so much that I bothered to write these things down! If you are interested too, let’s talk!” and “Hey, do you want to collaborate on a project? Look at what I can do!” Because of the blog, I’ve gotten to known some other puppeteers and puppet builders. I learned about classes and events from them. I went to some of those and got to know more people and so on (rinse and repeat). I also got to work on some student films because the blog showed the producers that I just might be able to help them on their projects. It has definitely opened the door to some opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
    .-= Check out Kelvin Kao´s awesome post: How to make Caesar salad =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Kelvin,

      Your story is a great example of how a blog can take someone from being the writer in a niche to the position of an expert in their field. That’s awesome how your blog was the stepping stone to you helping producers with films.

      Isn’t amazing how even when we set goal for what we hope our blog will become, the outcome often turns out differently? Although I realize all of what you’ve done didn’t happen overnight, your tenacity shows others what can, and does happen as the result of a blog.

  16. Keith DavisNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara
    I came to blogging from designing a few html websites and reading a few articles about WordPress.
    I also knew the principles of SEO, so I had a good start.

    Choice of subject was easy – had to be public speaking.

    Domain name – had to contain some of the blogs keywords so easypublicspeaking was a good choice – also abbreviates to espeaking – very good choice.

    Platform – got to be WordPress.

    Theme – when I saw the themes over at Elegant themes, that was me decided.

    Getting comments – I joined in the community via your blog Barbara – we bloggers look after our own. That was a real surprise.

    As to making money – all in good time, all in good time.
    .-= Check out Keith Davis´s awesome post: Laugh and the world… =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Keith,

      It sounds like the early choices were easy for you, especially with having a “designer” background. As for choosing a platform, I looked at what the big name bloggers were using. It was WordPress, so that sealed the decision for me.

      You’re right Keith. Bloggers do look after their own. It doesn’t matter if a blogger has years under their belt or are brand new, the bond between bloggers is very strong.

  17. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara,

    This is a topic that I was going to do a post on, but it never came together the way I wanted it to. I had the same questions to ask because like many, I feel that I have arrived somewhere I didn’t expect. When I first started blogging 8 months ago, I had thought to post mostly to local readers, and report on things in and around my area, i.e. sales, local events and places of interest. Since my “local readers” didn’t appear and most of my hits were from google searches from all over the world, I slowly came to the conclusion that local wasn’t going to give me the satisfaction I was craving. I had no connection with anyone who did visit because no one left comments. Also there’s just wasn’t much to say on some of those posts.

    Then I stumbled onto your site, and things changed (thank you). I have been reading and taking your advice since then. I read and comment every day, and in turn the numbers of people reading my blog are growing. I joined the blogging community called Tribal Blogs, and that has provided some good exposure for me, and I’ve found many new blogs to read. I believe someone before me commented that they had been reading blogs for some time before starting one. I am the exact opposite. I had not read any blogs, and had no idea what it was all about. All I knew was that I wanted write and share things with lots of people.

    I continue to learn something new every day, which is as it should be. I am taking a look at where my blog is taking me (isn’t that the way it works?), and am eliminating things that are strictly of local interest (maybe for another blog in the future?), and focusing on actual writing, photography, etc. Comments and compliments on posts of this nature have lead me in this direction.

    I know this has been a rambling comment. There is just so much I could say about this journey, but I’ll close with another Thank You for pointing me in the right direction, and writing posts that make me think and consider blogging from different perspectives.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Linda,

      Your comment reminded me of how writing a “local” blog could be more difficult than other types of blogs, especially if “local” is a small area. One “local” blog I follow is Travlin’ Local by Lisa Newton, and even though I don’t live in Los Angeles, I enjoy reading her stories. That said, it’s interesting to read how it was from comments your direction is changing.

      That’s often what happens. Readers begin to ask questions or request more about a particular topic and we find what WE thought would be of interest, isn’t the most popular topic.

      I think you’re wise to follow your readers “lead” and let your blog transition naturally, since it sounds like you’ll get to focus on that which brings you the greatest joy.

  18. Oh my where to begin! You’ll have to excuse the following novel, but you asked for it. HAHA

    Blogging for me started in the very first place as an add-on to my first e-commerce site, which didn’t last long because it was a scam…..I was real green.

    So in effect, it really started for me on DennisEdell.com, only not the DEDC blog you see today. It was my first attempt at an Internet marketing blog, because that was what everyone else had…and practically plagiarized from everyone elses, lol.

    Yea, it sucked.

    DEDC went through multiple blogs before I hit my niche, which you can tell from my about page if interested.

    This one actually started on my DSWM blog before moving for branding reasons.

    My travels have been plentiful, but I am revamping now for hopefully the last time, as I think I’ve hit my dream idea. 🙂
    .-= Check out Dennis Edell | Direct Sales Marketing´s awesome post: UPDATED: Aweber Affiliate Link Contest! – This Is It!! =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Dennis,

      And I’ll bet it was from those earlier false starts and trial and error, you found your dream niche. That’s what it takes sometimes; sites that don’t make the grade, or don’t provide enough satisfaction, before we discover that which moves us to show up to our keyboards every day.

      I smiled at the part of your comment where you said, “that was what everyone else had…”. Isn’t it nice how now blogosphere has a greater variety and every blogger has the opportunity to show their authentic self, and not follow the crowd?

  19. HilaryNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara .. I started with some contacts blogging, so had an initial community .. I didn’t like my original idea – wasn’t me.

    But the present blog .. will allow me to develop in numerous ways .. both off line and online .. I love what I do and I seem to be going in the right direction with great commenters & regular followers .. reasonable content – but excellent comments – what more can a girl want .. I’m very happy .. especially as my brain has had to be elsewhere a lot of the time with ‘my elderly’ ..

    But the community of fellow bloggers has changed me a lot, and I’ve been might grateful for their support and encouragement .. for which I thank them.

    You’ve always been a star – encouraging and offering support to others .. thank you … enjoy the week ahead .. Hilary
    .-= Check out Hilary´s awesome post: The Silent Pianist Speaks … =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you for the kind words Hilary,

      I remember earlier comments of yours where you mentioned you started blogging the same time as others you knew. That’s a great way to have built in support, plus a small community to get you going.

      Seeing the possibility your blog has is a smart move. Like you said, you can use your current blog and build out in various directions.

      I look forward to seeing where your blog will take you next. It sounds like you know where that is, but it will be interesting to see if that’s where the blog wants to go, too. 🙂

  20. Hi Barbara,

    Good questions! I love the whole blogging format and while I sometimes have my days where I can’t think of anything that would be remotely interesting to another, most times I’ve got something I need/want to say!

    My other blog (a personal one: http://www.snarkypants.com) has been around for eight years and it’s my little space on the web for all my junk. I’ll be blogging ’til I’m dead (and probably a bit after, too!).

    I love the friends I’ve made and getting to know them by what they write and even HOW they write it. I’ve learned a lot and a lot still left to conquer!

    I enjoy your blog and check in all the time. Thanks for all you do.
    .-= Check out Lisa at Practically Intuitive´s awesome post: Self-Authority *is* important =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Lisa,

      I was just checking out your “Snarky Pants” blog. What a great site. I’ll be back again soon to read more.

      I agree. The friends we make in blogosphere are awesome. Like you said, we get to learn about them from not only what they write, but how they write.

      That’s one thing about blogging. The learning process is never ending and because of that, there’s no fear of ever being bored with it.

      Here’s to blogging forever. 🙂

  21. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    Wow and YES! I found lots of surprises with blogging. I am currently listening to my second blog I write and thinking about cutting that one out of my life, it is time consuming and my partner does not really appreciate all the effort I put into it….and no one comments.

    I have surprisingly learned that my IT person is not as patient as I would like her to be….so maybe because I am not making enough money to support my blogging habits…I should give it up and give her space and time.?

    I love the blogging community and the friends I am gaining, I love that about 300 people read my words each week….

    what a surprise….you truly called it on this idea…
    .-= Check out Patricia´s awesome post: Arm Chair Traveling =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Patricia,

      Yes. We can learn a lot when we listen to our blogs. And it can be disheartening when no one comments.

      I agree. Blogs do give us a lot to be grateful for. When we realize our words are being read by others, it’s often the driving force we need to go on.

      Hopefully things work out with your IT gal and you’ll be blogging for a long time to come. 🙂

  22. Mandy AllenNo Gravatar says:

    Another great post, Barbara.

    I’m not sure I even knew what a blog really was when I started mine – I certainly had no vision at all. It was a strange beginning, I joined an internet marketing course and we were taught how to set up a blog. Of course most students wrote about IM and how to make money on the internet, but I actually am not that interested in that. I had written a book about personal change and wanted to know how to sell it online. I love my blog now and can’t imagine being without it. It has grown and evolved over time and I quickly realised that my blog was being visited such a lot compared with my fellow students (the ones writing about IM!!). I wrote a second book about that! And now I can’t remember what your other questions were! Hopefully my rambling has answered them all…

    Enjoy the journey.

    Mandy
    .-= Check out Mandy Allen´s awesome post: Helping out where we can =-.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Thank you Mandy,

      Oh, I like your story. How you chose to go in a different direction with your blog and found a niche with which you’re finding joy. I also congratulate you on your two books. Your story shows how when we follow our heart, the rewards can be many.

  23. Cath LawsonNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara – Thank you. It’s good to be back. And I’ve enjoyed reading all the other comments.

    When I first started blogging, I don’t know that I had a particular goal. I loved to write and I thought it would be a good thing to help others by sharing my business experience.

    I haven’t done a lot to make money from the blog, although I do make some. I’m planning to launch my own product but I’ve spent a lot of time researching. It’s important for me to get it right and provide something really useful to my readers. There are too many “fake business bloggers” out there, who mislead people into investing in products that won’t help them one bit – so I’m hoping to do this opposite.

    Blogging it a lot different to what I thought it would be. I’ve got to know lots of great bloggers like you and I’ve learned a lot in the process. And it has helped me change the way I see business and life.

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      You’re welcome Catherine,

      Launching your own product sounds exciting. I know it must be a lot of work, but when you’re done, I’m sure you’ll feel a real sense of accomplishment. I’m so looking forward to its unveiling.

      Blogging does that, doesn’t it? Changes how we see things. Pretty awesome, hey?

  24. Tony SingleNo Gravatar says:

    I thought blogging would make me rich and famous. I honestly did. More fool me. 😛

    Once I got past the crushing disappointment of that unfulfilled goal (despite all the hard work I’d put into getting the blog out there), I learned to just ease up and enjoy the process. I don’t know if there’s any discernible difference in Trottersville now, but I know there’s a discernible difference in me… and I like it.

    Nowadays I look forward to the creative challenge that blogging presents. I have to work hard to come up with a new post, but I’d be doing nothing if it weren’t for the blog so the challenge is a welcome one.

    I also love that there are folks who seem to genuinely enjoy what I’m doing. That does make me feel good, I’ll admit, and I’m grateful for them! Please don’t stop visiting! 🙂

    So yeah, it’s been a journey. I went from unrealistic hopes and goals to bitterness and disappointment… only to come out the other side with something I can truly be proud of.

    And you know what? I’m loving being part of this blogging community that I’ve stumbled into. You guys are all talents in your own right. It’s been a privilege to read your words and musings. Yup!

    • Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Tony,

      I don’t think you’re alone in believing blogging would make you rich and famous, however, I don’t think those who believe that should give up on the dream just because it doesn’t happen as quickly as expected. As we all know, the Universe works in mysterious ways.

      I’m with you. The people we meet in blogosphere are mighty awesome folk. Who knew we would find support from individuals we’ve never met (and may never meet), and end up developing friendships that could last a lifetime.

      Keep enjoying your journey. And have no fear, I’ll keep visiting. 🙂

  25. When I first start blogging, I never thought I can be that much successful in term of monetization and traffic but it deed and it also teach me – how to handle bad situation, how to be cool and iron strong even in most critical situation which actually help me in my real life too. Blog also make me more social and give me good knowledge of community.
    .-= Check out Arafat Hossain Piyada´s awesome post: Split search result for more productivity with Split.ly =-.

  26. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Arafat,

    That’s a good point. Blogging can teach us lessons we can use in real life, too. And what I like is how we also learn from other bloggers too, i.e. how they handle situations.

    Yes. Community in blogosphere does that; makes us more social and outgoing.

    Who knew a blog could do so much?

  27. Angelia SimsNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara!

    My main goal was to tell my side of a story that I thought was grossly misrepresented on another blog. A blog the writer thought was personal, although it’s a public blog. So I did. I got to tell my story and so much more. Many more. In a positive light that doesn’t point fingers but just hopes for kindness to return.

    Then, I discovered the community, the talent, and the sheer joy of blogging. Meeting friends in person that I adore and cherish.

    Then quite unexpectedly, I experienced huge kudos. I have been freshly pressed on the home page of wordpress TWICE now. Once was a miracle, twice just blew me away.

    Blogging is nothing like I thought it would be. It is so much more. I am very blessed by it. 🙂

  28. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Angela,

    I like you story of how your blog came to be. From the sounds of it, you could have never guessed blogging would become all it has for you.

    Congratulations on your WordPress home page accomplishments. That is something truly worth celebrating. 🙂

  29. SaraNo Gravatar says:

    Barbara — I think this is one my favorite posts. I loved how you told your own story and how blogging evolved for you. It was also fun to read about the experience of others:~)

    My favorite line in this post was: “Blogs seem to have a mind of their own. As much as we think we know where they should go, if we listen carefully, they may guide us in new directions.”

    This is so true for me. When I first started blogging, I was doing it for a business purpose and my posts reflected that. They were mostly what’s called “personal development” or “self-growth” type of posts.

    Slowly, however, my blog evolved to become more about expressing creativity than selling my skills.

    What I discovered is that blogging for me was about experimenting creatively. It lets me write, but also play with what I write.

    For whatever reason, this makes very happy. It doesn’t make money for me, but it makes me feel complete somehow. It also has changed how I see my life — not just because of what I write, but also because of what I read from other bloggers.

    I am content with how I blog. It will never be consistent, but it lets express myself and explore my own creativity:~)
    .-= Check out Sara´s awesome post: Where You Ought to Be =-.

  30. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Thank you Sara,

    That’s what I like about your blog. You’re willing to experiment, not caring if you’re blogging “right” (whatever that means), or not. By you experimenting, you’re also creating a great place where your readers get to expand their thinking, too.

    I see it as a win-win. You’re happy with the way you blog, and your readers are always excited to see what you’ll post next.