My Blogging Story: Part 1

Without a doubt, the most-asked question I get when I tell someone that I’m a full-time blogger, is this:

How did you get started blogging?  

Then they will ask what I blog about.  

Then they ask if you can make money blogging.

Most folks who don’t know anything about blogs, will tilt their head slightly, smile, eyes slightly glazed over, and want to know what in the world a blogger does. There are many people out there who don’t have a clue about this online world we live in.  Many people don’t log on every day  to scour the internet for ideas and inspiration.  Sure, they might go on news sites and check their email, but they are not getting mesmerized by the blogosphere.

I know many of my readers are not bloggers, but I hope you’ll find this series interesting too!


Heck, so many people don’t even know the blogosphere exists.  Most bloggers feel like we are at the center of what is hot and hip.  How could the rest of the world not see that?  We try to stay informed and up to date on what our passion is all about, but there are plenty of folks out there who just don’t know anything about this thing we call blogging.

There is no one size fits all manual for “how to blog”. 

But oh, how blogging has changed my life. 

In February I’ll hit my 5 year blogoversary, truly a milestone.  Sort of like dog vs. people years, 5 years in blogging is a long, long time.

So, in celebration of that 5 year mark,  I thought it might be a good time to look back and document my blogging journey. I’ve seen several bloggers do just that and even though at times, I think what else can I add to the conversation about starting a blog, sustaining a blog, and turning a blog into a business, I realize that yes, I do have things to share!

Blogging is truly a learn it as you go type of thing.  On the job training, so to speak.

Just from the sheer amount of years that I’ve been doing this thing called blogging, that alone makes me something of an expert on the subject.  Do I know it all?  Oh noooooo, of course I don’t and at times feel like I’m still such a novice on all thing blogging, especially the technical side!

Do I have plenty to share about my personal experience with blogging.

Oh, yes I sure do!

Anyone that blogs has a blog story.  I have my own unique perspective on it all and I’m hoping that sharing my story will give inspiration and insight to those of you who are new to this crazy blog world.

The blogosphere is still growing and growing and growing. Where it will go, no one knows. That is one of those unknown things that none of us have the answer to.  

So sit back, grab something to sip on and here begins my blog story.  I’m going to break it into at least 5 parts (maybe more, I have no idea how rambling I’ll get on all of this), for every year that I’ve been blogging.  February will start my 6th year of writing this blog  and I would never dream that I’d have that much to talk about, but it seems that I do! 🙂

It seems that another unique thing about bloggers is the fact that most of us, when we started blogging, had no idea where it was going to lead us.  I started on a whim, just for fun.  A hobby.  Something to do that was an outlet for my passion of interior decorating, DIY projects, and thrifting for the most part.

My journey began in February of 2007. 

I had been living in Birmingham with my husband at the time for a little over a year.  I quit my corporate job in Atlanta when we moved over there at the end of 2005 and set up house, with plans to be a stay at home wife.   I had worked my whole life in the 8 to 5 corporate world, so staying home was a novelty to me at the time.

I had long been involved with online decorating boards, since around the mid-90’s. Better Homes and Gardens and GardenWeb’s That Home Site were 2 sites that I frequented constantly back in those days.  So, I knew my way around the web, it was a fun world for me to hang out in.

In early 2000, I joined an online site called Great Impressions, which started as a public site, then went private due to large growth.  It was started by a small group of us who spun off from Better Homes and Gardens decorating boards and quickly became a popular hangout for like-minded women who loved their homes and  were devoted to decorating.  We talked paint colors, we shared projects and celebrated design triumphs.  We talked each other through design dilemmas. We were able to set up photo albums online and look at each others’ houses.  Now that was a new and exciting thing, to actually be looking at other house pics from all over the country.  That was a mere 12 years  ago, that’s how fast this online world has evolved.  It was a really great group of women and it was very fun for about 5 or 6 years.  There are still some from the old group that read my blog and occasionally I will get a mention of that in a comment.

During those years of Great Impressions, one of my online friends from that group, Kim, started a blog called Daisy Cottage.  She was smitten with an older cottage home and had always wanted to live in an old home, so we celebrated with her when she moved into Daisy Cottage, her beautiful cottage in Florida.  Kim and I became buddies and we were kindred souls.  I would visit Kim’s blog and look at her pretty pictures.  She would encourage me to start my own blog.  I laughed, not really planning to do it, but one day in early 2007, on a whim, I decided to set up a free Blogger account.  Later, in 2008, Kim and I met in person when I was visiting Florida for a few days.  We are still good friends to this day and I love her dearly.   She is such a sweet, supportive,  and creative friend.   That was part of the  journey for me of meeting other bloggers in person and that hasn’t stopped either.  It has just gotten better over the years.  Bloggy friendships have absolutely been the best part of blogging for me.

So, Southern Hospitality was born. 

I don’t even know what made me choose the name. It just seemed to me that Southern Hospitality was a phrase that would embody what I wanted to share on my blog, so that was it.

My blog had a name.  An identity.

That free Blogger account started me on my blogging journey that month in early 2007.  I had no idea what I was doing.  Back then, there were hardly any decorating or design blogs at all.  It was mostly crafting, sewing, artsy sort of blogs and it wasn’t all that huge in numbers.  I remember going through blogrolls that I would find on other blogs and that’s how I found most of the blogs that I would visit and leave comments on.  Back then, it was a pretty small community and getting to know other bloggers happened easily.

I would click from blog to blog, leave a lot of comments and then all of a sudden I began to get comments back on my blog.  Oh, how exciting that was!  Someone was actually reading my blog.  They liked what I was doing.  It felt good to share and have others validate my projects or ideas.  I think I’m going to like this blogging thing.  It’s a lot of fun!  I had a little point and shoot camera and knew nothing about getting great photos, but I started seeing beautiful photos on other blogs and wondered how they did it.

That year of 2007 moved on through the summer.  I felt the need to go back to work in mid-summer of that year.  I knew that there were some financial issues going on  at home and we needed more money coming in and so I began to look for a job.  I was enjoying my blog and keeping it going by blogging about 3 times a week or so.  Whenever I had something to share, I would share it.  I didn’t have a real schedule in mind with blog posts, but when I did something fun or completed a project, I would put it on the blog.

In August, I landed a really great job working for a local privately owned company in Birmingham.  I was the assistant to the President and it was a nice place to work.  I planned events, took care of his calendar, ordered office supplies, and handled a lot of things around the office.  That was the type of job I had in the past, so I was used to working in that sort of environment.  I shared my office and all about my new job on my blog.  I had lots of comments and encouragement and my readers wondered if I would keep blogging.  I said I was going to keep blogging. I enjoyed that creative outlet too and didn’t want to stop.  It was a fun online world that I enjoyed being a part of.  Many of my original readers are still with me, I’m happy to say!

My job lasted until the end of that year and I quit after Christmas, at the request of my ex-husband after only 5 months of working.  Looking back, I should have kept that job, although it would have done nothing to stop the unbelievable avalanche that would happen 3 years later.  It would have helped us a lot, but I deferred to his request and quit.  I wrote all about that too on my blog.

And if you are new here and have no idea of the drama of a year I’ve been through, read Life is Not a Magazine Cover for all the details (my divorce is final, by the way).

I had no idea at the time that this blog would be my lifesaver down the road.  No idea that 3 years later, my life as I knew it would completely fall apart and crumble to pieces.

BUT…..God in His infinite wisdom, knew!

So, that first year was just for fun, sharing my hobby of decorating and my passion for the home.  It was great fun getting to know so many other bloggers out there, but it was nothing like the sheer volume in this home/DIY niche now in 2011.  Not even close!  2007 was my first year of sharing and share I did.

I shared my projects at home, along with my yardsale adventures.  I found out there were lots of girls out there who were addicted to yardsales too.  I wasn’t alone in my penny-pinching ways.

Back then, I remember spending hours and hours learning how to change my background, getting my feet wet with html.  And wow,  is that a crazy world!  Html will drive you insane.  I have always been good with computers, so learning new things has come easy for me in that area.  I made my very first header all by myself and boy, was it pathetic. I wish I still had it saved, but sadly I don’t.  🙂

That first year was a complete learning experience.  I saw many new bloggers come on the scene in that first year too and it was a great time of growth and just learning the ropes.

There was SO much to learn and learn I did.  I had no idea what I was doing, nor where I was going, but I was having fun.   I decided when I quit that job that it might just be time for me to start my own business and pursue the decorating thing that I had always wanted to try.

So, 2008, was the year for that.

I announced on my blog that I was starting my own decorating business with hopes of getting my own clients in person as well as offering online services.

I got my business  license and officially became a self-employed business person in early 2008 and shortly after established my business as an LLC.  I was on my way to doing something different.

I was traveling a new path and where it would lead, I had no idea.

To be continued……I will write another post later on, continuing my blog journey.   No posting schedule on this series, but I will keep writing until I get to the finale to date, which is where I am now.  I’m going to share lots of tips and details on blogging along the way too, so hopefully at the end of this series, you will feel like you’ve learned something. 

Continue Reading Part 2

Continue Reading Part 3

 

- Rhoda

Comments

  1. Wonderful post, Rhoda…thanks for sharing. I’ve been a follower for awhile and love hearing about your adventures.

  2. Rhoda,
    So interesting to read this post after only 7 weeks of blogging! Lots of what I am going thru. But it starts with a passion which you surely have and anything good will come from that. Great success in your 6th year and beyond!
    Kelly

  3. Well, now I have that little knot in my throat. I spent a few minutes catching up and you are truly an inspiration! I needed to read this post and a few of your past posts today. Perfect timing. I look forward to hearing more!

  4. I am looking forward to your blogging saga Rhoda! I know you are one of my favorite bloggers and I have really enjoyed getting to know you online. I feel as if I know you! One of the things I admire most about you is your transparency with your readers. You have trusted us with very personal things and that makes us feel honored to be your blog friends.

  5. Aahhh! Like a cliff hanger! I stopped by to see what you are up to, started reading, really enjoying your story, and like a good novel, i’m now awaiting the next in the series! Thank you for sharing your story. It is so relate-able. I’ll be waiting… 🙂

  6. So interesting Rhoda. By the way congratulation on the finalization of your divorce. Blessings as you move on. You have created something wonderful and refreshing here in your blog.

  7. I am one of your faithful readers but not a blogger. I am very excited to read all about your journey. Isn’t it wonderful that God knows what is best for us even if we have no idea? Not only have you shared Southern Hospitality, you have shared your faith by example. Blessings as you continue into this newest chapter of your life.

  8. I really enjoyed reading this post, Rhoda. You are an inspiration to me. Your blog was one of the first that I read last year. I was hooked and eventually started a blog, too. I love how you share your life and your family. That’s why so many people love you and your blog.

  9. Love reading your posts! I thought to myself, awe man, when I got to the end of today’s post, i wanted to keep reading. 🙂 Looking forward to “part 2”. Thanks for sharing your life and your love for Christ, it’s refreshing. I have your blog on my favorites, keep on writting!

  10. I will look forward to reading your blogging journey recap, though I do feel like I know a little about a lot of it. So loved meeting you waaaaay back in 2007 during the holidays. I knew even then you were something very special and had great potential as a blogger. So happy for everything that’s come your way!

  11. Rhoda, thanks for being so open and sharing your story. Being new to this world of blogging, I’m still getting my feet wet. Most of the time I feel as if I don’t have a clue. I began my blog hoping that oneday it would turn into a source of income. I don’t know if the blog will take that route or if it will just be a hobby. Either way, I’m enjoying the opportunity to share. Your blog has been very helpful and encouraging. Again, thanks for sharing.

  12. Congratulations on the finalizing of your divorce. My experience says it isn’t pleasant but it’s another step in regaining yourself. We’ll all look forward to the next six years 🙂

  13. I have enjoyed your blog for about a year…just stopping by and peaking at what you’ve been up to. I have just started my own blog this month and so this series will be of utmost interest to me! Cannot wait to hear more stories and tips. Thanks Rhoda!

  14. Pretty inspiring!!

  15. Hi Rhoda,
    I am one of the Great Impressions people that you spoke of. I loved GI and I learned so much from you and others who posted there. You ladies helped me out several times.
    I miss Daisy Cottage, I miss Kim and her sweet encouragement that she gave out so readily.
    You and Kim helped me decide that I would blog. And I am LOVING it, I have made so many wonderful friends, one in my own town. I am going on three years now. It has given me so much back, thank you!
    You are an inspiring lady, it breaks my heart to hear what you have been through, but like you say, that is life! No ones life is perfect.
    I will look forward to reading more.
    Love and hugs, Cindy

  16. Rhoda, You have truly made blogging an adventure for yourself, and those who have followed you nearly from your beginning! You have made it clear that you can reach for the stars and even grab one! I love that you have always thanked God and credited Him with your blessings. It is such an encouragement. I look forward to reading your blogging story all the way through, as I am sure that there is more than we read. =) Have a wonderful week,
    Jen

  17. Rhoda, this is so interesting and inspiring! I know you have poured you heart into many posts I have read. You have so much courage and are such an inspiration! God bless you as you move on into another chapter of your life! I cannot wait to read more stories and tips!

  18. I’ m looking forward to this series. I just discovered the blog world about a year ago and started my own blog almost four months ago. I enjoy my creative passions, but never seemed to have the time. (Homeschooling eight kids who are very active kept me busy.) Now four children are in college or grad school and I am creating again. Thanks Rhoda for your blog and your decorating ideas!

  19. What a great series, Rhoda. I look forward to reading each part!

  20. Thank you for sharing your story—it is an encouragement to those of who are newbies!! Looking forward to hearing more!

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