I've been blogging so long that I can't remember when I started blogging. It's been at least ten years - not consistently, mind you, or I wouldn't be writing this post. Regardless of what life throws my way, or how many breaks I take, I always keep coming back to blogging. Wanna know why? I'll tell ya!
How I Got Started Blogging
Let’s take a journey together, shall we? Do you remember a website called Examiner? It was kinda like Buzzfeed but not nearly as high-quality. Basically, there were contributors all over the US and they would write posts for their category and geographical location.
Well, I was a writer for Examiner, writing about family activities in the North Atlanta metro area. I did that for a few months, and then decided to start my own blog for the same purpose, so I created a site called “Atlanta Northside Family Entertainment Guide”, and in February 2010, I penned my first post: an article about the Tellus Science Museum. It was pretty cringy:
For four months, I posted about twice a week, sharing a combination of things I did with my family, things to do in and around Atlanta as a family, and upcoming event lists for families. Good stuff.
During that time, I decided to start a 365 photography project, so I started a different blog to share those photos. For just over a year, I shared snapshots of our life with short descriptions, and occasionally I also shared craft projects I was working on.
Again, it was rather cringy:
When I started to realize I was sharing more DIY projects than photography, it was time to start yet another blog, this time to focus solely on crafting and home decor. So, in April 2011, “One Tough Mother” was born!
This ribbon wreath was what started to attract attention:
So now we’ve come full circle…almost. I blogged as One Tough Mother for three years, starting on Blogger, eventually moving over to self-hosted WordPress, and in July 2014, I rebranded to Sweet Tea & Saving Grace!
Over the past nearly six years since that rebrand, this blog has taken many iterations, and I’ve stopped blogging for different periods of time, but I keep coming back.
Why I Took Breaks from Blogging
January – May 2014: In December 2013, I walked away from my blog with no intention of coming back. I had a literal come-to-Jesus meeting right in my bathroom while getting ready for work, and I had to be obedient.
Essentially, I was sacrificing my family for my blog, and my priorities were all jacked up. I needed to straighten some things out, and learn to live without my blog.
After almost six months, the Lord gave me permission to come back, but on His terms, not my own. I blogged for the love of blogging, not because sponsors were paying me to create content, or to satisfy any particular set of readers.
A few months later, in the fall of 2014, I started using all the skills and knowledge I had gained through my four years of blogging to work with other bloggers doing various tasks, eventually niching down to be an email marketing expert.
April – September 2016: I took a break from blogging to focus solely on my online business. I was blogging at Sweet Tea, LLC at the time, and trying to maintain two blogs was too much, so I stepped away from this one for a while.
I had several clients, was creating courses, and working my way toward quitting my day job, which I was able to do on June 30, 2016!
January – April 2018: Busy building a business, y’all! Business was good. I spent all of 2018 as a partner with a friend. We hosted hundreds of podcast episodes, created courses, ran a very active Facebook group, and wrote gobs of educational content for other bloggers and online business owners.
And in 2019, I published a whopping FOUR blog posts. I actually took most of 2019 to focus on working at my church, where I have a part-time job as the Communications Director, and just live life.
So why am I back now?
Why I Keep Coming Back to Blogging
Bottom line: I love blogging.
But there’s more to it than that. I could just journal, right? But blogging is a different animal altogether, and something keeps pulling me back.
#1 - I have a 10-year (and counting) online catalog of my life.
I am a documenter of life, by nature. I have photo albums galore, I’ve been journaling since I was a kid, and I love memory keeping.
But there are stories that only live here on these pages. I’ve shared my heart as I’ve raised a daughter after divorce, I’ve talked about how blessed I am to have found my soulmate the second time around, I’ve shared my faith, my home, and my life.
I can look back and see the evolution of my blog and my voice, both of which helped me to create a business I can run from the comfort of my home.
It’s pretty incredible, and honestly, I don’t think I’ve stuck with anything as long as I’ve stuck with blogging.
#2- It's a hands-off (most of the time) income generator.
Because my website has been in existence for so long, I have affiliate links and ad income that continue to put money in my bank account, even when I don’t post often.
I’m not one to share income reports – never have, and don’t intend to in the future – but a significant amount of my income comes from my blog (a consistent nearly-5-figures per year), and I only posted four times in 2019. I’ll just leave it at that.
The cool thing is, if I want to make more money from my blog, I have that ability. It’s here, ready for me to pitch to brands or create products or whatever I want to do. I’ve built authority on Google and Pinterest, and with my readers, a lot of whom have been around through all of my comings and goings. (And I love y’all to bits!)
#3 - I still have a thousand ideas for things I want to share.
As years have passed, the things that I have shared on my blog have changed. My daughter was 8 when I started blogging, and we made crafts all the time. Now, she’s (almost) 18 and is getting ready for a full-time job or college! New things to talk about!
My seasons of life have constantly been changing over the past ten years, and with those changes come different topics for my blog posts (or videos, podcasts, Instagram posts, etc.).
I quite possibly may never run out of things to talk to you about. And that’s a pretty cool thought!
#4 - The connection with my readers is second to none.
This should really be #1, but I saved the best for last.
While it might seem strange to imagine that real connections with people can happen through an online blog, it’s honestly quite incredible. Here’s a cool story to prove it:
Several years ago, I shared a link to another blogger’s 3-ingredient Nutella cookies on my Facebook page. A reader randomly messaged me later, saying she had made them but they were just so-so, and she added a few things to make them extra yummy. We chatted, one cookie led to finding out she loves baking cupcakes, and that led to me inviting her to become a contributor on the blog.
She had never blogged before, but she was (and still is) an incredible baker and photographer. She shared cupcakes on my blog for a couple years, and over those years, we built a friendship.
Roxana is now one of my dearest friends. Her kids even call me “Auntie Kirsten”. She and I will spend more than an hour on the phone without even realizing it.
And all of that came from a cookie recipe I shared with my blog readers. Go figure!
I’ve been fortunate to have virtually met a lot of folks because of this blog, and even more blessed to have met a lot of them in person over the years. It really does create a little community of like-minded people.
I may not always blog consistently. I’ll probably take a few more breaks along the way, for one reason or another, but it’s refreshing to know that my blog will be here whenever I’m able to come back. And I always come back, sooner or later.