“What do you do?”
“I’m a blogger.”
“Oh… that’s… cool.”
“Yeah, I love it. It’s pretty much the perfect job for me.”
“How did you get started with that?”
People are often a bit awkward with me when they find out I’m a blogger. It doesn’t seem like a REAL job… I mean, everyone has their favorite bloggers. People who pop up in their facebook feeds or whose sites they always search first when they’re looking for something. But most of my friends seem to think bloggers actually live in “the cloud.”
Kind of like how little kids imagine their teachers live at school. Eating dinner at the little tiny lunch tables, and going to sleep on a nap mat for the night.
But nope. We’re real people. Each of us has our own story, our own path that brought us to blogging.
So, how did I get started as a blogger?
It started long before internet blogging platforms.
I always wanted to write, to share with people. When I was a kid, I did a tiny bit of diary-writing, but nothing notable. It was boring if it was only for my own eyes. But family newsletters? That was something I could get behind! I would have the eyes of at least FIVE other people (my sisters and parents) if I published something publicly!
Here are pictures of one of my family newsletters, “The Daily Blabber.” (Pretty sure I got “blabber” from Ursula in The Little Mermaid. “The men up there don’t like a lot of blabber / They think a girl who gossips is a bore.”
Later on, I used the newsletter format to complete several school assignments as I grew up. (I have some of those saved too.)
Moving on to the Internet
Then, when I was in college, I taught myself how to crochet, started sewing more costumes for fun, and did other handicrafts in my spare time. I loved documenting them and sharing them with people, so I started writing on livejournal and also created my own site, “Hook Me Up! Crochet” for my crochet projects and patterns.
Sadly, I can’t find a screenshot of my livejournal profile anywhere, and it’s not in the internet archive (wayback machine) either.
Well, actually…. that may be more fortunate than not, because I’m quite sure there was a lot of angsty teenage heart-baring in there, too. Considering I ripped out each page and threw away my few old paper journals years ago, I think this may be the best thing to have happened to my livejournal blog.
Livejournal was an awesome “place” on the web… it was easy to connect with friends and to meet new people through the communities. I headed up several communities, and had a lot (for back then) of followers/”friends” reading my lj blog. It was probably my first taste of being an influencer online.
But at the same time, my own site, Hook Me Up! Crochet, gave me my first HOME on the internet. A place that was truly mine. Self-hosted. And while WordPress did exist back then, I didn’t know about it, so it was 100% built by me (in case you can’t tell by the horrid design). I loved having something that was truly mine, for sharing with the world.
I dabbled throughout college with some other online blogging platforms. Xanga didn’t stick, and there was another one that was “gamified” – through posting and getting thumbs-up or likes or whatever from people, you could earn some kind of currency you could use to unlock html customization ability and things like that. If anyone remembers what that one was PLEASE let me know. It’s driving me nuts that I can’t think of it or find any reference to it!
My Home at Joyful Abode
In May of 2007, I started Joyful Abode, right here… my first WordPress blog, and what would be my home for a very long time. I carefully chose a name that wouldn’t limit me the way Hook Me Up! Crochet had. I didn’t want to be confined to such a narrow niche. I wanted to record and share everything I wanted to about domestic life.
I used a sharpie to draw my first-ever header for this site, and felt right at home immediately.
It started out with crafty DIYs I did around my apartment, and simple recipes, but it changed as time went on. For a while, I was heavily into crafting and selling things at craft shows. At that time, my website included a shop area and a link to my show schedule.
In 2010, as part of my pregnancy nesting, I gave my entire site an overhaul. (Unfortunately, the images aren’t loading in the archive, but you get the idea.)
Through incarnation after incarnation, redesign after redesign, eventually including my husband, dog, then my three kids, one thing always stayed constant.
I am the constant. Through almost 10 years of blogging, I’ve been in every post. It’s my point of view. My voice. My words. My take on what’s happening. My experiences. My projects.
None of my site was just built overnight. This little internet home of mine has been built over almost a decade, with lots of love and care. I started out just spilling my thoughts, sharing my experience. Now, I try to filter a bit, not because I’m embarrassed, but because there’s so much noise on the internet that you HAVE to filter some in order to be heard.
I love having my own place – my Joyful Abode – and I get really excited whenever one of my friends decides to create a home for themselves on the web, too. Whether it’s for their business, for recording their adventures, connecting with far-away family, or acting as a family scrapbook.
Do you think you’d like to be a blogger?