Updated: Jan 9
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If you want to know the meaning behind my blog name, you can read about it on my about page!
I had a blog follower reach out and ask me how I started blogging and how I stay motivated as a writer/blogger.
Short answer: I LOVE writing! I have been writing in journals since I was a little girl and still have those journals full of my deepest desires and slightly hilarious happenings from high school scribbled on the pages.
How did I realize that writing was my calling?
I had to try everything else under the sun first. Nearly three years ago, I realized that I didn't have dreams anymore. I had lost myself and stopped using my God given talents. I was a wife + mom which are the two most important titles I could ever have and of course they are my dream come true, but I am specifically talking about dreaming in regard to my talents and business goals.
I tried all the things and nothing would stick. It would start off promising but then would quickly realize that it wasn't my passion or my calling. Until the day I came across a job application for a Christian newspaper in Asheville, NC. Asheville is my hometown and on a whim I decided to apply. When I got the job, I was thrilled because I would be writing articles and talking to community faith leaders, ministries and businesses. About eight months later, the paper shutdown and I was incredibly bummed. The best part of that season was that God had shown me my calling as a writer.
Nearly a year and a half ago, I decided to start writing on my blog full-time. I was scared and nervous and it is a lot of work that doesn't pay off right away. I did it anyway as God kept pressing my heart urging me to stick with it even when it felt as if it was going nowhere fast.
I have been blessed to see steady growth on my blog and social channels and have been featured on the family website, Her View From Home several times. God continues to bless me and I pray that He will use my words to encourage women all over the world!
God has a plan far better than we could ever create for ourselves. He will show you what your calling is and when He does it will stick. This doesn't mean it will be easy. It will take a lot of hard-work and determination to stick with your calling. Ask God to show you your talents and watch Him work out the fine details.
What programs do I use to create content and graphics?
I LOOOOve Adobe programs! I use Adobe InDesign and Adobe Lightroom. InDesign create all of my blog graphics and text-overlays on my photos. Lightroom is an app that I use for presets and editing my photos. I recently created my own preset for my photos and I am in love with it. I have played around with both programs for a few months now and really love how many options they give me. They have a free version of the applications but I do pay for the advanced version because of the added features that I use. My blog website was created by Wix. I love their easy-to-use tools and feel as if their platform is really user-friendly. They add new features weekly and I can't wait to see what the will come up with next.
How do I stay motivated as a writer/blogger?
As I mentioned above, writing is my calling but I also am passionate about the business side of my blog. I used to hold myself back by thinking that I was somehow wrong for wanting my blog to bring in an income. I always want my readers to know that I love writing to encourage and that won't ever change. However, I also want to provide you all with resources to products I am using and products I have created (AHEM Seasons of Life Journal). In this current season of my life, I can't dedicate eight hours a day to the blog although I would LOVE to do that. I get up early to write and write during nap time. I build my blog and community a little at a time and that drives me to keep building. Anything worth having will take time to build and slowly but surely you will get to where you want to be. When I receive a positive comment or someone purchases a journal, it motivates me to keep going and to trust that God is working behind the scenes even when I don't always see Him.
How do I create content?
Most of my writing stems from either personal experience or personal time in the bible asking God for wisdom. I create content based off of those two things and sometimes it just comes to me in the wee hours of the morning while drinking my coffee. I share a lot about my personal life as a Christian mom and wife and like to keep blog content at 85% life/encouragement/hope and the other 15% lifestyle tips, favorite products, productivity and promoting my journal. I try to plan out content and talk about topics that we all want to know more about. I am not shy so I don't mind answering questions and getting to the heart of the difficult stuff (dealing with insecurities, difficult past, sin in our lives, etc.).
How Do I Stay Organized As A Blogger?
I am so thankful that the blog grew a TON in 2019. It has grow so fast that I have had to start really organizing my content every week. Every weekend I sit down and do the following things:
1. Open My Planner + Base Content off of The "Theme" for Each Day
My Favorite Products To Stay Organized:
By "Theme" I mean that I focus on business/motivation on Monday's, Tips + Home on Tuesday, etc. I have just recently started this schedule as it helps me stay organized. I love writing but tend to get unorganized when I just go by the seat of my pants. Obviously, this schedule only accounts for about 20% of my writing. The other 80% of my writing is either personal pieces of my life that I share to encourage and/or notes from my quiet time spent with God each day.
2. Check Google Analytics
I check my analytics every day to see what content and pages on my website are performing well. It helps me see what my faithful followers are really loving and how to schedule out my content for the week. I am also taking a Google Analytics course and am learning so much. If you're a business owner who uses analytics, you should totally sign up for the free class!
3. Update Posts + Make Sure Website is both Mobile and Desktop Ready
This is a big one because so many people prefer to use their phone over their desktop computer. I make sure my blog is user friendly on both desktop and mobile. This has been a struggle for me because moving one area of the website around on the desktop end of things causes the mobile end to slightly change.
4. Keep My Brand In Mind + Goal In Sight
When I post something or create a project or even record a podcast, I keep my brand in mind. The Cold Coffee & Cotton Stems blog is a blog that strives to encourage women to be who God created them to be. My brand is centered around Christ, coffee and real life! I have a Google spreadsheet where I keep all of my goals, post ideas, and upcoming podcast interviews. I am always asking God to give me a clear direction and to help me stay focused. Last but not least, writing is simply therapeutic to me so I can't give up. ;)
I always LOVE hearing from you guys! If you have any questions or topics you are interested in me writing about, please feel free to reach out to me below!
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