I started blogging because I had something to say and I wanted to write about my experiences in a way that was available for others to access. From the very start, I cared so much about those who would be reading. I wanted to help others, become friends and share something meaningful. Ultimately, my hope was to connect with people, so the first time I was recognized out in public, I felt that wonderful sense of the connection I’d been seeking.
No surprise, I was at Goodwill. I noticed a woman on the other aisle who kept looking at me. I had three little kids with me, so I was a bit of a skeptical anyway. When I had lots of little kids, I feel a bit like a circus performer. “And for my next act, you will watch as I juggle all my children while they squirm and yell for Cheetos!” I smiled and the woman quickly walked over to me. “Do you write on My Dear Trash?” She asked. Oh, this was so special and we hugged and talked for the while as my kids ran up and down the aisle. As a writer, this was such a meaningful experience. As far as I was concerned, I needed no other accolade EVER.
This type of experience started happening more often and I loved meeting strangers and becoming instant friends. Not only strangers, but people in my neighborhood, at church, up at the kid's school all knew about my eBay business, when after four boys I became pregnant with my daughter, how I felt when I was kicked off eBay and my passion for furniture restoration.
During this time, I was out at a bookstore and saw a friend I hadn’t seen in over 20 years. She ran up to me and we embraced in a long hug. Because she followed my blog, she knew all my kid's names and more. She loved my writing and found my posts entertaining and humorous. Oh, she thought I was just amazing. Now, don’t think for a minute here I let any of this go to my head. As she was gushing about this and that, my youngest son at the time, Reef, managed to pull books off the bookshelf and as I was lovingly, with affection reaching for him, he managed to slug me in the face, scream and wiggle back out of my arms. I did my best to maintain some sort of composure, but whatever impression my friend had of me was now blemished with reality. I wasn’t a perfect mother. My kids acted out. I was tired. My roots needed touch-up and for peat sake, I couldn’t find my car keys.
and the spilled sprinkles.
From the start, I’ve done my best to be real, to share my up’s and down’s and to mention, “Hey, I still haven’t lost my baby weight.” It’s been this type of self-disclosure that has inadvertently helped me in my writing. Looking back, I know the first years of blogging were fluffy and surface experiences. Nothing too deep, but then I was kicked off eBay. Most of my blogging persona was about finding trash at thrift stores and selling it on eBay for profit. Without an eBay connection, what would I write about? Would I have something to share? It took courage and I had to dig deep into my internal confidence reserves (which were already pretty sparse) and tell my readers I could no longer sell on eBay. Would I lose my credibility with those who read My Dear Trash? What happened next was incredible. Others started reaching out to me, not only boycotting eBay, but sharing their own stories of disappointment. It turned out writing about a struggle was just as significant as writing about fun, family and thrift-ing.
My writing eyes broadened and writing about scorpion stings and a serious love affair with Edward Cullen could be funny and entertaining. Slowly, blog post by blog post I chinked away at my armor and allowed more of myself to speak out and be honest.
At the end of my 30-day intermittent fast in February 2016 my mom asked “Have you shared about fasting on your blog?” No, I could never do that, I thought. After seven years of blog writing, I didn’t know if I could do it. Talking about weight loss struggles, negative body image, food addiction and overcoming sexual abuse is not easy, but I fell back on my laurels. If it might help someone, I would share it.
I’ve been asked by others how to start a blog, if blogging is worth it and how to attract followers. Just a few days ago, a friend asked me about blogging. It’s a lot of work getting started and I was just about to talk her out of it, to tell her to focus on her novel writing and such when I realized through the years blogging has helped me to write deep, be vulnerable and poke at myself. In everyday situations, my writing eye searches for the storyline, the punch line and the angle that can be used as a hook. Doing this has helped me find a meaningful purpose in writing.
So, with that said, yes, I would encourage any writer to start a blog. It’s an instant gratification that rarely can be found in the writing industry. I’m in control, I have lots of interaction on-line, have made amazing friends, been featured in newspaper, magazine and even on the evening news. Most importantly, I would have never been able to write my memoir Starving Girl. Talk about the big reveal. I share all that I’ve been holding back for years and I do it in a way I’m very proud of. Starving Girl is the ultimate guide to finding value in what others throw away. It’s about finding value in yourself. I would have never been able to write my story, the highs and the lows, the good and the bad, if I hadn’t started blogging.
Click here to watch on youtube.