Once again we’re welcoming a guest blogger from the blogging world to come and share her story about her blogging journey. Please give a warm welcome to Leigh Kramer! Leigh was kind enough to share about how she got her start, and where that journey has taken her. Be sure to check out her site www.leighkramer.com and definitely follower her on Twitter.
Why I Blog
By Leigh Kramer
When I opened my Blogger account, I never could have imagined that five years later I’d have a top social work blog and a personal blog, attend a blog conference, met blogging friends in real life, or that I’d own a domain name. And I definitely wouldn’t have guessed that I’d renew my interest in a writing career.
In fact, when I created my first blog, I had no idea that conferences existed or that there are so many different blogging platforms.
I was just 6 months into my career as a hospice social worker. A few friends blogged, mainly for fun. While I cringed at the idea of “blogging as virtual diary,” I thought it might be a good opportunity to educate friends and family about my work in hospice. There were many heartfelt, humorous moments that came out of my work and I wanted to share that with others. And so I launched Confessions of a Young (Looking) Social Worker to little fanfare.
Blogging was more fulfilling than I realized. Recounting stories about patients, with pertinent details HIPAA-ized, proved to be therapeutic. I’d always enjoyed writing but there were few chances to do so outside of professional opportunities.
Fast forward a few years to the fall of 2008, in which I blogged about almost sky-diving with a patient. We’d created a Bucket List and were poised to skydive when a cloud cover prevented us from jumping, much to my relief. (The patient did get to dive eventually.)
Christian Sinclair from Pallimed, a palliative care blog, stumbled on to my site after searching for hospice or palliative care social work bloggers. We began corresponding and the world of hospice and palliative care blogs was opened up to me. I was aware of other social work bloggers by that point and was featured on a couple of lists but I had never thought to look for people blogging about end of life issues.
My blogging world was so insular up to that point.
Another year passed; I realized that my style of mixing professional and personal stories on the blog no longer worked. My audience had vastly expanded from friends and family to professionals around the world. This development was exciting but I no longer felt comfortable writing about my cousin’s wedding or the last White Sox game I’d attended.
I didn’t want to lose that outlet though so I went to Blogger and created HopefulLeigh.
I didn’t do much with the personal blog at first. I was not blog savvy, for one. It was also difficult balance a full-time job, my other responsibilities, and 2 blogs.
After my 30th birthday, I developed a 31 Things Before Turning 31 list and posted it on HopefulLeigh. As I checked off items like Move to Nashville and Go to Medieval Times, I found myself writing more regularly there.
Five months later I moved from the Chicago suburbs to Nashville. I had a month before starting my new job as a pediatric medical social worker and decided to devote myself to HopefulLeigh. I didn’t know what I wanted out of blogging, other than more followers and regular comments.
My new job had stricter guidelines regarding social media, even though my professional blog was not associated with the organization. Whereas before Confessions of a Young (Looking) Social Worker featured patient stories to illustrate end of life issues or techniques, now I was limited to blogging about resources for the brain tumor and sickle cell pediatric populations. I eventually posted less and less until not at all.
Meanwhile, HopefulLeigh continued to grow. It was the perfect place to process my transition to the South and what God was teaching me. I began emailing with other bloggers, expanding my circle. I learned about blogging conferences, which boggled my mind. People made money off their blogs? They wanted to go to seminars on improving?
I decided to attend a blog conference this past January, with the hope that it might clarify my goals. I also gave into a Twitter account, which was one of the smartest social media decisions I’ve ever made. If you’re serious about blogging, networking is a big component to getting your name out there, forging new relationships, and developing your brand.
I left the blog conference viewing myself as blogger, writer, and storyteller. Blogging all these years somehow awakened my old dream of writing a novel and gave me the confidence to think I just might be able to pull it off. I felt ready to work toward becoming a full-time writer.
With this in mind, a new blog was in order. I researched different blogging platforms and hosts. After months of consideration, I moved HopefulLeigh over to TypePad as www.leighkramer.com. I still want to pinch myself over my new home!
I never could have predicted any of this and yet it seems like I was moving in this direction the moment I published my first post.
I began to blog because I wanted to write. And now I am a writer.
In May 2010, Leigh Kramer intentionally uprooted her life in the Chicago suburbs by moving to Nashville in an effort to live more dependently on God. She writes about life in the South, what God has been teaching her, and her ongoing quest for the perfect fried pickle. You can follow her adventures on Twitter (www.twitter.com/hopefulleigh) and her blog HopefulLeigh (http://www.leighkramer.com).