You all are in for a treat this week! Amanda is not only a great blogger with wealth of blogging experience and a lot of wisdom to share with you, she is also one of my very favorite people (I know you’ll love her). She is a prolific writer (she kept TWO blogs going that she wrote on 6 days a week!) and a very successful ebook author (Truth in the Tinsel).
Grab a pen an paper and get ready to take notes. Enjoy!
1.Give us a quick intro to you, your family and your blog.
I was born in 1977. (Doesn’t that seem like forever ago?!) My husband and I were married when I was 21. We spent the next 7 years speaking and performing at kids’ camps and special church events. Soon, we became pastors over kids’ ministries in the local church. After those 7 years we had our first child, our sweet Lydia. Then 3 years later, my Asa came along. Now, my husband owns 3 businesses (including a CrossFit gym) while I blog and semi-homeschool (2 days at school and 3 at home).
My blog, as narcissistic as it sounds (ohAmanda) is a place for me to share my experiences as a mother leading her kids to God while setting up environments for you to do the same with your own children.
2. Tell us your blogging story. (Is this your first blog? How did you get started? How long have you been blogging?) Feel free to share anything that might be helpful for growing bloggers.
I started blogging in 2005 because I got a new piece of furniture. For real. It was a beautiful antique dining table, china cabinet and hutch. My family lived all over the world then (literally: California, New Jersey, Georgia and Israel!) and for some reason I thought it would be easier to start a blog with the pictures than email them. *shrugs*From there it moved to pictures of my niece Nora when I was babysitting, to my pregnant belly and then to your basic baby brag blog (<–that was really the title).
During this time I was on an iVillage messageboard and one of the girls said her husband blogged full-time. And I couldn’t understand that. Blogged? For a living? What did that even mean?
This intrigued me and I started reading her personal blog which was an original lifestyle (mom) blog. My husband and I were in a bad place with our job and I lived vicariously through this blogger. I wanted her nice normal, craft-with-your-friends, go-to-church and play-with-your-kids life. That was when I realized the power of blogs and of sharing your life and words with others.
Soon, I decided I needed a blog like hers. One that wasn’t necessarily about my kids’ milestones. But one I could practice the craft of writing. I’d always wanted to write a book one day and a blog would be the perfect place to practice! (That blog was originally called So It Begins… and then quickly morphed into ohAmanda.)
I was adamant that there would be no pictures on the blog because it would be all about Writing with a capital “w”! Heh. I laugh at my early posts…but sometimes miss them, too as I had no idea who I was writing to. There was no audience, just me and my keyboard.
3. Tell us about a blogging “success” or “failure” that taught you a powerful lesson.
My biggest success is also a failure. Or vice versa.
I started two blogs in the same year. I think most bloggers have multiple blogs in their heads. This one was called “Impress Your Kids” based on the Scripture that says we are to impress God’s Word on our kids’ hearts. And really, that’s my passion as a parent. I want to teach my kids to know God’s Word and see Him work in their lives every day.
So, I kept track of the Bible verses we learned, the crafts we made and other pontifications about ministry, God and parenting. At this same time I was writing about chocolate and girl’s night out and TV’s LOST and my passion for purple and Disney World and anything else that struck my fancy on ohAmanda. I got in on the beginnings of PR trips and reviews and brand sponsorships.
As both my blogs grew (ohAmanda much faster than IYK), I started getting worn out. I was posting 6 times a week on each blog with no help at all. I was running out of things to share and was taking IYK to a place I couldn’t really compete with (crafty blogs, homeschool blogs, etc.).
This was all as social media was growing like crazy, too. Facebook and Twitter weren’t around when I started blogging so adding all those new things I “had” to do, made my plate even more full.
But IYK was my passion. I had been a Children’s Pastor in my previous life and felt that I had some different insight on parenting and raising kids for the Lord. So, I shut down ohAmanda.com–my first real blog, my namesake, my only avenue of money and perks. I focused all my energy on Impress Your Kids and wrote some good stuff but felt…blah about it. It just wasn’t ME.
It got to be such a big deal to me that I hired someone (Holley and Stephanie at Squee, Inc.) to help me work with my brand and future online. As we talked and I answered their questions, my purpose and passions became clear to me. They helped me focus my blog down to a main idea that encapsulated everything I wanted to do and share with my blog, my online life and my personal heart.
As a result I closed down Impress Your Kids and re-opened ohAmanda.com. But really it was a mash-up of the two. ohAmanda is less about what I had for dinner last night or what movie I just saw and more about the heart things of my life. More about the things I really want to share with others–things I pray will make a lasting impact on parents and children around the world.
So, my failure of closing blogs and reopening them, of not knowing my goal online made me realize what my real passions are and have helped me feel fulfilled and focused on what I believe God has for me.
4. What are the intangibles (perspective /determination /character /planning /supportive family etc) that have helped you succeed?
I mentioned I’m a sharer. (Is that a word?) I think this is what motivates me more than anything. I can’t NOT tell people about what’s important to me. When I sit by the window on a plane and see beautiful scenery outside I have to tell the person next to me so they can experience it, too. It doesn’t matter if I know them or not. I can’t keep it to myself!
This desire to share, help and lead people is what helps me succeed. I’m also a student and am willing to learn (ok, copy) from others. Also, as a Christian, I feel it’s part of sharing what God has done for me–it’s more than a web log of my day, it’s a ministry for me.
5. How do you keep your blog and home life in balance? What does a “typical” blogging day look like for you?
Ah, balance. Does that exist?My balance ebbs and flows. Sometimes I’m fabulous at turning off my blog life and focusing on real life. Other times I forget dinner and laundry in lieu of updates and re-tweets.But generally speaking, I try to do “real work” only when family is asleep or not with me. So, early mornings and naps are my best times to work.
I have recently decided to blog only 3 times a week. So, I may write a post on Saturday afternoon during naps to post on Monday morning. Then I’ll have Monday naptime to do social media, emails, etc. Then Tuesday afternoon I can write for Wednesday’s post.
It doesn’t ever work out perfectly but it’s my goal. When I have a lot on my plate, I’ll try to get away to the library for a few hours while my husband keeps the kids so I can knock out a bunch of to-do’s at once.
Come back Wednesday to read all of Amanda’s Blogging Gadget and App recommendations and on Friday she’ll share her thoughts on social media and writing. Stay tuned!
Q & A with Amanda
What questions do you have about blogging for Amanda? Click here to share your thoughts or ask your question!
Read All The Interviews with Amanda
1. How They Blog: Amanda White
2. Coming Wednesday
3. Coming Friday